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  • I came to learn about Catherine Hamlin, a remarkable Australian surgeon, through reading her obituary. In Ethiopia, Catherine and her husband established the world’s only hospital dedicated to curing women from the devastating physical and emotional trauma of obstetric fistulas, a common injury in the developing world that can occur during childbirth. Catherine is credited with overseeing the treatment of more than 60,000 women.

  • For years, many believed the fire began when the cow knocked over a lantern left burning in a shed. After further investigation—126 years later—the city’s Committee on Police and Fire passed a resolution exonerating the cow and her owners and suggesting the activities of a neighbor warranted scrutiny.

  • Read: Lamentations 3:19–26 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 19–20; John 13:21–38.
    The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him. Lamentations 3:25

    I dropped to my knees and let my tears fall to the floor. “God, why aren’t you taking care of me?” I cried. It was during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. I’d been laid-off for almost a month, and something had gone wrong with my unemployment application. I hadn’t received any money yet, and the stimulus check the US government had promised hadn’t arrived. Deep down, I trusted that God would work out everything. I believed He truly loved me and would take care of me, but in that moment, I felt abandoned.

  • Read: Job 38:24–38 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Psalms 26–28; Acts 22

     What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? Job 38:24

    It was a lightning storm, and my six-year-old daughter and I were on the floor watching the dazzling display through the glass door. She kept repeating, “Wow! God is so big.” I felt the same way. It was obvious to both of us how small we were, and how powerful God must be. Lines from the book of Job flashed through my mind, “What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?” (Job 38:24).

    Job needed to be reminded of God’s power (vv. 34–41). His life had fallen apart. His children were dead. He was broke. He was sick. His friends offered no empathy. His wife encouraged him to abandon his faith (2:9). Eventually, Job asked God, “Why?” (ch. 24) and He responded out of a storm (ch. 38).

    God reminded Job of His control over the physical attributes of the world (ch. 38). This comforted him and he responded, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you” (42:5). In other words, “Now I get it, God! I see that you don’t fit into my box.”

    When life falls apart, sometimes the most comforting thing we can do is to lie on the floor and watch the lightning—to be reminded that the God who created the world is big enough and loving enough to take care of us too. We may even start singing our favorite worship songs that tell of the might and greatness of our God.

    Read: Job 38:24–38 (NIV) 

    24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
        or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
    25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
        and a path for the thunderstorm,
    26 to water a land where no one lives,
        an uninhabited desert,
    27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
        and make it sprout with grass?
    28 Does the rain have a father?
        Who fathers the drops of dew?
    29 From whose womb comes the ice?
        Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
    30 when the waters become hard as stone,
        when the surface of the deep is frozen?

    31 “Can you bind the chains[a] of the Pleiades?
        Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
    32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[b]
        or lead out the Bear[c] with its cubs?
    33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
        Can you set up God’s[d] dominion over the earth?

    34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
        and cover yourself with a flood of water?
    35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
        Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
    36 Who gives the ibis wisdom[e]
        or gives the rooster understanding?[f]
    37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
        Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
    38 when the dust becomes hard
        and the clods of earth stick together?

    INSIGHT

    1. When was the last time you saw God’s power on display?
    2. What went through your mind as you witnessed His bigness?

    The structure of Job 38:1–42:6 helps readers see that we’re dealing with a specific literary unit. God’s voice dominates; Job does very little speaking (see 40:3–5; 42:1–6). In chapters 38–39, Job gets bombarded with multiple questions. The first set concerns inanimate created order (38:4–38). These scenes are stunning and cast the Almighty in the role as the grand designer of all majestic and wonderful things in this world. The next set of queries (38:39–39:30) deals with the animate created order. These creatures come into view: the lion, raven, mountain goat, wild donkey, wild ox, ostrich, horse, hawk, and eagle. God is at work in creation!

    PRAYER

    God, help me see how big You are and to stop trying to fit You into small boxes. Help me to trust that if You’re big enough to create and control lightning, You’re big enough to help me through life’s challenges. In Jesus name, I pray and believe. Amen!!

    Read: Job 38:24–38 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Psalms 26–28; Acts 22

  • They gave as much as they were able. 2 Corinthians 8:3

    During the pandemic lockdown, Jerry was forced to close his fitness center and had no income for months. One day he received a text from a friend asking to meet him at his facility at 6:00 p.m. Jerry wasn’t sure why but made his way there. Soon cars started streaming into the parking lot. The driver in the first car placed a basket on the sidewalk near the building. Then car after car (maybe fifty of them) came by. Those inside waved at Jerry or hollered out a hello, stopped at the basket, and dropped in a card or cash. Some sacrificed their money; all gave their time to encourage him.

    The true nature of love is sacrificial, according to the apostle Paul. He explained to the Corinthians that the Macedonians gave “even beyond their ability” so they could meet the needs of the apostles and others (2 Corinthians 8:3). They even “pleaded” with Paul for the opportunity to give to them and to God’s people. The basis for their giving was the sacrificial heart of Jesus Himself. He left the riches of heaven to come to earth to be a servant and to give His very life. “Though he was rich, yet for [our] sake he became poor” (v. 9).

    May we too plead with God so that we might “excel in this grace of giving” (v. 7) in order to lovingly meet the needs of others. 

    Read: 2 Corinthians 8:1–9 (NIV)

    The Collection for the Lord’s People

    And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

    I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

     

    INSIGHT

    1. How might sacrificial service or giving fit into your life this week?
    2. Who needs your encouragement?

    Most of Paul’s epistles are bookended with greetings and benedictions that include the word grace. We see this in 2 Corinthians: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:2) and “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ . . . be with you all” (13:14). What’s in view is “favor or kindness of some sort that’s freely given.” Grace is a translation of the Greek word cháris. Next to the book of Romans, this word appears in 2 Corinthians more than any other book in the New Testament. In 2 Corinthians 8, cháris occurs seven times. In the NIV in verses 1, 6, 7, and 9, it’s translated as grace. However, it can also be translated “the privilege” (v. 4), “thanks” (v. 16), and “the offering” (v. 19).

    PRAYER

    Loving God, You are so good. Please give me opportunities to bless others for You in Your power and wisdom. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen!!

    Read: 2 Corinthians 8:1–9 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Psalms 87–88; Romans 13

  • Read: Deuteronomy 32:1–4 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 21–22; John 14

    All [God’s] ways are just. Deuteronomy 32:4

    In 1983, three teens were arrested for the murder of a fourteen-year-old. According to news reports, the younger teen was “shot . . . because of his [athletic] jacket.” Sentenced to life in prison, the three spent thirty-six years behind bars before evidence surfaced that revealed their innocence. Another man had committed the crime. Before the judge released them as free men, he issued an apology.

  • Read: Romans 12:9–13 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 23–24; John 15

    Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

    Rogelio served as our waiter during our weeklong vacation. In one conversation, he credited Jesus for blessing him with Kaly, a compassionate wife with strong faith. After they had their first baby, God gave them the opportunity to help care for their niece who had Down syndrome. Soon after, Rogelio’s mother-in-law needed live-in care.

  • Read: 1 John 3:1–3 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 25–27; John 16

    We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him. 1 John 3:2

  • Read: Proverbs 14:1–3, 26–27, 33 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 28–29; John 17

    The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1

  • Read: Exodus 3:7–10 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 30–31; John 18:1–18

    I have come down to rescue them. Exodus 3:8

  • Read: Proverbs 1:1–9 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Job 34–35; Acts 15:1–21

  • Read: Mark 11:20–25 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Job 36–37; Acts 15:22–41

  • Read: 2 Peter 1:3–11 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Job 38–40; Acts 16:1–21

  • Read: Proverbs 30:5–8 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Job 41–42; Acts 16:22–40

  • Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Psalms 1–3; Acts 17:1–15

  • Read: Genesis 3:17–24 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Psalms 4–6; Acts 17:16–34

  • Read: Nehemiah 1:5–11 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Psalms 7–9; Acts 18

  • Read: James 1:19–27 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Psalms 10–12; Acts 19:1–20

  • Read: Luke 11:5–13 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Psalms 13–15; Acts 19:21–41

  • Read: Psalm 43 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Psalms 16–17; Acts 20:1–16

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