Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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This Anointed King

Reading: Psalm 45: 1-2 and 6-9

Verse 2: “You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever”.

Today’s Psalm has the description “a wedding song” in the heading. It is a celebration of a royal wedding. Although we only read a handful of the verses that comprise this Psalm, we do get the flavor of the occasion. There is a king and his royal bride, a palace, an anointing, music, and the guest list includes daughters of kings. The clothes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia and are woven with gold. We get quite a picture of what the events looks and feels like.

Depending on who and when this Psalm was read or recited, one might have envisioned David’s royal wedding or perhaps Solomon’s or some other king of Israel. Maybe one’s mind even slips to a more recent royal wedding with all of its pomp and circumstance.

The Psalm can also be read another way. Like the author of Hebrews, we can read this Psalm and envision Jesus as the king. In Hebrews 1, this Psalm is used to point to Jesus. It is one of about 8 Old Testament passages that the author uses to connect the words that “God spoke to our forefathers” to the “words spoken to us by His Son” in the last days. This connection plays well with our modern understandings of the New Testament being the fuller revelation of the Old Testament and of Jesus as the fuller revelation of God.

When read from the perspective of Christ as the King, verse 2 has a whole new meaning. Hear Christ in this verse: “You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever”. Yes, Jesus is the most excellent example – He who was without sin. And, oh how Jesus’ lips were anointed will grace. The words of healing and forgiveness that Jesus spoke and continues to speak to us today flow with grace. And, yes, Jesus is the one blessed forever. He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. Jesus is forever King.

Lord God, may this anointed King, this King with grace anointed on His lips, may King Jesus reign in our hearts each and every day. Amen.

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Who Is This Jesus?

Reading: John 6: 35 & 41-46

Verse 46: “At this the Jews began to grumble about Him because He said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven'”.

Jesus has just fed the 5,000 so the idea of Jesus and bread seem to go hand in hand at this moment in His ministry. He has encouraged those who return the next day for more food to look not only for physical bread but also to work for the “food that endures to eternal life”. He offers this “bread” to them if only they will believe. It is at this point that our passage opens today as Jesus says, “I am the bread of life…”

Some of the Jews balk at Jesus’ earlier claim when He said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven”. They cannot rectify this with the Jesus they know. The people here know His parents – Mary and Joseph – and they have known Jesus since childhood. They know where He came from. How can He now make this claim to be from heaven? They see and understand Jesus only on the literal, human level. To them bread is simply bread.

In the interceding verses Jesus makes some other claims. He claims that He is sent by God and that He only does the will of God. Jesus also reiterates that belief in Him is the path to eternal life. Then, in verse 40, Jesus claims that on the last day He will raise up all who believe. None of these claims hit a nerve. They are all beyond where His audience is stuck. The Jews can not or do not or will not move past the birth narrative that they know.

To try and help them connect to something they know, Jesus turns to the Old Testament for reinforcement. He quotes the prophet Isaiah, saying, “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to Me”. In essence Jesus is saying to look in the scriptures and you will see that they point to Jesus the Messiah. This connection was a stumbling block for many. It continues to be today.

For all believers, we must spend time in our Bibles so that we understand this connection of Old to New. We must be able to articulate how the New Testament is the fuller revelation of the God of the Old Testament. We must be able to explain the continuing story of God’s activity in the world through Jesus. Jesus incarnate is God. Jesus is God’s love lived out in human relationships. Our role as believers is to help the lost to find and understand this truth. May we know the story of Jesus well so that we can share it with others.

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A Living Testament

Faith is not so simple as saying “I believe.”  It is the requisite first step to a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Our faith is built in and upon the “I believes”: I believe in the virgin birth, in the teachings of Jesus, in His death and resurrection, and in the promise of eternal life.

But one cannot stop at this point of belief.  If one does, life is hard.  Belief will only get you so far.  It is the first step in the relationship, but one must see inward change as well.  It is possible to say ‘I believe’ and to go on living a life of sin.  Belief is like entering the cocoon.  The transformation comes once inward change begins.  To facilitate this change, it is necessary to invite the Holy Spirit to live within us.  Once we do this and experience the daily presence of Jesus Christ through the indwelling of the Spirit, then our life is forever changed.

The Holy Spirit then begins to work on that inward change.  In a short time the Spirit’s inner workings lead to outward expressions of God’s love.  Life more and more becomes about sharing the love of God with all that we meet.  No barrier holds us back or stands in our way.  The love of God conquers all.  Our transformation to a new creation draws nearer.

As we share the love of God with others, Christ comes to be more and more a part of who we are.  In time, He is our all in all.  n time our life becomes a living testament to His great love.

Scripture reference: 1 John 3: 21-24

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Through Reading and Prayer and Action

When we read and pray through the Bible, we are making  choice to spend time with God and Jesus.  We see God’s power, might, love, mercy and sense of justice revealed as we read and pray through the Old Testament.  We also draw closer to our creator and become more in tune with God.  Even Jesus spent time reading and praying through the scriptures in the synagogue.

In the New Testament we encounter Jesus, God made flesh.  In reading and praying through the New Testament we come to know the compassion, forgiveness, grace, and love of neighbor – parts of God that Jesus more fully revealed to us.  Through Jesus Christ we gain a more complete understanding of who God is and who we are called to be as a child of God and as a disciple of Christ.

As we read and pray through the scriptures, the Holy Spirit comes alongside us to help us understand, to gain insights, and to live out our faith.  The Holy Spirit also bring sus the words to teach our faith to our children and as we share our faith with the stranger.  The Spirit guides us as we live out our faith through acts of mercy and compassion, helping us to live out the love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and power we find in God and in Christ Jesus.

As we read and pray through the scriptures, we not only come to know and understand God and Jesus better, but also to sense our own personal call to share our faith with the broken world in which we live.  By sharing our faith, we express both an act of worship to God and an act of thanksgiving for the many ways in which He blesses our lives.  In James 4:8 we read: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”.  May we draw near so that we may draw others near as well!

Scripture reference: Psalm 78: 1-4 and 12-16