pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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A Delightful Inheritance

Reading: Psalm 16: 1-6

Verse 2: I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing”.

Today’s portion of Psalm 16 describes the intimate relationship King David had with God and also defines the relationship with God that followers of Christ also enjoy.  David opens the Psalm with “keep me safe”.  Another translation reads, “Protect me”.  Our relationship with the Lord begins here as well.  There is much in the world that we need God to keep us safe from and to protect us from: temptation, sin, death – just to name a few.  Like David, we too take refuge or find shelter in God.

In verse two David writes, “I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing'”.  He is acknowledging what we must acknowledge each day as well.  All of the good things in life, all of our blessings, come from the God who loves us as His dear children.  It is so important to acknowledge this and to give our thanks to God every day.  It keeps us connected.  It keeps us humble.  It keeps us in proper relationship to God.

In the next verse, David gives thanks for the ‘saints’ – those who have gone before and have given us an example of how to love God and how to live out our faith.  These include the greats of the faith: Moses, Elijah, and Daniel for David; Jesus, Paul, Peter, pastors, parents, that Sunday school teacher for us.  Part of giving thanks for these ‘saints’ is also in recognizing our own call to be this for those to come.

Verse four touches on worldly things, ‘other gods’, as David puts it.  We too can get caught up in chasing after these things: money, fame, power, beauty, possessions, and so on.  As David notes, chasing such things only brings sorrow.

In contrast to “chasing the wind”, as Solomon wrote, David is secure and content in his lot.  David gladly accepts the “portion” and the “cup” assigned to him by God.  We too can find great contentment when we rest in God and all that He provides for us.  It is true that, like Paul, at times we may know want just as we know plenty.  And like Paul, we too know that God is present in all situations.  In this there is also contentment and peace.

David concludes this portion of the Psalm by stating that his “boundary lines” have fallen in “pleasant places”.  He is joyful about where God has placed him.  He loves living within God’s ways.  He concludes this portion with these words: “surely I have a delightful inheritance”.  Surely he does.  So do all who call on the name of the Lord as their refuge and strength.  Thanks be to God!

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The Power to Save

Today is All Saints’ Day, a day we remember the faithful who have died in the past year.  For our church, twenty pictures will be shown and twenty names read.  With the reading of each name we will remember the grace, faith, and love that each person shared with their life.  We will recall how we ministered and witnessed alongside each as well.  And we will again celebrate the victory won by each through their saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Today’s reading is the story of Lazarus.  Jesus arrives late at the scene – four days after he has died.  Mary, Martha, and many family and friends are grieving.  Mary voices what many are thinking, “If only you’d arrived sooner.”  They believe Jesus could have healed him.  Jesus is touched deeply.  He cries for his friends and is moved to do something extraordinary.  Jesus raises Lazarus to life.  Was it to alleviate the intense sadness felt by all?  Was it to give a glimpse of the victory to be won over death in Jesus’ resurrection?  Was it both?

On this day and in this story we are reminded that Jesus is there with us in our lives.  He cried and hurt for his friend Lazarus and for those who grieved for him.  In our grief He hurts right along with us as well.  We are also reminded that death does not have the last word.  For all the saints we recognize today and one day for us as well, Jesus has the power to save.  May we too all one day hear, “Well done good and faithful servant” as we each experience Jesus’ victory over death.

Scripture reference:  John 11: 32-44


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Words and Witness

The alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.  Our God is eternal.  Before the first particles started to come together to form the earth, God was long present.  We believe that Christ died to give us everlasting life.  This connects each of us to the eternal nature of God.

Today’s psalm reminds us of our connection both to God and to all of our fellow believers.  Although our physical time here on earth is limited, we are connected to a God that is limitless.  We are also connected to all who have come before who called on the name of Jesus.   It is the ‘great cloud of witness’ or the ‘communion of saints’ that form the first segment of believers.  The psalm also reminds us there are also future generations of believers yet to come.  One day each of us will be a part of heaven and unknown generations will follow in our footsteps.

There are both older people in our churches and many examples in the Bible of people who give us a witness to what it means to live a life of faith.  These people teach us both by word and deed.  Their faithful witness in times past and in our current time helps us in our journeys of faith.

We are also a part of this educational process.  We too are examples of faith to those just beginning their relationship with Christ.  Our witness to them is important.  Just as the nurturing, teaching, and love poured into us helped us to grow in the faith, we too are called to do the same.  Our witness also calls us outside our immediate circles of faith and into the world.  Our words and deeds also call out to the unbeliever, inviting them into our communities of faith and into relationship with Jesus Christ.  Shine your light for all to see.

Scripture reference: Psalm 22: 25-31


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Witness and Example

In Revelation 7, John writes about the great crowd in white robes gathered around Jesus.  The multitude is too great to count.  They sing to jesus and acknowledge Him as the root of their salvation. Despite the massiveness of the crowd, the focus is on only one – the Lamb of God.

Today is All Saints Day and tomorrow in many of our churches we will remember the saints, those who have ‘gone before’.  Imagine the crowd in heaven!  Surely there is Mary, John the Baptist, David, Elijah, Moses, and so on.  And there are people like Calvin, Luther, dozens of popes, Martin Luther King Jr, and such.  And there are other faces there too – less famous for sure – but ones you certainly recognize.  Ones that are surely saints indeed!

This day, remember your loved ones and friends who have found their place of rest in that heavenly multitude.  Thank God for their witness in your life.  Thank God for the example they set and for the ways they have helped to mold you into the person you are today.  Thank God for their lives.

Scripture reference: Revelation 7: 9-17