Light in the Darkness

Journal Entry // March 12, 2023

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (ESV)

Matthew 5:14

Just like the previous statement where Jesus declared his followers were salt, here too he makes a definitive declaration that those who have a renewed heart filled with faith and righteousness are the light of the world. It’s not that his followers can be a light or should be a light or even ought to be a light. No, Jesus is telling us that his disciples are lights. More than that, he is declaring that his people are THE light of the world. Without this light, the world would be in darkness. Just as Jesus declared that he was the light of the world, so too are his disciples as they are filled with the Holy Spirit and the righteousness of Christ.

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Come to the Banquet

Book Reflection // November 26, 2022 // View Series

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 7 // Mathew 22:1-14

Of the parables we have looked at thus far, this is may be the most straightforward and clear. It speaks of the gracious gospel invitation that God gives to each and every person along with the arrogant and prideful response of the men and women who received this invitation. At the heart of this message is a picture of God’s wrath and the eternal punishment in hell of those who refuse to come into the king’s presence wearing only the righteousness of Christ. This parable is a stern warning against our self-righteous folly and arrogant attempts to be our own God.

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Love in Truth

Journal Entry // November 23, 2022

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV)

1 John 3:18

What is the indicator that love permeates my heart? Is it the words that I speak or the actions I exhibit? I think that both are important to truly having love for your brothers and your neighbors. It is important to speak and talk to everyone in a loving way. It is also important to demonstrate my professed love with action and deeds. It is not enough to give verbal ascent to loving someone. It is minimalistic to only give words of love as we converse. I need to let love so permeate my heart that I demonstrate my profession with action. That I love both in my speech and in my deeds. This is the outworking and overflow of the love of Christ in me.

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Nearsighted Blindness

Journal Entry // November 19, 2022

For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (ESV)

2 Peter 1:9

The qualities that should supplement our faith that Peter is referring to in this passage are virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. These are the qualities that every believer should see being manifest in their life. These qualities should be present and growing in an ever-increasing abundance. They are the status indicators of our heart and soul that reveal to us our inner motivation and desires. They are important insights that need to be carefully reviewed and understood. For if we are lacking in these qualities and our faith is not being worked out and demonstrated with the fruit of these qualities, then we are blind. Blind to the truth of the gospel. Blind to the cleansing and washing away of our sin by the precious blood of Christ.

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The Praying Savior

Journal Entry // November 11, 2022

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (ESV)

Hebrews 7:25

Jesus “always lives to make intercession” for me. He is even now interceding for me before the throne of grace and inviting me to draw near to God. That through Christ, I can draw near to God and have fellowship and communion with the Holy One because Jesus has saved me to the uttermost. Even though I know this truth and I believe it fully, I find it extremely difficult to live this out on a daily basis. I find it unbelievable at times that through Jesus I can draw near to the Lord. I have been saved to the uttermost, but I still allow sin to cling to me. This clinging sin challenges my understanding of being saved to the uttermost. This habitual unrighteousness calls me a hypocrite when I want to draw near to Jesus. It is only the loving intercession of Jesus standing before the throne of God pleading for my soul that counters these lies with the truth. It is the perfect intentional consistent intercession of Jesus that pulls me back to the reality of my loving God who wants me to come to him. I have been saved to the uttermost and through Jesus I can be in the near presence of the Lord at all times.

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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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Apathy and Ignorance

Journal Entry // June 13, 2022

And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.”

Acts 24:25 ESV

Here in this passage is the response of Felix to the gospel of Christ being taught before him with reasoned explanations for righteousness, self-control, and judgement. Paul articulated the truths of the gospel in such a manner that Felix understood what was being said and the implications of his decision in response. So what was Felix to do with this gospel truth? He was alarmed. He knew that the truth of the gospel had brought him to a point of decision in which he could not vacillate. He needed to accept or reject this reasoned message. Yet, Felix chose to delay. He chose to put this truth out of his mind. Felix chose to send Paul away and remove from  his sight the messenger of this critical point of decision. He chose apathy and ignorance.

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Healthy Eyes

Journal Entry // March 20, 2022

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.

Luke 11:34 ESV

How I view the circumstances of my life and the world around me through the lens of the gospel is what this passage is getting at. My eye direcst and guides me through this world and as such, it informs and directs not only the content of what I allow to penetrate my body and mind but how I view these things from a spiritual perspective. It is essential that my eye is healthy. This allows my entire body to be full of light. To be full of the gospel of Christ. When my eye leads me astray and I begin to view the things around me from a worldly perspective, the darkness grows and swells within me.

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Taking Offense

Journal Entry // February 19, 2022

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Mark 6:3 ESV

And they took offense at him… This is a painful statement to read about the heart attitude of the people of Nazareth that watched Jesus grow up into adulthood. They had a well defined notion of who Jesus was based on their experience in life of watching him grow and develop into a man. Jesus was already in a box of their own choosing and they would not allow him to change boxes or better yet let him destroy that box completely. He is the carpenter, not this miracle worker claiming to be the Son of God. So they took offense at him. They knew without a doubt the humanity of Jesus and they had no room in their heart for his divinity.

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Tough Love

Journal Entry // January 9, 2022

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Matthew 5:43-44 ESV

Yet again Jesus brings his counter-cultural teaching to expose the self-centeredness of worldly wisdom and our sinful nature. We believe that since we are a modern society with advanced technology that we have everything figured out. But this statement from Jesus cuts just as deep and precise as it did 2,000 years ago. Do I love my enemies? Do I pray for those that persecute me? That sounds almost repugnant to my ears. Why in the world would I ever love my enemies and pray for them? It’s quite the opposite in fact. Like Jonah refusing to preach to the Ninevites, I want my enemies to taste the full wrath of God. It’s this heart attitude that Jesus speaks his gentle command of love and prayer for my enemies.

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