House of Mourning

Journal Entry // June 8, 2021

Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

Ecclesiastes 7:4 ESV

Mourning and Mirth. Sorrow and Amusement. It is not too difficult to discern which of these any person would rather experience. We would all rather have the daily experience of amusement over and above a daily experience of sorrow and mourning. Yet, the Preacher tells us plainly that the person who is wise will have their heart in the house of mourning.

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Grief and Worship

Journal Entry // December 7, 2022

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. (ESV)

Job 1:20

In this chapter of Job, we see the response of Job to the trials and sufferings brought upon him. The enemy was given permission to assault all that Job possessed and cared about in this world. So the enemy was ruthless and relentless in fulfilling this desire to strike down everything that was near and dear to Job. The enemy had Job’s livestock slaughtered along with the servants assigned to care for them. Then not being satisfied with this, the enemy set upon Job’s children and took their lives as well.  Job receives all of this news within a short span of time and we are told of his response in verse 20. His response to all of this grief, violence, and loss of life that was reported to him was to express his grief through worship. Job chose to grieve the loss that was reported to him but he did so through a humble and reserved trust in the goodness of God. He acknowledged that it is the Lord’s right to give and take away as he determines and he deserves only blessing and honor. The Lord tells us that in this response Job held fast to his integrity.

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Humble Trials

Journal Entry // August 1, 2022

Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (ESV)

2 Corinthians 1:9

Faith, hope, trust, dependence, humility, meekness… These are the marks of the believer that follows Jesus by taking up his cross daily. In this journey of faith, there is a continual process of teaching by our Father that reinforces our understanding of our need for humility and reliance upon Jesus. Pride is the central consuming characteristic that is antithetical to all things holy. Pride is the root of our downfall and what keeps us from the comfort that only Christ can bring. Pride taints every area of our life and drives a wedge in our relationship with Jesus. Our Father brings suffering, adversity, trials, and difficulties to not only show us the depth of our sinful pride but to make us rely only on the one true holy God. Our difficulties are here to drive out pride and humble us. Simply to bring us to our knees and seek repentance through faith and to set our hope on Christ alone.

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Wrong Comparisons

Journal Entry // July 5, 2022

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV)

Romans 8:18

Comparison is a dangerously deceptive mindset that is all too easy to find ourselves stuck in as we continue on this journey throughout life. The message of the gospel and the message from the beginning of creation has always been the same when dealing with comparison in your life… There is no room for comparison in the life of following Christ. Yet, I find it so easy to compare myself and my situation to others. Jealousy and covetousness find easy pathways to my heart more often than I would like or care to admit. But really, there is one true deep comparison that has taken root within me. That is the comparison of my current life to that life that my mind creates and builds up within me. This “secret” alternate life that is constantly forcing me to compare my current situation against this mythical alternate reality that blooms inside my head.

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Called to Suffer

Journal Entry // May 28, 2022

For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.

Acts 9:16 ESV

What is the source of this anger that is prevalent and deep rooted in my heart? This is a good question that needs exploration and prayer. I wonder if this passage sheds some light on the situation. I believe I have been caught in the trap of cultural Christianity. That I have come to mix the fears and anxieties of the world with my faith and belief. I have allowed my heart to grab hold of and plant deep within me a misunderstanding of what it means for God to bless his children. I have believed the lie that suffering is always an indicator of sin or the displeasure of God. That suffering in my life is solely brought about because I have disappointed my Lord. Even thought it is clear throughout the Bible that suffering is a part of following Christ, my heart grabs hold of the thought that suffering is evil.

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False Appearances

Journal Entry // February 5, 2022

So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Matthew 23:28 ESV

The mask of righteousness is a dangerous and addictive lie and deception that will ultimately bring about our downfall without true spiritual, heart changing correction. This mask of righteousness that we wear is all about self-righteousness and the approval of people. We wear this mask because we desire the approval of man above the approval of God. We want people to like and approve of us to the point that we want to remove the righteousness of Christ that covers us and expose our inward hypocrisy and lawlessness. In so doing, we must then cover ourselves with this mask of outward appearance of personal righteousness. Performing for the crowds, but allowing sin to run rampant inside.

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Bereaved Soul

Journal Entry // February 11, 2021

They repay me evil for good; my soul is bereft.

Psalm 35:12 ESV

bereft \bih-REFT\ adjective. 1 : deprived or robbed of the possession or use of something — usually used with of. 2 : lacking something needed, wanted, or expected — used with of. 3 : suffering the death of a loved one : bereaved.

I feel broken… My mind feels broken. My heart feels broken. My will feels broken. My soul feels broken. Everything in me has this taint of oppressive darkness lingering and taunting me. I feel like something has broken in my head that I cannot seem to find a correction.

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Moment and Lifetime

Journal Entry // February 6, 2021

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5 ESV

God’s love for me consists of both his favor and his anger. His anger is over soon in my life as it is but for a moment. His determination to see sin eradicated from my heart is the purpose of his anger. As a loving Father he knows that the sin in my heart, especially the sin that is hidden deep within my heart, is a barrier to my growth in holiness and hinders the closer intimate fellowship he shares with me through Christ. So he purposes to rid me of sin in my heart. His anger is aroused and stays but a moment.

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Good Suffering

Journal Entry // November 22, 2021

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

1 Peter 3:17 ESV

In my everyday living and journey through this life, I don’t always truly believe what Peter is telling us here in this passage. It’s truly difficult to really wrap my mind around this truth. I have such a warped understanding of what love means and I carry this over to how my heavenly Father works in my life. I like to think of love in terms of 1 Corinthians 13, but from a selfish standpoint. Meaning that it is good and proper for my expectation to be set on how others should treat and love me. Even carrying it over to say that if God loves me, then I will be happy and at ease.

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Constant Maturity

Journal Entry // October 30, 2021

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:14 ESV

Maturity comes with learning obedience through suffering. Just as the Son of God learned through suffering, this pattern is set for us all. There can be no maturity without suffering. For maturity is the ability to discern good from evil. We must be trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. The implication here is that in order to choose the good and reject the evil, we must be familiar with sin. We must be engaged in a life filled with repentance and faith.

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