pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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The Gift of Faith

In Psalm 126 the people have returned from exile. For this they praise God joyfully.  But a hard reality also faces them.  No one was there the year before to plant crops and to store up grain.  In the midst of a joyous return they face a food crisis.

The people of Israel have just experienced the miracle of being freed from slavery.  They have seen God’s great power at work in their lives.  So they turn their prayers to the need at hand. They pray for food and a good harvest and are confident that their God will respond with a good harvest.  They have faith in His future blessings.

In our world today, many also have a hunger – a spiritual hunger.  During the time of Advent. as we draw nearer to Christmas, people are more aware of Christ and faith.  We have the food that the lost need.  We can offer them the great news of Jesus Christ – a morsel that always satisfies.  We are called to share what we have.  When we give away our faith, strangely enough it grows in us too.  Bless another today with the gift of faith.

Scripture reference: Psalm 126


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Faithful and True

We are called to spread God’s word and love.  Jesus compared the discipling of others to seeds and yeast.  In Matthew 13 the small mustard seed grows into a large plant that is home to many birds.  The ‘yeast’ that we work into the ‘dough’ spreads out and causes all of the dough to rise to new heights.  As we spread God to those in our worlds, we help them to grow in their faith.  It is neat to watch another grow in their faith.

But sometimes we have to wait.  The seed does not sprout overnight and the yeast takes time to work.  Sometimes it is hard to wait.  Although we can see and feel other ways God’s kingdom is being built, at times we can hone in on one person or one situation in our life.   It then becomes hard to see big picture that God is painting.

We must learn to wait patiently and to continue in our labors.  We are only the labors – God and the Holy Spirit are what cause the seed to sprout.  We know that the Father is faithful and true.  He is our hope and our strength.  In Hebrews 10 we find encouragement: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur on another on toward love and good deeds”.

Scripture reference: Matthew 13: 31-33


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The Master Gardener

Perhaps it was no coincidence that Mary Magdelene mistook Jesus for a gardener.  In many ways Jesus was and is a gardener.

Jesus taught and continues to teach through stories, parables, examples, and healings.  Within each are little seeds that are planted in our hearts and minds.  Each time we read the Bible we glean insights from his words, often times a new insight from a passage we have read before.  One day these seeds will sprout.  In the meantime the gardener works the soil, tending to it so that one day it can nurture good growth.  The gardener continues to turn over our soil with His words, making us into the soil that will produce a crop.

As we grow, He prunes us as well, to shape us into the best disciple we can be.  Sometimes the gardener prunes off parts of us that hinder our growth as disciples, cutting off a little pride here, a little jealousy there, a bit of anger right there…  At other times He prunes to encourage growth in our faith lives.

All the while He is also teaching us how to garden.  Through His example and work in our lives, we come to understand how we can help others on their walk of faith.  We can share the stories from the Bible and from our own walks of faith.  We can tend the soil and encourage growth in those we know.  We can also prune when needed.  But the greatest lesson we learn from Jesus is to garden with love.  It is to produce growth and to encourage that the seeds produce a crop in our garden and in the gardens of those we meet along the way.  Happy gardening!!!