pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Listen

Reading: Luke 9: 28-36

Verse 35: “A voice came from the cloud saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen: listen to Him”!

I think Peter, James, and John have been up a mountain with Jesus before. They get to the top and are weary. They expect the same again – Jesus will pray and pray and pray and they’ll try to stay awake to pray with Him. But as He is praying, Jesus is transfigured. The appearance of Jesus’ face changes and His clothes become as “bright as lightning”. Moses and Elijah, also in “glorious splendor”, appear and talk with Jesus about His departure.

Who is talking with Jesus and what they are talking about are both significant. The Law is the core of the Old Testament. Moses represents the Law. When the people deviated from the Law, God would send a prophet to lead and guide the people back into right relationship. Elijah, one of the ‘greats’, represents the prophets. Jesus, Moses, and Elijah are talking about Jesus’ departure. In short order He will enter into Jerusalem to be tried and crucified. Jesus will not be held by the power of death. He will walk out of the grave and eventually ascend back to heaven. In short, this conversation is connecting the Law and the prophets to what is about to take place. It must have been of great encouragement to Jesus to be reminded of the plan that has been in place all along – the plan that leads to the cross and the plan that leads all who believe in Him as Lord to one day join Him in eternity. Seeing and overhearing all of this must have been great encouragement to Peter, James, and John as they head down the mountain and at points in their ministries when they faced trial and suffering.

Peter, perhaps aware of the meaning and magnitude of what was happening, asks about building shelters. Peter wants to prolong something that must have been really amazing. But then a cloud moves in. A cloud is often symbolic of God’s presence. Again, Peter, James, and John are afraid. God speaks from the cloud, echoing what was said at Jesus’ baptism, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen: listen to Him”! God announces that Jesus is divine and that He chose to send Him. Listen to Him. Listen to all that Jesus says. All of it. As it was for Moses and Elijah, as it was for Peter, James, and John, may it be for you and I. May we listen.

Prayer: Father God, place in me the heart and eyes of Jesus. Fill me with His love. May I feel and see as Jesus did. Fill me with your Words, lead and guide me by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


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Remove the Waver

Reading: 1 Kings 18: 20-21

A severe famine and drought has settled in on the land.  As time drags on, people’s desperation rises.  They question and doubt.  Elijah is about the only prophet of God left alive.  The prophets of the local folks apparently cannot persuade their gods to end the famine.  Yet the people of Israel are still turning to these foreign gods.

Elijah had been in hiding to avoid being killed, but God sends him to meet with the king.  Elijah first runs into Obadiah, the king’s right hand man, and arranges for a meeting.  King Ahab agrees to meet with Elijah on Mount Carmel.  Ahab agrees to Elijah’s demands to gather the Israelites and the prophets of Baal and Asherah.  Elijah begins be asking the people how long they will waver.  In essence Elijah is asking them to fully choose the Lord God.  Their response: silence.

What is our response when the Holy Spirit whispers into our hearts and asks us how long we will waver between the ways of God and the ways of the world?   “How long?” the Spirit asks.  When we feel the conviction, we often choose God.  But not always.  Like the Israelites who were led astray by the world around them, we too can be drawn in by the things of the world.  Like the Israelites who saw the people of the world and the gods they worshipped, we too see the gods our world worships.  And at times we too chase after that bright, shiny object.

How long will you waver, O people of God?  I can hear Elijah shouting this at the Israelites.  But I can hear it being quietly whispered by the Holy Spirit as well.  This day, O Lord, give the strength to fully choose Your ways.  This day, Lord God, keep the path straight, remove the waver, and allow each to live fully for You and for Your glory.