pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Lavished

Reading: 1 John 3: 1-3

Verse One: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God”.

Identity is an important thing. At times we are very sure of who we are. We feel confident and we know our purpose in life. So often, for many people, this is wrapped up in earthly things like our job or our position on the team or in the money we have or in the possessions we own. When this is how we define ourselves, then the trials of life rock our world.

Today’s passage opens with a reminder of who we truly are. John writes, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God”. This sums up the core of our true identity. It is because of God’s great love. This is where it starts. It is a rich and lavish love that God wants to pour down on every single person. Not all accept His love. But for those that do, we are called “children of God”. There is a huge difference between knowing that all people are God’s children and actually living as one. When we live as a child of God, we know our true identity.

When we identify as a child of God, life takes on an eternal perspective. Yes, this life will still have its trials and hurts and sufferings, but they are temporary. In addition, as a child we do not walk alone through these valleys either. Our Father walks with us and will even carry us at times. Our Father gives us strength to face any challenge because we do not face it alone and we can draw on His limitless strength. How great is the love indeed!

No matter what life has brought us or will bring us, we can trust in the love that God has for each of us, His dearly loved children. Thanks be to God for His great love!


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Child of God

In our land of abundance, it can be easy to link our happiness to what we have or to what our job title is.  These things can too easily define us and our happiness  rises and falls with our relative perception of these criteria.  The more one ties their identity to possessions and titles, the further they move from their true identity.

When one identifies as a child of God first and foremost, our identity is secure no matter what physical or emotional changes come our way.  Our relationship with God always remains secure because His love never changes or fails.  No matter what things we have or what title we have, His love and presence in our lives does not change one bit.  And no matter what we say or do, He always seeks to remain in relationship with us.  When ‘child of God’ is our bedrock identity this world holds little sway over us.

At times I marvel at the faith of people living daily in conditions of poverty, violence, disease, and injustice.  The world they live in seems to offer so little hope or the chance at a better life.  Yet daily they exhibit hope through a solid faith in God.  They have allowed God’s joy to overcome the adversity that they face on a daily basis.  They live content in His love.

Living as a child of God draws us to this same place of love and contentment and trust.  Giving it all to God allows us to live in and experience His joy as well.  Life is not then about the here and now only, but also about our eternal life.  When we see and live as a child of God, we truly begin to store up treasures in heaven because that is where our heart is.  This is a treasure nothing on this earth can destroy or steal.  As the things of this world lessen, the things of His kingdom increase.  May we each walk this day as a child of God, living and trusting in Him.

Scripture reference: Matthew 6: 16-21


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Do You Hear?

What name best identifies you?  Is it father, mother, sister, grandma, brother, grandfather?  Is it accountant, teacher, lawyer, mechanic?  Is it artist, athlete, musician, dancer?  Is it giver, helper, volunteer, caregiver?  In our life we fill many roles and sometimes the roles vary by who we are around and what we are doing at the time.  Often the names others give us and know us by reflect who we are and how we are known.  Sometimes we even live into the names we are given.

In the quiet alone times with God, do you hear Him calling your name?  He does call out to each.  God calls out to each of us by name – Susan, Paul, David, Alice, Greg.  Jesus called the twelve to follow Him and become His disciples.  In doing so they were called to a new way of life.  Through their time with and in relationship to Jesus, they came to see themselves as worthy, loved, redeemed.  As we hear Him calling our name and begin to live into that call, we too come to see ourselves as worthy, loved, redeemed.

As God calls out and stakes an increasing claim on our lives as we grow in the faith, one of or true names becomes more and more evident: child of God.  As we grow into this name our other names become secondary.  Instead of father we become known as a Christian father.  Instead of a lawyer we become known as a Christian lawyer.  What we ‘do’ becomes secondary to who we are as God increasingly is our first consideration in all of our choices, decisions, priorities.

Being a child of God is a journey.  Once we realize we are a child of God, we begin living into a new identity.  We will still stumble, fall, make mistakes.  But as a child of God, when we stumble, we will fall into His arms of grace.  As a beloved child of God, we never walk alone.  Do you hear Him calling your name?

Scripture reference: 1 John 3: 1-7