I wrote this e-mail about 3 weeks ago. Forgive me for being so slow. I know there is a lot to catch up on. Starting with the changes inside the house, we lost Nathan to Blockbuster for a semester, added Will, and Travis transferred from Blinn to A&M. A big thank you to Katrina for providing Cal with instate tuition for another semester. Oh yes, Joe is still Joe but with blonde hair, glasses, and a different job. Several weekends ago was DNow back in Dallas. Head over here for the entire Fruit War saga. This coming week Heather Moore and I will start a beginner Chinese class with the Language Learning Institute. A month from now Doug, Kevin, and I will be hiking in the Guadalupe Mountains over Spring Break. We might even slip over into New Mexico for a day or two of spelunking in Carlsbad Caverns. As for the summer, well… that’s a story that will have to wait until next time. Let’s just say I won’t be in Dallas, but in a state that’s first letter is the same as the last. It’s west of the Mississippi River, but not Arizona. Any guesses?
Nearly 8 years ago I discovered that at elevations above 8,000 feet I became susceptible to a condition called High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). Now, for those of you without a medical degree, HAPE is a condition where the lungs fill with fluid because the air sacs stop working properly. If untreated, suffocation and even death can occur. So why do the air sacs stop functioning? Honestly, doctors really aren’t a 100% sure. Still, I think I remember, while in and out of consciousness in the hospital, someone saying something about the fact that my heart had shrunk. It’s probably not true, but still it’s fun to think about. What if it really does shrink? Would I qualify as a “grinch” if my heart is three sizes too small?
Ridiculous, I know, but what does cause a heart to shrink? Why are we so callous, so desensitized, so uncompassionate, and often so cruel? More to the point, how can we put on a heart of compassion to reach out to people with sincerity? I believe it can’t be done unless we are laboring to kill the evil desires of our own heart. One of the worst consequences of immorality is that it hardens a man’s heart. Stony hearts do not melt into compassionate hearts without effort. The trouble is that sin also “weakens the soul and deprives it of its strength.” By his own strength, no man can love sacrificially if he continually throws his heart to vices. Soon his vices will be his only love. Mortifying any fleshly lust takes much labor, but who does the laboring? I’d submit that unless we kill deeds of the body by the Spirit, we will never have any success (or life). So, may we not neglect to practice self-scrutiny when needed, but not go so far as to become foolishly self consumed or guilt-trip ourselves into hopelessness or depression. May He strengthen us this week to live holy lives so that those who do not believe may glorify God because of our good deeds.
***John Owen’s The Mortification of Sin influenced and inspired much of this e-mail. None of it is an original thought but a poor rewording.