pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Essential to Life

Reading: John 6: 47-51

Verse 51: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world”.

Jesus speaks words of hope today. Verse 47 reads, “he who believes has everlasting life”. What a promise! Next to speaking before a crowd, the fear of death is our greatest fear. It is the end. It is unknown. It is the loss of connection with those we love. Unless you believe in Jesus Christ. The gift of eternal life removes all these fears. It changes the outlook to joy and even anticipation.

In our passage today Jesus is sharing the path to eternal life. Believe in Jesus. Confess Him as Lord of life and gain eternal life. For the Jews, He contrasts this with their experience with the physical bread that God had sent down. Their ancestors are the manna that God sent in the desert and they were sustained physically, but in the end they died. By contrast, the bread that Jesus offers is spiritual nourishment. Take in this bread and you will not die, Jesus says.

Verse 51 sums it up: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world”. This is such a powerful verse. Jesus was sent by God. If we become one with Jesus, if we “eat of this bread”, we will be indwelled by His Spirit. This is a new relationship that not only sustains us in this life but leads to eternal life as well. This bread, His flesh, will indeed be given for the life of the world. We know that the wages of sin is death. Jesus took on the sins of the world on the cross and through His blood we find forgiveness of our sins. His blood washes us clean. Sin is no more and we are once again restored to life. Each time we take communion we remember this gift.

This idea of Jesus being the bread of life that came down from heaven may have been a stumbling block to the Jews, but it is our hope and promise. It is foundational to our faith. It is essential to our life. Thank you God for sending Jesus, the gift of the bread of life.


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Resolute

Reading: Isaiah 50: 4-9a

Verse Seven: “Because the sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced”.

Isaiah begins our passage today acknowledging the word that sustains him and shares how each morning his ear is awakened to listen. For those who regularly invest time in reading their Bibles, they can relate well to what Isaiah is saying here. Whether it is early in the morning or over the noon hour or just before bedtime, daily reading of our Bibles leads to knowing God’s Word. In turn, the Word will sustain us over and over. As a result, Isaiah writes, “The sovereign Lord has opened my ears”. Time in our Bibles leads to our ears being opened more and more to God’s voice in our lives.

Time with God builds our connection with God, just as it would with any relationship. Isaiah goes on to write of not being rebellious. This too is our goal. But the reality is that we will sin. However, the more time we spend with God in prayer, worship, and reading our Bibles, the less we will sin. For example, there are things I did and said ten years ago that I now see as sin and strive to do no more. As we mature in our faith the narrow road becomes narrower as we better and better understand what it means to walk closely with our God.

As one grows in the faith so too does our trust in the Lord. In verse seven Isaiah writes, “Because the sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced”. Isaiah trusts that as he walks in faith, God has his back. This does not mean that life will be perfect. In fact, in verse six, he writes of the abuse and violence that he has experienced because of his faith. At times we too will experience abuse or rejection or maybe even violence because of our faith. Yet even then we do know that God remains with us, helping us through. And maybe we can even get to the place the apostles got to, rejoicing that we could suffer for Christ.

Verse seven goes on to say, “I have set my face like flint and I know I will not be put to shame”. This verse will be echoed in the New Testament as Jesus turns toward Jerusalem for the last time as Palm Sunday approaches. As followers of Jesus, may we also be resolute in our faith, walking a firm and steadfast path, wherever God may lead us this day and each day. Amen.


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The Living Water

Much of our world is dependent on water to sustain their crops.  Much of the world is still agriculturally based and many people outside of the US are subsistence farmers just getting by day to day.  For many of these people, water is hard to come by.  Either the water source is polluted or it is not clean or it is far away.  In many places a well would provide good water but the people do not have the resources to have a well.  Even in our country, water access can be difficult for some as well.  But one thing is true no matter where you live – water is essential to grow food and to sustain life.

In faith God is essential to sustain our spiritual life.  But to some, God is like their water – scarce.  He is hard to find or He is difficult to relate to or to get to know.  He exists but does not seem to want to be in a relationship with them.  To some, getting to God requires a good effort – like walking hours to fill a jug with water.  God seems to exist, but just is not very close tho their corner of the world, to their daily lives.

For others, God is simply there all the time.  God’s grace and blessings are like the gentle rains that fall in the Spring.  To a believer, God’s love is as vast as the ocean and as powerful as a mighty river.  It sustains and gives life.  The living water that Jesus brings is not like the water that many have to work so hard to get – His water is free and only requires that one asks Jesus to come and dwell in their heart.  Once we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then His living water becomes a spring welling up inside of us.

Who do you know that needs to drink of Jesus’ living water?  How will you help them drink today?

Scripture reference: Isaiah 12: 3-6


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Warning: Work in Progress – But Not Alone!

Each of us is a work in progress.  Some may be a little further along in their faith journey and some a little less.  But all of us must realize that there is still work to be done , still growth to experience.  All must heed Paul’s words found in Romans 3: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Even though we constantly fall short, God also always pursues us.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit we are made aware of our sin.  When we confess that we have sinned and made an affront to God, it is the same Spirit that leads us to repentance.  Each time God blots out our transgression and remembers our sin no more.

The unending supply and depth of God’s love and mercy is amazing.  The constant presence of the Holy Spirit seeking to work on us confounds understanding.  It is like God cares for each and every one of us as if we were each His only child.

Each of us is not yet what we will be.  And each is not what we once were either.  Through the constant cycle of sin and repentance we are slowly made more and more into the image of Christ.  Apparently God has a very high level of patience as well.  As we continually say, “Lord, have mercy” we are acknowledging God’s sovereignty.  We cannot succeed on our own.  Only through God can we continue to run the race.  It is in this weakness that He is made strong.  This day, may we each come to fully rely on God, our redeemer and sustainer.

Scripture reference: Psalm 51: 1-5