pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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In Control

Reading: Psalm 137: 1-4

Verse 4: “How can we sing the songs of the Lord in a foreign land”?

The sin abounded, the prophets warned, the tide rose, the Babylonians arrived, Jerusalem fell, and the people were hauled off into exile. Once the world stopped spinning, the Israelites have a moment to catch their breath. It is then that they wonder, “How can we sing the songs of the Lord in a foreign land”?

In our modern world things change at a rapid pace. Advances in technology, science, and medicine, just to name a few, often seem to move at a pace that we cannot keep up with. At times we too pop our heads up and wonder how we got to where we are. Society and culture do have a hand in all of the change and, as a part of these groups, we play a role, each to varying degrees. In spite of that, the world can change around us in ways that we do not like or do not understand. This creates in us the sense of loss and disorientation expressed today by the psalmist.

As people of faith we tend to want to cling to the way things were and we resist change. A big part of faith is built upon our traditions. Yet when we look at the Biblical record we see two big themes of change. First, God is often at work leading us forward. God led the people out of famine, out of Egypt, out of the desert, out of exile. Jesus and the apostles continue this theme in the New Testament, leading us out of Israel and on to the ends of the earth. A second and corresponding theme is the widening or enlarging of the circle. The story behind with one man, then a woman, and soon God’s chosen family grows to be as numerous as the stars in the sky. The family gets even bigger in the New Testament as Jesus and invites in the outcasts, the lepers, the sinners. The circle gets even bigger as the apostles are led to bring the Gentiles into God’s family. In and through all of this God has been in control. God continues to be in control. God will always be in control.

As we continue to experience change, may we trust in the hand of the Lord at work in our lives and in the world. God has a plan. God is in control. May we trust fully in the God of all.

Prayer: God, help me to trust in you. Sometimes I do not understand where or why you are leading; sometimes it is not easy to step out or to keep walking in faith. Increase in me my trust in you alone. Amen.


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He Is So Close

The voice of God speaks out in nature.  It roars in the thunder and whispers in the gentle breeze.  It reveals silent beauty in the sunset and lifts the heart with the song of the bird.  God has also continued to be revealed through science.  As technology has allowed us to peer further and further into space we come to better understand God’s immeasurable nature.  And as that same technology has allowed us to deeper and deeper into living organisms, we come to better understand God’s complexity and the fine detail of His work.

In spite of how big and intricate and vast and mind-boggling God is, He is also a God who seeks to know each of us personally.  He desires an intimate and deep relationship with each of us.  This relational God is best revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.  As God came and dwelt among us as the incarnate Jesus, we came to know Him personally.  In His relationship with man, Jesus revealed God as love.  This love was lived out through things such as hope, peace, comfort, forgiveness, mercy, service.  Jesus patterned what a life lived as love should look like.  It was shown in how He interacted and treated everyone that He encountered.

Through Jesus our God is so close we can rest in His presence when needed.  He is so close we can hear the Spirit whisper into our life.  He is so close we can come with our questions, joys, concerns, fears, doubts, praise, and thanksgiving.  The God of all creation, in His vastness and complexity, is still our comforter, our guide, our companion, and our friend.  For this I say, thanks be to God!

Scripture reference: Psalm 104: 1-9