When I was a child we lived at 3725 Clinard Avenue. At that time, in the early eighties, the house was surrounded by about one acre of pure fun. The acre included flat spots for sports, hills for sledding, and a creek to get as wet as possible much to mom’s dismay. Each summer, when we were out of school, my older brother and I would make the most out of that backyard. Some days we were the Redskins and Cowboys, and of course I was John Riggins busting through the Dallas Cowboys defensive line. Other days we were adventurers looking for crawdads in the creek, while the next day we were nervously chasing snakes. Our dad grew up in the Dismal Swamp and was fearless when it came to catching a snake.
While we were out on our adventures each day, at some point our mom would open the front door and let out a piercing whistle that we could hear anywhere on the acre of fun. Mom’s whistle meant one thing, come to her inside. Normally, it meant lunch or dinner was ready, while at other times we needed to get our things ready to go for sports practice or church. We could be anywhere on the acre fulfilling our next Lewis and Clark mission, but when mom whistled you knew to come running. I recently was reminded of mom’s whistle while reading Zechariah 10 where God assured Judah and Israel they will be restored, because of his compassion. In verse 8 of chapter 10 the Lord said, “I will whistle for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as many as they were before.” Mom’s whistle always caught our attention and we responded. Sometimes the response was immediate other times we prolonged our adventure, but eventually made it inside the house. When God whistles his redeemed respond too. I’m grateful for a little verse of God’s whistle reminding me of a fond memory of my mom on Clinard Ave. I always wanted to whistle like my mom, but I’ve never been able to even come close.
Triad Christian Fellowship is currently doing a Christmas series that peers at Christ through the Psalms. This coming Sunday I have the opportunity to open up scripture in Psalm 89. I’ve been reading through the text in the English Standard Version, The Message, and The New Living Translation. A few supplementary books that I’ve been reading are The Messiah and the Psalms (pp. 139-142) by Richard Belcher Jr. and The Epic of Eden by Sandra Richter. Richter’s unpacking of the OT is simply splendid and her chapter on the “Concept of Covenants” is worth the whole book. I’m still mashing up the content of chapter 89 with other passages of scripture and look forward to how this message will come together.
“The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice
There is little we can do to change
Until we notice how failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.”
Lately I’ve enjoyed a frozen biscuit with honey each morning for breakfast. A hot biscuit, drizzled in honey, with a hot cup of black coffee makes for a tasty breakfast. This morning my taste for biscuits brought back a memory of mine with my grandmother. Gee Gee was my dad’s mom who lived on the far eastern side of VA in a small town called Suffolk, but it’s not so small now.
My fond memory is related to watching Gee Gee make her delicious homemade biscuits. She was a a stellar biscuit maker, so says a young boy who loved breakfast then and now.
I remember Gee Gee inside her kitchen, with her flour covered apron draped over her clothes, prepping biscuits for those who were still asleep. She was great with the roller, knowing just how far to stretch the dough and just how much flour to add. She always let me use the round template to cut out each round biscuit. Some were big for dad and granddaddy, while others were small for the rest of us. She would place the biscuits on the pan, while I mashed the dough back together in preparation for the roller to make additional biscuits. Gee Gee’s homemade biscuits with some strawberry jam was all that was needed for this young boy to be ready to attack daily life with fun and festivity (e.g. climbing trees, catching crickets, shucking corn, peeling snap peas, riding bicycles, etc.).
I’m grateful to the Lord for memory and the ability to reflect back on lives who influenced mine.
Beginning to read the book of Job was not necessarily a heart warming moment. The book describes some horrible tragedies that can be painful to read through. Nevertheless, I’ve been working my way through the Bible in one year using Read Scripture’s reading plan.
Fortunately, this first three chapters captured my imagination and were a joy to read through as I saw things in the text that I personally had never seen.
- vs 1 & 8 – Job’s incredible Twitter length testimony “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (vs 1, 8)
- vs 5 – Job “rises early” to sacrifice and pray on behalf of his children “continually”
- Insert conviction—am I praying for my children continually every morning
- vs 10 – Satan challenges God by suggesting that Job’s loyalty stems from his possessions
- vs 14, 17 – Satan is able conduct his authority through the Sabeans/Chaldeans who raid Job’s family (war)
- vs 16, 19 – Satan is able to conduct his authority through the weather “fire of God fell from heaven” and “a great wind came across the wilderness” (weather)
- vs 20-22 – Job worshiped – Job’s response was worship, because he was so prone to worship.
- Insert conviction—am I prone to worship…when that which is good or bad occurs am I prone to worship?
- vs 4 – Satan challenges God again suggesting that Job’s loyalty stems from his good health
- vs 7 – Satan is able to conduct his authority through Job’s health (health)
- vs 9 – Job’s devout integrity to God creates marital strife
- Satan can use miserable suffering to attempt to stymie our relationship with each other and with God
- vs 11-13 – friendship is present to sympathizes, comforts, and say nothing
- vs 13-19 – A description of the grave
- All sleep in the grave (kings, counselors, princes, masters, slaves, stillborn children, etc.)
- “the wicked cease”
- “the weary rest”
- “the prisoners are at ease”
- “small and great are there”
The reading this morning caught me by surprise, since I was not expecting much. However, Job’s testimony is both mesmerizing, thought provoking, and convicting simultaneously. Job’s willingness to live upright and his ability to defy evil stems from worship and devotion to God. I was also surprised by Satan’s authority to use violence, weather, and health to disrupt Job’s loyalty to God. I’ve read Job numerous times, but failed to recognize Satan’s authority to use these items to interrupt one’s worship of God.