Welcome to the P.J. (Pastor J) Sound Theology Blog

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Who are we that we can hinder God?

Acts 11:1-18

11:1 Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God.

11:2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him,

11:3 saying, "Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?"

11:4 Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying,

11:5 "I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me.

11:6 As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air.

11:7 I also heard a voice saying to me, 'Get up, Peter; kill and eat.'

11:8 But I replied, 'By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'

11:9 But a second time the voice answered from heaven, 'What God has made clean, you must not call profane.'

11:10 This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.

11:11 At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were.

11:12 The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house.

11:13 He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, 'Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter;

11:14 he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.'

11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning.

11:16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'

11:17 If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?"

11:18 When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, "Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life."

In the text from Acts today Peter is approached by the believers in Jerusalem and was criticized for allowing the Gentiles (non-Jewish) persons to become part of the body of Christ. Even in the earliest days of the our faith there were those who believed that only certain people were invited to believe in the Christ and be saved.  

This reminds me in some ways of the Church today, which can at times be judgmental and standoffish. There are many Churches and Christians who don't or won't accept people based on their differences.  What we must remember is that we serve a God who encompasses all, and just like Peter heard from God we must also be listening awaiting God's word. God is still speaking today and God is still inviting many different people into the body of Christ once someone shares the bread of life- God's word with them.  

Who are we, that we can hinder God? Dear God today enable us to set aside our own worries and insecurities that through love and truth we would no longer standoff from your  people but invite them into relationship with you and your Church. This we pray in Jesus name. Amen.     

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Jehovah Jireh- The Lord who provides!

Genesis 22

New International Version (NIV)

22 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

God is our awesome and great provider, God always place a Ram close by, so therefore be encouraged in what your going through remembering that God is also gonna provide for you. 

Jehovah Jireh help us to remember through good and bad times of who you are and of whom we belong to. Thank you Lord for always providing for us. In Jesus name we give thanks and praise. Amen.
Peace and be well!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Come Home: Home is where your heart is!

John 14

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

All of my life I have heard people saying the phrase "home is where your heart is", for Christians this saying is so very true. Jesus reminds us that our home is with him. Today I remind you that you have a home, and Christ invites us to live that way. We are not homeless or helpless. let us live today for tomorrow we will be heading home.

Dear Lord remind us that we represent you and our heavenly home even though we are currently out of the house. Amen!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How can we have joy in the midst of our pain?

James 1

New International Version (NIV)
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Trials and Temptations

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Reading these verses from the book of James this morning inspired me to reflect on the many trials and painful moments in my life. The moments I wish I could do over and the moments that were so painful I wish I could forget. Have you ever had any moments in your life like that? If you have I believe that you agree it's extremely hard to have joy in the midst of your pain. Indeed these words from James inspired by God are hard to hear and much harder to understand especially after the events in Boston yesterday.

As I continued to read this scripture I understand that James is not asking us to be happy and joyous because of our trials but in-spite of them. James is asking us to take pride in our perseverance and the fact that our trials have not overcome us, nor taken our faith and will to press forward! The good news is that nothing we have been through has overcome us. The truth is that God is still providing  despite the current situations we find ourselves in. Therefore it is through Christ who strengthens us that we can and WILL persevere. Family remember regardless of all of the hate and evil in this world, God is Love and we are called to love at all times.

How can we have joy in the midst of our pain? We must persevere by Loving always!

Dear God be with your people, teach us how to Love harder and deeper. Merciful God be with the city of Boston, send your Spirit to provide comfort, peace, understanding,love and even joy. In Jesus name. Amen.