pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Step Out

Reading: Matthew 14: 26-33

Verse 28: Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.

In the midst of a storm, Jesus comes to the disciples, walking across the water.  Already a bit on the edge from the storm, the disciples see Jesus coming and they think He is a ghost.  This terrifies them further and they cry out in fear.  Sometimes I find myself in a storm.  As Jesus draws near, at times it scares me too.  I sense Him drawing near and wonder what will be prune away or changed in me to keep me out of the storm the next time.

Jesus responds to the disciples’ cries and fears saying, “Take courage!  It is I.  Do not fear”.  It is a familiar line to me.  I can picture Jesus with a slight smile on His face as He says it.  This is what I picture as He comes to me in my storm.  The smile says, “This may hurt a bit but it’ll be good for you”.  Again those words: Take courage!  It is I.  Do not fear.  I have plans to prosper you, to bring you good.

Peter’s response is interesting.  Immediately he says, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water”.  He asks to step out into the rough water, out into the danger.  He doesn’t wait for Jesus to finish coming to the boat, but instead wants to meet Jesus someplace out there in the tumult.  For most of us it is an odd choice.  We like to hunker down where we are at and wait for Jesus to come to us.  Peter does not consider the risks – he just wants to be closer to Jesus sooner.  If only that we’re our default choice.  If only we would be so eager to step into the risky and unknown and unfamiliar just to come closer to Jesus sooner.  If only we sought Jesus as much as Peter did.  If only.

When we are willing to step out for Jesus, we too will hear those words echo: “Take courage!  It is I.  Do not fear”.  May we trust in the Lord and respond faithfully to His call: “Come”.

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For Such a Time

Esther became queen essentially by winning a beauty contest.  The old queen fell into disfavor with the king and was deposed.  The King of Persia was a powerful man – his words could make or break any and all.  While Queen Esther was obviously beautiful, she was also Jewish.  This was her little secret in the royal court.  The Jewish people had been living in captivity in Babylon for years and many lived in the capital city of Susa.

Esther and her uncle Mordecai were just two of thousands living there.  He had raised her and was like a father to her.  Haman was a higher-up in the court.  All were supposed to bow down and to honor Haman but Mordecai refused.  This greatly angered the proud Haman and he convinced the king to issue a decree to be rid of these disobedient Jews.  The decree went out and the date of execution was set.

Mordecai convinced Esther that she alone could save her people.  After praying and fasting for three days, Esther did go to the king.  It was risky – it was punishable by death to approach the king uninvited.  Mordecai’s words must have been echoing in Esther’s head as she approached the king: “And who knows but that you came to royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther stepped up and saved her people from an evil man’s plot.  Because of her faith in God she was willing to take a risk.  She stepped out in faith after praying and fasting, after entering into God’s presence.  Esther was just an ordinary person that God had placed there for “such a time as this.”  In each of our worlds there are things that are not right, things that are unjust and unfair. Maybe the wrong does not affect you or your kin, but you see it.  Perhaps, just perhaps, God has placed each and every one of us right where we are so that we too may step out like Esther to bring God’s justice and righteousness and love to those around us.

Scripture reference: Esther 7: 1-6 and 9-10


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Gifts or Assets?

Each opportunity that God lays before us come with some degree of risk.  If the opportunity is to share our faith story, we risk rejection or maybe ridicule.  If the opportunity is to help someone in need, we risk being a frequent ask.  If it is trying a new ministry, we risk failure.

Each of these things calls for us to risk something.  Anytime we invest ourselves or our talents, there is a chance we will gie something away.  This is a good thing.  We are often not ‘losing’ something but are giving to another and it blesses us both.  But for many of us and many in the church, we are averse to risk.

God blesses us all abundantly.  In reality, all is His.  For some the blessing is financial, for others it is an abundance of time.  Each of us also have talents and skills that He has blessed us with.  Each of us have gifts to offer.  How we look at these gifts from God largely determines what we do with them.  Do we see the gifts as just that or do we see them as assets?

Assets are to be managed and kept safe.  Gifts are to be used and to be given away. For a moment think about God and manna, deliverance, land, provision.  Think about Jesus and healing, kindness, love.  Now, do you have gifts or assets?  May we give to others richly, blessing them as God has blessed us.

Scripture reference: Matthew 25: 14-30