pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Rest

Reading: Genesis 1:31 – 2:4a

Verse Three: God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it He rested.

As human beings and as children of God, we are created in the image of God.  We are to model the patterns that God sets in the Bible.  We try to follow the examples that Jesus, God in the flesh, set for us in the Gospels.  In our day to day lives we try to love as Jesus loved as we seek to follow His example of ministry.  Hard as it may be to live as Jesus lived, often times we are better at this than we are at following today’s model for our lives.

After spending six days creating the world, God looks over His “very good” work.  He is pleased with what He has created.  We are pretty good at modeling these two parts of today’s passage.  We are good at working and producing and making.  At times we can even be pleased with our labors and can take pride in what we have accomplished.  Clearly we can see in this passage, and throughout the Bible, that we are created to work, to use our bodies and minds in labor.  We are also called throughout Scripture to give our very best in all we do, so our labors should produce things, ideas, … that are also “very good”.

“God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it He rested”.  The Sabbath, or seventh day, is holy because on this day God rested.  This is the model we find hard to follow.  We often are just as bad at taking rest as we are good at always working.  To work and work and work some more is how we respond to our culture of ‘more’ and how we try to attain ‘success’ as defined by the secular world.  It is a sad treadmill that​ we too easily climb onto.  The treadmill never leads to a destination but simply keeps on churning.  The world is happy to allow us to work and work and work.  But we are created in God’s image.  On the seventh day God made it holy and He rested.  In rest we are renewed and refreshed and recharged.  In rest we are drawn closer to God.  May we each find our Sabbath this week – our time and place of rest where God can minister to us.

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Be in This Place

Reading: Joel 2: 23-32

Our lives, our situations, our communities sometimes reflect the scenario of Joel’s writing.  Devastation and doom loom large in our lives.  A time of exile pervades our thoughts.  This can be in our personal lives or in our communal lives.  Yet Joel also brings us words of hope.  Joel writes words of hope that speak of God at work to bring healing and restoration.

The small community in which I live has been hit hard recently, losing many individuals.  There was a memorial service yesterday, there are two today, one tomorrow, and one more on Monday.  Each and every one affecting the family and wider circle of friends.  Each bringing pain and tears.  One involved a student and has touched the lives of every student and classmate plus the hearts of all in our community.  The exile we feel is maybe best named as grief.  But we too feel the shadow of loss hanging over our town.

In the midst of our brokenness and grief, we hang onto God.  Like in Joel’s writing today, we too know that God remains present to us, working to bring healing and wholeness.  God’s Spirit weaves among us, reminding us of His goodness and love in the midst of our hurt.  Our faith draws us to each other.  Through that faith we hug each other a little tighter, we tell each other we care a bit more often, and we turn again and again to God for comfort and strength.

Lord God, pour out your Spirit in this place.  Rain down upon us your love and grace.  Surround each with your arms of strength and comfort.  Draw us together as you draw us to you.  Touch each hurting heart with your unending love.  Dry every tear with your breath of love.  Be in this place.  Reassure us that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.  Be in this place O Lord.  We need you.  Be in this place.


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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