Abide Together

Journal Entry // April 28, 2021

Abide in me, and I in you.

John 15:4 ESV

“Abide in me” and “Abide in my love” is clearly the primary theme of this chapter in John where Jesus gives us the great picture of our relationship as a vine and branches. I am interested in his teaching about the indwelling of God with the believer. I tend to really only think about this as a one-way abiding. That the Spirit comes to dwell in my heart and my life is changed as a result. But Jesus clearly teaches that not only does God come and dwell within me, but I too am to come and dwell or abide in him.

Continue reading “Abide Together”

Home in My Heart

Journal Entry // April 27, 2021

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

John 14:23 ESV

Obedience is the natural outward inclination of a renewed and loving heart turned toward the Lord. If I truly love the Lord, then I will readily find obedience expressing itself in humble reliance upon the one I love. And the one I love, he will come and make their home with me. The Father, Son, and Spirit will make my heart his home and dwelling place.

Continue reading “Home in My Heart”

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!

Continue reading “Full Joy”

Crowd Demands

Journal Entry // April 6, 2022

So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted.

Luke 23:24 ESV

I always find the story of Pilate interesting. As I read these portions of the story in the Gospels that present Pilate to us, I see this duality in him that seems to make him sway back and forth in doing the right thing. On the one hand he can readily see that Jesus is innocent of any crime that deserves death, but on the other hand his cruelty enjoys making a mockery of any prisoner. He seemingly has a conviction of truth that he has determined as judge, yet is so fearful of what everyone thinks about him that he determines to let the crowd decide the fate of Jesus and give over his authority. In the name of “peace,” Pilate sided with the leaders and rulers of the people – the ones in power – instead of being brave and performing his duty as judge. His fear of man was greater than his fear of the Lord.

Continue reading “Crowd Demands”

Not Spurned or Abhored

Journal Entry // April 2, 2022

Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the LORD their God.

Leviticus 26:44 ESV

At times the hand of the Lord seems heavy upon my heart. There is this sense of judgement or punishment that comes from the weight of sin and burden that is being carried upon my shoulders. As the Lord leads me into these dry and arid times of wandering in the desert, it can feel as though the Lord has left me. That the burden of my sin has caused him to spurn me and forsake me. The enemy whispers in my ears that my sin is far too great for the Lord to ever draw near to me. The enemy continually tells me lies. He continues to deceive me. My enemy knows that I am in his land and this enemy wants to assert authority over me. My enemy wants me to curse God and turn from him. The enemy lies and tells me to unleash my burden by turning my back on the Lord, since the Lord has turned his back on me. These lies are powerful in their deception and speak to my heart through pride and self-righteousness.

Continue reading “Not Spurned or Abhored”

Motivated to Holiness

Journal Entry // March 29, 2022

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [2] “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

Leviticus 19:1-2 ESV

“I am the Lord your God.” Over and over, again and again this is the phrase that God ends his call to be faithful and obedient to his laws and commandments. I feel like I am continually looking for the right motivation or the proper desire to be obedient. I want to dig deep within myself and stir up faithfulness and obedience. It’s like I am working to convince myself that being obedient to the laws and commandments of God is the right and proper thing to do. I miss the simple reasoning of my Father, “I am the Lord your God.”

Continue reading “Motivated to Holiness”

Grudging Obedience

Journal Entry // March 11, 2022

And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”

Luke 5:5 ESV

How often do I have this same reaction that Peter does to the command of Jesus. It is a simple matter of trust and obedience, yet I find it so extremely difficult at times to believe that Jesus actually knows what he is doing. Think about this passage. Peter was a professional fisherman who had just finished a night of fishing with his partners with no results. He was probably tired and on edge since they did not catch anything all night. As they are cleaning the nets and preparing to leave, Jesus comes over and tells him to go out to the deep part of the water and cast his net. I can almost hear the incredulous snickers coming from his partners behind Peter. Here is a carpenter/teacher telling trained professional fisherman how to catch fish. It sounds absurd. And that is Peter’s response. And mine…

Continue reading “Grudging Obedience”

Week 09, 2022

Week nine of Cultivate Delight, where we are actively planning our spiritual endeavors this coming week with the goal of a consistent time spent engaging our hearts with Christ in his word, in prayer, in reflection, and in music. Below are some starting points for reflection, and I hope you find them helpful. The goal is to not just rush through these and then get on with your day. Take your time and reflect throughout the week on these items.

This week we are focusing on the law of God by reflecting on the preeminence of God who is worthy of our worship.

Continue reading “Week 09, 2022”

Dry Water

Journal Entry // February 23, 2022

And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

Exodus 14:22 ESV

This is such a beautiful and terrifying picture of God’s work of salvation for his people. A beautiful picture of the miraculous hand of God doing utterly amazing and unbelievable acts. I picture myself in the crowd of Israelites (about a million of them) with our enemy coming up from behind and this sea of water before us. I would be terrified and confused and probably complaining along with everyone else thinking that this was the end of the story. The story of failed deliverance.

Continue reading “Dry Water”

The Humbled Exalted

Journal Entry // March 30, 2021

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 18:14 ESV

Here it is again… Humility. I assume this is going to be the running pattern this week. That the Spirit is even now preparing me for a deep lesson in humility. I feel as though I have been learning this lesson for quite a while now, but obviously there is still much to learn and my heart is still in desperate need of change. I don’t doubt that for one moment. I know my heart is nowhere near the point of having learned the lesson of humility. My heart is still proud and arrogant. It still seeks after the fleeting things of this world that give a false pleasure. My heart still wants to show itself as the center of all creation.

Continue reading “The Humbled Exalted”