pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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The Gift

Reading: Romans 5: 12-19

Verse 16: “The judgment followed one one and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification”.

At times I have known people who take the time to be present. After an unexpected loss many years ago my old youth pastor was that person for me. We spent hours together as I worked out my grief. To me it felt like he would’ve sat and listened and talked forever. He made me feel like I was all that there was in the world to him. God seemed to reside in his very being. Have you ever been in the presence of someone like that?

The process that we are invited to walk through in Lent leads us to become more of who God created us to be. Jesus was one who focused right in on whoever was before him and they became all that mattered. In Lent we are called to look within and to search out those parts of ourselves that are selfish and that are focused on the things of this world. These parts of each of us prevent us from being able to truly focus on the other. When we seek to rid ourselves of these things we become more like Jesus and then we will begin to see the other.

In the garden, Adam turned and focused on self. In a moment he stepped outside of a right relationship with God. Sin became part of humanity’s struggle. In verse sixteen we read, “The judgment followed one one and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification”. God did not leave us dead in our sins. The gift of Jesus Christ was given to us so that sin and death would not be the end. Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ, he who gifts us the victory.

Prayer: Father God, you are so, so good to me. I deserve much less but you are so much more. Thank you for your grace, your love, your mercy, your forgiveness – all to make me new again. I love you Lord! Amen.


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One Man

Reading: Romans 5: 12-19

In today’s reading, we have the first Adam and the second Adam, Jesus Christ.  In both Adam and Christ we are all connected together.  By all, I mean all people – not just Christians.  The choices that Adam and Jesus made affects all people, not just believers.

Adam chose to sin and through that sin death entered the world.  In this one act of disobedience, Adam brought death to humanity.  We will all one day die as a part of this earthly existence.  Whether or not you believe in God or in Jesus, one day death will come.  Death comes not just to our human bodies.  Sin also brings death to our relationships, to our dreams, to our connection to God.  All of humanity shares in these realities.  Adam’s choice brought sin into the world.  In turn, sin brings condemnation and death.

Christ made a different choice.  Christ’s choice was also made by one man, but in obedience to God.  Through Christ’s decision, true life entered the world.  It is not the earthly life we now experience but the glimpse of eternal life that all who call on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will one day experience.  Verse nineteen reads, “Through the obedience of the one man many will be made righteous”.  Jesus, in His obedience, paid the price of our sin and instead of condemnation, God now offers us justification.  Through the body and blood of Jesus, we can be made whole again, righteous in God’s sight, because Jesus washes away our sins.

Just as Adam’s choice affected all of humanity, so too does Christ’s choice.  We also know from Romans that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.  We know from all four Gospels that Jesus always operated from the place of love.  Jesus’ love was extended to all people – to tax collectors, to prostitutes, to Pharisees, to lepers, to any and all who came to Him.  In the same way, Jesus offers eternal life to us all.  To me, a sinner.  To you, a sinner.  To all.  It is a free gift, generously given to one and to all.  Thank you Lord Jesus for this amazing love.


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Listen

Reading: Genesis 2: 15-17

Adam and Eve began in the garden.  Each day they walk and talk with God, enjoying all that God has provided.  They have been given almost unlimited access to the garden and all of its bounty.  The one restriction God places is upon the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  God lets Adam and Eve know that they will die if they eat of this one tree.

Can you remember as a kid when your Mom or Dad said, “Don’t do” this or that?  At least some of the time these were things you never would have thought of on your own.  But more often than not, your wise and loving parents knew from experience that sooner or later that tree or rooftop or toy your sister had would be more than you could resist.  We were the same way.  All parents are.  If there was something that could harm or be bad for our children, we warn them about it.  God was doing the same thing in the garden.  God knew that once the knowledge of good and evil entered the minds of mankind, that the world would never be the same.  He was right.

As grown adults, we continue to get many warnings.  Sometimes they come from our spouse or our friend or our coworker.  Sometimes the warnings even come from our own minds.  Sometimes the words are in the form of a whisper from the Holy Spirit.  Like we would have been when we were children, we would be wise to heed the warning, to listen to the voice of those with our best interests at heart.  This day, O Lord, help me to be obedient and faithful as I try to follow the example of Jesus.  It is only possible through your power and presence, so please be with me today.