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Thought for the Day
1 Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the Lord has spoken against you – against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt:
2 ‘You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth therefore I will punish you
for all your sins.’
3 Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?
4 Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey? Does it growl in its den
when it has caught nothing?
5 Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground when no bait is there?
Does a trap spring up from the ground if it has not caught anything?
6 When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble?
When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?
7 Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan
to his servants the prophets.
8 The lion has roared – who will not fear? The Sovereign Lord has spoken –who can but prophesy?
2 Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?
3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
I’ve been using the ‘Explore’ app for my daily bible readings lately, and this week the readings have been from the book of Amos. They don’t make for comfortable reading. Warnings of God’s judgement are not the sort of thing that get printed on a fridge magnet or posted on facebook with a nice picture of a sunset! Yes there is great reassurance to be found in these verses if we are willing to listen to God’s call to repentance. These words were originally delivered to God’s people in the northern kingdom of Israel around 760BC. Having broken away from the southern kingdom (and the God-given rule of the Davidic kings) they had become complacent that their status as God’s chosen people and their material wealth would keep them secure forever. But God’s judgement was coming, just as he had always promised it would. These verses from Amos 3 were a sobering reminder to the people of Israel that the disasters about to befall them were happening because they had failed to listen to God’s warnings and continued to live as if God was not in charge.
Of course, disasters are not always a direct action of God against the sin of a particular nation. However they are always opportunities for a ‘wake-up call’. Jesus called his listeners to respond to news of a disaster, not with indifference or with terror but with repentance. (Luke 13:2-3)
Disasters, both global and personal remind us that we are not in control. We are not sovereign over our own destiny, our own timetables or even our own bodies. But we must resist the temptation to be fatalistic in that knowledge. We have a heavenly Father who loves us and who has not left us alone as we try to make sense of this confusing world. He wants us to know him and has gone to extraordinary lengths to make that possible, even giving his only Son as an atoning sacrifice for all our complacency, greed, pride and unbelief. What is God teaching each of us through the daily disasters, both great and small that we are facing? The Lion has roared! Are we listening?
“Give us each day our daily bread”
Whoever thought that we’d need to pray that, literally, in 2020?
But it seems to me that we should. In my lifetime as a Christian, we’ve been taught that it means to express our dependence on God for everything in life, not just our food. But the food’s just got rather important. Perhaps a bit too important. So, what to do? Here are five things we can try, as Christian people:
BOOKS ALIVE a message from Gillian Carr
Books Alive is still open - normal hours (9.30 to 5 every day except Sunday). We will remain open as long as possible but if we are forced to close we will be aiming to maintain service to customers by taking orders over the phone or by email which can then be paid for by card over the phone. These can either be collected by arrangement or posted. We have books to keep you from boredom as well as cards and stamps so you can send encouraging messages. We still have lots of Easter eggs left!