pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Fully Known

Reading: Psalm 139: 1-6

Verses One and Three: “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me… You are familiar with all of my ways”.

Our Psalm today speaks of a deep intimacy with God.  It reminds me of a best-friend relationship where you finish each other’s sentences and you seem to have this connection so you know what the other person is thinking.  But when I think of God, to have such a relationship could only be one-sided.  I could never know God so completely.  Yes, we can know God well and our knowledge of and intimacy with God can grow as our faith develops, but there will always be so much more to God that we cannot even begin to fathom.

Our psalmist opens with this line:  “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me”.  The Psalm goes on to say that God knows our every coming and going.  God knows all of our thoughts and all of our actions.  Verse three finishes with, “You are familiar with all of my ways”.  God knows everything there is to know about us.  God could finish our sentences even if we only gave God the first word.  It is both a beautiful and a scary thought to realize that we are this well known by God.

It is beautiful because it means that God is constantly aware of us.  That means God rejoices when we love or serve or care for anther.  It means God knows when we extend mercy or grace or forgiveness.  It is beautiful because it means that God knows all of the desires of our heart and knows our prayers before we ever put them to words or even think them.

But these thoughts are also scary.  God knows the impure or unkind thought before it is ever fully formed in my heart and mind.  God knows all the things that I have done and said that I told myself were just my little secrets – no matter how big or how small.  Not only does God know my sins, but God knows all of my fears, all of my doubts, all of my questioning, all of the times I was less than God created me to be.

It is a deep, deep intimacy that God has with us.  God knew us before we were ever formed in the womb and God knows us inside out all the time.  We are fully known.  In that thought, I realize how little I know of God and God’s love.  In spite of knowing all about us, God loves us anyway – the good and the bad fully included.  It is a glimpse into the depth of God’s love for you and me.  All we can say is thanks be to God.


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Pruning

Reading: Isaiah 5: 1-4

In our passage today God laments, “What more could I have done for my vineyard”?  God thinks back to the fertile land flowing with milk and honey that was handed over to Israel.  God recalls the cities they did not built that were offered as dwelling places.  God remembers how a shield was kept about them, protecting them from their enemies.  God’s people, the vineyard so carefully tended, is now producing bad fruit.  The people had all they needed to produce good fruit but have instead turned away from God.  God looks and sees bloodshed instead of justice, heard cries of distress instead of righteousness.

The passage calls us to look at and reflect on our own lives.  God has also richly blessed us in so many ways.  God has built hedges of protection around us.  God has poured into our lives the example of Jesus found in the scriptures and has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.  God has given us all we need to go forth and produce a good crop.  So we must honestly ask ourselves if we are doing so.  Are we using all of God’s rich blessings to go out and produce a crop of justice and righteousness and love?

Too often we can be like the crop God finds in Israel.  The soil is good and the leaves are healthy.  But the fruit underneath is sour.  We go to church and maybe even read our Bibles every day.  Then we go to work and exploit those with less power or cut a corner or bend a law for our own gain.  Or maybe we say and do all the right things out in public but harbor an addiction within the secret places of our lives.  We somehow think God does not know, but the pruning shears are ready to go to work.

Maybe instead we are holding onto a sin we can’t quite give to God or we are nursing a grudge or hurt from long ago and we can’t quite offer forgiveness to another.  God calls aloud for us to give up all that holds us back, to release anything that separates us from God, and to lay it at the cross.  God invites us to do this so that we can walk in a right relationship with our Lord and Savior.  God desires to prune away all that keeps us from being all God intends us to be.  Pruning can be hard but the results are a healthier plant that produced a better crop.  May we be willing to lay down all that hinders and separates us from God so that we may walk humbly and faithfully with our Lord.