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Isolation Introspection – 21 April 2020

To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.

Titus 1:15

Every time I read this verse or hear it quoted, it’s a gut punch. So many of my daily sins and struggles come down to the extent to which my mind and conscience are defiled. When I laugh at a coarse joke, when my mind wanders down the paths of discontent and lust, when I am tempted to read into the words of a brother or sister in Christ and believe the worst of their intentions…all of these actions are the result of a defiled soul!

Obviously, our past effects this greatly. If we have indulged in sin, the flesh, and the world, we will find this battle to be more acute. But one thing should be clear: there is no place for continued engagement with these things in the life of the Christian! It is one thing for your past to contribute to the defilement of your conscience, but our present must not do so!

Examine your heart. Do your current patterns of entertainment, or passing the time, contribute to the purity or defilement of your conscience? If the latter, are those pursuits worth the cost to your personal obedience and love for Christ? Do not be surprised to find that a defiled conscience will take less pleasure in the Word, the Body of Christ, and worship. There is an inverse relationship between your enjoyment of sin and your communion with God. Let us pursue Christ relentlessly, and may he purify our minds and consciences!


The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!

Isolation Introspection – 20 April 2020

The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the country you possess, you shall allow a redemption of the land.

Leviticus 25:23-24

This little passage totally caught me off guard this morning in my reading. As you will recall, Leviticus was written by Moses as Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land after their exodus from slavery in Egypt. This occurred before they gave into fear and rejected God’s plan and were forced to wander in Numbers. They had a goal and were preparing for entry into Canaan. In Leviticus 25, God lays out the conditions for the seven-year Sabbath of the Land and the 50-year Jubilee, a magnificent tradition of rest, renewal, and grace.

Right in the midst of this explanation of the glorious standard God will have for Israel in their new Land, he reminds them: “you are strangers and sojourners with me.” This is surprising language! They are getting ready to settle in the Land which was promised to them from the time of Abraham! This is their birthright as a nation! And yet, even though they are inheriting the Land from a human sense, God does not want them to forget the fact that they are still simple tenants of the property of earth, which is His alone.

This humbles me. I love to catalogue and guard my possessions, my properties. It gives me a feeling of security and control to know what I have and where it is. But the Land Sabbath and the Jubilee are paradigms which remind Israel that all they have was given them—and indeed, is on loan—by God. It is no different for us. All our earthly possessions will pass away. The eternal possession matters most—and even that is a gift from our Heavenly Father!


The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!

Isolation Introspection – 19 April 2020

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

Ecclesiastes 7:8-10

Solomon hits hard with the kind of perspective we all need when it feels like our world and our foundation and our norms are being shaken, rewritten, broken, stolen away. If we are looking back at what came before with a discontent heart, frustrated at God’s providence, we are not acting in wisdom, but selfishness. It is God who has given us this “new norm.” Let us embrace it!

Let us keep from the anger that so often rises within us when we feel we have lost control. We should be playing the long game, as Solomon says here—the most glorious point of anything is the end of it, when it comes to completion. Whether a project, a journey, or a trial, reaching the end takes wisdom, patience, and a perspective that leans on God and his goodness.

Lord, give us that perspective!


The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!

Isolation Introspection – 18 April 2020

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. 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 30:4–5

What a precious perspective David has. Even in the times when we experience the anger of God, it is but for a moment. The favor of God is what we have received for all eternity as his saints. Don’t let trials and discipline cloud your view of God’s goodness or his love for you! There will be hard days. There will be further loss. There will be darkness, sadness, fear. But they will not last.

The result of believing this truth is that you should and will praise the Lord! You will sing his praises, and thank him—even in the worst of times. His favor is on his saints. There is no greater gift!

Praise the Lord!


The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!

Isolation Introspection – 17 April 2020

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.

2 Timothy 1:8-12

Are you ready?

Are you ready to boldly testify about our Lord?
Are you ready to share in the suffering for the gospel?
Are you ready to suffer?

It may come soon, it may delay for some time still, but the time in the West for us to live in comfort with our Christian testimony will end in some way. As I read Paul’s instructions to Timothy, I think about how must more difficult it was back then to make “the choice” (in the sense of being on the other side of salvation as an elect person, looking in) to be a Christian—there were immediate and very real consequences to that decision. Today, we don’t have to “pay” for our faith in our culture. We can become a Christian, and later choose to “walk away” (Heb. 6:4-6) without many worldly consequences.

When that changes, how will you fare?
Are you ready to suffer for your faith?
Are you ready for your family to suffer for your faith?
Are you ready for your children to suffer for your faith?

Paul makes it clear that he was willing to suffer because what he suffered for was absolutely worth the cost. We need to ask ourselves, do we really believe that?

Ask yourself this morning, is this gospel worth suffering for:

“…Share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…”

It most certainly is! Lord, give us the strength we need to live that conviction.


The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!

Isolation Introspection – 16 April 2020

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and many pangs.

1 Timothy 6:6-10

Today’s reflection is pretty self-explanatory. I know that my own heart has battled temptation regarding this “stimulus” package. Free money! Free money from the world almost always has strings, whether emotional, spiritual, or otherwise, attached. The danger of discontent will be strong, especially if God has provided in other ways and the money isn’t something you need acutely.

Pray for ways to steward the funds for God’s glory, and ask him to keep you content in his current provision, despite whatever comes your way. And, if this money is needed desperately, praise him for his provision! He works in many different ways to care for his people. Whatever the case, make sure the stimulus funds become an opportunity to glorify God, even in secret.


The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!

Isolation Introspection – 15 April 2020

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Psalm 25:1-3

It’s easy for us to tell each other to lean on the promises of God, and to expect him to be faithful. But if you read psalms like this one, you’ll notice something important: David depends on the promises of God, but also recognizes that he must live according to God’s Word if he wants to have that expectation. This is a combination of David’s effort and God’s abundant mercy.

He asks the Lord, “let me not be put to shame,” but goes on in the rest of the psalm to explain why he is worthy of God’s faithfulness: he is trying to be faithful (15), experiencing great trial (16), in need of forgiveness (18), and attacked by great enemies (19). However, David also proclaims that he waits for God (20-21). He is being faithful. In short, David is worthy of the faithfulness of God, because of the work that God is doing in his life. Confusing, right? But glorious, too!

With all of this extra time on our hands in isolation, it is worth looking at our testimony: do we live a life worthy of our expectations of God, or are we taking advantage of his mercy? Do we deserve to ask God not to put us to shame, or do we need to thank him for graciously sparing us greater discipline? There’s an opportunity for repentance here, and an opportunity for reveling in God’s faithfulness. Let us do both with joy!


The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!

Isolation Introspection – 14 April 2020

For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:26

Perspective is everything. Solomon draws our attention to the fact that, for the sinner—the person who lives their life apart from God—all of their efforts are ultimately vanity! What is the point of great effort and success if you aren’t around to enjoy the fruit of your efforts? For the righteous, however, those same tasks have become infused with purpose and intention. We have a reason to work, to stretch ourselves, to expend effort!

So many in this world are using this time of self-isolation to “reorient” themselves, to rethink their lives and their work. This is good, but if they reorient themselves to anything apart from God, it is ultimately vanity. Let us ensure that, as Christians, we remember the fact that our work isn’t for building our personal kingdom here on earth—it’s about maximizing the glory of God in every way. That will infuse our remote meetings with greater purpose and conviction, and, I think, draw us to evangelize more clearly towards those whose efforts are being wasted.


The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!

Isolation Introspection – 13 April 2020

I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind. For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:16–18

I was fascinated by this passage this morning because we all think of Solomon as so privileged to receive the gift of wisdom from Yahweh. But he makes it clear that, as wonderful a blessing as it was, it carries downsides: vexation and sorrow. The more we know, the more we seek to understand, the more potential there is for us to worry and fret. Solomon, I suppose, probably knew this more than anyone.

In this season where we are cooped up in home, waiting to find out the true effects of this virus and isolation and everything else, it is easy to get sucked into the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. Maybe this blog post will finally explain it, or that news article! But the reality is that we just don’t know yet. And a healthy dose of faith is probably in order. Perhaps we should all cease striving, and remember that Yahweh is God, and not us (Ps. 46:10).

There is one pursuit of knowledge which we will never regret, and which will bring peace, hope, and joy: the knowledge of God and his word. Instead of filling ourselves with news, statistics, projections, and economic models, let’s fill ourselves with the knowledge of the Lord—for that is the beginning of true wisdom (Pr. 9:10).


The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!

Isolation Introspection – 12 April 2020

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

1 Timothy 2:5-6

What a beautiful passage to read on Resurrection Sunday! The reminder of the purpose of the cross: restoring our relationship with God. We, enslaved to sin and death, are under the great wrath of God, unable to escape. But Christ, in his infinite love, took on himself the wrath of God and paid our ransom. We are no longer hostages—we are free!

Paul emphasizes the fact that this happened through “the man Christ Jesus.” The Greek is much more emphatic—the reason we are ransomed is because Jesus became a man for our sakes. The great lengths which he went to are the great testimony of his love for his people! Puritan John Owen wrote of this incredible mediation of Christ on our behalf:

“[Jesus] lay his hand upon God, by partaking of his nature; and he lays his hand upon us, by being partaker of our nature: and so becomes a days-man, or umpire between both. By this means he fills up all the distance that was made by sin between God and us; and we who were far off are made nigh in him… Upon this account (that is, his union of natures) it was that he had room enough in his breast to receive, and power enough in his spirit to bear, all the wrath that was prepared for us.”

John Owen, Union with Christ, page 51

Amen! The most important relationship in any of our lives—our relationship with God—can be a loving, peaceful relationship because of what Jesus Christ our Mediator did on behalf of his elect. That is the glorious message which we remember on Easter! Praise God!


The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!