pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Even in This

Reading: 1st Samuel 8: 10-20

Verse 18: “You will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day”.

Photo credit: Nick Fewings

After God acquiesces to the people’s request for a king, God gives some words of warning to the people. Yes, a king can bring stability and leadership and authority to the nation. Yes, a king can negotiate with other kings and can lead the troops out into battle when needed. A king can fight for the people! But a king can also demand or, at times, take when the demands are not met. A king can call for military service and can seize land, crops, livestock, and servants. A king can tax the people to support his reign. A judge or prophet would never do any of these things. The leader that the people reject, God, would never do any of these things. Yet the people want a king.

All of this, both the good and the bad, comes true as king after king leads Israel. Reading through 1st and 2nd Kings, we see that God is right. There are more bad kings than good kings. The fate and the lives of the people rise or fall under the leadership of each king. Yet even though the people reject God in favor of a king, God remains engaged. Even though God grants them this autonomy, God does not abandon his children. God continues to send prophets to guide and redirect and shepherd these kings. God even chooses the first few kings.

God leads you and me in the same way. God does not force us to love and obey him or to believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. God engages us, the Spirit leads and guides us. But we are free to choose our own kings, our own gods. God allows us free will, just as he did with the Israelites. God warned them, saying, “You will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day”. When leadership is oppressive, selfish, authoritarian… God will allow them to learn their lesson. In time God will respond to their cries. We too experience this process. We have to endure a consequence for our poor choices. God will always forgive us when we’re repentant. But our poor choices and bad behaviors often impact others, creating ramifications. We too must go through a refining and learning process. Even in this, God is at work. Thanks be to God for loving us enough to always be there on the other side.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, your love always leads and informs. Your love is greater than our limitations and failures. We are ever a work in progress. You are so patient, so faithful, ever true. What a wonderful God you are! Amen.


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In God’s Presence

God is really big.  He is the creator of all that is in the world.  God continues to create new life, new experiences, and new discoveries.  God has a hand on and in all life, in nature, and in the physical world.  In spite of how vast God and His reach are, at times we think we can control or dictate to God.  We cannot.

Perhaps it is because God allows us to have free will that we feel this authority and power.  Perhaps it is because God placed humankind as stewards over all creation that we feel in charge.  Perhaps it is because God enabled us with the ability to reason and make decisions that we feel we should.  Yet it is through a relationship with God that we should exercise our free will, our stewardship, and our decision-making.  It is within this relationship with God that we were intended to live.

Despite the omnipotence and omnipresence of God, at times we pretend He is not there.  We ignore a temptation or give in to sin or we compartmentalize an area of our life and live as if God did  not exist.  But God is not just in our churches, He is everywhere.  He is a constant presence in our lives and in our world.

It is natural for us to acknowledge and live within God’s presence all of the time.  A close relationship is what God most desires from each of us.  Just as we are intimately known, God wants us to grow to know Him intimately as well.  When our efforts focus on His presence in our lives and in the world, we live a life that is truly blessed.  We see God is so many people, places, and experiences.  We are made to live in step with our creator.  This day may we all choose to walk closely with our God.

Scripture reference: 2 Samuel 7: 1-14a


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Who Will You Choose?

How many times are you willing to ask a child to clean their rooms before you ‘tell them to (or else)?  How many times will a new acquaintance disappoint you until you decide not to pursue a friendship with that person?  If you are like me, I’d guess the answer to that question is ‘a few’.

Now imagine how great God’s love is that He pursues sinners like you and me relentlessly!  No matter how many times we fail, He is right there with open arms, a loving smile, and a welcoming heart.  What a love!

Pretty amazing!  Then add in the idea of free will.  We are not forced to choose God.  He does not lay out our lives in a predestined fashion.  The path we walk is the path we choose.  We set the course of our journey of faith.  Yes, on a daily basis, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, He battles Satan for our souls. Yet in the end, it is our choice.  In light of the great love He has for us and the freedom He offers, who will you choose to serve this day?

Scripture reference: Genesis 25: 19-34