Steeping in the Word

Journal Entry // April 20, 2022

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, [32] and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 ESV

We are always looking for the steps to success in this life. Rules or ideas that will bring happiness and joy or success and wealth if we just follow them. There are a thousand books written every year claiming to know the secret to success and the pathway to riches and happiness. We all want this life to be easy and we all want this life to be simple. Here Jesus tells me that the Christian life is a simple formula: abide in his word –> true disciple –> know the truth –> set free. It also seems so simple and easy doesn’t it? It’s the most simple message that is seemingly so very difficult to follow. My heart is a lot like the people who Jesus is speaking to. His words are difficult to hear as they cut through all the clutter of my mind and penetrate straight to my heart and pierce my pride.

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Light of Life

Journal Entry // April 20, 2021

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 ESV

As I contemplate this passage, I am reminded of how I have always really focused on Jesus being the light of the world. This beacon of hope in a dark world that I am drawn to like a moth to a flame. I still feel that is a good, helpful, and appropriate analogy. But there seems to be something more this time in my reading and thinking. As the Lord has been working to reveal the darkness in my heart, the light of life doesn’t just draw me toward himself but reveals what was once hidden in the darkness.

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Seeing the Father

Journal Entry // April 16, 2022

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

John 5:19 ESV

I have been thinking a lot over the last few days about the way I perceive a difference between the Father and the Son. When I sit down to read through God’s word on a regular basis, I follow my plan of reading two chapters from the Old Testament and one chapter from the New Testament. In my reading there is oftentimes a simple comparison between how things were handled in the OT and the NT. Like today… I read in Numbers about the Lord telling the congregation to stone the person who had been caught picking up sticks on the Sabbath. I then read in the John about the leaders being at odds with Jesus because he was healing on the Sabbath. It is so easy to read these accounts and draw a line between the Father and the Son in this instance, yet Jesus tells me here that the Son only does what he see his Father doing. He only ever does whatever the Father does.

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Healthy Eyes

Journal Entry // March 20, 2022

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.

Luke 11:34 ESV

How I view the circumstances of my life and the world around me through the lens of the gospel is what this passage is getting at. My eye direcst and guides me through this world and as such, it informs and directs not only the content of what I allow to penetrate my body and mind but how I view these things from a spiritual perspective. It is essential that my eye is healthy. This allows my entire body to be full of light. To be full of the gospel of Christ. When my eye leads me astray and I begin to view the things around me from a worldly perspective, the darkness grows and swells within me.

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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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Not Above but Like

Journal Entry // Mach 12, 2021

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

Luke 6:40 ESV

It is a simple matter to remember that I am the disciple and Jesus is the teacher. It should be an obvious fact that not only am I not above Jesus, but that I am being trained to be like him. As obvious as this fact is, I continually forget and need constant reminding of this dynamic. The two points of this passage are essential in my daily walk and I need to have them on the front of my mind.

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Lacking Jesus

Journal Entry // February 27, 2021

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Mark 10:21-22 ESV

This encounter with Jesus has always been one of the most fascinating for me to read and reflect upon over the years. Each and every year, when I come to this story, I feel as though I have a different reaction. I typically see myself in this story and the story itself always illicits a response of some sort within me. This time it is deeply troubling to me.

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House in Ruins

Journal Entry // December 24, 2021

You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.

Haggai 1:9 ESV

Wrong priorities… This is the subject brought to mind during my reading of Haggai this morning. This word from the Lord to the people of Israel is just as relevant to me today as it was for them. I am struck deeply by the conviction of how easily I let the worries of caring for my own house (my life and my priorities) overshadow the ruining of my spiritual house (loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, strength).

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Illuminated Path

Journal Entry // December 11, 2021

The light shines on our path, so that we can see clearly and so walk properly.

TNTC Letters of John – (1 John 2:10)

As I have been reflecting deeper in 1 John through different commentaries and teachers, I have been struggling to put together some of what John is saying with how I actually see light and darkness manifest in my heart. Oftentimes I feel I am identifying with the darkness that John takes about, but I know that this darkness is meant to identify a life of unbelief. It always seems like John expects the true believer to walk 100% in the light and have no darkness at all. I interpret this to mean that any darkness lingering in my heart is pointing to my unbelief and I fear that this unbelief overshadows any light I may have.

But this is not what John is talking about. John is not saying that a true believer is sinless, not by any means. What he is saying is that I should have the markings of a man walking in the light. As John Stott mentioned in the quote above, the light of Christ shines on the path I am walking. It illuminates the road before me so that I can clearly see any hills and valleys and impediments to my walk. It allows me to see potential stumbling blocks. It’s not that there will be no stumbling, but that the light of Christ will reveal them to me.

The path of the unbeliever is shrouded in darkness and they take no notice or care for the sin in their life. And why should they… in the darkness there is no cause of concern about something they are blinded to. But a believer walking in the light has his sin and weakness illuminated at all times so that he may deal openly and honestly with his disobedience.

This is the light of Christ working in my heart. He reveals all the areas that are in need of attention. Areas of my heart that need his grace and mercy. It’s a blessing to struggle and fight against the sin in my heart. It’s the illuminating work of the gospel in my heart that casts out that lingering darkness. It’s Christ steadfast love for me that won’t let me just sit in darkness. No he shines his light, his true and perfect light, into every area of my life. Revealing the dark and dirty areas that need attention.

And walking in this light I can take these stumbling blocks to Christ as I clearly see the path of righteousness before me. Not perfectly by any means, but maturing. My faith growing and maturing each and every day. The light revealing the weakness in my heart is an amazing gift from God. Not a cause for guilt and shame, but of joy and celebration. I can rejoice that my loving Father is continuing to discipline me in love with patience.

Inward & Outward

Journal Entry // February 3, 2021

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

Matthew 23:23 ESV

This chapter in Matthew was a deep look into the heart of Jesus and what the expectation is for holiness in our lives. It interweaves well with Psalm 26 and its call for God to test the heart and mind of the writer. This testing of the Lord is important in my life to measure and evaluate the love for Christ in my heart. It is similar to an athlete preparing for competition. He trains and prepares for his time of testing. The training without testing would be worthless. Truly, without the testing the athlete would not be able to evaluate and measure how they are progressing.

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