Fear, Walk, Love, Serve

Journal Entry // May 21, 2022

“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV

What does the Lord require of me?

  • Fear the Lord
  • Walk in all his ways
  • Love him
  • Serve the Lord

And how am I to do this? With all my heart and soul.

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Week 21, 2022

Week Twenty-one 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, in reflection, and in music. Below are some starting points for reflection, and I hope you find them helpful. The goal is to not just rush through these and then get on with your day. Take your time and reflect throughout the week on these items.

“Do we eagerly long for the coming of Christ? Or do we want him to wait while our love affair with the world runs its course? That is the question that tests the authenticity of faith.”
John Piper

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Holiness in an Unholy World

Men’s Small Group // May 2, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 16)

John 17:14-17 ESV
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [15] I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one*. [16] They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
* or from evil

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Abide Together

Journal Entry // April 28, 2021

Abide in me, and I in you.

John 15:4 ESV

“Abide in me” and “Abide in my love” is clearly the primary theme of this chapter in John where Jesus gives us the great picture of our relationship as a vine and branches. I am interested in his teaching about the indwelling of God with the believer. I tend to really only think about this as a one-way abiding. That the Spirit comes to dwell in my heart and my life is changed as a result. But Jesus clearly teaches that not only does God come and dwell within me, but I too am to come and dwell or abide in him.

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Week 20, 2022

Week Twenty 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, in reflection, and in music. Below are some starting points for reflection, and I hope you find them helpful. The goal is to not just rush through these and then get on with your day. Take your time and reflect throughout the week on these items.

“Jesus didn’t come to tell us the answers to the questions of life, he came to be the answer.”
Tim Keller

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Lesson on Compassion

Group Discussion // May 4, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a community group discussion. I have reworked it a bit to provide a summary of the discussion points during our time spent together in Jonah chapter 4.

Jonah 4

4:1-4 Self-righteous Anger

  • (v1) Anger…What should have been a moment of joy and praise about the relenting of the promised destruction of a city, Jonah finds himself exceedingly displeased with the outcome that led to anger. Anger with the Lord for not destroying this enemy of Israel and by extension an enemy of God.
  • (v2) Prayer of accusation, but using positives. The self-righteousness of Jonah leads him to pray to God not with superlatives of praise for his mercy but of accusing God of being wrong about Nineveh.
    • “I knew that you are” – Jonah here knows the doctrinal truth about the character of God. He even states that the reason he fled previously was that because of God’s character, there would be mercy instead of judgement at this message.
    • If we read this prayer out of context, it would seem like a psalm of praise. Starting with “for I knew,” this phrase could easily be a hymn of praise and worship. Not a cause for bitterness and anger.
  • (v3) He is so angry that he would rather die than see Nineveh spared. Jonah hates these people so much that he does not want to live in a world where it is possible to have mercy and grace given to them.
    • Do we have these same thoughts about our supposed enemies?
      • Different political party?
      • Different social justice issues?
      • Different lifestyle choices?
      • Sinners being sinners?
  • (v4) God’s response to Jonah’s anger is a simple question, “Do you do well to be angry?”
    • God wants Jonah to examine his heart and motivation. Clearly there is a disconnect between the doctrinal head knowledge of Jonah and his doctrinal heart knowledge.
    • How often do you ask yourself this same question? Do you meditate on the Word of God and let it examine your heart with critical questions or do you sit and wallow in your indignation and self-righteousness? Letting this poison of bitterness and anger grow and infect every area of your life.
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Heart Test

Journal Entry // May 12, 2022

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

Deuteronomy 8:2 ESV

What’s the purpose of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for forty years after being brought of the slavery of Egypt by a great and powerful showing of God’s mighty right hand? I’m sure the answer is multifaceted if you do an in-depth study, but a good summation of the wilderness wandering is here in this passage. The Lord used the 40-year wandering in the wilderness to humble the Israelites. To test their heart’s desire for obedience. To know what was in their heart. This feels so familiar to me because the Lord is truly leading me through my own wilderness in order to humble me.

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Complete Destruction

Journal Entry // May 9, 2022

and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them.

Deuteronomy 7:2 ESV

This charge to the Israelites as they were about to enter the promised land is a good reminder of my daily struggle and battle with sin dwelling in my heart. I don’t think that I take the call to personal holiness as a priority at times. Sure, I know this is absolutely true in the life of a believer. We should all be moving forward with personal holiness and seeking to fight the entanglement of sin in our life, but I often feel like it is a no-win situation. I come into the battle with particular sins with an attitude that I am going to fail. And sure enough I do fail. I fail each and every time because I am fully trusting in my own strength and ability to fight this battle with sin.

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Allegience to Caesar

Journal Entry // May 8, 2022

They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

John 19:15 ESV

I have read and heard this passage so many times over the years that it loses a lot of its force because of familiarity. This is probably true of a lot of passages, but this one today really struck me hard. I find it so simple to sit back in my 21st century modernity and look upon these chief priests with judgement and contempt. I want to measure their response with a harsh line of judgement. To be fair, their response was terrible. Yet, how is my response any different sometimes? Sure, I have not publicly decried Jesus as king and declared my allegiance solely to the earthly leadership over me. But in my heart? That is quite a different matter.

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Not of This World

Journal Entry // May 7, 2022

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

John 18:36 ESV

“My kingdom is not of this world.” This is the truth that should be shaping my understanding of this present world and my place in it. The kingdom of God is not of this world. To be sure, the Lord is bringing his kingdom into this world but his kingdom is not of this world. Then why do I continually try to build my own kingdom in this world? Why do I set my every thought and emotion upon the things of this world without even a moment of pondering the vastness of God’s kingdom above. This world seduces me into the continual lie that everything I see has been and always will be. The lie that there is nothing else. The lie that I should enjoy the offerings of the world, because when I die there is nothing else. And I continually believe this lie. I too easily forget that the Kingdom of God is not of this world.

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