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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Not Satisfied

Journal Entry // June 7, 2021

All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.

Ecclesiastes 6:7 ESV

Satisfaction… How is it that my toiling and striving and labor results in dissatisfaction? This statement and discussion by the Preacher is entirely spot on with how I have felt about my life over the last many years. I have had this insatiable lust and desire prevalent in my every moment that will not allow me to enjoy the good things of this life. There has been a continual unhappiness with my present state at every point of life.

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Looking Directly Forward

Journal Entry // May 13, 2021

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. [26] Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.

Proverbs 4:25-26 ESV

Keep your eyes and your gaze set straight before you. This is an interesting picture to convey the wisdom of keeping focused on what is most important on this journey of life. There are some key points in this picture that need further meditation.

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Good Work

Journal Entry // September 2, 2022

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)

Philippians 1:6

There are several deep spiritual truths in this single verse that would necessarily cause me to spend hours contemplating the work of Christ in my life. This morning I am thinking through the “good work” that Christ has begun in me. A work that will not be completed until the day Christ returns and makes all things new. This good that is being worked in me is not being carried out in my strength but in the power and direction of Christ. This work is for my good and his glory. Each and every detail of my journey through this life is essential and unique. I say this to mean that the good work that Christ is bringing to completion in me will necessarily take different twists and turns. The circumstances that I encounter are not going to be like the circumstances of my closest friend. The Lord has determined what is best to bring about this good work through Christ working in me. I can be sure of one thing through this process. I can be sure that it is not in vain. Life is not meaningless or pointless or worthless. Life is precious. Life is this good work of salvation working in and through me to make me more like Christ each and every day. This process will carry on until that day of Jesus Christ. Until that day where I am face to face with my Savior.

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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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The Spirit’s Deep Work

Journal Entry // August 24, 2022

A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (ESV)

Galatians 5:9

Whenever I come across this verse in Galatians, I typically view the leaven as sin that in only a small amount can affect everything in my life. This is true and rightly teaches about the pervasiveness of unchecked sin in my heart. This morning, as I was reading this passage my mind focused on the leaven representing the Spirit and the pervasiveness of the Holy Spirit to work and act in every area of life. That I only need to be aware of even a hint of the Spirit within me to see the work of righteousness and holiness being spread throughout the whole of me. This is not a passive action though. The leaven does not just disperse itself throughout the lump of dough. You must massage the dough and work at it to move the leaven around and spread it evenly throughout the whole dough. So too with the Spirit within me. The Spirit does the work, but I work in tandem through the power of Christ to see the fruit of the Spirit come alive in my heart.

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Foolish and Weak

Journal Entry // July 18, 2022

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; (ESV)

1 Corinthians 1:27

As I am reflecting on this passage in Romans, I keep coming back to this verse and the implications it has on my thoughts about my goals and what I think I deserve in this life. The very reason God has chosen me is that I am foolish and weak in the eyes of the world. This doesn’t necessarily mean I am actually foolish or actually weak, but in the eyes of the world around me that is exactly what I am. My wisdom that comes from the Lord is as foolishness to this world. The humility and dependence that Jesus is teaching me is seen as nothing but weakness to the world. God chose to instill within me these qualities that are scoffed at by the world. He instills these qualities to shame those who claim to be wise and strong in the world… for the glory of God alone.

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Word Sanctified

Journal Entry // April 30, 2021

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

John 17:17 ESV

Sanctify… Purify, free from sin, set apart. Just as Jesus himself was sanctified, he prays to the Father that all those that were given to him may be sanctified as well. That his followers may walk in this world just as he did. Learning obedience through suffering. Having the Father and the Son dwell within their hearts. Driving out sin and conforming our hearts and souls to steadfastly love the Creator.

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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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Who Are You?

Journal Entry // June 6, 2022

And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’

Acts 22:8 ESV

The church and the people of God, the believers and followers of Jesus are the ambassadors of Christ himself. Each and every person who calls on the name of the Lord is of vital importance. More than that, they are in essence e bodily representation of Jesus himself. The Holy Spirit has come to inhabit and dwell within the heart of each and every person that holds fast to Christ himself for salvation. Each and every person is important, valuable, and distinct. In this verse, we see Jesus not only identifying with those who Saul was persecuting, but was actually the one receiving the persecution.

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