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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Boasting Over God

Journal Entry // June 25, 2022

The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ (ESV)

Judges 7:2

I have found this passage to be true in various different applications and situations in my life. There have been so many times during the course of my journey in this life of faith where I have taken the credit or even boasted over the success or accomplishments that were brought to me by the grace and mercy of God. I have experienced times of boasting over the Lord and proclaimed that “my own hand has saved me.” I wish this statement was merely talking about the distant past. Those times early on in my journey where I did not fully understand the things of God or had the experience of his rich kindness and patience in my life. But my boasting in myself and my accomplishments are more recent than I wish to remember.

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Battling Sin

Journal Entry // June 15, 2022

asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalem—because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way.

Acts 25:3 ESV

There will be trouble in this world. Sometimes this trouble will be the consequences of our own sin and error; sometimes this trouble will be unfairly brought against us simply because of our faith in Jesus Christ. I have found it difficult at times to discern the proper way to respond in these situations, because I am conflicted about my sin. I can see that I am being unfairly treated in a situation, but I struggle to make a defense because of my personal sin and failure that has played a part. So I find myself caught at times not wanting to defend myself and allowing the trouble or adversity to prevail as a form of punishment for my sin in general.

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Apathy and Ignorance

Journal Entry // June 13, 2022

And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.”

Acts 24:25 ESV

Here in this passage is the response of Felix to the gospel of Christ being taught before him with reasoned explanations for righteousness, self-control, and judgement. Paul articulated the truths of the gospel in such a manner that Felix understood what was being said and the implications of his decision in response. So what was Felix to do with this gospel truth? He was alarmed. He knew that the truth of the gospel had brought him to a point of decision in which he could not vacillate. He needed to accept or reject this reasoned message. Yet, Felix chose to delay. He chose to put this truth out of his mind. Felix chose to send Paul away and remove from  his sight the messenger of this critical point of decision. He chose apathy and ignorance.

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All Good Conscience

Journal Entry // June 8,, 2022

And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.”

Acts 23:1 ESV

This statement from Paul is quite amazing when I stop and really think through what he is saying to the council and the high priest. These are the very people that had used Paul, then called Saul, to persecute the church. So when Paul says that he has lived in all good conscience, it is a sharp reminder that Paul was once one of them but now is a follower of Christ. What interests me the most is that Paul can say he has lived in all good conscience before God. Here is a former persecutor of the body of Christ who is fully aware and has embraced forgiveness. Paul now lives a transformed and redeemed life dedicated to the one he formerly hated and now follows wholeheartedly.

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Not Immediately

Journal Entry // June 5, 2022

Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.

Joshua 11:18 ESV

Quick answers. Immediate success. Fast results. These are the expectations of the modern world. We have all come to believe that technology can solve any problem and make our lives better by enhancing these three actions. We let this seep into every area of our lives and we have these expectations even when they are unrealistic and unhelpful. We even let these thoughts overtake our spiritual lives. We don’t want to study the Bible and work through it’s teachings. We want an interesting podcast or short article that can give us an executive summary of how to be a “gospel” whatever. We have let this mentality so invade and dominate our thinking that we don’t realize how shortsighted we have truly become.

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Burning Jericho

Journal Entry // May 31, 2022

So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel.

Joshua 6:23 ESV

As I was reading through this section of Joshua that tells the story of the Fall of Jericho, I was struck by the vision of Rahab and her family standing outside the camp of the Israelites and watching their home and their city being burned and destroyed. This a tremendous story of faith, obedience, and suffering. Truly, I am called to this same faithful obedience in face of danger and heartache.

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Saturate Your Heart

Journal Entry // May 29, 2022

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Joshua 1:8 ESV

This verse has always seemed so attainable to me throughout my walk with Christ. It seems like this should be the easiest and most simple step in all that we are asked to do. Yet, I find that this verse is a tremendous challenge in my life. It is one that I can easily twist just slightly and misunderstand the purpose and power of this statement from God to Joshua. There are three aspects of this call that I need to fully understand and comprehend for faithfulness and fidelity.

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