Home ownership & the mortification of sin


What an odd title to a blog post right?  I’ve been struggling this week on a topic to write about so I went outside for a few minutes to take a look at a drafty window we have on the northwest corner of our house.  I thought I might cover it with a piece of plastic to cut down on the air flow, and as I was contemplating this, I asked God for wisdom in declaring His truth.

This has been an odd week for me, usually I get up pretty early on Monday morning, head to Starbucks, read my Bible, and then write my article.  The article is sent to my Pastor so he can ensure I’ve not made any huge theological blunders.  I take seriously the charge to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 3:15) and that I’ll be held accountable for what is being taught (James 3:1).  Then I’ll sit on it for most of Monday, review on Tuesday and make any refinements and then post it Tuesday sometime.

This week I caught a bad cold and I couldn’t drag myself out of bed Monday so I kept procrastinating and then again Tuesday…  So now here I am Tuesday evening and finally sitting down to write and I can’t think of a thing to say.  For those of you that know me I’m sure you’re wondering how that happened.

I’ve been a homeowner for approximately 22 years; well actually I’ve been buying a house from the bank for 22 years, but that’s a whole other article, and the thought occurred to me that there is a lot of maintenance to being a homeowner.  Down through the years, we’ve replaced the roof, the hot water heater, had our basement flooded a few times, it’s a never ending job to keep things up.

As I gave up on my window project as quickly as I thought about it I realized how similar it is to what Scripture calls me to mortify my flesh, not to entertain sin in my life in anyway.  It’s a never ending process.  It’s like watching a gerbil on a treadmill; we run and run but seemingly never get anywhere.  However, as with home maintenance and mortification of sin we must see some obvious signs of accomplishment or we must really examine our claim to Christianity.

Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

If you gaze back on your Christian life do you see obvious signs of “accomplishment”?  I use this word accomplishment lightly because it’s God that works in us and the progress is not our own yet we must fully participate in the process.  Have you gained ground on your sin or do you continue to struggle with the same old stuff.

If my house is crumbling around me it would appear I’ve not been very diligent in keeping up with my investment.  So clearly we can see the parallel can’t we?  If I was to ask you how is your relationship with Christ I’d be every bit as interested in how is your relationship to your sin?  Are you closer to it or further from it?  Do you see your sin in a different light than what you once saw it?

Jesus Christ was the greatest preacher the world has ever known and one thing that made Him so good, beside the fact He is God, was His use of common everyday things in life that illustrated deep theological issues.  He called these parables and in my “parable” I hope you’ll consider today if you are working at killing the desires of your flesh, i.e. keeping up the maintenance, or are those nagging sin issues still dragging you down.

Without the grace of God there is no peace and when sin stands between you and God there is no grace. 

So today let’s put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh.  Whatever sin issues you are currently dealing with you need to repent of that sin and then put it off completely.  If you are a Believer you are entitled to enter the throne room and set it at the foot of the One that freely gives to those who humble themselves, but you must not count that grace as a common thing (Hebrews 10:26).

If you are a Believer that sin was nailed to the cross of Christ.  So why would you continue in it?  Let’s really think about that today.


Also wanted to announce our new radio show “Ask a Pastor”

A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 6 – Directions to the unconverted


I finished my prep work this afternoon before starting to write and I sent my cousin a text message “A Sure Guide to Heaven should be required reading for anyone that thinks they know Christ.”  What else could I say, why won’t the places that call themselves churches preach like this anymore?

Do they teach like this?

Do people understand their wretchedness to a Holy God?  Would they require this book in the newcomer orientation classes?  I almost laugh myself silly when I think about the pizza, Pepsi and “oh here you go, we want you to read this book…”  “Say what?”

As I was reading the sixth chapter and attempting to digest the truth pouring off the pages my head was swimming, am I really saved?  And I believe that I’m saved…  I can still remember how I felt when I came to the realization I’d been a false convert my whole adult life.  What should I do?  Can it be true, have I really just been saved?  Did God really show me my sin?  What else could I do, but fall to my knees and praise Him for His grace and mercy.

To my dear friends and readers, if this study has not made an impact on you, there is something wrong and I hope you will examine yourself in that light.

You’ve either taken my admonishment to read this book or you haven’t and I’ve either inspired you to want to read it or I’ve lost you by now, so if you have stuck with me, I praise God for your diligence and I trust you have been blessed.

Directions to the unconverted

Before you read these directions, I advise you, yea, I charge you before God and His holy angels, that you resolve to follow them, as far as conscience shall be convinced of their agreeableness to God’s Word and your state; and call in  His assistance and blessing that they may succeed. Page 100

Again Ailleen appeals to God’s Word as the source of truth as he lays out sixteen directives for the unconverted.

1: Set it down with yourself as an undoubted truth, that it is impossible for you ever to get to heaven in this your unconverted state

Can any other but Christ save you? And He tells you He will never do it except you be regenerated and converted. Page 101

2: Labour to get a thorough sight and lively sense and feeling of your sins

Till men are weary and heavy laden, and pricked at the heart, and quite sick of sin, they will not come to Christ for cure, nor sincerely enquire, ‘What shall we do?’ Page 101

The loathsome carcase does not more hatefully swarm with crawling maggots, than an unsanctified soul with filthy lusts.  They fill the head, the heart, the eyes and mouth of him.  Look backward; where was ever the place, what was ever the time, in which you did not sin? Page 102

The least sinful word or thought lays you under the infinite wrath of God. Page 103

3: Strive to affect your heart with a deep sense of your present misery

Read over the previous chapter again and again, and get it out of the book into your heart. [emphasis mine]  Remember when you lie down, that for all you know, you may awake in flames; and when you rise up, that by the next night you may make your bed in hell. Page 105

4: Settle it in your heart that you must look out of yourself and away from your own doings for help

Do not think your praying, reading, hearing, confessing, or amending, will effect the cure.  These must be attended to, but you are undone if you rest in them.  You are a lost man if you hope to escape drowning on any other plank but Jesus Christ. Page 106

5: Henceforth renounce all your sins

If you yield yourself to the practice of any sin, you are undone.  In vain do you hope for life by Christ, except you depart from iniquity.  Forsake your sins, or you cannot find mercy.  You cannot be married to Christ except you be divorced from sin.

Your sins must die, or you must die for them. Page 107

6: Make a solemn choice of God for your portion and blessedness

Take up your rest in God.   Sit down under His shadow.  Let His promises and perfections turn the scale against all the world.

Poor sinner, you have fallen off from God, and have engaged His power and wrath against you; yet know, that of His abundant grace He offers to be your God again in Christ. Page 108 & 109

7: Accept the Lord Jesus in all His offices as yours

Sinner, you have undone yourself, and are plunged into the ditch of most deplorable misery, out of which you are never able to escape; but Jesus Christ is able and ready to help you, and He freely tenders Himself to you.

The Lord Jesus calls you to look to Him and be saved.

I tell you, nothing can undo you but your own unwillingness.  Speak, man; will you give your consent? Page 113

8: Resign all your powers and faculties, and your whole interest to be His

In a word, you must give Him yourself, and all that you have without reservation, or else you can have no part in Him. Page 115

9: Choose the laws of Christ as the rule of your words, thoughts and actions

This is the true convert’s choice.  …there is no getting to heaven by a partial obedience.  It is not enough to take up the cheap and easy part of religion, and let alone the duties that are costly and self-denying, and oppose the interests of the flesh; you must take all or none. Page 115

10: Let all this be completed in a solemn covenant between God and your soul

Set apart some time, more than once, to be spent in secret before the Lord – in seeking earnestly His special assistance and gracious acceptance of you – in searching your heart, whether you are sincerely willing to forsake all your sins, and to resign yourself, body and soul, unto God and His service; to serve Him in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life. Page 117

11: Take heed of delaying your conversion, but make a speedy, an immediate surrender of your heart to God

Remember and tremble at the sad instance of the foolish virgins who did not come till the door of mercy was shut, and of a convinced Felix who put off Paul to another season, but we do not find that he had another season. Page 120

12: Attend conscientiously upon the Word, as the means appointed for your conversion

Come to every sermon you hear with this thought: ‘O I hope God will now come in; I hope this day may be the time this may be the man by whom God will bring me home.’ Page 121

13: Strike in with the Spirit when He begins to work upon your heart

When He works convictions, O do not stifle them, but join in with Him, and beg the Lord to give you saving conversion.  ‘Quench not the Spirit.’  Do not reject Him, do not resist Him. Page 121

14: Set upon the constant and diligent use of serious and fervent prayer

He that neglects prayer is a profane and unsanctified sinner. Page 122

15: Forsake your evil company, and forbear the occasions of sin

You will never be turned from sin till you decline and forego the temptations of sin.

And, of all temptations, one of the most fatal and pernicious is evil companions. Page 122 & 123

16: Set apart a day to humble your soul in secret by fasting and prayer, to work a sense of your sins and miseries upon your heart

…so make a catalogue of your sins, and with shame and sorrow spread them before the Lord.

Thus, I have told you what you must do to be saved.  Will you now obey the voice of the Lord?  Will you arise and set to the work?  O man, what answer will you make, what excuse will you have, if you perish at last through very willfulness, when you have known the way of life? Page 124


Ah! Wretched man that I am! What a condition have I brought myself into by sin! Oh! I see my heart has deceived me all this while, in flattering me that my condition was good.  I see, I see, I am but a lost and undone man, for ever undone, unless the Lord help me out of this condition.  My sins! My sins! Lord, what an unclean, polluted wretch I am! More loathsome and odious to Thee than the most hateful venom or noisome carcase can be to me.  Oh! What a hell of sin is in this heart of mine, which I have flattered myself to be a good heart!  Lord, how universally am I corrupted, in all my parts, powers, and performances!  All the imaginations of my heart are only evil continually. Page 125

I can’t imagine most evangelical pastors standing up and giving this type of a message today.  Can you just see the place emptying before your eyes?  It would have the same effect as Jesus when he preached His sermon from John 6:32-68.  Then Peter said “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

Do you understand these are the words of eternal life?



My next post I plan to get back to my discussion about man and God.  Last time we saw that there are many wrong views of man.  There are also many wrong views of God, so I would like to discussion the wrong views of God and a scriptural understanding of God.  I need to take a quick detour today to discuss a relevant topic in our home.

This week our household was filled with sadness over the loss of our family cat.  Shadow Lee Harrington was about five and a half years old and was my oldest daughter Grace’s beloved cat.   When we first decided to allow her a cat it was a surprise for her 8th birthday.

Almost every year we enjoy a weekend with my cousin and his family.  The Lee family is kindred spirits with the Jandt’s.  We are all very like minded biblically, we love our time together, and their house is an animal paradise.  You name it, they’ve got, have had it or will have it.

Horses, dogs, cats, chickens, birds and I’m sure other critters.  There are always kittens running around.  We knew they had kittens when we went up that summer day in 2007 and our surprise for Grace was to start presenting her some gifts that were cat related.  As she looked at us with wonderment as to why she would get a food dish for her birthday, we told her she better go pick out a kitty that can eat out of it.  She was so happy to have an animal “that would love her back.”

Shadow was a beautiful silver gray cat and an outstanding hunter.  We decided we would allow him to be an outdoor cat when we brought him home.  Last week he didn’t come home and Jen found him on the road, he had been hit by a car.  It was a tough day for the girls and especially Jen.  It was the risk we took to allow Shadow to do what he loved to do and I’m sure next year the chipmunks will make a comeback as he had all but rid our neighborhood.

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?  And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows. 

The Lord knew the number of Shadows days.  He did not fall outside of the Father’s will.  This is incredible to me and I believe there is a lesson in this for our family.  I’m grateful for the time we enjoyed our family cat.  Grace loved Shadow he was valuable to her and to the family.

But we are more valuable than sparrows and cats right?  It says so and why do you suppose that is?

Matthew 10:33-34 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. 

We have the ability to confess Christ to the world.  Shadow couldn’t preach the gospel.  He was a cat and God did not breathe His Spirit into him.  It doesn’t mean he wasn’t valuable but he isn’t eternal.  We are eternal and if you are a Believer in Jesus Christ you have an opportunity to confess Him before men.

We will miss Shadow.  The Lord continues to do what is best for His people despite our sadness in those moments.  These are excellent lessons about life and death.  We will all die someday; let’s mourn and preach for the living if they are outside God’s will.  This is valuable to God.


When God has other plans…

Last Wednesday evening I was approached by one of the women at our church and asked if we would be willing to share the story of Jen’s miscarriage with a friend of hers.  It seems like such a long time ago that we lost the baby and I hadn’t thought about it in quite a while.  Not because I didn’t care or had gone cold, but since baby Lydia was born last December we’ve been occupied and life continues to move forward.  The baby that we never knew had faded in my memory.

As I thought about this it seemed only too obvious to share this experience.  God is glorified in our lives and for us He receives much more glory in the difficult times.  I say this to our shame because we should be praising Him all day and everyday but we have a much deeper sense of our need for Him when things are tough.  When we don’t have the answers, these are the times the Lord draws us to Himself in a much more intimate way.

Psalm 25:16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am alone and afflicted.

Today I have the privilege to introduce you to my beautiful wife of over 21 years.  I trust you will be blessed by what she wrote.

I spent some time going through my journal today.  I have not opened it for awhile, let alone written in it.   It was edifying to see the Truths in scripture and the constant grace He has poured out to our family. Reading what I had written and seeing the many blank pages following my last entry has prompted me to start writing in it again.  Anyway, I DID write about the miscarriage.  It isn’t very long or poignant but I’ll share it with you.

Feb. 5, 2011
Psalm 9:1-2 ”I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart:  I will tell of all Your marvelous works.  I will be glad and rejoice in You:  I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High”.

I’m not the same person I was two months ago.  Again, through God’s grace I am growing, learning to Trust in Him with everything.
What a gift, if only for a moment.  I’ll never forget the excitement and twinkle in my husband’s face when he found out I was pregnant.  It was a Thursday.  It also was a Thursday, about 7 weeks later, when I found out this precious gift would stay with Jesus.  How could I be sad, if only for selfish reasons?  It’s God’s will and He is my perfect Father.  Grace and Madeline were so excited for the news of a brother or sister–that is after the initial shock wore off  🙂  They would have loved this child so beautifully but God’s love for this child is perfect, so, I will keep Him as my focus and praise Him for His purposes.

Kevin had been on “cloud nine” all month!  I am grateful He trusts in You also.  Lord, may we find contentment in Your will for our lives no matter what we may want for ourselves.  Thank you for Your many blessings.  You know my heart-I couldn’t possibly name them all!  You know what I am asking today even if I can’t put it into words.  Please provide comfort, understanding and clarity to our family, if it is Your will. Love, Jen

that’s all I wrote.

I do remember the spring in Kevin’s step, the air about him, the smile you couldn’t wipe from his face, the excitement in his voice as he called people to tell them about the pregnancy.  I remember us holding each other in the early morning as I got back into bed, after a night of bleeding and I had to tell him I was losing the baby.  I remember us being sad and surprised about the unexpected loss but so grateful at the same time for God’s presence in our lives. His embrace was very tender and I was so grateful to have him as my husband.   1 John 3:1 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” and Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

As I did my daily Bible reading, the following scripture verses and the previous sprang forth and I could share them with my children, as Madeline and Grace were very sad in the following days.  It was amazing to read to them, directly from the Bible, His Truths. It was a blessing to share God’s Word with them, talk about them.  They could see I trusted the Words I read.  They took comfort in my faith and their hearts were calmed.

Isaiah 55:8  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways.  And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 43:18-19 English Standard Version (ESV)

 “Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

Phil 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

In closing, I found this quote in my journal from Oswald Chambers,”FAITH IS DELIBERATE confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”  I praise God that we could have deliberate faith during that time.  I almost put “during that time of loss” Today I can ask, Was it loss? How much did we lose?  He gave us so much!  He gives us so much!

Love, Jen