Category Archives: sanctification

Seven Predictors of Marital Divorce

Day 150: And that's that.

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John  Gottman is a Ph.D. psychologist known for his work on marital stability and considered to be one of the top 10 most influential therapist of the last century. He is also a Professor Emeritus of psychology at the University of Washington.

World renowned for his 35 years of breakthrough research on marriage and relationship analysis,  Dr.Gottman developed a model to predict which couples will remain married and which will divorce with a 90% accuracy.

Gottman says there are two major seasons when  marriages fail and couples opt for divorce. The initial season is within the first seven years and the second is between 16-20 years of marriage.   

After viewing a  program last night about the new existence of  “divorce insurance” companies,[see below]  maybe it’s time for us all to  undertake a relational  inventory of  our own marriage covenant and  sift through the baggage to see  where we are  in light of these seven indicators that reveal a marriage is  in serious trouble.

Review these observable  indicators and then  give a listen to Dr. Gottman:

1.Harsh Start Arguments that reflect sarcasm and insults

2.Criticism that attacks the spouse rather than the problem

3.Contempt  expressed through disgust,disrespect,sarcasm,eye-rolling and condescension

4.Defensiveness that conveys I am not the problem while justifying personal behavior

5.Flooding of physiological changes:  increase of adrenaline, heart rate,and respiration

6. Stonewalling by emotional, relational, communicational, and physical withdrawal

7.  Repair Attempts that Fail due to one trying to repair or de-eschalate tension but is ignored


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Paul Tripp Declares “Marriage Is War!”

Every marital relationship eventually encounters the harsh reality associated with living life  in the context of a sinfully flawed-fallen world. The decisions we make, along with how we walk through these hostile difficulties, will determine our own personal character as well as  the health of our marital union. This explains the reason some couples unfortunately get  ensnared repeatedly  in the same carnal war zone for years.
 I recently began reading Paul David Tripps book,”Marriage, What Did You Expect?” The  foreword and introduction proved to be worth the investment as truth and grace soothed my own soul. Tripps reality based insight accomplishes his objective to help us  “redeem the realities of marriage” as we struggle meaningfully forward.
 The following clip demonstrates why  we are planning to purchase the conference DVD’s as a means of truth and grace for “The Gathering of Christ Followers” here in Lagrange. AWESOME!


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Posted by on April 16, 2011 in character, marriage, sanctification


Secular Song Seeds The Sacred

Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood Sportpaleis Antwe...

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Hugh, a personal friend, was converted in the early 70’s. He recently sent this video to me with Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood singing “Presence of The Lord.” 

His testimony demonstartes  what some refer to  as “pre-conversion sanctification”.

The Holy Spirit often employs unique and diverse means to initate his seminal work  in a sinners life and does so long in advance of  bringing one to saving faith.  This was  true in my own life as well.


  “…..believe it or not my first ever encounter with Holy Spirit  conviction was from hearing this song. When I was about 15, I spent the night with two of my friends. I was asleep on the floor and had the radio playing. During the night, this song played. I felt a serious tug, and I think I actually prayed some. 

The two friends were brothers and my drinking and doping friends. The Lord saved me just before turning 18. One of the brothers died when he was about 40, and the other brother about 5 years later. Neither of them ever stopped using. I did get a chance to talk with them about my conversion. ” 



Posted by on February 13, 2011 in influence, sanctification, Uncategorized


What Is The Core Sin Of Antinomianism

The Conversion of Saint Paul

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Contrary to popular opinion, the opposite of law is not grace. The opposite of law is lawlessness! Antinomianism [anti-obligation to commandments]   is promoted by ministers and christians who believe, teach, and advocate  an obligation-free version of the Christian faith.

 This in spite of the new testaments  800 themes of grace-based obligation  divinely set forth in the new testament.

 Jesus himself said,”If you love me, keep my commandments! [plural] The book of James alone contains some 50 commandments for the N.T.  believer.

Micheal Horton addresses the problem and the cure for antinomianism. What he says is an absolute  “Selah” statement. So please stop, ponder and contemplate the truthfulness of it’s truth!

For those who advocate an  “obligation free” christian faith, do so  by  redefining the meaning of grace and refusing  to believe Paul’s gospel!

Here’ why.

 “Michael Horton  “What’s striking is that Paul answers antinomianism not with the law but with more gospel!  In other words, antinomians are not people who believe the gospel too much, but too little!  They restrict the power of the gospel to the problem of sin’s guilt, while Paul tells us that the gospel is the power for sanctification as well as justification.”

Those who wear th badge of honor by saying they promote an “obligation free” gospel,  actually do so by employing biblical terminology, but actually redefine the terms by forcing the words to mean something completely opposite of what the original author intended. 

Check this out. Paul the Apostle declares that his letter to the Romans is a presentation of the gospel that he  preaches. So lets look at   Romans chapter 6  since it is the  best example of  how the antinomians put religious spin on “under grace” [nothing we do]…” not law” [no obligation to live by commandments]

Paul’s Obligation text: Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

Paul’s argument for obligating? For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Notice the contextual flow of  Paul’s Gospel argument. It is just the opposite of the Antinomian. Grace is the “operative” reason for believers being obliagted to his imperatives. Sin is transgression of the law and  since we are under grace,rather than law, Paul argues that enabling grace means being commandment keeping rather than law breakers.

The point Paul makes is that the old covenant  law was powerless to effect the obligation that it imposed upon God’s people. However,  the Spirit of  New Covenant grace enfuses every true christ follower with divine strength  [grace] to obey  the commanding obligation scripture imposes. Shout!

 To use Paul’s own theological terms , there is no such thing as  “justification by grace”  that doesn’t effect commensurate “sanctifications  obedience to biblical obligations. To preach otherwise, is minimally  ignorance  and maximally heresy! 

So the issue is exactly that which Micheal Horton points out. The Antinomians guilt is that he refuses to  believe  the true Gospel that Paul preached and is simply content to preach another more accomadating one! Perverting grace into lawlessness.

And we all know what that means!



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I’ve known husbands who are miserable  due to having been issued an “LUI”. Nope, I didn’t misspel it…it really is  “LUI” and not DUI. These  married men continually “Live Under the Influence” of  a wife who has a pattern of being  excessive in her nagging, gripping, complaining, quarreling attitude.  

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.” Why? Because the attitudes women have directly affect the atmosphere of their homes.

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.” Why? Because the attitudes women have directly affect the atmosphere of their homes.

The question isn’t who are you influencing. The question we must ask ourselves is HOW? How is my faith affecting those I come into contact with? In an effort to be positive influencers to the world around us, Mary Kassian offers four key ingredients that every wise woman takes to heart:

  1. Choose positive and not negative influence.  In other words, in order to choose what type of influence you are becoming, discern what types of influences you are letting in to your life. 
  2. Affecting Others through Strength of Character.  Peter speaks about women using their conduct as a source of impact on an unbelieving husband, “that they may be won by the conduct of their wives.” (I Peter3:1-
  3. Judicious with Words.  Proverbs 16:23 says, “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.”  A woman’s speech holds great power to influence those around her.  Be wise with your words.
  4. Rely on God to Effect Change. As Mary Kassian says, “A positive influencer kn ows that ultimately it is God, and not she, who effects positive change in a person’s life.  So she relies on Him and on her most potent, influential tool – prayer.”

It is true: we are all influencers. We can’t choose who we are going to influence, or when we are going to influence them. But we can always…always…choose how.

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Posted by on January 29, 2011 in character, influence, sanctification


This Will Scare The Sin Out Of You!

In this months newsletter, Chuck Swindoll shares a real life moment wherein  he confesses to experiencing the temptational urge to succumb to infidelity.  He roots his strength for “flight” in the spiritual discipline of hiding God’s word in his heart.

Fleeing sexual compromise and marital infidelity are both “word based and fear oriented.” Why? Because God has made it clear that he will not be mocked! Whatever a man sows, he will reap…and that should scare the sin out of us!


“Many years ago, when our children were still in school, Cynthia stayed home with them while I flew to Canada for a full week of ministry. I was exhausted by Friday night, so I grabbed a hamburger at the hotel café and headed back to my room.

I can still hear my heels tap across the polished floor of the big rotunda-like lobby leading to the hotel elevators. I pushed “up,” stepped into the empty elevator, and before the doors closed, two very attractive women walked in. I pushed “six,” and asked, “Which floor would you like?”

In unison, they said, “Six would be fine.” Both smiled, looked at each other, and then one of them looked back at me with eyebrows raised and said, “How ‘bout it?”

I won’t lie to you. For a brief moment, the offer seemed inviting. But immediately something powerful happened within me. In the recesses of my mind, I recalled the words my mother had drilled into me as a little boy when she and I memorized Scripture together over the kitchen table. They were: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). I repeated those words slowly in my mind.

I quickly answered, “No thanks, I’m not interested. I’ve got more than I can keep up with at home.” Then the doors opened and I stepped out . . . alone. When I got to my room, I leaned against the wall in a cold sweat thinking, Thank You, Lord, for Your powerful Word!”

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Posted by on January 8, 2011 in character, infidelity, sanctification, temptation


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Sanctification: Spiritually, Emotionally and Psychologically Painful

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854

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There is a great post by Tim Chambers over at His words seem to describe  what Paul the  Apostle wrote  about the believers conflicted groaning associated with the internal sanctification process.

As I continue in this  journey, my greatest disappointment is  with myself more than others. The sin-fluence upon  my attitude, reactions, and words so pain the heart  with heaviness and   disappointment,  that I  often feel utterly embarrassed to approach the very throne of  grace in order to obtain mercy and find the grace I need to help in  my sin based weakness. 

 I agree  that “struggling meaningfully forward” toward Chrislikeness is an emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually painful process.


 ” I wanted to make the case that the primary way Christians will experience suffering is as the inevitable and direct result of their desire to be holy. This suffering will be primarily internal, which often means “worse than physical.” It will be spiritual, emotional and psychological pain over the difference between the character of Jesus and our own. It will be the pain of sacrificial love. It will be the pain of daily acting against some strong desire. It will be the difficultly of turning my back on privilege and power like Jesus did in his incarnation. It will involve carrying my cross to the place of my death at the exact moment that I feel the least able to do so. It will involve self-denial that fasting may assist but can never fulfill. It will be profound grief at my residual pride and insecurity. The greater my desire to be like Jesus in every way, the more of this pain I will experience.”

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Posted by on December 18, 2010 in character, sanctification


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