pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Creation Care

Reading: Psalm 29

Verse 11: “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace”.

In our Psalm today we see God’s action in the heavens and on the earth. God remains present in all of creation – not just in us. Both the universe and the earth are alive with birth and death. Stars are no more and new ones are created. The same is true here – plants, animals, fish, birds, insects, and human beings are no more and new ones are created. The hand of God is present in each death, in all new life, and at every point in between. This is as true of the grass of the field as it is of our very dearest loved one. God’s hand touches all of creation.

When we think of our interconnection with all of creation in this sense, then our understanding of stewardship is a bit different. We see the image of God in our fellow humanity; therefore we strive to treat them well and with kindness and love. If we saw all of creation – all of it – as being touched and held by the hand of God and therefore as sacred, then our treatment of the earth and all that is upon and in the earth would be better. More thought and care would go into how we care for and interact with the land, plants, animals, water, fish, birds…

Verse 10 reminds us that God “sits enthroned over the flood”. We can extend this idea – God sits enthroned over all of creation. Over you and me and over all the earth. In verse 11 we read, “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace”. In turn may we give strength and blessing to all that we share and inhabit the earth with – our brothers and sisters as well as all of creation.

Prayer: Father God, help me to care well for all I meet – for the stranger on the street, for the cat by the curb, for my friends and family, for the earth upon which I walk. Amen.


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In God’s Presence

God is really big.  He is the creator of all that is in the world.  God continues to create new life, new experiences, and new discoveries.  God has a hand on and in all life, in nature, and in the physical world.  In spite of how vast God and His reach are, at times we think we can control or dictate to God.  We cannot.

Perhaps it is because God allows us to have free will that we feel this authority and power.  Perhaps it is because God placed humankind as stewards over all creation that we feel in charge.  Perhaps it is because God enabled us with the ability to reason and make decisions that we feel we should.  Yet it is through a relationship with God that we should exercise our free will, our stewardship, and our decision-making.  It is within this relationship with God that we were intended to live.

Despite the omnipotence and omnipresence of God, at times we pretend He is not there.  We ignore a temptation or give in to sin or we compartmentalize an area of our life and live as if God did  not exist.  But God is not just in our churches, He is everywhere.  He is a constant presence in our lives and in our world.

It is natural for us to acknowledge and live within God’s presence all of the time.  A close relationship is what God most desires from each of us.  Just as we are intimately known, God wants us to grow to know Him intimately as well.  When our efforts focus on His presence in our lives and in the world, we live a life that is truly blessed.  We see God is so many people, places, and experiences.  We are made to live in step with our creator.  This day may we all choose to walk closely with our God.

Scripture reference: 2 Samuel 7: 1-14a


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Good Stewards

After flooding the earth, God makes a covenant with Noah and his sons to never again destroy all life with a flood.  The rainbow is the symbol of this promise.  It is interesting that the covenant is just not with mankind, but with all living creatures and with the earth itself.

It is often said that mankind is God’s highest form of creation.  God even set man to steward over the earth and all living creatures (Genesis 1).  From the beginning, in the Garden, man was to care for the earth and all other life.

The rainbow was God’s promise to preserve and protect life, all life.  In the very end, God ill redeem and restore all of creation when He establishes the new heaven and earth.  All will be made whole again.  It is mankind’s responsibility to care for this earth and all of life on this earth until that day comes.

Our relationship like the earth is like the relationship between a parent and child.  The choices and decisions we make are (or should be) for the best interests of the earth.  And at times the earth is something we cannot control – storms, earthquakes, when it rains or snows, being just a few examples.

Even if most of us do not directly work with the earth or the other living creatures that inhabit the earth, we can make daily choices to do things like recycling and conserving water.  In our purchases, in how we vote, and in how we voice our public opinion, we can make decisions and choices that reflect other’s care for and use of the earth and it’s resources.  In these small ways we too can be good stewards of the natural world.

Scripture reference: Genesis 9: 8-17


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As We Begin

Psalm 8 is both humbling and empowering.  It poses the question, “what is man that you are mindful of him?” amidst the reflections on all that God has amazingly created.  Yet the psalm also acknowledges that God made man “ruler over the works of your hands.”  Within the setting of this psalm though it is a ruling full of love, respect, honor, and care.

“Turn, turn, turn…”  Ecclesiastes 3 is also a great passage to start off 2015.  ‘To everything there is a season.’  Yes, remember the great Simon and Garfunkel song – a time to be born, a time to die, a time to…  This passage (and song) is such a great reminder of the natural give and take that life really requires and that is a part of God’s plan.

As we begin a new year, may we take a moment to consider where we fit in and contribute to this masterpiece that God has created.  To contribute we must be attuned to the world and people around us.  Our common experiences combined with our common faith connects us together in one huge family.  May God grant us eyes to see His world from His perspective and hearts to live and love as He loves.

Scripture references: Psalm 8 and Ecclesiastes 3: 1-13


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Into Holy Relationship

Christ becoming flesh, the incarnation, changed everything.  His birth altered the order forever.  Christ came so that God could draw everyone into relationship with himself.  The barriers of who was in and who was out were shattered – all were now welcome in.

Psalm 148 speaks beautifully of how all of creation is woven together.  From the angels and heavenly hosts to the sun, moon, and stars to the creatures of land and sea to the snow and winds to mankind – all are bound together as God’s creation.  The psalm resonates with power, strength, and majesty.   It brings hope and optimism for our future and for our world.

The hope and optimism lies in God’s desire to be in relationship with all of creation.  He constantly seeks to enter into renewed relationships to restore all of the brokenness to wholeness.  We, as His children, are part of this seeking.  He longs to continue to guide us to be good stewards both to the earth and to each other.  As we live into this holy relationship that God constantly calls us to, may we also seek to include all of our fellow man in this relationship as well, so that they too may find healing, hope, and, most of all, God’s love.

Scripture reference: Psalm 148


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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


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Love As He Loves

As God continues creation He culminates His work by making mankind in “our image”.  We are created in the image of the Holy One.  Just as God made all, He charges mankind, the one created in God’s image, to care for the earth and all of creation.  We are called to stewardship over what God created.  God gives plants and animals as food and gives the command to all of creation to be fruitful and multiply.  As God finishes creation, He says it is “very good”.

It is too easy to read ‘very good’ as applying simply to mankind.  I think it refers to the whole He created.  It is like a banana split – the ice cream is good, the banana is good, the toppings are good, the whipped cream is good – but together they are very good.  God saw the sum of creation and said it was ‘very good’.

God is a God of relationships.  We are called into a personal relationship with Him through His son Jesus.  When God looked at the complete works of His hands, He saw the relationship between all parts and that was what is very good.  It is all about relationship.  In our role as the ones created in the image of God, we are called to be loving parents of one very large family.  We are called to love the earth as God loves the earth.