pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Thank You

The psalmist writes, “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens”.  The writer goes on to speak of God’s faithfulness reaching to the skies and of His righteousness being like the mighty mountains.  Lastly God’s justice is paralleled to the ocean.  How vast and wide and high and deep is God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice!  Verses like these remind us of who God is and cause us to give praise and thanksgiving.

Yet almost as often as there are grains of sand on the beach, I can forget all that the psalmist writes of.  In an instant I can forget all about this omnipotent and omnipresent God and rely only on myself.  On the one hand this amazes me and on the other hand I know I have been there over and over and over again.  But no matter how many times I seem to try to do it on my own and fail, He is always there.  With that love that reaches to the heavens, God always waits for my return.  Through a faithfulness equally as big, God never gives up on me.

It is humbling to think of such things.  All I have to do is rely on God.  To know I fail reminds me of my total dependence on God.  To be humbled is to remember my place in the large order of things.  Thank you God for your immeasurable love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice.  Thank you God.

Scripture reference: Psalm 36: 5-10


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Listening and Seeing

The prophet Micah is like all of God’s other prophets.  He speaks the word that God gives him to speak to the people.  While much of the time the prophets are warning the people of the consequences of their sins and calling them to repent, sometimes the prophets also spoke of the hope in and the promise of God’s faithfulness.  Such is the case with our passage today from Micah.

Since the life of Jesus, Christians read this section of Micah like many other prophecies found in the Old Testament.  As Christians we read the Old Testament not only as the history of the people of Israel and our faith, but also as a book that points to the New Testament and ultimately to Jesus.  When Micah writes of a leader who will come out of Bethlehem and speaks of him as one who will shepherd the flock, our mind immediately links up with the story of Jesus’ birth and life.  Micah also connects Jesus to long before His birth – “whose origins are of old, from ancient times.”  These words echo the message we find in the opening lines of John’s gospel.

The prophets, Micah included, also always provide hope and remind us to believe in the promises of God.  God is always at work in our lives and in our world.  In hard times that can be difficult to remember.  But Micah reminds us of the promises and that in hard times we most need to rely on God’s presence and call upon His strength.  Micah also reminds us that we must seek God’s word and see God in our daily experiences.  This day may we have a heart that listens and eyes that see God.

Scripture reference: Micah 5: 2-5a


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How Vast and Wide

Yesterday the people hailed Jesus as He entered Jerusalem.  People laid down their coats, waved palm branches, and shouted exultations.  To the general observer it was quite a parade!  But Jesus did not toss candy to the crowd as He rode along.  Tears stained His face and sadness consumed Him.  He knew many present would not accept Him as the Messiah and some would even be in the crowd that shouted, “Crucify him!”

Jesus’ first action after the triumphal entry was to go to the temple.  But He goes not to worship or to teach but to purge the temple.  He drives out the people who have turned the “house of prayer” into a “den of robbers.”

As we begin our Holy Week journey may we look to our hearts, the temple of our bodies.  May we seek out that which is impure and drive it from our hearts.  This week may we become a “house of prayer.”

Today, as we wrestle with this, may we also celebrate God’s vast love.  In many psalms we find great words to use as prayers.  In Psalm 36 we are reminded that His love “reaches to the heavens” and that His faithfulness “stretches to the skies.”  And we hear in verse seven, “How priceless is your unfailing love.”

He cleared the temple to make it pure.  As we wrestle with what we find in the corners of our hearts, may we be strengthened by this great and vast love and faithfulness.  As we purge what keeps us at a distance from Jesus, let our spirits remember how much He loves us.  Let us be filled with that vast love and faithfulness this week.

Scripture reference: Psalm 36: 5-11


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Are You There?

Within our human relationships we often find conflict, a struggle for acceptance, and some competition for attention.  I saw this in my children growing up and sometimes see it in the adult relationships we have with others.  In our adult life we often want to be the ‘best friend’.  And no matter what our age is, we can question our role and whether or not we fit in.

In Genesis 29 Jacob pledges to work for Laban for seven years in order to marry his daughter Rachel.  But on the wedding night, Laban slips in the older daughter Leah instead.  Jacob is upset when he awakens the next morning and finds Leah there.  Yet he works seven more years in exchange for marrying Rachel.  Tension becomes the norm in this dual marriage – no surprise here!

I don’t know if I could do what Jacob did.  He gave 14 years of his life to marry Rachel.  Talk about love!  And within this story we also get a glimpse of what true faithfulness looks like.  I wonder if I would be willing to give 14 years for something or someone.  Would you?  Yet when we think about our pursuit of God, 14 years should just be a beginning of what we offer.

My faith journey is into its fourth decade.  My faithfulness is usually pretty good, but I stumble on the path from time to time.  My pursuit is pretty dogged in general, but it wanes on occasion.  Why continue to work on our faith after we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior?  Because I am not there yet.  Are you?

Scripture reference: Genesis 29: 15-28