Journal Entry // December 4, 2022
But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. (ESV)
This passage in Jude always catches my attention when it comes along in my yearly reading plan. I say that, because I don’t remember hearing any preaching/teaching on this passage or the letter of Jude very often. Even though this letter is only 25 verses there is a lot of helpful and challenging rebukes and exhortations. This one in verse 10 always makes me stop and contemplate how I, like the ungodly, am behaving and living as an unreasoning animal. It’s a vivid picture of a life based on basic instincts and feelings flowing out of a heart that is devoid of understanding the truth of God’s word. A life that blasphemes, belittles, or marginalizes the truth of God’s word and commandments. Like a wild animal, the person Jude is describing lives their life based solely on their feelings and their own understanding. They may even have a basic knowledge of God’s word that shapes their own personal level of morality, but it is not rooted and informed by the gospel. It is processed and filtered through their own instinctual and emotional internal systems that distort God’s truth into their own individual personal version of truth and morality. Seemingly living their life as their own master and god.
Continue reading “Unreasoning Animals”
Journal Entry // December 2, 2022
But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him. (ESV)
Reading the beginning of the story of Esther, we see the actions of king Ahasuerus set the stage for the focus of what is to come in the story and how this one incident leads to a sweeping change throughout the king’s land that brings pain, suffering, and death. It all begins with a small statement by the author that the king’s heart was merry with wine. I don’t know if it means he was drunk or just that he had lost some of his inhibitions through drinking. Whatever mental and physical state he was in, he decided to make his wife, the queen, an object for the viewing pleasure of his guests. There is this sense that the king wanted these men to be jealous of his beautiful queen as they lusted after her in front of him. So when the queen refuses, the king is moved from a place of superiority to these princes to one of embarrassment. And in his embarrassment, he becomes enraged with a burning anger. An anger fueled by the loss of his inhibitions and the rationality of a sober mind.
Continue reading “Jealous Pride”
Journal Entry // November 24, 2022
We love because he first loved us. (ESV)
1 John 4:19
The foundation of all that I truly am is found in these seven words. Because Jesus loves me, I can love others. Because Jesus loves me, I can love Him. The implication from these seven words is that without Him first loving me, I am unable to love Jesus or others. My heart was initially dead and hard as stone; unable to truly love anyone other than myself. But God changed all of that with the perfect satisfying love of Jesus. Jesus chose to love me. He chose to love me not because of what I had done or what I would one day do. No, despite my hard and stubborn heart toward his righteous law and commandments, Jesus laid his full attention on me and chose to let the object of his love be directed upon me. A rebellious sinner. He first loved me.
Continue reading “First Loved”
Journal Entry // November 12, 2022
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (ESV)
It is always interesting to see the pattern of phrases that God brings to my attention during these times of meditation and thought. This morning I sit and consider the words of Christ calling me to draw near to him. It is an important and essential part of following Christ, yet I find it challenging to draw near. Not because I don’t want to draw near but that I am too prideful and arrogant. Yesterday in Hebrews 7, I read that I was to draw near to God through Jesus as he continually prays for me. Now I read that I am to draw near with “a true heart in full assurance of faith.” Looking at the study notes in my Bible, it tells me that a true heart is one that has been cleansed and is in full submission to God. This is just another way of saying that I am to draw near to God through Christ in humility. That I am to rid myself of all the pride and arrogance that seeks to assert itself in my life and I am to clothe myself in humble submissiveness that brings my heart before the throne of grace and mercy.
Continue reading “A True Heart”
Journal Entry // November 05, 2022
When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him. (ESV)
2 Chronicles 12:1
With my own eyes I can look around at all the many blessings that the Lord has graciously provided and given to me out of his generous heart and see only my own strength and understanding being the source. In my self-righteousness and pride, I take what has been freely given to me through the hand of God and convince myself and others that it is by my own hand that all these good things have come to pass. I slowly move from a heart filled with gratitude and thankfulness to the One who provides to a heart devoid of thanksgiving and replace it with only arrogance and self-adulation. And as my heart begins to turn inward and my world begins to center solely on myself, I end up in the same place as Rehoboam does. For once Rehoboam had received the kingdom and his rule had been established, he did not rejoice and bask in the mighty works of God. No, he abandoned the law of the Lord. Rehoboam walked away from the One who had given him the promise and fulfilled this same promise. Rehoboam moved from trusting God to trusting in himself.
Continue reading “Established and Firm”
Journal Entry // November 1, 2022
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (ESV)
When the writer of Hebrews talks about the people in the days of Joshua not entering God’s rest because of disobedience, he challenges us not to fall into the same trap. The writer wants us to strive to enter God’s rest. What is this striving that we must wrestle with? It is nothing more than understanding the weakness of our flesh and a call to humility. This striving is not a call to work harder or try harder to be perfect and impress our holy God. No, this is a call to let the word of God penetrate our hearts and soul and bring about an understanding of the still remaining sin that is at work in our lives. To see our sin and repent by faith. Then… we can have this confidence to draw near to Christ and receive mercy and grace. There is no need to perform an act of penance. There is no room for making myself right before Christ. There is only Jesus sitting on his throne of grace. He alone will freely give grace and mercy to the humble. Those who are confessing and repenting and understanding the weakness of their flesh and their complete need for a loving Savior are the ones that can have this confidence. A humble confidence that the One who saved them is the one who will cover them with grace and mercy and love.
Continue reading “Humble Confidence”
Journal Entry// May 26, 2021
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.
Proverbs 21:2 ESV
How do we discern the rightness of our ways? It is true that in every decision there is a level of acknowledgement that what I am doing seems right. That I typically choose my every step based on the rightness of it in my understanding. There are going to be times where I choose something I know isn’t right, but even then I provide a sense of rightness to the decision even if I have to lie to myself.
Continue reading “Weigh Your Heart”
Journal Entry // May 12, 2021
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 ESV
There is an inherent danger in seeking knowledge without wisdom. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge itself will lead to a heart puffed up with pride and self-reliance. This knowledge seeking is highly valued by the world and is seen as a mark of success. It’s a knowledge that is demonstrated and performed for the world around in order to bring praise and honor to the self. Breeding pride and arrogance in a person’s heart. Teaching them to rely only on their own understanding.
Continue reading “Heart Full of Wisdom”
Book Reflection // August 6, 2022 // View the Series
The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice
Chapter 1 // Matthew 13:1-23
In this book by Boice, he classifies this parable as one dealing with the Kingdom of God. In particular he marks this particular parable as unique in this category since it is dealing more so with the origin of the Kingdom. Meaning that this specific parable is focused more on the beginnings of the spreading of the grace and gospel of Christ throughout the world. The uniqueness of this parable is that Jesus uses the picture of seeds being scattered and planted in different types of soil to represent the different stages of readiness to receive the gospel message of hope and salvation – hard heart, shallow heart, strangled heart, and an open heart.
Continue reading “The Seed and the Soil”
Journal Entry // August 4, 2022
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (ESV)2 Corinthians 3:17
Freedom… The Spirit brings freedom to the lives of those where he abides. What is this freedom that the Spirit brings? It is freedom from the slavery of sin. It is freedom from guilt and shame. Where the Spirit resides, there is now no condemnation for that person. The Spirit brings the glory of God to live in the hearts of men and women enabling them to say no to sin and yes to obedience. For this is truly the freedom of which is mentioned here. The freedom to obey the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Freedom to choose the good and reject the evil. Freedom to live a life of humility and obedience to the Lord. Freedom to love God and love people in righteousness and purity.
Continue reading “Holy Freedom”