Cry Out To Jesus, by Third Day
Monday, July 28, 2008
Cry Out To Jesus, by Third Day
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
There I was living on some remote island in the middle of the Pacific. Life was good. My wife and kiddos were great. The farm (?) vegetables were growing nicely and the animals (??) were behaving themselves. I got along great with my neighbors. I had a good job collecting shells along the beach. Life was great.
Oh, did I mention it was a volcanic island that I lived on? Well, inevitably, the volcano god got angry about something or other. Pretty soon, ash and soot started flying here and there and everything smelled like sulfur. Being good Islanders that we were, obviously we wanted to stop the volcano god from blowing us up. To appease the Vg, we pick out a nice fluffy sheep, cart him up to the volcano (it was pretty hot, too!), and toss him in. Not a happy ending for the sheep, to be sure, but we wanted to go back to our happy lives down in the village and figured this was the best way of going about it.
Okay, so what does all this Pacific islander stereotyping have to do with a Puritan writer, you may ask? Up to this point in the book, Owen has been discussing general principles of killing sin in the believer. In
“Hatred of sin as sin, not only as galling or disquieting, a sense of the love of Christ in the cross, lie at the bottom of all true spiritual mortification…Thou settest thyself with all diligence and earnestness to mortify such a lust or sin; what is the reason of it?(emphasis added) It disquiets thee, it hath taken away thy peace, it fills thy heart with sorrow, and trouble, and fear; thou hast no rest because of it… It is evident that though contendest against sin merely because of thy own trouble by it. Would thy conscience be quiet under it, thou wouldst let it alone. Did it not disquiet thee, it should not be disquieted by thee.”
In other words, if sin did not poke our conscience or stir things up in our life, would we even bother to “mortify” it? Why do I confess sin? Is it so that I can go back to my peaceful way of living or is it because I have a hatred of sin, recognizing “the filth and guilt of it” as Owen puts it. We throw a sheep into the volcano simply to appease God, when we are really simply trying to have our lives nice and peaceful once more. I know I’ve been guilty of this. It’s Saturday night (or Sunday morning!?), and I’ll be teaching Sunday School in a little while. Yet my conscience is bugging me over some sin. So I confess, not because I recognize the “filth and guilt of it” but because I want to appease my conscience so as to be able to teach. And in goes another sheep.
Owen’s point (one of them anyway) is that if we are to have victory over sin, we are to have a deep, abiding hatred of it, so much so that we want to see it deader than a volcano-roasted sheep. Sin is an affront to God and until we see it as such, all we're doing is throwing in sheep, trying to get our peaceful lives back. "He, then, that would really, thoroughly, and acceptably, mortify any disquieting lust, let him take care to be equally diligent in all parts of obedience, and know that every lust, every omission of duty, is burdensome to God."
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
In listening to this song, I am reminded of the following quote by John Bunyan:
"Now was I sick in my inward man, my soul was clogged with guilt; now also was my former experience of God's goodness to me quite taken out of my mind, and hid as if it had never been, nor seen. Now was my soul greatly pinched between these two considerations. Live I must not, Die I dare not; now I sunk and fell in my spirit; and was giving up all for lost; but as I was walking up and down in the house, as a man in a most woeful state, that word of God took hold of my heart, Ye are 'justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus' (Rom. 3.24). But oh, what a turn it made upon me!
Now was I as one awakened out of some troublesome sleep and dream, and listening to this heavenly sentence, I was as if I had heard it thus expounded to me: Sinner, thou thinkest that because of thy sins and infirmities I cannot save thy soul, but behold My Son is by Me, and upon Him I look, and not on thee, and will deal with thee according as I am pleased with Him. At this I was greatly lightened in my mind, and made to understand that God could justify a sinner at any time; it was but His looking upon Christ, and imputing of His benefits to us, and the work was forthwith done."
Friday, July 18, 2008
So, 5 minutes later, I emerge with said umbrella and am in the process of putting it in the back of the van when the car next to us backs out, the driver rolls down her window and says, “I wish I was rich like you!”
Not being a mind reader, I ask her to repeat herself. “I wish I was rich like you so I could leave my vehicle running. And it’s not good for the environment. You need to be more responsible.” And off she drives.
Oooookay. Perhaps she didn’t see my wife and four little kiddos in the van NOT being oven-roasted thanks to my “irresponsibility.” The ironic part of all this was that during her tirade, she puffed away at a cigarette. Yeah, that’s very responsible. I wish I could be like her. Good for the environment too, obviously. I could be wrong, but considering that her voice sounded like that of a chain smoker, I’d be willing to bet that she spent more money on her cigarettes that day than I did on the additional fuel used in keeping my family cool. Consider the following from this article written in June 2007:
The cost of a pack of cigarettes averages $4.49, including taxes. Using this number, a pack-a-day smoker burns through about $31.43 per week, or $1,635 per year. That's a fat house payment or a nice vacation with the family [or a weekly gas fillup!!]. A 40-year-old who quits smoking and puts the savings into a 401(k) earning 9% a year would have nearly $250,000 by age 70.
And this doesn’t take into account the extra costs that smokers have to pay for insurance, the loss of value on a house or car, etc.
So let’s see: going by last year’s average, this woman was sending up in smoke per week about the same amount that it would take to fill up our van per week.
Now who’s being irresponsible, not to mention being a busy body.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I can now proudly say that I am only reading THREE (3) books right now and am making some headway in each of them. It helps that one of them is an audio book that I get to listen to everyday on my way to work. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s my opinion that audio books are one of the best things in the world. I think I average about one unabridged book a month.
So what am I reading? The audio book is John Adams by David G. McCullough. This is an excellent book that I highly recommend. It is perhaps one of the most fascinating biographies I’ve ever read. Not surprisingly, when it was first published in 2001, Publisher’s Weekly called it “one of the fastest-selling nonfiction titles in history,” and publisher Simon & Schuster said that “the demand for the book ‘is the greatest in the history’ of the publisher.” That’s a pretty high compliment considering Simon & Schuster was founded in 1924 and is one of the four largest English language publishers.
I’m also reading John Owen’s The Mortification of Sin with my good friend and pastor, Tim. This has been a very good and very convicting read in the daily battle to “mortify” sin. Owen encourages Christians to “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.” The book has a way of cutting to the heart of the matter and leaving no room for excuses for sin.
The third book – Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations - is one that I’ll probably be reading for at least another year because I’m working on narrating/recording the entire thing and making it available through Librivox. I’ve finished Book 1 and am about halfway through Book 2.
And of course, every time I go to the library, I find at least 2 more books to add to my reading list. But this is a good thing.Edit: well, Sarah has reminded me that I'm reading a fourth book - Great Illustrated Classic's The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I'm in the process of recording this one as well for the kiddos to listen to in the car when we go on vacation. Speaking of which, dads, this is something that I would highly recommend doing for your kids. I'm sure they already love to have you read to them and making a recording for them will be a great gift. All you need is a microphone (available at most office supply store) and some recording software, such as the freely available Audacity.