The Father Known

Journal Entry // April 9, 2022

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

John 1:18 ESV

These past few months I have been in two different discussion groups that were both working through the book, Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortland, at the same time. I read this book a couple of years ago and it played a dramatic role in reshaping my understanding of the heart of Christ for me and my understanding of my complete and utter dependence upon Jesus for every breath. One of the points in the book that struck me this past quarter during both discussion groups was this passage. I don’t remember if Dane actually used this passage, but this topic was itself was the key element. The topic being that the life of Jesus makes known to us the character and nature of the Father.

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Week 15, 2022

Week fifteen of Cultivate Delight, where we are actively planning our spiritual endeavors this coming week with the goal of a consistent time spent engaging our hearts with Christ in his word, in prayer, in reflection, and in music. Below are some starting points for reflection, and I hope you find them helpful. The goal is to not just rush through these and then get on with your day. Take your time and reflect throughout the week on these items.

This week we are focusing on the purpose of the law to reveal sin in our lives.

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Crowd Demands

Journal Entry // April 6, 2022

So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted.

Luke 23:24 ESV

I always find the story of Pilate interesting. As I read these portions of the story in the Gospels that present Pilate to us, I see this duality in him that seems to make him sway back and forth in doing the right thing. On the one hand he can readily see that Jesus is innocent of any crime that deserves death, but on the other hand his cruelty enjoys making a mockery of any prisoner. He seemingly has a conviction of truth that he has determined as judge, yet is so fearful of what everyone thinks about him that he determines to let the crowd decide the fate of Jesus and give over his authority. In the name of “peace,” Pilate sided with the leaders and rulers of the people – the ones in power – instead of being brave and performing his duty as judge. His fear of man was greater than his fear of the Lord.

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Not Spurned or Abhored

Journal Entry // April 2, 2022

Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the LORD their God.

Leviticus 26:44 ESV

At times the hand of the Lord seems heavy upon my heart. There is this sense of judgement or punishment that comes from the weight of sin and burden that is being carried upon my shoulders. As the Lord leads me into these dry and arid times of wandering in the desert, it can feel as though the Lord has left me. That the burden of my sin has caused him to spurn me and forsake me. The enemy whispers in my ears that my sin is far too great for the Lord to ever draw near to me. The enemy continually tells me lies. He continues to deceive me. My enemy knows that I am in his land and this enemy wants to assert authority over me. My enemy wants me to curse God and turn from him. The enemy lies and tells me to unleash my burden by turning my back on the Lord, since the Lord has turned his back on me. These lies are powerful in their deception and speak to my heart through pride and self-righteousness.

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Week 14, 2022

Week fourteen of Cultivate Delight, where we are actively planning our spiritual endeavors this coming week with the goal of a consistent time spent engaging our hearts with Christ in his word, in prayer, in reflection, and in music. Below are some starting points for reflection, and I hope you find them helpful. The goal is to not just rush through these and then get on with your day. Take your time and reflect throughout the week on these items.

This week we are once again focusing on the utter sinfulness of our heart and our abject inability to obey the righteous requirements of God’s holy and perfect law.

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Unwilling Brood

Journal Entry // March 25, 2022

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

Luke 13:34 ESV

The unwillingness of a stubborn and prideful heart to embrace the very thing that it desires. This is the picture Jesus paints for me as I read his lament over Jerusalem. The very people of the city who thought they were doing the will of God by punishing those they felt were false prophets and teachers. The very people who would adamantly defend their actions as holy and just and righteous. These are the very ones that were putting down and killing the messengers from the God they wanted to serve and honor. The very thing they were seeking, to be obedient to God and find his favor, is the one thing they were rejecting in their pride and arrogance. The question naturally arises in my mind, “Are you not just like Jerusalem?” Yes. A lot of the time I am just as hypocritical and ignorant to the Spirit of God moving in my life.

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Week 13, 2022

Week thirteen of Cultivate Delight, where we are actively planning our spiritual endeavors this coming week with the goal of a consistent time spent engaging our hearts with Christ in his word, in prayer, in reflection, and in music. Below are some starting points for reflection, and I hope you find them helpful. The goal is to not just rush through these and then get on with your day. Take your time and reflect throughout the week on these items.

This week we are focusing on the utter sinfulness of our heart and our abject inability to obey the righteous requirements of God’s holy and perfect law.

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Manifest Darkness

Journal Entry // March 18, 2022

For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.

Luke 8:17 ESV

The deception of the enemy is that the truth of this verse is not a reality in my life. Step one in the process of temptation is to convince my heart and mind that hidden sin will not be made manifest, nor will it ever come to light. For this is the first hurdle any deception must overcome to lure me into temptation. The enemy knows that there is yet darkness that lies hidden in my heart. Darkness that is dormant and hidden even from my own self, as well as darkness that I have hidden in the corners of my heart. It is all of this sin and darkness that will be made manifest in light of the gospel. As the Lord brings the gospel into my heart, it illuminates and reveals those dark sinful areas of my heart. First making them manifest to myself to bring repentance and humility to my heart.

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Good & Evil Treasure

Journal Entry // March 13, 2022

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45 ESV

What is the barometer that we can use to measure the state of our heart? Surely it is from this statement that Jesus wants to warn and inform us about the type of treasure being stored in our heart. It is from this treasure within our heart that produces the visible fruit of words and actions that the world sees. Our measuring rod to indicate the status of our heart is simply our words and actions that flow out of the abundance in our heart.

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Little by Little

Journal Entry // March 2, 2022

Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.

Exodus 23:30 ESV

There is something good and precious about the adversity and struggle that remains a part of my life. I hate it to be honest. I don’t like the continued trials and heartache and hardships that accompany me along this journey of faith. But these adversities are a blessing to me in my sojourning. For in them I get to not only see the hand of God moving in my life but these struggles and trials keep me humble and push me back to the comforting hand of Jesus. Little by little the Lord is conforming me to the image of Christ.

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