pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Shine the Light

Reading: Psalm 149

Verse 1: “Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song”.

Psalm 149 is a song of praise. It comes to us in two parts. In the first five verses it is a song filled with singing and rejoicing and dancing and tambourines and harps. It calls for the exuberant worship of God. The psalmist reminds us that God delights in us and gives salvation to the humble. In turn, we rejoice and sing for joy over this gift. What wonderful praise!

Then we turn to verses six through nine. This section brings swords and vengeance and punishment and binding with shackles to our attention. It speaks of carrying out “the sentence written against them”. At first this seems like an odd form of praise. But in Hebrews 4:12 we read, “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword”. And in Ephesians 6 Paul refers to “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. Living out our faith, we can praise God by using God’s word and truth to free people from sin and from the lies of the world. We can live out God’s justice and compassion by helping people caught up in oppression and abuse and injustice. We can share the good news of Jesus Christ with the poor and broken in spirit, binding up their earthly desires of the flesh and lifting their spirits to God.

When we shine the light of Christ into the dark places of people’s lives, the darkness flees and heaven rejoices. May it be so today.

Prayer: O Lord God, may it be so! May I shine the light into the darkness of the world, leaving only your light. Fill me with your Spirit and your word of truth today, King of Kings. May all of do and say be praise to you. Amen.


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To God

Reading: Psalm 137: 1-9

In our lives we all have experienced loss and suffering to some degree.  Sometimes our loss leaves us questioning God and sometimes a tough loss can leave us angry.  This is especially true when our loss seems unjust or when we struggle to find any explanation at all.

The Israelites understood the root cause of their defeat at the hands of the Babylonians.  They knew their sin and disobedience had brought this upon themselves.  Being defeated and carried off into exile was suffering enough.  But to have Jerusalem, their beautiful city and the home of God, destroyed was too much.  Add to this their local adversaries cheering on the destruction and it was simply too much to bear.  Their tears of sorrow turn into tears of rage and vengeance.  We too can relate to times of suffering in our lives when that ‘one more thing’ pushes us beyond what we can bear.

In the midst of our own suffering, our grief and sorrow can also turn to anger and rage.  It is a natural part of the grieving process to be mad at God.  Our lesson from the Israelites is to bring these emotions to God.  Into God’s presence is the right place to bring our anger and rage.  God expects our honesty and can “handle” anything we bring before the throne.  It is only in God that we find the compassion and comfort that can begin to heal what is heavy upon our heart.  May we lay all of our burdens and sufferings at the feet of God and enter into God’s loving embrace.