Friday, May 25, 2012


It's been a long time since I posted.  Just wanted to say that God has been at work in our lives, and we are thankful!  The longer I wait to post, the more there is bottled up that I want to say, so the harder it is to find the time to try and say it!

But it will just have to wait a little longer.... Sorry!  :-)

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Stuck in a Rut... and some links to consider

I don't think there are any regular readers of this blog, but if you are one, you might have noticed that there have been less of late. We've been pretty busy with a lot, including some "stay-cation" time that did not afford the amount of free time we had anticipated! But we've also spent a lot of time recently talking about my issues and our marriage and it has not always been pretty. We've had some  heated conversations and some strong disagreement in our dialog, and we both have gotten a bit frustrated with each other and the current state of things. Sigh...

The basic disagreement is over expectations, and specifically, how much I can "get over" this other woman; how quickly; and in what way I accomplish that. Probably neither one of us is right in our perspective, but we both realize that our differences are getting in the way of moving forward. Further, we can "peek over the next hill" so to speak, and see that if we can just get out of our current rut, that we would be able to move ahead and make some serious progress towards putting this whole thing behind us. But in the meantime we just seem stuck -- two steps forward; one step back; one step forward; two steps back; and so on. It's not that we are not learning anything or growing at all -- we are -- but it doesn't seem to result in any real progress forward -- neither in my struggles nor in our relationship.

Early this week, I met with our pastor to catch him up with where we are, and what seems to be keeping me (and us) from moving forward. He had some good advice and encouragement, and wants to meet with both of us soon. We did arrange to meet with him tomorrow afternoon, and are praying that God will give him the wisdom to help us both see the way forward, and for us to humbly and graciously speak and listen. We are thankful for all that God has done already, but hungry for further progress, thirsty for a deep cleansing, and tired of looking back and being pulled back into our past again and again. And although we are getting along alright for the past few days, we know that we disagree underneath it all, and are anxious to be on the same page and pointing in the same direction.

During this time, I've come across a few articles and sermons and just wanted to share them with a quick note about them:

     An article by John Bloom entitled, "You Don't Have to Obey" gives an interesting illustration of what it is like to have a new life in Christ by the Spirit, but still have indwelling sin from our flesh. That, and some interesting explanation of how sin works and how to overcome it.  I strongly recommend this short article!

     A much longer 6-sermon series by John Piper from back in 2001 on a passage in Romans 7 was also very helpful in understanding flesh versus Spirit, and related concepts. Here is the first sermon (you can read or listen) and you can just hack the link to go all the way through part 6 if you want. For me, part 6 is the best, but that is perhaps because it summarizes the first 5 and gets to the main point that interested me. If you have struggled to understand the struggle in Romans 7, I highly recommend this. And I suggest listening, because you get not only some extra stuff added by John Piper when he was preaching, but you get to hear his heart; his passion; and his love for the Word and the people.

     And finally, a short article on sanctification entitled, "You Can Change! (Or Can You?)" by Tim Chester, which I also found very interesting and insightful. Oh, and it was written just a few days before the wheels really started in motion in the unfolding of our issues last May, which I found to be a kind-of cool "God thing."

Well, that about sums it up for now. I need to re-tool my weekly goal list, and perhaps get back to blogging more regularly. I just can't make it a priority when there are really important things going on here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Killing Sin

I recently came across this article by Sinclair Ferguson entitled, "The Practice of Mortification" on the Ligonier Ministries website. In an effort to work through it and understand it better, I condensed and re-worded it. Hopefully Mr. Ferguson won't mind my sharing his work in this way. He bases the article primarily on Colossians 3:1-17.

1. I am a new creature in Christ, and I need to remember that every day and hour. It is my new identity, for I've died, been buried, been raised, and my life is hidden in Christ. I've been delivered from sin's dominion, and been liberated to fight against sin's remnants in my heart.

2. Sin must be attacked in every area of my life, not just one area. All forms of sin work together against me, supporting one another. I am the issue, not some particular sin, just like potato chips are not a dieter's problem, the person is!

3. Practical guidance for mortifying sin - Paul give hints in the overall passage:

     A. Call sin like it really is, don't pussy-foot or down-play your own sin -- for me it is sexual immorality, impurity, evil desire, idolatry. Sin needs to be exposed for what it truly is, before we can deal with it.

     B. See my sin from God's perspective, recognize that it deserves God's wrath, and I must bring it to the cross daily to see Christ bearing God's wrath against my sin. My sin does not lead to lasting pleasure, but to divine displeasure. I need to see my sin's character by the way God judges it. Sin is as serious in a believer as in an unbeliever, and is not forgiven if I continue in it -- for that would be evidences of a lack of repentance. I need to feel the shame of the sin I once committed, and now struggle against.

     C. Sin is inconsistent with who I really am in Christ. I am no longer the "old man" nor "in Adam", but "in Christ". Sin is not consistent with being in Christ, so if I am not living in newness of life through Christ, then I am not living "in Christ."

     D. Putting sin to death is as simple as refusing it, starving it, rejecting it. It is painful, but there is no other way.

But puting sin to death is only a part of the whole picture, and cannot be done by itself. It must be done in conjunction with "putting on" Christ. The negative will not be accomplished separate from the positive, and vise-versa. We must understand and apply the "glorious exchange" principle of the Gospel of grace in order to make advancements in holiness. Adam-like sinful desires and habits are not only rejected, but exchanged for Christ-like graces, actions, and are held together by love. This evidences itself in our private, family, and public lives, for the glory of God.