pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Love and Justice and Mercy

Reading: Genesis 37: 1-4 and 12-28

Verse Four: They hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Joseph is clearly the father’s favorite.  Israel loves Joseph more than any of his other sons.  In today’s passage, Israel makes Joseph a “richly ornamented robe”.  For a second, recall Joseph and his dreams of his brothers and even his father and mother bowing down to him.  For a second, recall Joseph’s penchant for tattling on his brothers.  Now Joseph waltzes in, showing off his new coat.  Joseph certainly plays up his favored son status.  His brother’s reaction?  “They hated him and could not speak a kind word to him”.

Later in our passage, Israel decides to send Joseph out to check on the others sons and the flocks.  He tells Joseph to “bring word back to me”.  As the brothers see Joseph coming, they plot to kill him.  In our society today, does this still happen?  Do some who live without look at those who have much with hatred and envy?  Thanks without may desire to do away with the ones with privilege and power, especially the ones who flaunt it.  So, when we go to the city to serve in the rescue mission, do those in line look at us this way?  If we act as if we are stooping down to do something ‘good’ or if we act aloof, certainly we are seen this way.  If we are unwilling to sit and hear another’s story, to communicate that they are worthy of our time and attention, then we remain distant and privileged.

Reuben speaks up for Joseph and plans to come back later to rescue him.  When violence and injustice and hatred arise today, do we act as Reuben acted?  Do we try and lessen it and plan on coming back later to partially address the situation?  Or do we stand up for what is righteous and choose to stand in the gap, saying ‘no more’?  At times we will see prejudice or hatred, injustice or abuse.  Then and there, do we addresd it fully?  Do we stand for those in need of our voice and courage?  Do we love and care for all as God loves and cares for all?  Or do we leave them in the cistern and hope to come back later?

O God of love and justice and mercy, make me an instrument of Your love and justice and mercy.

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Creator

Reading: Psalm 139: 13-18

Sometimes the amazing work of God leaves me speechless.  The intricate beauty of a spider’s web or the complex and exact design of a honeycomb catches my attention.  The stunning colors of a field of wildflowers reveals to me God’s unlimited vision.  The power of a huge thunderstorm gives me a glimpse of the might found in God’s fingertips.  The sun rising in the stillness of a calm morning brings more insight into God’s creativity.

Yet nothing reveals God’s ability to design and create more than the human being.  We are so complex physically and emotionally.  A multitude of processes happen in our body each second without a conscious thought on our part.  We can think and learn and invent and solve almost without limit.  Human beings are God’s masterpiece.  No two of us are exactly alike so we are each one of billions and billions of individually hand-crafted masterpieces.  Amazing.

The psalmist writes, “you created my inmost being” and “your eyes saw my unformed body”.  In these verses we gain a sense of the time and care God put into each one of us.  It is humbling to think that the God of the entire universe, the God who made and makes everything, takes the time to knit each of us together, to weave us together into a handmade creation.

God values each of us deeply as our Creator.  The God who formed us also desires to dwell in us and to be an active part of our lives.  The presence of God within each of us calls us to live a holy and righteous life.  Our response to God within us is to share God with others.  In word and deed we have the privilege of living as a unique child of God every day.  May we bring praise and glory to the Lord this day with our every act.  May our lives today reveal our Creator to the world.


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In Prayer

When we go to God in prayer, we do so with no guarantees.  We bring to God the desires of our hearts and our hopes for friends, family, and the world.  Often we pray for a certain situation or for some conflict to be resolved.  But sometimes, when we are in a season of personal discontent, we do not know what to pray for.  We sense some imbalance or uneasiness in our lives, but we cannot quite put our finger on it.  So we pray for things like guidance, direction, wisdom, discernment.

Usually when we pray, we pray with a certain hoped for answer in mind.  We pray for someone who is sick and we hope for healing.  We pray for someone who needs work and we hope for a job.  We pray for someone who is in a struggling relationship and we hope for reconciliation.  Even when we are in a season of discontent, most of the time when we pray we do so with an idea of what we would like the answer to be.

Funny thing about prayer though – it is God who answers our prayer, not us.  His  vision for our life and our world is so much bigger than our limited view.  His vision and plan for us and our world is focused on an eternal ending.  We often struggle to see with this lens.  But sometimes we do see an answer to a prayer or we begin to understand how God is at work in the midst of it all.  This is a holy privilege.

At times our prayers are also affirming and uplifting.  Like God’s response to Jesus’ prayer after His baptism in today’s passage, at times we too sense God’s presence, love, and affirmation.  We can almost hear Him saying ‘well done’.  We sense a guiding hand or we are blessed with affirmations that encourage us to continue to walk the path that God has placed us on.  In prayer we connect to God and He connects to us.  May we pray often.

Scripture reference: Luke 3: 21-22