Power over Porn

Not long ago I had the privilege of having a deep conversation with a young man who was attending an excellent local Bible school.

What made this conversation unusual was that this young man began telling me about an addiction to pornography that had gripped him since he was nine. He was one of the oldest children in a large family, so hiding his addiction had been no small feat, but he managed it. Continue reading

Note to self: Stop saying “I can’t”

At some point in my life—not that long ago, I’m afraid—I realized I said these two words a lot.

I can’t memorize like I used to. I can’t keep anything in my head for more than about ten seconds.

I can’t take on one more thing. Really, I would love to, but I just can’t.

I can’t do this by myself, people.

I just can’t break this sin pattern.

At some point—don’t remember what God used to turn on the light—I realized Continue reading

So where’s the fruit? Thoughts on John 15 and the sower and seed

blueberry bushes“I want more fruit, Lord. I want much fruit.” My prayer ran more or less along the lines of that vague reference to John 15. It was summer, and my parents’ blueberry bushes groaned with fruit. I was jealous. In the Love of Christ, my roots ran as deep as those. Of the Water of Life I drank long and often. Yes, I have fruit, but I’m hungry for more. Where is it?

As is commonly the case with these Hard Questions, I prayed and pondered for a while before receiving an answer. Then somewhere Continue reading

Finding that elusive Sabbath Rest

When we left my Independent Fundamental Baptist roots (not because of rules so much, or a particular bad experience, but because in our study of the Bible, some of our beliefs had changed so fundamentally that we no longer fit), in searching for where we belonged in the world of Christendom, we ended up in a Reformed Baptist church.

Reformed Baptists, with their peculiar brand of legalism, quite different from Continue reading

What does it mean to live in community?

This was a question that someone asked me who hadn’t been to church in a while, because for some, the church can sometimes seem hurtful.

As I’m wont with expressions that seem trendy, I said, “That expression seems trendy, and it isn’t in the Bible. So let’s just talk about what it means to love each other.”

Then today I was reading in Philippians. Continue reading

Free from sin

“How can I pray for you?” I asked my friend.

She mentioned a few things. Then she hesitated. “I have so much trouble with sin,” she said. “I keep sinning. I feel suspicious of people, that they don’t like me. I’m so jealous—-I see other people doing well, and I feel full of jealousy. Just sin, all the time.”

 I could have laughed and said, “Welcome to the club of humanity.” But I didn’t. Continue reading

How can I be strong in the Lord?

“Be strong and of good courage . . . Only be strong and very courageous, . . . Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid  or dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (from Joshua 1)

Through the decades, I’ve carried on arguments with myself in my wide-margin Bible. I correct myself, I rebuke myself, I express aghast-ness at my spiritual nearsightedness. Continue reading

Is Satan really a defeated foe in my everyday life?

I was reading a little booklet about how Satan is a defeated foe. The text said something like, “So why is Satan so powerful in the world today? Because Christians haven’t believed that he is powerless.”

I’m sorry, but this makes no logical sense. If you don’t believe he has no power then he has power? Just believe that he is already defeated, and then he will be defeated? Continue reading

Ephemeral and everlasting

We’re in the middle of moving.

We had to find a new house (half the size of our current one). We’ve been figuring out how to downsize and fit into a much smaller space (a very good challenge, but a challenge nonetheless).  We’ve been getting our current house ready to sell (I’ve tended not to notice too much when things needed fixing or painting, but I know someone else will). Bustle, hustle. Hustle, bustle.

I actually really enjoy all the challenges involved in moving and selling, and I tend to give them a lot of attention. The fact is—and I don’t know what you’ll think about this—I even dream about them. (For example, I dreamed that my son set down a hot pan on the white countertops and burned a spot into them that I couldn’t scrub out. Okay, so I didn’t enjoy that part so much.)

So there’s a lot of emphasis on the temporal. On things that really, in the big picture, just aren’t that important.

But today I’m sitting in a hospital waiting room with two young girls whose single mother has cancer. Continue reading