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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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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Home in My Heart

Journal Entry // April 27, 2021

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

John 14:23 ESV

Obedience is the natural outward inclination of a renewed and loving heart turned toward the Lord. If I truly love the Lord, then I will readily find obedience expressing itself in humble reliance upon the one I love. And the one I love, he will come and make their home with me. The Father, Son, and Spirit will make my heart his home and dwelling place.

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Nurturing Sin

Journal Entry // April 26, 2021

During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him,

John 13:2 ESV

Even after the heart of Judas had been deceived and he was committed to betraying Jesus, Judas spent intimate moments with Jesus. Many close fellowship times with the Lord and his fellow disciples. Known active sin being nurtured in his heart all the while spending time outwardly playing the part of follower. So much so, that the other disciples could not even conceive of the betrayal to come.

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Weaned Child

Journal Entry // April 25, 2021

But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Psalm 131:2 ESV

A calm and quiet soul is one that is at rest in the loving providence and care of Almighty God. This soul understands the fear of the Lord and in wisdom chooses to be calm and quiet. This soul does not eat the bread of anxious toil, but has decided to be humbly reliant upon his good good Father. To be like a weaned child with is mother.

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Full Joy

Journal Entry // April 30, 2022

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

John 15:11 ESV

What are these things that Jesus has spoken of to me? It is the importance of abiding in his love by obeying his commandments just as he abides in the love of the Father an obeys his commandments. The key to abiding in Christ is simply obedience. I want to overcomplicate this and focus on other good things that are also important, but if I am to abide in the love of Christ there is only obedience. How important is this principle? Abiding in the love of Christ through obedience is the source of joy in my life. Abiding in the love of Christ is the pathway of His joy being in me and consequently my joy then being full. Not just a measure of joy, but the fullness of joy. Not just the fullness of any joy, but the fullness of joy in Christ!

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Anxious Toil

Journal Entry // April 23, 2021

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Psalm 127:2 ESV

What does it mean to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? One indicator of how my life is oriented can be seen in this phrase, “eating the bread of anxious toil.” This is such a good and helpful picture to help reflect on my trust and rest in the Lord alone for all things.

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