Journal Entry // June 8, 2021
Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
Ecclesiastes 7:4 ESV
Mourning and Mirth. Sorrow and Amusement. It is not too difficult to discern which of these any person would rather experience. We would all rather have the daily experience of amusement over and above a daily experience of sorrow and mourning. Yet, the Preacher tells us plainly that the person who is wise will have their heart in the house of mourning.
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Journal Entry // January 1, 2023
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (ESV)
The beauty of heaven is pictured in this statement shouted with a loud voice from the throne of God. The loud voice begins by telling us to behold the scene that is to be set before us. This is a call for us to slow down and take notice of this momentous sight. The call to behold something is a call to stand in awe of something long-expected and glorious. The voice is declaring that what is about to be proclaimed is worthy not only of our intention but our undivided focused attention on the sight. What is this momentous sight that we are to behold? This call to attention is none other than the announcement that God himself has made his dwelling place among men. We are to behold this amazing sight in heaven of the Lord God of all creation among his people. He is in our midst. In heaven, our God will dwell among us and we will have unhindered fellowship together.
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Journal Entry // June 7, 2021
All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.
Ecclesiastes 6:7 ESV
Satisfaction… How is it that my toiling and striving and labor results in dissatisfaction? This statement and discussion by the Preacher is entirely spot on with how I have felt about my life over the last many years. I have had this insatiable desire prevalent in my every moment that will not allow me to enjoy the good things of this life. There has been a continual unhappiness with my present state at every point of life.
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Journal Entry // September 30, 2022
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (ESV)
Paul has learned and is passing on a valuable and important lesson to all of us in this particular verse. That lesson is simply having a proper holy perspective on life and the circumstances we each find ourselves. There is only one thing of importance. There is only one thing that truly matters. This one thing is the preeminent concern for each and every one of us. That concern is the surpassing worth of knowing Christ and being known by him. Christ alone is THE object of eternal value in this life. Everything else is to be counted as loss and even rubbish in comparison. The ultimate knowledge of Jesus Christ as my one and only Savior is the gain I should prize. The only true and lasting gain. The eternal reward of happiness and joy being found in Christ alone for all of eternity.
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Journal Entry // July 30, 2022
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (ESV)1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore… because of our victory through Christ and the hoped for surety of the resurrection of Christ and those he has chosen, Paul gives us this encouragement to stand firm through all the days of life. We are not striving toward some lofty goal that may never be realized. No, the goal has already been secured and the resurrection of Christ is our perpetual sign of victory achieved. With our victory secured, we can focus our full attention on the journey toward Christ in heaven. Steadfast, immovable, always abounding – these are the pictures of a life with focused intentionality on walking faithfully and working hard for the glory of Christ. Every moment we experience is yet another opportunity to experience God’s good pleasure. Adversity, trials, struggles, persecution, and suffering are all the opportunities to live out the fruit of this verse. Our character is proven in these difficult moments. Our humility is strengthened in these trials. We better understand our dependence upon the Lord when he strips everything else away and proves to us that Jesus is all we ever really need. So take these moments and be steadfast. Don’t just bear with the difficulty and suffer through it. No, these are the times to draw close to Jesus and experience peace and joy on a spiritual level, deep within our heart and soul.
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Journal Entry // July 28, 2022
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. (ESV)1 Corinthians 14:33a
I have been thinking a lot about my present situation and feeling the pressure of being overwhelmed with the amount of high level of uncertainty and confusion. I know that in my prayers I have often cried out that I am confused. That my mind is unable to handle all of the different pressure points that are pushing in on me consistently. Confusion in my mind has been leading me to despair and to a lack of hope. This confusion is always pushing me to lose faith in the goodness of God. Yet, God is not bringing about confusion. God is bringing about peace. Where there is confusion in my mind, there is only the sin of pride. The Father offers me peace in this time of confusion. He is the Lord of peace. He is sovereign. He is working in my life to conform me to the image of Christ. His goal and agenda is not secret nor is it hidden for all things are from him and through him and to him.
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Journal Entry // July 27, 2022
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (ESV)1 Corinthians 13:12
As I look out upon this world and see all of the challenges and difficulties that are present, I am tempted to groan in frustration or sigh in exasperation as I question the holy righteous plan of God. We are all deceived to believe that what we see here on this earth is all there is and that this present reality is the measure against the standard of good. We forget that we are looking into a mirror dimly. Paul did not have in mind a modern highly reflective and accurate mirror, but more likely a mirror made of polished metal. I want to take this dim reflection that I see and make it the accurate truth. The problem is that we now only know in part. We see things dimly. We misinterpret the workings of God as we view them from our self-centered humanistic standpoint.
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Journal Entry // July 16, 2022
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (ESV)Romans 12:12
This morning was one of those Bible reading times where I came across a verse that made me completely stop everything else and simply focus on what I just read. Eleven simple words that pretty much sums up the antidote to my current malaise. I have been struggling for quite a while with a lot of self-doubt, a lot of worry, a lot of guilt, a lot of anger, a lot of fear, a lot of shame, a lot of despair. It’s like my mind is stuck in this rut that I simply cannot get out of and the same patterns keep occurring and weighing me down. I lose hope and depression sinks in. But this verse challenged me this morning and is a great reminder of the power of Christ in my life.
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Journal Entry // May 9, 2021
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!Psalm 150:6 ESV
Positive and negative, praise and condemnation, light and dark, righteous and unrighteous, truth and lies, contentment and desire, love and hate, joy and sadness, peace and conflict, patience and anxiety, kindness and harmful, goodness and selfishness, faithfulness and betrayal, gentleness and harshness, self-control and covering.
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Journal Entry // April 29, 2021
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 ESV
Tribulation… This is what we can expect from the world. It’s not a matter of if there will be tribulation, it is only a matter of when and to what degree. The world will most assuredly bring tribulation into my life. But Jesus has overcome the world. He does not take away the trials and adversity, but he does take away the power. The world can only go as far as Jesus allows. He doesn’t shelter me from the storms of this world. No, just as he had to walk through adversity and hardship in his life, so too do I need to walk through the struggles.
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