pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Close to a Big God

Reading: Mark 10: 35-40

Verse 37: “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory”.

James and John’s request can be heard two ways. Their bold request is generally viewed as over the line when one includes the reaction of the other ten disciples. When James and John say to Jesus, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory”, it can be seen as trying to elevate themselves over the other disciples. James and John have clearly heard that Jesus will soon return to His place beside God in heaven and they want to secure their places too. On the right and left would be two pretty good places. Jesus then asks them if they think they can walk the path that He will walk and they respond affirmatively. Jesus acknowledges that they will walk the path but concedes that it is God who has determined who will sit at the right and left.

Perhaps, though, James and John are not asking for selfish purposes. What if they are asking simply because they have heard Jesus’ plan and have caught His portrayal of heaven? What if they are just asking to go with Jesus when He goes, rather than to remain on earth? Maybe staying close to Jesus is their focus. Maybe Jesus’ answer to them is affirming the desire to remain with Him with a bit of “not yet” added on. Jesus does indicate that James and John will remain faithful and will indeed suffer for their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Whichever was the case, whatever the motivation was that led to the request, James and John wanted to remain close to Jesus, no matter the cost. They were bold enough to ask a big thing of Jesus. May these be the examples we take from our passage today. First, may our primary focus be on remaining close to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Second, may we have a faith big enough to ask bold things of God. James and John were bold for their faith. Let us follow their example as we walk out our journey of faith.

Lord God, help me to always seek your presence, to always be willing to walk closely with you in this life. And when I drift, may the Spirit’s voice be loud and insistent. Open my eyes to see you as you are – almighty, without limit, fully able. May my walk and my faith reflect who and what you are. Amen.


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Able and Strong

Evil exists in our world in many forms.  It can be in the actions of people who have come to believe all of Satan’s lies.  It can be in the emotions that rise up in us: greed, envy, lust…  It can be in the unkind thoughts we have and in the cutting words we spew.  In many ways Satan is trying to turn us away from God, to divert our attention.

What can we do?  To whom can we turn?

As Jesus taught in the synagogue the people sensed His authority.  The demon in the man called out and acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God.  In our own battles with the forces of evil, do we turn first to Jesus Christ and make the same acknowledgement?  We must, for only He can save.  Our only chance in this battle is to call upon His name and to claim the power and protection that He brings.

Whatever our hurt, whatever battle we are fighting, whatever temptation is pulling at us – it matters not.  Jesus is able.  Jesus is strong.  Jesus is waiting for us to turn to Him and to admit our need because we cannot do it alone.  Then we too can call on the powerful name of Jesus and find healing, comfort, relief.  Step into His presence today and find rest.

Scripture reference: Mark 1: 21-28