pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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He IS for Us!

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”  This question is really more of a statement, isn’t it?  Although Paul does not write it, it is almost implied that nothing else matters if God is on our side.  In eternal terms it is so true.  To God it is absolutely true.  But in our human terms, it is so hard to believe this absolutely and to live it out continually.

As we are all imperfect, we all fall short of the glory of God at times.  OK, often.  At times we all knowingly sin.  OK, often.  In times of hardship, fear, loss, stress, illness, pain… we can lost sight of our foundation and relationship with God or even question Him.  We can even become angry or resentful toward God.  In our human hearts and minds, we can fail to draw upon the only one who truly matters, our Lord and King.

But then He nudges us.  His Spirit stirs in our hearts or His still, small voice whispers in our ear.  We remember the words etched in our hearts – “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us”.  And we remember that these things are just things – small in comparison to God.  He draws near to us as we draw near to Him.  And again we know that He is for us!

Scripture reference: Romans 8: 31-37


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Faithful and True

We are called to spread God’s word and love.  Jesus compared the discipling of others to seeds and yeast.  In Matthew 13 the small mustard seed grows into a large plant that is home to many birds.  The ‘yeast’ that we work into the ‘dough’ spreads out and causes all of the dough to rise to new heights.  As we spread God to those in our worlds, we help them to grow in their faith.  It is neat to watch another grow in their faith.

But sometimes we have to wait.  The seed does not sprout overnight and the yeast takes time to work.  Sometimes it is hard to wait.  Although we can see and feel other ways God’s kingdom is being built, at times we can hone in on one person or one situation in our life.   It then becomes hard to see big picture that God is painting.

We must learn to wait patiently and to continue in our labors.  We are only the labors – God and the Holy Spirit are what cause the seed to sprout.  We know that the Father is faithful and true.  He is our hope and our strength.  In Hebrews 10 we find encouragement: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur on another on toward love and good deeds”.

Scripture reference: Matthew 13: 31-33


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Love and Intercession

Romans 8:28 reads: “We know that all things work together for goof for those who love God”.  Paul’s words are of great comfort when we are dealing with or living in a difficult situation.  Events full of tragedy, heartache, and stress will come our way.  We will hurt.  But we know that God’s love will be there in our darkest hour, because He is a God who desires good for His children.

Not only that, but in times when we are in such despair that we do not know what to pray for, in these times, the Spirit will intercede for us.  When we are so torn and broken that we cannot even form words, God’s Spirit prays for us.

These two great promises remind us that God is always near, and that because of His great love for each of us, He wants the best for us.  We can go through each and every moment with confidence that God and His Spirit are always near, eager to offer love and intercession for us.  Thanks be to God for this great gift!!

Scripture reference: Romans 8: 26-34


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Are You There?

Within our human relationships we often find conflict, a struggle for acceptance, and some competition for attention.  I saw this in my children growing up and sometimes see it in the adult relationships we have with others.  In our adult life we often want to be the ‘best friend’.  And no matter what our age is, we can question our role and whether or not we fit in.

In Genesis 29 Jacob pledges to work for Laban for seven years in order to marry his daughter Rachel.  But on the wedding night, Laban slips in the older daughter Leah instead.  Jacob is upset when he awakens the next morning and finds Leah there.  Yet he works seven more years in exchange for marrying Rachel.  Tension becomes the norm in this dual marriage – no surprise here!

I don’t know if I could do what Jacob did.  He gave 14 years of his life to marry Rachel.  Talk about love!  And within this story we also get a glimpse of what true faithfulness looks like.  I wonder if I would be willing to give 14 years for something or someone.  Would you?  Yet when we think about our pursuit of God, 14 years should just be a beginning of what we offer.

My faith journey is into its fourth decade.  My faithfulness is usually pretty good, but I stumble on the path from time to time.  My pursuit is pretty dogged in general, but it wanes on occasion.  Why continue to work on our faith after we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior?  Because I am not there yet.  Are you?

Scripture reference: Genesis 29: 15-28


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Ears to Hear

Jesus ends the parable of the sower with these words: “He who has ears, let him hear.”  On the surface I thought, ‘all of us have ears so everyone is included’.  But going a bit deeper I realized that although we all have ears, we do not always really hear.  Often people are talking but are not being heard.  Often God or the Holy Spirit seeks to speak into our lives, but we don’t always hear them all of the time.

Jesus sowed good seed into the disciples and those He interacted with all the time.  But many people walked away scratching their heads or dismissing what Jesus had to offer.  We continue to be sown into through the reading and study of the Word, through hearing the Word proclaimed, through Christian fellowship, and so on.  But Satan also sows seeds – seeds of evil and of temptation.  As we grow in our faith, we need to develop attentive and in-tune ears to hear God’s voice while tuning out the voices of evil.  There is both a lot to hear from God and a lot to tune out from Satan!

May we learn to listen long and hard, with compassion and patience, to Him who reigns both now and forevermore!

Scripture reference: Matthew 13: 36-43


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Love ‘Em More!

The parable of the weeds is such a great example of the challenges we all face.  There are ‘weeds’ all around – people and things – even in our churches!  One challenge is to live among the weeds and not to become like them.  The temptation to fit in can be great, even if just for a short time.  Another challenge is to continue to grow in the midst of the weeds we all have in our lives.  These weeds can be both within us and around us.  Satan is always sowing weeds and often they are tempting!

But I think our greatest challenge comes in trying to change the weeds into something else.  It would be easier to just stay within our church walls, to toss out all the weeds, and to live happily ever after.  In the end our churches would be pretty lonely places.

Jesus would counsel us to love on the weeds.  And when they don’t come around Jesus?  He’d tell us to love them some more.  And when they still don’t come around and they are a little messy?  Just love ’em some more!!  In my day today, how will I show love to someone in need of Jesus’ love?

Scripture reference: Matthew 13: 24-30


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Today, Today

Our world contains much that is broken and many who are suffering.  For some it is abject poverty in a country far away.  For some it is oppression that we cannot imagine because of a a political system or because of  prejudices against religion, gender, race, or ethnicity.

Within our own land of plenty and freedom, some suffer in poverty, in abusive relationships, in dysfunctional or broken homes.  Others battle homelessness, addictions, or injustice.  As the people of Abba Father, to whom are we called and what are we called to do?

At a minimum we are to offer what we can – maybe it is in the form of cash or maybe it is actual food, counseling, or other forms of direct assistance.  At a minimum it is praying for justice and equality.  At a minimum it is offering Jesus Christ and the hope that comes with knowing Him.  All Christians are called to make disciples.  All Christians are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  These actions may be in your own home, in your community, or far away around the world.  But today we must each ask, ‘What will I do to answer the groans and needs in my world?’

Scripture reference: Romans 8: 12-25