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Showing posts from August, 2011

God's Faithfulness

Today I read Lamentations - 1, 2, 3.

It is a short book, but filled with grief because of calamity. It's a picture of complete destruction and the aftermath of sorrow. A tornado destroys a city, or a war completely destroys the city. Lamentations is written in the midst of the war that destroys everything. Jerusalem is destroyed. It lies in ruins after the Babylonian army attacks, levels, and kills young and old alike.

Lamentations has traditionally been ascribed to Jeremiah who lived through these assaults and witnessed it all. He understands the WHY. It was the immorality and unfaithfulness of Israel that led to this. What God did was allow them to reap the fruit of their own sinfulness. We want to blame God when bad things happen; but the corruption caused by sin is so very real.

So where do we go in the midst of suffering? The writer of Lamentations takes us through the valley of despair and misery for two+ chapters; and then the writer leads us to the light...

"Y…

Wisdom in Understanding

Today's readings were from Job 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

We reach the end of Job and his friend's dialog. There is still the speech of Elihu to follow and the response of God to all of them; but here Job and his friends stop their back and forth remarks.

Job's friends have one main refrain - "If you would only confess that you are a sinner and therefore deserving of your suffering, you might find mercy...and then again, you might not...either way, God is justified in all that he has done and you are not." Their orientation is towards God as judge, and humanity as sinners. Even the Psalmist says, there is no hope for any of us if God keeps a record of our wrongs.

Job has as his response - "I have been living with integrity and even though I know I have sinned, I am not worthy of this punishment. Look around and you cannot help but see wickedness day in and day out. That deserves punishment, but what have I done to deserve this?" Job's understanding of …

Why Blame God?

Today I read from Job 17, 18, 19, and 20.

The story of Job is interesting in thinking about how we speak about God in the midst of life's difficulties. No one can escape difficult issues in life. We all experience things in life that, if we could, we would definitely choose to avoid. Who wants accidents, disease, deaths of love ones and friends, etc...? Which one of us would not want famine in Africa to end? For little children around the world to have fresh water to drink? For the devastations in Haiti and Japan to have never occurred?

It's not in our ability to control all that occurs around us or in the world. Therefore, it is natural, when people experience these sorts of things to turn to God - prayer is the most typical way. And we should. God has promised us that he is near, that if we seek him with our whole heart, we'll find him. Jesus said to us, "ask, seek, knock..." and that is what we do when we have a confident faith in God.
But there is an…

The Story of Job, Or, God and Suffering

Today I began reading the book of Job. Job 1, 2, 3, 4

The story of Job is a classic story. It's so well known - on the surface - that people who do not even read the Bible know about Job. It's a story of personal suffering, and and age old question that goes along with suffering - where is God when calamities strike and suffering occurs.
Job might be the book, and the person that begs the question; but Job-like circumstances have happened millions of times over and his questions, complaints, and personal journey have been replicated by believers and unbelievers. So has Job's so called friends and their advice. It might be a few thousand years since this was written, and Job's friends passed along their judgements and opinions, but it does not mean that those things have disappeared. They still are aired today by many.

In case your unfamiliar here's some quick background from the first four chapters. It begins very simply with an introduction:

"In the land…

True Friendships

Today's readings are from Proverbs 27, 28, 29

I was struck today by the references to friendships. There are many different ways in which Proverbs refers to friendships. For example:

1. Friends are honest with each other, even when it hurts to be so:
"Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses."
(Proverbs 27:5-6)

2. Friends help each other grow in maturity and grace:
"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."
(Proverbs 27:17 NIV)

3. Parents care should about who their kids friends are:
"The righteous choose their friends carefully,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray." (Proverbs 12:26 NIV)

Also, along that same vein:
"One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24 NIV)

4. When times get tough, friends are the ones who stick with you through it all:
"A friend loves at all times,
and a…