Friday, December 21, 2007


Our hardy band of readers has finished Chapter 6 in "Overcoming Sin and Temptation: of the Mortification of Sin in Believers."

This chapter was so rich I’m not sure where to focus!

Loren, I loved your “sin as ticking time-bomb” picture. I got the same feeling but would not have been able to describe it as well.

One of my great moments in this chapter was in the chapter sub-heading, “Mortification Consists in a Habitual Weakening of Sin.”

In this section I understood why I have failed to overcome some troubling sins; seeking them out and killing them has not been a habit. Perhaps because I’ve never had a good sense of just how dangerous, destructive and sneaky even the smallest of sins are; of course any sin is abhorrent to God but I, like many, tend to compare my sins to the sins of others and think “I’m not so bad”.

I’m sure I represent a large body of believers who live our lives as if the sins which plague us are something we do not think about until one jumps up in surprise attack. I know how often I have walked through my days in a sort of “ignorant bliss” when I think I am doing well; then how hard I fall when the serpent strikes! I then feel betrayed because I have mistaken sin’s inactivity for sin’s death.

Reading this book has forced me to be thinking about sin on a daily basis. I like this! I realize how our comfortable lives in North America distract us from the important work of rooting out sin.

I appreciate war analogies when considering this subject. I have many military members in my family including my son who spent a year in one of the most dangerous places in Iraq. In war it is most important to study the enemy; the better one knows one’s enemy, the greater chance one has for success because his moves can be anticipated and crushed before he makes them. My son lived in a state of constant alertness. He and his fellow soldiers could not even go to the bathroom without donning their full body armor. Things we take for granted and pass by without thinking (such as roadside litter) were objects of danger for these soldiers; a plastic bag could kill.

I often feel like Don, as if I were the one on the cross struggling and growing weaker; at times I feel like such a failure and just want to give up the fight.

This chapter has spurred me to get back to memorizing scripture. When Satan was allowed to tempt Jesus in the desert, our Lord answered “It is written…” I’m very sure the more scripture we carry in our heads the more weapons we have in our arsenal against our particular sins. For me, because my quick tongue is a huge problem, I’m going to attempt the book of James!

I’ve loved reading everyone’s thoughts. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Killing Sin: Our Own Power, Or God's Power?

My thoughts for chapter 5 of "Overcoming Sin & Temptation" are very short. The whole of Psalm 78 is filled with history of God's people rebelling, receiving punishment and returning to God. Owen quotes verses 32-37, a good summary of the Psalm.

I think the verses that follow Owen's quote (vs. 38-42) add important meaning:
    "Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity
    and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often
    and did not stir up all his wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again. How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert! They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel".

We will never successfully mortify any sin in our lives unless we have a good sense of the holiness of God against which to contrast our sinful nature. Without that we done as Owen's sinner;

    " his former iniquity he has added cursed hypocrisy, and is now on a safer path to hell than he was before. He has got another heart than he had, that is more cunning; not a new heart, that is more holy".

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sin and Temptation Chapter 4

I started this chapter several times before I began to get understanding of it. I was only able to complete my reading this morning after putting all my real-life distractions to rest.

As one who maintains a large garden, I appreciated Owen's gardening analogy and have used that in the past though not as richly as Owen. I think of this year in particular when I was called to my mom's home to assist her after a fall which left her with a severely broken arm. After 4 weeks away from home, I returned to a garden in which I literally could not find half of the food-bearing plants! Though my husband was applying water he was unable to attend to the unwanted plants, thus only half the job was done. Weeds grow faster than fruiting plants and move in quickly for the kill. How like the sin in our lives; it is much harder work to kill the sin than to fill ourselves on the richness of God's word to make ourselves feel spiritual. And how quickly sin will choke out true spiritual fruit.

I chose this quote as a highlight of the week's reading: "Men that are sick and wounded under the power of lust make many applications for help; they cry to God when the perplexity of their thoughts overwhelms them, even to God do they cry, but are not delivered; in vain do they use many remedies--" How often do we hear of believers crying out to God for relief of sin's consequences without doing any work to destroy the sin in themselves? They attend church and Bible studies. They read self-help books, they seek counseling, they join support groups and may even take medication; joy and peace still elude them. In Psalm 66 the writer speaks of praising God for His great deeds; in verse 18 we read, "If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened."

This week's concept seems to come back to the simple statement "Be killing sin or it will be killing you."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Overcomers Indeed!

I said I was going to post thoughts about my reading and haven't managed to get back here to do that. Writing takes work and I've been avoiding the effort in favor of easier activities; not to mention that my husband has been working from home a lot and it's harder to get at the computer during those times. That said, I have a bit to say after reading chapter 3 in "Overcoming Sin and Temptation".

This chapter was much slower reading than the first two, and I also spent time catching up with the forewords and introductions which slowed me down a little more. I read the first two chapters out of a different edition while waiting for my copy of this version from Amazon. I am glad to note the suggestion that reading aloud might be helpful; I am finding this to be true and am reading aloud at times, or slowly and silently while applying vocal inflections in my head.

Encouraging and instructive are two words that describe the effect of this chapter. I appreciate Owen's discussion of works as means to mortification and his discussion of why the Spirit does not do all the work, summed up when he says "He does not so work our mortification in us as not to keep it still an act of our obedience."

Though Owen is mainly pointing out errors in Catholic traditions and I am not Catholic (husband is ex-C), he enlightened me as to why I spent so many of my early Christian years in defeat and discouragement! I grew up in a non-denominational Bible church with teachings similar to Baptist churches. As a young Christian, I tried to do all the "duties" suggested in church. I tried having "quiet time" and keeping a journal. I joined discussion/self-help groups to try erasing self-defeating behaviors (and overcome a childhood trauma), went to "Bible Studies", read numerous books, used many devotional tools. I followed the instructions in a popular pamphlet suggesting we simply needed to pray daily to be "filled with the Spirit" and waited passively for it to happen. All these efforts were fruitless.

In those times I was not engaging in true obedience to the Lord; I was trying to copy other believers, please others, and put on the outward behaviors of a good Christian without knowing how to effect inward change. When I began teaching in a children's Bible-memory program in which my kids were enrolled, I began to study the Word itself.

In my terror of causing a little one (I know this applies not just to children, but to anyone young in the faith) to stumble, I studied hard so as to convey the best possible understanding to the children in my care. As a home-school mom, I also wanted to give the best I could to my own children.
In that study, and in the memorization I began alongside my kids, the Lord worked a miracle in my heart. I began to *know Him* rather than simply *knowing about Him*. How simple it seems now!

As parents our job is to mold mature adults capable of independent living. To that end my husband and I applied the axiom "never do for your kids what they can do for themselves." Nonetheless, we needed to make sure they had good understanding of the required task as well as the tools for accomplishment. In this same way the Holy Spirit will not kill our sin for us while we passively await His intervention, but He will help us as we work to recognize our sin and then set about killing it from the roots up.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of this book. I'm going to see Mannheim Steamroller in their Christmas concert tonight and will have some wonderful "down-time" in our hotel room. I'm going to spend time mulling over more of this book!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Willow Creek Hosting Mystical Youth Conference?

Watcher's Lamp: Willow Creek's Emergent & Mystical Youth Conference

This event reveals the disturbing influence of "emergent" thought upon the church (meaning the "body of Christ on earth"). Brian McLaren will be a keynote speaker at the conference, a man who seems to side-step the substitutionary atonement of Christ and instead espouses a gospel of works.

I hope anyone reading this little blog will do a little research and find out for themselves just what McLaren, Rob Bell, and others are really teaching.

Why on earth is the church accepting Eastern mysticism in its midst? Why are such notables as Bill Hybels welcoming this move? Don't they remember the warnings to the early Christians? Check out 2 Corinthians 6:13-15.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Is Anyone Out There?


If there is anyone actually reading here, I'd love it if you post a comment and tell me so.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Reading Christian Classics

In response to this suggestion I have joined a group reading "Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots" by Dr. J.C. Ryle. I am a good ways behind the others who started at the end of August. I am looking forward to this adventure and hope others might read here and join in. I'll post thoughts here and there as I make my way through the book.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In Christ Alone Worship Video with Lyrics

There are some nice versions of this "out there", I just randomly snagged this one because it includes visual of of my favorites.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Drive-through church

Sadly, as funny as this is, there is a lot of truth in it. Too many churchgoers want fast-food church...

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Lame Blogger

Wow. I can't believe it's been 9 months since I last made an entry to this blog.

It has been so long I couldn't remember my login name! Then I find out it has been changed to a google feature. Fancy that.

Hopefully I'll have something more intelligent to say at some point, I'm feeling a little like I'm lost in the desert after leaving a wonderful "job" (well, ministry really) at my church.

I'm always torn in situations like this...between wondering if I'm having to give it up because I failed the Lord in some way, or if instead it's because He has something else He wants me to move on to. LOL, my dear husband has been after me to stay home since last winter. Part of me wonders if the stumbles of the last couple of months were allowed into my life because I kept a stiff neck and tried too hard to hold on to something that wasn't really mine.

Guess I can ruminate on that some more later. Time to get some supper on the table! (For all you left-coasters, "supper" is mid-west talk for "dinner").