pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Majesty, Humility

Reading: Job 38: 1-7

Verse 1: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge”?

Job has been through a lot. All of his possessions and almost all of his family are gone. He has suffered terribly physically as well. His wife and three friends have been discouraging and even critical. Job has a lot of questions for God. He has remained faithful, but after all that he has been through, he has some questions. Today, in our passage, God speaks to Job as God Almighty, from a place of power and majesty.

Today’s seven verses are just a taste of God’s response to Job. God’s response fills all of chapters 38, 39, 40, and 41. Job’s response is a mere six verses at the beginning of chapter 42. God’s opening words set the tone for the four chapters of response: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge”? In essence, God is asking Job: who are you to speak?

We can probably think of many times in our lives when we thought we had all the answers, when we knew it all. We were an expert in all fields – just ask us. At some point, whether it was at 17 or 26 or 40, we come to that place where we realize that we do not know it all. It is always a humbling experience but it sometimes can be embarrassing or shameful as well. We gain a new understanding of our own limitations and we come to see the world differently after this moment. We better grasp our place in the world and we emerge with more empathy and more compassion for others. Our faith deepens. Such is the case with Job.

We can be asked the same question that Job was asked: “Were you there when I laid the earth’s foundation”? Through a series of similar questions, God establishes His supreme power, majesty, and greatness. In recognizing God’s place, like Job, we too are humbled by our smallness, by our powerlessness, by our dependence on God. Yes, we are humbled. But let us also praise and adore God for who He is and for what He has done and for what He continues to do in our lives. Hallelujah and amen!

God, help me to ever know my place in your world – a humble servant seeking to do your will. Speak into my heart, speak into my life. May your plan be worked out in my life each day. Amen.


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Share His Love

Reading: Isaiah 40: 25-26

Verse 25: “Lift your eyes to the heavens: who created all these?”

When we look to the stars in heaven we begin to get a glimpse of God’s creativity and power. We can see stars so numerous that we cannot even begin to count them. With the aid of telescopes we have discovered that there are hundreds and hundreds of stars for each one we can see with the naked eye. The sheer number is hard to begin to understand. Our passage tells us that God “calls them each by name”. If God knows each by name and knows if one of them is missing, then God cares for His created order in an extraordinary way.

Then we bring our gaze a little lower, down to the earth. Here too we see the magnificent creative power of God as we consider the vast variety of plants and animals and sea creatures and so on. Each is created for a specific purpose and place in God’s world. Just like the stars, God knows them all. The care with which God created and ordered the world reveals not only power and might but it also reveals a deep love for His creation.

If we lift our gaze to the mirror, we see the crown jewel of God’s creation. You, I, and every person that has lived, is alive, and will ever live are created in God’s image. We are each uniquely and wonderfully made. We each have a spark of the divine in us that ever calls us to our creator God. This connection to God is what allows us see beauty and value and worth in creation and in each other. It is what calls us to care for creation and to love on another.

Our care and love are imperfect. Compared to God’s love and care, ours is limited and sometimes self-serving. Sometimes we love self far more than anything else. But God did not create us to be perfect. He created us to pursue perfection. In this pursuit, our model is Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. Jesus showed us what God’s love looked like lived out. This day, may we delve into Jesus’ love and go forth to share that love with our family, friends, and neighbors. It is a love that can change hearts and can change lives. May we share it well today.


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Majestic

Reading: Psalm 8

Verse 1b: You have set your glory above the heavens.

Today’s Psalm makes me think of the beauty of the night sky.  To look up into the vastness and see all that God has created stirs up praise inside of me.  I too want to shout out, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth”!  Yes, we can begin to get the feeling of God’s majesty when we take time to think of all the plant and animal species that He created.  But to me, God’s majesty is most evident in the night sky.  In one moment, I can see millions and millions of stars plus planets and moons, all created uniquely and individually by our Lord.

Each winter for many years I would go winter camping with a friend.  Often we were the only people in the remote campground.  We were far away from the city lights that wash out some of the night sky.  Late at night, on those coldest nights with the crisp, clear air, the sky came alive to me.  The lack of earthly, human light allows you to see so many more stars…  It is not that they were not there before; it was that I just couldn’t see the because of all of the light pollution.  Then, in the stillness and solitude of that campground, “You have set your glory above the heavens” really comes alive.  How majestic is Your name!

In verse three the psalmist acknowledges the majesty we see in the heavens, the work of God’s hands.  But then he quickly turns to us – mankind.  The psalmist writes, “What is man that you are mindful of him…”.  Just as God created each of those billions of heavenly bodies, He created you and me as well.  It is a humbling thought.  To recall the power and majesty of the night sky in all of its glory and brilliance and then to think that God created me – it is very humbling.  Verse four goes on, “that you care for him?”. Created by and loved by our majestic God.  Wow. 


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Step into the Desert

Reading: Psalm 63: 1-8

The desert or wilderness is a common location in the Bible.  A sinful Adam and Eve were sent out into the wilderness.  The Israelites wander in the desert for forty years, constantly testing God and then repenting.  It was in the wilderness that John baptized and that Jesus was tempted.  At times in our lives we too find ourselves in the desert.

In the psalmist today, David experiences the desert as a dry and weary land.  It is tough to survive in the desert; we are tested in that struggle to survive.  In those dry seasons in the desert or out in the harsh wilderness, we feel tested and we often long for relief.  For David, the physical thirst in the desert reminded him of his spiritual thirst for God.  Our times in the desert reminded us too of our need for God.  In verses 2-8 we read over and over of David’s singing to and glorifying God for His power, love, provision, and strength.  In our dry seasons we too can experience these blessings of God.  He longs to pour them out upon us as well.

Lent is a time when we remember Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness.  Lent invites us to join Jesus there as well. In the desert we can more clearly see the temptations we are facing.  In the desert we can come to rely more on God in those battles.

The desert can be a beautiful place as well.  In the stillness of the desert we can more easily hear His voice.  In the vast, wide open expanse we can more easily experience His majesty.  In the dark night sky we can see the splendor and might of His creation.

Maybe we find ourselves in the desert for an unpleasant reason.  If so, allow that deep need for God to be honestly felt and then joyously welcome Him in.  If our time in the desert is by choice, revel in God’s power, might, and presence.  Step into the desert, embrace it.  In a space with just you and God, draw close to Him.  Be blessed.


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Experience God

Reds, oranges, and yellows slowly fill the sky as the sun begins to break forth over the horizon.  At the end of the day, the occasional purple or blue may mix with the reds, oranges, and yellows as God says ‘good night’ and brings rest to the earth.  The beauty, power, and majesty we find in sunrises and sunsets is spoken in every language in every place on earth.  “Their voice goes out into all the earth”, declares the psalmist.

As a Youth growing up in Connecticut, I can remember going out early to a rural turkey farm early on Easter morning.  We would arrive when it was still dark.  It was always cold.  As we waited in only the calm sounds of nature, one could sense God was near.  Slowly the sun would creep up and begin to warm our silent faces, simply watching God’s handiwork unfold.  Once the sun was risen, we would join in song, prayer, and the Word for our Easter sunrise service.  The sunrise was always like God’s welcoming presence coming amongst us.

We were very intentional about awaiting God’s entrance and His presence on those mornings.  Sometimes life can just become so busy that opportunities like this are gobbled up.  We can work and work and work and become so consumed that we miss the beauty of God’s voice calling out to us as it echoes through nature.  We miss those still moments where God is trying to consume us with His power and beauty and majesty so that He can refresh and renew our spirits and our souls.  It is a shame we so often miss it.

“The heavens declare the glory of God” reminds the psalmist.  May we more often make the time to experience the things of God.  Let it begin today.

Scripture reference: Psalm 19: 1-6


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God’s Voice

God is mighty and powerful.  The Psalm tells us His voice is like lightning, that the earth shakes at the sound of His voice.  In the power of the lightning we do catch a glimpse of the awesome power of God.  It is from this strength that we too can draw strength in time of need.

Sometimes when I think about the vastness of creation it awes me.  There are seven billion people on the earth plus countless animals and other creations of God.  And He loves each one of us dearly and knows us each by name.  Our God is indeed a majestic and amazing God!

To me it is one of the mysteries of faith that God can be so big to create this wonderful, ordered world yet small enough to know me.  Sometimes it is hard to begin to comprehend.  But in the end one must accept that He knows me because at times He calls my name, He whispers in my ear, He nudges my heart into action.

In these times God certainly makes His presence known.  He is right here and tangible.  As we respond to the calls, to the whispers, to the nudges, God is offered to another through us.  In the helping hand, in the listening ear, in the comforting words, God can flow from us to another.  The same voice that shakes the earth is the voice that whispers.  May we learn to hear the whispers just as well as the lightning.

Scripture reference: Psalm 29


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Connecting to God

When the storm clouds begin to build I like to sit on the front steps or out back on the deck.  As the storm builds I can sense God’s energy and presence.  When the lightning flashes and the thunder claps, God’s power is at hand.  Sometimes when it is raining, I like to open the window or sliding door and just listen to the raindrops landing.  It reminds me that God is watering and nourishing the earth.

At other times I like to go out in the sun in the quiet of midday and listen to the birds singing.  Late at night I like to go out in the stillness and stare at the stars.  Sometimes He even treats me to a shooting star.  God can be found in many way sin our created world.

In all these things I sense God’s presence still working in our world.  The voice that created all we know with just a word continues to be involved in our world.  I awe at the sense of God’s power, majesty, and strength in the world all around us.

And what is my response?  Experiencing God in the world around me often leads me to pray a prayer of thanksgiving and love.  Sometimes it causes me to lift my voice in song.  Sometimes I simply stand amazed and take it in, allowing His presence to envelop and fill me.  Connecting to God in such ways renews and refreshes me.  Take some time to be in connection.  Allow His majesty and power to awe you.  Feel His presence.

Scripture reference: Psalm 29