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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Delivered by Affliction

He opens their ears to instruction and commands that they return from iniquity.

He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.

Job 36:10&15

I have been enjoying my reading through Job the last few weeks. It is a difficult book in a lot of ways, but there is some really challenging wisdom in these passages and I want to be careful to think through them all. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have caught all of it due to our covid-19 challenges, but I will try to at least capture the verses I missed earlier this week.

What have I learned this week?

  • Christ is not only with me, but is in me. He dwells within me in my heart. The temple of his presence is my heart.
  • That I “conceal transgressions by hiding iniquity in my heart”. This creates the tension I feel of having Christ in me alongside my secret sin. This does not and can not work. Light and dark cannot both reside together.
  • Job’s failure was that he justified himself rather than God.
  • Christ has redeemed my soul.
  • Adversity and Affliction are the avenues of deliverance for this soul trapped by sin and iniquity. He opens my ears and delivers me.
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