Morning Musing: 1 Corinthians 1:24-25

“Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When I was growing up, I collected useless trivia and ironic sayings. For instance, did you know there are 119 ridges on the edge of a quarter. There will probably never be an occasion you’ll need that particular bit of information, but you probably won’t forget it either. Funny how that works. Do you know what’s also funny? In English we drive on parkways and park on driveways. There are all kinds of paradoxes like that if you pay very close attention to the world around you. Do you know what probably generates more apparent paradoxes than anything else? The Christian faith. Let me explain.

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Morning Musing: Amos 2:9-11

“Yet I destroyed the Amorite as Israel advanced; his height was like the cedars, and he was as sturdy as the oaks; I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath. And I brought you from the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness in order to possess the land of the Amorite. I raised up some of your sons as prophets and some of your young men as Nazirites. Is this not the case, Israelites? This is the Lord’s declaration.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Some sins are generational. When I was growing up, my family was within a few days of making our first pilgrimage to Disney World. I remember being upset about something and, standing in our front yard facing the door to the house where my dad stood, I complained that I didn’t have much to be happy about at the moment. He actually didn’t kill me. One of my own boys recently bemoaned how awful his life is. I didn’t kill him either, but reminded him of the many blessings he does enjoy. As a parent, this kind of thing makes you want to scream and pull your hair out. But it also makes you want to throw your hands up and shout, “What?!?!?” That’s a little like what God seems to be feeling here.

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 2:4

“The Lord says: I will not relent from punishing Judah for three crimes, even four, because they have rejected the instruction of the Lord and have not kept his statutes. The lies that their ancestors followed have led them astray.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Are you a good test-taker? Or are you someone who tends to freeze up when you are put in pressure situations like that? Your answer here really doesn’t have anything to do with how smart you are. I had good friend in high school who was crazy smart, but who struggled mightily to get a decent score on his ACT because he wasn’t a good test-taker. Okay, but why do they have tests in school? Why not just teach the stuff and move on? Because, like it or not, tests are the best way to hold students accountable for what they should have been learning. Without tests there’s no way to really be sure we’ve learned anything. Holding students accountable for what they’ve learned is important. Judah learns that here the hard way.

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Digging in Deeper: Job 42:1-6

“Then Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do anything and no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this who conceals my counsel with ignorance?’ Surely I spoke about things I did not understand, things too wondrous for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak. When I question you, you will inform me.’ I had heard reports about you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I reject my words and am sorry for them; I am dust and ashes.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Sometimes when we are making breakfast in the morning we like to make scrambled eggs. And sometimes when we get the eggs out to crack, our 5-year-old happens to be in the kitchen. Do you know what he unfailingly requests in these moments? Can I crack the eggs? Now, don’t get me wrong: It’s cute that he wants to help. I definitely don’t want to discourage him from it. That’ll blow up in my face later. But by the time I’ve cleaned up gooey egg mess from the counter and the floor and spent five minutes chasing minute pieces of egg shell around the bowl before I scramble everything up to put them in the pan, there’s a small part of me thinking, “Thanks for nothing.” As I read the tail end of the book of Job here, I feel a bit like he’s got to be thinking the same thing about God.

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Morning Musing: James 1:2

“Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials…” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Years ago I read Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The book was a combination of science fiction and medieval adventure. It should have been an easy sell for a great book. And it did end strong. But it took me just shy of forever to get into it. The beginning was as slow and dry as anything I’ve ever read. Most often, an author starts a book with some kind of compelling, attention-grabber that will get you quickly engaged and hungry for more. Similarly, if you’re going to include something hard in the book, you save that for later after the audience is already engaged with you. Not James. He socks us in the nose from the moment we get started. What are we supposed to do with this?

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