Hidden Mercy

Journal Entry // February 20, 2022

But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.

Exodus 13:18 ESV

The mercies of the Lord sometimes seem not quite so merciful when we are experiencing them, but our heavenly Father is full of ever increasing mercies in dealing with his children. On first reading, this seems a bit harsh to see that the Lord is going to lead the people on the longer route through the wilderness and toward the Red Sea. We might be tempted to question why the people had to be led through the longer harsher route. The previous verse tells us that God led them this way because if they went the shorter route through the land of the Philistines, the people were not prepared for war and would be tempted to flee back to Egypt.

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Humble Prayers

Journal Entry // February 16, 2022

So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD. And the LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; not one remained.

Exodus 8:30-31 ESV

There is always so many interesting and intriguing aspects to the account of the Exodus. It brings to life the character of God and the sinfulness of man so vividly. You can read through this account as you would any story and walk away thoroughly satisfied with the tale. If this is your normal reading then you are missing so much. I miss so much most of the time, even when I’m reading it slow and contemplating what God is revealing. There is something to learn from all four main characters (Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh, God) and sometimes I’m not ready to see and learn. Then sometimes, like today, I see things that have escaped my attention through the many other readings.

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False Appearances

Journal Entry // February 5, 2022

So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Matthew 23:28 ESV

The mask of righteousness is a dangerous and addictive lie and deception that will ultimately bring about our downfall without true spiritual, heart changing correction. This mask of righteousness that we wear is all about self-righteousness and the approval of people. We wear this mask because we desire the approval of man above the approval of God. We want people to like and approve of us to the point that we want to remove the righteousness of Christ that covers us and expose our inward hypocrisy and lawlessness. In so doing, we must then cover ourselves with this mask of outward appearance of personal righteousness. Performing for the crowds, but allowing sin to run rampant inside.

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Sinking Doubt

Journal Entry // January 22, 2023

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:31 ESV

This section of Matthew (14:22-33) is the most meaningful and personal passage of God’s word in my life. The impact of this passage upon the direction of my life goes back 25 years. Every word has a special place in my heart and continues to speak deep into my soul each and every time I read it. This passage mirrors my last 25 years of life as well. A story that led me to “walk on water” with Jesus, then taking my eyes off him and begining to sink, followed by crying out to Jesus for salvation, and Jesus then rescuing me and putting me safely back on the boat. Now… This question echoes in my mind, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

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Easy and Light

Journal Entry // January 19, 2022

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:30 ESV

My feelings are a curious part of me. How I perceive and interpret the world around me is influenced by my feelings and my emotions. The reality of truth is easily distorted through the lens of my feelings or at least how I think I’m feeling. This verse is one that trips me up along the path. This verse is simple and easy to understand. This statement from Jesus is there to bring me comfort and to draw me into his very heart. Yet, I don’t always feel the truth of this statement.

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Righteous Humility

Journal Entry // December 21, 2021

Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD.

Zephaniah 2:3 ESV

Seek the Lord… How? Through righteousness and humility. The path to the Lord is one of righteous humility. And who is it that are called to seek the Lord? The humble and obedient. They are to continue on as they are doing by digging deeper into righteous humility. Are you humbled? Keep seeking humility. Are you obedient? Keep seeking righteousness. The encouragement is to not become complacent. The work of faith continues moving forward toward the Lord. Keep seeking the Lord.

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Turn My Face

Journal Entry // November 12, 2021

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.

Daniel 9:3 ESV

How am I to reach a point in my faith, where I too can be so overcome with emotion and passion for the glory of God in my life that I humble myself before the Lord? Daniel comes away from his Bible study with understanding from the book of Jeremiah that their captivity was to last 70 years. His immediate response is humility and in his anguish he seeks the author and perfector of our faith.

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The Foremost Sinner

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

1 Timothy 1:15 ESV

Humility. This is seemingly written on every page of the Bible in some form of fashion. Paul is speaking to Timothy (and to me) about not only the necessity of humility in this life, but it’s basic underlying truth of our salvation. The secret to Paul’s intimate relationship with Christ is that he never forgets what his fleshly nature is… A sinner… The foremost of sinners. And as Paul continued to mature in his faith and God continued to grant him revelation and deeper intimacy, his humility was strengthened alongside. God worked humility in Paul’s heart even as the gifts and blessings abounded in his life.

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Hard Forehead & Stubborn Heart

Ezekiel 3:7 ESV

But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart.

As I’ve been thinking about this verse, there are a couple of perspectives that I can take to view this passage. I initially put this in the frame of reference of me being in the place of Ezekiel. That as the Lord brings opportunities for me to share his word of truth and speak into the lives of people, I should not be surprised when the words I speak are not heard or taken into account. That the rejection coming from my speaking God’s truth does not ultimately reflect on that person rejecting me, but on their rejection of God himself. It is my responsibility to speak God’s truth in obedience to his leading. It is not my responsibility to bring about change in a person’s life. Only God can change a person’s heart and bring about repentance and humility.

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Make Worthy

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,

2 Thessalonians 1:11 ESV

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy were always praying that God would make the people at the church of Thessalonica worthy of his calling. They were always praying this together for these followers of Christ. I don’t know how often I actually pray that for myself, let alone my fellow believers. A continual prayer to make me worthy of God’s calling seems daunting to be honest.

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