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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Majesty Revealed

Journal Entry // December 30, 2022

By his power he stilled the sea; by his understanding he shattered Rahab. (ESV)

Job 26:12

In this passage of Job, he is responding to his friends by reminding them of the mystery and majesty of God’s ways. He takes several verses to go through multiple different examples of God’s power and majesty that everyone typically takes for granted or easily ignores as we walk through this world. The one part that stood out to me was where Job mentions that “by his power, he stilled the seas.” As I read this, I was immediately drawn to the life of Jesus and the recounting of him and his disciples being on the sea during a great and terrifying storm. This storm was so intense and concerning that these seasoned experienced fishermen feared for their lives and woke Jesus up from his sleep. Jesus calmly addressed the storm to bring calm and stillness to the seas. As Job correctly identifies, this stilling of the seas is an expression of his power. Christ demonstrates his divinity and power by calming the stormy sea and bringing peace and stillness.

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Fury of God’s Wrath

Journal Entry // December 29, 2022

From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. (ESV)

Revelation 19:15

Whenever I take a moment to stop and contemplate all that is happening in the world, it can become an overwhelming exercise. As I sojourn through this life, I am assaulted with the anger and hatred of the world arrayed in unity against my Holy God. I can readily see all the many different forces of this world lining up to put an end to the kingdom of God. This assault I see every day is disheartening. It breaks my heart to see the lies and deception of this world making progress in the hearts and minds of seemingly all people around the world. It pains me to see the rebellious hearts of those who would cast down Christ and remove him completely from their life. I hurt for the lost. I am moved in my innermost being to see the glory of Christ revealed to everyone. I yearn for the return of Christ.

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Come Out of Babylon

Journal Entry // December 28, 2022

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; (ESV)

Revelation 18:4

Am I living in Babylon? The description of a great city that is driven by power and focused on pleasure sure sounds a lot like these modern times. The illustration and indictment of the Lord against Babylon as the sins of the city are listed to be judged can easily be seen in our culture and times. So the answer to the question of whether I am living in Babylon is a definitive, yes. With this being true, I need to be mindful of the call to come out of this culture. The call to come out is important because it is a warning message that the corrupting influence of this power-driven and pleasure-seeking culture will ensnare everyone it touches if we are not mindful and watching. The warning from the Lord is to come out of Babylon completely. To leave and not get caught up in their sins of lusting after power and pleasure. The call is to be holy, separate from, just as Christ is holy.

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Refusing to Repent

Journal Entry // December 26, 2022

They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. (ESV)

Revelation 16:9

In my reading through Revelation, I have now reached a point where the bowls of God’s wrath are being poured out in judgment upon the earth. It is a frightful and terrible thing to read through these seven bowls of wrath and consider the full weight of God’s holy and righteous judgment upon this world. The different sections of this destruction are increasing in the amount of destruction they bring. First, there were the seals, then there were the trumpets, and now there are the bowls. Whereas the seals and the trumpets were limited in the scope of how they inflicted the people, a quarter and a third respectively, these bowls will reveal the wrath of God being poured out upon all things. And the people who are being afflicted with these bowls of God’s wrath are responding in their full depraved nature. When the full wrath of God is revealed upon the earth, there is an expectation and a hope that the hearts and minds of the people bearing witness through the infliction of these plagues will turn from their evil ways. There is an expectation that God’s righteous wrath will cause the people to repent and bring glory to God alone. What we see instead is that the people double down on their hatred of God and they curse his name.

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Altered Perception

Journal Entry // December 25, 2022

Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me! (ESV)

Job 19:21

In this early part of Job 19, we can see the inner turmoil that adversity and suffering have caused in the mind of Job. He speaks first of a wall that has been built up around him. Not the wall of protection that he had prior to his suffering, but a wall that keeps him hedged into his troubles. On top of this, Job exposes his inner thinking as he recounts how all of his relationships have been affected by his suffering. He shares the depth of his perceived isolation and the skewed understanding of how he is viewed by everyone around him. It may be true that what he is relaying about these broken relationships has a ring of truth in the social circles of the culture at the time, but it is also reasonable that Job is merely unable to rightly view and understand this new dynamic in his depressed state of mind. As I read through this section of Job and I see his anguish over lost relationships and the perceived hurt and disdain that he is receiving from those closest to him, I see my own thoughts of hurt and pain. I remember my own isolation and how it affected my view and outlook on all of my relationships.

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True Rest

Journal Entry // December 24, 2022

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (ESV)

Revelation 14:13

Rest… This can become one of the focal points of my days and weeks. I sometimes let this idea of rest drive and motivate my every decision and thought throughout the day and week. My mind seeks rest. My body seeks rest. My desire and purpose is to just simply rest. What I struggle with as I consider this passage about the rest found only in Jesus is that the “rest” I am seeking and desiring on a daily basis is not this same godly rest found in Christ. No, the rest I am seeking is more often founded and based upon sin in my heart. When I say that I desire rest, I typically mean that I want the freedom to do as I see fit. I want full control of my actions and even the right to indulge my laziness and apathy. The rest I seek is not this holy rest from a life of laboring for Jesus. The rest I seek is an escape from the rigors of this world. This false rest is deceptive because it builds up within my mind the idea that I am working and laboring so intensely that I need rest to recover. When in actuality the work I have been about is not the true sweet labor of following Christ each and every moment of each and every day.

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Furious Enemy

Journal Entry // December 21, 2022

Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. (ESV)

Revelation 12:17

I don’t really think about the furious enemy that is making war upon me. I don’t really ever contemplate the schemes and machinations of the evil one as he diligently works to destroy me along with everyone that is obedient to Christ. My great failure in this life is that I have difficulty grasping the truth that there is a mortal enemy seeking to destroy my soul. This enemy is furious, ruthless, and relentless. He only has one objective: to harm and destroy the people of God. He knows his time is short, so he is continually working to undermine and destroy everything and everyone that brings glory to Christ. And it is this hard truth that I find myself being ignorant and dismissive. Wanting to escape from this war and all the trouble that it brings into my life, I ignore it or I medicate it or I allow self-deception to rule my heart. I often want anything that will bring relief and escape from the constant struggle and battle of dealing with the enemy. I want peace and comfort when the enemy only brings pain and heartache.

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Three Spheres United

Journal Entry // December 17, 2022

And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven (ESV)

Revelation 10:5

As I was thinking through my reading this morning in Revelation 9 and 10, I read through the notes in my study Bible and it mentioned that this verse shows the uniting of the three spheres of creation. We see this in that the angel has one foot on the sea, one foot on the land, and his right hand raised to heaven. I found this detail intriguing as I had never really contemplated the importance of this image alongside the proclamation that the angel was delivering. That message being that he swore by the Creator (the one who created these three spheres) that there would be no more delay in the fulfillment of the mystery of God. This mighty angel was here to proclaim that the long awaited for mystery would be revealed to all the world. There would be no more delay as the Lord would unite all of heaven and earth under the headship and authority of Christ alone.

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