Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fear Less? Psalm 27

There's lots to fear. And in faith we find not that our fears go away—rather we find God's present with us as we face our fears. And here's where Psalm 27 hits me. In my fears the Psalm writer says trust in God as light and salvation.

I heard a man who lost parts of both legs to bone cancer in his teens say this psalm had helped him go through some hard times and knew right away that there's a Word from God for all of us. Just in this first verse,

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 NRSV  
There's a whole lot to fear in this world. Cancer, war, death, economic ruin, loss of relationship and more. There's a whole lot to fear. But the Psalm writer speaks a word of hope and promise.

Fear yeah it's there and it's real. But one of the gifts of living in faith is know God is with us as we confront our fears.

The Psalm writer calls God by name—he says יְהוָה אוֹרִי God is my ora, my light and וְיִשְׁעִי my yasha my salvation. This personal. The Lord is the stronghold of my life who shall I fear.

I look at this Psalm and think of all the calamities that have overtaken God's people. And here is a promise and a hope that's personal even in the middle trouble. Evildoers can asail God's people, armies can encamp against God's own, and in that moment faith can remain because God remains faithful.

Here's faith, the psalmist says, “Yet I will be confident.” In the face of fear we can fear less knowing not that what we fear goes away but that God's light shines even in the face of whatever we fear.

One this I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after, to life in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. Here's trust and faith in the face of fear. Here's cofidence in God faithfulness in God's steadfase love. Even when we can't see God's faith faith trusts faith hopes faith believes and fear diminishes. Fear less. Wait for the Lord.

Talk to your own heart and your trembling hands. Speak a Word of hope to other troubled souls Remember even in the face of evil and the forces of sin and death that God is faithful. Take courage and trust.
Peace and that for reading, John

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Mountain and Valley Faith Luke 9:28-43

About 8 days later,
this seems like there's a throw away line right at the start of this weeks Gospel. But this little line is really important. 8 days before Jesus transfiguration on the mountain top he had openly talked with is friends about his death and resurrection. He said some would see the kingdom of God before they died.

I don't want to jump past this too fast. Jesus was on a mission. He had a mission to die and to rise. And along the way to the cross and the empty tomb were many stops. Some were so glorious and so wonderful and some so heart breaking. Today we hear the story of Jesus transfiguration followed by a miracle for a desperate father and child

This is exactly what our lives as Jesus followers is like. We have lots of stops along the journey as we walk daily with God. And there's good reason to take stock of the moments when we see God's glory both on the mountaintops and in the valleys. There's good reason to drink deep of those moments when we know God's real and ever present love. There's good reason.

Luke says Jesus took his closest 3 friends, Peter, James, and John and went up a mountain. I'm not sure what happened to the other 9 of the 12—but I know about these 3. And they went up a mountain with Jesus. Jesus was there to pray.

In the middle of praying Jesus changed. His face just shined. God's glory was clearly in him or on him I don't know how to explain it. Two men showed up. Great men from old. Moses the prophet who led the people of Israel from slavery to freedom the one who gave them the law. Elijah the prophet who confronted queen Jezebel the man who stood for God in a season when many said God was gone or just didn't care.

While Jesus was visiting with these two greats of old Peter, James, and John were getting very sleepy.

Luke says Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah about His departure. Jesus was on a mission. His friends thought he was here on earth to do many things but I don't know if they understood the part where Jesus was going to die and rise. But Jesus knew the mission lead not to a throne but first to a cross. In their sleepy state Peter, James, and John saw glory. But the conversation in the glory between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah was about death and resurrection.

I imagine Peter thinking for a moment. This is big. Jesus, Moses, Elijah talking all together. This is big. I want to hold onto this moment. Peter turned to Jesus with a plan,

Master it's a good thing that we're here. We can build booths for you. We can an build you, Elijah, and Moses each a shelter—a little tent a tabernacle. You can sit down each of you in your shelter and we can come to visit with you.
In the middle of Peter's planning God spoke clear as day.
This is my Son, whom I have chosen. Listen to him!
And Just that fast the glory was gone. Peter, James, and John stood there with Jesus.

Jesus and his 3 friends head down the mountain. He met desperate man who shouted to get his attention. His son was possessed. Jesus followers were unable to caste out this one daemon.

Jesus response to this desperate father sounds harsh. He named the lack of faith and I hear Jesus' deep frustration—but his action show love. He called for the boy and set him free. And all were astounded by the power of God. There in the valley of this families pain, just like on the mountain, God's was there. Even when it's unexpected it's there.

There's such power in seeing God in the glory. But today I give thanks for faith to trust that God can move in the dark times. And this is exactly where we live as God's people today. With fear, love, and trust knowing that God is with us faithful both in the mountains and the valleys all the way to the end.
Peace, and thanks for reading. John.