pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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God Is Revealed

Reading: Psalm 139: 1-6

Verse 6: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain”.

Verses one through six are about God’s personal connection to each of us. The psalmist recognizes that God searches and knows him, that God perceives his thoughts, that God knows his words before they are spoken. He also notes that God “hems me in” – that God is behind and before him. God has his hand upon him. In a joyous yet overwhelming response, the psalmist writes, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain”. We too are invited into just such a relationship by God. We too can barely fathom it.

For the psalmist, the world and all that is in it were created by God. To the Israelites, God was an omnipotent and omnipresent God. God was everywhere at once and knows all things too. The Israelites’ understanding of the vastness of space was not nearly as advanced as our modern understanding, but one only needs to glance up at the stars to begin to sense the size of God’s creation. And yet this same God knows our going and coming, knows our words and thoughts, is ever with each of us.

We can sense God in the created world. In the new bloom, in the baby’s first cry, in the crash of thunder, in the smile of the stranger – God is revealed. In the nudge and the soft whisper of the Spirit, in the tangible strength or comfort, in the witness of the apostles – God is revealed. Our big, big God is also a personal, one-on-one God. What an amazing God we love and serve.

Prayer: God, you are as vast as the sands upon the beach and yet you know my every thought and each fiber of my body. I am humbled that huge and powerful you desires a relationship with me. Thank you, God. Amen.

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Praise God

Reading: Psalm 148

Verse 13: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone in exalted”.

Today’s Psalm is all about praising God. We praise God not for God’s sake but for ours. Yes, scripture calls us to praise God and doing what we’re supposed to do can feel good. But that is not the only reason to praise God.

We praise God because that is where we can express our thanks. We can thank God for the blessings in our lives, for the guidance God gives, for the ways God protects us. When we are thankful we fight our natural tendency to center on self. Being thankful focuses us upon God and upon others.

When we praise God we are connecting with God. The intentional act of praise draws us into God’s presence. In those moments when we commune with God we are reminded of the love, peace, grace, mercy,… that flows from God into our lives. To be present with the living God also renews and refreshes us.

When we praise God we also share God with others. In the house of worship on Sunday morning or Saturday evening or whenever, when we praise God in community, we are sharing and building up one another’s faith. In the world, when we praise God in less formal ways, it can also be a testimony that builds up and encourages others. Whether an indirect or direct chance to evangelize, it exposes the world to God and to our faith.

Lastly, when we praise God we are reminded of who and what God is. Whether in song or scripture or prayer or message, when we praise God we are reminded of God’s attributes: omnipresent, omnipresent, good, just… We are also reminded of what God is: loving parent, wonderful Creator, strong protector, generous provider… Like expressing our thanks, this also leads to exalting God while we humble ourselves.

Each day may we find time and opportunity to praise the Lord our God. May it be so today and every day.

Prayer: God of all, this day I bring you my praise. You are in the beauty of the songbirds and in the sway of the breeze. Help me to connect to you all day long, being drawn closer to you in this way. Amen.


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Ever Present

Reading: Psalm 30

Psalm 30 is an excellent representation of our journey of faith.  It begins with praise to God for the protection and healing that He gave.  At times in our lives we definitely sense a hedge about us that God is providing.  Our “foes” rise up against us and we feel as if we may fall, yet we do not quite topple or give in.  In the midst of it we can sense God’s hand upon us.  Or perhaps, looking back, we can see where God came to our rescue.

At times in life, though, we can also question where God is.  We cannot sense His presence and He seems absent in our struggles.  As the psalmist writes, “You his your face, I was dismayed”.  We can all recall such times in our lives.  The writer’s solution?  Cry out and pray to God anyway.  Earnestly seek to be in God’s presence even when He feels far away.  Even in our seasons or ‘dark nights of the soul’ God is still present.

Midway through, in verse five, we are reminded that God’s favor is for a lifetime.  Once we enter into that saving relationship, we are forever His.  In this verse we are reminded that joy will come in the morning.  The writer returns to this theme in verse 11.  Because of God’s unfailing love, He turns our mourning into joy and dancing.  The response is praise and thanksgiving to God.  This response is the same as when it feels He is absent: seek Him through prayer and worship.

Faith is a journey.  These times of feeling that God is absent can lead to doubt, which is a normal part of our faith journey.  These times reveal our human limitations.  God is omnipresent.  In our struggles, it is we who question the fact of an omnipresent God.  Like the psalmist, may we too pray through the silence and may we ever offer our thanksgiving and worship for the grace, love, and favor that never ends.


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Thank You

The psalmist writes, “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens”.  The writer goes on to speak of God’s faithfulness reaching to the skies and of His righteousness being like the mighty mountains.  Lastly God’s justice is paralleled to the ocean.  How vast and wide and high and deep is God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice!  Verses like these remind us of who God is and cause us to give praise and thanksgiving.

Yet almost as often as there are grains of sand on the beach, I can forget all that the psalmist writes of.  In an instant I can forget all about this omnipotent and omnipresent God and rely only on myself.  On the one hand this amazes me and on the other hand I know I have been there over and over and over again.  But no matter how many times I seem to try to do it on my own and fail, He is always there.  With that love that reaches to the heavens, God always waits for my return.  Through a faithfulness equally as big, God never gives up on me.

It is humbling to think of such things.  All I have to do is rely on God.  To know I fail reminds me of my total dependence on God.  To be humbled is to remember my place in the large order of things.  Thank you God for your immeasurable love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice.  Thank you God.

Scripture reference: Psalm 36: 5-10


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Where Is My Place?

God is omnipotent and omnipresent.  He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and is present everywhere, all of the time.  Psalm 139 reminds us that there is nowhere we can go to hide from God – not depths, heights, darkness, or the far side of the sea.  Yet at times we feel separated from God, at times we feel we can hide from God.  At times we feel distant and ask: “Where is God in my life?”  But the real question is: where is my place in God’s plans for my life?

God has promised to always be with us.  In the decision to become flesh, to dwell amongst us as Jesus Christ, God fulfilled His promise completely.  At birth the divine spark is planted in each of us.  This inner light is our connection to God.  For some who never respond and do not enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ, the spark is still there, its light shown in the inherant goodness found in all humanity.  For those who do enter into a relationship with Jesus, that light leads us to become the continuing incarnation of God in the world.  We become a part of God’s redeeming work in the world as we extend His presence in the world, just as the Holy Spirit is God’s active presence in us.

Each day we must ask the question: where is my place in God’s plan for my life today?  Through prayer and through time in the Word we connect to God and seek to actively discern where and to whom God is calling us this day.  It is in His presence that we find where He is active in our life and where God is calling us to be active in our world.  This day may we find the time and space to bow down, to worship God, and to to praise our God and may we bring that out into the world with us.

Scripture reference: Psalm 132: 1-10