Spirit Provoked

Journal Entry // May 30, 2022

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.

Acts 17:16 ESV

There is a feeling of disappointment within myself when I read this passage about Paul travelling to Athens as he was fleeing persecution in Berea and Thessalonica. Here was a man who had been called by the Lord to preach the good news of the resurrection of Christ in all the world. A man that knew his calling and was passionate about being obedient. It would be easy to think that he could simply perform his calling and duty without really engaging his heart in the matter.  I think of Jonah in this way, as he was forced to preach to the Ninevites even while he hoped for their destruction. That is not Paul’s way. I can’t remember all the adversity he’s encountered so far, but I know he has been stoned and left for dead. He has just fled back to back cities because they were seeking to kill him. I would think he would lay low and wait for his friends to arrive. Just rest and take it easy. But this was not Paul. Paul was always engaging his heart and mind for the glory of God.

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Grumbling at Joy

Journal Entry // March 31, 2022

So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. [7] And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

Luke 19:6-7 ESV

Why did they all grumble at Jesus deciding to stay at the house of Zacchaeus? Here is an everyday example of Jesus deciding to stay with someone in their house and enjoy a meal together. I am sure that Jesus did this fairly regularly and spent time with a host in the various cities he visited. Why is it that this time, the author reveals that the crowd grumbled? Is it simply because he went into the house of a sinner? Or is it because Zacchaeus was a tax collector? A rich tax collector at that. So when Jesus saw the enthusiasm of this man that was seeking to just glance at him as he passed by, Jesus stopped and gave him the honor of hosting him and his disciples. An honor that was not lost on the crowd and the crowd was not pleased.

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Drawing Near

Journal Entry // March 26, 2022

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.

Luke 15:1 ESV

Am I offended by this statement as the leaders and teachers were when Jesus was ministering among the people? Mentally, I ascent to this statement and fully endorse the compassion and sensitivity that Jesus was showing to the crowds and understand that the lost and hurting were drawn to him because of his compassion and love. In practice, I am not so sure that I live out this same compassion and love toward sinners and those in need. Are those in need of Jesus drawn to me and my life? Am I putting myself in situations and opportunities to be around those who are vulnerable and in need? I know that I want to be this person that so models the life of Christ and the Spirit flowing out of me that the hurting are drawn to me. Yet, I feel I am lacking in this area of ministry. I am slow to leave my comfort areas that continue to give me a false sense of security.

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Taking Offense

Journal Entry // March 17, 2022

Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”

Luke 7:39 ESV

This passage stings quite a bit when I work through the thoughts I had as I was reading this chapter. First, the centurion is praised for his great faith and Jesus healed his servant without being near to them. Second, Jesus had compassion on a grieving mother and brought her son back to life as the funeral procession moved through. Third, we see Jesus strengthen the faith of John the Baptist by having his followers report all that they have witnessed. So as I arrived at this passage, I was thinking about how easy it is for even the faithful to have doubts and lose their way. I was beginning to question my heart and wonder if my heart was like this. Is my heart questioning and doubting the words of Jesus? Do I find him offensive at times?

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