"the demand is for a family likeness: God’s son (the nation in the Old Testament, Exod. 4:22; the individual Christian in the New Testament, Roma. 8:14) must stive, just because he is God’s son, to be like his Father. this is what the call to holiness means; and the noun (in the New Testament, hagiasmos, sometimes redered “sanctification” I the English versions) denotes the state of being dissociated from the practice of sin and devoted to the life of Godlikeness."

J.I. Packer, “18 Words”, on Holiness and Sanctification
before reading this, never knew that holy and sanctify were actually the same word in the original Hebrew and Greek languages. at one point he jokes that “holify” and “sanct” are such ugly sounding words that it makes since to have separate words for the noun and verb forms; either way, it is driving home the importance of the pursuit of holiness in the life of the saint, as the process of “holifying” unfolds in the life of the believer.

"God draws us into fellowship with Himself by different routes; it is a mistake to expect one man’s journey into faith to be a carbon copy of another’s. The demand that conversion experiences correspond only stirs up misplaced and distracting anxieties. We are all different people with different starting points, and God deals with us as we are where He finds us. Richard Baxter said, ‘God breaketh not all men’s hearts alike.’ But at one point all the roads to Christ converge: at the point of realizing that one is out of step and out of fellowship with God, and has no hope but in the reconciliation that Christ Himself brings. Different people express this in different terms, not all biblically adequate, but what is expressed- the sense of need for a new relationship with God, the exclusive trust in Christ to bring it about, the resting of all hope henceforth on Him, the risen Lord- is the same thing everywhere. Real Christianity- the life of knowing God, as distinct from the life of being prepared for knowing God- starts here, in what Paul calls the receiving of reconciliation; here, and nowhere else."

J. I. Packer in “18 Words” speaking on the importance of the concept of reconciliation in the Gospel message

"pride and luxury are the twins of prosperity… the common mercies wicked men have, are not lodestones to draw then nearer to God, but millstones to sink them deeper to hell. their delicious dainties are like Haman’s banquet; after all their lordly feasting, death will bring in the bill, and they must pay it in hell."

Thomas Watson (a Puritan minister) in the book “All Things for Good,” where he spends 127 pages to expound on Romans 8:28. an inspiring and challenging read, to be sure.

country mouse or city mouse?

most of my really good stuff comes to me while i’m driving. i wish i had some sort of system where i could just dictate these essays that float across my consciousness as i drive; i guess just give tech a few more years and we’ll be there, right? well speaking of technology, that’s actually what got me thinking. tomorrow my family heads to Las Vegas to be in town for the start of CES, the biggest tech show on the continent. every year we go, and it is always a ton of fun. this year my wife’s parents are coming too, the plan being they’ll help with watching the kids and also enjoy the venue. my father in law, however, does not do well with crowds, and yes, it will most certainly be crowded. what caught my attention, though, was that i do. as i thought, i realized that a fact of myself is probably peculiar to most: i hate suburbs, but love cities and the country almost equally. i love being in the middle of nowhere, nothing but plants and critters for miles, and i love delving deep into the concrete jungle, surrounded by civilization and convenience. epiphanies are funny in how they are so similar to a slap to the face; not always painful or surprising, but always jarring. i realized that i love the country and cities for the same reason: they remind me of what i imagine Heaven will feel like. Heaven, a place where i am eternally isolated from anything not directly created by and praising the LORD; and Heaven, the place where we will be surrounded forever by innumerable crowds of the saints gathered together.

my sister has a nickname for me, as do i for her; i am mouse, colloquially referred to as mouser pouser or just plain mouser for shirt, and she is kitty. i have no idea when this started or why, though knowing us it is likely related to a cartoon somehow. but the funny thing is, i am not the country mouse, only at home in the field and lost in the crowd, nor am i the city mouse, perplexed by the simpler life and only content in chaos; no, i’m just plain mouse.

"there is but one cure for the ills of man. when my conscience accuses me there is but one thing i know of that can give me rest and peace. it is to know that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, who bore my sins ‘in His own body on the tree’(1 Pet. 2:24) has forgiven me. it is to believe, and to know, that because He loved me and died for me, i am clear of accusation. and, conscious as i am of my weakness and failure, and my lack of power to live a life worthy of the name, i am again driven back to Him. it is only from Him and the power of the Holy Spirit which He imparts that i can be made more than conqueror. and as i contemplate myself lying on my deathbed and going to meet my maker and Judge Eternal, my only hope is that i shall be clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and that He will take me by the hand, and present me ‘faultless before the presence of His gory with exceeding joy.’(Jude 24) it is always, and only, in Christ that i find satisfaction. it is only in Him that my problems are solved. the world, with all its methods, cannot help me at the moment of my greatest need. but Christ never fails. He satisfies always and in every respect… He still remains the only hope of individual man, the only hope for the whole world. is the gospel still relevant? is its ancient message still adequate? the answer is that it alone is relevant. it alone can deal with, and solve, the problems of man."

martin Lloyd-jones, “truth unchanged, unchanging”

an excellent read that proves that not only is the Gospel always relevant, but that there is o attack the enemy has constructed that the saints are not equipped, through His Word, to destroy

my deadly sin

overheard a staff member talking  about the situation with his daughter. he was speaking of her, and her life, and her money, essentially. his story unfolded, sharing how ironic it was that his daughter had been saving the many for years to buy a house, only now she is marrying  a man who already owns one, so no need. now what to do with all this money? but we were supposed to be buying a house. we were supposed to be those people, with those kind of lives. our kids would be surrounded by all of these wonderful, stimulating activities and toys, attending great private schools and sitting in safe, comfortable cars. you know why i didn’t want to talk about the apartment yesterday? because we were supposed to be buying complexes our kids could live in if need be, not renting one ourselves.  we were supposed to be on top, not glenn, not people with no college and no foresight. you get angry with God, and wonder what He’s doing or what’s going on; you say you’re growing bitter and hate the situation. you ever wonder how i feel? sure, i made some mistakes. name one person who hasn’t? i look at doctors who are far worse people, neglecting the emotions of their patients, cutting corners in their practices, no heart or compassion, and who took 6 years for undergrad, 5 years for med school, also couldn’t pass their steps, yet i am the one that can’t be let in. there is a poem ravi likes to recite that i wrote in the back of my red book. it talks about how God treats people He calls; how He molds and breaks and reshapes them into what He wills them to be; i messed up, to be sure, but maybe my only real mistake was ever asking God to be used by Him. yeah, i know that when this life is done i won’t regret that choice. i know that what we are going through now is indeed conforming us to His image, making us into better disciples, and preparing us for a great work in  paradise. but in the meantime, in the meantime… how to describe this feeling? it’s not anger; how could i be angry with God when i know Him, and know that He loves me. the kids don’t get angry with me for spanking them, because they know me, and my love for them. like last night, how nariah didn’t say no, or stop, or why; she said “please not too hard.” she knows this is her father she’s dealing with, not some monster. it’s not regret i feel either, because while i wish i had not made those mistakes, as i said, i know it is not them that keeps me from moving forward, but my all powerful, all loving Father. and besides, i can’t regret a path of so much fun, and memories, and adventures, especially when i can see Him with me all the time, keeping and guiding me, even through my rebellious moments. it isn’t fear, because again, this is God we are talking about. my son isn’t afraid to ride in the car with me, despite his complete lack of control or power, or even view of what lies ahead; he knows his father is in charge and will get him to his destination safely. last night i watched another episode of fullmetal alchemist. i love anime for its honesty and purity; even though most of it is made form a “pagan” perspective, it is amazing just how much doctrine seeps in. in it, there are 7 artificially made people, each named after one of the 7 deadly sins. the character greed is lecturing the protagonist on what greed truly means. he says that everyone mistakenly thinks of greed as a desire for money or power, but “everyone wants something they don’t have.” that’s my problem. i look at my life, and then  look around me, and greed begins to well up in my heart. i want the house; i want the scooter, i want the residency position, the suits and ties, the vacations, the comfort. so, my name is kamarr, and i have a greed problem. when i look at the lives of those around me, i seethe with desire; but God is working on me, and for that, i am eternally grateful.