“In the same way, when you see these things happening, recognize that he is near–at the door. . .Now concerning that day or hour no one knows–neither the angels in heaven nor the Son–but only the Father.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Something a little different for you this morning and we’ll get back to Habakkuk early next week. With all the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world there is a growing question on the minds of many folks with even the slightest amount of spiritual sensitivity: Are we in the end times? Personally I’ve been asked this twice this week. So then, are we? Let’s talk about it.
“Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for anyone or linger for mankind.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
In English classes growing up, every couple of years we did a unit on poetry. Confessedly, I hated those units. Oh, I did fine in them. But I just don’t care for poetry all that much. Now, that’s not universal. I love the poetry of Shel Silverstein, for instance. But he wrote for kids so… I think the real reason I struggled to like it was that I struggled to understand the imagery being used. That same struggle is why many people—including me—stay away from the prophets in the Old Testament. The imagery is hard to understand. Yet if we’ll do the work to get our minds around it, there are riches to be had; riches like we find right here.
“Then I said, “Lord God, please stop! How will Jacob survive since he is so small?” The Lord relented concerning this. “This will not happen either,” said the Lord God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
What good is the church? If the church suddenly disappeared from the world, would it make any difference? If you count yourself a follower of Jesus, your knee-jerk anger to that is probably a quick, “Absolutely it would!” but think about it a little more than that. Make it personal. If you are a church person, if your church suddenly vanished from its community, would anyone notice? Unfortunately, for many churches, the answer is no. Yet God intends for His people to have a transformatively significant impact on the world around them. Amos gives us an example of that here.
In this third part of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, we land with both feet on the heart of Paul’s secret. What is it that gave Paul the ability to be content in all circumstances? It’s an idea that you’ve probably encountered before. But stay tuned to the end. There just may be more here than you thought there was. Thanks for reading.
The Key to Contentment
Where is your happy place? Come to mine with me for a minute. Imagine sitting on the porch of a cabin up in
the mountains. It’s cool, but not too
cool. The kind of cool where you could
put a jacket on, but you don’t really need it.
The porch looks out eastward over a majestic valley. From your post up on the side of the mountain
you can see the valley opening up wide below you. There are a couple of farms down on the floor,
carved out among the trees, but everything else is blanketed in deciduous beauty. It’s mid-fall and the leaves are at their
peak color. And as you look out at the
mountain on the opposite side of the valley, the sun is just coming up over its
peak. The air is still and it tickles
your nose just a bit, seasoned by the aroma of fall, as you breathe it in. And you just…sit there as the shadow line
slowly recedes across the valley, chased away by the rising sun. Close by is your favorite person in the world—or,
in my case, four favorite people in the world, three of whom are unusually
quiet—and together you simply rest in the grandeur of God’s goodness.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from serving as my priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your sons.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Nations fall for one of two reasons. They are conquered either by forces from without or forces from within. What I mean is, some nations fall to conquest by other nations, while other nations fall to their own internal crumbling. Sometimes, though, both are at fault. The nation’s core begins to crumble, weakening them externally, which invites another nation to come and conquer them. In this case, what looks like the reason for their destruction on the outside is really just a symptom of what was already happening on the inside. This is what was going on with Israel and there’s a message here for all of us if we’ll listen carefully.