pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Daily, Daily, Ever, Ever

Reading: Hebrews 9: 24-28

Verse 28: “He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him”.

Living day to day can be hard. At times, life can throw challenges and trials at us. To walk faithfully with God is not always easy – especially in the days that test us and our faith. Jesus walked through some of those days when He lived as a human. He wept for Lazarus and empathized with his sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus felt the pain of rejection and abandonment when Peter denied knowing Him. We have lots of stories of Jesus entering the pain and sin of people’s lives when He walked with them, understood their stories, and offered hope, healing, a new start. We have a Savior who knows what the challenges and trials feel like. And He wants to walk with us daily.

We are human and our tendency is toward the things of the flesh – to that which brings easy gratification and quick pleasure. In this sense we are like a microwave – quick, now, low effort, easy. Jesus invites us to more, to better, to slower, to harder. To accept Jesus and to follow Him affects us both in the present and in the eternal. Choices in the present affect the eternal. Our passage reminds us that we are “destined to die, and after that face judgment”. One day all – Christians and non-Christians alike – will give an account of our life.

Our account is not a scorecard. The Christian life is not one of simply doing more good than bad. It is a life lived for Christ. It is a life that meets Him daily in prayer and meditation. It is a life that loves neighbor as self, following Jesus’ example of being a humble servant. It is a life that rejoices with Jesus in life’s ups and clings to Him in the downs. It is a life that rests upon faith daily, trusting in and knowing this eternal truth: “He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him”. Daily, daily, all for Jesus. Ever, ever, dwell with Thee. May it be so.

O Jesus, my Savior and Lord – be these things today, every day. Each day be the Lord of my life. Daily, may I surrender. Each day and every day, be my Savior – cleansing, forgiving, making me new. All for Jesus, I surrender; daily for Him, I shall live. Amen.


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Persistence

Reading: Luke 18: 1-8

Persistence is almost a lost art.  Society is so fast-paced and we desire instant gratification.  We have information at our fingertips that comes as soon as we type into our smart phone’s search engine.  We can watch the television show or movie of our choice practically anywhere at any time.  We can call or text or message someone whenever no matter where they are around the world.  Now, now, now.

Yet at times we do demonstrate perseverance and persistence.  If it is something we really want.  When I was in high school and wanted a guitar, I saved and saved, persistently, until I had enough to buy that guitar.  I did the same thing, sacrificing along the way, so I could buy that engagement ring.  People will still persevere today if it is for something they really want.

These things are true in our prayer life as well. We can be as persistent as the widow if it is something very important to us.  We can pray and pray and pray for that new job or that acceptance to that college or for the healing for ourselves or someone near and dear to us.  We can pray like the widow when we find ourselves or someone we love in an ‘unjust’ situation.  Yet in all of these things, we still want God to act quickly.  But we will persevere in some of our prayers.

When we are persistent in our prayers, it builds up our faith.  Persistent prayer reminds us of our reliance and dependence on God.  It reminds us of God’s sovereignty over all of creation.  But our persistent prayer should not be just for the really big things.  Yes, we should pray fervently for the desires of our hearts and for justice, nut we should persistently lift all thing, big and small, to God.  There is nothing too small and nothing too big for God!  May we pray all things into God’s presence.


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Patience on the Journey

Reading: 1 Timothy 1: 15-17

Paul is very grateful for Christ’s patience with him.  It took many years of being Saul to shape Paul into who he was for Christ.  Paul describes himself as the “worst of sinners” and describes Jesus’ patience as “unlimited”.  I am reminded of the stories of grandmas who prayed and prayed for wayward grandsons for years and years and years.  Then one day, often late in life, the grandson came to know Jesus Christ.  The patience paid off.  In both of these cases, grandma and Jesus had a love that was unending.  Both had a patience that did not waver.

Patience is sometimes a struggle.  We do not like to sit too long in a state of not knowing or when things are in limbo.  When an issue or problem arises we want a solution right away.  Fix it quick so that we can get on with life.  I think this is why I struggle so when I get a cold or catch the flu.  It has to run its course and it really tests my patience.  Waiting for the results of a medical tests is the worst!

Our culture does not value patience in general.  In our instant gratification society we want success right now.  If something is broken, let’s change it right now.  Often we would rather just go buy new than to take the time to repair what we have.  When we take on a project, our first question is, “How long will this take”?  Our eat-on-the-run, fast food society typifies the premium we place on our time.

And then… and then there is our journey of faith.  It is something that never ends.  For many this is quite a challenge to our ‘just tell me what I need to know now’  mentality.  We can all look back to where we became a Christian, to that point when we claimed a personal relationship with Jesus for ourselves.  We can also look at our faith now and see how we have matured in our faith over the years.  We still have days or times when God reminds us that we still have some growing to do.  We manage to get back on track and we thank God for the patience that is shown each of us over and over again.

John Wesley called our journey of faith the “journey towards perfection”.  Perfection is a place we probably will never reach in this place, but may each day we live take us one step closer to Jesus Christ, the perfector of our faith.