pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Valued and Loved

Reading: 1st Corinthians 8: 1-13

Verse Nine: “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak”.

As human beings, we all have behaviors and inclinations that can be sinful or can lead to sinful actions. For some, it can be an addiction such as alcohol or drugs or gambling or pornography. For some it can be gossiping or judging or being overly critical. For some it can be pride or ego or selfishness. For some it can be the drive to succeed at work or to excel at a sport or activity. There is no shortage of ways that we can can stumble. So when Paul says, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak”, he is asking us to filter almost all we do and say and are through this idea.

Paul wants the Christian community to love each other above all else. Paul sees call to love God and to love neighbor that Jesus elevated to top priority as the core of the faith community. When we truly love God we will refrain from believers that are determined to ourselves or to others we love. When we truly love God we will return from believers that are destructive to ourselves or to others we love. When we truly love others, we will not gossip about, judge, … them because these things only being harm and hurt. When we love God other above all else, we will not make work or personal interests our priorities. By choosing to refrain from these behaviors and inclinations we are choosing to not be a stumbling block to others.

When we do avoid these, we open up the possibility to better see as God sees. When we consider God and others before ourselves then we will pour into their lives and build them up as we come to better see the other as valued and loved by God. In turn we also come to better see our own beloved child status. May we all choose love, building one another up as we grow and move forward as the body of Christ.


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The Father’s Love

Reading: Exodus 32: 7-10

Verse Nine: “I have seen these people”, said the Lord to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people”.

The people have allowed fear and doubt to win the day and they cast a golden calf to be their god.  Being fully made by human hands, the calf has no power.  But it is visible and present and the people want to believe it can save them.  So they offer sacrifices and worship it.

God looks down on His chosen people and suddenly the Israelites are “your” people whom “you” led out of Egypt.  God uses the third person to talk about His children – “they” are corrupt, stiff-necked.  He is like a parent, angry over what a child has done.  On occasion I have said, “Honey, your son has…” or “That daughter of yours…”

Reading this passage makes me wonder how close I have come to drawing God to the place of wanting to disown me.  One can easily look back over one’s life to identify points where or words or actions or choices maybe upset God, maybe made God feel like giving up on us.  I wonder if God ever thinks, “Not again…” because I too at times am “corrupt” and “stiff-necked”.

Even though we may get upset with our earthly children and “feel like” disowning them, we never do.  They will always be our son or daughter and we will always love them.  Our love for our children pales in comparison to God’s love for us.  God’s love for His children is so much more than we can even understand.  In the 103rd Psalm we are reminded that God removes our sin as far as the east is from the west – they are no more.  In Titus 3 we are told that our sins are washed away, giving us new birth, a fresh beginning.  This is how great the Father’s love is for us, His children.  It is a love that never fails, a love that never ends.  Thanks be to God for this love.