Leave the Simple

Journal Entry // May 16, 2021

Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”

Proverbs 9:6 ESV

Living and walking in the way of insight is not a simple matter. Living life as a follower of Christ is complicated and difficult. A simple carefree life is one given over to slavery. The world, the flesh, and the devil are the master of the simple. But those who fear the Lord are walking and living in a complicated way.

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Arise and Eat

Journal Entry // August 30, 2022

1 Kings 19:5

And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” (ESV)

At this point in the story Elijah has concluded that his journey as a prophet is at an end or maybe that he wants it to be at an end. So when his life was threatened, he ran and hide himself. In his hiding place, he asked that the Lord take his life as he had had enough and was ready to be finished. So, in his despair and fear he sought isolation and in his isolation he sought for an escape from the frightful thoughts that only brought anxiety. The escape he found was in sleep. He lay down and slept under the broom tree. The Lord sent an angel to feed and encourage him, but Elijah once again chose sleep once he was fed. The Lord sent an angel a second time to feed him in preparation for his next journey. You can see that Elijah is at the end of his mental and physical limit or at least he believes he is at the limit. The Lord wants to stretch him more and begins preparing him for the journey even when Elijah himself will not. The kindness and goodness of the Lord is on display for Elijah to awaken and rejoice. Yet, Elijah chooses to escape through sleep and there avoid any action or responsibility that is required of him.

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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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Dim Mirrors

Journal Entry // July 27, 2022

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (ESV)

1 Corinthians 13:12

As I look out upon this world and see all of the challenges and difficulties that are present, I am tempted to groan in frustration or sigh in exasperation as I question the holy righteous plan of God. We are all deceived to believe that what we see here on this earth is all there is and that this present reality is the measure against the standard of good. We forget that we are looking into a mirror dimly. Paul did not have in mind a modern highly reflective and accurate mirror, but more likely a mirror made of polished metal. I want to take this dim reflection that I see and make it the accurate truth. The problem is that we now only know in part. We see things dimly. We misinterpret the workings of God as we view them from our self-centered humanistic standpoint.

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Be an Imitator

Journal Entry // July 25, 2022

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. (ESV)

1 Corinthians 11:1

I always find it challenging when I read this statement from Paul to the Corinthian church. Initially, I tend to start out thinking that I am unable to make this statement to anyone at the moment. I don’t really want anyone to imitate me, because I myself am not truly imitating Christ. I feel and see the huge disparity between the life of Christ and my own life. I see my sin looming so large and prevalent in my heart. I know the fear that has a tight grip on me. I understand my failure to truly love Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I see all this and I don’t want to have anyone imitate me. Yet Paul could tell this church to follow his example and life. Surely Paul was sinful and was afraid. Surely he had moments of doubt and worry. So how could he make this statement? Our imitation of Paul is in a life full of repentance and humility. A life of following after Christ. Not a perfect sinless life of complete obedience, but a life understanding our weakness and dependence upon Jesus for everything. A life filled with the grace and mercy of God.

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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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Thoughts in the Pit

Journal Entry // February 2, 2022

Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt.

Genesis 37:25 ESV

This morning I was reading through the beginning story of Joseph and his brothers. I have always been fascinated by Joseph for a lot of different reasons, but mainly because of his faithfulness and steadfastness to be content with where God has placed him. In this beginning part of Genesis I see a sort of naivety to Joseph in how he relays his visions/dreams. He does it in such a way that his brothers hate him. They hate him so much that they conspire against him and throw him into a pit. Then, as Joseph is in the pit before them, they sit down and have a meal together.

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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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The Pull to Turn

Journal Entry // December 20, 2021

those who have turned back from following the LORD, who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him.”

Zephaniah 1:6 ESV

It seems as though the last few weeks of my reflection time have been heavily focused on perseverance and patience as I wait upon the Lord to deliver. As I have reflected on this the past couple of weeks, I have mainly been concerned with understanding that God is faithful and true and will fulfill his promises at their proper time. This passage presents a different perspective on why perseverance and patience are so vital to my faith. It’s not that God will leave or forsake me, rather the concern is that I will leave and forsake Christ.

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Sure Footed

Journal Entry // December 19, 2021

GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.

Habakkuk 3:19 ESV

This message from Habakkuk moves from questioning God with complaints about his purposes in this world to humble reliance upon the grace and mercy of the Lord. This last portion of the message is always so encouraging to me. Habakkuk begins this portion by listing off the different struggles that threaten life in his day. Fig trees not blossoming, no fruit on the vine, no olives, no harvest from the field, the flock and herd are no more. These are the personal disasters of my life pilling up on one on another. So that not only does today bring challenge and trouble, but the future is now in doubt as well. I feel this with Habakkuk and I understand and experience this worry with him – an anxiousness for the future.

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