Good writing comes when we risk not knowing what we're doing--struggling, surprising ourselves, thinking through something that makes us uncomfortable.... What makes a story good is that--even if we don't understand what we're doing as we write--what happens in it corresponds in some way to what's most intense in us. We may invent the people and actions, … Continue reading Good Writing takes risk
All I can do, as far as activism is concerned, is to write daily, read as much as possible, and keep my vocabulary alive and changing so that I will have an instrument on which to play the book if it does me the honor of coming to me and asking to be written... --Madeleine … Continue reading All I can do…
Three Dollars Worth of God I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man or … Continue reading What’s God worth to You?
Pray until you pray. This is Puritan advice. It does not simply mean that persistence should mark much of our praying—though admittedly that is a point the Scriptures repeatedly make. Even though he was praying in line with God’s promises, Elijah prayed for rain seven times before the first cloud appeared in the heavens. . … Continue reading Prayer pointers…
We have come to the next-to-last chapter in John Owen's book: Overcoming Sin and Temptation (originally titled: Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers) The thrust of this chapter is a warning not to deceive ourselves that all is well in our fellowship with God when it is not! Owen puts it this way: "Do … Continue reading On the Mortification of Sin–Chapter 13–When God Speaks…
If we ever mean to overcome personal sin, Owen says next that we must load our consciences with the guilt of it. We do this by looking at the holy law of God in comparison to our own inability to keep it. And lest we protest that we are no longer under the law's condemnation, Owen … Continue reading On the Mortification of Sin–Chapter 11–Bring on the Guilt!
"It is...only in the cross where the despairing sinner finds relief from the curse and wrath of God. It is not by looking within but by looking outside of oneself and one's own experience, to the sight of Christ crucified, that the trembling heart can find peace with God." --Michael Horton, In the Face of … Continue reading Only in the Cross
Sin's guilt is real, its danger great, and its evil consequences sure. Keeping these realities in mind when we are tempted will help us resist sin's allure. This is Owen's next direction for overcoming sin: "Get a clear and abiding sense upon your mind and conscience of the GUILT, DANGER, and EVIL of your sin." … Continue reading On the Mortification of Sin–Chapter 10–Consider and tremble!
With this chapter John Owen commences to give 'particular directions' regarding how to put sin to death in ourselves. The first instruction is to identify the nature of your sin--how deeply rooted is it? He offers seven characteristics of sin that will require extraordinary measures in order to be eradicated. Some sins will be harder to … Continue reading On the Mortification of Sin–Chapter 9–Take Stock!
Why do we struggle to overcome sin? Do we hate sin because it is sin or merely because it causes us trouble? In this chapter Owen targets our motives in wanting to be free of sin. He makes the case that: "There will be No Mortification of Any Sin without Sincerity and Diligence in a … Continue reading On the Mortification of Sin–Chapter 8–Motives Matter