Thursday, December 25, 2014

December 25th Reflection by Bill Lynch

John 1:1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Imagine a time and a place before there was time and space. You can't! I can't! I don't know who can? But in this passage I have to think deep and think of this time and this space. Something I can't think of.

And then just the Word... Logos... God's voice or command or promise. All in the beginning. Rather "a" beginning. A beginning that brought forth life just from God's Word or Logos. And everything... everything I can imagine comes into being and life. All time and space comes forth from the Word of God and sheds Light into all that I can fathom and even the things I can't fathom.

And this Light... this Word... this Logos... this Jesus... this Savior is born into this world and into the hearts of all those who believe. All there before I can even imagine anything or even there before I can't imagine nothing. All there before I can do anything about it even. All life through Jesus who came into what he created just for you and for me and for all life... Jesus became flesh full of grace and truth.

"What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."

Just think of it... or don't think of it... whichever... just believe!

"And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth."

Thanks be to God!

The Word Became Flesh

Word... Light... Jesus... you have come to me and to all the world. Let your light shine in the darkness of this world to proclaim life... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 24th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Luke 2:1-14
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’

Last night my grand-daughter Kaiya was in bed with me watching a movie I had recorded, "The Nativity." Of course, I fell asleep but when I woke up I kicked my knee up into the air and my knee blocked Kaiya's view of the TV. She immediately yelled, "Peepaw! Put you knee down! I want to see Jesus!" I looked at the TV and the scene was just at the moment of Jesus birth and Kaiya didn't want to miss seeing Jesus.

What Kaiya said to me reminded me of what a church friend of mine, Herb Neve, said one time in response to a question that I had asked all of the Saturday Morning Men's Group about what would be the first request they might have when they were in heaven. Herb loudly and boldly stated... "I want to see Jesus!"

So as I reflect on the passage of Scripture above, I come to the same conclusion... "I want to see Jesus!" I imagine that the shepherds may have had the same words upon their lips as well... "I want to see Jesus!" And that they did! Was this Jesus, this Savior, this Messiah all that they expected to see? I don't know. But when the angels come and praise God in your face and in your heart; I'm sure it lends credence that this Jesus came into this world just as God had planned. In a manger and to some of the poorest people around. Yes... Jesus came homeless and poor. Jesus came to those just like you and me and Kaiya and Herb. Jesus came into this world for all the people that "Want to see Jesus."

So clear the way... take a look... it's not only me... it's not only Kaiya... it's not only Herb... there are so many more... that want to see Jesus. For Jesus has come to you and to me and to all the world. Jesus has come so that all may see the Savior... this evening... this night.... and in this time and this place.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come... "I want to see Jesus!"

Video of Kaiya getting to take the Baby Jesus up to the altar to place in the manger on Christmas Eve
Becky Kelley - Where's the Line to See Jesus

Lord, you have made yourself present to all and for all to see. Come into the lives of all your people and show us your will and your way for us in this time and this place. Yes, Lord, I want to see Jesus!... today... tomorrow... and forever .--- Amen

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December 23rd Reflection by Bill Lynch

Titus 2:11-14
 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

It's been a rough Advent season for me. I've been ill with Crohn's disease and sick most of the time. The disease draws me down and into myself. It seems all the strength I can muster is to just get up and move about a little from day to day. And then you have the tests. Tests that began right after Thanksgiving. Tests that brought forth more tests. Tests that result in changes to medications that take time for the body to adjust to and accept. Tests that bring on procedures and recovery time. It's been a rough Advent season for me. A time to wait. A time of weakness. A time to depend on those around me. A time to wait on the Lord to work in me and through me and in those God gives wonderful gifts of healing to administer solutions. A time of prayer and following the doctor's orders even when at times it nothing seems to be working.

But that's how grace works. Grace works through the tough times. Grace comes even in the midst of this world's illness, death, suffering and pain. Grace comes to us in the times that we need it the most. Grace comes even in death. Yes, especially in death grace comes. For the grace of God in Christ Jesus came through the gift of a Savior and we wait. Grace comes in the baby and in the cross. Grace comes in the birth and in the death of Jesus. Grace comes to us in the One "...who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds."

It been a rough Advent season for me... but in and through it all... is a "blessed hope and a manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ."

It's been a rough Advent season for me but a blessed and grace filled season too.

" For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all..."

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Carrie Underwood

Lord of all life... you have come... you are here... you fill me with hope and grace to live the life you have given me in your life and death and resurrection. Come, Lord Jesus, come... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, December 07, 2014

December 7th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Mark 1:1-8
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
   who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
   “Prepare the way of the Lord,
   make his paths straight” ’,
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

Sending a messenger ahead... It's hard for me to imagine that 25 years ago today almost to this same time, my brother, Jim, and I sat with Dad and watched him die. It's more like everything just slowed down and stopped. But, in another sense, I had the feeling that even though the body stopped there was something great and new and a continuation happening all at the same time. Something that Dad tried when still active days earlier, I think to describe through hand signals and blinking eyes and motions but still something that I don't think any of us would be able to imagine or place into word.

Dad had always been the messenger sent ahead for my life. He was an example of how to live, how to work, how to change, how to give of yourself to those in need. He was a messenger sent ahead for me any way I look at it.

So, 25 years have passed? Sometimes that seems like a long time and sometimes it seems like yesterday. Years pass but his presence has always remained in my mind and in my heart. I have thought so many times about lessons and skills he graciously gave me to use as I live my life in this here and now.

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness. And people came to the wilderness to hear what John had to say. John lived the life of one from the wilderness as well. John didn't try to be anything that God didn't want John to be. John was John to the core. And John knew that he was a messenger. A messenger with a purpose and truth to tell.

Through the power of God, John brought people to realize repentance and forgiveness and the washing of the water of baptism in their lives. John brought people to prepare to hear the message... even more to live the message... even to follow the message and see God's coming.

John was the messenger to something that we can't fully understand, we can't full believe, we can't fully put into words. John was the messenger that did the best he could with God acting through and in him to point to what I don't think any of us would be able to imagine or place into word.

Sounds kind of like what my dad was trying to blink, motion, tell to me and my brother and all the world 25 years ago.

God IS coming. God IS coming to you. God will knock your socks off with what is in store next!

"He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’"


Lord, use me to proclaim what I can't explain or put into words, that all may come to you and see your grace and your glory. I point to you as your messenger... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, December 04, 2014

December 4th Reflection by Bill Lynch

2 Peter 3:8-15a
 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him,

We want to hurry up for something to happen and take place and then we wish it hadn't gone by so quickly. We are tied into this sense of time so much that we get confused. As a child it seems as if it will take forever for Christmas Day to arrive. As an adult the years seem to pass by quickly. We see our children grow. At various stages of their growth time seems to fly and at other stages we think perhaps they will not grow up at all. Time is always on our minds. How much time do I need to get ready for work? What is the travel time from here to there? How long is this meeting going to last? Why am I always either too early or too late? What happened to all the time as we mourn the loss of a family member or friend?  What a waste of time!

Yet, when I read this passage; it seems that time is not any priority in the eyes of God. Time stands still or doesn't even exist it seems as I reflect. And with time goes all of the elements of our surrounding as well. What is this world or this place or this way of being that God draws us into without the sense of time in it?

It's no wonder that the passage speaks of God's coming like a thief in the night... you don't have any sense of time.

So, what about waiting? How do you wait on God without a sense of time in your life? How do you wait for something to happen or take place without a sense of time? Can we speed God's return by waiting? Can we do anything about this waiting?

The passage suggests to me that we wait and not worry about the time. We wait and work and follow God through leading lives of holiness and faithfulness and godliness. We wait in the trust and hope that God's return is sure. We wait in this realm of time we have been given without worry about when, but while focusing on the promise that God will return. We wait in peace and patience assured that God will save us and will have that everlasting relationship with us in the heavenly realm of eternal love.

So, even though I struggle with time in the here and now... I attempt... I hope... I wait... for God to come again... in whatever time God chooses.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!


I look... I wait... I check my watch... but most important of all, dear Lord, I wait for your promise is sure... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

December 3rd Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
Lord, you were favourable to your land;
   you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people;
   you pardoned all their sin.
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
   for he will speak peace to his people,
   to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
   that his glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
   righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
   and righteousness will look down from the sky.
The Lord will give what is good,
   and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him,
   and will make a path for his steps.

God looks upon us and our lives and is loving anyway. In grace God has forgiven our sin. As we recognize and smell, yes the stench of our sin, we become aware of our separation from God. We suffer the destruction that our sin causes to us and to those around us. I don't even think we know the depth of the effects of our sin beyond ourselves, let alone what our sin has done to those around us.

So, we turn to God and repent. We turn to God and seek favor. We turn to God and seek the grace of forgiveness. In some very small way it's like going to Mom or Dad and telling them of something we have done that was against their wishes. We swallow pride and knowing the difference between good and bad and right and wrong we go to tell our offense.

And just like a Mom or Dad wishing to see only good for the child, there is forgiveness and love. Sometimes it's not easy love though. Sometimes there is a lesson to be learned and it's a tough road. Sometimes we never forget our offense or sin, but in the eyes of the Parent we are forgiven and given another chance. But first and probably always, we need to swallow our pride. We need to realize that sin is something we can't fix by any kind of "do good" actions. Sin can only be forgiven.

And then the release. A release not from the impact of the sin but a release from the eternal punishment that we deserve because of our sin. A release that could only be obtained by pain through Christ... through God... through our Savior taking our sin upon himself and loving us to death to lead us to everlasting life with him and through him.

And that's where it happens! That's the place of steadfast love meeting faithfulness. Steadfast love in the love of God through Jesus. Faithfulness in a God that never leaves the Children.

And our joyous response of steadfast love and faithfulness to a God that would save us from the fires of hell that we deserve and take us to be with God in eternity.

"The Lord will give what is good,
   and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him,
   and will make a path for his steps."

Come, Lord Jesus, come!


Lord, I turn to you this day with my sin in mind. I bring my sin before you and confess what I have done and what I have left undone. Forgive me and pour our your love upon me. As I forgive those who have wronged me, pour out your love on them and myself and all your people seeking your forgiveness and grace... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

December 2nd Reflection by Bill Lynch

Isaiah 40:1-11
Comfort, O comfort my people,
   says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
   and cry to her
that she has served her term,
   that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
   double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
   make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
   and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
   and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
   and all people shall see it together,
   for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice says, ‘Cry out!’
   And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’
All people are grass,
   their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
   when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
   surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
   but the word of our God will stand for ever.
Get you up to a high mountain,
   O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
   O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
   lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
   ‘Here is your God!’
See, the Lord God comes with might,
   and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
   and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
   he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
   and gently lead the mother sheep.

I recall trips to Tennessee and North Carolina from Ohio. The drive would progress through slightly rolling hills that would increase in height to mountains. As you approach the mountains sometimes it seemed as if your vision was blocked directly by the mountain. But, oh, once you reached the peak of the mountain how the scenery changed and became as beautiful as all of God's creation spread before you and beneath you. It was as if you could now see clearly.

Likewise on the return trip from the mountainous areas, the coming down from the mountain peaks and into the rolling hills seemed to open up the landscape and provide a beautiful freedom of the valley and the surrounding scenery. Especially the farm lands of Ohio where the bounty of all of God's creation sprung forth with life and food for body and soul. It was as if you could now see clearly.

Once again in this passage of scripture above I am reminded of what remains the same even in the midst of contrast.

"The grass withers, the flower fades;
   but the word of our God will stand for ever."

We can rejoice daily upon the mountain top and proclaim the Word of the Lord given to us in the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. We can tell all of the world with outstretched arms what God has given to us in the life of Jesus. Even in the midst of sin, death and the devil; we are free to proclaim the life God gives to all creation.

And, yes, we can rejoice daily through the wide open and rolling hills, the beauty of how God feeds us in the common bread and body of Christ to all the world. A God that will lead us and guide us through the winding hills of life. 

The one thing that remains the same throughout, from the mountain peak to the valley floor is that Jesus walks right along with us guiding us and giving us the hope of a promise of life and eternal time with God. Time with all those past, present and future when everything will be put in order.

Just as God's Chosen would have been reminded in this passage of wandering in the desert or returning from exile; we too can be reminded of our own journey here on earth. God's Word is with us always... even when we can't see God... even in the midst of our sin... even in the midst of death... even as we mourn... even in the midst of illness and forever in the presence of the joy and hope of Jesus life, ministry, healing, suffering, death, resurrection and return. God's Word will stand for ever.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.


Lord, as I watch for you in everyday life, open my eyes in the valley to see you and open my mouth on the mountain top to proclaim your steadfast promise of everlasting life as you come to each and to all... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen