pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Worship Fully

Reading: Psalm 111

Verse Seven: “The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy”.

The psalmist feels all-in to me. He does not just love God a little. He loves God with all that he is. The psalmist declares that he will “extol the Lord with all my heart”. The love is complete and fills him up. He then praises the works and deeds of the Lord: great, glorious, majestic. These are all-in words too. The psalmist then remembers how God is gracious and compassionate, always providing for the people’s needs. Psalm 111 paints a picture of God being totally worthy of our praise and adoration. Verse seven is a nice summarizing verse: “The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy”. God is indeed worthy of all of our praise and adoration!

Today many of us will have the opportunity to praise and worship the Lord our God. May we enter our sanctuaries and meeting spaces with hearts turned fully to a God who desires to pour into us today, filling us with His love and compassion. May we focus on connecting on a deep and intimate level. Let us not come halfway but fully ready for God to meet us and change us today. Do not allow your worship to just be part of the routine, to just be something you did today. Jump all in and seek God with all your heart. Allow God to fully claim you today as you feel His loving presence wash over you today. Amen.

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Glory and Strength

Reading: Psalm 29

The voice of God is everywhere.  It is both powerful and majestic.  We can recognize it in the loud thunder, in the forceful winds, and in the shaking of the lightning.  In the storms of life, it can be harder to hear God’s voice.  Yet God is everywhere.  It can be hard to hear God’s voice amidst the raging, but God is there.  God never leaves us.  Verse three reads, “the voice of the Lord is over the waters”.  If we tune into the rhythmic falling rain or the steadily moving waters, we can discern the voice of our God who “gives strength to His people: the Lord who blesses His people with peace”.  In the storm, if we can tune in and seek God’s voice, God is there.

It can be so hard to only see the chaos swirling around us in a storm or trial.  It can be hard to focus on anything other than the chaos.  But God is not in the chaos.  In times of chaos, it can help to go simple.  Taking a couple moments to utter a simple prayer over and over can be very powerful.  It can bring the peace and blessing promised in the Psalm.  One can use the Psalm, praying “O Lord” as you slowly breathe in and praying “give me strength” as you slowly breathe out.  Or one can pray “Lord God” and then “bless me with peace” as one breathes slowly in and out.  The short breathed prayer can also be specific to the need or trial at hand.  In those times of need, taking a few minutes to pray over and over as we breathe in and out certainly invites God in and provides fertile ground for the promised strength and peace to take root.

Simple prayers that invite God into our lives are powerful and effective.  They remind us of the power and majesty of our Lord.  The Psalm opens with the line, “ascribe the Lord glory and strength”.  In our times of trial and need, may we seek the Lord our God, trusting in God’s glory and strength.


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Good and Bad

Reading: Psalm 29

Our Psalm today begins by reminding us to give God the glory and to worship the Lord “in the splendor of His holiness”.  The Psalm continues and shares how God’s voice is powerful and majestic.  God’s voice thunders, flashes, and shakes and breaks the earth.  There is indeed much power in the voice of God – much like a huge thunderstorm that rolls in.  In the rolls of thunder that shake the house and in the flashes of lightning that illuminates everything, I gain a sense of God’s power.  It is unavoidable.  Even in the rains that fall, one sees God’s blessing and provision.

For me, it is easy to see God in the powerful thunderstorm.  But when the storms of life settle in, I can find it difficult to sense God is near.  I find this to be particularly true when the storm seems to rage for a period of time.  I feel a sense of being alone and I struggle to hear the powerful and majestic voice of God.  I allow the worries of the world to wash over my faith and to obscure the voice and presence of God.  And then I near the point of breaking, of drowning in the storm, and I cry out and reach out to the Lord our God.  And God is right there.  Has been all along.  I wonder why I didn’t seek God sooner.  God is always present – it was I who was absent.

After such storms, I am more aware of my constant need for God.  But as life returns to normal, I can drift again.  For me, prayer is the key to staying connected.  God desires a relationship that is 24-7-365.  God desires to be my God in the good and in the bad.  There is a song from the O.C. Supertones that reminds me of this.  The song is called Jury Duty.  The pre-chorus sings, “You know I haven’t had the best of days, but I want to stop and thank you anyway”.  Even on a bad day, God blesses us.  The chorus goes on to sing, “Cuz every single moment, whether sleeping or awake, is your creation, and what you’ve made is good.  I don’t always thank you for the rough days and the hard times in my life, even though I should”.  Even on those ‘jury duty’ days, we need to be in connection to God.  On those days especially!

O Lord, when I am tempted to just get on with the busyness of the day, slow me down and center me in prayer.  On those stormy days, help me to remember to bow to you and to worship in the splendor of your holiness.  And at the end of each day, whether good or bad, always draw me back to you, offering you my thanksgiving and praise.  May it be so each day.  Amen.