pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Presence

Reading: Psalm 124: 1-5

Verse 1: “If the Lord had not been on our side…”

Today’s Psalm is a great reminder of God’s presence with us. The psalmist remembers when they were attacked, when the enemy’s anger rose against them. He remembers when the tipping point was tangible, when they could have been engulfed and swept away. “If the Lord had not been on our side…” reminds him and all who read these verses of why we are not swept away – God’s presence. God was with them. God is with us.

In our lives we have these experiences too. Upon reflecting on just this past week, I can think of times when I could have been pulled off into sin. None were huge or monumental this week, but at times we all have those moments when we are on the brink or when, if not for God’s presence, we do not want to think of how things could have turned out. There was the divorce when I was in sixth grade. There was the car accident my junior year of college when one person did not survive. Recently, in our community, three young teens walked away from a rollover. “If the Lord had not been on our side…” applies in all of these situations. Thanks be to God.

While it is good and right to recognize and rejoice in all of the times and ways that God is with us, we cannot allow ourselves to use this as a dividing line or to judge others. There are many who feel like God does not care about or love them, nevermind whether or not God is on their side. There are others who feel the opposite – that God is against them. Instead of being content in our relationship with God and keeping it to ourselves, our grateful response should be to share God’s love with others. Instead of being comfortable with an us and them attitude, may we recognize that all people are dearly loved children of God and may we make efforts to help the estranged to become part of the family. This day, may we help those who are living outside of a relationship with God to come to know His love and presence in their lives.

Lord God, you are my all in all, my strength when I am weak. Each moment of each day you are with me. Like the psalmist, I cannot imagine life without you. Yet many live this way. Today, may my words, actions, and thoughts help to decrease the number of those who are lost. Thank you, Lord, for your presence in my life. May I share it well today. Amen.


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If…

Reading: Psalm 124

Verses 6 and 8: Praise be to the Lord… Our help is in the name of the Lord.

The psalmist wrestles with an interesting thought today that is good for us to wrestle with from time to time.  The idea is “if…”. In the Psalm, he is considering the plight of the nation of Israel ‘if’ the Lord was not with them.  The writer realizes that without the Lord they would have been ‘swallowed’, ‘engulfed’, and ‘swept away’.  On its own, Israel would have long ago disappeared from the earth and would have existed only in history books just like thousands of other tribes.  But God was with them. “Praise be to the Lord”.

When I look back and consider my life, I too have many ‘if’ scenarios.  There are times where the hand of the Lord guided me to safety or kept harm from me.  There are times when the Lord our God has shown me the path to take or the decision to make and good and blessing have resulted.  Many times I have sinned and repented and found forgiveness and have been made new and whole again.  It is a good thing to ponder the ‘if…’ – where would I be now without God’s guidance, protection, direction, and forgiveness?  These thoughts lead me to where the psalmist went: praise be to the Lord!

God is always active and involved in our world and in our lives.  God remains our protector, our defender, our conscious, our guide, our redeemer, our hope, and our love.  For the Lord our God we say thanks be to God.  “Our help us in the name of the Lord”.  Amen and amen!