Grief and Worship

Journal Entry // December 7, 2022

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. (ESV)

Job 1:20

In this chapter of Job, we see the response of Job to the trials and sufferings brought upon him. The enemy was given permission to assault all that Job possessed and cared about in this world. So the enemy was ruthless and relentless in fulfilling this desire to strike down everything that was near and dear to Job. The enemy had Job’s livestock slaughtered along with the servants assigned to care for them. Then not being satisfied with this, the enemy set upon Job’s children and took their lives as well.  Job receives all of this news within a short span of time and we are told of his response in verse 20. His response to all of this grief, violence, and loss of life that was reported to him was to express his grief through worship. Job chose to grieve the loss that was reported to him but he did so through a humble and reserved trust in the goodness of God. He acknowledged that it is the Lord’s right to give and take away as he determines and he deserves only blessing and honor. The Lord tells us that in this response Job held fast to his integrity.

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Unreasoning Animals

Journal Entry // December 4, 2022

But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. (ESV)

Jude 10

This passage in Jude always catches my attention when it comes along in my yearly reading plan. I say that, because I don’t remember hearing any preaching/teaching on this passage or the letter of Jude very often. Even though this letter is only 25 verses there is a lot of helpful and challenging rebukes and exhortations. This one in verse 10 always makes me stop and contemplate how I, like the ungodly, am behaving and living as an unreasoning animal. It’s a vivid picture of a life based on basic instincts and feelings flowing out of a heart that is devoid of understanding the truth of God’s word. A life that blasphemes, belittles, or marginalizes the truth of God’s word and commandments. Like a wild animal, the person Jude is describing lives their life based solely on their feelings and their own understanding.  They may even have a basic knowledge of God’s word that shapes their own personal level of morality, but it is not rooted and informed by the gospel. It is processed and filtered through their own instinctual and emotional internal systems that distort God’s truth into their own individual personal version of truth and morality. Seemingly living their life as their own master and god.

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Week 49, 2022

Week Forty-nine 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.

“Our Lord Jesus Christ is ascended to heaven beforehand to prepare a place for the elect there.”
– Christopher Love, Christ’s Ascension

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Jealous Pride

Journal Entry // December 2, 2022

But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him. (ESV)

Esther 1:12

Reading the beginning of the story of Esther, we see the actions of king Ahasuerus set the stage for the focus of what is to come in the story and how this one incident leads to a sweeping change throughout the king’s land that brings pain, suffering, and death. It all begins with a small statement by the author that the king’s heart was merry with wine. I don’t know if it means he was drunk or just that he had lost some of his inhibitions through drinking. Whatever mental and physical state he was in, he decided to make his wife, the queen, an object for the viewing pleasure of his guests. There is this sense that the king wanted these men to be jealous of his beautiful queen as they lusted after her in front of him. So when the queen refuses, the king is moved from a place of superiority to these princes to one of embarrassment. And in his embarrassment, he becomes enraged with a burning anger. An anger fueled by the loss of his inhibitions and the rationality of a sober mind.

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Watch Yourself

Journal Entry // November 30, 2022

Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. (ESV)

2 John 8

In this world filled with so many distractions and deceivers, it is imperative that every believer take responsibility to watch themselves. It is the way of the world to lull the believer to sleep by turning their focus from the ever-present abiding Spirit of God to the fears, anxiety, and concerns of this mortal life. The voices of the world are many and these voices are all intent on damaging and bringing harm to the people of the Way. So as believers and followers of Christ, we are called to watch ourselves. We are called to be vigilant in the guarding of our heart and the perseverance of our faith. Any lapse… Any gap… Any breach in our hedge of protection against the evil one will be exploited. Our enemy seeks to kill and destroy all who align themselves with Christ. So, we prepare ourselves and we stand firm and ready for the onslaught of our enemy through the world and the flesh. We stand firm in the teachings of Jesus and the new heart he has given us. Remembering that the Spirit abides within us and is always empowering us with the love of Christ. Remembering that Jesus is in heaven praying for us constantly. Remembering that our heavenly Father loves us as little children and he cares for us more than we could ever imagine.

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Week 48, 2022

Week Forty-eight 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.

Wherever the Word of God is purely preached, there a church of God exists, even if it swarms with many faults. – John Calvin

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Come to the Banquet

Book Reflection // November 26, 2022 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 7 // Mathew 22:1-14

Of the parables we have looked at thus far, this is may be the most straightforward and clear. It speaks of the gracious gospel invitation that God gives to each and every person along with the arrogant and prideful response of the men and women who received this invitation. At the heart of this message is a picture of God’s wrath and the eternal punishment in hell of those who refuse to come into the king’s presence wearing only the righteousness of Christ. This parable is a stern warning against our self-righteous folly and arrogant attempts to be our own God.

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Confident Prayers

Journal Entry // November 25, 2022

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (ESV)

1 John 5:14

Confidence… toward God. John tells us that he is writing these things about the surety of our salvation and the promises of God that we may have a bold confidence toward our great God and Redeemer. We have this confidence toward God in that he has assured us of the testimony of his Son, Jesus. He has assured us that Jesus is in fact the one and only true Son of God who took upon himself all of my sin and paid for it on the cross at the cost of his blood. I can draw this confidence from the shed blood of Christ for me. My confidence rests in the finished work of Jesus, knowing that my salvation is secure.

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First Loved

Journal Entry // November 24, 2022

We love because he first loved us. (ESV)

1 John 4:19

The foundation of all that I truly am is found in these seven words. Because Jesus loves me, I can love others. Because Jesus loves me, I can love Him. The implication from these seven words is that without Him first loving me, I am unable to love Jesus or others. My heart was initially dead and hard as stone; unable to truly love anyone other than myself. But God changed all of that with the perfect satisfying love of Jesus. Jesus chose to love me. He chose to love me not because of what I had done or what I would one day do. No, despite my hard and stubborn heart toward his righteous law and commandments, Jesus laid his full attention on me and chose to let the object of his love be directed upon me. A rebellious sinner. He first loved me.

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Love in Truth

Journal Entry // November 23, 2022

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV)

1 John 3:18

What is the indicator that love permeates my heart? Is it the words that I speak or the actions I exhibit? I think that both are important to truly having love for your brothers and your neighbors. It is important to speak and talk to everyone in a loving way. It is also important to demonstrate my professed love with action and deeds. It is not enough to give verbal ascent to loving someone. It is minimalistic to only give words of love as we converse. I need to let love so permeate my heart that I demonstrate my profession with action. That I love both in my speech and in my deeds. This is the outworking and overflow of the love of Christ in me.

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