pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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My Strength

Reading: Psalm 22

Verse Nineteen: “But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my strength, come quickly to help me”.

Today’s Psalm represents well our lives and our journey of faith. At times we feel like the opening words sum up our life: “my God, why have you forsaken me”? We feel an unbearable amount of pain or a burden we cannot bear and God seems very distant. Like the psalmist, we cry out, but hear only silence. But in the next verses we are reminded of God’s faithfulness as we too recall the previous generations praise of and trust in the Lord. We are reminded that they trusted and we’re never disappointed.

The psalmist continues to recount trials and sufferings that they went through and they intersperse these events with praise for the God who always comes through, is always really there. Most of the time we live out this kind of a faith. God brings us joy and peace and contentment and strength. Most of the time we feel God’s loving and caring presence all around us. Yet we too know that the natural cycles of life will bring pain, regret, disappointment, doubt, … All of us experience these times in life. Even the ‘greats’ of the faith do. Mother Teresa even experienced what she herself called he “dark nights of the soul”, times when the weight of the pain and suffering all around her left her feeling alone and without faith.

In our moments of hurt and doubt, we too cry out as did the psalmist: “But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my strength, come quickly to help me”. We call God in, we want to feel God’s closeness and presence. Through this Psalm we are reminded that through the ups and downs of life and our faith, that God remains ever present and that God is always sufficient. The psalmist expresses this confidence as he writes, “they who seek the Lord will praise Him”. This confidence comes from experience after experience. When we seek the Lord, we will find Him, and that will lead to praise. The psalmist concludes with these words: “They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn – for He has done it”. God has been, is, and always will be faithful and true. As people of faith may we continue to tell of God’s goodness and love, today and through the generations to come. May it be so. Amen.


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Time for the Word

The disciples were sanctified by Jesus.  Through His words and actions the disciples came to know the truth.  They understood the ways of God.  Through sanctification they were marked as holy, set apart from the world.  God seeks to sanctify us as well.  As we grow in closeness to God, we become increasingly separated from the things of this world.  Just as Jesus told the disciples that they do not belong to the world, He tells us the same thing as He lays claim to our lives.

Since we belong to Jesus as His disciples, we know the path we are called to walk in this world. We are called to offer the world radical love, unexpected forgiveness, absolute justice, complete compassion, and sacrificial service.  In short, we are to live out the life that Jesus patterned for us so that all may come to know Him.

There is much beauty and good in the world. God loves the world and all that He created is good.  We can love these aspects of the world too.  But sin did enter the world and Satan continues to operate in the world.  As Jesus claims us and as we continue to grow closer to God, we are called away from greed and wealth, away from violence and corruption, and away from status and power.

In the midst of the world and this culture, how can we be sanctified, set apart for God?  It is God’s Word that sanctifies us.  Time in the Word draws us closer to Him.  Time in the Word builds up our armor and makes us strong so we can resist temptation.  Time in the Word lays out how we are to be in the world but not of it.  We must spend time in the Word of God, for there we too find truth.

Scripture reference: John 17: 17-19