pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Today

Reading: Matthew 23: 8-10

Summary: You have only one Master… one Father… one Teacher… The greatest among you will be your servant.

We often come to church or a time of prayer or a time of Bible reading when we are seeking comfort or care or relief from some burden.  After tragedies and large losses we often see a spike in church attendance, interest in faith…  IT is natural to seek these things from God.  Yes, at times this is just what we find at church, in prayer, in the Word.  But often we also find what the Pharisees found in today’s passage.  They want to be recognized and looked up to and respected, but what Jesus offers is a dose of reality as He knocks them down a few pegs.  He draws a sharp contrast between how they are teaching and leading and how God wants them to teach and lead.

Today many will come to church.  Almost all will be seeking to be filled up, to be encouraged, to feel their burdens lifted.  It is my prayer that if this is what they need today that this is precisely what Jesus brings them.  I hope people experience a compassionate and loving Lord.  But sometimes Jesus has other plans.  Sometimes we open the Word seeking discernment and Jesus only causes us to think deeper and to wrestle more with whatever is troubling us.  Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and we go to our knees seeking relief and Jesus only adds to our “to do” list, placing someone or something with a need on our heart.  Sometimes we walk into church looking to recharge our batteries and we walk out, convicted by the Holy Spirit to go and serve or to be the one to take the first step of reconciliation.  Sometimes Jesus asks more.

Jesus reminds us today that we have only “one Master… one Father… one Teacher”.  We are not the ones in control, not the ones with the answers.  Today we may come looking for something from God.  May we find what we seek.  But let us not be closed off to what else Jesus has for us today.  Jesus may offer more today – a word of challenge or conviction or discernment.  May we be responsive and open and willing.  May we seek to be the humble servant today.


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Day to Day, Take My Hand

Reading: Matthew 17: 1-9

Peter, James, and John are blessed to experience the transfiguration.  It is an event that would stick with all of us forever.  In this one moment these disciples see the Law, the Prophets, and the Messiah together.  In seeing Moses, Elijah, and Jesus talking, we get a glimpse of the span of the Bible and can see the connections between these three central themes.  Peter’s response is to offer to build three shelters, one for each man.  He wants to prolong this moment.  I would want to do the same.

From time to time in our faith journeys, we too are blessed with moments where Jesus has touched our lives in a special way.  Those moments when we feel an undeniable closeness to His presence or when we can see the answer to our prayers are touch points in our faith.  They are times when we know that Jesus is real and alive and is truly present with us.  In this transfiguration moment, the disciples are blessed to see that this human man that they have been following is also a divine being that is connected directly to God.  For the disciples in today’s story and for the touch points in our life, these moments, these experiences, they shape our faith.

Like Peter, we too would like to extend these moments and sometimes we wish we could stay in that sacred moment forever.  But we cannot.  Although they are etched into our memory, we must move forward with life.  The reality of our faith, though, is that Jesus is not just in the touch points.  Jesus comes down off that mountain and walks with us in the day to day of life.  It is His constant and abiding presence in all of life that is the bedrock of our faith.  Jesus’ presence in the little scrapes and in the small victories that occur day after day are the basis of our trust that He will be there in the really tough times as well.

Yes, those touch points are awesome and are significant for our faith.  We are stronger Christians and better disciples because of them.  But my deepest need is for Jesus in the day to day.  Dearest Lord Jesus, take my hand, walk with me through all that life has for this day.  Please be with me, dearest Lord Jesus.


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Perspective

Perspective is an important thing.  As followers of Christ, we believe He will return one day to bring final judgment.  It could be today, next week, or in two thousand years.  From this perspective we live each day prepared for this to be the day.  In a sense we live with one eye always on heaven and our eternity.

Yet we must also keep today in perspective.  We cannot live detached from this world as we await the next.  Even if our lives in this world, though we may live to be hundred, are just a flash in the spectrum of eternity, each day still matters.  Each person and encounter is an opportunity to be Christ’s light and love.  Each is a chance to affect someone else’s eternity.

In the here and now it is our relationships that matter most.  Our relationship with Jesus Christ takes priority because it does reflect and impact the eternal.  And all of our present relationships are also important as each person is a child of God and has worth.  Each person – from our family members to the person we meet on the sidewalk – matters.

How we choose to live in each moment does impact our eternity.  All the choices, decisions, and actions play a role, as does the lack of action…  As we go through our day today, may our eyes be open, may our hearts be willing, and may our ears be sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture reference: 1 Corinthians 7: 29-31