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 69 – March 10

Today’s Readings:

Numbers 33-34
Mark 12:1-27
Psalm 69

“A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey.” – Mark 12:1

The parable has God as the owner of the vineyard. The tenants are the people of Israel. The servants are the prophets. Jesus himself is the son. And the other tenants are the Gentiles to whom the good news would be proclaimed and by them accepted.

There are so many angles to focus on in this teaching, let us concentrate on what we can tell us about God himself.

First, God gives us everything we need to succeed in this life because of his generosity. He makes ready the vineyard with everything it would need to easily cultivate and profit from the work. How can we look around us and see equal generosity of God in our lives?

Second, God believes in us, giving us freedom to run our lives as we choose. Like the landowner, he seemingly is at a distance and leaves us in our freedom, trusting us to make our daily choices.

Third, God is ever patient, almost to a fault. How many times does the owner of the vineyard send servants to collect his share of the harvest? The parable reports three, and many others. Time and time again, God gives opportunity for us to turn to him. He deals with us patiently, much more than we deserve.

Lastly, God’s justice will be victorious. The tenants take advantage of the owner’s absence, thinking that he is too far off to do anything. Perhaps they thought the owner was dead and the son was now the owner, thus killing him would leave the land open to others. Sometimes we may think that God is far away, sleeping, or others fall into error thinking he does not exist. Through all of it, God bears patiently with us, awaiting the proper time where he will come to restore justice, where he will “…put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others.”

How are we doing with what God has given us for our success? Do we use the freedom that we are given to act on the behalf of the divine Vineyard Owner? When he comes to collect his portion of the harvest, will we be found wanting? Or will we push him away?

Let us ask the Lord to grant us the grace work diligently in our daily events, that when he comes, he will find us ready to accept him, and be united to him in the great harvest when he comes in triumph.

May God Bless you.

cb365

Day 27 – January 27

Today’s Readings:

Exodus 9-11
Matthew 18:1-20
Psalm 27

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! – Psalm 27:14

The people of Israel know a thing or two about waiting. They have dwelt in Goshen for four hundred and thirty years (Ex. 12:40). They have known what it is to be oppressed and reduced to misery. Yet, they hoped and prayed for deliverance from God.

What are the things we hope and pray for? Sometimes the answer we get from God is, “Wait.”

How long, Lord, must I wait? For the people of Israel, generations did not live to see their deliverance, but were tasked with passing on the faith to the generation that followed them. In this context, we need courage for those times we might not think God is hearing our prayers. Psalm 27 is a great psalm for those times.

May God bless you!

cb365