The Danger of Self-Defense by Paul David Tripp

The Danger of Self-Defense by Paul David Tripp 150 150 cheryl

Don’t miss this article by Paul David Tripp! One of the best articles I’ve seen on the depravity of man! See his post below:


Maybe it’s happen to you? A friend tells you he wants to talk to you, and when you get together, you realize that what he really wanted to do was confront you. You?re not really excited about being told bad things about yourself, but this is your friend, so you?re willing to listen. As he begins to lay out his concerns, you begin to feel pain inside. You can?t believe what you?re being told about yourself.

Silently and inwardly you quickly give yourself to well-developed self-defense tactics; marshaling arguments that you?re a better person than the one being described. You want to believe that what you?re hearing is a distortion, lacking in accuracy and love, but you know you can?t. You?re devastated because deep down you know it?s true. Deep down you know that God has brought this person your way. Deep down you know what you?re being required to consider is an accurate description of yourself. Such a description is found in Genesis 6:5, ?The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.? What a devastating description! It?s hard to swallow, isn?t it? You want to think that this biblical description is of the people who are more sinful sinners than you and I are. But this verse isn?t describing a super-sinner class. No, it?s a mirror into which every human being is meant to look and see himself. It?s capturing in a few powerful words what theologians call ?total depravity.? Now, total depravity doesn?t mean that as sinners we are as bad as we could possibly be. What it actually means is that sin reaches to every aspect of our personhood. Its damage of us is total. Physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, motivationally, socially, we?ve been damaged by sin. Its ravages are inescapable and comprehensive. No one has dodged its scourge, and no one has been only partially affected. We?re all sinners. It reaches to every aspect of what makes us us. Sadly, when each of us looks into the mirror of Genesis 6:5, we see an accurate description of ourselves.

Now, you have to ask yourself: Why is Genesis 6:5 so hard to accept? Why do we spontaneously rise to our own defense? Why are you and I devastated when our weakness, sin, and failure are pointed out? Why do we find confrontation and rebuke painful even when they?re done in love? Why do we want to believe that we?re in the good class of sinners? Why do we want to believe that we?re deprived, but not depraved? Or that we are depraved, but not totally? Why do we find comfort in pointing to people who appear to be worse sinners than we are? Why do we make up self-atoning revisions of our own history? Why do we erect self-justifying arguments for what we?ve said or done? Why do we turn the tables when someone points out a wrong, making sure that they know that we know that we?re not the only sinner in the room? Why do we line up all the good things we?ve done as a counter-balance for the wrong that?s being highlighted? And why do we do all these things again and again?

Why do we find our sin so hard to accept?

There?s only one answer to all of these questions. There?s only one conclusion that fits. We all find this so hard to accept because we studiously hold onto the possibility that we?re more righteous than the Bible describes as being. When we look into the mirror of self-appraisal, the person we tend to see is a person who?s more righteous than any of us actually is!

We were at the end of a wonderful service at Tenth Presbyterian Church that had been punctuated by a powerful sermon from the Ten Commandments. I immediately turned to my wife at the end of the service and said, ?I am so glad our children were here to hear that sermon!? She didn?t even have to say anything to me. She simply gave me that look. You know, the one that says, ?I can?t believe you?re actually saying what you?re saying.? Immediately I felt embarrassed and grieved. It?d happened to me so subtly and quickly. I?d placed myself outside of the circle of the sermon?s diagnosis. I?d accepted the fact that whatever Exodus and Phil Ryken were describing didn?t include me. And I was glad that the people in my family who really needed the diagnosis had been in attendance.

?Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God? (Romans 5:1?2). If the Bible?s description is accurate, then God?s grace is our only hope. Thank God that he?s given us big grace! Each one of us needs grace that?s not only big enough to forgive our sin, but also powerful enough to free us from the self-atoning prison of our own righteousness. We?re not only held captive by our sin, but also by the delusion of our righteousness. Resting in God?s grace isn?t just about confessing your sin; it?s about forsaking your righteousness as well. So God, in grace, will hurt your feelings. He?ll expose your delusions of righteousness for what they are. You see, your Savior knows that it?s only when you abandon your righteousness that you?ll run after the righteousness that can only be found in him.


Woman was created for the man’s sake……..

Woman was created for the man’s sake…….. 150 150 cheryl

When marriage is talked about in the Bible, the wife is always talked about first. The obvious truth is that the woman was created for the man, not the man for the woman……”for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” (1 Cor 11:9).

So what is the sole purpose of the wife? Answer: “…….to glorify your husband. You were created for him.” Therefore, ladies, you should submit to your husband and his authority and use all of your energy to glorify him.

Does this ruffle some feathers? Ladies, what do you think?

Coming in the next post: Ways a wife might glorify her husband…………….

The Art of Letter Writing…Part 1

The Art of Letter Writing…Part 1 150 150 cheryl

The romance of letter writing…

With all of the technology available to us in the 21st century, our culture has gotten away from letter writing. This beautiful art has taken a back seat to “texting, emailing and cell”phoning”.

I was reminded a couple of weeks ago, that my Dad, who past away last year, used to write his girlfriends (before he met my mom) love letters, while serving our country. He did the same with my mom after he met her. What a gift!

Put the computer and phone away and write your spouse or special one a letter.

Would love to hear your comments on this.

Reconciliation possible?

Reconciliation possible? 150 150 cheryl

I was thinking back 15 years ago……..I was in the midst of pursuing reconciliation of my marriage to Jeff. It wasn’t going well. But unbeknownst to me, God distinctly gave Jeff these verses: Proverbs 3:5-6…”Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” At this point in time, Jeff was so unsure of what to do. He could not imagine reconciling with me as his hatred and hurt was so great. He didn’t want to be in my presence, couldn’t imagine holding me, living with me or making love to me again! But it wasn’t up to Jeff! It was up to God. Jeff tells the story that he was leaning on his own understanding (which stunk), and he wasn’t trusting God with his heart…..It was that night as he wrestled with God that God intervened and revealed to him that he needed to trust Him…..not himself. Jeff’s heart was softened and changed…….

Today, 15 years later, we are in a restored, Christ-centered, flawed (b/c we are sinners!!), abundant marriage that neither of us could have asked for or imagined (Eph 3:20).

Are u willing to trust God….and not yourself?

The Scruggs: In Love with my Ex – (CBN – The 700 Club)

The Scruggs: In Love with my Ex – (CBN – The 700 Club) cheryl


The Scruggs: In Love with my Ex

By Cynthia Savage, The 700 Club

Ten years after walking down the aisle, Cheryl walked into a courtroom. She would no longer be Mrs. Jeff Scruggs.

Jeff Cheryl Scruggs - CBN, The 700 Club?The freedom that I thought was going to have didn?t exist,? Cheryl said. ?I felt like I was breaking up my family, which is exactly what I did. I don?t even know how to describe the emotion of the pain of it, but the freedom was not there.?

Her day in court was years in the making. This couple looked happy on the surface, but they never developed a close, deep relationship.

?Marriage was just getting up, sharing a cup of coffee over the newspaper and never really delving into what was in our heart,? Cheryl said. ?I just thought ?Oh, the next step is having kids.? If we have kids everything is going to feel complete and full.?

Brittany and Lauren were joyful new additions. Yet Cheryl still longed for a deeper connection with Jeff.

?I was feeling lonely all the time. It was like a 24/7 thing,? she said. ?I would wake up thinking, ?OK. Today?s going to be different.??

Cheryl traveled for a sales conference and ran into an old friend named Todd. A brief exchange turned into a six hour conversation. That six hour conversation began an affair. Cheryl and Todd returned to their separate cities but continued the relationship by phone.

?I felt like my heart was being stolen almost right out of my chest and that I was questioning what was going on. Why did I have these feelings?? Cheryl said. ?I started making a list in my mind of all the things that Jeff had done wrong and that this guy, who I barely knew, was filling all the voids.?

?I had no idea that Cheryl had started emotionally divorcing me,? Jeff said. ?I would have told you that I thought our marriage was great and that things were going perfectly well.?

Cheryl was increasingly convinced that the marriage was a mistake.

??Are you crazy? What are you talking about? We have the perfect life, beautiful home.? We have great daughters, an ideal marriage,?? Jeff remembered thinking. ?There must be something missing. Like maybe she wants a newer house or something like that. So, when we moved to Dallas, we built this beautiful house on a lush golf course. I thought well maybe this will finally make Cheryl happy.?

?Probably another six months after we moved to Dallas, that divorce started coming into my mind,? Cheryl said. ??The answer is divorce. The answer is not being with Jeff, but being with this other guy.??

One night, Jeff opened his front door to a sheriff who served him with divorce papers.

?I tried and exhausted everything I could to get Cheryl to want to work on the marriage, stay in the marriage,? Jeff said. ?In fact, what I tried to do was change her feelings. I tried to convince her, ?You can?t be feeling like that.??

?When Jeff was begging me to stay in the marriage, I couldn?t even hear him,? Cheryl said. ?My heart was so hard to him. I almost felt like I hated him at that point. Once I divorced, I started a full blown relationship with Todd. We started looking at rings, and when all that started happening, I started to panic.?

Jeff tried to move on with his life. He turned to God for help.

?What God was trying to show me was, ?Jeff, you?ve been leaning on your own understanding for all these years and it?s time to truly, truly surrender your heart to me and 100 percent and do it my way,?? Jeff said.

At the same time, friends urged Cheryl to give church a try.

?Jesus was pursuing me big time and I started pursuing Him big time at the same time,? Cheryl said. ?And I realized that this is the peace that I was looking for. So, I surrendered my life to the Lord at that point. It was an incredible day. But as incredible as it was, that?s how bad it was. Because my eyes were opened. When I looked and saw behind me was a broken family, a crumbled marriage and what had I done,? Cheryl said.

Cheryl wrote a letter to Jeff asking him for forgiveness.

?At the very end of the letter I said to Jeff, ?I?ve become a Christian and I really feel like God wants us to have another chance at our relationship,?? Cheryl remembered.

?As she?s sitting there – reading it, telling me that she accepted Christ, basically three months after our divorce, what I?m thinking is, ?Well how convenient is that?? I didn?t believe her,? Jeff said.

Jeff learned that Cheryl was involved with another man.

?For the first time I felt like Wow! Now I know what happened,? Jeff said.

Five years went by. Cheryl still hoped for reconciliation without any assurance of success. Yet God was working behind the scenes.

?Over the next several years, I really started seeing the change in Cheryl?s heart,? Jeff said. ?I noticed the difference in Cheryl?s behavior. I noticed that she had a gentle and quiet spirit. When God started revealing to me, ?It wasn?t so much you did; it was what you didn?t do;? I started really taking ownership for where our marriage had failed the first time around. It was then that God started showing me that, ?Jeff, you weren?t the spiritual leader for your family.??

As the twin girls got older, Jeff and Cheryl were part of a real-life parent trap.

?We?d try to get them to kiss us,? said one twin, Brittany.

?We?d be like, ?Kiss our cheeks.? And we?d bend down really fast,? said the other twin, Lauren.

?Try to get us to stand close to each other,? Cheryl said.

??Daddy put your arm around Mommy? or ?Give Mommy a kiss.? They were always trying to play up that whole thing,? Jeff said.

The girls also made prayer part of their strategy.

?They would pray when they would go to sleep at night, ?I just pray that Daddy and Mommy get back together,?? Cheryl said. ?And of course my heart was just ? one, it would leap; and two, it would hurt all at the same time not knowing what was going to happen there.?

?I think the reason I prayed was just because it was the only thing that I knew and the only way that I knew how to get anything moving or happening in remarriage and reconciliation when I was that little,? Brittany said.

Jeff was finally persuaded to try again.

?I said, ?Cheryl, how do I know I can trust you?? She paused for a minute, almost like she was in prayer, and said, ?Jeff, you have to understand this is about more than just you and I. This is really about me not wanting to let down my God again.? That?s really what I needed to hear,? Jeff said. ?I needed to know it was at a deeper level.?

After months of dating, they decided to remarry.? Lauren and Brittany were elated.

?I thought they were playing a joke on me,? Lauren said. ?And I was like, ?Nu uh. Nu uh. And then I just kind of ran around the house all hyper and screaming.?

?I think I was just so overwhelmed with emotion that I just couldn?t even take it in – that that was actually going to happen and be in our family,? Brittany said. ?Because if you?ve been praying for something for seven years – sometimes you?re just like, ?Well, this will probably never really happen.? And then when it does, it?s just so unbelievable that it?s just overwhelming.?

?It was an answer to years of prayer for them and friends that have known us,? Jeff said. ?So, prayers do work.?

In a chapel in Colorado, the family of four was united again.

?It?s hard to explain what it feels like to take such brokenness and have a restored family that?s healthy, Christ-following,? Cheryl said. ?No matter what state your marriage is in, God can do a miracle.?

?Just knowing that God has blessed us with a second chance,? Jeff said. ?This time let?s make something positive out of it. I look at it as a totally different marriage. In fact, I introduce Cheryl as my second wife.?

?He still has work to do in our marriage and He?s given us that chance to do that together,? Cheryl said. ?That?s amazing.?


Above Content Reference:

The holidays are over… so now what for your marriage?

The holidays are over… so now what for your marriage? 150 150 cheryl

So the holidays are over, relatives are gone, decorations are packed away neatly til next year. Stillness covers the walls of your home. You lay your head back against your favorite chair holding a cup of freshly brewed coffee. You contemplate the last month or so. So much hustle and bustle, so much rushing around to find the perfect gift, too much money spent (especially this year with the surge from the economic downturn).

Your mind wanders. You take a sip of “Joe” — You think about your spouse and marriage. Married 1 month, 1 year, 7 years, 30 years, you wonder where you two are. What kind of marriage do we have?

Many individuals evaluate the state of there marriage after the holiday season. They potentially forget where their marriage stood before Dec 1st.

2009 is a new year. Are there any changes you would like to see in your marriage this year? What are they? Have you done a self-evaluation of yourself and what kind of spouse you are? Are you Loving? Do you have Joy? Are you Peaceful? Have you lost Patience? How Kind are you? Gentle? Are you brimming with Goodness? Are you Faithful? Do you exude Self-control?

I am challenging myself on these questions this year. My desire is to see my marriage grow and flourish in 2009. How about you?

Hope for Marriages ? Jeff & Cheryl Scruggs