pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Enough?

Reading: Luke 12:13-21

Verse 19: “I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry.'”

Photo credit: Conner Baker

This week’s parable is about greed. It begins with a younger brother asking Jesus to help him get his share of the estate now. Jesus states that he’s not in the arbitration business and gives a warning against greed. For emphasis Jesus states that life isn’t really about having abundant possessions. Many today would look at Jesus like this man must have. So Jesus tells a story to illustrate his points.

In the parable a rich man has a really, really great harvest. What to do? His barns are not big enough to hold all this blessing. So he decided to build bigger barns. Store more! Then he says to himself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry.” Celebrate and party and enjoy life! He has reach some magical goal.

In one way we are like this man. We store up and we store up. We get more and more stuff. We sack away more and more money in the bank or retirement fund. In another, more critical way, we are different. Most of us never reach the point of “enough.” We gather and store and sack away but never feel like we quite have enough. That feeling has an underlying cause. We don’t truly believe that God will be enough. We don’t quite trust that God will provide for all of our needs. One day our life will be demanded too. Will we be rich enough towards God?

Prayer: Lord God, when those doubts and worries creep into my mind, remind me that your love never ends. Help me to trust into your plans for me, both now and into the future. Let me rest in that. Amen.


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Turn Back to God

Reading: Joel 2: 1-2 and 12-17

Verse 13: “Rend your hearts and not your garments”.

Joel was a prophet who worked to call the people back to God. His beloved nation has been invaded and destroyed by a great swarm of locusts. The swarm has come, of course, for a reason. Joel calls the priests to lead by example – to put on sack cloth and to grieve what has happened. The nation lays shriveled and dry in the aftermath of the swarm. The souls of the people are in the same state. This is the context that we use to turn to today’s passage from Joel 2.

Joel is not looking for lip service, a weak apology, or for someone to just go through the motions. In verse one Joel gives us a sense of urgency, declaring, “Blow the trumpets… sound the alarm”! Why? Because the day of the Lord is close at hand. In our Lenten journey we should have the same urgency. In our pursuit of holiness and justice and righteousness, we should be charging down the gates as we look within and strive to be more like Jesus. Whether it is April 12 or whether our day comes sooner, we too should sound the alarm and we should work to be made ready for the day of the Lord.

In verse twelve we hear God’s call to return to him with fasting and weeping and mourning. Does the state of our soul lead us to these practices? When we honestly look within we may be lead to tears. In verse thirteen Joel calls for us to“rend your hearts and not your garments”. Don’t just tear the superficial clothing, but dive deep and get to the core, to the heart of the matter. When we do so, we too will experience the God described by Joel: gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love. God is not a destroying God but a restoring God. In faith may we turn back to God, asking the Holy Spirit to be at work in our souls. In faith God will respond, joining us in sacred assembly. God meets us there because God is loving and faithful and gracious. Thanks be to God.

Prayer: Lord God, thank you for reminding me once again today of your grace and compassion, of your abundant love. The gentle reminder encourages me to seek deeply within, to search honestly for what must go. As a refiner, purify my heart, cleanse my soul. Make me more in thy image. Shine within me so that I may light my world today. Amen.