pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Imitate Christ

Reading: Hebrews 13: 1-8

Verse 8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”.

Today we are first encouraged to love one another. This extends both to our brothers and sisters in Christ and to the strangers among us. We are reminded that we might be entertaining angels when we extend hospitality to a stranger, to those we visit in prison, and to those who are mistreated. True hospitality draws no lines and sees no barriers. It loves both friends and strangers alike.

We are next encouraged to be good people. We do so by honoring our marriages, by keeping sexually moral, and by being content with what we have. Our contentment comes from our relationship with the Lord, which we read about in the quotes from Deuteronomy 31 and Psalm 118. The first emphasizes the fact that God will never leave us or forsake us and the second reminds us that with God as our helper we do not need to be afraid.

Our passage concludes with a reminder of what Hebrews 11 and 12 have been all about: following the examples of those pillars of the faith that have gone before. Here we connect back to Abraham and Isaac and Enoch… with Peter, James, John, Paul, and the other early church leaders. Verse eight concludes with the greatest one to follow, the perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ. In this verse we read that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”. Jesus loved all, was without sin, honored the pillars of faith, and gave the gifts of help in this world and an invitation to join him in eternity. The Holy Spirit is our ever present companion that never leaves us and always helps and guides us. Through faith in Christ alone we receive the promise of life eternal. It is the prize for which we run this race.

In verse seven we are encouraged to “imitate their faith”. When we strain forward, running the race like those pillars and especially like Jesus, we will help others to know the good news, to experience healing, to see miracles worked in their lives. In sharing Jesus’ light and love with others, we invite them into a relationship with Jesus Christ too. What greater gift can we offer to our friends and to the strangers in our midst?

Prayer: Dear Lord, you are the perfect example of loving God and loving neighbor. Give me the courage and trust to love you and all I meet today. May your love pour out into their lives today. Amen.

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Life Lived Fully

Jesus says to us, “Come be with me, come spend some time with me.  Be in my love and my love will be in you.  Remain in me and I will remain in you.  Get to know me by being with me and then become like me.”

He calls us to spend time in prayer – both talking and listening.  He calls us to spend time in the Word – both reading and reflecting.  He calls us to take account of our life  and day – both in thanksgiving and in evaluation.  All we do and say should be done to draw us closer to Jesus and to deepen our relationship with Him.

As we get to know Jesus more, two things happen.  First, we begin to recognize then respond to His calls into our life with increasing clarity.  As it really sinks in how Jesus loved and treated others, we come to see that we are called to do the same.  Our ears, eyes, and heart become more attuned to the nudges and voice of the Holy Spirit.  We think less of self and more of how we can come alongside another in the love of Jesus Christ.

Teh second thing is also within but it has more to  do with how we see self.  We question what we once never gave a second thought.  We choose to do this or that (or choose not to) as we seek to imitate more and more the life of Jesus.  Living a life that is holy and pleasing to God takes on new meaning.

As we continue on our journey of faith the line between outward and inward seems to blur.  As this line blurs one comes to see what a life truly lived for Christ looks like.  Be faithful to the journey.

Scripture reference: John 15: 9-11