Desiring God National Conference 08

It seems like we’re on an ‘every other year’ schedule to attend the DG National Conference. This is an off year for us – but we do have a connection…and so do you! Just click on the link and you can listen to or watch any of the conference sessions. I miss being there, but being able to listen to the sessions for free is good, too.

Desiring God National Conference ’08

Wednesday Night

We recently had a more ‘musical’ prayer meeting instead of our usual prayer meeting. Fortunately, someone caught it on video, so I thought I’d share some of the talents of Laura, Brian and Beth… (Brian – the DDR is paying off!!)

Just kidding – although we did have a different service than our usual and I enjoyed many aspects of it – especially the God-centered music. I’m pretty sure we won’t be doing the moves in the video for at least a year!

Morning Coffee…

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…”
II Corinthians 1:3

A Recap from last night…

Look, I’m NOT tooting Al’s horn here. However, I was convicted by what he shared at last night’s service, so I’m recapping for posterity. What? Didn’t you know that posterity checks my blog? Of Course it does! The recap will include commentary in italics by yours truly. Of Course it will!

SIN – our hatred of it…

Recent discussions with friends have led Al to believe that he is not the only believer that struggles to hate his sin. The issue is not that we struggle with sin, but that we struggle to hate our sin. Big difference.

John MacArthur says in The Vanishing Conscience

…”We desperately need to recover a holy hatred of sin. We need to do this corporately as a church, but we also need to do it individually as believers. Sin is surely not a pleasant subject to study or preach on, but it is necessary. Here in the midst of an increasingly worldly church it is critical. We must see our sin for what it is. An inadequate view of one’s own sinfulness is spiritually debilitating. Those who don’t see themselves as despicably sinful will never take the necessary steps to lay sin aside.”

(Yeah, I know, it’s a good quote)

David Brainerd kept a journal which he was against publishing when approached by Jonathan Edwards. Thankfully for men and women since 1749, Jonathan Edwards convinced him to allow its publication. It seems a small thing to say that so many were influenced by the writings of David Brainerd including among others John Wesley, Henry Martyn, William Carey, Robert Murray McCheyenne, Livingstone, Jim Elliot and many, many more. Here are some excerpts taken from his diary that show his hatred of his sinfulness…

“Saturday, April 10. Spent much time in secret prayer this morning, and not without some comfort in divine things; and, I hope, had some faith in exercise: but am so low, and feel so little of the sensible (perceivable) presence of God that I hardly know what to call faith, and am made to possess the sins of my youth, and the dreadful sin of my nature. I am all sin; I cannot think, nor act, but every motion is sin.”

Wednesday, April 28. – “I withdrew to my usual place of retirement, in great peace and tranquility, spent about two hours in secret duties, and felt much as I did yesterday morning, only weaker, and more overcome. I seemed to depend wholly on my dear Lord; weaned from all other dependencies. I knew not what to say to my God, but only lean on his bosom, as it were, and breathe out my desires after a perfect conformity to him in all things. Thirsting desires after perfect holiness, and insatiable longings possessed my soul. God was so precious to me that the world, with all its enjoyments, was infinitely vile. I had no more value for the favor of men, than
for pebbles…. In the evening my heart seemed to melt, and I trust was really humbled for indwelling corruption, and I “mourned like a dove.” I felt that all my unhappiness arose from my being a sinner. With resignation, I could bid welcome to all other trials; but sin hung heavy upon me; for God discovered to me the corruption of my heart. I went to bed with a heavy heart, because I was a sinner; though I did not in the least doubt of God’s love. Oh! that God would “purge away my dross, and take away my sin,” and make me ten times refined!”

Lord’s day, May 9. I think I never felt so much of the cursed pride of my heart, as well as the stubbornness of my will, before. Oh dreadful! What a vile wretch I am! I could submit to be nothing, and to lie down in the dust! I felt myself such a sinner, all day, that I had scarce any comfort. O when shall I be delivered from the body of this death greatly feared, lest through stupidity and carelessness I should lose the benefit of these trials. O that they might be sanctified to my soul! Nothing seemed to touch me but only this, that I was a sinner. ”

Do I feel like Brainerd about my own sinfulness – my own sin? No. But why? I have the Spirit of God living in me. What can be done?

1. We need to read, meditate and know God’s Word. We must allow the Word of God to judge our hearts and not compare ourselves against other believers to assess our sin and righteousness. Hebrews 4:12… For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

What will teach us to hate sin? God’s Word! Psalm 119:97-104 “Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all day long. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is always with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your decrees are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn away from your ordinances, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.”

2. To learn to hate my sin, I must know God – as He is! An unbalanced view of God leads to a wrong view of man and sin. Al led us through a survey of examples in the Old Testament of God’s treatment of sin including… Nadab & Abihu Lev. 10, Dathan & Abiram Num. 16, Uzzah 2 Sam 6… that opened his eyes to the fact that God is just, holy, righteous and not only love, mercy, grace. He then took us to Isaiah 6:5 (after seeing God high and lifted up) “woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.” And Job 42:5-6 at the end of everything we read in Job…”I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” These examples were convicting to me because these men would not have been judged by others to be great sinners and yet in light of God and in his presence – we are all great sinners! We then looked at Luke 5:1-11. Which leads to Al’s third point…

3. Obedience to God is a key to hating our sin. When we obey, we see God’s goodness and our sinfulness. In Luke 5:5 “and Simon answered, ‘Master we toiled all night and took nothing, but at your word I will let down the nets.” At the command of Christ, Simon Peter obeyed, saw the miracle of the full nets and repents as a sinner. “At your word…” led to obedience to many seemingly absurd commands by men of faith… Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua. When Simon Peter obeyed and repented, Jesus called him to leave everything and follow him and promised to make him a fisher of men! What goodness and grace!

4. Prayer is another key to hating our sin. Does God desire that we hate sin? Is it God’s will that we hate sin? John 14:13-15 “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth.” Keep close to God in prayer in all things. Al shared the story that John Piper tells about the woman with the severely handicapped son who continually suffers with seizures. She prayed with John Piper and her prayer was that she would hate sin as much as she hates the disease that has taken her son. Do I hate sin like I hate cancer or death? I need to!

5. Finally, but not the least! – We must look to the Cross!!! Here are a couple more quotes…

by J.A. James…

“The death of Christ, apprehended by faith, presents the strongest motives to holiness—by setting forth in the most vivid and striking manner . . .

the evil nature of sin;
the holiness and justice of God;
His determination to punish transgression;
the fearfulness of falling into the
hands of the living God.

Not all the judgments God ever inflicted—nor all the threatenings He ever denounced, give such an impressive warning against sin, and admonition to righteousness—as the death of Christ. The torments of the bottomless pit are not so dreadful a demonstration of God’s hatred of sin, as the agonies of the cross!”

and by JC Ryle…

“No proof of the fullness of sin, after all, is so overwhelming and unanswerable as the cross and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and the whole doctrine of his substitution and atonement. Terribly black must that guilt be for which nothing but the blood of the Son of God could make satisfaction!”

and by CJ Mahaney…

“Before we can see the cross as something done for us, we need to see it as something done by us.”

Revelation 5 – In heaven Christ is worshipped as the slain lamb. For eternity we will look to his wounds and rejoice. The cross is not the means to an end – it is the end!

Lastly, from Crown Him With Many Crowns, by Matthew Bridges…

“Crown Him the Lord of love,
behold His hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above,
in beauty glorified.”

Hope I’ve done the talk justice. I want to hate my sinfulness more.

We’re adopting again!!!

actually, I should clarify…we’re adopting Ezra again! Some states will recognize an international adoption and just sign off on it. New York state – not so much. You have to go through almost all of the same adoption hoops all over again. New physicals, more fingerprints, more money, references, etc…

We had our second post-placement visit from our social worker today. She comes from Clifton Park, about 2 hours from us (which happens to be the closest we could find!) and spent about an hour and a half. Al came home for the end of the visit. It went pretty smoothly and I think I have moved from feeling like we are being judged to feeling like we have an adoption ally. Laurie (our sw) let us know that some things we have seen in Ezra are completely normal and expected. Phew! Although each day seems large and full of challenges and excitement – the bigger picture is that our children are only with us for a short time. My perspective is sometimes so short-sighted and concerned with only the present. I need to be preparing my kids for their lives, not just today or tomorrow. Yikes.

I leave you with Ezra pictures – he’s been a rare sighting on my blog lately…