Weekend Reads 1-24

weekend-reads

 

One of the things I enjoy most about this blog is sharing interesting, thought provoking or just humorous articles I read, or videos I see throughout the week.  There is some really gret stuff this week.  I hope you are able to grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever you like, sit down, and spend a few minutes reading and relaxing.

One of the areas on my life that I have been consciously and purposely working on is contentment.  This is an excellent piece on the contentment habit by Leo Babauta at ZenHabits.

My Sunday evening small group is currently doing an extended study on prayer.  This is a good article from Desiring God about what to do when we’re struggling with prayer.  The author suggests, “Prayerlessness is not fundamentally a discipline problem. At root it’s a faith problem.”

“This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death. We might draw many lessons from Churchill’s life, and not all of them salutary (his views on religion, women, and alcohol come to mind). Nevertheless, Churchill was an inspiring and effective leader in a time of crisis, and it is appropriate to consider what he might teach us today about leadership.”

Tim Challies writes a very interesting piece about marriage.  He says. “I knew next to nothing about my wife on the day I married her. We had dated for a few years, we had spent countless evenings talking on the phone, we had attended church, we had organized events, and even run a business together. But despite all that, we still barely knew one another.”

Here’s another good one from Tim Challies.  He says we are God’s Tapestry.  And he asks… “Have you ever compared the front and back of a tapestry? The front of a tapestry is art…The back of a tapestry is a mess.”

And I end this week’s edition with two videos.  The first video is flat-out mind boggling.  NASA has released the largest picture ever taken, with more than 1.5 billion pixels.  It combines 411 pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of the Andromeda galaxy, which is the closest spiral galaxy to ours. It’s 40,000 light-years across and is around 2.6 million light-years away from us. And, oh yea, the photo contains 100 million stars. 100 million. This video gives us a brief look at the incomprehensible nature of creation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udAL48P5NJU

 

I’m very much a photography buff, so the second video is an interesting piece about “The Rescued Film Project.”  In this video, the author discovers and processes 31 rolls of film shot by an American WWII soldier over 70 years ago.

January 19 – Scripture of the Day

Script-Day-01-19_0448

 

Today’s reading in the 1 Year Chronological bible takes us into the book of Job. The story of Job is traditionally believed to be around the time of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, about 2200-1800 BC.

The story of Job is basically this: Job was an upright and righteous man. But Satan believed that Job would sin and curse God if his life suddenly encountered extreme difficulty. God allowed the challenge of Job, saying only that Satan was not allowed to kill Job.

There are three passages of scripture that stood out to me today.

First is Job 1:5 which says: When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.

For me, this is an excellent reminder that I should be praying for my children, and I need to be doing it more often that I do.

The next passage that stood out to me was Job 1:20-22, which reads: 20 Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. 21 He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” 22 In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

At this point in Job’s story, Satan had destroyed much if not all of Job’s livestock, camels, oxen and donkeys. Also, many of his servants were killed. Then an accident killed all of Job’s 10 children.

I cannot even being to understand what it would be like to endure such tragedy and devastation. It is unimaginable.

And yet, Job does not become angry at God, he doesn’t ask “why me?”

No, instead Job praises God.

I think too often we fall into the trap of being only grateful to God for all the good things in our lives; the material blessings, family, friends, health. And its certainly appropriate to do so. We should be thankful and praise God for all these things.

But first and foremost, we should praise God just for being God. For his love of us, for his grace, mercy and forgiveness.

All good things come from God, beginning with our very lives.

So we should be in constant praise of God, no matter our circumstances.

Finally, Job 2:13 stood out to me. It says: Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.

After all the above-mentioned tragedy (and then some more), three of Job’s friends come to comfort him. It’s interesting to note that they were with Job for a week before saying anything to him.

I think this is a good reminder for us that often when someone we care about is dealing with grief — perhaps a loved one has died – or anything similar, the most important thing we can do as friends is to just be present. Often it is difficult to know what to say. Sometimes there simply isn’t anything we can say.

And so just being present is enough.

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Today’s reading: Job 1:1-4:21
Tomorrow’s reading: Job 5:1-7:21