pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Yes Lord!

Reading: Psalm 30: 1-5 and 11-12

Verse 2: “O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me”.

Psalm 30 is a song of dedication to the temple. It is written as a reminder that God is our helper, our healer, our rescuer… It is a song of thanksgiving and praise, of assurance and remembrance. David opens the Psalm by exalting God for rescuing him in a time of need. In verse two he sings out, “O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me”. This personal rejoicing and thanking God is something we all have done and will continue to do throughout our lifetimes. The love of God for us is a steadfast and limitless love. David has good reason to rejoice, as do we all.

As the Psalm continues, David recalls how God’s favor lasts a lifetime. Like with Mary and Elizabeth, two who found favor with God, David has come to know that it is a forever blessing. David does acknowledge that sorrow will come, but that it does not last. Through God’s presence, he recounts the joy that comes with the morning. With God, David will not be shaken. With God, David will be able to stand firm. We too serve this same God. His favor and joy extends to us. In faith we too can stand firm. Yes, the trials will come. The sorrow will visit on occasion. Like David, we too can cry out to the Lord, trusting that the Lord our God will be our help.

Verses eleven and twelve close out Psalm 30. Each time I read those words I am connected to the song “Trading My Sorrows”. It draws upon these words. Song author Darrell Evans writes of trading his sorrow, shame, sickness, and pain for the joy of the Lord. He too remembers times when he was crushed, when he was struck down. He was crushed but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. God remained present. God remains present to each of us too. The chorus of this song is a repetition of the words, “Yes, Lord, yes Lord, yes, yes, Lord”. It acknowledges what the Psalm closes with: “O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever”.

This day and every day, may we trade our sorrows… for God’s joy. In grateful response may our whole lives thank the Lord our God. May it be so as we say, yes Lord!

Prayer: Lord God, you are my healer, my redeemer, my rescuer, my friend. Over and over your joy has come with the morning. You set my feet upon your firm foundation. I will not be shaken. May all my life sing out yes Lord, yes Lord! Amen.


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Filled with Joy

Reading: John 15: 9-11

Verse Eleven: “…so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete”.

Jesus loves you. Jesus loves me! He invites us to remain in His love. It is a wonderful place to be – in Jesus’ love. Jesus tells us that to remain in His love we must obey His commands. Jesus obeyed God’s commands and remained in God’s love. He invites us to do the same. Why is Jesus telling us this? “…so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete”. Love brings joy. Jesus loves you and me.

Love brings joy primarily two ways. One way is by feeling loved. As children, when we felt especially loved by our parents, we felt joy in our hearts. The first time you kissed your first love, you felt joy in your heart. When we experience the love of God in the ways He interacts with and intercedes in our lives, we feel joy in our hearts. For example, today when we partake in communion and once again remember the love that Jesus poured out with His life, we will feel joy in our hearts.

The second way we can have our joy made complete is by being Jesus’ hands and feet, by bringing His light and love to others. When we take time to stop our busy lives to love and serve another in need, the Lord fills our hearts with joy. This happens frequently for me on mission trips. It can be through the changes I can see happening as God goes to work in that young person’s life. It can be in the absolute gratitude expressed by someone we have blessed with a handicap ramp or new roof. And sometimes this joy sneaks up on you. It happens when someone you have not seen in a while comes up to you and says, “Do you remember the time when…?” and goes on to tell you how much what you did or said meant to them. They say it made the difference. Your heart is suddenly filled with joy.

Jesus’ command was to love as I have loved you. His love was limitless and knew no bounds; it was given to all. Jesus loves you and me. May we go forth and love as He loves you and me. Amen and amen!


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Worthy

Reading: Colossians 1: 10-14

Jesus desires for all people to enter His kingdom.  Jesus showed this by engaging everyone He met so that He could share the good news of love with them all.  The kingdom of Jesus offers freedom from the chains of sin.  Once we confess Jesus as Lord, we are not free of sin.  We are freed from sin as we find forgiveness and redemption in Jesus.  As humans we will always be prone to sin.  But because of Jesus that us not the end of our story.  We can be made new and find peace each time we confess and repent of our sin.

The forgiveness of sin us a free gift.  There is nothing we can do or say to remove the guilt and shame of our sins on our own.  All the power to do this rests in Jesus alone.  Once we claim Jesus as Lord, the free gift is ours.  It is a gift without limit.  That is how great Jesus’ love is – forgiveness and redemption are ours in limitless supply.  What a great love.  What a gift.

The response to the gift and the love is what Paul is writing about in Colossians 1: “that you may live a life worthy of the Lord”.  Our response to what Jesus has offered and done for us is to try and live like Jesus.  This is the never-ending journey of faith, to grow to be more and more like Jesus.  Living like Jesus involves bearing fruit for the kingdom.  Our primary way we bear fruit is by loving others as Jesus first loved us.  It is living lives if love, compassion, grace, mercy, forgiveness.  It is being a servant to all.

We are equipped to live a life worthy of Jesus through the practices of our faith.  We read the Bible and meditate on the Word to grow in our understanding of and connection to God.  We pray often to be known by and to know God more.  We worship to bring our praise and thanksgiving to God.  When we fill ourselves with the things of God, then we are also able to pour His love out into the lives of others.  This is a life worthy of Christ.