Day 175 – June 24

Today’s Readings:

1 Chronicles 27-28
Acts 7:22-43
Job 19

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. – Job 19:25

Job protests the treatment he receives from his so called ‘friends’, and despite what he describes as an abandonment by God, he still testifies to his faith in God as the one who redeems.

To ‘redeem’ is to buy back, or to make up for the lack or wrong-doing of a person. We hear today Stephen, in the Book of Acts, telling of the sin of the people Israel, who chose to reject God and the consequences of that choice. And yet, despite the times when we too reject God, he waits in the wings for us to turn back to Him that we may be saved.

Job understood this. He placed all of his hope in that future event – the one we know all too well when we look upon the Cross of Christ – that even in the misery of Job’s current state, he would be at peace because God promised to redeem him and his people. May we have the patience of Job, and his faith, to approach the setbacks of life with courage, putting all of our trust in our future – a future bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ.

May God bless you.

Day 172 – June 21

Today’s Readings:

1 Chronicles 21-22
Acts 5:22-42
Job 16

…calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. – Acts 5:40-42

Suffering. No one likes discomfort, let alone to be in pain. In today’s reading from Job, we hear of his turmoil, not understanding why this devastation befell him. He has thoroughly examined his conscience, and in his heart he can find no reason for the punishments he is enduring. Yet, he holds on to the hope he will be vindicated by God.

From the Book of Acts, we find the disciples of Jesus rejoicing in their suffering, that “they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

Here, we find two examples where people are enduring pain of some sort, both having done nothing evil to deserve their current condition. We know people in our lives who live this reality and when approached with the question of ‘why bad things happen to good people?’ we are at a loss to make sense of it all. It is one of the great mysteries facing humanity as we contemplate the attribute of God.

Does God bring calamity? In Job’s case we are privy to see the background to what is happening. We see God so confident in his creation – Job – that he allows Satan to have his way. God is confident that through Job’s suffering Satan will be put to shame and God will be glorified. But if we look at it from Job’s perspective, it would be reasonable that he would begin to doubt God’s goodness. Job’s saving grace is a thread of hope that he holds on to. Despite his current condition, he finds the strength to trust in God’s wisdom, knowing in humility he doesn’t see as God sees.

What do we say when we meet the Jobs in our lives? Those in a state of questioning must come to find the answers on their own, but we can help them immensely by journeying with them, supporting them in their uncertainty. And pray. The story of Job is not finished, and when it is, all will be revealed. And the same for those we love who find themselves or someone dear to them in a similar state. Our stories are not over, and God is working through our misery, knowing full well through His entering into our human story giving us the sign of the Cross. Yes, God understands fully our suffering, and takes it upon Himself to help us carry the burden until all is revealed in Eternity.

May God bless you.

Day 163 – June 12

Today’s Readings:

1 Chronicles 3-4
John 20
Job 7

“Will You never turn Your gaze away from me,
Nor let me alone until I swallow my spittle?
“Have I sinned? What have I done to You,
O watcher of men? – Job 7:19-20

“Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.”  –  John 20:18

In both Job and the Gospel, we see the anguish of man’s heart. Job describes his suffering, and wonders why God doesn’t end his misery. He does not understand why this is happening to him, not finding any guilt on his part. And so he has no choice but to wait in his suffering. In the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene is unconsolable as she weeps at the tomb of Jesus. The last thirty-six hours were unimaginable, the anguish of watch Him whom she loved endure humiliation, suffering, and a cruel death. Unlike Job, she finds relieve from her pain in the announcement of the angels, and ultimately, in seeing the Risen Lord.

We do not know why God allows suffering, apart from reflecting on the Cross of Christ. When we take time in meditating on the Cross, and become intimate in Jesus’ suffering, we find ourselves more able to endure the disappointments and sorrows of our life. We can choose to unite our suffering with that of Christ, and in doing so we grow more into the image and likeness of Christ, a sign for the modern world which chooses to deflect its pain and trouble.

Today, let us place whatever it is we are struggling through at the foot of the Cross, and bear our burden in the light of the Resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, who came to be our consolation, and strengthening, until we too come face to face with the Risen Lord.

May God bless you.

cb365

Day 108 – April 18

Today’s Readings:

Judges 17-18
Luke 14:25-35
Psalm 108

“If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”  Luke 14:26-27

As Jesus continues his way to Jerusalem, his description of what a disciple is becomes more challenging. His journey, He knew, would lead to the Cross; but those who followed thought he was on His way to an earthly kingship. The contrast is stark. To be a disciple of Christ means we must not seek the things the the world values, or even to see our relationships as the world sees them. All must have Christ as their compass. That even the love we have for those closest to us cannot be more than the love we must have for Him. It is this love that compels a missionary to leave all to follow into the most rugged regions of the world to serve God in the poor. Or to risk their name, wealth, resources to defend the defenseless.

It is to this we must count the cost. To calculate what it will cost us, and follow anyway. Let us ask the Lord to show us today how He wishes us to follow in discipleship. May we have the strength and courage to see all other pursuits as nothing in comparison to this invitation.

May God bless you.

cb365

Day 104 – April 14

Today’s Readings:

Judges 9-10
Luke 12:32-59
Psalm 104

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” Luke 12:49-50

Today is Good Friday. A day where Christians around the world reflect on the gift of the greatest love given. A day where we consider the reality that God was stripped of everything but his love, and let His love be poured out for us as a perfect sacrifice on a tree. How do we spend such a day?

It is good to reflect on the Cross. St Magdalene of Canossa, a not-well known saint was fond of telling her followers, “to meditate on the Crucifix is better than a whole series of lenten sermons.” Let today be a day for staying close to Jesus on the Cross, reflecting on His sacrifice. What does it mean for us the He suffered such cruelty? That He did not flee at the terror of the pain He would endure, but would allow himself to be ‘baptized’ into suffering for the sake of each soul.


When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

– Isaac Watts


May God Bless You!

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