pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Reverent Submission

Reading: Hebrews 5: 5-10

Verse Seven: “He offered up prayers and petitions… He was heard because of His reverent submission”.

When Jesus was in ministry here on earth He was more like a common person than a religious leader. He walked and talked and related to people like an ordinary person. He wore common clothes and interacted with all sorts of people. He did not take on the formal office of a religious leader or wear fancy clothes that set Him apart. Jesus was not into titles either. To most people He was simply ‘Jesus’; He was Messiah to only a few until after the resurrection.

Even though in many ways He was common, Jesus also had great authority. As God in the flesh, Jesus could heal and raise from the dead. He could cast out demons and speak from someone’s past and into their future. Any question the Pharisees or other leaders posed was met with amazing insight and wisdom. To do all of this, prayer was essential. Prayer was Jesus’ connection to God. It was His source of power and authority. Paul reminds us that it was not the volume of Jesus’ prayers, but the way in which He prayed: “He offered up prayers and petitions… He was heard because of His reverent submission”. Jesus prayed with a reverent submission. All came from God and Jesus recognized and lived by this.

We too could offer up prayers and petitions that are full of reverence and submission. At times, I am sure we do. But too often I think our prayers are rote and without much conviction. If I were to write, “Our Father who art…” you would almost certainly jump in with “in heaven, hallowed be…”. Even in our meal graces and in my morning prayer time sometimes it feels like the same old, same old. It takes a focused heart and mind to really pray to and connect to God rather than simply going through the motions.

Lord God, this day may we connect in a reverent and holy way as we gather with you for worship. This day may we submit to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to touch us and to draw us into an intimate connection with you. This day may we worship you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength in a new and fresh way. Bless our worship this day, O Lord. Amen.

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In Peace

Reading: Luke 2: 22-40

Verses 29-30: “You now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation”.

In our passage from Luke, Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple to do all that the Law prescribes.  He is presented, named, circumcised, consecrated, and redeemed.  As devout Jews, Mary and Joseph obediently do as they should.  After they return to Nazareth, we assume they continue follow all of the Law.

In the midst of the ordinary, Mary and Joseph encounter the extraordinary.  In the middle of doing what all good parents of little Jewish baby boys do, something happens that did not happen to any of the other babies.  Long before this day, Simeon and Anna had begun their vigil.  Both were intimately connected to the Holy Spirit and both were very devout and righteous people.

Simeon was promised by God through the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he saw the Lord’s Christ.  Simeon clings to this hope year after year.  Then one day he is “moved by the Spirit” and he goes to the temple.  Simeon knows right away that Jesus is the one.  He speaks words about Jesus that amaze Mary and Joseph.  Anna spent all of her time in the temple courts, day and night, praying and fasting.  She too is drawn to Jesus.  She too knows that He is the one.  Anna also tells Mary and Joseph about Jesus and that He will be the “redemption of Jerusalem”.  Simeon utters these words that I am sure Ana felt as well: “You now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation”.  They have seen the One and they depart in peace.

All people have a need for Jesus in their lives.  Some know it yet deny it.  Some search but can’t quite come to find Jesus.  Others find Jesus and become like Simeon and Anna: filled with the Holy Spirit, content in finally knowing Jesus as their Lord and Savior, able to rest into His peace.  Once we’ve found Jesus, we too echo Simeon’s words.  We come to know Paul’s words too, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God that we find in Jesus Christ.  For our hope and for our redemption, we say thanks be to God today.  Amen!


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Part of God’s Story

Jeremiah 29:11 promises us that God has plans for each of us, plans for good.  God also allowed free will into the world so we each have the choice to live into God’s plans or to follow our own plans.  For any of us, we seek to live our lives as a child of God but we also venture down our own roads from time to time.  As we mature and grow in our faith, we learn to stay attuned to God’s plans and purposes for our lives more and more of the time.

The Bible, or God’s story, is filled with ordinary people doing small things to remain faithful who are used in extraordinary ways.  Today’s story features two widows and a farmer.  Through their simple acts of self-giving love they become part of the lineage of Jesus.  Another story features a shepherd boy, the youngest in the family, who slays the giant and eventually becomes king.  One of my favorites is about the fishermen, tax collector, .. who become the disciples and come to change the world forever.  Each of these ordinary people became part of God’s story and are a part of our story as well.

God also calls each of us to be a part of His ongoing story.  Each and every day God brings before us opportunities to serve others with self-giving love and to share our story with others.  Sometimes the small things we do or the little pieces of our story that we share make a big difference in another’s life.  Many times we do not know about this affect or impact.  At other times the whisper of the Holy Spirit is harder to hear or we find it easier to ignore.  We must be attuned to the whispers and nudges and must seek to live into the will of God.  We must be open to those whispers and nudges even when our first reaction is to ignore them or to think, ‘Really?’  The Lord requires of us the same things  he did of Naomi, Ruth, Boaz, David, te disciples… – trust and obedience.  We must remember that God has us each in the palm of His hand.  Lord, make us willing and obedient to the call to be your loving servant today.

Scripture reference: Ruth 3: 1-5 and 4:13-17


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Ordinary, Everyday

What is your reaction when you see someone helping another?  How are you affected when you read of how one made a difference in another’s life?  When we witness God’s love being shared in real and tangible ways, our hearts and souls are lifted up.

Throughout the Bible we see God at work in the world on behalf of His people.  In the New Testament Jesus’ ministry is all about being active in the lives of the people He meets.  We see over and over again what it looks like for God to love the people of this world.

God often chose the unlikely to be His agent of change in the world.  Jesus continued this pattern when he called the disciples.  Ordinary, everyday people have always been a part of our story of faith.  Those who have been called have risen up and done great things for God, not because of their intelligence, position, or speaking ability but because they all came with a willing, loving heart.

As we witness God’s love continuing to make a difference in our world, may we too be drawn to allow others to glimpse God through us.  God calls us all to be a part of building His kingdom.  He continues to call ordinary, everyday people to shine His light and to share His love.  Can you hear Him calling?

Scripture reference: Psalm 111