And Peter

Journal Entry // March 5, 2022

But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”

Mark 16:7 ESV

As I read and remember the moments of Jesus final hours, my mind is drawn to Peter. I can identify with Peter in these final hours of Jesus’ life. Beginning with his great statement of faith proclaiming Jesus to be the Christ. A statement that Jesus honors him for in front of all the disciples. A statement that could only come from the revelation of God in Peter’s heart. To the next moment opposing the crucifixion of Christ and being compared to Satan. To abandoning Jesus during his arrest, the very moment he needed his friend. To denying Jesus three times, claiming that he did not even know the man. This is me. This is my heart. I feel those same highs and lows in my journey.

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Good Intentions

Journal Entry // March 3, 2022

But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.

Mark 14:31 ESV

The path to failure is paved with good intentions – my good intentions. For I am truly much like the disciples and their emphatic declaration of fidelity and solidarity. My mouth speaks utterances of faith and loyalty that my heart fails to fulfill. There is no lack of good intention in this statement by the disciples and I believe they truly meant what they said. In the moment, when there was no inclination that adversity would arise, the disciples were truly willing to die for Jesus. But when the crowd came to take him and the mob was angry and Jesus did not fight against them, the hearts of the disciples melted away in fear. And so they fled.

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Poverty Giving

Journal Entry // February 27, 2022

For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:44 ESV

Faith and trust in the Lord our God can be so easily measured and quantified if we take the time to really examine our actions working through the motives and intentions of our hearts. Granted, I don’t really enjoy this process of examination that looks beyond the veneer of immediate actions and delves into the motives behind those actions. These seemingly minor actions that I perform day in and day out are the gauges on the dashboard of my soul. Warning lights to indicate there is a deep heart issue that needs to be addressed. All wrapped up in this question, “Who am I trusting?”

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Unbelieving Belief

Journal Entry // February 26, 2022

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:24 ESV

I really love the sections of the gospels that give us a glimpse at the many varied encounters that people had with Jesus. These little snippets of conversations that provide so much insight into the heart of Jesus and reflect the attitude and tendencies of my own heart. The honest humble response of this man is truly amazing. It comes across in a quick read through as a bit nonsensical and so I tend to just take it in without much questioning. But really this tiny phrase speaks volumes about the state of my heart as I live this life of faith.

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Taking Offense

Journal Entry // February 19, 2022

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Mark 6:3 ESV

And they took offense at him… This is a painful statement to read about the heart attitude of the people of Nazareth that watched Jesus grow up into adulthood. They had a well defined notion of who Jesus was based on their experience in life of watching him grow and develop into a man. Jesus was already in a box of their own choosing and they would not allow him to change boxes or better yet let him destroy that box completely. He is the carpenter, not this miracle worker claiming to be the Son of God. So they took offense at him. They knew without a doubt the humanity of Jesus and they had no room in their heart for his divinity.

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Grieved to Anger

Journal Entry // February 15, 2022

And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

Mark 3:5 ESV

I really enjoy these passages where we are shown the emotions of Jesus. These snippets of his life that reveal his heart and in so doing reveals my heart as well. In this particular scene, we get to see the anger of Jesus. Not something I tend to think a lot about to be honest. I like to cast my mind onto the meek and mild Jesus. The gentle and lowly Jesus. The Jesus that seems to be ok with my little faith and propensity to sin. But here I get to witness his anger as he looks around the room and sees the hardness of the leaders’ hearts. What brought this anger, he was grieved.

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Throwing Mountains

Journal Entry // February 28, 2021

Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Mark 11:23 ESV

This sounds so simple. Ask for anything in prayer, without doubt, and it will be done for him. This is one of those passages where it is easy to move from being God centered to man centered. Where the gift is more important than the Giver. Yet Jesus tells us directly that the prayer of a believer whose heart is attuned to the Lord, will receive what he asks.

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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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Fiery Salt

Journal Entry // February 25, 2021

For everyone will be salted with fire.

Mark 9:49 ESV

It’s so easy to become despondent with fear or shame or guilt over sin. It is easy to let significant failures drown my mind and overwhelm my heart. It is easy to lose perspective and forget two important details.

First, Jesus came to bring salvation and forgiveness. He heals our wounded hearts and forgives our sins by taking the due penalty for them upon himself. I can rest assured that Jesus wants me to come to him weak and humble. To be fully aware of my sin and need of a Savior. To quite my striving and to rest my head on his chest. He will bring me peace and comfort as he brings forgiveness and repentance.

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Take Heart

Journal Entry // February 18, 2021

for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

Mark 6:50 ESV

As the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water in the middle of the night they became afraid. Really it was more than that. They were terrified because they thought he was a ghost. It’s interesting that they could all see him, but their conclusion about him was distorted. And this distortion led to a terrified fear. How often do I do the same thing with Christ. I see his hand moving in my life and become terrified when I lose control of a situation. Just like the disciples, I can recognize that Jesus is there, but surely it can’t be him. This Jesus is terrifying. This Jesus is leading me into places that are clearly unsafe and challenging. So I misinterpret who he is. I let fear overcome me. Not the healthy fear and trembling of awe and humility. But in the fear of being out of control and lack of understanding.

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