**This blog below I wrote almost entirely the Summer of 2016. I never posted it, but looking at where I am at now in 2018. I’m glad I waited. I am able now to reflect on God’s faithfulness these two years, and get this out of my draft box! 🙂 Maybe you will be encouraged by this blog/journal entry.**
There are tough days and great days in the life of a man who is studying in seminary, married to my beautiful wife Jillian, who takes such great care of our sixteen-month old and all the while I am working to provide. Sometimes it feels as though days are more tiresome than joyful. A lot of that has to do with my own sinful heart and a proclivity towards being idle. But also, the weight of responsibility that comes with all these things God has given me has shown me lately, my desperate need for Jesus. It is hard to be a leader to my wife, because I want to often do things that benefit me rather than serve my wife and son, like check football, Facebook, or something vain.
I often end up making things tough for myself, and that reveals even more so my desperate and daily need. He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever as David says. With all the crazy things happening in the world and the direction America is heading, I am prone to worry and fret, looking outward and inward and seeing chaos, nothing but problems and the longing for restoration.
He is the only One who can show up and bring order from chaos, through His revealed Word. It is the instruction and food for the soul, which it gives as we daily seek Him. It isn’t easy, I would be lying to the world if I said lately I have been consistently in the Word everyday for personal devotion (non-seminary studies).
Tonight I was reading Colossians (for class, but hold up it became devotional) and read about Paul’s statement that is labeled an exaggeration and is obvious to us Americans that it is: “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (Col. 1:29).
The gospel hadn’t necessarily been proclaimed “in all creation under heaven,” he did not know about the Americas, so of course this isn’t necessarily the case. But what is Paul getting at here and what does this have to do with what I’ve said about the joys and struggles previously mentioned? Douglas Moo, a famous scholar says this about this verse:
“To be sure, this exaggeration nevertheless makes an important point: the reconciliation of ‘all things’ accomplished in the cross of Christ (v.20) has its counterpart in the proclamation of this event in ‘the whole creation.’ Paul wants the Colossians to understand the gospel is the one, universal answer to the quest for spiritual fulfillment” (Moo, PNTC,147).
Paul is trying to plead with those at Colossae, against the teachings of the false teachers, that what God has given to believers in Christ, is the ultimate spiritual fulfillment that we need.
In our journey for fulfillment, we can’t stop at vanity fair, we can’t say “Jesus + __________= fulfillment” NO! Jesus demands from the world that He be supreme in all things! Since He Himself is Maker, Sustainer, and Savior of it all.
I’m learning also that I can’t live off of past experiences in my walk with Christ, that more than anything, I am learning as my time has become more jam packed, prayer begins to fade, time in the Word becomes less meaningful, that I can’t abandon those disciplines even if it means crawling out of bed and having an inch of strength I need to pursue Him with all I have. It is wartime! The devil, my flesh, and the world is after my wife, my son and me. As we seek to live set apart for the gospel. I don’t want to be desensitized by that which is offered to be from below, but I want to constantly gather what God feeds me with from above, from His revealed Word. I love God’s word, but not because it is written and available, although for that I am extremely thankful, because I wouldn’t know Him as intimately without it. But chiefly because it is about God, revealing who He is. He is awesome, He is marvelous, glorious, holy, lovely, beautiful, radiant, mighty, strong, secure, refuge, home, Father, Son, Spirit, my all in all. I love Him and His Word tells me all about Him.
I was reading and all this above is ebbing out of my studies in Colossians. It is really changing me. My hope is secure in Christ, I don’t need more. I am content with what I have been given in Him. Jesus is the Bread of Life. My manna. I am satisfied in Him. He is all I want. Phil. 3:13 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”
Honestly I am so thrilled about what lies ahead, but not mainly because the what, but because of the Who, that is with me. He is with me.
Come, let us gather our manna every morning, and seek the God who walks with us through the valleys and on the mountain tops. Praising Him all the way.
“They gathered manna every morning.”
— Exodus 16:21
Labour to maintain a sense of thine entire dependence upon the Lord’s good will and pleasure for the continuance of thy richest enjoyments. Never try to live on the old manna, nor seek to find help in Egypt. All must come from Jesus, or thou art undone for ever. Old anointings will not suffice to impart unction to thy spirit; thine head must have fresh oil poured upon it from the golden horn of the sanctuary, or it will cease from its glory. To-day thou mayest be upon the summit of the mount of God, but he who has put thee there must keep thee there, or thou wilt sink far more speedily than thou dreamest. Thy mountain only stands firm when he settles it in its place; if he hide his face, thou wilt soon be troubled. If the Saviour should see fit, there is not a window through which thou seest the light of heaven which he could not darken in an instant. Joshua bade the sun stand still, but Jesus can shroud it in total darkness. He can withdraw the joy of thine heart, the light of thine eyes, and the strength of thy life; in his hand thy comforts lie, and at his will they can depart from thee. This hourly dependence our Lord is determined that we shall feel and recognize, for he only permits us to pray for “daily bread,” and only promises that “as our days our strength shall be.” Is it not best for us that it should be so, that we may often repair to his throne, and constantly be reminded of his love? Oh! how rich the grace which supplies us so continually, and doth not refrain itself because of our ingratitude! The golden shower never ceases, the cloud of blessing tarries evermore above our habitation. O Lord Jesus, we would bow at thy feet, conscious of our utter inability to do anything without thee, and in every favour which we are privileged to receive, we would adore thy blessed name and acknowledge thine unexhausted love.
Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening: Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.