pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Living Right

Reading: Psalm 119: 137-144

The psalmist declares that God’s righteousness lasts forever.  Because of this, all of God’s laws and ways are also righteous.  Since God’s laws and ways are always righteous, we should ever seek to understand and live out God’s statutes and precepts.  If we do so, then we draw near to loving them as the psalmist does.  Even in times of trouble and distress, the writer declares that God’s commands bring delight.

To this understanding from the Old Testament, we can apply our understanding of Jesus.  Jesus was the fuller revelation of God as He lived in the flesh.  Jesus allows us to see what it looks like to live out God’s laws and ways.  Even though Jesus was in the flesh, He was still divine and lived a life without sin.  In the life of Jesus, in the things He taught, and in how He lived, we have the example of what it means to live fully in God’s righteousness.  Jesus defined and lived out the essence of all of God’s laws and precepts that we find in the Old Testament.  He did so by loving God with all He was and by loving others as God loves them.  Jesus saw all as beloved children of God and treated each accordingly.

Jesus exemplified verse 142: “Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true”.  God does not change.  God’s love never ends.  God’s ways are true.  Within these truths we seek to live as Jesus lived.  Living out our faith us living right.  Living out the love that Jesus pours into us is living right.  Living out the truth of God so that God’s word spreads to those around us and so God’s love and light grows is living right.  Whether filled with joy because of God’s blessings or struggling through a trial, these truths do not change.  No matter what life may bring, God’s love and God’s ways remain true.  May we always follow Jesus’ example, seeking to be God’s love and truth lived out.

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Ever Present

Reading: Psalm 30

Psalm 30 is an excellent representation of our journey of faith.  It begins with praise to God for the protection and healing that He gave.  At times in our lives we definitely sense a hedge about us that God is providing.  Our “foes” rise up against us and we feel as if we may fall, yet we do not quite topple or give in.  In the midst of it we can sense God’s hand upon us.  Or perhaps, looking back, we can see where God came to our rescue.

At times in life, though, we can also question where God is.  We cannot sense His presence and He seems absent in our struggles.  As the psalmist writes, “You his your face, I was dismayed”.  We can all recall such times in our lives.  The writer’s solution?  Cry out and pray to God anyway.  Earnestly seek to be in God’s presence even when He feels far away.  Even in our seasons or ‘dark nights of the soul’ God is still present.

Midway through, in verse five, we are reminded that God’s favor is for a lifetime.  Once we enter into that saving relationship, we are forever His.  In this verse we are reminded that joy will come in the morning.  The writer returns to this theme in verse 11.  Because of God’s unfailing love, He turns our mourning into joy and dancing.  The response is praise and thanksgiving to God.  This response is the same as when it feels He is absent: seek Him through prayer and worship.

Faith is a journey.  These times of feeling that God is absent can lead to doubt, which is a normal part of our faith journey.  These times reveal our human limitations.  God is omnipresent.  In our struggles, it is we who question the fact of an omnipresent God.  Like the psalmist, may we too pray through the silence and may we ever offer our thanksgiving and worship for the grace, love, and favor that never ends.


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Offering All

In response to the people crying out to God, He promises to send a messenger.  The people are asking God to end the oppression and injustices they are enduring.  In their hearts they probably want God to swoop in and destroy their enemies.  How hard it is to look within.  How hard it is to see that we are often the cause of our own struggles.

God knows the true root of the problem so instead of sending a powerful king or a legion of angels, He tells Malachi that He will send a refiner.  God is sending a messenger who will purify the hearts of the people.  This messenger will use the refiner’s fire and the launderer’s soap to cleanse the people of their sin.  God even poses the question, “Who will stand?”  It will be an ordeal for the people.

I love this text as we begin Advent.  As we prepare for and pray for the coming of Jesus, I think we do so too often with the misconception that we ourselves are ready.  It is fine for God to come and refine all those other people so they are adequately prepared for Advent.  We want to think we are okay.  How we hate to look within.

The refiner’s fire and the advent of God;s righteousness will touch us all.  How clean are we willing to make ourselves?  How much of self are we willing to lay aside so we are truly ready to welcome Jesus at Advent and into our hearts?  He only refines what we offer up.  He only enters through the door we open.  This Advent season may we offer all we have to our Lord and Savior.

Scripture reference: Malachi 3: 1-4