pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Big Plans

Reading: Isaiah 49: 1-7

Verse 6: “I will make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth”.

Isaiah 49 begins with Isaiah’s call. Before he was born God called him. Prophet is his destiny. Isaiah was God’s voice – “a sharpened sword”. He was God’s servant, “in whom I will display my splendor”. He was filled with confidence and felt God with him. And then he experienced what Moses and other prophets experienced – the people were stubborn and willful. Beginning in verse four, we can see that Isaiah hit the proverbial “wall”. He sees no purpose, he feels like he has spent his strength in vain, “for nothing”. God did not leave Isaiah here. We too can feel spent and like we’ve been treading water, getting nowhere. Like Isaiah, we focus back inward, we begin our own pity party.

God does not leave his servant Isaiah here. He will not leave us there either. God’s plans are always greater. His plans so often exceed our vision or dreams. In verse six God says, “It’s too small a thing” to simply have Isaiah help restore Jacob and Israel. No, no. Continuing, God proclaims, “I will make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth”. Yes, the prophet Isaiah will help lead Israel home, out of exile. But he and his words will also be a part of the salvation of the whole world. God’s plans go far beyond Isaiah and Israel. Ultimately, God’s love and saving grace will extend to the whole world.

Where are you feeling stuck? In what situation do you feel like you’re not having an impact? Our faith is often like Isaiah’s. We question, we doubt, we feel ineffective or adrift. And like with Isaiah, God will use us as a light to the lost and as part of bringing salvation to the broken and hurting. God is faithful. God has big plans for you and for me. We were born to be a child of God. May we step out in faith and trust, knowing that God leads the way.

Prayer: Lord God, when I question, fill me with your Holy Spirit. When I doubt, fill me with your Holy Spirit. When I fear, fill me with your Holy Spirit. When I feel less than, fill me with your Holy Spirit. When I am tired and worn, fill me with your Holy Spirit. Fill me, O God, use me for your glory. Amen.


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Don’t Be Afraid

Reading: 1 Kings 17: 8-24

Elijah tells the widow that her flour will not run out and that her oil will not run dry until God brings rain and ends the long famine that had struck the land.  His request for bread must have settled on her as a heavy weight when she first heard his request.  The culture was one that placed hospitality very high.  It was customary that even if your sworn enemy came knocking and asked for lodging for the night, then one would provide a place to stay.

All the widow had left was enough flour and oil to make one last meal for her son and herself.  When she encountered Elijah she was gathering some sticks so she bake the last meal they would ever eat.  The widow must have been at a very somber place in her heart and mind.  It is at this point that Elijah asks for some bread.  She has used up her every resource and is preparing to make one last meal and then to die with her son.  It is now that Elijah comes along and asks if he can have some bread too.

Have you ever been where the woman is at?  Totally spent and at the end of the rope?  She is there.  It is like going through a very hard loss of a dear loved one, finally heading home and feeling emotionally spent after the funeral, and a distant friend calls to tell you the news of their unexpected loss.  It is like spending a hot July day working outside all day long at the Habitat house when a friend of a friend calls asking if you can help them move out of their apartment.  Every fiber in your being wants to say ‘no’ but you feel compelled to talk a while or to go and help.

Elijah must sense the apprehension in the widow.  So her says to her, “Don’t be afraid”.  When the phone rings or the stranger appears at your door, asking when we feel totally depleted, hear His voice, saying “Do not be afraid.  Trust me”.  May we find the faith of the widow.  May we too experience His amazing blessings when we choose to trust and to answer His call.