Logan’s Reflections

 

What’s on Pastor Logan’s mind these days as he cares for his mother and sister and works the family’s dairy farm in the year 1910?

This page displays his thoughts on life and death, God, love, and healing.

barn and evergreens

There never was a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel, his wife. I Kings 21:25

Ahab was a bad guy, made even more despicable by his wife. Jezebel, the princess of Tyre, favored the prophets and priests of Baal to the ones of God. She did everything in her power to convert her husband as well as his entire nation over to her religion.

Sadly, it worked.

Together, Ahab and Jezebel instigated the ruin of the country. Ahab may have looked like a strong military and political leader on the outside, but God knew what was really on the inside.

So easily, we can fall into the patterns of Ahab. Allowing negative influences on our lives, envying, stealing, and dishonoring the Lord and others doesn’t happen all at once. Rather, the downward pull of sin occurs a little at a time. Subtle choices disguised as small movements towards temptation soon snowball until we find ourselves careening down a steep slope. This happened to Ahab.

God confronted him and gave him time to change. Ahab listened.

When we fall into sinful patterns due to evil influences, do we heed God’s gracious word while there’s still time?

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May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have taken refuge. Ruth 2:12

Ruth and Boaz have such a beautiful story. The verse above is spoken by Boaz in recognition of Ruth’s kindness towards Naomi. He was the kinsman-redeemer; the relative of Naomi’s deceased husband who held the privilege of restoring her family line. He does this in such a gracious way that Boaz becomes an example of God’s care for us.

Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer. He’s the one who saves us, restores us, makes us members of God’s family, and secures our inheritance of eternal life.

The Lord certainly rewarded Ruth for her deeds. Her first child, a son, becomes the grandfather of king David, the ancestor of Jesus’ royal line.

Ruth followed her mother-in-law to a strange country. Both of them had been widowed; no men remained in the family and Ruth had no children. Her prospects looked dim. Naomi faced a future where her husband’s land would no longer bear his name.

God turns the whole situation around. He provides Ruth with a husband–a man who is good and kind. God blesses them with children. The inherited land is secured for generations to come. Kings descend from this woman who arrived in Israel a poor foreigner.

Nothing is too hard from him. Nothing is too lost or hopeless for him to redeem.

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But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”1 Peter 1:15-16

We don’t need to worry about anything except answering God’s call on our lives to be holy. This is enough to please him. Striving after good works, competition and comparison, accomplishment, high standards, and success doesn’t matter. If we pursue God, then accomplishments, success, and good works flow out of holiness.

When the origin is holiness, then all these fruits in our lives are based on God’s character.

The world says to get ahead–to compete and succeed–in our own strength and for our own glory. But holiness holds up God’s character, his designs, and his standards. We live in holiness through his strength and for his glory.

This is a huge relief to me. I don’t have to compete and strive and compare and look around me to gauge my value or level of accomplishment. I just need to look to God and his call for me to be holy.

Holiness is the most satisfying condition my life and heart could ever wish for. I can live in it, grow in it, and rest in the fact that holiness will give me what I desire most–more and more and more of God.

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The King said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This can only be sickness of heart.” –Nehemiah 2:2

Nehemiah completed his work under the King’s vision while also carrying inside his heartache over the destruction of his hometown, Jerusalem.

Bad news can catch us off guard and make us fearful. The reality of this bad news then settles into our hearts, weighs us down, and closes our vision until we see only our pain and our inability to make changes.

God sees the sickness of heart and wants to share in it with us. All we need to do is allow him in. The circumstances may not change, but like he did for Nehemiah, God provides what we need the most–his own presence.

Two of my favorite verses that help me remember this are God’s words from Joshua 1:5, “I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you,” and Peter’s words in 1 Peter 5:7, “cast all your cares on him, because he cares for you.”

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When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it, so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before. Joshua 3: 3-4

This verse is part of the larger story of the Israelites’ long-awaited crossing into the land promised to them by God as an inheritance. Only one obstacle stood between them and security–the Jordan River.

At flood stage, this river rushed and swirled at their feet promising to drown the first person who displayed any courage to try to swim it.

God reveals the perfect strategy. He tells Joshua to give this direction to the priests:  “When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan” (verse 8).

If I had  been one of those priests, I would have questioned if I’d heard correctly. He wants us to do…what?

Stand in the Jordan. This meant they had to get into the river. Yep. Take the first jump off the bank and rely on God’s saving grace to help them stand.

And they did. Faith alone preserved the priests that day. Not only the priests, but all of the people following behind.

Because the priests listened and moved according to God’s word, the entire nation of Israel witnessed God’s miraculous power. Like he did at the Red Sea, God parted the waters so that the people could pass through on dry land.

But first, the priests had to take a leap of faith. Literally.

Sometimes God’s work in our lives looks like this. We need to act on what we’ve heard him say to us before the flood recedes and the situation begins to change. When we leap into the impossible according to his word and with him at our side, we arrive in the perfect place to experience God’s miraculous power.

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Secret sins have a way of tripping us up. Lately, I’ve been looking at the passage about Achan in Joshua 7. Not a story we spend much time with. In a group I taught about Achan, one of the people asked, “You mean achin’, like my achin’ bones or when I have a headache?”

Well, not quite. But close. Secret sins sure can cause us to ache. We ache with guilt or sorrow when we’ve transgressed against God’s wonderful plan for our lives. Sometimes we ache with fear that something terrible will happen to us or that God will forget his promises to us.

Our Lord is too gracious for that sort of thinking. What I love about this story in Joshua 7 is that God paused, helped Israel understand their sin, did what it took to cleanse and heal them, and then went right on with keeping his promises. They got another chance at battle with Ai and they won. God gave them the victory he had stored up for them.

Cleansing. Healing. Repentance. This is the path towards a long and satisfying relationship with the God of love. He wants our wholeness even more than we do. When we heed his voice and rid ourselves of the sin that creeps into our lives, he gives us victory and a surplus of joy to go with it.

Oregon Barn

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