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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Trust and Obey

As we were singing this hymn during worship a few Sundays ago, I was moved in my heart by these words of trusting and obeying. It seems so simple and logical. It’s the simplicity of the message that is so attractive. Jesus doesn’t call us to do unimaginable acts of service to prove our love and devotion to God. He calls us to a life of simple, humble trust and obedience. This is our demonstration of love. Our act of obedience. So simple, yet we fail so often. Read through these verses and think through the call of faith in your own life. Let these words rouse your spirit and affections toward Christ. Then sing along with the video below and renew your passion for trusting and obeying Christ alone.

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Fear and Trust

Journal Entry // April 13, 2021

You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.

Psalm 115:11 ESV

In connection to Psalm 110, this verse takes the next step from the fear of the Lord and moves us into trust. Why is it that the Psalmist feels the need to add this challenge to those who already fear the Lord? To rightly fear the Lord, we must trust. We must move toward the Lord. This is what trust involves.

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Needing His Presence

Journal Entry // March 9, 2022

And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.

Exodus 33:15 ESV

Just a few sentences prior to this verse, the writer tells us that the Lord would meet with Moses in the tent as a friend would – face to face. Yet, Moses was all too aware that he needed the presence of the Lord leading him and the people in every endeavor and at every moment. The man that talked with God as a friend pleaded with his friend to go with them or to not send them at all. I feel this disconnect at times in my life. Probably more often than I truly realize it, if I give an honest evaluation. I tend to meet fairly regularly with the Lord in the mornings and could even say there is that friendship through the Spirit. But what I tend to lack is this firmness that Moses has about depending on the Lord in each endeavor of daily life.

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It Is Well With My Soul

In 1873, Horatio Spafford’s wife and four daughters were on a boat trip travelling from the United States to Europe. The ship they were on collided with another ship and went down. His wife survived but all four of his daughters died in the wreckage. Spafford left soon afterward on a different boat taking the same long journey across the ocean to reunite with his wife. As he traversed the same route that his family had taken previously, I am sure thoughts of his daughters weighed heavy upon his heart and mind. This is the song he wrote on that trip. As you read through these verses, try to picture yourself in his place. Better yet, as you read through these verses, think through a hardship or tragedy that you have been through in your life. Let these words of Horatio speak to your heart and reveal the love and compassion of our Savior.

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Poverty Giving

Journal Entry // February 27, 2022

For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:44 ESV

Faith and trust in the Lord our God can be so easily measured and quantified if we take the time to really examine our actions working through the motives and intentions of our hearts. Granted, I don’t really enjoy this process of examination that looks beyond the veneer of immediate actions and delves into the motives behind those actions. These seemingly minor actions that I perform day in and day out are the gauges on the dashboard of my soul. Warning lights to indicate there is a deep heart issue that needs to be addressed. All wrapped up in this question, “Who am I trusting?”

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Unbelieving Belief

Journal Entry // February 26, 2022

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:24 ESV

I really love the sections of the gospels that give us a glimpse at the many varied encounters that people had with Jesus. These little snippets of conversations that provide so much insight into the heart of Jesus and reflect the attitude and tendencies of my own heart. The honest humble response of this man is truly amazing. It comes across in a quick read through as a bit nonsensical and so I tend to just take it in without much questioning. But really this tiny phrase speaks volumes about the state of my heart as I live this life of faith.

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Little Faith

Journal Entry // January 30, 2022

But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?

Matthew 16:8 ESV

“O you of little faith” has once again come from my reading and into my heart. Especially penetrating this week because I have been feeling the smallness of my own faith. Like the disciples, I too can so easily forget all the many wonders and blessings of the Lord in my life. I can forget the amazing miracle of feeding 5,000+ with a few loaves and then worry that I don’t have enough bread for today. I forget that my Father loves and cares for me. I forget all his provision and steadfastness in my life. I worry and fret over the most mundane and simple things.

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