“Joy has left our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning.” (Lamentations 5:15 NLT)
I have not read the book of Lamentations before, although I was aware of it. I knew it was a cry for help.
Jerusalem lies in ruins. It’s people scattered, starving, tortured…
Where is God at a time like this? Is he punishing the guilty?
Daily we see people suffering in a very real way. Since the explosion of social media we see it everywhere, tailored to our personal likes. The impact is enormous. Only a few years ago our view of the world was through the tv or newspapers and coloured by the editors and their opinion on what we neede to see.
But now the filters are down. The world is laid bare before us and it is a place of bitterness, disease and greed.
We need to be our own editors now. Are the things we see on our timelines distressing? Are they necessary?
Unfriend and unfollow. Stop being forced to see these things. You don’t need it and it is not how the world works. Those posts and images, are they verified? Who can you trust to tell the truth?
“Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies. For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever.” (Lamentations 3:30-31 NLT)
This is one of the verses which gets shortened and reused in the New Testament. In the verse we all know, Christians are told to “turn the other cheek”.
But here we have the other part of that verse. If we are strong enough to turn the other cheek and forgive our enemies, the Lord will take care of us. But this wonderful reward falls flat if we don’t believe in him.
We need to believe and trust in something we cannot see. That doesn’t always come easily.
Another brilliant proverb that needs to be on a T shirt…
Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops. (Proverbs 26:20 NLT)
“Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.”” (Proverbs 26:18-19 NLT)
That’s childish, isn’t it? One child will knowingly upset another and when they complain, the retort is… “But I was only joking.”
Who is laughing? What is the joke?
Friends need to be nurtured and cared for. Telling lies is a sure way of dismantling trust.
And the day may come when you need that friend. Where will they be then? Too busy? Or just fed up with the lies?
“Exalt the LORD our God! Bow low before his feet, for he is holy! Moses and Aaron were among his priests; Samuel also called on his name. They cried to the LORD for help, and he answered them.
O LORD our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God to them, but you punished them when they went wrong.” (Psalms 99:5-6, 8 NLT)
Call on God for help and he will answer. It might not be the answer you expect. It might not be at the time you expect, but he will answer. But… (And there is always a “but”) if you chose the wrong path, he will punish you.
It might not be the punishment you expect. It might not be at the time you expect, but you will be punished.
And so we come to blog number 300. It really does feel as if the end is in sight.
I’m not sure what I have learnt from reading the entire Bible. This plan has helped me to pace myself and it is a useful way of dividing the Bible into 365 portions. But I feel that the plan lacked a certain guidance. To gain understanding of the meanings behind the readings.
In the early days of this blog I attempted to tie the readings together and often found that to be really difficult. I’m still not sure what criteria The Bible in a Year used when selecting readings. There are times when it does seem to be obvious. The end of a chapter or the end of a book. But other times I’m left wondering why some days have longer readings than other days?
So. Here we go. The last push. We are heading for December 31st. Hang on tight, there’s still 65 days to go!
An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious. An elder is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money. (Titus 1:6-7 NLT)
There is more hope for fools than for people who think they are wise. (Proverbs 26:12 NLT)