pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Trust

We often live in this weird balance between knowing God can fill all our needs and trying to fill them with everything but God.  What we know in our minds and what we do with our actions just don’t connect.  Struggle and frustration are often the results.

I most often try to fill my needs with myself.  I fall into the trap that I can do it,  figure it out, make it happen on my own.  After failing I usually realize that only God can do it.  He can use me, but He is the source.  I need to first learn to turn to Him all of the time instead of just some of the time.

Our struggles can be emotional, physical, spiritual, relational, occupational or combinations of these and more.  There is also a vast array of ways to try and fill our needs but really only one place we should start.

In verse 8 David writes, “Trust in Him at all times, O people: pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.”  Our refuge is strong and loving and completely worthy of our trust, for He never fails.

Scripture reference: Psalm 62: 5-12

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Perspective

Perspective is an important thing.  As followers of Christ, we believe He will return one day to bring final judgment.  It could be today, next week, or in two thousand years.  From this perspective we live each day prepared for this to be the day.  In a sense we live with one eye always on heaven and our eternity.

Yet we must also keep today in perspective.  We cannot live detached from this world as we await the next.  Even if our lives in this world, though we may live to be hundred, are just a flash in the spectrum of eternity, each day still matters.  Each person and encounter is an opportunity to be Christ’s light and love.  Each is a chance to affect someone else’s eternity.

In the here and now it is our relationships that matter most.  Our relationship with Jesus Christ takes priority because it does reflect and impact the eternal.  And all of our present relationships are also important as each person is a child of God and has worth.  Each person – from our family members to the person we meet on the sidewalk – matters.

How we choose to live in each moment does impact our eternity.  All the choices, decisions, and actions play a role, as does the lack of action…  As we go through our day today, may our eyes be open, may our hearts be willing, and may our ears be sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture reference: 1 Corinthians 7: 29-31


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All I Need

Simon, Andrew, James, and John all drop what they are doing when Jesus calls for them to come and follow.  There is no hesitation, no but…, no doubt in their mind that following Jesus is just what they should do.  They walk away from all they have ever known and walk toward wherever this one man will lead them.

Unlike these four men who just met Jesus, most of us have known Him for quite a while.  Jesus first came across my radar as a young boy attending Sunday school.  Since then my knowledge of Jesus has grown and our relationship has developed.  Many of you have had similar walks.  At some point all believers make a profession of faith and dedicate their lives to following Jesus.

So why is it so hard to follow the voice or the nudge of the Holy Spirit?  Why do we question so much when Jesus tries to lead us somewhere or to someone?

Faith. Hope. Love.

Lord, break my fears and cast out my doubts.  Help me to lay aside all that keeps me from following You wherever You lead.  Allow faith to be my guide.  Allow hope to be my strength.  Allow love to be all that I have to offer.  You are allI need and all I want.  In your name Jesus.  Amen.

Scripture reference: Mark 1: 16-20


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Even Then

John the Baptist preached repentence in preparation for the coming of Jesus.  John spoke the truth and ended up in prison, soon to be killed.  Jesus too went forth proclaiming the good news in spite of the opposition He faced.  Peter, Paul, Luke, and many others did the same in spite of Jewish and Roman persecution.  The New Testament is full of examples of proclaimers of the good news.

We too are called to proclaim the good news.  Just look – we have lots of fine examples to follow.  But these folks are the ‘greats’ of our faith.  They are not little old you and me.  By golly, there were all called by God and/or spent time with Jesus.  Wait – that’s us too.  We are called by God, empowered by Jesus through the presence of the Holy Spirit, tasked with spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.

Sharing my faith is just fine on Sunday morning or in my small group.  At Youth group?  No problem!  Here in the early morning at my kitchen table?  You bet!  But what about with the man down on his luck that stops me on the sidewalk?  And how about when two groups at church are disagreeing over some issue or choice?  Even when a fellow believer seems to be a bit wayward?  Yes, in all cases we are called to be sharers of the good news and to live our lives following Jesus’ example.  He IS with us in those times when we are uncomfortable and in those times when we need to share a hard word.  May we receive His power this day to do His will in our world.

Scripture reference: Mark 1: 14-15


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Always Working

Does God change or does He always remain the same?  I think the answer is both.  The qualities of God do not change.  God always loves us, always longs for a relationship with us, and always works to bring us into or back to that relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, His Son.  God loves good, wants justice for all, and seeks for His people to love Him and to love neighbor.

The city of Nineveh was full of vice, sin, evil.  God wanted to restore them, to see them repent.  So He sent Jonah and he proclaimed God’s message to the people.  The people repented and God had compassion on them.  Their actions changed their outcome.  Some would say it all went according to God’s plan.  But if the Ninevites would’ve kept to their evil ways…

God acts much the same way in our lives.  In His many attempts to love on us and be in relationship with us, He sends us Jonahs to help us make good choices, to help us walk in His ways.  We hear this voice in the Bible, in sermons, in conversations with Christian friends.  God also speaks to us through the Holy Spirit.  When we fail to heed to these voices, God just finds another voice or another way to get our attention.  Some people spend a long time trying to ignore God and His messages.

In this we find another way that God never changes: He so wants all of us to enter into His eternal kingdom.  He spends our whole lifetime if necessary working towards that end.  Again, I say thank you God!

Scripture reference: Jonah 3: 1-5 and 10


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Plugging Away

It has been said that God is the god of second chances.  He is also the god of third, fourth, fifth… chances.  If it is in His plan for our life, He will keep sending messangers, whispers, nudges, and so on.  God is a god of many things, but giving up is not one of them.

The first time God spoke to Jonah, he bolted and ran away.  After several events that proved God was still right there, Jonah is called a second time.  This time he goes to Nineveh to proclaim God’s message.  This second chance is a second chance for both Jonah and Nineveh.  God did not give up – He persisted so that His plan would come to fruition – both for His servant and for the city.

How often are we like Jonah – ignoring or questioning or running from God’s call?  We can be pretty good at all three forms of avoidance.  Sometimes we think we are too busy.  Sometimes we think our time would be better spent over there.  Sometimes we question if that person or cause is worthy of our time and effort.  The root of each is that we think we know better than God.  But, thankfully, He does not give up.

Our god of second chances keeps coming around, keeps working to mold us into who He wants us to be.  Like Jonah, I am glad that God keeps plugging away, because His ways are always better than my ways.  Thank you God!

Scripture reference: Jonah 3: 1-5


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Growing Closer

There are times when we know we have been graced by God’s presence or when we can sense that the Spirit’s presence has been with us.  At other times we feel as if we were part of something that was led by God or was truly done in His name.  In these times, the existence of God is without question.  We have these moments to fall back on for strength – to remember when doubt begins to creep in or when fear rises up.

Our experiences with God also provide us with a filter or lens to look at future encounters with or through.  With each experience we come to know Him more.  With each encounter we come to recognize Him quicker.  All of this adds to the depth of our relationship with Jesus Christ.

The more God is revealed to us, the easier it is to hear His call.  As our experiences grow, we come to discern His will better.  We grow in our ability to separate His voice from all of the other voices that call out to us.  God’s promise to draw near to us as we draw near to Him is lived out as we choose to make time for Him and to walk daily with Him.  On this Sabbath day, may we draw very near to God.

Scripture reference: John 1: 47-51