pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Acknowledging Sin

Reading: Psalm 32

Verse 5: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquities… you forgave the guilt of my sin”.

David begins Psalm 32 recognizing that the person whose sins are forgiven and not counted or held against them is blessed. He then offers a juxtaposition to that idea in verses three and four, recalling how he wasted away and felt a heaviness upon him in those times when he lived with sin in his life. We can all relate to the two places or emotions that David brings to light.

In verse five we read, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquities… you forgave the guilt of my sin”. He is owning a step we too must own: confession. David saw the sin in his life and came before God, claiming his sin and laying it before the Lord. In love, David received God’s grace and mercy. His sins were forgiven, the guilt was washed away. We too come to this place. We live with sin to a point. Then the Holy Spirit will work in us, bringing a conviction that leads us to lay our sins before God.

The step that follows next is a changed life. We call it repentance – a desire to leave our sin behind us and an effort to live accordingly. In verse eight God’s voice is heard. God lets David (and us) know that he will “teach us in the way we should go”, counselling and watching over us. We are warned not to be like the stubborn mule, returning to our sinful ways.

In verse ten we read, “the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man [or woman] who trusts in him”. May that be our walk of faith this day and every day – turning to God, being honest and transparent before God, calling on God to guide us. May it be so for each of us.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your mercies that are new every morning and for your unending love that never fails. Lead me over and over to the place of kneeling before you, being made right again. Thank you for your love and mercy. Amen.


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Tell, Tell, Tell

Reading: Luke 12: 13-21

Verse 16: “And he told them this parable…”.

Jesus loved to tell a story. His stories always taught something about faith and they usually connected to everyday life. All in the audience could usually relate to the story, often called a parable.

Although it is not as common today, there are still cultures and people groups who still tell their history through stories. Oral traditions are how much of a people’s story gets passed along to the next generation. Much of the Bible comes to us as oral tradition that was finally written down. For example, the gospel we read today was compiled and written at least forty years after Jesus died.

Many people in the less developed areas of our world still rely on oral tradition. Literacy rates are low and books are scarce within some people groups. Here the stories of the group, the family, the individual is passed on in story form. Stories are easier to remember than factual lists or straight history accounts. Much care and attention is given to knowing the story well in order to pass it along well to those who do not know the story. Knowing the story well and passing it along are two key components of living out our Christian faith.

There are actually two stories we need to know well as Christians. The first is the story of the Bible. We do not need to memorize the whole Bible but we do need to understand the overarching story and the important details related to personal salvation and faithful living. The second story we need to know well is our own faith story. We must be able to tell the story of how and why Jesus matters in our life. We must be able to tell the story of what Jesus does for us.

Once we know these stories, our task becomes telling the stories to others. The story of the Bible is big and we can share that with anyone. Our personal faith story is a little more specific, yes, but there are many who need to hear it. We just have to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to these people. As faithful followers may we tell the story of faith well and often – both of the stories!

Prayer: Lord, Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 is a big story. Help me to continue to be faithful to learning more of the story. Day by day increase my understanding. Grant me then the words and actions to tell your story and my story well. Amen.


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At the Name…

Names can often define us.  Names come with attachments.  If the name is something that describes us it often comes with expectations and ideas of what you are like.  And this is a relative thing – our perspective and who we are affects how we see another.  For examples, if one is called an ‘overachiever’, thoughts immediately come to mind.  And depending on how you relate to the given term, your perceptions and thoughts are different than someone who relates differently.  If you are an overachiever, you see  the term in positives.  If you are not, you often see negatives.

The same is true when someone is labeled a “Christian”.  On a basic level, a Christian is known as a follower of Christ.  This name also comes with a lot of connotations and expectations – some good and some bad, depending on your experiences and background.  Don’t you wish the name “Christian” only evoked good thoughts and connotations?

Our own names also carries certain identities to those that know us or know of us.  At the mention of our name people often think certain things.  These thoughts and expectations are developed through their experiences, stories, and interactions with us.

We all want to be thought of well, in good terms.  So does Jesus.  Today, as we live out the name “Christian”, may we bring glory and honor to His name in all we do and say.

Scripture reference: Genesis 32: 27-31


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An Unknown God

Hainidni knnuj womqnf.  Plnye!  How about transubstantiation or prevenient?  No?  Then how about lol, bff, dk?  Now are we speaking the same language?  Maybe, maybe not.

Just as Paul chose to learn the thoughts and ways of the Athenians, we too must learn and know the ways of non-believers if we want to be able to reach them for Christ.  Now I am not saying we need to become like them or to do the things the do, but we have to be able to relate and to “speak their language”.

Paul realize when he saw their altar to “an unknown god” that they were a spiritual people.  Paul knew they were searching for something.  A high percentage of people today recognize or believe that there is a god, they just don’t know God.  Many non-believers can sense that ‘hole’ in their life that they just can’t seem to fill with stuff or human relationships or…  Take courage today in Paul’s words and chose to put them into action: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”