People of the Kingdom

Book Reflection // August 20, 2022

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 3 // Matthew 13:44-46

The parables put before us now are examples of the doctrines of election and irresistible grace. There is often a misunderstanding that comes along with these two doctrines. One is that God will drag the reluctant sinner against his wishes into heaven and the second being that God will deny salvation to someone who truly seeks him. These two parables are set against both of these mischaracterizations as they demonstrate that the first and necessary step in salvation is a new heart or regeneration by God alone. Only a sinner that has been given a new heart will then have a new desire for Christ and seeing the immense value of Jesus, that person will lose everything to simply have Jesus.

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Week 33, 2022

Week Thirty-three 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.

“It infinitely concerns all men to make a sure work about their salvation, for when they die they will be great losers; they will lose not only their comforts on earth, but also the joys of heaven, without any hope of recovery.”
– John Jackson (1600-1648)

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The Work of the Enemy

Book Reflection // August 13, 2022

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 2 // Matthew 13:24-43

Just like the previous parable that focused on the different types of soil that receive the gospel seed, Boice classifies this triplet of parables as dealing once again with the Kingdom of God. In this section Boice takes a bit of a different approach than what I have heard in the past and what I have seen in my small circle of Christian influence. Boice groups these three parables (weeds, mustard seed, and leaven) as speaking directly about the influence and work of evil in the Kingdom of God as it spreads throughout the world. These parables highlight the work of the enemy in our lives and the life of the church. Jesus tells us these parables to highlight the strategies and designs of our enemy to infiltrate, influence, and ultimately hinder the work of God in this world.

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Unveiled Repentance

Journal Entry // August 7, 2022

David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. (ESV)

2 Samuel 12:13

True humble repentance is what I am reading in this passage of Nathan confronting David about his sin. David listens to Nathan as he tells the story of the rich man taking the lamb of the poor person without any regard or compassion for what that lamb meant to the man and his family. David is rightfully upset with the man and vows to bring justice upon this man for what he has done. Nathan then speaks the message of the Lord to David and shows him that he is this man who has sinned. David listens to all the Lord says to him through the prophet and uttered this simple response, “I have sinned against the Lord.” David offered no excuses, no deflection, no rationalizing, and no defense. There was none to give. David’s eyes had been open to the depth of his sin. The veil of deception that he had placed over his heart had been lifted and David could clearly see the ugliness of the sin presented before him. In humility, David understood his failure. Not just his failure to protect and honor Uriah and Bathsheba, but his failure to honor Christ. David knew his only response was to acknowledge that his sin was against the Lord.

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Displeasing the Lord

Journal Entry // August 6, 2022

And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. (ESV)

2 Samuel 11:27

The life of David is so rich in demonstrating the frailty and weakness of human flesh. Just as I was journaling yesterday about our lives being as jars of clay, the life of David is an excellent picture showing 2 Corinthians 4:7 in action. David is so amazingly faithful and zealous for the glory of God and is earnest in his pursuit of seeking the face of Christ in all things. So it stands out when David fails to honor God with all of his heart and his weakness is exposed for us all to see. We learn a lot about faith through the life of David and there is a lot in this single chapter dealing with Bathsheba and Uriah. For me today, the focus is on God’s displeasure with David. How did David move from pleasing the Lord to displeasing and what is the lesson I can take to heart as I walk this same path as David on a daily basis.

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Week 32, 2022

Week Thirty-two 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.

“The happiness which the Lord Jesus procured for believers, includes a perfect freedom from sin, and all afflictive evils, their just consequence, and the fruition of righteousness, peace and joy, in which the kingdom of God consists.”
– William Bridge (1600-1670)

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The Seed and the Soil

Book Reflection // August 6, 2022

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

Chapter 1 // Matthew 13:1-23

In this book by Boice, he classifies this parable as one dealing with the Kingdom of God. In particular he marks this particular parable as unique in this category since it is dealing more so with the origin of the Kingdom. Meaning that this specific parable is focused more on the beginnings of the spreading of the grace and gospel of Christ throughout the world. The uniqueness of this parable is that Jesus uses the picture of seeds being scattered and planted in different types of soil to represent the different stages of readiness to receive the gospel message of hope and salvation – hard heart, shallow heart, strangled heart, and an open heart.

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Glad and Generous

Journal Entry // May 10, 2021

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,

Acts 2:46 ESV

I am so very tired of this struggle. I am so tired of feeling down and miserable. I just want God to make an instantaneous change in my heart and put it into alignment with him. Why do I have to fight and struggle each and every moment? Why do I continue to see the light of Christ shining within my heart and soul, but then hide back in the shadows. The shadows of disobedience that still lurk within. These shadows call out to me. They lie to me. They whisper into my head those words that entrap me once again. I am so easily persuaded to be led off the good and right path.

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Week 31, 2022

Week Thirty-one 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.

“It is not enough to receive the truth that we might be saved, but we must receive the love of the truth if ever we would be saved.”
– Jeremiah Burroughs, Gospel Worship

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Sinning Sinners

Journal Notes // July 20, 2022

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (ESV)

1 Corinthians 6:11

And such were some of you… We all need this reminder at times in our lives. A reminder that the blessing of God upon our lives does not mean that we are superior to anyone else. We can all get so caught up in the chaos of this world and the absolute anarchy against God that we see in those who hate the name of Jesus. We see a world that is working every angle to rebel against the commandments of God. It’s easy to see this and get angry. We want to be angry at sinners for being just that, sinners. Our self-righteousness wells up inside of us and we look down at the lost and get angry at them. We want to argue about politics and sports and patriotism and any other thing we deem important. We have little patience for the lost and rebellious because we have forgotten all that our Savior has done for us. We have forgotten that we too were once just like them. That we too were once enemies of Christ doing everything we could to rebel and break free from the righteous law of God.

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