Easy Answers

Journal Entry // September 5, 2022

This is a light thing in the sight of the LORD. He will also give the Moabites into your hand, (ESV)

2 Kings 3:18

There are so many instances of the Lord providing miraculous answers to prayers and requests that they seem to wash over me as I read through both the Old and New Testaments. The miracles that are presented in the Word of God are plentiful enough but I seem to have lost my sense of wonder and amazement at them all. I don’t know if it’s because I have read these stories multiple times and they have become expected and therefore ordinary or if I have let a modern mindset creep into my head and bring with it a bit of skepticism and doubt. As I contemplate this thought I begin to think it is more of a lack of faith on my part. I read about these amazing miracles in the Bible and I am encouraged to see the ways that God provides for his people but then I think upon my own heart and feel that same old doubt creep in. Not that I doubt God can still provide, but I doubt that he will provide particularly for me in a specific and particular answer.

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Good Work

Journal Entry // September 2, 2022

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)

Philippians 1:6

There are several deep spiritual truths in this single verse that would necessarily cause me to spend hours contemplating the work of Christ in my life. This morning I am thinking through the “good work” that Christ has begun in me. A work that will not be completed until the day Christ returns and makes all things new. This good that is being worked in me is not being carried out in my strength but in the power and direction of Christ. This work is for my good and his glory. Each and every detail of my journey through this life is essential and unique. I say this to mean that the good work that Christ is bringing to completion in me will necessarily take different twists and turns. The circumstances that I encounter are not going to be like the circumstances of my closest friend. The Lord has determined what is best to bring about this good work through Christ working in me. I can be sure of one thing through this process. I can be sure that it is not in vain. Life is not meaningless or pointless or worthless. Life is precious. Life is this good work of salvation working in and through me to make me more like Christ each and every day. This process will carry on until that day of Jesus Christ. Until that day where I am face to face with my Savior.

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Week 36, 2022

Week Thirty-six 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 Spirit of God is not the fruit of our prayers, but our prayers are the fruit of God’s Spirit.”
– Ralph Brownrig, Repentance and Prayer

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A Lost Sheep, A Lost Coin, A Lost Son

Book Reflection // September 3, 2022

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 5 // Luke 15:1-32

Starting with the chapter we are in today, we are moving into a section of parables that Boice collectively refers to as the Parables of Salvation. This section of parables will focus on the different aspects and features of salvation that Jesus relays to us through these particular parables. This passage from Luke may be the most well-known set of three parables that deal with salvation as Jesus talks about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. Although these three parables can be studied and considered on their own, they are meant to be taken together to get a more complete picture of the message Jesus is stating. There are four points to consider when looking at these parables together: the value of the lost object, the attitude of the owner/father, the nature of the recovery, and the problem with the older son.

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Exposing Darkness

Journal Entry // August 31, 2022

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (ESV)

Ephesians 5:11

What is the essential factor in our everyday battle against sin and darkness? The key element of our walk with Christ is to expose the unfruitful works of darkness. We are to bring into the light those thoughts, words, actions, habits, mindsets, desires, and pleasures that are kept hidden away in the secret dark crevices of our hearts. We are not to be complicit or engage with these unfruitful works but to expose them. We are to expose them to ourselves, to a trusted friend, to church leadership, and to Christ. We should first start with ourselves and with Christ, then bring in others as we find ourselves in need of accountability and correction. The key action here is to expose the darkness in our hearts so that it no longer remains hidden or obscured. We need to expose these dark unfruitful works that are secret and private and bring them into the light of Christ. Exposing them to the gospel and letting Christ bring transformational forgiveness through our repentance.

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Arise and Eat

Journal Entry // August 30, 2022

1 Kings 19:5

And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” (ESV)

At this point in the story Elijah has concluded that his journey as a prophet is at an end or maybe that he wants it to be at an end. So when his life was threatened, he ran and hide himself. In his hiding place, he asked that the Lord take his life as he had had enough and was ready to be finished. So, in his despair and fear he sought isolation and in his isolation he sought for an escape from the frightful thoughts that only brought anxiety. The escape he found was in sleep. He lay down and slept under the broom tree. The Lord sent an angel to feed and encourage him, but Elijah once again chose sleep once he was fed. The Lord sent an angel a second time to feed him in preparation for his next journey. You can see that Elijah is at the end of his mental and physical limit or at least he believes he is at the limit. The Lord wants to stretch him more and begins preparing him for the journey even when Elijah himself will not. The kindness and goodness of the Lord is on display for Elijah to awaken and rejoice. Yet, Elijah chooses to escape through sleep and there avoid any action or responsibility that is required of him.

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Far More Abundantly

Journal Entry // August 29, 2022

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, (ESV)

Ephesians 3:20

My faith is so incredibly small and limited when it comes to truly understanding the power of the Spirit at work within me, the abundance of grace available through Christ, and the immeasurable riches of kindness that the Father lavishes upon me each and every day. My scope of comprehending the love of God for me and the depth of his care is so very limited by my inability to remember that the one who dwells within me is the same one who has created and continues to uphold everything that I see. He is able to do far more abundantly than I think or ask. He is more powerful, wonderful, and kind than I can imagine. I want to limit him as I think about what is possible as I place human restrictions on an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God. I need to step back from my weak misguided fears and anxieties and look to the one who is perfect and true. The one who truly loves me. The only one who is able to not only fulfill all his promises but the One who loves me and cares for me perfectly.

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Immeasurable Riches

Journal Entry // August 28, 2022

so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

Ephesians 2:7

It is a far too easy process to forget the reason and motivation for God extending his rich mercy and kindness upon the “children of wrath” that once lived only in the passions of the flesh and carried out the desires of the body and mind. We are quick to lose sight of this basic understanding of who we were before the love of God took hold of us and lavished upon us the richness of God’s mercy and grace through Christ. That in his rich mercy, God made us alive together with Christ. He took what was dead and breathed the life of the Spirit into our bodies and made us alive. Awakening our hearts to the beauty and magnificence of Christ alone. Why did he do this? God extended his abundance of riches in mercy to us so that we should be a display of his immeasurable riches of grace and kindness in Christ. For all eternity, those who have received this rich and free gift of mercy will be a living testimony to the greatness, kindness, and love of Christ for us. His grace will be the ultimate picture displaying the character of God to a world filled with the “children of wrath,” which we were once considered.

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Presentation Errors

Journal Entry // August 26, 2022

It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. (ESV)

Galatians 6:12

We are all tempted at various points in our life to “make a good showing” with how we present ourselves to everyone around us. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that we will default to this heart attitude if we are not intentionally seeking to daily examine ourselves by the word of Christ through the Spirit that dwells within us. The error we so easily slip into is that we would much rather be accepted than ridiculed. We would much rather be praised than persecuted. We would much rather be seen as modern and enlightened than holy and full of the Spirit. We would never say it that way and we would surely present it as a form of holiness, but nevertheless, we find that it is easier to swim along with the current of modernity than to swim in the current of righteousness. We want to be well thought of and have our name lifted up in the different spheres of influence in our lives and we sacrifice the one thing that can bring us satisfaction and joy. Only Christ knows us and values us. Only Christ loves us and rescues us. Only Christ can bring true acceptance and joy in this life. Is he not worth the struggle against the deception and lies of this world?

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Week 35, 2022

Week Thirty-five 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.

“Faith is the wedding ring in which we have pledged ourselves to Christ.”
– Martin Luther

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