Strength in Meekness

Journal Entry // February 8, 2023

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (ESV)

Matthew 5:5

Who are the meek? This word always seems to come across as a character trait that is not truly something I would desire.  It sounds the complete opposite of what the world and the culture around me tell me I should pursue. Meekness in my mind is a timid, shy, passive, and cowardly person who lets anyone and everyone walk over them and treat them unfairly. Yet, this is not the picture that the Bible presents of the meek and this is where I typically go astray. I read this verse (and many others) and I think I understand what is being said, but I completely misunderstand or deviate from the truth due to my lack of understanding. As the ESV Study Bible says, “The meek are the gentle, those who do not assert themselves over others in order to further their own agendas in their own strength.” The reason I struggle with truly understanding and embracing this characteristic, this beatitude, is that meekness goes against my basic fleshly desire to assert myself and take control of life and every situation. As the saying goes that I hear spoken so often in various ways, “God helps those who help themselves.” This 10-word phrase of Jesus puts my self-centered, self-righteous, prideful attitude in check and points me back to humility and hope, trusting in Jesus to meet my every need.

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Week 06, 2023

Week Six of Cultivate Delight, where we are actively planning our spiritual endeavors this coming week with the goal of a consistent time spent engaging our hearts with Christ in his word, in prayer, and in reflection. Below are some starting points for reflection, and I hope you find them helpful. The goal is to not rush through these and then get on with your day. Take your time and reflect throughout the week on these items. Come back often and let your heart be refreshed in the love of Christ for you.

“The three persons in the blessed Trinity are distinguished, but not divided; three substances, but one essence. This is a divine riddle, where one makes three, and three make one.”
– Thomas Watson

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Mourning to Comfort to Joy

Journal Entry // February 4, 2023

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (ESV)

Matthew 5:4

As Jesus builds on the beatitudes, moving from spiritually poor beggars to those that mourn over their poor spiritual estate and the havoc that sin has wrought in their lives, he states the good news that there is a comfort to be found in this mourning. The mourning that Jesus is speaking about is directly related to the understanding of our spiritual poorness. When we truly understand the devastation of sin in our life and the world around us, when we truly know the depth of our disobedience and rebellion against our holy God, then we will find ourselves in a state of mourning. Mourning over the hurt and pain that results from an understanding of the sin in our hearts. As we reflect on our lives and the waywardness of our souls, those who are receiving the kingdom of heaven will be led into a state of mourning. A time of deep grief as the waves of loss and brokenness wash over us. A deep grief that comes from a longing to see forgiveness and healing from the Lord. The good news that Jesus proclaims in this verse is of this very longing being fulfilled. Those who mourn… they will be comforted.

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The Lord’s Garden

Journal Entry // June 15, 2021

Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits.

Song of Solomon 4:16 ESV

I am the garden of the Lord, and he is my beloved. My life can best be understood as a garden, I think. It gives me a proper perspective at least on my role. For it is the owner of the garden that tends the garden. He determines where each plant is located. He determines the amount of pruning necessary. He determines the amount of water and fertilizer given and at what times. He tends the soil for weeds and rocks. He determines all the decisions. The plant? Well, the plant just focuses on growing and developing, maturing, in the spot he has been planted.

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House of Mourning

Journal Entry // June 8, 2021

Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

Ecclesiastes 7:4 ESV

Mourning and Mirth. Sorrow and Amusement. It is not too difficult to discern which of these any person would rather experience. We would all rather have the daily experience of amusement over and above a daily experience of sorrow and mourning. Yet, the Preacher tells us plainly that the person who is wise will have their heart in the house of mourning.

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Week 05, 2023

Week Five of Cultivate Delight, where we are actively planning our spiritual endeavors this coming week with the goal of a consistent time spent engaging our hearts with Christ in his word, in prayer, and in reflection. Below are some starting points for reflection, and I hope you find them helpful. The goal is to not rush through these and then get on with your day. Take your time and reflect throughout the week on these items. Come back often and let your heart be refreshed in the love of Christ for you.

“Nature is God’s greatest evangelist.”
– Jonathan Edwards

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Spiritual Beggar

Journal Entry // January 28, 2023

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (ESV)

Matthew 5:3

Jesus separated from the great crowds and has gone up a mountain with his disciples to teach them about the Kingdom of God. With his disciples gathered around him to listen, Jesus begins to speak and starts with a summary description of the whole of his teaching with a section of nine statements that all begin with the word “blessed”. This word, blessed, is sometimes translated and defined as happy. There is a sense in which happiness is a true outcome of these blessings, as the one who is blessed by God should be in a state of happiness over his being blessed but I think it means something a bit more than just a feeling of happiness. Especially as modern-day men and women typically think of happiness in response to getting what they want/desire or seeing personal gain coming from some material circumstance. No, the “blessed” that Jesus is talking about here is more about the person being approved by God. Not a fleeting experience of happiness, but an objective truth of our state of being approved by God. The blessing of God upon the people Jesus is going to describe is his approval. That God approves of the person and has given them his blessing is the central point. The person being blessed is not the focus. The focus is on the One who blesses. The One who gives his approval.

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Special Teaching

Journal Entry // January 25, 2023

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: (ESV)

Matthew 5:2

As Jesus saw the crowds gathering and forming around him, he pulled aside his disciples to a mountain and taught them. This teaching was not meant for everyone but only for those that were committed to following Jesus as the promised Messiah. When Jesus had separated himself from the crowds and was just among his disciples, then he sat down, opened his mouth, and taught them. It’s important to see the intentionality of this teaching. It is something more than the lessons the disciples witness as Jesus interacts and engages among the crowds. This is something special and direct for those who are committed to following Christ. When Jesus opens his mouth and teaches his disciples, he is building in them the importance of interpreting life and the law through the lens of grace and obedience. He is teaching them what it means to abide in Him.

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Not Satisfied

Journal Entry // June 7, 2021

All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.

Ecclesiastes 6:7 ESV

Satisfaction… How is it that my toiling and striving and labor results in dissatisfaction? This statement and discussion by the Preacher is entirely spot on with how I have felt about my life over the last many years. I have had this insatiable lust and desire prevalent in my every moment that will not allow me to enjoy the good things of this life. There has been a continual unhappiness with my present state at every point of life.

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Deceptive Mind

Journal Entry // May 31, 2021

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

Proverbs 28:26 ESV

This statement in Proverbs cut me deeply this morning. There have been several good passages this past week that pricked my heart, but I was not faithful in my reflections and meditating so they did not get captured. There is this tendency in my heart to trust my mind. I find it rather easy to contemplate and think deeply about my desires and I am learning that my mind is both deceptive and easily deceived.

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