pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


Leave a comment

Right Relationships

Reading: Matthew 5: 21-37

Verse 24: “First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift”.

At the core of today’s passage is the call to live in right relationship with God and with one another. In each small section Jesus first reminds us of the “big” or obvious sins – murder, adultery, divorce, dishonesty. Then he digs deeper, looking at the “smaller” and easier to hide or rationalize sins that we struggle with more often. These sins are the ones that lead up to murder… Each of these sins are offenses against both God and one another.

In verse 23 Jesus invites us to consider if our “brother has something against you”. If this is part of our daily prayer life, the the Holy Spirit will reveal to us these sins that we have committed against another. This process requires a careful and thoughtful introspection. When our words or actions or looks have caused hurt – when we get an immediate reaction – then we know we have sinned and must seek forgiveness. The careful and thorough introspection must go deeper, searching our day for instances where our interactions caused harm.

Jesus even seems to place our human relationships before our relationship with God. He says that before offering our gift to God – whether a thank offering or a guilt offering – to“first go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift”. Be right with one another first. I think Jesus offers this thought because we think we can more easily hide or overlook our sins against our brothers and sisters. We think that God sees all and knows all (and God does) so that we cannot slip our offenses past God. In these words, Jesus is calling us to first be accountable to one another and then to God. Tend to the smaller relationships then to the bigger one with God. This is yet one more example of God’s upside down kingdom.

May we be mindful of our interactions with one another today, seeking reconciliation and forgiveness when we should, seeking to live in right relationship with God and with one another. May it be so.

Prayer: Lord God, make me mindful of all I do, say, and think today. Send the Holy Spirit to bring sure conviction when I sin and to guide me in the ways of peace and reconciliation and grace. Elevate my relationships with each I meet today, leading to deeper fellowship with them and with you. Amen.


Leave a comment

Good News

Reading: Acts 9: 1-9

Saul had quite the dramatic encounter with the risen Jesus.  Ever since Jesus’ death and resurrection, Saul had been persecuting and often killing followers of “the Way” – those who followed Jesus and His teachings.  ‘Zealous’ is the word often used to describe Saul’s pursuit of Christians.  The mention of his name brought fear and caused Christians to slip into the shadows and to go into hiding.  Saul was one who needed a dramatic encounter with the Light.

In our lives, we often have encounters with the truth and light as well. In general they are nothing like Saul’s – but at times they can be.  For the most part, our encounters come as gentle nudges and soft whispers as we are guided back to the path God calls us to and away from the path of the world.  On occasion the nudge is more like a shove as we strayed a little too far away and something stronger is needed to bring our life back into alignment with Christ’s desires for us.

For some the encounter is much like Saul’s.  We have been wandering far and wide and God must also bring us to our knees.  It usually comes in the form of hitting rock bottom.  It comes at the end of a long road of addiction or a trail of dishonesty and lies that leaves us wondering how in the world we ended up ‘here’.  One little step after one little step has added up to a journey into the wilderness.  Amazing thing about God though – He can call us back just as quickly from a long detour as He can from a temptation to a much lesser evil.

The great gift is a love from God that never ends, a mercy that never stops, and a grace that always is given.  Saul became Paul and we too will always be rescued, always brought back into a righteous relationship with Him.  No matter where we are or who we are, God wants to use us just like Paul – to go forth and share the good news of Jesus Christ with others on their own detours.  Only one way leads to eternal life.  May we share this news today!!


Leave a comment

Good Newd

Reading: Acts 9: 1-9

Saul had quite the dramatic encounter with the risen Jesus.  Ever since Jesus’ death and resurrection, Saul had been persecuting and often killing followers of “the Way” – those who followed Jesus and His teachings.  ‘Zealous’ is the word often used to describe Saul’s pursuit of Christians.  The mention of his name brought fear and caused Christians to slip into the shadows and to go into hiding.  Saul was one who needed a dramatic encounter with the Light.

In our lives, we often have encounters with the truth and light as well. In general they are nothing like Saul’s – but at times they can be.  For the most part, our encounters come as gentle nudges and soft whispers as we are guided back to the path God calls us to and away from the path of the world.  On occasion the nudge is more like a shove as we strayed a little too far away and something stronger is needed to bring our life back into alignment with Christ’s desires for us.

For some the encounter is much like Saul’s.  We have been wandering far and wide and God must also bring us to our knees.  It usually comes in the form of hitting rock bottom.  It comes at the end of a long road of addiction or a trail of dishonesty and lies that leaves us wondering how in the world we ended up ‘here’.  One little step after one little step has added up to a journey into the wilderness.  Amazing thing about God though – He can call us back just as quickly from a long detour as He can from a temptation to a much lesser evil.

The great gift is a love from God that never ends, a mercy that never stops, and a grace that always is given.  Saul became Paul and we too will always be rescued, always brought back into a righteous relationship with Him.  No matter where we are or who we are, God wants to use us just like Paul – to go forth and share the good news of Jesus Christ with others on their own detours.  Only one way leads to eternal life.  May we share this news today!!