pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Anywhere, Anytime

Reading: Psalm 48: 9-14

Verse Nine: “Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love”.

The Israelites viewed the temple as God’s dwelling place. It was a sacred and holy place. When the psalmist writes, “Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love” to open our passage today, he would have really meant it. The temple was the place to connect to God and to worship God. After the period in exile and the dispersal of Jews around the known world, synagogues also became places to meditate and reflect on God’s word and to praise and worship God. Yet even then there remained the connection with the temple as the home of God.

As we jump forward to our time and frame if reference, the church sanctuary is often the place where people feel close to God. Yet it is a place of God’s presence and not necessarily God’s being. The sanctuary is a holy and sacred place, but we do not feel like any of our sanctuaries are the home of God.

This shift has led to two important things for me. It has helped my sense of God’s omnipresence. The idea that God can be present in all places speaks to me of the vastness and unlimited nature of God. This ties into the unfailing love idea expressed by the psalmist. It also speaks of God’s presence in many other places besides the temple or synagogue or chruch. God can be intimately connected to during a walk on the beach, a hike in the woods, on a yoga mat in the living room, at the corner coffee shop… God can be and is encountered in many ways and in many places.

This shift also means that we can help others encounter God anywhere and anytime. This means we can minister to the broken and lost and hurting as instruments of God’s unfailing love wherever we encounter them. God is there too. Through loving others we can help them to meet and connect to God wherever they are at and whenever our paths cross. In doing so we are living out our faith and living into verse thirteen, telling of our God to the next generation of believers.

Lord God, bless us with opportunities to connect with you wherever we are and to witness to your power and presence with all we meet. May it be so today. Amen.


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Whenever Necessary

Reading: Psalm 32

Like the psalmist, sometimes we hold onto our sin.  We make a conscious choice not to come before God.  Sometimes this is because even though we know our sin, we hold onto it because we are not ready to repent or because we know that the temptation or the sin is still greater than our will or faith.  Sometimes we do not recognize our sin.  As our faith matures, the concept of what we see as sin also develops.  We come to realize more and more how far short we fall as we come to know and understand God more and more.

When we hold onto our sin, there are ramifications.  Not confessing our sin can weigh upon us emotionally and spiritually and can run us down physically.  Unconfessed sin is a barrier between God and us and inhibits a true relationship with God.  Our heart must be right with God before we can come to Him in prayer and worship.  If we try to do so with sin upon us, it is false prayer or worship.  Just as God could not look upon Jesus on the cross as He bore our sins, God cannot be in our presence if we are not righteous.  To be righteous we must be made clean.

The reality is that God already knows our sins.  The Lord of heaven is also the Lord of the earth.  There is nothing that escapes Him.  We may try to convince ourselves that God doe snot know our sins, but we are only fooling ourselves.  When we humble ourselves, come before God, and pour out our sins, we are blessed by His grace, mercy, and love.  Not only that.  God also removes the guilt and shame of our sins.

When we are in a right relationship with God, He blesses and instructs and loves us.  When we are in a right relationship with God, we wonder why we would ever lived any other way.  When sin is upon us, may we go to God often – whenever necessary – so that we may live all of our days in His presence and in the light of His love.