pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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He Knows. And He Still Loves.

God knows each of us intimately.  Simultaneously that thought can be comforting and alarming.  There is nothing we can do to change this – it is just the nature of the God to know His creations that well.

Psalm 139 speaks of God knowing our thoughts from afar, of being familiar with all of our ways, and of even knowing our words before we speak.  God is so in tune with us.  God is that best of friends who can finish our sentences for us.  And He is so much more!  All of these things can bring one great comfort.  To know that God is so connected to us is amazing and wonderful.

He is also that connected when we are lesser than we can be.  God is also there when we sin.  He is there when we think about sinning.  And he still loves us.  That is amazing.  No matter our unkind thoughts, our misdeeds, or our out and out sins – God still loves us.  The psalmist ends verse six with the admission that all of this is too wonderful for him, almost inconceivable.  This is true for us too.  And what is our repsonse?  Thank you God!  Thank you for loving even me!!

Scripture reference: Psalm 139: 1-6

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Focus in on God and Good

Paul encourages us to stand firm in the Lord and to rejoice in the Lord.  He directs us to go to God with our prayers and petitions.  This brings the peace of God upon us.  Paul also reminds us to do our part – to think about what is true, noble, right, pure, admirable, and praiseworthy.  Simply put, he calls us to focus in on the good.

How we look at the world really affects how we live our life.  For example, if one spends a lot of time complaining, then life is generally unhappy and what they focus on is dominated by bad thoughts.  Loving God and neighbor is a difficult task when all are against you.  On the other hand, when one focused on God and all the good in the world, then life is generally happy and content.  “Life” still happens but the issues and situations carry less weight because God carries the bulk when we focus on Him.

Also, as we fill our minds with what is true, noble, right, … then there is less time for evil or impure thoughts.  As we focus in on the good and God, then He guards our hearts and minds so that our energy and efforts dwell on God and His plans for us in the world.  And the God of peace will be with us.

Scripture reference: Philippians 4: 1-9


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Choosing His Way

Our broken world needs God.  For many living in brokenness, we will be the first bible they every read.  Although we are not of this world, we are to be in the world.  God calls us to be His hands and feet, using whatever gifts He has given us to make His world a better place.  We cannot simply and only exit within the four walls of our homes and our churches.  We must step outside into the fray.

To be a “living sacrifice” we must be willing to give up and share some of our stuff – our time, our money and resources, our gifts and talents, and ourselves.  As God becomes more, we become less.  Our decisions and actions look less like ours and more like His.  ‘Other’ supercedes ‘self’.

As we become increasingly aware of the world’s needs and our role in meeting those needs, we become more aware that our whole life is an act of worship.  Our simple greeting of another becomes a way of sharing God’s love with another in need.  Our conversation with the store’s employee becomes an opportunity to minister.  Our choice of how to conduct ourselves at work becomes an extension of our worship.  Our choice of what to do with our free Saturday becomes a reflection of God being a priority in our life instead of ourself being the priority.

Our words offer hope, love, reconciliation, healing.  Our actions bring relief, justice, provision, protection.  As we live into this type of Christianity, God’s spirit and presence in our life grows deeper and deeper within us.  As people that are broken begin to know God through our words and actions, they begin to know God too.  Every word we offer and every action that we make can bring ourselves and other closer to God.  May we choose wisely this day.

Scripture reference: Romans 12: 1-8


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At the Name…

Names can often define us.  Names come with attachments.  If the name is something that describes us it often comes with expectations and ideas of what you are like.  And this is a relative thing – our perspective and who we are affects how we see another.  For examples, if one is called an ‘overachiever’, thoughts immediately come to mind.  And depending on how you relate to the given term, your perceptions and thoughts are different than someone who relates differently.  If you are an overachiever, you see  the term in positives.  If you are not, you often see negatives.

The same is true when someone is labeled a “Christian”.  On a basic level, a Christian is known as a follower of Christ.  This name also comes with a lot of connotations and expectations – some good and some bad, depending on your experiences and background.  Don’t you wish the name “Christian” only evoked good thoughts and connotations?

Our own names also carries certain identities to those that know us or know of us.  At the mention of our name people often think certain things.  These thoughts and expectations are developed through their experiences, stories, and interactions with us.

We all want to be thought of well, in good terms.  So does Jesus.  Today, as we live out the name “Christian”, may we bring glory and honor to His name in all we do and say.

Scripture reference: Genesis 32: 27-31