pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


1 Comment

Loving the Child

Reading: 2 Samuel 18: 5-9

Verse 5: “The king commanded, ‘Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake'”.

David’s son Absalom has led a revolt to become king by force. He is a ruthless man who formed an alliance that has led to a civil war against his father and his supporters. The troops prepare for battle. As they are heading out, David says to his leaders and the army as a whole, “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake”. After all, Absalom is still his son.

One could certainly argue that David’s refusal to deal with his sinful children had led to this very moment. His children have gone unpunished for a long time. Rebellion and disobedience go hand in hand with how they have been raised. Yet still overriding all of this is a father’s love for his child. This may not seem to make sense, but neither does God’s love for us.

When I think about how often I sin against God’s ways and allow pride or jealousy or gossip or … to creep in, then I am amazed that God still loves me. God’s love is a love for us that just keeps coming, no matter how many times I say I’m sorry and repent of whatever I’ve fallen into. Maybe this is the love that David is trying to model with Absalom. Maybe David is hoping that he has finally learned. If not, like God, David will still love his child.

Our passage ends with Absalom stuck in a tree. This will be his end. But when we are stuck in our sin, it is not the end. God comes along and gently sets us down on the ground. We took the ground as we offer up our apology. God dusts off our sin and sends us back on our way through life. He smiles lovingly as we head off to try again. He says, “See you soon”. Thanks be to God. Amen.


1 Comment

All Things New

Reading: Revelation 21: 1-6

Verse Five: “I am making everything new”.

Welcome to 2018!  The passage of time rolls on.  At this time of the year we naturally reflect on our past year and the passing of time.  It is an opportunity to live for a moment in the space between the past and the future.  This helps us remember that time is temporal.  All that was in 2017 does not necessarily have to be in 2018.  This is one gift of time.

Time keeps us moving forward.  Our sense of time always being in motion does not allow us get stuck.  Yes, we can procrastinate, but we still have this sense that things are moving forward anyway.  On the positive side, this sense also brings us an awareness of new possibilities and allows us to look forward to the next thing that God may bring our way.  What may this be for you in 2018?

Thinking about time also allows us to consider what has been and what is.  Within these considerations we find opportunities for fresh starts and for dreaming.  In these considerations we can also choose to change things or to make efforts to correct or fix things – relationships, choices, habits…  Just as our God is the God of second chances, a new year is also a time for us to make amends and to chart a new course as we enter a new year.  It is in this space that we must pay attention to the Holy Spirit.  Where in our lives is the Holy Spirit bringing conviction?  Where in our lives is the Holy Spirit nudging us to step out in faith or to tiptoe outside of our comfort zones?

In our passage, Jesus says, “I am making everything new”.  This is both a present and a future reality.  Yes, one day Revelation 21 will occur as God returns to dwell among mankind once again.  All will be healed and restored.  Let us not lose the present reality though.  Jesus will make us new every day as well.  He will dwell with us now in Spirit and will restore and redeem all things each day.  Yes, He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.  But He is the Lord of today as well.  This day and every day of 2018, may we call upon Jesus to make us a new creation, holy and perfect in God’s sight, ready to go out to be the hands and feet and love of Christ in the world.  Blessings to all!


Leave a comment

Sing His Song!

Sometimes I get a tune or song stuck in my head.  It plays over and over and over.  If someone mentions or, worse yet, hums a bit of some songs, they get stuck.  There is much joy and happiness in music, so ‘stuck’ may be a bad choice of words.

In today’s reading from the Song of Songs the author speaks of their lover coming to visit.  The winter is over and spring is bounding out all around.  New life can be found all over the place and he beckons her to join him in enjoying it.  Visions of new shoots of green poking up through the earth as birds sing songs carried off on a warm breeze fill my mind.  It is a time that makes the heart smile.

The relationships between lovers also parallels our relationship with God.  Each morning God calls out to us, sings to us, at the start of each new day.  Like an expectant child lying in bed awaiting Christmas morning or a fiance about to pop the question, God cannot wait to welcome us to a brand new day.  The actual time or season of the year does not really matter – God is anxious for us to begin a new day with Him.  It is God’s desire that each new day is full of His presence.

2 Corinthians 5:17 reads, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is come!”  Each day is a new day as we walk with our Lord.  His mercies are made new every morning as God offers us His love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness each new day.

God calls us to be in song with Him each day as well.  He invites us to sing the songs of love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness each day.  May this song of God become so stuck in our hearts and souls that it springs forth from us each day, all day!

Scripture reference: Songs of Songs 2: 8-13


Leave a comment

Step to the Line

The Israelite army is pretending to be in battle.  Each morning they put on their armor, gather up their weapons and form up in position.  They shout the battle cry and march out into position opposite the Philistine army.  Goliath shouts out his challenge and the Israelites look at the ground, at th birds in the air, off into space.  They do everything except face their enemy or each other.

Sometimes in our lives or in our churches we can take the same approach.  We can sense that something needs done but we are unable or unwilling to see or do anything about it.  Good examples would be a lack of baptisms and fewer or no new professions of faith.  We are aware that these are signs of a dying church but investing the time and energy into young families and into unchurched people in new ways is scary and intimidating.  We stay right where we are.  And we line up each Sunday morning in our pews and see the same familiar faces.

In our own lives we can also get stuck.  In a really busy season of life we allowed our daily discipline of reading and meditating on God’s word to slip to the back burner.  That extra fifteen minutes of sleep or the extra time in front of the television sure is nice and prevents us from giving our time to our faith. Maybe we play the ‘next week’ game – next week I’ll get back to daily time with God.  We somehow think we are not ready to face that giant today.

God is ready every day.  He calls to us every day to die to self and serve Him alone.  He is present each day, waiting for us to engage.  It is up to us to step up to the line with a willing servant’s heart and to say, “Here I am Lord.”  With God on our side, who can stand against us?  What giant is ready to fall today?

Scripture reference: 1 Samuel 17: 19-23