pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Keep the Faith

Reading: 2nd Timothy 4: 6-8

Verse 7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”.

Yesterday in 9th grade Confirmation the topic was John Wesley. It was an overview of his life, his faith, his important works. We focused on his early struggle with faith and the moment that his heart was “strangely warmed”. The impact of reconnecting with a God that he felt distant from brought a renewed fire and passion. As life drew to a close, Wesley’s last words were “Best of all, God is with us”. With these parting words he breathed his last. One present noted that he died well. What is it that allowed Wesley and us such peace at a moment that brings fear and anxiety to so many?

In our passage today Paul is nearing the same point in life. He is imprisoned and he senses that the end is near. Paul notes, “I am already being poured out like a drink offering”. He is so grateful for his time witnessing to Jesus Christ. Paul reflects back on his life of service and rejoices, saying, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. He has no regrets, no doubts, no second guessing. From the day he met Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), Paul has been all-in for Jesus. He has held nothing back, giving everything he had to the gospel and its message. Like Wesley, Paul is assured that a crown of righteousness awaits him on the other side of this life. Paul will die well too. What is it that affords Paul and all fellow believers a confidence in their eternal destinies?

Wesley’s source of hope and strength and faith was the same as Paul’s. All that they were was built upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ. In good times and in bad, in joys and in the sorrow, these men of faith stood upon Christ alone. To cling to Jesus is our only hope too. May we keep the faith as we walk the walk of faith and as we fight the good fight for Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord God, to think upon these who have come before and who modeled the faith so well is encouraging to me. Their witness is a good reminder. Even so, keep my eyes focused on the perfector of the faith, upon Jesus Christ my rock. Thank you, Lord. Amen.


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Forever Changed

It is a rainy morning here on Pentecost Sunday.  Rain and fire don’t usually mix too well.  In the end, the rain, if it lasts long enough, usually wins.

The Spirit that descended upon the disciples almost 2,000 years ago continues to burn in the hearts of many Christians.  When they were touched by and filled with the Holy Spirit, they were forever changed.  They were made bold for their faith and became more than they ever imagined they could be.   No amount of earthly ‘rain’ could put out this heavenly fire – not threat or abuse or failure or even death could quench their fire.

In 1738 a fire was kindled in the heart of John Wesley.  He was awakened to what God was calling out for – a church that loved all people, a faith that sought personal holiness.  The fire led him to preach in the streets, mines, and fields, offering the gospel to any who would come.  The fire led him to call people back to a personal holiness through the renewal of spiritual disciplines like study, prayer, and fasting.  Many came to have a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to find the Holy Spirit burning within them as well.  This fire within showed faith as a love of God and neighbor.

Once we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit enters our hearts as well.  It can remain a smouldering fire that guides and leads us, helping us to live a Christian life.  Or we can fan it into flame and allow it to forever change us.  This heavenly fire can meet no match on earth and cannot be defeated.  May we too feel Wesley’s burning passion for God and neighbor.  May the love of God and neighbor pour forth from within each of us, forever changing all we meet.

Scripture reference: Acts 2: 1-21