The Work of the Enemy

Book Reflection // August 13, 2022

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 2 // Matthew 13:24-43

Just like the previous parable that focused on the different types of soil that receive the gospel seed, Boice classifies this triplet of parables as dealing once again with the Kingdom of God. In this section Boice takes a bit of a different approach than what I have heard in the past and what I have seen in my small circle of Christian influence. Boice groups these three parables (weeds, mustard seed, and leaven) as speaking directly about the influence and work of evil in the Kingdom of God as it spreads throughout the world. These parables highlight the work of the enemy in our lives and the life of the church. Jesus tells us these parables to highlight the strategies and designs of our enemy to infiltrate, influence, and ultimately hinder the work of God in this world.

Continue reading “The Work of the Enemy”

Abounding & Sufficient

Journal Entry // August 11, 2022

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (ESV)

2 Corinthians 9:8

There is a lot going on in this short verse found in a discussion about generosity and giving with thankfulness. The fullness of God is what Paul is reiterating and emphasizing so that we don’t miss the point. That point being that our God is the Lord Almighty and he is the giver of all good things. Look at the fullness Paul describes: ALL grace abound, ALL sufficiency, in ALL things, at ALL times, EVERY good work. This is not the way we often think about our current situation and the provisions that God has given us. We often grumble and complain and bemoan the circumstances and situations that we are in. We often look at other people and see how richly God has blessed them as opposed to our meagerness. We don’t really take this verse to heart and truly understand that God is able to make all grace abound to us. All grace. Not just a few drops, but an overwhelming flood of grace that will bring us to our knees in thanksgiving and praise.

Continue reading “Abounding & Sufficient”

Gentle Trust

Journal Entry // August 9, 2022

But if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.” (ESV)

2 Samuel 15:26

This is a moving picture of faith and trust in the providence and grace of God moving in the life of David. It’s difficult to really see the rationale for David fleeing Absalom and departing the city, but I understand his desire to not engage in conflict with his son. What I do understand in this passage is that David’s heart is bent on serving the Lord as best he can. David is making decisions based on how best to honor the Lord and be obedient to his calling and God’s Word. Throughout this chapter of his preparation to leave, you can see the care and love he has for all those in his household and the sadness he has in knowing all the hardships they will suffer alongside him on this journey. Yet with all of this on his mind, David simply cares to be obedient and humble before the Lord. He wants to follow the path laid out before him in humble acceptance of God’s good mercy to him. Whether it be for his benefit or not, David simply wants the Lord to do, “what seems good to him.”

Continue reading “Gentle Trust”

Unveiled Repentance

Journal Entry // August 7, 2022

David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. (ESV)

2 Samuel 12:13

True humble repentance is what I am reading in this passage of Nathan confronting David about his sin. David listens to Nathan as he tells the story of the rich man taking the lamb of the poor person without any regard or compassion for what that lamb meant to the man and his family. David is rightfully upset with the man and vows to bring justice upon this man for what he has done. Nathan then speaks the message of the Lord to David and shows him that he is this man who has sinned. David listens to all the Lord says to him through the prophet and uttered this simple response, “I have sinned against the Lord.” David offered no excuses, no deflection, no rationalizing, and no defense. There was none to give. David’s eyes had been open to the depth of his sin. The veil of deception that he had placed over his heart had been lifted and David could clearly see the ugliness of the sin presented before him. In humility, David understood his failure. Not just his failure to protect and honor Uriah and Bathsheba, but his failure to honor Christ. David knew his only response was to acknowledge that his sin was against the Lord.

Continue reading “Unveiled Repentance”

Displeasing the Lord

Journal Entry // August 6, 2022

And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. (ESV)

2 Samuel 11:27

The life of David is so rich in demonstrating the frailty and weakness of human flesh. Just as I was journaling yesterday about our lives being as jars of clay, the life of David is an excellent picture showing 2 Corinthians 4:7 in action. David is so amazingly faithful and zealous for the glory of God and is earnest in his pursuit of seeking the face of Christ in all things. So it stands out when David fails to honor God with all of his heart and his weakness is exposed for us all to see. We learn a lot about faith through the life of David and there is a lot in this single chapter dealing with Bathsheba and Uriah. For me today, the focus is on God’s displeasure with David. How did David move from pleasing the Lord to displeasing and what is the lesson I can take to heart as I walk this same path as David on a daily basis.

Continue reading “Displeasing the Lord”

Jars of Humility

Journal Entry // August 5, 2022

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (ESV)

2 Corinthians 4:7

These jars of clay, a representation of the frailty and weakness of our bodies, have within them the most precious and costly treasure, the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ. Our bodies, which are prone to corruption and the effects of sin, are the chosen storage vessels of this most important and beautiful message. My weakness is on display all the time. This simple jar of clay is so fragile of a vessel for the Spirit of God to abide. Yet, God chooses to unite himself with his children and inhabit the heart of these weak and frail jars of clay. This naturally leads us to ask the question, “Why?” The answer is simple enough. The display of God’s strength and surpassing power is on display in the lives of these weak and frail jars of clay. The weakness of my flesh allows for the power of Christ to be at work and on display daily in my life as he pours out grace and mercy into my heart and works this same grace and mercy through me into the lives of others.

Continue reading “Jars of Humility”

Week 32, 2022

Week Thirty-two 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.

“The happiness which the Lord Jesus procured for believers, includes a perfect freedom from sin, and all afflictive evils, their just consequence, and the fruition of righteousness, peace and joy, in which the kingdom of God consists.”
– William Bridge (1600-1670)

Continue reading “Week 32, 2022”

The Seed and the Soil

Book Reflection // August 6, 2022

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 1 // Matthew 13:1-23

In this book by Boice, he classifies this parable as one dealing with the Kingdom of God. In particular he marks this particular parable as unique in this category since it is dealing more so with the origin of the Kingdom. Meaning that this specific parable is focused more on the beginnings of the spreading of the grace and gospel of Christ throughout the world. The uniqueness of this parable is that Jesus uses the picture of seeds being scattered and planted in different types of soil to represent the different stages of readiness to receive the gospel message of hope and salvation – hard heart, shallow heart, strangled heart, and an open heart.

Continue reading “The Seed and the Soil”

Holy Freedom

Journal Entry // August 4, 2022

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (ESV)

2 Corinthians 3:17

Freedom… The Spirit brings freedom to the lives of those where he abides. What is this freedom that the Spirit brings? It is freedom from the slavery of sin. It is freedom from guilt and shame. Where the Spirit resides, there is now no condemnation for that person. The Spirit brings the glory of God to live in the hearts of men and women enabling them to say no to sin and yes to obedience. For this is truly the freedom of which is mentioned here. The freedom to obey the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Freedom to choose the good and reject the evil. Freedom to live a life of humility and obedience to the Lord. Freedom to love God and love people in righteousness and purity.

Continue reading “Holy Freedom”

Glad and Generous

Journal Entry // May 10, 2021

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,

Acts 2:46 ESV

I am so very tired of this struggle. I am so tired of feeling down and miserable. I just want God to make an instantaneous change in my heart and put it into alignment with him. Why do I have to fight and struggle each and every moment? Why do I continue to see the light of Christ shining within my heart and soul, but then hide back in the shadows. The shadows of disobedience that still lurk within. These shadows call out to me. They lie to me. They whisper into my head those words that entrap me once again. I am so easily persuaded to be led off the good and right path.

Continue reading “Glad and Generous”