The Lord’s Garden

Journal Entry // June 15, 2021

Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits.

Song of Solomon 4:16 ESV

I am the garden of the Lord, and he is my beloved. My life can best be understood as a garden, I think. It gives me a proper perspective at least on my role. For it is the owner of the garden that tends the garden. He determines where each plant is located. He determines the amount of pruning necessary. He determines the amount of water and fertilizer given and at what times. He tends the soil for weeds and rocks. He determines all the decisions. The plant? Well, the plant just focuses on growing and developing, maturing, in the spot he has been planted.

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Furious Enemy

Journal Entry // December 21, 2022

Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. (ESV)

Revelation 12:17

I don’t really think about the furious enemy that is making war upon me. I don’t really ever contemplate the schemes and machinations of the evil one as he diligently works to destroy me along with everyone that is obedient to Christ. My great failure in this life is that I have difficulty grasping the truth that there is a mortal enemy seeking to destroy my soul. This enemy is furious, ruthless, and relentless. He only has one objective: to harm and destroy the people of God. He knows his time is short, so he is continually working to undermine and destroy everything and everyone that brings glory to Christ. And it is this hard truth that I find myself being ignorant and dismissive. Wanting to escape from this war and all the trouble that it brings into my life, I ignore it or I medicate it or I allow self-deception to rule my heart. I often want anything that will bring relief and escape from the constant struggle and battle of dealing with the enemy. I want peace and comfort when the enemy only brings pain and heartache.

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Watch Yourself

Journal Entry // November 30, 2022

Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. (ESV)

2 John 8

In this world filled with so many distractions and deceivers, it is imperative that every believer take responsibility to watch themselves. It is the way of the world to lull the believer to sleep by turning their focus from the ever-present abiding Spirit of God to the fears, anxiety, and concerns of this mortal life. The voices of the world are many and these voices are all intent on damaging and bringing harm to the people of the Way. So as believers and followers of Christ, we are called to watch ourselves. We are called to be vigilant in the guarding of our heart and the perseverance of our faith. Any lapse… Any gap… Any breach in our hedge of protection against the evil one will be exploited. Our enemy seeks to kill and destroy all who align themselves with Christ. So, we prepare ourselves and we stand firm and ready for the onslaught of our enemy through the world and the flesh. We stand firm in the teachings of Jesus and the new heart he has given us. Remembering that the Spirit abides within us and is always empowering us with the love of Christ. Remembering that Jesus is in heaven praying for us constantly. Remembering that our heavenly Father loves us as little children and he cares for us more than we could ever imagine.

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Meekness of Wisdom

Journal Entry // November 16, 2022

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. (ESV)

James 3:13

We all want wisdom. We all want and desire to be wise and have an understanding of the way of the world to make good and proper decisions. What most of us do not have is the meekness and humility of wisdom. We want wisdom because we see that it is necessary to attain the desires of our heart and for us to have power and glory in this world. We want wisdom to enhance our own selfish ambition, pride, and arrogance. James here is telling us that this is not the way of true wisdom that is found only in God. True wisdom does not puff up but brings low. The wisdom of Christ brings meekness and humility as it reveals the weakness and inability of our flesh to do any good. True wisdom from the Father enlightens our heart to our inability and our great need for a Savior, namely Jesus. This is wisdom.

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Playing With Fire

Journal Entry // May 15, 2021

Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?

Proverbs 6:27 ESV

I was actually looking to have a more positive reflection this morning. I was hoping for some passage of scripture that would lift my eyes heavenward and show me the character of God. But God has once again brought a passage to help me think rightly about my heart and the consequences of sin.

These two chapters in Proverbs are continuing with an exhaustive picture of the forbidden woman. Except in this section the writer moves on from the woman not necessarily knowing what she was doing to actively enticing. Actively seducing the man that was too casual with his steps, letting himself turn aside to her street being forgetful of God’s commandments.

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Rejecting Hypocrisy

Journal Entry // August 19, 2022

And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. (ESV)

Galatians 2:13

It is vital that our convictions line up with our actions and that they do not falter and waffle depending on who is in our immediate presence or whoever we may be trying to impress. Paul confronts Peter for his hypocrisy with this same line of reasoning. Peter knew there was freedom in Christ and exercised this freedom as he associated and had fellowship with Gentiles. Peter’s conviction was that there is freedom in Christ, but when a certain group of men arrived, Peter withdrew from associating with Gentiles. Instead of standing firm in his convictions and exercising his freedom in Christ, he bowed to social pressure and compromised the truth of the gospel. He set his convictions aside to please the important and influential to the detriment of the gospel. Even to the point where not only did the other believers see his actions and take note, but the leadership that look to Peter was then led astray by his actions. Peter’s lack of commitment to his gospel convictions caused him to not only fall into sin, but then also led many others to reproduce this error in their life as well.

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Heart Engagement

Journal Entry // August 12, 2022

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. (ESV)

2 Corinthians 10:3

What is the misunderstanding that we all make as we make our journey through this world in the light of the gospel of Christ? It is typically that we will often wage war according to the flesh. What I mean by this is that we want to be obedient in our actions as we walk in the flesh and demonstrate our love for Christ through this obedience. This is absolutely good and right. If we love Christ, we will obey his commandments. Where we fail is that we aim to do this through the flesh and not the Spirit. We are led by our self-righteousness and make judgements about others without any consideration of their heart and the leading of Christ through the Spirit. We wage war with the world and with each other according to the flesh using our own understanding as the arbiter of righteousness instead of the Word of God.

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Glad and Generous

Journal Entry // May 10, 2021

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,

Acts 2:46 ESV

I am so very tired of this struggle. I am so tired of feeling down and miserable. I just want God to make an instantaneous change in my heart and put it into alignment with him. Why do I have to fight and struggle each and every moment? Why do I continue to see the light of Christ shining within my heart and soul, but then hide back in the shadows. The shadows of disobedience that still lurk within. These shadows call out to me. They lie to me. They whisper into my head those words that entrap me once again. I am so easily persuaded to be led off the good and right path.

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Faithful Inside and Out

Journal Entry // July 12, 2022

And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. (ESV)

1 Samuel 2:35

The faithful priest is an obedient priest. A priest that doesn’t just follow and obey the letter of the law but is walking according to the heart and mind of God. Meaning that this faithful priest is living according to the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. This is typically the spot that trips up many a person including myself. There is a misunderstanding that God will be pleased with me as long as I am following the letter of the law but this is not a wholly adequate understanding of the importance of the law or its purpose. It’s not enough to just tick the boxes of obedience like a task list. The underlying importance of the being obedient to the spirit of the law is this… that we do according to what is in the heart and mind of God.

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Reign of Sin

Journal Entry // June 30, 2022

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (ESV)

Romans 6:12

I so often forget the truth of this passage. I allow sin to linger in my thoughts, in my mind, and eventually it takes root in my heart. Once it takes root and I stop battling and fighting for obedience and righteousness in my heart and soul, then sin is allowed to reign. Sin takes up residence and I begin to obey its passions. I begin to lose myself in the slavery of following after those sinful passions and I forget about the freedom I have in Christ. As sin reigns in my mortal body, it makes me obey its passions because I continue to allow it to thrive and flourish in the depths of my heart.

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