pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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All Is Not Lost

Matthew 22 contains several series of questions that the Sadducees and Pharisees ask Jesus.  They are the religious leaders of the day and their queries have two purposes: to prove themselves correct and to trap Jesus, this radical upstart.  Yet with each question Jesus stings these experts in faith by drawing them back to the scriptures and the true meaning of God’s word.  After each encounter the leaders go away bruised and defeated, and probably a little angry too.

We too go away a bit bruised and defeated when we take the time to reflect on how we do honoring the two great commandments Jesus names in verses 34 to 36.  Love God with all of my heart, mind, and soul?  On a good day I might come close part of the day.  But my pride,my judgmental nature, my sense of needing to be in control – they each take their turn leading instead of me allowing God to lead.  Love my neighbor as self?  I could maybe do okay if I got to pick the neighbor.  But my neighbor is everyone I encounter and I struggle daily – with those I know and those I don’t and sometimes avoid.  Maybe you can relate.  Maybe you too are like the Sadducees and Pharisees.

But all is not lost – we are on a journey of faith.  Each time we stumble, Christ helps us back up.  He reassures us of His love for us.  He reminds us to love others as He first loved us.  And He sends us back out each day, to matter and make a difference for His kingdom here on earth.  Each day we meet the world, seeking to meet it as Jesus did – right where it is at.  We seek to offer what we can to whomever we can, to make a difference one person at a time.  And we do.  Thanks be to God.

Scripture reference: Matthew 22: 34-36


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The Two Are Connected

At our church we have been emphasizing the ideas of “love God, love neighbor” for the last couple months.  For both parts of this statement, I have come to two realizations.  First, “more” is or needs to be implied because we will never love God or neighbor enough.  Second, how we love God and love neighbor is best shown through how we treat them.

Romans 12 is full of ‘how’ statements about how we are to love neighbor.  Love must be sincere.  Honor others over self.  Live in harmony.  Bless those who curse you.  Give food and drink to the needy – especially those who are your ‘enemy’.  Overcome evil with good.  This list is not complete, of course, but it is a good start.

The things on this list are also part of how we ‘show’ that we love God.  Our works are born out of that love.  The two cannot be separated.  We also connect to God through worship, prayer, devotions, reading the Bible, fellowship.  Through these practices we come to love God more.  Through these we also come to understand how to love neighbor more.  The two are connected.

Scripture reference: Romans 12: 9-21