Ruling Desires

108 posts

Joy in Suffering

The way to ever deepening joy in God is suffering. There are joys unspeakable and glorious in knowing God. Do you want to experience the fullness of Christ? Do you want to be overwhelmed with the vision of this one who is the chief of 10,000? Do you want to be emptied of yourself and swallowed up in Christ? Would you want to see his glory as the mediator between God and man? Do you long to have a full sense of his wonderful, pure, sweet grace and his meek and gentle condescension to such as we? Do you want to glory in his excellence and so that the glory of him swallows up all thought? Do you want to […]

Ignore Your Inner Defense Attorney

My friend Paul Tripp writes that becoming our own defense attorney is a dangerous and destructive practice.  In less formal language Paul is warning about becoming an excuse maker.  These are the words of a defense attorney in action: • “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be angry.” • “I guess I’m just tired.” • “He was mean to me.” • “If you were just a little nicer, it would be a lot easier.” • “Being inside because of the weather makes me cranky.” • “It wasn’t my fault, I’m just not feeling well.” Whether these words come from you or your children they are the words of excuse making, defending ourselves from our own shortcomings and sins. Excuse making […]

Storm warning for your soul

Christ’s last words in the Sermon on the Mount are a storm warning! The final four verses (Matthew 7:24-27) teach that these storms will be powerful and that they cannot be avoided. They are on the way. So, the question is not how to avoid the storm, but how to remain secure when the storm strikes. This much is certain: the storms will come. Jesus is talking about more than physical dwellings. He is talking about your life. The same things – the rains, the rising streams, the winds will attack each house with equal fury. Don’t be fooled. The security of the house rests not upon the elaborateness and beauty of its construction, but upon the solidness of its […]

Winning Or Loving

When you have an argument you have a choice: you can win or you can love. The word “love” in this phrase seems awkward and out of place, doesn’t it? The conventional wording is you can win or you can lose. But as with other things in the Christian life, God’s ways are radically different than our own. The idea that an argument or discussion is about winning or losing is flawed at its core. God has called us to honor him with love and not be focused on winning or losing arguments. What a novel thought! Instead of winning arguments the Holy Spirit calls you to love, that is to be patient, not be rude or self-seeking, not to […]

Anger or Joy: Your Choice

Anger and joy are not directly connected to circumstances. They are directly connected to your understanding of God’s faithfulness to you. Joy and anger are choices. Good or bad circumstances by themselves are not reason for joy or anger. If I think a circumstance is bad or unfair, I may become angry. But this is a choice I am making. I could just as easily choose to return good for evil instead of becoming angry. I could also choose to be joyful because I know that evil will not defeat God’s purposes and that I can trust him to bring good even from the worst circumstances. Joy is part of the Holy Spirit’s fruit. That fruit is not connected to […]

People are a poor replacement for God

Disappointment, frustration, bitterness, sadness, hurt: these are words that all too frequently describe our relationships, especially with people we love. Why is that? Perhaps the most common reason is that you are asking people to do what only God can do. When people occupy the place in your life that God has reserved for himself, you will find disappointment and frustration. No one can bear the weight of being your God except God. When you place your spouse, your children, your parents, your close friends, anyone in the role of being your satisfaction, your affirmation in life, hard times will follow. No human can bear that weight! Safety and security are found only in God. Listen to the words of […]

I Want It — The Gateway To Abuse

The demand for instant gratification is destructive. This pattern, if not stopped, will result in a life dominated by the desire for immediate gratification. Immediate gratification is the gateway to a life of destructive, abusive relationships, pornography, substance abuse, abusive behavior. If you hear your child frequently complain or grumble, you are hearing a child who is becoming a slave to his own desires. Sin feeds on the desire for immediate happiness. That is why a child can go from seeming bliss to outrage in an eye blink. One moment everything is fine. Then he sees his brother with a toy that he wants and he immediately erupts with a howl that sounds like he is being tortured. Why? Because […]

The Cross: The Ultimate Reality Check

As humans we have an amazing capacity for self-importance. After being with Jesus at the last supper, after having him wash their feet, after hearing that one of them would betray Jesus, the disciples began to discuss an important topic. Actually, it was a dispute. They began to argue about which of them would have the highest public opinion poll! “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” (Luke 22:24) Amazing. But not really, the disciples are too much like me for comfort. They typically were interested in things that had to do with them. Sound familiar? Even after 3 years of living with Christ and hearing his teaching, it was still […]

Physical Beauty and Biblical Sexual Attraction

There is a difference between physical beauty and biblical sexual attraction. Physical beauty is on display to be admired by all who observe it. The Holy Spirit describes the beauty of Job’s daughters this way: “Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.” Physical beauty can and should be appreciated by many. But sexual attraction is only for one’s marriage partner. Sexual attraction outside of marriage will lead to lust and, eventually, torment. It is important to teach this truth to your daughters and sons. In Galatians 5:19-21, sensuality is listed as one of the deeds of the flesh. Sensuality is an unbridled, […]

Raising Children Who Despise Themselves

It seems like such a simple thing. You ask your child to do something and in response, he quietly keeps playing with his toy. If the day is laid back and the request seems inconsequential, the negative response might be ignored. But, you decide to press on, so you ask again, this time a little more firmly, and then one more time. Your four-year-old grudgingly, slowly does as he was told. You breathe a sigh of relief, no harm done, at least he obeyed. But actually this little boy has taken a step down the road to self-hatred. Solomon warns that those who disregard discipline despise themselves. What appears to be just an inconsequential delay is actually helping a child […]