pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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My Strength

Reading: Psalm 22

Verse Nineteen: “But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my strength, come quickly to help me”.

Today’s Psalm represents well our lives and our journey of faith. At times we feel like the opening words sum up our life: “my God, why have you forsaken me”? We feel an unbearable amount of pain or a burden we cannot bear and God seems very distant. Like the psalmist, we cry out, but hear only silence. But in the next verses we are reminded of God’s faithfulness as we too recall the previous generations praise of and trust in the Lord. We are reminded that they trusted and we’re never disappointed.

The psalmist continues to recount trials and sufferings that they went through and they intersperse these events with praise for the God who always comes through, is always really there. Most of the time we live out this kind of a faith. God brings us joy and peace and contentment and strength. Most of the time we feel God’s loving and caring presence all around us. Yet we too know that the natural cycles of life will bring pain, regret, disappointment, doubt, … All of us experience these times in life. Even the ‘greats’ of the faith do. Mother Teresa even experienced what she herself called he “dark nights of the soul”, times when the weight of the pain and suffering all around her left her feeling alone and without faith.

In our moments of hurt and doubt, we too cry out as did the psalmist: “But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my strength, come quickly to help me”. We call God in, we want to feel God’s closeness and presence. Through this Psalm we are reminded that through the ups and downs of life and our faith, that God remains ever present and that God is always sufficient. The psalmist expresses this confidence as he writes, “they who seek the Lord will praise Him”. This confidence comes from experience after experience. When we seek the Lord, we will find Him, and that will lead to praise. The psalmist concludes with these words: “They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn – for He has done it”. God has been, is, and always will be faithful and true. As people of faith may we continue to tell of God’s goodness and love, today and through the generations to come. May it be so. Amen.


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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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This Most Holy Night

Reading: Luke 2: 1-20

Just as Joseph and Mary made the trek to Bethlehem to be registered for the census, many people will come tonight to worship on this most holy night.  Just as the light of the star signaled the birth of Christ, so too this evening the light of the Christ candle will recall this holy arrival.  As millions and millions hoist candles and sing “Silent Night” we remember the numberless heavenly host who gathered around the shepherds and proclaimed, ” Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests”.

This most holy night is special.  To many, we gather to remember the birth of the divine baby.  Born of a virgin mother, come to dwell amongst humanity, come to die for our sins.  In Jesus we find not only the Savior of the world, but also our Savior.  This night invites us to come, to soak up the holy mystery, to be still and really hear the words of His birth, and to be filled with wonder, awe, and presence of our God most high.

Others come tonight searching, perhaps longing, for all that Christ offers: peace, hope, joy, and love. This night invites those who are lost or hurting or without faith to come in and to be filled.  Christmas Eve is about God giving the gift of Jesus to all people regardless of who they are, what they have done, or where they are from.  In the birth we find our connection to God because in the birth God took on flesh and walked among us.  In the flesh, tonight we are all invited to come and to take on the divine, to experience life lived as a child of God.  Tonight all are invited to become part of God’s family.

On this most holy night, may you and your family be truly blessed by the presence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.