To Gain Christ

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)

Philippians 3:8

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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Resurrection Reminder

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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Peace in Confusion

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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Dim Mirrors

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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Holy Mindset

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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God’s Remedy

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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Peaceful Tribulation

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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Not of This World

Journal Entry // May 7, 2022

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

John 18:36 ESV

“My kingdom is not of this world.” This is the truth that should be shaping my understanding of this present world and my place in it. The kingdom of God is not of this world. To be sure, the Lord is bringing his kingdom into this world but his kingdom is not of this world. Then why do I continually try to build my own kingdom in this world? Why do I set my every thought and emotion upon the things of this world without even a moment of pondering the vastness of God’s kingdom above. This world seduces me into the continual lie that everything I see has been and always will be. The lie that there is nothing else. The lie that I should enjoy the offerings of the world, because when I die there is nothing else. And I continually believe this lie. I too easily forget that the Kingdom of God is not of this world.

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Flourishing Plants

Journal Entry // March 27, 2021

They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.

Psalm 92:13 ESV

I think I am identifying with these plant analogies because I have been working in our garden the last couple of weeks. The more I really think on this picture the more I am amazed at the glorious truth of the gospel working in my life. I am sitting at my table looking out the window over my recently planted garden and there are a few thoughts that spring into mind.

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Sure Footed

Journal Entry // December 19, 2021

GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.

Habakkuk 3:19 ESV

This message from Habakkuk moves from questioning God with complaints about his purposes in this world to humble reliance upon the grace and mercy of the Lord. This last portion of the message is always so encouraging to me. Habakkuk begins this portion by listing off the different struggles that threaten life in his day. Fig trees not blossoming, no fruit on the vine, no olives, no harvest from the field, the flock and herd are no more. These are the personal disasters of my life pilling up on one on another. So that not only does today bring challenge and trouble, but the future is now in doubt as well. I feel this with Habakkuk and I understand and experience this worry with him – an anxiousness for the future.

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