Posts

Showing posts from July, 2016

Relationship

Daily reading: Job 1:1-22 Saturday July 9, 2016
Focus passage:  Job arose, tore his clothes, shaved his head, fell to the ground, and worshiped. In all this, Job didn’t sin or blame God Job 1:21-22
There is unimaginable suffering that happens in our world.  We have heard of others like Job that have lost everything in the blink of an eye.  For those of us who are worriers, when we hear about similar stories in the news it send us into a state of panic and anxiety. 
So the more beneficial question is how do we respond to undeserved suffering?
Job responds by praying to God and blessing God’s name.
If the book ended here, it would be a much simpler parable.  We still would have to deal with a God figure that allowed undeserved suffering for the sake of proving a point, but it wraps itself up quite nicely.  Job is faithful when he is wealthy and happy beyond measure and is still faithful when all has been taken away and he has suffered unimaginable lose.

Prayer:  God you are Holy and worthy t…

Responding to undeserved suffering

Daily reading: Job 1:1-22 Friday July 8, 2016
Focus passage:  Job arose, tore his clothes, shaved his head, fell to the ground, and worshipped. Job 1:21
The story of Job calls us to have a deeper relationship with our God, despite the reality that we all will face undeserved suffering in our life.   God’s faithfulness isn’t conditional.  God’s love isn’t conditional.  It is rooted in relationship and strong relationships are able to get through storms and be present with us in the midst of undeserved suffering.
Faithfulness and relationship with God isn’t something we only work on for one hour a week in community.  While it is beneficial to come together in community, to pray with and for one another, to support one another in our joys and in our trials; we need to work daily at our relationship with God and this can happen in our private prayers but also in our support and encouragement we provide for one another in our communities.
Job does what he has always done, he prays to God when l…

Job responds

Daily reading: Job 1:1-22 Thursday July 7, 2016
Focus passage:  Job arose, tore his clothes, shaved his head, fell to the ground, and worshipped. Job 1:21
What we find in the first chapter is that Job doesn’t only pray when his world has literally fallen apart.  His relationship with God is ongoing, even when everything is going well, he prays.  He prays for his family and he prays to draw closer to God.

Prayer:  God you are Holy and worthy to be praised, I lift up and name the areas in my life where I am experiencing suffering … I lift up and name the areas in the life of my family and community where there is suffering … I lift up and name the places in our world where there is suffering … help us to find your peace and comfort.  Amen.

Losing it all

Daily reading: Job 1:1-22 Wednesday July 6, 2016
Focus passage: The LORD said to the Adversary, “Look, all he has is within your power; only don’t stretch out your hand against him.”  So the Adversary left the LORD’s presence. …While the messenger was speaking, another arrived and said: “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, when a strong wind came from the desert and struck the four corners of the house.  It fell upon the young people, and they died.  I along escaped to tell you.” Job 1:12 & 18-19
Either the God figure is 100 percent confident in Job’s faithfulness or is reckless, or both.  So God allows the Adversary to mess with Job’s life. The Adversary wastes no time.
First Job’s oxen and goats are taken by the Sabeans.
Then a fire consumes his sheep and their shepherds.
Then the Chaldeans raids his camels and take them.
Finally a strong wind takes down the house where all his children are gathered and kills them.
One messenger aft…

The basis of faithfulness questioned

Daily reading: Job 1:1-22 Tuesday July 5, 2016
Focus passage: The Adversary answered the LORD, “Does Job revere God for nothing?  Haven’t you fence him in – his house and all he has – and blessed the work of his hands so that his possessions extend throughout the earth?  But stretch out your hand and strike all he has.  He will certainly curse you to your face.” Job 1:10-11

The Adversary asks God, “does Job love you unconditionally? Or is his love conditional?” Pointing out that if Job is so good and never has had any opportunity to doubt or suffer then why do you, God, marvel at his faithfulness? 
It’s like asking a kid who every time she goes to Peter Piper Pizza wins 1,000s of tickets with just a few coins, if they enjoy going to Peter Piper?   Yeah, what’s not to like, I always collect the most prizes, more than any of my friends, she replies.  She never has had to experience going home with just a piece of candy while her friends rake it in.  But we all know that this isn’t reality.…

A parable about suffering

Daily reading: Job 1:1-22 Monday July 4, 2016
Focus passage: A man in the land of Uz was named Job.  That man was honest, a person of absolute integrity; he feared God and avoided evil. Job 1:1
Job is not a historical book in the bible.  It presents itself more like a parable.  It is not grounded in a specific time, or place.  The land of Uz might as well be called the land of Oz. 
The story begins much like the parables of Jesus do.   There once was a man who had two sons… or a certain man hosted a large dinner and invited many people…Our story for today begins, “A man in the land of Uz was named Job.”
When we see it through the lens of a parable, we allow ourselves to suspend judgment.  With parables nothing is ever certain, depending on where we find ourselves in the moment we will learn something new about God and ourselves each time we visit the story.  With parables we are always challenged because they live in the murky grey and we want to find certainty and clarity.
Take time to re…

Suffering

Daily reading: Job 1:1-22 Sunday July 3, 2016
Focus passage:  Job arose, tore his clothes, shaved his head, fell to the ground, and worshiped. Job 1:21
Job is one of the longest books in the Old Testament.   The book focuses on undeserved human suffering and our relationship to God in the face of such suffering.  It is framed around three central questions:
The first question is: why do bad things happen to good people?
The second question is: do we love or fear God for what we might get out of our relationship with God?
And the third question is: In the face of undeserved human suffering, now what?
How we answer these questions reveals our understanding of how God is in relationship with us and with the rest of the world.

Prayer:  God you are Holy and worthy to be praised, I lift up and name the areas in my life where I am experiencing suffering … I lift up and name the areas in the life of my family and community where there is suffering … I lift up and name the places in our world where th…

Generosity is a spiritual practice

Daily reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 Saturday July 2, 2016
Focus passage: As it is written, The one who gathered more didn’t have too much, and the one who gathered less didn’t have too little. 2 Corinthians 8:15
Generosity is a spiritual practice that ultimately helps us grow closer to God.  We proclaim to worship a God who is extravagantly generous, God has given us everything that is around us. 
Abbott Pastor, one of the most often quoted Desert Fathers, once said, “If you have a chest full of clothing, and leave it for a long time, the clothing will rot inside of it.  It is the same with the thoughts in our heart.  If we do not carry them out by physical action, after a long while they will spoil and turn bad.”  Generosity is not something we are called to just think about, it is a lifestyle we are called out to live.

Prayer: God fill me with a spirit of generosity so that through my words and actions others can come to more fully know you.  Amen.

Trans formative Generosity

Daily reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 Friday July 1, 2016 Focus passage: At the present moment, your surplus can fill their deficit so that in the future their surplus can fill your deficit.  In this way there is equality. 2 Corinthians 8:14 When we live with a theology of scarcity, meaning that we believe that there is not enough to go around, we have to look out for ourselves, we come to believe that we have to provide for ourselves and God doesn’t really enter into the equation.  How we use our resources, our time, our money, our presence, is a reflection about what we believe about God and how God works in our world. Paul desires that the Corinthian’s actions embody the gospel message that has already transformed their lives.
Prayer: God fill me with a spirit of generosity so that through my words and actions others can come to more fully know you.  Amen.