God’s Kingdom Consummated

Book Reflection // August 27, 2022

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 4 // Matthew 13:47-52

These parables that we have been looking at for the past few weeks have not only the common theme of describing the kingdom of God, but they also share repetitive points. Jesus uses repetition in a lot of his teaching and it is no different in this set of parables found in Matthew 13. There are very few points mentioned in any of the previous parables that are not also mentioned in one of the others. The parable before us today is focused on the new imagery of fishing but is making the same points as that of the wheat and tares growing together.

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Walk As You Were Taught

Journal Entry // August 23, 2022

Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ (ESV)

1 Kings 8:25

I have always found comfort in the life of David because of passages like this one in 1 Kings where Solomon is praying to the Lord at the dedication of the temple. This promise that the Lord made to David is filled with many points of interest to meditate on, but I find the last portion to be so intriguing and challenging. The example that the sons of David should follow was the life of David. As I have just finished reading through the life of David in 1 and 2 Samuel, I find this promise interesting as David did not live a perfect life. By no means did he live a perfect life. Yet, the thing that David did well was humility and repentance. David’s steadfast trust in the Lord and the understanding of his weakness and dependence upon the Lord is the model his sons should emulate. Not only them but me as well.

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Week 34, 2022

Week Thirty-four 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.

“A professing covenant people are under greatest obligations to glorify God, which is done by their faithful obedience to his commands.”
– Samuel Willard (1640-1707)

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People of the Kingdom

Book Reflection // August 20, 2022

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 3 // Matthew 13:44-46

The parables put before us now are examples of the doctrines of election and irresistible grace. There is often a misunderstanding that comes along with these two doctrines. One is that God will drag the reluctant sinner against his wishes into heaven and the second being that God will deny salvation to someone who truly seeks him. These two parables are set against both of these mischaracterizations as they demonstrate that the first and necessary step in salvation is a new heart or regeneration by God alone. Only a sinner that has been given a new heart will then have a new desire for Christ and seeing the immense value of Jesus, that person will lose everything to simply have Jesus.

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Heart Engagement

Journal Entry // August 12, 2022

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. (ESV)

2 Corinthians 10:3

What is the misunderstanding that we all make as we make our journey through this world in the light of the gospel of Christ? It is typically that we will often wage war according to the flesh. What I mean by this is that we want to be obedient in our actions as we walk in the flesh and demonstrate our love for Christ through this obedience. This is absolutely good and right. If we love Christ, we will obey his commandments. Where we fail is that we aim to do this through the flesh and not the Spirit. We are led by our self-righteousness and make judgements about others without any consideration of their heart and the leading of Christ through the Spirit. We wage war with the world and with each other according to the flesh using our own understanding as the arbiter of righteousness instead of the Word of God.

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Week 33, 2022

Week Thirty-three 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.

“It infinitely concerns all men to make a sure work about their salvation, for when they die they will be great losers; they will lose not only their comforts on earth, but also the joys of heaven, without any hope of recovery.”
– John Jackson (1600-1648)

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The Work of the Enemy

Book Reflection // August 13, 2022

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 2 // Matthew 13:24-43

Just like the previous parable that focused on the different types of soil that receive the gospel seed, Boice classifies this triplet of parables as dealing once again with the Kingdom of God. In this section Boice takes a bit of a different approach than what I have heard in the past and what I have seen in my small circle of Christian influence. Boice groups these three parables (weeds, mustard seed, and leaven) as speaking directly about the influence and work of evil in the Kingdom of God as it spreads throughout the world. These parables highlight the work of the enemy in our lives and the life of the church. Jesus tells us these parables to highlight the strategies and designs of our enemy to infiltrate, influence, and ultimately hinder the work of God in this world.

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Abounding & Sufficient

Journal Entry // August 11, 2022

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (ESV)

2 Corinthians 9:8

There is a lot going on in this short verse found in a discussion about generosity and giving with thankfulness. The fullness of God is what Paul is reiterating and emphasizing so that we don’t miss the point. That point being that our God is the Lord Almighty and he is the giver of all good things. Look at the fullness Paul describes: ALL grace abound, ALL sufficiency, in ALL things, at ALL times, EVERY good work. This is not the way we often think about our current situation and the provisions that God has given us. We often grumble and complain and bemoan the circumstances and situations that we are in. We often look at other people and see how richly God has blessed them as opposed to our meagerness. We don’t really take this verse to heart and truly understand that God is able to make all grace abound to us. All grace. Not just a few drops, but an overwhelming flood of grace that will bring us to our knees in thanksgiving and praise.

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Jars of Humility

Journal Entry // August 5, 2022

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (ESV)

2 Corinthians 4:7

These jars of clay, a representation of the frailty and weakness of our bodies, have within them the most precious and costly treasure, the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ. Our bodies, which are prone to corruption and the effects of sin, are the chosen storage vessels of this most important and beautiful message. My weakness is on display all the time. This simple jar of clay is so fragile of a vessel for the Spirit of God to abide. Yet, God chooses to unite himself with his children and inhabit the heart of these weak and frail jars of clay. This naturally leads us to ask the question, “Why?” The answer is simple enough. The display of God’s strength and surpassing power is on display in the lives of these weak and frail jars of clay. The weakness of my flesh allows for the power of Christ to be at work and on display daily in my life as he pours out grace and mercy into my heart and works this same grace and mercy through me into the lives of others.

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Week 32, 2022

Week Thirty-two 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 happiness which the Lord Jesus procured for believers, includes a perfect freedom from sin, and all afflictive evils, their just consequence, and the fruition of righteousness, peace and joy, in which the kingdom of God consists.”
– William Bridge (1600-1670)

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