pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Wisdom

The author of proverbs parallels the characteristics of a noble and good wife with wisdom.  Through the way this wife manages her household and through how she conducts herself, she is revealed as one full of wisdom.  Her wisdom is shown and revealed in how she lives out her life.  The writer knows that the goal cannot be to simply obtain wisdom but that it must make a difference in our lives and that it must be lived out.

Wisdom is to be lived out in several ways.  The wise one goes to work, acts with kindness and common sense, spreads justice and mercy, and serves and honors those around them.  Wisdom cannot be passive but must be active and must engage the world around us.

There is much wisdom in the Bible.  Jesus and many others offered lessons on how we are to live our lives and how we are to live out our faith.  By spending time in the Word, we gain wisdom.  Once we learn something though, it is just the beginning.  It only becomes ‘real’ and useful when we apply it to how we live our lives.  Once we do this, we in turn grow wiser in our daily decisions.  This is one way we allow our light to shine in the world.

We must be in the Word daily.  There we find the gems that help us to walk our path of salvation in a way that is a little more aligned with God’s plans for our lives.  As we gain and live out God’s wisdom, we bring honor and glory to God.

Scripture reference: Proverbs 31: 10-31


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A Commitment to Delight

“Blessed is he …  whose delight is in the law of the Lord.”  We all want to be blessed, to have a ‘good’ life.  God watches over the faithful, helps us to grow in our faith so that we can bear fruit, and allows us to prosper.  All promises in Psalm 1.  When we are faithful, life is indeed good.

How does one ‘delight’ in the law?  And what is the ‘law’?  Neither term is as simple as it might appear at first glance.  In today’s text ‘delight’ means to value, to take pleasure in, to engage, to wrestle with, and to explore God’s laws.  It is a fullness of our interaction with God.  It is not a sit-on-the-sidelines, one-hour-a-week faith.

The law is traditionally seen as the commandments and other rules that encompass how to live as a good Israelite.  In this context and in our lives, the ‘law’ is so much more.  Here is also encompasses God’s teachings and His direction for our lives.  To fully live into this idea is active and participatory.  Walter Brueggemann said it is to experiment without fear and to try on God’s teachings for size.  It is to learn by doing and to fully throw oneself into wrestling with God’s direction for and intent with our lives.

To grow and bear fruit and to share our faith takes a good deal of effort.  It is a commitment.  To spend time in pursuing God’s vision for our life takes courage and trust.  It is wrestling with, engaging in, and being molded by this into the person God wants us to be.  The promises are great but it does take commitment, trust, courage, and effort.  May we delight in all God offers as we come to be more and more like Christ.

Scripture reference: Psalm 1


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Our Rock and Redeemer

God is perfect.  Therefore we find perfection in His laws and in all of His ways.  The psalmist extols the laws’ benefits – it revives the soul, makes the simple wise, and makes the heart rejoice.  Benefits come from living under the law.  The psalmist recognizes his own imperfection and acknowledges that God does not expect perfection from us either.

The ways of God are valuable and important to life.  To the psalmist they are as valuable as pure gold and as sweet as honey.  For us as well there are benefits from following God’s statutes.  They give us both guidance and protection.  Life is smoother and within a peaceful contentment more often when we seek to follow His ways.  Yet we cannot always follow all of His laws and the psalmist admits this as well.

The psalmist goes beyond this admission as he asks God to find his hidden faults too.  The obvious sins are just that.  But we sometimes sin in ways that we do not even realize and he is asking for forgiveness for these as well.  Perhaps these are things like the missed opportunity we did not even see or the words that hurt another unbeknownst to us.  We too need what the psalmist asks for – forgiveness from sins and protection against future sins.

The psalmist closes with a popular and well-known prayer: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”  Today, may this be our prayer.  May the words in our mouths and in our minds be acceptable to God.  May all of our thoughts and ideas honor God.  And may we find rest, peace, comfort, and love in the Lord, our rock and our redeemer.

Scripture reference: Psalm 19: 7-14


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Plugging Away

It has been said that God is the god of second chances.  He is also the god of third, fourth, fifth… chances.  If it is in His plan for our life, He will keep sending messangers, whispers, nudges, and so on.  God is a god of many things, but giving up is not one of them.

The first time God spoke to Jonah, he bolted and ran away.  After several events that proved God was still right there, Jonah is called a second time.  This time he goes to Nineveh to proclaim God’s message.  This second chance is a second chance for both Jonah and Nineveh.  God did not give up – He persisted so that His plan would come to fruition – both for His servant and for the city.

How often are we like Jonah – ignoring or questioning or running from God’s call?  We can be pretty good at all three forms of avoidance.  Sometimes we think we are too busy.  Sometimes we think our time would be better spent over there.  Sometimes we question if that person or cause is worthy of our time and effort.  The root of each is that we think we know better than God.  But, thankfully, He does not give up.

Our god of second chances keeps coming around, keeps working to mold us into who He wants us to be.  Like Jonah, I am glad that God keeps plugging away, because His ways are always better than my ways.  Thank you God!

Scripture reference: Jonah 3: 1-5


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God’s Sacred Child

In the middle section of Psalm 139 we catch an amazing picture of God and His relationship to us.  We see the power and omnipotence of God in the words that speak of our own creation and in those that remind us that God’s thoughts are more vast that the grains of sand.  We also see a God who saw each of our unformed bodies and wove us together.  We are also told that all of our days are ordained and are written in the book of life.

Our God is a big god.  Yet how easily we slip into doubt and how easily we think we can do it on our own.  The cares and concerns of this world can become our focus.  In this struggle we often turn inward and seek our own solutions instead of turning upward and seeking God.

Our God is also a god of details.  He knows each of us from our very beginning to our last day.  His hands formed us.  His thoughts surround us.  If we choose to live with these things as our focus, then we easily turn to God in times of stress, pain, anxiety.  We easily walk in His strength and comfort.  We are wonderfully made and loved deeply.  May we live as God’s sacred child this day and every day, trusting in our Creator and walking in His ways.

Scripture reference: Psalm 139: 13-18


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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