pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Cleanse Us, O God

Reading: Psalm 51: 1-9

Verse Two: “Wash away all my iniquities and cleanse me from my sin”.

Sin is all that we do or say or think that separates us from God. Despite our best efforts to follow Jesus and to bring honor and glory to God in all aspects of our lives, at times we fail. We were, in fact, created by God as imperfect creatures to live in a broken and sinful world. Being perfect or being without sin is not possible on our own. We were created this way so that we would come to rely on God.

King David learned the hard way about the sin in his life. While David is known as a man who was after God’s own heart, he, like us, was prone to sin. David even acknowledges, “surely I was sinful at birth”. David also recognizes another key element about sin: we sin against God. Yes, our sin can affect others, but our sin is really between us and God. Even though David dealt with sin in his life, he always sought God’s mercy and forgiveness as he repented of his sin.

Sometimes the sin in our lives is quite obvious and we quickly turn to God to restore our relationship. But sometimes we hold onto our sin, pretending that God cannot really see into that corner of our heart. At other times we are weak and our sin’s pull is stronger than we are at that moment. There are other sins that we always seem to battle. For me these are the sins of self, pride, ego, and gluttony. At times my faith does help me to live victoriously, but these sins are ever at the door of my heart.

In David’s words in Psalm 51 we find some great prayers to lift to God and some great reminders if who God is. We are reminded of God’s mercy and unfailing love. We are reminded of God’s desire to teach us truth. In those moments when we stumble, may we remember David’s plea: “Wash away all my iniquities and cleanse me from my sin”. In those moments, may we claim this prayer as our own. God desires to make us “whiter than snow”. We simply must humble ourselves and come before God with a contrite heart. May we search deeply within and confess our sins today, opening the way for God to heal our heart. May it be so today.


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Reaching Up

Reading: Psalm 30: 1-5

David rejoices that God has heard his cry and has pulled him out of the pit.  In the Psalm, David reminds us that God’s favor lasts a lifetime.  David admits that there will be times of mourning, but because of God’s favor, we will rejoice in the end as the God who loves us will rescue us.

Even though these are the promises of God, sometimes we choose to stay in the pit.  We choose not to reach up.  We choose not to cry out for help.  Some of the time we think that our mourning will only be for a short while, so we can endure.  Some of the time we think our actions or choices have gotten us to where we are and therefore we ‘deserve’ a little suffering.  Both of these are prideful and have no place in our faith.  Our loving and forgiving God wants us to be joy filled each day.  So He asks us to give Him our burdens in exchange for His joy.  We just have to reach up.

But at times we also refuse the help God offers.  We almost enjoy the misery.  We enjoy the ‘woe is me’ sympathy or attention it brings.  Sometimes bad attention is better than no attention.  At these points we need to be reminded of God’s favor and of our status as child of God, dearly loved.  We must look within and find all that God loves and strive to bring these things out.  In time we find joy in the morning.

We too can be the hand that reaches out to another who is in a pit.  Just like us with God, they too have to be willing to reach up and must have a desire for healing and rejoicing.  If not, we can still be the loving presence of God, quiet until they are ready to hear how much God loves them.  Then we can take hold of that hand reaching up and can help them to take His hand.  May we each be ever accepting of God’s love and ever sharing it as well.


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Remember and Be Glad

Inherent in our nature as human being is our pull toward sin.  As creatures who can sense pleasure, we are drawn to sin in a variety of ways.  Also inherent in us is the conscious that tells us right from wrong.  Some sin simply occurs – think about the word that slips out when you stub your toe really bad.  But most sin has been mulled over and the consequences weighed.

Present in our world is also God.  God was before the first word was spoken that began the process of creation.  God has been present in every death and in every birth and in every moment in between.  Each and every day of our lives, God has been present in our worlds.

For all of us, God was present in the delivery room in the miracle of our birth.  A short time later most of us were initiated into the family of God as we were baptized.  for most of us, this was a decision made for us, but a decision made nonetheless.  And just like all else with God, He does not force us to continue to choose faith and to walk daily with Him.  He allows us to zig and zag, to wander and to return back.  We are always welcome when we return back home to God.

When we reconnect back to God, we are renewing those vows made for us long ago, but each time as a choice we are making when we return.  We return and accept faith, believing that He will go with us each day forward.  On this “Baptism of the Lord” Sunday, may we too remember our baptism and be glad.

Scripture reference: Mark 1: 4-11