pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Filled

Reading: Colossians 2: 6-19

Verse 13: “And you… he has made alive together with him”.

In our passage from Colossians 2, Paul is encouraging the church and us to fill ourselves with Christ. Those around the church, the world, are trying to fill them with all sorts of things. Some think they need to follow Jewish laws: circumcision, dietary, festival, and Sabbath laws. Some are pressing them with the things of the world: philosophy, worshipping angels, the pleasures of the flesh. Paul reminds them and us that all of these things are false and temporary. All that matters is Jesus Christ.

Today we can struggle with what we choose to fill ourselves with. We too can chase after other, worldly things. What we fill ourselves with will determine how we live. If work is our top priority, then it will eat up the majority of our time and energy. If we next allocate space for family and friends, then most of our time and energy has been spent. Add in a hobby or interest plus a little sleep… and little time is left for God and faith. It can become hard to fit faith into our lives. Nevermind being filled with Jesus.

According to Paul, this is backwards. Paul encourages the Colossians and us to first fill ourselves with Jesus Christ. When we first put on Christ, we become one with him. We circumcise self and our selfish desires. We are baptized into new life with Jesus. We cannot stop there though. We cannot allow our faith to become boxed in, to become a list that we check off periodically. Nourishing and growing our faith must be our top daily priority. If it is we will live in and through Christ. We will live into verse 6: “And you… he has made alive together with him”. We are alive with Christ when we fill ourselves with him. This day and every day may we begin by filling ourselves with Christ. May we be so filled that he overflows.

Prayer: Father God, fill me to full with Jesus. Fill me so that he is my all in all. May Christ shine bright in my life today. Amen.


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With Praise and Singing

Reading: Psalm 30

Verse 10: “Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help”.

King David lived a life of faith. He was not without sin, but he was a “man after God’s own heart”. David experienced many highs with God and also walked through his share of valleys. Today’s Psalm is a song for the dedication of the temple. It is a song that rejoices in God’s love and care and presence in David’s life. It is a Psalm that we can relate to our lives and to our faith.

We have all been in the depths and have been lifted out by God. We have all experienced healing. We have all lived within that “favor that lasts a lifetime”. Yet we have also felt dismayed when “you hid your face”. We have all questioned where God was at times and have wondered about times in “the pit”. We have all also been where David was in verse 10, when he cried out, “Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help”. We’ve all pleaded and begged for God to be our rescuer.

Because God is faithful, God answered David and has answered us over and over. We awake to a new day or we feel God’s presence in the midst of something and hope is born again. We know God’s power is at work in our lives. We too have felt our wailing turned to dancing; we too have felt our heart filled. In response we have rejoiced with praise and singing to the Lord. We too can join David in singing, “O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever”.

Prayer: O God, you are my God. I will ever praise you. Lord of Lords and King of Kings, I rejoice in your presence in my life. Hallelujah and hallelujah! Amen.


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Filled with Love

We can express our love for God in many ways.  It can be expressed in worship, in our daily disciplines, in our service to others, and in how we treat our neighbors.  The love we share with others wells up and out of the love of God within and for us.  When we share this love of God with others, they too can come to know that love themselves.

But at times we can “do” things without really loving.  Have you ever gone to church on a Sunday morning when you really did not want to?  You smile and chat, bow you head and sing along, maybe even nod approvingly during the sermon – but inside you are not present or engaged.  Ever been of service because it was expected?  You go and help cook and serve the meal at the mission but inside of you there is apathy or maybe the resentment and anger are just below the surface.  In these and similar situations, the love of God seems far away.  In times like these we are the clanging symbols Paul writes of in today’s passage.

We get to this place a number of ways, but there are two primary ways.  First, we forget to be thankful to God.  If we are not intentional about making time daily to be thankful to God for our many blessings, it can be easy to forget how much He loves us.  Without His love filling us up, we have little true love to offer others.  The second way is we forget to love ourselves.  Being a constant well of love to others leaves us empty inside.  We can be so busy being in ministry to others that we do not allow ourselves the Sabbath we need.  In this too we must be intentional.  We are at our best loving God and loving others when we have a thankful and rested heart, filled with God’s love for us.  Then we can truly offer His love to the world.

Scripture reference: 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 & 13


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Filled to be Emptied

Jesus calls us to believe in the light so that we can become the light ourselves.  Darkness is powerful – only the light can overcome it.  After teaching the people all day, Jesus takes some time in solitude to pray.  It is a hard week ahead.  Even the Son of God needs to spend time alone with God in order to face what lies ahead.

Psalm 71 begins with the encouragement to take refuge in God.  In the midst of the trial and adversaries that surround all around the psalmist, they seek refuge, protection, and safety in time alone with God.  There is the admission that we cannot manage on our own but need time alone with God to find the strength and the ability to face the day or week ahead.

In both of these cases and in our case too our enemies pursue us.  The messages of the world shout out things to chase after and interests to develop that are not the things of God.  These things and people in our lives will challenge our faith.  And like Jesus and the psalmist, we too must take time alone with God.

Today, where will you find the time to be alone with God?  Where will you go to hide from the world as you seek help, protection, and love from God?  It is important to make sure we are full of His presence before we go out into the world to be the light and love that dispels darkness and fills it with Christ’s presence.  After being filled up, go out and give it away.

Scripture references: Psalm 71: 1-14 and John 12: 20-36


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Be Filled

In today’s parable from Matthew, ten virgins are waiting for the bridegroom to come to the wedding banquet.  Sad thing is five of them do not have enough oil.  Five do.  When news of the bridegroom’s approach reaches them, the five need more oil.  While they are away getting oil, the bridegroom arrives.  Then banquet begins and when the five arrive late, they are not allowed in because the bridegroom does not know them now.

The lesson is to be prepared. The hour of return is unknown to us too.  Metaphorically, Jesus is the bridegroom, we are the virgins, and the banquet is the celebration of the return of Christ.  The oil represents the Holy Spirit and our faith is the lamp.  In our walk of faith we must keep our lamps burning, shining forth with the light of Christ.  To do so we must seek the Holy Spirit, that symbolic oil for our lamps.

Each day when we pray for guidance, direction, and God’s presence, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Each time we we read and meditate on His Word, we are filled.  Each time we gather and worship, we are filled.  Each time we stop and care for one in need, we are filled.  God loves to pour His Holy Spirit into us because then our light shines bright.  Be filled today and every day!!

Scripture reference: Matthew 25: 1-13