Week 04, 2023

Week Four 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.

“We wonder why we don’t have faith; the answer is, faith is confidence in the character of God and if we don’t know what kind of God God is, we can’t have faith.”
Aiden Wilson Tozer

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Seeing the Crowds

Journal Entry // January 21, 2023

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. (ESV)

Matthew 5:1

I have been considering the principles of the Sermon on the Mount for several weeks now during the quiet moments of the day and evening. It began with the Spirit bringing to my mind the words of various sections of this sermon that were intimately relevant to my spiritual journey. Words that comforted me at times and challenged me in others. These words of Jesus wooing and calling me into a deeper and more intimate relationship. A call to reflect on my union with Christ and to motivate me to strengthen this fellowship through a deeply personal communion with Jesus in the Spirit. So that is my plan over the next however many weeks it takes me to journal through the Sermon on the Mount. It could be a month or it could be several months. I aim only to interact and engage with Christ through this message of encouragement and challenge. I want to walk away from each reflection time with a more richly personal understanding of Christ and a heart filled to the rim with his mercy and grace.

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Week 03, 2023

Week Three 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 whole Bible, properly understood, has this divine purpose and effect: to communicate or display the glory of God. And this pervasive aim of the Scriptures to glorify God, in what they teach and how they teach it, reveals the handiwork of God in the writing of the Bible.”
– John Piper

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The Lord Answers

Journal Entry // January 8, 2023

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: (ESV)

Job 38:1

As I sat down to read this next section of Job this morning, I was contemplating my internal comparison to Job over the past month. Job is a difficult book in that it often portrays the true thoughts and misunderstandings of both Job and his friends as they work through this process of grief. As I have read through these different questions, answers, and rebukes it has called to mind all the many times that I have questioned the goodness and justice of God in my own life as well. These past few weeks have been a strenuous exercise to evaluate and understand the conclusions that Job and his friends have come to and then examine my heart for these same false narratives. Now I come to the reading this morning and I am drawn to this first verse and its simple statement that the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind. Where Job challenged God to answer the questions he had, God honored his request and visited Job with the answers he was seeking.

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Week 02, 2023

Week 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, 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 more we are in the Word of God, the more the Spirit who inspired the Word and who illumines it for us will use the Word to confirm in our souls that we are truly His, that we are indeed among the children of God.”
– R.C. Sproul

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The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Book Reflection // January 1, 2023 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 9 // Luke 18:9-14

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is among the most well-known of all the parables of Jesus, along with the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. On the surface, this parable leads us to think that it is essentially about prayer. It is true that the focus of the story is on the contrasting prayers that are offered. Yet, what is being pointed out through these prayers is the pathway to salvation and who walks away justified. Justification is the essential point of this parable as Jesus is teaching us about escaping the wrath of God and being reconciled to God.

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Concealed in the Heart

Journal Entry // January 2, 2022

if I have concealed my transgressions as others do by hiding my iniquity in my heart, (ESV)

Job 31:33

What do we do with our sins and transgressions against God’s holiness when we try to conceal them? Are we ever really truly able to conceal them? Job states that people try to conceal their sins by hiding them in their hearts. I don’t think I have ever truly thought about what happens when I am hiding, concealing, and covering up my sins. I haven’t put a lot of thought into the possibility that in an effort to hide my sins (both from God and from others), I am storing them in my heart. Where else would I be hiding them though? By storing all my “hidden” sins in my heart I have created a breeding ground for future sin and transgression. The Bible’s solution to this propensity is confession. Confession of my sin to both God and others. Confession of the hold that sin has on my heart and mind is the pathway back to freedom in Christ. The promise of Christ is to cleanse my heart of this “hidden” filthiness and restore the fellowship of the Spirit within me.

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Behold, the Dwelling Place

Journal Entry // January 1, 2023

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (ESV)

Revelation 21:3

The beauty of heaven is pictured in this statement shouted with a loud voice from the throne of God. The loud voice begins by telling us to behold the scene that is to be set before us. This is a call for us to slow down and take notice of this momentous sight. The call to behold something is a call to stand in awe of something long-expected and glorious. The voice is declaring that what is about to be proclaimed is worthy not only of our intention but our undivided focused attention on the sight. What is this momentous sight that we are to behold? This call to attention is none other than the announcement that God himself has made his dwelling place among men. We are to behold this amazing sight in heaven of the Lord God of all creation among his people. He is in our midst. In heaven, our God will dwell among us and we will have unhindered fellowship together.

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Week 01, 2023

Week 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, 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 shine and luster of all the attributes of God together is God’s glory. “
– Jeremiah Burroughs, Gospel Worship

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The Narrow Door of Salvation

Book Reflection // December 31, 2022 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 8 // Luke 13:22-30

The parable of Jesus that we are considering in this chapter of Boice’s book may be less of a parable and more similar to an expanded illustration. This parable of the narrow door of salvation is in response to a question from someone who was apparently in the crowd during one of the many teaching stops that Jesus made in the various towns and villages along his journey to Jerusalem. The question is simple enough really, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” The questioner was likely interested in the theological speculation of the answer. Maybe even wondering where he stood at the moment. Trying to decide if he really needed to worry about this gospel good news that Jesus was preaching. If everyone is going to heaven, then why in the world would someone need to worry about this at all? Jesus being Jesus… He answers the question put before him without giving the answer in the expected format. Surely the questioner was just looking for a simple yes or no, a quick answer to then move on. The answer Jesus gives redirects the questioner, and ourselves, to the heart of the question. The heart of the question being our very own heart. We need not worry about the numbers of people that may or may not be in heaven. We should rather focus on our own heart and our entry into His heavenly kingdom. In this parable, Jesus will refocus our attention not on the numbers who will ultimately be saved but on three main issues: there is only one narrow door, that door is now open but will close soon enough, and our duty is to enter.

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