Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Bring out the Book!

on June 29, 2014

Saturday at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference was intense and exhausting. It ended with the most wonderful concert by the Gettys, full of beautiful music and theologically rich lyrics, which allowed me to worship the God whom I had been learning to love more and more all day long.  I cried as Kristyn sang the prayer-song she wrote for their daughter, and which I have been singing/praying for my daughter all this year as she struggled through her most difficult year of work ever. I laughed with the joy of the instrumental Irish dances.  And I sang the words of The Power of the Cross with renewed vigor after John Piper’s incredible exposition of Nehemiah 9-10 which had ended with the glorious good news of the Gospel.

What  a day. Paige Brown taught Nehemiah 5-6 using lines from the hymn Amazing Grace as her outline – no, really, she did! “T’was grace that taught my heart to fear” brought us to an understanding of the fear of God that is relational, motivational and resignational (yes, she made up a new word). Nehemiah cared only about what God thought.  He feared God more than he feared anything or anyone else.  Oh for that to be true of me! “And grace my fears relieved….” The fear of God drives out all other fears – fear of position, social standing, self-protection, self-promotion.  God may not change our circumstances that lead to fear, but He will always relieve us.  Note to self: diabetes isn’t going to go away, barring a miracle. But God is there to relieve my anxiety, my obsessional worry, my perfectionistic drive.  What an incredible comfort.

Nancy Guthrie was up next.  Will we ever forget the cries of “Bring out the Book!” from the audience?  The people in Nehemiah 7-8 came out to listen to a Book being read – THE Book. Not Ezra’s ideas, or Nehemiah’s construction plans.  They came to hear a book being read out loud and were cut to the heart by it. But this was not the time to mourn. That time would come but now was the time to celebrate the Feast of Booths, and celebrate they did!  They learned, as I did, that saying yes to God’s commands brings greater joy than anything that draws us away from obedience.  The joy of the Lord is that we would hear, understand and obey His Word. This joy will satisfy like no other.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go through every talk from yesterday.  But these two started off the day with rich and deep and comforting and challenging words that I pray will continue to shape my walk with the Lord.  In the afternoon workshops, I was tutored in Biblical Theology by Donald Carson (yeah, it was great!), inspired by the lives of Christian women from long ago whose words about the Word in their lives make me want to be so saturated with God’s Word that I ooze it out like they did. I got great help for our fledgling women’s discipleship planning that really simplifies my thinking and gives me great hope that we can indeed begin to encourage and build up the  women in our congregation through one on one discipleship.  And then John Piper came to the podium last night and just blew me away with his passion and depth and insight.  Quite a day.

This morning it all comes to a close.  A panel discussion and one more talk from Donald Carson, and then we head for home.  I hate leaving this mountaintop (so to speak) and returning to the real world.  But on the other hand, how will I ever be able to live out what I have learned?  As I was last time, I am inspired to be a better teacher of the Word by the the examples I have heard here.  But more than that, I have been encouraged to live out what I know.  There’s a deep level of peace that has settled in me from this weekend’s teachings and experiences, a peace that I have not felt in a long time.  I can go back to my responsibilities with a renewed sense of God’s leading and presence, and a hope that even though it might be challenging at times, that He is strong enough, and wise enough, and loving enough to bring me through those difficulties. And I want to be a better student and teacher of the Book so that I can share all of this with others effectively. This only scratches the surface of what I am thinking and feeling right now, but it’s a start.  And I have to pack and load the car, so that will have to do for today.  A blessed Lord’s Day awaits!



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