Drinking Deeply

Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 5:15 PM

for the last time...

Reading through a bit of Owen's Indwelling Sin. This quote jumped out at me.

It is from the deceitfulness of [the] law of sin... that men persuade themselves that by this or that particular sin they shall so satisfy their lusts as that they shall need to sin no more.


So true! So often have I sinned in some way, saying "but this is really the last time, because I won't need to do it anymore." And so often has that really not been the case. Sin deceives us, and when we engage in it, it grows all the more rather than shrinks.

On a related note, Steve Hays did an excellent post on what the difference between relying on the Holy Spirit and relying on yourself really was. I'd highly recommend it.

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Friday, December 19, 2008 at 4:57 PM

Reading Deeply

I haven't done one of these in a while. Here are some things that I've found interesting.

This blog (HT:Leo) quotes and links to a video of Penn (of Penn and Teller), who is an atheist and says that he doesn't respect people who don't proselytize -

"I don't respect people who don't proselytize. If you believe that there's a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell, and you think, 'Well, it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward'... How much do you have to hate somebody not to proselytize?"”

Forgiveness is a difficult thing. Here's a story on Governor Ryan (from Illinois) and an appeal for forgiveness and one Christian couple's response. I think it's spot on.

Tim Challies reposted an old post on a neighbor who was a public nuisance and his rebuke (at the hands of his son) of how he should love her anyway.

I've also stumbled across Jay Adams' blog, which he just started. I find him clear, and well-written, though probably a little unpopular because of the stands he takes. Here's a great post on a minster's salary.

Tim Keller explains the Gospel in light of all the claims that it's too complicated, or there isn't one specific Gospel. Long post, but worth reading.

Jollyblogger gives some good advice for young theologians. Great, now I have to buy a filing cabinet or something =D

And here's a new blog that I've stumbled upon and have been enjoying - What's Best Next is a blog by a guy at Desiring God on productivity and effectiveness. Usually good posts, though it's daunting to try to put everything in practice.

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Friday, December 05, 2008 at 9:07 PM

Game Theory

Jesus tells an interesting parable about a dishonest manager in Luke 1

16:1 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3 And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5 So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

The point of the parable (at least, as I understand it), is that the wicked know to use wealth that perishes to make wealth that lasts. If they are so wise, we should also be wise. In our dealings with the world, we ought to realize that the wealth on this earth is fleeting and will perish. Instead of trying to maximize this type of wealth, we should use it to purchase an eternal dwelling place by seeking the Kingdom of God.

I realized the last week at how this parable applies to recreational games.

(Short interjection - Those who know me in real life and actually have played some games with me probably know I'm a competitive guy when it comes to thinking games. I do a lot of outside thinking and often even outside reading if I come across a game I am particularly interested in. I push small edges and almost always play to win. Along the same line of thought, I generally don't like games of chance, (anyone can win) or games of physical prowess (except for Ultimate Frisbee, the math-teamer's game). I love card games (Bridge, Spades, Magic the Gathering) and have put in enough thought to be fairly good at them.

As I enjoy the act of playing games and I enjoy playing competitively, generally I'm ok with losing to a better player. But I'm less happy losing to a worse player, or winning against a person who doesn't really put that much thought into the game. "They could at least just think for a moment," I tend to think to myself. Obviously this is an area where I kind of need to grow.)

Recently, I had a particularly lously game of spades. The cards fell just right and I pushed the edges just enough that after a few hands me and my partner were well ahead and one of the opponents decided to quit. She had a few choice words about the whole circumstance which were very insightful (she apologized later, but she needn't have), but it got me thinking later on after the game was well over.

The above parable came to mind. If the intent of this parable is to remind us that we ought to use worldly treasure to purchase eternal dwellings, I think we can use the same idea (in an even more obvious way) to apply to games. Winning certainly gives us a thrill and a nice memory, especially if it was a particularly close contest or we had invested a great amount of effort into it. Yet on the last day, whether we win or lose in a particular game really won't matter. No amount of money we accumulate in Monopoly, nor points aquired in Spades, kills scored in Counterstrike will count for anything in eternity. Someone will not decide to repent and believe in Christ because you gave them a trouncing in spades.

Rather, we can decide to use a fake wealth to amass friends instead of enemies. Not everyone is out to play as competitively as I am, they may just be there to enjoy the game and the conversation. I don't have to win every game or play optimally to enjoy the time, but I can use my time and my abilities to seek after the objectives that others are playing, rather than demand everyone play by my rules. At the end of the game I may win less than I would have, but my winning won't put a bad taste in other people's mouths, which actually is a real life win, rather than just a silly game.

Yeah, so now the task is to actually put this into practice. Great.

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Monday, December 01, 2008 at 7:17 PM

True beauty

I was asked the other day which movie star I thought was hot. I didn't like the question, and I didn't like my answer. I wish I could have said something like this -

The problem with today's culture is that we value the superficial and the fading qualities. This person is "hot" because they had the right amount of surgery and enough people working on their faces along with just the right amount of clothing (or to be more specific, the right "lack" of clothing).

That's not true beauty at all. The Bible says that a beautiful woman without discretion is like a gold ring in a swine's snout.

True beauty is a mother whose husband dies right after their second child and she raises faithfully two children in the fear of the Lord, taking on extra jobs and working hard to teach them all the while being active in the church community, never being a burden upon others but always giving so that now when holiday seasons roll around, there are so many family friends that there is not enough time for their children to see them all. She is graying and has a face worn from faithful labor and cheerful smiles. Her genuine love for the saints makes those around her want to call her "Mom" after only knowing her for a few hours.

True beauty is the mother who remains faithful to the man who has completely wrecked their marriage in his blindness and self-deception. She continues to take care of the child who is still at home and prays for reconciliation, even though by all worldly accounts there is no hope left, everything has failed. She has set her hope on the God who hears, rather than a world who lies.

True beauty is the mother who, after battling cancer for years and losing her hair, fell in love with the Lord and now spends her days in worship and prayer, opening up her house to her children's friends so they can have Bible study sleepovers, late night jam sessions, and prayer meetings. She feeds them, clothes them, and encourages them in the Lord. Even though her children had been Christians for years before her, she prays for them and loves them and has left testimony after testimony of the love of God in their lives.

True beauty is the mother who raised 5 children by herself after her husband left her for the world. She spends her days passing on years and years of wisdom to the generations that are to follow.

True beauty is the woman who loves the Lord and serves Him in ministries where there are no other single men around, even though all her peers are spending their free time getting involved in the young adult (singles) group. Out of a love for the Lord and a desire to further His Kingdom, she prays faithfully with an old couple 2 or 3 times her age on Sunday morning.

True beauty is a mother who decides that her children and their peers at college need lots of prayer, and organizes a monthly prayer group to be praying for them. She takes seriously Paul's charge that parents save up for their children in 2 Corinthians 12:14 and has sought to be a bridge between the younger generation and the older generation, even though, for the most part, the young adults couldn't care less and the older generation resents her for trying to give the younger generation a voice.

True beauty is not found in the latest actress or supermodel. True beauty is not found in the newspapers or tabloids. No one publishes biographies on those with true beauty, no one writes memoirs about them, sings songs about them, or tracks their daily activities.

What is disdained by the world is treasured by the Lord.

1 Peter 3:4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

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