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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Hour Watch

Journal Entry // February 9, 2022

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?

Matthew 26:40 ESV

Oftentimes I identify with Peter on so many levels. Sometimes I can see myself in his enthusiasm and brashness. Other times I see my own weakness in his failings and mistakes. In this passage Jesus has just told all the disciples that they would all fall away. Peter, leading the way, makes a boisterous commitment to stay by his side, even if that means death. Jesus, in his sorrow, pulls away from the crowd and separates his disciples, taking Peter, James, and John with him to watch and pray.

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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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Impossible to Possible

Journal Entry // January 31, 2022

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26 ESV

“All things are possible.” My little faih struggles with the truth of this statement. I want to believe and trust that all things are possible with God. Actually, I realize I am reading this statement wrong. I read “all things are possible” and my mind translates this to be “God will give you all things”. This is not what Jesus was saying. Can God make the impossible possible? Of course. God is sovereign and reigns over all creation. All things are absolutely possible for God. But not all things will be done as I wish them to be.

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Little Faith

Journal Entry // January 30, 2022

But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?

Matthew 16:8 ESV

“O you of little faith” has once again come from my reading and into my heart. Especially penetrating this week because I have been feeling the smallness of my own faith. Like the disciples, I too can so easily forget all the many wonders and blessings of the Lord in my life. I can forget the amazing miracle of feeding 5,000+ with a few loaves and then worry that I don’t have enough bread for today. I forget that my Father loves and cares for me. I forget all his provision and steadfastness in my life. I worry and fret over the most mundane and simple things.

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Great Faith

Journal Entry // January 25, 2022

Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Matthew 15:28 ESV

In contrast to Peter being told that his faith was little, Jesus here praises a Canaanite woman for her great faith. A woman who sought Jesus, cried out to him continually, was ignored, was being sent away, was reminded that she was a foreigner, and was compared to a dog. What was her response? Humility. Pointing out that even the dog eats the crumbs from its master’s table and that the Lord is compassionate and merciful to all people.

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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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Sleeping God

Journal Entry // January 16, 2022

And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”

Matthew 8:24-25 ESV

Doesn’t this story seem so familiar? I know that I have felt this first sentence so many times over the past two years. The great storm rising up in my life and threatening to undo me. Followed closely by me accusing Jesus of being uncaring and unloving or indifferent to me in this situation. My faith… My weak faith falters at these critical moments and I quickly turn to accusations out of misplaced fear.

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Tough Love

Journal Entry // January 9, 2022

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Matthew 5:43-44 ESV

Yet again Jesus brings his counter-cultural teaching to expose the self-centeredness of worldly wisdom and our sinful nature. We believe that since we are a modern society with advanced technology that we have everything figured out. But this statement from Jesus cuts just as deep and precise as it did 2,000 years ago. Do I love my enemies? Do I pray for those that persecute me? That sounds almost repugnant to my ears. Why in the world would I ever love my enemies and pray for them? It’s quite the opposite in fact. Like Jonah refusing to preach to the Ninevites, I want my enemies to taste the full wrath of God. It’s this heart attitude that Jesus speaks his gentle command of love and prayer for my enemies.

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