pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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He Loves Us

Jesus said that if we love Him we will obey His commands.  Do you suppose He meant ALL the time?  Or just some of the time?  We know the answer to this question.  Hard as we might try, we cannot always obey.  Here is where vision runs smack into reality.  But we try.

God must have known this since the time of Adam and Eve’s sin – that mankind will always be a struggle.  Yet His love is so vast that He found a way to always allow us to renew our relationship with Him.  He first sent His Son so that we would know the way, the truth, and the life – as He intended us to live.  Then God allowed His Son to die as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Yes, He loves us.

Yet the story doesn’t end there, good as it is.  Because He remembered that we struggle.  So God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, to lead and guide us.  The advocate brings us back to that way, truth, and life and helps us to share the good news of Jess Christ with others.  Yes indeed!  He loves us.


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To the End of the Age

Jesus suffered a painful death as an act of obedience to God and out of love for us.  A pure and holy man went to the cross not only to suffer nd die but also to take upon Himself the sins of us all.  It is through this gift that we are able to find salvation for our souls.

After He died, Jesus was resurrected and sits at God’s right hand.  He sits to judge the living and the dead.  Peter tells us that after dying Jesus went and “preached to the spirits in prison”, those dead in their sins since the time of Noah.  Jesus wants us all to be saved.  Jesus judges us in accordance with how we live our lives as a follower or disciples of Christ.  Followers emulate the ways of the one they follow.  Disciples study one so that they can be like the one they study.

Our baptism was the beginning of our commitment to live as a follower or disciple of Jesus Christ.  Baptism is symbolic of the cleansing waters of the flood, when God washed clean the earth, removing man and his sin from the world.  Baptism is a promise to God to live with a purity of conscious.  At times we have suffering.  At times we have joy.  Most of the time we live between these two.  If we live in all these states as a faithful and obedient follower and disciple of Christ, our destiny is the same as Christ’s destiny.  Eternity awaits the faithful and obedient.  But in our day to day, we are called to take up the cross of Christ, to live for Him. For strength, remember the promise found in Matthew 28:20 – “I am always with you, even to the end of the age.”


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Faith and Action

In the US we practice our faith in relative safety and peace.  Sure it may cost us a ‘friend’ here or there or an invite to the ‘big’ party.  But it is pretty unlikely that we’ll see scores of girls kidnapped from the local Christian school or that militiamen will attack our church one Sunday morning.  Yet many around the world face these or similar dangers and still practice their faith because they know the ultimate reward that God has in store.
Could we live such a brave faith?  Willing in any and all circumstances to do what God is calling us to do?  Could we bravely walk into the cafeteria or break room and share our faith with whoever is sitting there?  Could we give a little more than is comfortable to help a person in need?  Yes we can and great is our reward too.  Through our actions and words we can bring hope.  We can be the light and love the world so desperately needs.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”. We can both live out from these words and help others to come to know the truth of these words in their lives.  May we live a brave faith.


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Near to God

In times of trial or distress, it is common to ask God “Why?” or to wonder where God is in the midst of it all that is happening.  In general we hold to the belief that God is supposed to fix things or at least make them better.  And when He doesn’t, we begin to question and wonder.

During these “dark nights of the soul” it can be so difficult to find God.  It’s not that God is absent from us, it is just that we are having a hard time connecting to or feeling God is near.  It is truly like we are wandering around in the dark.

And at just the right moment, after all has been stripped away and we are desperate, God is right there.  He comes alongside, arms around us, and He walks us through.  When we get to the point of crying out to God, we find He is right there.  Then the gloom begins to lift and we begin to see the light ahead.  James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  This is an important verse to remember when we are in the midst of struggle and we feel alone.  May we keep it ever in our hearts.


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An Unknown God

Hainidni knnuj womqnf.  Plnye!  How about transubstantiation or prevenient?  No?  Then how about lol, bff, dk?  Now are we speaking the same language?  Maybe, maybe not.

Just as Paul chose to learn the thoughts and ways of the Athenians, we too must learn and know the ways of non-believers if we want to be able to reach them for Christ.  Now I am not saying we need to become like them or to do the things the do, but we have to be able to relate and to “speak their language”.

Paul realize when he saw their altar to “an unknown god” that they were a spiritual people.  Paul knew they were searching for something.  A high percentage of people today recognize or believe that there is a god, they just don’t know God.  Many non-believers can sense that ‘hole’ in their life that they just can’t seem to fill with stuff or human relationships or…  Take courage today in Paul’s words and chose to put them into action: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”


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Paul’s Secret

Just how “Christian” is our society?  How you answer that depends on your definition of the word ‘Christian’.  However you define the word though, I think it is true that the US is much less ‘one nation under God’ than we used to be.

As Paul stood to address the people of Athens in Acts 17, he faced a tough crowd.  There were very few followers of Christ there and the people followed a variety of beliefs and lifestyles.  But Paul had done his homework.  He had gotten to know their ways and ideas.  Paul could take them from where they were to where he wanted them to be because he could relate to them and their ways of thinking.  We too can do this with our friends, neighbors, coworkers…  Paul was then able to begin to share his faith with them.

Paul’s secret is our secret too.  The one true God is our God.  The creator of the earth and all on the earth is our God.  He is Lord of all life.  And He loves us.  Some people don’t know the secret yet.  Maybe you know some of them.  It is our call to share the good news with all the peoples.

Paul goes on to later write: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him”.  It is our call to share the secret.  After all, isn’t it great to share?!


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God Needs Time

In John 14, Thomas’ concern is so often our concern too – “how can we know the way?”  Jesus’ words of reply show us.  He is the way, the truth, and the life.In my head I know this to be true.  Yet at times I struggle to live this out in my life.  I doubt and question.  I wrestle with God for control of my life.  I want to follow John’s way.  But then I realize that I am insufficient.  God is necessary.

In both weakness and conceit, I need God.  In one to give me strength and in one to humble me.  At all times, God is good.  At all times He gives me just what I need.  It is our task to take in the things God offers at all times.

To be able to do so, we must really know Him.  To know Him requires frequent trips back to the basics – time in the scriptures, bowing in prayer, lifting our voice in praise, serving others.  The list goes on.  All are paths to come to know the way, the truth, and the life.  Faith is a pretty simple thing.  We must give of ourselves – mostly in time – to come to really know the way, the truth, and the life.