pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Arise, Beloved

Reading: Song of Songs 2: 8-13

Verse 10: “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me”.

The Song of Songs is about love. On the literal level it is the story of young love, of courtship, of desire. In today’s six verses we see the beloved, the young woman, being sought by her lover. Twice in today’s passage he calls out, saying, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me”. The earth itself is coming to life as spring begins. The flowers and vines are blossoming, the doves coo, the figs begin to form. Life is bursting all around. The two lovers can sense the energy in creation and want to be a part of that.

In the metaphorical sense, the Song of Songs is the story of how God seeks to be in relationship with us. This relationship is also built upon love. God’s love is not the “I love my brother” kind of love from childhood. It is not the pinky swear “I’ll do anything for my BFF” kind of adolescent love. It is not even the wild and passionate love of two twenty somethings who have fallen madly in love. Even this love pales in comparison to the love that God desires to lavish upon us. God’s love is unconditional, unfailing, unending. The best of human love is conditional, fickle, wavering.

God pursues us like the young man pursues his love. God leaps the mountains, walks across the seas, peers through any opening that he can find, calling out to each of us, his beloved. Today, be aware of how God is calling out to you, seeking to deepen your relationship with him. Will you arise and go with God?

Prayer: Loving and compassionate God, make me aware of each way that you reach out to me today. Create in me a sensitive heart, a willing heart. Help me to take in and to pour out your love this day. Amen.


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Walk in God’s Light

Reading: Psalm 27: 1-3 and 7-9

Verse 1: “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear”?

Fear is something all of us deal with. Fear can be very real and rational. Coming face to face with a bear in the wilderness, for example, raises up fear in us, as it should. Fear can also be imagined and irrational. There have been times when I had to do something that I had done before and had the gifts or skills to accomplish said thing and yet became fearful of what lay ahead. Fear can paralyze us and it also be what leads us to a place we would not go on our own.

David, the writer of the Psalm, has faced fear in his life. He had dealt with the power of fear. Over time he has come to the point where he can honestly write, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear”? God has been David’s strength and shield over and over. When he had nowhere else to turn, David turned to God. David learned that God was always there so his trust and faith in God grew. As his faith grew, it became natural for David to turn to God, not only in times of fear, but in all times. He models a good faith for us to make our own.

God is faithful. When doubt or fear or worry arises in our heart or mind, may we too first turn to God. Like David, in all times and in all situations, may we always say, “Your face, Lord, I will seek”. God is faithful. He is our light and our salvation, our stronghold and our deliverer. May we walk in God’s light today and every day.

Prayer: Dear Lord, fear is a companion at times. That new thing can bring fear into my life. An unknown ahead brings fear too. Help me to trust more fully, to cling more tightly to your good plans for me. Turn me to you, O God. Be my strength and my shield, my peace and my comfort. Amen.


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Arise, Shine

Reading: Isaiah 60: 1-6

At times, things can seem dark.  For individuals, sudden and unexpected loss can make the world heavy and can make it hard to get through the day to day.  And at times, even the normal day to day life can be a bit hard at times.  One only has to spend a little time watching or listening to the news to develop a sense that the world is bleak and gloomy.  Story after story brings more bad news.  This was the feel of the times into which Isaiah writes.  The exiles have been gone so long it seems like they will never return.  Things in Jerusalem have continued to erode – the walls, the food, the hope, …

Isaiah opens this writing with hope – glorious hope – “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you”.  These words contain much hope.  God is returning!  Into all of this darkness comes the Lord Almighty.  It is such good news that Isaiah repeats it again in the next verse.  He goes on to write of the return of sons and daughters from exile.  Then he writes of how other nations will see the glory of God in Israel and will come with camels, gold, and incense.  Lots of good news is on the way!  Praise the Lord!

Within this chapter of joy for Israel, we too can find hope in our day to day.  If we are in the midst of a difficult time, like Israel was, it can feel like God is not there or is distant at best.  The good news is for us too – we too can find strength and hope in God.  If we seek Him, we will know God’s presence, for God is always near.  For those not dealing with a personal trial, may we arise and shine forth the glory of the Lord, for all the world to see.  May the light shine so that all may be drawn to the Lord.