Monday, February 22, 2010

messed up world, gracious God

We live in a messed up world where we need to hear often what God is doing.  In my reading this morning I came across this:

When disaster strikes, understanding of God is at risk.  Unexpected illness or death, national catastrophe, social disruption, personal loss, plague or epidemic, devastation by flood or drought, turn men and women who haven't given God a second thought in years in instant theologians.  Rumors fly: "God is absent" ... "God is angry" ... "God is playing favorites, and I'm not the favorite" ... "God is ineffectual" ... "God is holding a grudge from a long time ago, and now we're paying for it" ...

It is the task of the prophet to stand up at such moments of catastrophe and clarify who God is and how he acts.  If the prophet is good - that is accurate and true - the disaster becomes a lever for prying people's lives loose from their sins and setting them free for God.  Joel (speaking of the book of the Bible) is one of the good ones: He used a current event in Israel as a text to call his people to an immediate awareness that there wasn't a day that went by that they weren't dealing with God.  We are always dealing with God...

In our every day experience, right and wrong and the decisions we make about them seldom come to us neatly packaged and precisely defined.  Joel's prophetic words continue to reverberate down through the generations, making the ultimate connection between anything, small or large, that disrupts our daily routine, and God, giving us fresh opportunity to reorient our lives in faithful obedience.  Joel gives us opportunity for "deathbed repentance" before we die, while there is still time and space for a lot of good living to the glory of God.

(quoted from The Message Remix by Eugene Peterson and the Intro to Joel)

Powerful words that sing and shout truth.  We must be people who know truth, or Jesus who is truth, and show others what He is all about.  

Read that a couple times.  I close with some verses on my mind:

Isaiah 55:6 (NASB) --- Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) --- For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Joel 2:13 (NIV) --- Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

More quotes from Joel coming this week.

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happy birthday, Julie

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