Eyes Lifted Up

Journal Entry // April 18, 2021

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

Psalm 121:1 ESV

I like this picture that the Psalmist paints of eager anticipation for rescue. As I contemplate this image I remember those days of utter despair filled with anxiety and worry. My heart cry was similar after a fashion in that I too longed for rescue from the trial upon me.

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Needing His Presence

Journal Entry // March 9, 2022

And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.

Exodus 33:15 ESV

Just a few sentences prior to this verse, the writer tells us that the Lord would meet with Moses in the tent as a friend would – face to face. Yet, Moses was all too aware that he needed the presence of the Lord leading him and the people in every endeavor and at every moment. The man that talked with God as a friend pleaded with his friend to go with them or to not send them at all. I feel this disconnect at times in my life. Probably more often than I truly realize it, if I give an honest evaluation. I tend to meet fairly regularly with the Lord in the mornings and could even say there is that friendship through the Spirit. But what I tend to lack is this firmness that Moses has about depending on the Lord in each endeavor of daily life.

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Increase Our Faith

Journal Entry // March 29, 2021

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

Luke 17:5 ESV

This is the root issue with the every day struggle with sin. It is about faith. About my lack of faith in the goodness of God. There is a general lack of really truly believing all that I am reading in God’s word each and every day. Sure, I have been more diligent and more consistent with my daily reflections. Spending time meditating on God’s perfect word and working hard to apply it to my life. I think so highly of myself at times and think that I have made some progress in my walk with the Lord.

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Humble Prayers

Journal Entry // February 16, 2022

So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD. And the LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; not one remained.

Exodus 8:30-31 ESV

There is always so many interesting and intriguing aspects to the account of the Exodus. It brings to life the character of God and the sinfulness of man so vividly. You can read through this account as you would any story and walk away thoroughly satisfied with the tale. If this is your normal reading then you are missing so much. I miss so much most of the time, even when I’m reading it slow and contemplating what God is revealing. There is something to learn from all four main characters (Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh, God) and sometimes I’m not ready to see and learn. Then sometimes, like today, I see things that have escaped my attention through the many other readings.

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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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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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Desolate Prayer

Journal Entry // March 11, 2021

But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Luke 5:16 ESV

How often have I withdrawn from everything to pray? When I do attempt to withdraw for this purpose, I would say I am often easily distracted and focus my attention on other things and actually neglect prayer. But Jesus is modeling intentional times in his life and ministry where he withdraws from the crowds and the demands upon him to a desolate place with the express purpose of prayer and communion with God.

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Throwing Mountains

Journal Entry // February 28, 2021

Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Mark 11:23 ESV

This sounds so simple. Ask for anything in prayer, without doubt, and it will be done for him. This is one of those passages where it is easy to move from being God centered to man centered. Where the gift is more important than the Giver. Yet Jesus tells us directly that the prayer of a believer whose heart is attuned to the Lord, will receive what he asks.

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Aroma of Prayer

Journal Entry // December 17, 2021

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Revelation 5:8 ESV

This picture in Revelation 5 of the throne of God and the description of worship has always fascinated me. I think it’s fascinated me because this picture seems so foreign to my everyday life. The lamb, Jesus, is the only one who can open the scroll. And when he stands to take the scroll, everyone in heaven worships him. They fall down on their face and worship. But what I focused on this morning was the 24 elders. Each holding a harp and a golden bowl full of incense – our prayers, my prayers.

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Turn My Face

Journal Entry // November 12, 2021

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.

Daniel 9:3 ESV

How am I to reach a point in my faith, where I too can be so overcome with emotion and passion for the glory of God in my life that I humble myself before the Lord? Daniel comes away from his Bible study with understanding from the book of Jeremiah that their captivity was to last 70 years. His immediate response is humility and in his anguish he seeks the author and perfector of our faith.

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