The scripture for today, June 11 (6/11), isJob 6:11 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects that I should be patient?”
Many people use the expression, “patience of Job.” But he had on-and-off patience, for he was very sick. By descriptions he gave of himself ~ sores, rancid breath, low voice, partial blindness, skin turned hard and black, bloating, nightmares, extreme pain, unrecognized by his closest friends, some believe he had a grotesque form of elephantitis leprosy.
What did he need from his friends? He surely didn’t get it, for they spent their time trying to prove that he had sinned and God was right to be punishing him. His reply? “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?” (Job 16:2f).
So how do we comfort someone who feels utterly hopeless? We certainly don’t put the blame on them, nor do we tell them it’s “all in your head’ or to “snap out of it”. We can share times when we felt hopeless. We can weep with them. We can hold their hand. We can sit with them in silence. We can pray aloud for them. (Some people have never heard their name mentioned in a prayer.)
And we need to let them talk. Sometimes they will say things they don’t mean in the long run, but at that brief moment, they do. Or sometimes they need to talk through things they are unsure about. They may even say contradictory things.
At one time Job said, “Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household…God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me” (16:7f). But another time he said, “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth…I myself will see him with my own eyes ~ I and not another. How my heart yearns within me” (19:25f).
Do you have a very sick friend? Let your heart yearn with them.
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The scripture for today, May 28 (5/28), is Luke 5:28as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“And Levi got up, left everything and followed him [Jesus].”
This Levi was a tax collector, who, in those days, was allowed to set his own tax rates so he could pocket some of it for himself. Why would such a man follow Jesus, a man who apparently didn’t have much money of his own? He had to trust Jesus and believe that he was truly a friend.
And why would Jesus ask him? Jesus was certainly taking a chance since the uppity leaders of society and their religion openly declared Jesus a bad person for associating with “sinners and tax collectors”. Jesus, in turn, had to trust and believe in Levi.
A lot of Christians brag that their only friends are those who worship with them. They don’t really trust anyone else, so don’t really want to be anyone else’s friend. Well, how are they supposed to bring anyone to Jesus? Jesus went out to “seek and save the lost.”
And sometimes there is a visitor at worship who isn’t dressed right ~ perhaps with uncombed hair, or smell from no shower, or makeup put on too heavy, or clothes not in style, or maybe even dressed too richly. Are we ashamed to be seen with them? Jesus wouldn’t have been. He was color blind, style blind, class blind.
Today, reach out and make friends with someone you have been staying away from. Jesus did. And thereby, you will be like him.
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The scripture for today, May 24 (5/24), is Amos 5:24 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.”
When individuals of a nation begin taking advantage of each other, the nation loses its standard of justice. Eventually, nations fall because of it ~ maybe not right away, but eventually.
Although acting justly may decrease someone’s income or status or power, it will increase their nation’s power and that nation will roll on and on like a river.
Injustice is not impersonal. Injustice begins with you. One person at a time, then eventually an entire nation falls. On the other hand, justice also begins with you. One person at a time and the nation rolls on and on like a river.
What are you doing for your nation?
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