The Lord Answers

Journal Entry // January 8, 2023

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: (ESV)

Job 38:1

As I sat down to read this next section of Job this morning, I was contemplating my internal comparison to Job over the past month. Job is a difficult book in that it often portrays the true thoughts and misunderstandings of both Job and his friends as they work through this process of grief. As I have read through these different questions, answers, and rebukes it has called to mind all the many times that I have questioned the goodness and justice of God in my own life as well. These past few weeks have been a strenuous exercise to evaluate and understand the conclusions that Job and his friends have come to and then examine my heart for these same false narratives. Now I come to the reading this morning and I am drawn to this first verse and its simple statement that the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind. Where Job challenged God to answer the questions he had, God honored his request and visited Job with the answers he was seeking.

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Furious Enemy

Journal Entry // December 21, 2022

Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. (ESV)

Revelation 12:17

I don’t really think about the furious enemy that is making war upon me. I don’t really ever contemplate the schemes and machinations of the evil one as he diligently works to destroy me along with everyone that is obedient to Christ. My great failure in this life is that I have difficulty grasping the truth that there is a mortal enemy seeking to destroy my soul. This enemy is furious, ruthless, and relentless. He only has one objective: to harm and destroy the people of God. He knows his time is short, so he is continually working to undermine and destroy everything and everyone that brings glory to Christ. And it is this hard truth that I find myself being ignorant and dismissive. Wanting to escape from this war and all the trouble that it brings into my life, I ignore it or I medicate it or I allow self-deception to rule my heart. I often want anything that will bring relief and escape from the constant struggle and battle of dealing with the enemy. I want peace and comfort when the enemy only brings pain and heartache.

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Every Tear

Journal Entry // December 12, 2022

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (ESV)

Revelation 7:17

There are three things I must remember from this passage. First, that I have a shepherd who is in the midst of the throne. Second, that my shepherd knows exactly where he is leading me. Third, that when I arrive at these springs of living water, my tears will be wiped away by God himself. There is so much comfort in this singular verse. So much to look forward to. This sojourn and journey of faith in this world will be filled with many wolves and predators seeking to devour this simple sheep, but the One who sits on the throne and reigns from on high is my shepherd. He is my protector. He is my redeemer.

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Confident Prayers

Journal Entry // November 25, 2022

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (ESV)

1 John 5:14

Confidence… toward God. John tells us that he is writing these things about the surety of our salvation and the promises of God that we may have a bold confidence toward our great God and Redeemer. We have this confidence toward God in that he has assured us of the testimony of his Son, Jesus. He has assured us that Jesus is in fact the one and only true Son of God who took upon himself all of my sin and paid for it on the cross at the cost of his blood. I can draw this confidence from the shed blood of Christ for me. My confidence rests in the finished work of Jesus, knowing that my salvation is secure.

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Give Back Willingly

Journal Entry // October 25, 2022

But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. (ESV)

1 Chronicles 29:14

Why is it that I hold on so tightly to the material blessings and objects of this world? I have been conditioned over these many years through advertisements and cultural pressure to see the accumulation of things as not only the solution to all my problems but the general indicator of success in this world. The gathering of material things is the measuring rod that we are to use as we assign value and worth to people. Now, whether we outwardly acknowledge that as a culture any longer is debatable but the valuation is still there and probably even deeper than it has been in the past. It is so prevalent that it has crept into the church and has become almost like a silent doctrine of sorts. We are losing our understanding that all things come from the Lord. Not just the material items we gather and display for others to see but the relationships, the influence, and the meaning of our lives. The Lord is the One who gives us everything we have and don’t have in this world.

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Gentle Trust

Journal Entry // August 9, 2022

But if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.” (ESV)

2 Samuel 15:26

This is a moving picture of faith and trust in the providence and grace of God moving in the life of David. It’s difficult to really see the rationale for David fleeing Absalom and departing the city, but I understand his desire to not engage in conflict with his son. What I do understand in this passage is that David’s heart is bent on serving the Lord as best he can. David is making decisions based on how best to honor the Lord and be obedient to his calling and God’s Word. Throughout this chapter of his preparation to leave, you can see the care and love he has for all those in his household and the sadness he has in knowing all the hardships they will suffer alongside him on this journey. Yet with all of this on his mind, David simply cares to be obedient and humble before the Lord. He wants to follow the path laid out before him in humble acceptance of God’s good mercy to him. Whether it be for his benefit or not, David simply wants the Lord to do, “what seems good to him.”

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Finish the Course

Journal Entry // June 4, 2022

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Acts 20:24 ESV

These last few weeks, I have been overly concerned with the current state of my life. For the past 2+ years, God has kept me and my family in a state of unrest, anxiety, struggle, and perplexity. It has been a time of upheaval and transition as the Lord seems to be clearing the stage from our previous life and preparing us for a new stage of life and ministry. I have struggled a lot during this time in different ways, but lately there has been a more intense battle with depression and apathy. As I was reading and thinking through my time in Joshua and Acts, I was intrigued by these words of Paul. This statement of humility and selflessness. A man who understands his mission and calling from Jesus. And it brought into sharp focus that I am not living with this righteous perspective.

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Anxious Toil

Journal Entry // April 23, 2021

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Psalm 127:2 ESV

What does it mean to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? One indicator of how my life is oriented can be seen in this phrase, “eating the bread of anxious toil.” This is such a good and helpful picture to help reflect on my trust and rest in the Lord alone for all things.

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Knowing and Known

Journal Entry // April 22, 2021

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,

John 10:14 ESV

There are a lot of interesting phrases and insight that Jesus gives in this section of the Gospel, but the one that stood out to me this morning was his knowing of his sheep. This is not a general knowing like he states elsewhere about knowing what’s in the heart of man. This is a deep intimate knowledge of a person. And it’s reciprocal. We know Jesus deeply as we follow him and obey our good shepherd.

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Fearless Faith

Journal Entry // April 14, 2022

But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

Numbers 13:30 ESV

Fearless faith… This is the type of faith that Caleb displays in this moment. After spending 40 days with these men on a mission to spy out the promised land, I’m sure there were many discussions about the report they were to give. Caleb was surely not caught off-guard by the report of the other spies that was filled with fear and dread. It took a tremendous amount of faith to not only bring a different report, but to quiet the people in the midst of the report and give his objection and encouragement to go take the land at once. I find that so interesting and encouraging. Caleb understood that this was the land of God’s promise to them. It doesn’t really matter who is occupying it. So, let’s stop waiting around and discussing the matter. Let’s go up NOW.

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