Full Joy

Journal Entry // April 30, 2022

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

John 15:11 ESV

What are these things that Jesus has spoken of to me? It is the importance of abiding in his love by obeying his commandments just as he abides in the love of the Father an obeys his commandments. The key to abiding in Christ is simply obedience. I want to overcomplicate this and focus on other good things that are also important, but if I am to abide in the love of Christ there is only obedience. How important is this principle? Abiding in the love of Christ through obedience is the source of joy in my life. Abiding in the love of Christ is the pathway of His joy being in me and consequently my joy then being full. Not just a measure of joy, but the fullness of joy. Not just the fullness of any joy, but the fullness of joy in Christ!

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Grumbling at Joy

Journal Entry // March 31, 2022

So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. [7] And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

Luke 19:6-7 ESV

Why did they all grumble at Jesus deciding to stay at the house of Zacchaeus? Here is an everyday example of Jesus deciding to stay with someone in their house and enjoy a meal together. I am sure that Jesus did this fairly regularly and spent time with a host in the various cities he visited. Why is it that this time, the author reveals that the crowd grumbled? Is it simply because he went into the house of a sinner? Or is it because Zacchaeus was a tax collector? A rich tax collector at that. So when Jesus saw the enthusiasm of this man that was seeking to just glance at him as he passed by, Jesus stopped and gave him the honor of hosting him and his disciples. An honor that was not lost on the crowd and the crowd was not pleased.

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Fear and Delight

Journal Entry // April 11, 2021

Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!

Psalm 112:1 ESV

This is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). The fear of the Lord always sounds like such a negative state to be in a relationship. We don’t like to think about fear being a part of a loving relationship, but it is probably more due to our lack of understanding of what fear means in a loving relationship.

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Urgent Fear and Joy

Journal Entry // February 13, 2022

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

Matthew 28:8 ESV

As I reflect on this passage, I see that there are three emotions that the two Marys carry with them after encountering the resurrection of Jesus. They have a sense of fear, a great joy and overwhelming urgency. These are typically the emotions we all have when we first encounter Jesus and his resurrection. Every new believer has a sense of fear, joy, and urgency all mixed together. The question I ask myself at this moment is, “Why do I not feel these now?”

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Thousand Elsewhere

Journal Entry // March 20, 2021

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.

Psalm 84:10 ESV

I want this verse to be true in my life. I know the truth of it and my heart yearns for the presence of the lord, but there is still within me this impulse that seduces me with lies about the grandeur of elsewhere. The lies that prick at my heart. The constant barrage of sights and sounds that tempt me to lust and covet. The lies that tell me it is better to have a thousand days elsewhere than just a single day in the presence of the Lord.

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Place of Abundance

Journal Entry // March 6, 2021

we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Psalm 66:12 ESV

Psalm 66 is an interestingly relevant study into my current metal state. There is a focus on the trials and adversity that the Psalmist remembers, but there is a dedication and hope about the present and the future. This is where the Lord is leading me. I think I have been so focused on the “fire” and “water” that my present has become clouded and muddied. I have placed too much emphasis on learning from my past mistakes and mulling over what has been lost to the detriment of seeing the hand of the Lord leading me to a place of abundance.

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Return to Harshness

Journal Entry // January 15, 2022

The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”

Genesis 16:9 ESV

Does God want me to be happy? That seems to be a constant question in my life as I work out my faith and move more towards Christ in holiness and obedience. For the path of obedience seems to be constantly in conflict with my happiness. Maybe a better way of phrasing that is that my perceived understanding of what will make me happy is typically in conflict with obedience in Christ. That’s where we find Hagar in this passage. Her mistress was treating her harshly, so she fled. Which is understandable and I would probably make the same decision. Yet God’s word to Hagar is the opposite of what I expect. Instead of meeting Hagar where she was and providing for her needs to move forward on this new path, God tells her to return to her mistress and the harsh mistreatment.

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Lacking Jesus

Journal Entry // February 27, 2021

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Mark 10:21-22 ESV

This encounter with Jesus has always been one of the most fascinating for me to read and reflect upon over the years. Each and every year, when I come to this story, I feel as though I have a different reaction. I typically see myself in this story and the story itself always illicits a response of some sort within me. This time it is deeply troubling to me.

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Moment and Lifetime

Journal Entry // February 6, 2021

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5 ESV

God’s love for me consists of both his favor and his anger. His anger is over soon in my life as it is but for a moment. His determination to see sin eradicated from my heart is the purpose of his anger. As a loving Father he knows that the sin in my heart, especially the sin that is hidden deep within my heart, is a barrier to my growth in holiness and hinders the closer intimate fellowship he shares with me through Christ. So he purposes to rid me of sin in my heart. His anger is aroused and stays but a moment.

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