pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Life

Reading: John 20: 24-31

Verse 31: “Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name”.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples, Thomas was not there. He rejoins the group and they tell him that they have “seen the Lord”! It was on the evening of the first day of that week. Mary Magdalene saw Jesus early that morning and He appears to them that evening. We recall that even though the disciples heard Mary’s account and Peter and John witnessed the empty tomb, the disciples are not yet at the point of belief. During this first visit Jesus breathes on them the Holy Spirit and tells them that He is sending them into the world. A lot more goes on here than a quick visit.

Thomas wants proof that it was really Jesus who had been there that evening. He wants physical proof – to see and touch to know that it is Jesus. We have all had or been a part of those “you gotta see this” moments. What is happening or has occurred sounds so outlandish or unbelievable that visual proof is required. When we do see the proof, we scratch our heads, but cannot argue or deny it because we saw it with our own eyes. I think this is where Thomas is. Sounds great, but I need to see to believe. After a week passes, Jesus appears again and offers the scars to Thomas’ touch. Jesus goes on to encourage him, saying, “Stop doubting and believe”. Thomas’ response? “My Lord and my God”!

Jesus uses this as a teaching moment. He acknowledges that because Thomas saw, he was able to believe. Jesus then adds, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”. This statement encompasses almost all who come and all who will come to believe in and follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Through the testimony of the Bible and through our own personal encounters with God we have come to believe in Jesus. We are the blessed.

This is the conclusion of this section and of the chapter: “Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name”. By faith we believe. Through belief we find life – life both now and in the time to come. Thanks be to God.

Prayer: God, thank you for your Word – the Word that lived among us some 2,000 years ago and your Word that continues to live in the pages of the Bible. It is life and life to the full. Thank you, God. Amen.


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Thank You

The psalmist writes, “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens”.  The writer goes on to speak of God’s faithfulness reaching to the skies and of His righteousness being like the mighty mountains.  Lastly God’s justice is paralleled to the ocean.  How vast and wide and high and deep is God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice!  Verses like these remind us of who God is and cause us to give praise and thanksgiving.

Yet almost as often as there are grains of sand on the beach, I can forget all that the psalmist writes of.  In an instant I can forget all about this omnipotent and omnipresent God and rely only on myself.  On the one hand this amazes me and on the other hand I know I have been there over and over and over again.  But no matter how many times I seem to try to do it on my own and fail, He is always there.  With that love that reaches to the heavens, God always waits for my return.  Through a faithfulness equally as big, God never gives up on me.

It is humbling to think of such things.  All I have to do is rely on God.  To know I fail reminds me of my total dependence on God.  To be humbled is to remember my place in the large order of things.  Thank you God for your immeasurable love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice.  Thank you God.

Scripture reference: Psalm 36: 5-10


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Surrounded by Love

Wrapping the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes was the common practice of the time.  It is still the common practice in many places.  By wrapping the baby head to toe, it is kept warm and its delicate skin in protected.  Being laid in a manger, maybe Jesus even needed a little extra protection.  All one could see of the baby was their little face, gazing up at them.

In the culture of Jesus’ day and in many places still today, at the end of life the body is again wrapped in a cloth.  This time it is called a shroud and it covers all of the body.  The body is wrapped with fragrant spices and laid to rest in a protetcive little coccoon.  The cycle is complete.

Tonight the communion will be covered by a cloth except when being served.  The elements are representative of Jesus’ body and blood, so it is appropriate and respectful to cover them.

In our Christian walk, God’s love continually surrounds us much like the swaddling clothes do a baby.  God wraps His love and protection around us as He walks through the ups, downs, and middles of life with us.  As we walk we will stumble and we will sin.  But God is present then too for His love never fails.  In these moments we also receive His love and grace as well.  They surround us too and make us new and clean and whole.  Through Jesus’ work on the cross, we are forgiven and restored to walk again in God’s loving presence.  Thank you Jesus.

Scripture reference: Luke 2: 1-20


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Thank You Prayer

Thank you for faith.  Thank you Lord for being a part of my life, for allowing me to live in a time and place when and where I can know you.  It is a blessing not only to have the opportunity to know you but to also be able to publicly worship, proclaim, and follow you.

Thank you for your Spirit.  Thank you for giving me your Spirit to dwell within me, for the wisdom and revelation that it brings me.  It allows me to be your disciple.  It allows me the ways to come to know you more.

Thank you for your call.  Continue to open my eyes and soften my heart for the things that break your heart O Lord.  Help me to cling to the hope I find in this love and in the eternal life which you promised to all who believe.

Thank you for your mighty power.  Thank you for your great power which works in the world and in my life. This heart that struggles needs your strength every day.  Fill me with the courage to live each day knowing your power and authority is all that matters.

Thank you for being the head of the church.  In you alone is the example of true servant leadership.  Bind my will to yours.  Place all of my desires behind yours and those around me each day.  Fill me with you in every way Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Scripture reference: Ephesians 1: 15-23


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In His Presence

In 1 Samuel 16 Samuel is sent off to find Israel’s next king.  Samuel is still sad for Saul’s failure as king – after all it was Samuel who anointed him king.  Samuel wished for some time to grieve Saul’s failure.  But God will have none of it.  He also was traditionally the bearer of bad news, so he was less than enthused about going to Jesse of Bethlehem.  But God directs him to go under the guise of making an offering to the Lord.

We also want to sit in our grief or sadness at times.  Not in times of a significant loss, but at times with some small losses we like to stay with it.  At times we like to sit on our own little ‘pity pot’.  It is odd, but at time we like the ‘woe is me’ moments in life.  Yet this is not where God calls us to be.

After a period, we are urged forward again by God or by someone God sends our way.  Like Samuel, we dust ourselves off, glance heavenward, and resume our journey.  We return to the path that God calls us to walk.  It is then that I am reminded, God is always with us.  We are always in His presence.  Thank you, for always being there O Lord!