Hunting Tiger Woods…

Some biblical thinking on one (sad) current event….
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Hunting Tiger Woods
By C.J. Mahaney (here)

Tiger Woods wants his privacy back.
He wants the media entourage to disappear from his life.

He wants to be left alone so he can manage his personal problems in private.

Not a chance.

The story began unfolding in the early hours of last Friday Continue reading

A Saturday night Savior

Charles Spurgeon brings hope to the Saturday night sinner (and all of us) as he speaks of Jesus Christ, using this text from Hebrews 2:18:
“He himself hath suffered being tempted.”

It is a common-place thought, and yet it tastes like nectar to the weary heart—Jesus was tempted as I am. You have heard that truth many times: have you grasped it? He was tempted to the very same sins into which we fall. Do not dissociate Jesus from our common manhood. It is a dark room which you are going through, but Jesus went through it before. It is a sharp fight which you are waging, but Jesus has stood foot to foot with the same enemy.

1215538_sun_rise_5Let us be of good cheer, Christ has borne the load before us, and the blood-stained footsteps of the King of glory may be seen along the road which we traverse at this hour.

There is something sweeter yet—Jesus was tempted, but Jesus never sinned. Then, my soul, it is not needful for thee to sin, for Jesus was a man, and if one man endured these temptations and sinned not, then in his power his members may also cease from sin. Some beginners in the divine life think that they cannot be tempted without sinning, but they mistake; there is no sin in being tempted, but there is sin in yielding to temptation.

Herein is comfort for the sorely tempted ones. There is still more to encourage them if they reflect that the Lord Jesus, though tempted, gloriously triumphed, and as he overcame, so surely shall his followers also, for Jesus is the representative man for his people; the Head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory. Fears are needless, for Christ is with us, armed for our defence. Our place of safety is the bosom of the Saviour. Perhaps we are tempted just now, in order to drive us nearer to him. Blessed be any wind that blows us into the port of our Saviour’s love! Happy wounds, which make us seek the beloved Physician.

Ye tempted ones, come to your tempted Saviour, for he can be touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and will succour every tried and tempted one.

(from CHS’ Morning & Evening devotions for October 3rd)

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mayhem

An email brought me this word for the day, and its usage (according to Garner’s Modern American Usage.
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mayhem:
(1) malicious injury to or maiming of a person, orig. so as to impair or destroy the victim’s capacity for self-defense; (2) violent and damaging action, violent destruction…

And “maim,” n. Though etymologically identical, “mayhem” and “maim” have undergone differentiation. In the best usage, “mayhem” refers to the crime (sense 1 above) and “maim” to the type of injury required for the crime.

It strikes me that sin causes spiritual (and often physical) mayhem.

Thanks be to God for our great Redeemer and Lord, Jesus Christ!
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“One leak may sink a ship” (Manton)

Puritan Pastor Thomas Manton wrote the following, while preaching on Psalm 119:6. It reminds us that if we allow even one sin to linger around our feet, we may be undone.

“Keep but your passion afoot, or your lust afoot, or your worldliness afoot, and it will carry you further [away]. One sin keepeth possession [of you] for Satan; allow but one lust and corruption in the heart, and that will undermine all,and become thine eternal ruin; as one leak may sink a ship. A bird, tied by the leg, many make some show of escape. You never totally renounced Satan’s government, and wholly gave up yourselves to God. By keeping a part, the whole falleth to his share.”

Resolved to battle sin in me more fiercely,
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“Chemo for My Cancered Soul”

James I. Packer has a great little article on CT’s Christian History web site, entitled God’s Chemo for My Cancered Soul. He is a fan of the puritans, and draws much help from John Owen.

Here are two paragraphs from the heart of Packer’s article…

Reaching across three centuries, Owen showed me my inside—my heart—as no one had ever done before. Sin, he told me, is a blind, anti-God, egocentric energy in the fallen human spiritual system, ever fomenting self-centered and self-deceiving desires, ambitions, purposes, plans, attitudes, and behaviors. Now that I was a regenerate believer, born again, a new creation in Christ, sin that formerly dominated me had been dethroned but was not yet destroyed. It was marauding within me all the time, bringing back sinful desires that I hoped I had seen the last of, and twisting my new desires for God and godliness out of shape so that they became pride-perverted too. Lifelong conflict with the besetting sins that besetting sin generates was what I must expect.

What to do? Here was Owen’s answer, in essence: Have the holiness of God clear in your mind. Remember that sin desensitizes you to itself. Watch—that is, prepare to recognize it, and search it out within you by disciplined, Bible-based, Spirit-led self-examination. Focus on the living Christ and his love for you on the cross. Pray, asking for strength to say “no” to sin’s suggestions and to fortify yourself against bad habits by forming good ones contrary to them. And ask Christ to kill the sinful urge you are fighting, as the theophanic angel in C. S. Lewis’s Great Divorce tells the man with the lizard to do.

We ought to take sin seriously. We ought to seek greater holiness, with the Spirit’s help.

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The Shape of Temptation (by T. Challies)

TIM CHALLIES shares some thoughts on temptation from his reading. ENJOY! (Here is his post, lightly edited.)

As I continue reading through Waltke’s Old Testament Theology I continue to dig up pure gold.

In one of the earliest chapters Waltke writes about man’s fall into sin and discusses “the shape of temptation.” Here he shows how Satan’s original act of temptation is an archetype or sorts. All of the temptation that would follow through the long line of human experience would mimic this one. Satan tempted the second human being in the same way he tempts the 20 billionth (or whatever I happen to be). As I read this portion of the book and reflected on it, I could see that this really is the model of temptation. It is not just Satan who works in this way, though, but all human beings. We are prone to following Satan in luring others into sin in the same way.

Here are five steps to leading someone into sin(!).

Be a theologian. There is little doubt that Satan is a theologian, and a skilled and outspoken one at that. He has had a very long time to study God and, as a leader among angels, once enjoyed free access to Him and close communion with Him. Satan knows God and knows about the character of God. But unlike the theologians we seek to be, Satan is a theologian who despises God with every bit of his being. When he turns to Eve and says, “Did God really say…?” he brings Eve into a dialogue that opens her mind to a new realm of possibility, one she would not have thought of on her own. He knows God well enough to know what God has said and done.

But there is more. Satan is not only a student of God but also of men. From the moment God first spoke of man, Satan must have been watching and observing. Knowing that man was the crown of creation, Satan was surely looking for an opening, a way to destroy this jewel. He became a student of the ways of men. As a theologian, a psychologist and an anthropologist, Satan has unique skill at leading men astray.

Turn commands into questions. Satan takes the command of God and rephrases it as a question. “Did God really say?” What was a clear statement suddenly becomes hazy. Posing as a theologian he asks, “Are you sure about this, or is this only Adam’s testimony as to what God said? Are you sure? How do you know? Is this really a command? Can we discuss this a little bit? Is it possible that you misinterpreted what God said? Is it possible that there is some context here we’ve ignored?” Waltke says, “Within the framework of faith, these questions are proper and necessary, but when they are designed to lead us away from the simplicity of childlike obedience, they are wrong.” And so we see Satan raising questions of interpretation and authority necessarily designed to create doubt and confusion and to lead away from the simplicity of a childlike obedience.

Emphasize prohibition over freedom. Satan carefully and deliberately distorts, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden” into “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” He overlooks the great freedom God gave Adam and Eve and instead overstates the one prohibition. He gets Eve to focus on the prohibition rather than the gift and the freedom. Instead of focusing on the Tree of Life, from which she was free to eat, and on the millions of other trees available to her, Satan got her to focus her heart on that one tree from which she was not allowed to eat. And Eve began to focus not on what she had been given, but on what had been forbidden. And suddenly nothing but what was forbidden could satisfy her.

Doubt God’s sincerity and motives. Satan casts God’s motives as self-regard rather than love. “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He convinces Eve that God is limiting her, that He is not giving her the full measure of humanity. He is holding back, reserving for Himself things that she deserves to know and to experience. As Waltke says, we hear this message all around us today. “Be liberated! Be free! Self-actualize! Unleash your inner potential! The Serpent’s message even echoes in the church. Instead of sanctification, the church seeks self-improvement. Instead of holiness, the church seeks happiness.” When you hear such things, you can rest assured that the Serpent is once again at work seeking to convince you that you need to be something other than what you were created to be.

Deny what God says is true. In the final step, Satan flatly denies what is true. “You will not surely die.” The fruit of all of the doubt and the resentment is unbelief. If God’s words happen to hinder us from becoming what we want to be or from doing what we want to do, Satan convinces us that we can safely ignore them. In the church today many people de-emphasize sin because it may hinder the quest for self-actualization or it may make people feel guilty or damage their self-esteem. “Sadly many evangelical churches are in the process of buying into a guilt-free, pain-free, judgment-free gospel.”

In the face of such temptation, the woman yields to Satan’s denials and half-truths. “Having stripped Eve of her spiritual defenses, Satan’s work is done.” Without God, the decision will be made purely on the basis of pragmatism, of what works best to bring about the desired end, on the basis of aesthetics, of what is beautiful, and on the basis of self-improvement, of what will bring her supposed wisdom. It is only one short step from here to outright disobedience.

And so Satan works through questioning, doubt, focusing on what is forbidden and finally on outright denial of the truth. And Eve is only the first to be drawn in and to succumb to the temptation. Every one of us has fallen for the same old trap. If you think of your own life, I’m sure you will think of examples where this pattern was used against you, perhaps just in your own thoughts or perhaps in a book you have read (and there are many books in the bookstores, both Christian and non- where this same pattern is used). Satan’s first tactic worked so well that I don’t think he has ever felt it necessary to modify it too much. The shape of temptation has not changed.

— Thanks to Tim Challies for posting this summary of Waltke’s writing…

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Tuesday? Thomas Manton: A Constant Obedience

Wicked men have their good moods, and devout pangs in the way to Heaven, but they are not lasting. They will go with God a step or two; but it is said, “He that walketh in the law of the Lord.”

…A man is judged by the tenor of his life, not by one action, but as he holdeth on his was to Heaven (JOB 27:10). Many run well for a while, but are soon out of breath.

“Enoch walked with God three hundred and sixty-five years.”

— comments on Psalm 119:1