Friday, October 31, 2008

Satan -

Give Satan an inch and he´ll be a ruler.

Kevin Lomax: Who are you?
John Milton: Oh there are so many names.
Kevnin Lomax: Satan?
John Milton: Call me Dad.
Devil's Advocate 1997

The natural response to denials of Satan's existence is to ask, Who then runs his business.- J.I. PACKER

Do not mock the Gospels and say there is no Satan. Evil is too real in the world to say that. Do not say the idea of Satan is dead and gone. Satan never gains so many cohorts, as when, in his shrewdness, he spreads the rumor that he is long since dead.
Do not reject the Gospel because it says the Saviour was tempted. Satan always tempts the pure--the others are already his. Satan stations more devils on monastery walls than in dens of iniquity, for the latter offer no resistance.
Do not say it was absurd that Satan should appear to Our Lord, for Satan must always come close to the godly and the strong--the others succumb from a distance. -Fulton John Sheen (1895-1979) _The Eternal Galilean_ [1936]

Satan watches for those vessels that sail without convoy. - GEORGE SWINNOCK

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sanctification -

To live above
With saints we love,
Yes that will be glory.
To live below
With saints we know,
Well that's a different story.

There is no cruise control on the Christian life - Heard on a NY radio station 24 Oct 04

A saint is someone whose life makes it easier to believe in God. - William Barclay

See that your chief study be about heart, that there God's image may be planted, and his interest advanced, and the interest of the world and flesh subdued, and the love of every sin cast out, and the love of holiness succeed; and that you content not yourselves with seeming to do good in outward acts, when you are bad yourselves, and strangers to the great internal duties. The first and great work of a Christian is about his heart.- RICHARD BAXTER

God designs that those whom He sanctifies...shall tarry awhile in this present evil world, that their own experience of temptations may teach them how great the deliverance is, which God has wrought for them.-David Brainerd - tract, 3 Februaury 1744

It is easier going out of the way when we are in, than going in when we are out.-John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress, Bypath Meadow

From easy choices, weakenings,
Subtle love of softening things,
(Not thus are spirits fortified;
Not this way went the Crucified;)
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
0 Lamb of God, deliver me.
Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire;
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God!
Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)

It's a blessed thing to die daily. For what is there in this world to be accounted of! The best men according to the flesh, and things, are lighter than vanity. I find this only good, to love the Lord and his poor despised people, to do for them and to be ready to suffer with them....and he that is found worthy of this hath obtained great favour from the Lord; and he that is established in this shall ( being conformed to Christ and the rest of the Body) participate in the glory of a resurrection which will answer all.- Oliver Cromwell, letter to Sir Thmas Fairfax, 7 March 1646

Indeed the saints in themselves have no excellence as they are in and of themselves.... They are in themselves filthy, vile creatures and see themselves to be so. they have an excellence and a glory in them because they have Christ dwelling in them.... Tis some. thing of God. This holy heavenly spark is put into the soul in con version, and God maintains it there. All the power of hell cannot put it out.... Though it be small ... 'tis a powerful thing. It has influence on the heart to govern that, and brings forth holy fruits in the life, and won't cease to prevail 'til it has consumed all the corruption that is left in the heart and 'til it has turned the whole soul, as it were, into a pure, holy and heavenly flame. JONATHAN EDWARDS

One does not surrender a life in an instant . That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime. - Jim Elliot

Sheep and swine can both end up in the mire. Yet the essential difference in their two natures is quie visible from the reaction each has to its fallen condition. While sheep do stray and stumble into the mire, they quickly loathe the situation and struggle to get free. They may be dirty, but they desire to be clean. They may be stuck, but they bleat for their shepard to come and save them out of the muck. But swine, in keeping with their nature, wallow in the muck, content to stay there all day.- JOHN ENSOR

Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.- Francis of Assisi

No sweat, no sanctification. -Russ Gaippe

Our journey is up-hill, with a dead body upon our backs, the devil doing what he can to pull us down.--- Philip Henry

Piety is the only proper and adequate relief of decaying man. He that grows old without religious hopes, as he declines into imbecility, and feels pains and sorrows incessantly crowding upon him, falls into a gulf of bottomless misery, in which every reflection must plunge him deeper, and where he finds only new gradations of anguish and precipices of horror. - Samuel Johnson: Rambler #69

This life therefore is not righteousness but growth in righteousness; not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not what we shall be but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished but it is going on; this is not the end but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified. --- MARTIN LUTHER

I am tempted to think that I am now an established Christian,--that I have overcome this or that lust so long,--that I have got into the habit of the opposite grace,--so that there is no fear; I may venture very near the temptation--nearer than other men. This is a lie of Satan. One might as well speak of gunpowder getting by habit of resisting fire, so as not to catch spark. As long as powder is wet, it resists the spark; but when it becomes dry, it is ready to explode at the first touch. As long as the Spirit dwells in my heart, He deadens me to sin, so that, if lawfully called through temptation, I may reckon upon God carrying me through. But when the Spirit leaves me, I am like dry gunpowder. Oh for a sense of this! - ROBERT M M'CHEYNE

Many people genuinely do not want to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings. - George Orwell

How can we feel our need of His help, or our dependence on Him, or our debt to Him, or the nature of His gift to us, unless we know ourselves.... This is why many in this age (and in every age) become infidels, heretics, schismatics, disloyal despisers of the Church.... They have never had experience of His power and love, because they have never known their own weakness and need.- John Henry Cardinal Newman

I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ and the brightest evidences that he is indeed our Master. - John Newton (1725-1807)

A soul may be in as thriving a state when thirsting, seeking and mourning after the Lord as when actually rejoicing in Him; as much in earnest when fighting in the valley as when singing upon the mount.- JOHN NEWTON

I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be. And by the grace of God, I am what I am. -John Newton (1725-1807)

Just as the sinner's despair of any hope from himself is the first prerequisite of a sound conversion, so the loss of all confidence in himself is the first essential in the believer's growth in grace.- A.W. PINK

Jesus, like any good fisherman, first catches the fish; then He cleans them.- Mark Potter

We must remember throughout our lives that in God's sight there are no little people and no little places. Only one thing is important: to be consecrated persons in God's place for us, at each moment. - Francis A. Schaeffer, No Little People, Ch. 1

We are set for microwave, but God prefers to marinate.- Dutch Sheets, Intercessory Prayer

The life of a Christian should be a meditation how to unloose his affection from inferior things. He will easily die that is dead before in affection.- R. Sibbes, Soul's Conflict

By constantly meditating on the goodness of God and on our great deliverance from that punishment which our sins have deserved, we are brought to feel our vileness and utter unworthiness; and while we continue in this spirit of self-degradation, everything else will go on easily. We shall find ourselves advancing in our course; we shall feel the presence of God; we shall experience His love; we shall live in the enjoyment of His favour and in the hope of His glory... You often feel that your prayers scarcely reach the ceiling; but, oh, get into this humble spirit by considering how good the Lord is, and how evil you all are, and then prayer will mount on wings of faith to heaven. The sigh, the groan of a broken heart, will soon go through the ceiling up to heaven, aye, into the very bosom of God. - Charles Simeon (1759-1836)

Lord, come away;
Why dost thou stay?
Thy road is ready and thy paths made straight
With longing expectations wait
The consecration of thy beautious feet.
Ride on triumphantly; behold! we lay
Our lusts and proud wills in thy way.
Hosannah! welcome to our hearts: Lord, here
Thou hast a temple too, and full as dear
As that of Sion; and as full of sin --
Nothing but thieves and robbers dwell therein;
Enter and chase them forth, and cleanse the floor,
Crucify them, that they may never more
Profane that holy place
Where thou hast chose to set thy face.
And then if our still tongues shall be
Mute in the praises of thy deity,
The stones out of the temple wall
Shall cry aloud and call
Hosannah! and thy glorious footsteps greet.
Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)

Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity. If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more and more Christ-like, for his heart was meek and he always thought of others. Our vocation, to be beautiful, must be full of thought for others. - Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)

When I was young,
I was so gay and mean,
And I drank and chased the girls
Just like young St Augustine.
St Augustine,
He got to be a saint.
So if I get to be one also,
Please, mama, don't you faint
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr --Cat's Cradle, Books of Bokonon , Bokonon's 14th Calypso

Sanctification is a supernatural thing; it is divinely infused. We are naturally polluted, and to cleanse, God takes to be his prerogative...Sanctification is a flower of the Spirit's planting. Thomas Watson "The Ten Commandments":

Every one, though born of God in an instant, yet undoubtedly grows by slow degrees.'- John Wesley letter: 27 June 1760

The renewal of our natures is a work of great importance. It is not to be done in a day. We have not only a new house to build up, but an old one to tear down. George Whitefield

Be content with no degree of sanctification. Be always crying out, "Lord, let me know more of myself and of thee." -- George Whitefield ,letter:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Salvation -

You have perhaps waited for years to be freed from some need. For a long, long time you have looked out from the darkness in search of the light, and have had a difficult problem in life that you have not been able to solve in spite of great efforts. And then, when the time was fulfilled and God's hour had come, did not a solution, light, and deliverance come quite unexpectedly, perhaps quite differently than you thought? - Eberhard Arnold, "When the Time Was Fulfilled"

Salvation is free, ... but discipleship will cost you your life.- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I am His by purchase and I am His by conquest; I am His by donation and I am His by election; I am His by covenant and I am His by marriage; I am wholly His; I am peculiarly His; I am universally His; I am eternally His. Once I was a slave but now I am a son; once I was dead but now I am alive; once I was darkness but now I am light in the Lord; once I was a child of wrath, an heir of hell, but now I am an heir of heaven; once I was Satan's bond-servant but now I am God's freeman; once I was under the spirit of bondage but now I am under the Spirit of adoption that seals up to me the remission of my sins, the justification of my person and the salvation of my soul.- THOMAS BROOKS

No one is safe by his own strength, but he is safe by the grace and mercy of God.- Cyprian (?-258)

The emphasis to-day is being put on the fact that we have to save men; we have not. We have to exalt the Saviour Who saves men, and then make disciples in His Name.- Oswald Chambers

Not a better salvation, but salvation better - Sinclair Ferguson on the experiences of OT & NT believers.

God Himself underwrites your battle and has appointed His own Son 'the Captain of your salvation.'- William Gurnall

Take heart therefore, O ye saints, and be strong; your cause is good, God himself espouseth your quarrel, who hath appointed you his own Son, General of the field, called 'the Captain of our salvation,' Heb 2:10. - WILLIAM GURNALL

Tis no easy matter to be saved. 'Twas difficult work to Jesus Christ to work redemption for us. 'Tis difficult work to the Spirit to work grace in us, and to carry it on against corruptions, temptations, distractions. - PHILIP HENRY

Let men count it folly or frenzy or whatsoever. We care for no knowledge, no wisdom in the world but this - that man has sinned and God has suffered, that God has been made the sin of man and man is made the righteousness of God.- RICHARD HOOKER

Often people think they are lost. They think that nothing in the world can help them. And then God looks and says, "It is time." And all at once everything looks different. Everything comes into a different light, and all at once you see that all is not lost, but won. Remember this, all is not lost in His eyes. "The lowly shall be lifted up, the first shall be last." - Ger Koopman , A Different Light

It is just like someone who is sick, and who believes the doctor who promises his full recovery. In the meantime, he obeys the doctor's orders in the hope of the promised recovery, and abstains from those things which he was told to lay off, so that he may in no way hinder the promised return to health...Now is this sick man well? He is sick in reality - but he is well on account of a sure promise of the doctor, whom he trusts, and who reckons him as already being cured...So he is at one and the same time time both a sinner and righteous. He is a sinner in reality, but righteous by the sure imputation and promise of God that he will continue to deliver him from sin until he has completely cured him. So he is entirely healthy in hope, but a sinner in reality.- MARTIN LUTHER, commenting on Romans

Heaven have mercy on us all- Presbyterians and Pagans alike- for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.---Herman Melville,_Moby Dick_ ch 17 "The Ramadan"

We do not keep these commands to earn our salvation. Salvation comes only on the basis of the altar, which represented Christ‚s death in space and time. We must accept salvation with the empty hands of faith. Rather, the commands are the conditional statement in the midst of the unconditional promises. For example, do you as a Christian want to be forgiven existentially by God? Then have a forgiving heart toward other men. That is what Jesus was saying. - Francis Schaeffer

Are you still thirsting? Christ gives the invitation not only to others but to you. He is the fountainhead. He has died and is risen. He offers the only way to eternal life, asking only that you admit your need, raise the empty hands of faith, and accept His gift. What is eternal life? It is meaning in life now as well as living one‚s life forever. Drink deep. Jesus offers a brimming cup.- Francis Schaeffer

Thursday, October 09, 2008

We're losing ground fast to the soft jihad

Barbara Kay, writes in National Post,
'The first great jihad petered out with Islam’s expulsion from Spain in 1492, the second in 1683 with the decisive (and to Islamists, still freshly humiliating) defeat of the Ottoman Empire in Vienna.
We’re presently experiencing the terror-focused third great jihad, which seeks to recreate the triumphalist dynamics of Islam’s muscular 7th-century ascendancy. How or when this great jihad will end we cannot say, only that realism insists it will not be soon and that the mission to replace secular democracy with Islam proceeds apace inside our borders as well as abroad.

We must know the enemy within to fight him. Unfortunately, our reigning establishment prefers not to confront the awkward civic triage such awareness would entail and so affects ignorance of the problem. But we cannot challenge and disarm Islamists if their presence is not acknowledged.
Islam is a private faith, Islamism an ugly political ideology. Islamists’ hegemonic mission demands a choice between hard jihad — the 9/11, suicide-bomber way — and soft jihad, far more appealing to Westernized, educated Islamist ideologues.

Exploiting Westerners’ naïveté and obsessive race guilt, soft jihadists deliberately blur the line between the religion of Islam (which on no account must be “offended” in the West) and the demonstrably offensive political imperialism of Islamism.
Soft jihad cannot succeed without the complicity of naive elites, bedazzled by their own boundless compassion and humanity. Sadly, of these “useful idiots” in the corridors of wealth and power the West offers an embarras de richesses.
How does one recognize a soft jihadist? An infallible sign is her or his promotion of official shariah law.

A moderate Muslim seeks to live in a “state of Islam” within a nation to which he freely gives allegiance; an Islamist strives to live in “an Islamic state,” as only Islam claims his allegiance. In non-Muslim states, therefore, an Islamist cannot be content with less than official shariah.

In his new book, Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, Tarek Fatah emphasizes the Islamist-shariah endorsement link: “Shariah law has become the governing tool [and] the informal constitution of ... Political Islam.”
Fatak concludes that since shariah violates Articles 1, 2, 7, 16 and 18 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and since Canadian values are encapsulated in that declaration, a Muslim may observe shariah privately and remain a good Canadian, but a Muslim cannot be a good Canadian and endorse official shariah.

Hard jihadists run the risk of death or life imprisonment. Soft jihadists eschew such risks. Instead they play the weak victim card, ingratiating themselves with influential Western liberals who do their work for them.

Thus we see government bodies sycophantically soliciting advice and collaboration in sensitive areas like national security from self-generated and unrepresentative organizations with highly problematic views regarding shariah, Jews and terrorism.
Or, for another unseemly example, the media shrugs at the NDP’s swelling Islamicization (Layton isn’t called “Taliban Jack” for nothing).

I’m just scratching the surface with these examples. But for special pusillanimity in eroding free speech, the bastion of democracy, you can’t beat liberal public servants’ support for punitive human rights commissions’ speech codes (drafted by Islamists or Islamist sympathizers) that defer specifically to Islamist sensibilities in chilling criticism of Muslims, however worrisome their behaviour.

Such appeasement amounts to a reckless disregard for our nation’s democratic vigour, ironically undermining the work of those tasked with fighting the hard jihad.

Add to that the shameful betrayal such a misguided approach represents to those bewildered, hung-out-to-dry ordinary Muslims who fled Islamic countries to escape shariah law, but who court peril in confronting the bogus “leaders” the establishment fawns over.

This silent majority -- championed by a handful of courageous ex-Muslim and moderate-Muslim challengers, who incur fatwas and risk physical danger in speaking out -- are the ones whose human rights have been sacrificed on the squeaky Islamist wheel.

Who is winning the third great jihad? Well, we’re in the midst of a federal election. National security should be an issue. But no politician will dare whisper the word Islamism. They know they’d be harried over a career cliff to professionally orchestrated shrieks of “Islamophobe!”

So who do you think is winning?'

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

This too shall pass

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"This too shall pass" (Hebrew: גם זה יעבור‎, gam zeh yaavor) is a phrase occurring in a Jewish wisdom folktale involving King Solomon. The phrase is commonly engraved on silver rings.
Many versions of the folktale have been recorded by the Israel Folklore Archive at the University of Haifa. Heda Jason recorded this version told by David Franko from Turkey:
“ King Solomon once searched for a cure against depression. He assembled his wise men together. They meditated for a long time and gave him the following advice: Make yourself a ring and have thereon engraved the words "This too shall pass". The King carried out the advice. He had the ring made and wore it constantly. Every time he felt sad and depressed, he looked at the ring, whereon his mood would change and he would feel cheerful. ” - Israel Folklore Archive # 126
The phrase "This too shall pass" and the associated ring story were made popular by Abraham Lincoln in his 'Address Before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin' on September 30, 1859:
“ It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!] ”- Abraham Lincoln, 'Address Before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin' (September 30, 1859)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Safety -

Insisting on perfect safety is for people who don't have the balls to live in the real world.-- Mary Shafer, NASA Ames Dryden

Out of this nettle danger we pluck this flower safety -- Shakespeare, Henry IV pt 1

A ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are for. John A. Shedd

If you play it safe in life, you've decided that you don't want to grow any more. Peter Thomson (1929-____)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Iranian Parliament provisionally approves death penalty for leaving Islam

Barnabas Fund reports,'The Iranian Parliament has given provisional approval, by a majority of 196 to seven, to a bill that mandates the death penalty for apostasy from Islam. Until now Iranian judges could impose the death penalty in such cases only on the basis of Islamic law and fatwas, not on the basis of Iranian law.

The bill prescribes a mandatory death sentence for any male Muslim who converts from Islam to another religion, and lifelong imprisonment for female converts from Islam. It also gives the Iranian secular courts authority to convict Iranians living outside the country of crimes relating to Iranian national security. It seems likely that this could be used against the many Iranian Christians who live outside Iran but are involved in evangelism within it. Apostasy from Islam is viewed by most Muslims as equivalent to treason.

The bill, which was drafted earlier this year, is now being reviewed in parliament, giving MPs the opportunity to amend it. Before it becomes law the bill will also be vetted by the Council of Guardians, a twelve-member legislative body with the power to veto any bill that does not conform to Islamic law and the constitution.

Article 23 of the Iranian constitution states that “the investigation of individuals’ beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief”. Iran is also a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees freedom of belief.

“The provisional approval of this bill has serious implications for Iranian Christian converts, who already face much persecution from the authorities,” says Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund. “It seems that the Iranian government is willing to continue on its course of complete Islamisation at the expense of the most basic human rights and in contradiction to Article 23 of the Iranian constitution. The Iranian Church needs our prayers more than ever.”

The progress of the bill coincides with the formal charging of two Christian converts from Islam, Arash Basirat and Mahmood Matin-Azad, with apostasy at the beginning of August. Some Iranian Christians fear that the authorities are seeking to make an example of the two Christians, or to give the prospective law a “test run”.

The persecution that Christian converts from Islam face under shari’a law is often not recognised by Western governments. Immigration officers frequently fail to distinguish between Christians who come from a Christian background and those who have converted from Islam. The latter may face real danger to their lives, either from their country’s law enforcement agencies or from their community and family, even if Christians from a Christian background are not at risk. A number of Christian converts from Islam have been refused asylum in Western countries, including Iranians. In the light of this it is encouraging that on 29 September a Syrian Christian couple, both converts from Islam, were granted asylum in Britain. The couple had fled Syria after receiving death threats from their families.

Western ignorance of Muslim attitudes to apostasy can have serious consequences for asylum-seeking converts even without their being deported to their home countries. According to reports last weekend, a Libyan Christian convert from Islam was beaten almost to death by Muslims while at West Drayton Removal Centre in the UK. Twenty-eight-year-old Moftah Abdulghani, who had fled Libya after converting to Christianity, was awaiting a review of his case following the failure of his application for asylum in the UK. His Christian faith became known to the hundreds of Muslim detainees at the same Removal Centre, who began to abuse and threaten him. The assault, allegedly at the hands of Yemeni and Somali detainees, came as Moftah left the makeshift church at the Removal Centre. He is to be moved to another detention centre and kept in solitary confinement for his own safety.'

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Books read in October 2008 (5)

1. Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson by D. A. Carson

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

But thanks to his famous son, Don, Tom Carson's sweetness is not wasted on the desert air of Quebec. Tom laboured there as an ordinary pastor with no extraordinary gifts save for perseverance and faithfulness. It was a hard place for a Protestant from the 40s onward. Tom seemed to eventually burn out from full time ministry. He exhibited extraordinary grace when wronged by the leading man among Canadian Baptists. He knew the grace of the doctrines as well as the doctrines of grace. He exhibited beautiful love and care for his wife during her years of deterioration into dementia before her death. A moving tribute to a saintly father.

2. The Ultimate Book of Jewish Jokes by David Minkoff

An excellent source for good jokes, most of which were new to me. Some are not necessarily Jewish. Some I had heard in a Christian version. But they are good stuff and will give you many laughs as well as an improved understanding of Jewish life.

3. Zion's Christian Soldiers?: The Bible, Israel and the Church by Stephen Sizer

Sizer has produced an excellent primer on understanding God's purposes for his people according to a covenantal understanding of Scripture. We are bombarded by the Christian Zionists who think that Scripture foretells the establishment of the present state of Israel and the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Sizer tells us that the New Testament has no teaching about a return to the land. God's promises centre on Christ and his gospel going out into all the world. The church, uniting Jews and gentiles in one new people is now the Israel of God. He knows such a stance will be unjustly accused of anti-Semitism but he is in favour of the State of Israel existing and being able to live in peace with secure borders. He is no anti-Semite but a man concerned for peace in Jerusalem and justice for all. He views Zionism as inimical to the peace of the Middle East. He gives a biblical critique of the dispensational hermeneutic which sadly leads many Christians to support political Israel whether it is right or wrong in its policies. I note two minor omissions. There is no reference to the ultra-orthodox Lubavitch Jews who are not Zionists, nor is there any subject index.

4. Battling Unbelief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure by John Piper

Piper has written a superb short book on sanctification which should be required reading for all Christians who wish to grow in grace. He shows how unbelief is at the root of sin. He deals with eight specific sins. You will find some are more applicable to you than others. For me the most helpful chapters were on anxiety and despondency. Piper writes as an experienced pastor, a man who has battled with these sins himself and can help others in the battle. His emphasis is on avoiding sin by faith in future grace according to God's promises. A sanctified life is offered than holds more pleasures than sin pretends to give. Piper is a modern Puritan for he teaches practical theology as did those giants of four centuries past. I now want to read Future Grace, the larger work from which this book comes.

5. Drinking With Calvin and Luther!: A History of Alcohol in the Church by Jim West

The world drinks to forget but Christians drink to remember. So we are told in this life affirming book. Jim West, teaches how Christians have traditionally and biblically enjoyed alcohol in moderation while condemning the sin of drunkenness. This book is enriched by much humour but sometimes one finds it difficult to know if some of the anecdotes have any real historical basis. The book also has a brief guide to good beer and wine, though this is very much from a USA perspective. I did though spot one mistake. Thomas More was Lord Chancellor of England, not Archbishop of Canterbury. One thing not recounted is how some of the well known names among English brewers were those of evangelical Christians who encouraged the working man to drink wholesome beer not the deadly gin which caused so much damage in the 18th Century.