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Sunday, 25 April 2010
06:05:41 PM (GMT)
lamentations 3:19-23

 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
       the bitterness and the gall.

 I well remember them,
       and my soul is downcast within me.

 Yet this I call to mind
       and therefore I have hope:

 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
       for his compassions never fail.

 They are new every morning;
       great is your faithfulness.

Rough paraphrasing: I remember my bad habits and how I can't seem to shake all
of them.  How they leave a bitter taste in my mouth and how I dislike that I do some
still.  I remember my past deeds and I feel shame for those who I've hurt or have
refused to help.  Yet I have hope when I remember this;  Because of the Lord's great
love we are not consumed by evil.  That is, we do not lose our conscience and
morality.  His compassion is endless and it never lessens nor weakens.  Great is his
faithfulness to us.

There isn't a generic checklist of things to do to be a good Christian.  "Help an old
lady across the street, give more money in the offering plate than the guy before
you, don't swear, yadda yadda"  

One of the things that we can do to help improve ourselves is to have faith in God. 
He knows our needs, he holds us in the palm of his hand and he is never away from us.
 Trust God.  To trust is not to have to see in order to believe.  If you do claim
that God owes you some sort of explanation, then you certainly are not trusting of

Have you heard the story of Cain and Able?  Two brothers who bring offerings to God,
and God is more pleased with Able than Cain, so in jealousy Cain kills him.  Here's
another way to put it that might be more familiar to you.  "Lord, why did you pick
him and not me?"  I'm certain that we've all felt this way at least a few times.  Or
maybe "Why him?" or simply "Why me?".  When we have faith in God, which is to trust
Him, an example of what we would do is to pray to Him.  Something like "God, I really
don't know why you chose him over me for this task.  I don't understand and I do feel
bitterness and resentment for it.  But it is not my will that is important but yours.
 For you have in mind what is best for us, even if it isn't what we want.  I trust
you and your decision."  

How do we understand how we are to act?  God's given us a set of Basic
Instructions Before Leaving Earth.  But we do not simply
read the Bible.  Just as we do not drive a car simply by pushing on the gas

I say this knowing full well I'm not doing all of these things and that I do need to,
and I hope that I make progress.

Read the bible with curiosity.  Actively think about what you read, do not simply
skim over the words but seek to understand.
Read with expectancy.  Expect to get something out of it that is relevant to your
life.  In expecting you will find it.
Read with creativity.  While most things in the Bible are literal, they likely do not
carry a literal meaning for you but instead a metaphorical one.  Seek to understand,
just as with curiosity.
Read with others.  Discuss the Bible and you will find different points of view,
different opinions, and explanations for things you do not understand.  Just as iron
sharpens iron, so do people sharpen one another.

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