The Endless Downward Pull of Temptation

Four days into 2016 and already my resolve is being tested. Maybe that's true for you as well, and as unsettling as it is to encounter our own lack of self-discipline or perseverance, it is certainly a helpful perspective to bring to the study of Hebrews 2:14-18. When Jesus took on the constraints of a body,… Continue reading The Endless Downward Pull of Temptation

Good News of Great Joy

When the angel announced good news to a band of startled shepherds, the heavenly messenger could not possibly have anticipated the extent of the gift or its impact.  In Chapter 14 of The Mortification of Sin, John Owen puts words around the unwrapping of God's gift in his Directions for the Work of Mortifying Sin. … Continue reading Good News of Great Joy

Mind the Gap

The Puritans, apparently, were not preoccupied with self-esteem issues.  John Owen's opening thoughts in Chapter 12 of The Mortification of Sin demonstrate the great gulf between his mind set and present-day sensibilities.  Even though it may be understood that, when compared with the God of the universe, yes, any mortal creature could be filled "at all… Continue reading Mind the Gap

Getting a Clear Sense — A Letter to a Much-loved Child

In Chapter X of John Owen's The Mortification of Sin, he urges his readers toward a "clear sense" of: 1.   The guilt of sin -- "It is one of the deceits of a prevailing lust to extenuate its own guilt." 2.   The danger of sin -- "Of being hardened by deceitfulness; . . . of some great temporal… Continue reading Getting a Clear Sense — A Letter to a Much-loved Child

Image Management and the Gospel

Over-eating is an embarrassing sin.  There may be a few others that rival the obvious and detectable nature of its presence in a person's life, but I don't think so.  Those extra calories are there for all the world to see, filling up waist bands, bulging behind buttons, and squishing out over a starched collar.  I hate it.… Continue reading Image Management and the Gospel

What Do They Really Need?

Fourteen years as a missionary in Cambodia changes your view of God.  It changes the way you stand in front of a church and give a report.  "This is what God did" somehow gets sorted out from "This is what I thought He was doing at the time" and "This is what I expected."  In fourteen years, a… Continue reading What Do They Really Need?

Mortification of Sin: A Gift of the Spirit

The delightful community at The Loft has posed a question:  What would you tell your past self, and I'm sharing my musings here based on The Mortification of Sin by John Owen, a Puritan theologian who wrote this entire book based on one verse, Romans 8:13, and putting forth one huge directive:  Be killing sin, or it… Continue reading Mortification of Sin: A Gift of the Spirit

When Are Children Ready for John Owen?

It 's an occupational hazard, I suppose -- twenty years of child-rearing and almost twice that of standing in front of random groupings of kids and teens in hopes of teaching them something from the Bible.  It's no wonder, then, that when I want to make sure I understand something, I imagine communicating it to children. … Continue reading When Are Children Ready for John Owen?