John T. Willis

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nearer, My God, to Thee

No matter how "godly" or "righteous" a person SEEMS to be, EVERYONE of us, specially myself, needs to come "nearer and nearer to God."

The author of Psalm 73 first relates his own experience. He was raised as a Christian from childhood [now, here, I am using modern application language], and he had not missed a single church or Bible class for 25 years, and YET he was experiencing losses and suffering, and MANY SINFUL PEOPLE around him were in great health, were very wealthy, had three cars in the garage, had a beautiful home on twenty acres, had a wonderful swimming pool--the works. SO, the Psalmist was tempted to give it all up. ENVY--GREED was tugging at his heart. This is Psalm 73:1-14.

But, on one occasion, this psalmist went to "the sanctuary of God," and for some strange reason, it dawned on the psalmist that "the end" of wicked people is disaster. And then, the psalmist declares:

"When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was stupid and ignorant;
I was like a brute beast toward YOU [GOD].
Nevertheless I am continually WITH YOU;
YOU hold my right hand.
YOU guide me with YOUR counsel,
and afterward YOU will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but YOU?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than YOU.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Indeed, those who are far from YOU will perish;
YOU put an end to those who are false to YOU.
But for me it is good to BE NEAR GOD;
I have made the LORD GOD my refuge,
to tell all of YOUR works." (Psalm 73:21-28).

These words inspire me to want to sing and ponder the song written by Sarah F. Adams in 1840, put to music by Lowell Mason in 1856. I hope this song will remind YOU and bless YOU by this song:

Nearer my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee!
E'en though it be a cross That raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be, Nearer my God, to Thee.
Nearer my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee!

Tho like a wanderer, The sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, My rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I'd be Nearer my God, to Thee,
Nearer my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee!

Or, if on joyful wing, Cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and starts forgot, Upward I fly;
Still all my song shall be, Nearer by God, to Thee.
Nearer my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee!

I hope this song will touch your heart!!! I hope you come closer and closer to God each day. This is fulfilling and enriching. Share YOUR heart with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sitting on a Shelf, Feeling Sorry for Myself--Job's Third Response to Bildad--Part 3--Job 30

Job's long monologue in Job 26-31 continues. We are now ready for Job 30.

Job 30 stands in stark contrast to Job 29. In Job 29, Job longed for the "good old days." Then in Job 30, Job cries out--BUT NOW. In Job 30, Job bemoans his terrible circumstances NOW. These circumstances are the EXACT OPPOSITE of his FORMER DAYS.

There is a song which begins: Sitting on a Shelf, Feeling Sorry for Myself. I have tried to find this song, but so far I have been unsuccessful. If YOU know this song, PLEASE forward it to me. The thought is very similar to the feelings of Job here.

Job 30 falls into three parts.

I. Job claims that the lowest type of humanity mocks Job. Job 30:1-15.
a. People much younger than Job do not hesitate to "make sport of" Job, people that Job considers far below their fathers. They are convinced that Job is a terrible sinner, and thus is worthy of his suffering. Verses 1-2.
b. Job then turns to describe the wicked fathers of these younger people. They live like filthy wanderers. Society has driven them out. They have to live in deserted places. Yet, they are the children of those who mock Job. Verses 3-8.
c. Job's scorners "mock Job in song," spit at Job, rise against Job, promote Job's calamity, attempt to destroy Job's honor, and attempt to terrorize Job. Verses 9-15.

II. Job declares that God has become CRUEL to Job. Job 30:16-23.
a. "Days of affliction" come upon Job, night and day Job is in great pain, God seizes Job's garment and grasps Job "by the collar of Job's tunic," God has cast Job into the mire, Job pleads with God in prayer but God does not answer, God has "turned cruel to" Job and "persecuted" Job, God tosses Job about in "the roar of the storm," and God will bring Job to death. Verses 16-23.
b. When I think of the simile in verse 18b, I think of wearing a tie that is too close fit to the neck. This is so annoying and irritating. This is the way Job felt.

III. Job begs SOMEONE--ANYONE to come and help Job. Job 30:24-31.
a. Job proclaims that human beings just do not turn against the needy or ignore people in disaster. Rather, people naturally rush to help those in need. Job himself wept for those day was hard and grieved for the poor. But now, Job needs help, and no one will answer. Verses 24-26.
b. Job explains that he is in turmoil, encounters "days of affliction," "in the assembly cries out for help," is "a brother of jackals, a companion of ostriches," his skin turns black and falls from him, his bones ache, his lyre is turned into mourning and his pipe to the voice of those who weep. Verses 27-31.

After a long period of severe suffering, we all feel like Job expressed here. If YOU are in great distress right now, I pray that YOU will empathize with Job in Job 30. This is not pleasant, but often this is a means to healing.

What are YOUR thoughts? Share YOUR insights with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Carry Me Back to Old Uzzy

A previous blog in the Book of Job contains Job 29, where Job longs to go back to the "good old days" in Uz, where he was in great health and was very rich and was trying to serve God faithfully. As we worked through this chapter, I immediately thought of the song: "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny." But at that point, I did not bring this up, because in the minds of some people, this song is controversial.

In this blog, I want to share at least part of this story.

James A. Bland lived in America from 1854 to 1911. He was an African American minstrel. He was born in Queens, New York, and was well educated at Howard University. During his life, Bland produced over 700 folk songs. Bland wrote "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" in 1878, soon after the American Civil War, when many of the newly freed slaves were struggling to find work, and this song has become controversial in modern times. Alma Gluck produced the 1916 version of this son, and was the first celebrity recording by a classical musician to sell one million copies. Ray Charles covered this song on his full covered release "Sings for America."

Bland wrote this song from the perspective of a seemingly nostalgic former slave. The controversy over this song is over the question of whether or not this song may be intended or interpreted ironically. The ex-slave describes his slavery and his owners in picturesque and ostensibly positive terms. However, defenders of this song argue that this interpretation is too literal, and that "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" articulates and perhaps satirizes the feelings of betrayal and abandonment white Southerners felt after Emancipation. Like minstrel music of the same era, the song was written in dialect, from an African American point of view, and expressed the feelings some whites wished blacks to feel; in this case, nostalgia for days of slavery. Others argue the song was written to express difficulties and discrimination facing free African Americans in the North which perhaps were bitter enough to make slavery an ironically appealing contrast. These defenders argue that minstrel's songs were never written to be taken literally but were sly and humorous. The slightly less explicit "Old Folks at Home" is still the state song of Florida with important modifications, and carries a message similar to "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny."

"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" was Virginia's state song from 1940 to 1997. But in 1997, the Virginia State Assembly retired this song for fear that the lyrics were considered offensive to African Americans. On March 1, 2006, the Virginia State Senate designated "Shenanoah" as the official state song of Virginia.

I would NEVER intentionally offend any one, certainly African Americans. Some of my dearest friends and students are African Americans. They all know I love them very much. I am so sorry that a song like this gets used in various ways, and leads to hard feelings and serious misunderstandings. For myself, I love this song, and think of this as an important song in the growing history of America. Now, of course, we would revise some of the language used by Bland in 1878, but the thoughts are touching and moving. Here is the original version of Bland's song.

Carry me back to old Virginny.
There's where the cotton and corn and taters grow.
There's where the birds warble sweet in the spring-time
There's where this old darkey;s heart am long'd to go.

There's where I labored so hard for old Massa,
Day after day in the field of yellow corn;
No place on earth do I love more sincerely
Than old Virginny, the state where I was born.

Carry me back to old Virginny.
There's where the cotton and corn and taters grow;
There's where the birds warble sweet in the spring-time.
There's where this old darkey's heart am long'd to go.

Carry me back to old Virginny.
There let me live till I wither and decay.
Long by the old Dismal Swamp have I wandered,
There's where this old darkey's life will pass away.

Mass and Missis have long since gone before me,
Soon we will meet on that bring and golden shore.
There we's be happy and free from all sorrow,
There's where we'll meet and we'll never part no more.

Carry me back to old Virginny.
There's where the cotton and the corn and taters grow.
There's where the birds warble sweet in the spring-time
There's where this old darkey's heart am long'd to go.

We wish we could change history. But events happened through history, and when they happened, we today cannot change those events. Thomas and Alexander Campbell were founders of the Restoration Movement. These men lived on large farms and had slaves. They claimed they were Christians. We would never agree with this. We are so thankful now that we are making progress in showing love and compassion and respect and appreciation for all people. I love African Americans, and I for one am so sorry and ashamed that we who are descendants of Anglo-Americans who treated African Americans in ungodly ways. I hope and pray that I do not do this. I certainly do not intend to be this way.

It is a good time for all of us to turn again to God and pray that God will help us heal our hearts and change our lives, so that we can partipate in Jesus' prayer in John 17:17-21 that all human beings might be one.

Do YOU appreciate James Bland's wonderful song: "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny?" What are YOUR responses? Share YOUR ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Longing For the Good Old Days--Job's Third Response to Bildad--Part 3--Job 29

Job yearns for the "good old days," the days Job experienced before his horrible suffering entered into his life. He had enjoyed approximately 60 wonderful years of his life. BUT NOW, Job's life is in shambles. So, Job yearns for his former life. All of us sooner or later experience this situation. We focus on past times when things were "perfect." But those days are gone. And, like Job, we face the realities of present daily living.

There were three major things that made Job joyful and fulfilling. Job describes these three types of experiences in Job 29. He presents this with an ABAC structure.

I. God Himself BLESSED Job. Verses 1-6.
God "watched over" Job, I was in my prime and "the friendship of God" was on Job's tent, God was still "with" Job, and Job's children were around him.

II. Young and Old held Job in the highest respect. Verses 7-10 and 21-25.
a. Job was a highly respected member of the community. He was an "elder" of the city who participated in the activities of the "city gate." Verse 7.
b. When Job appeared in public, "young men withdrew" and "the aged stood up" to show respect to Job, "the nobles refrained from talking," "princes" could not speak in Job's presence since Job was such a powerful person. Verses 8-10.
c. When Job spoke, all who heard accepted and honored Job's views. Verses 21-23.
d. Job's words assured people who were uncertain and comforted mourners. Job was held in such high regard that he "sat as chief" among the people and "lived like a king among his troops." Verses 24-25.

III. Job constantly helped needy people. Verses 11-20.
Here Job presents one of the highest ethical portrayals of serving others found anywhere in scripture, Old or New Testament.
a. Job delivered the poor, helped the orphan, made widows joyful, wore righteousness and justice like a robe and a turban. Verses 11-14.
b. Job says he was "eyes to the blind and feet to the lame, a father to the needy and championed the cause of the stranger." Verses 15-16.
c. Job declares that he overthrew the unrighteous. Verse 17.
d. Naturally, Job concluded that God would continually bless Job, and Job would die in old age. Verses 18-20.

Often, when hard times descend upon us, we yearn for the good old days, when our lives seemed "perfect." But life brings difficulties and disappointments and losses. And we do not know how to deal with these new circumstances. We can empathize with Job's feelings as we look back through Job's life up to this point.

How are YOU doing right now in YOUR life? I will just imagine that many of YOU would like to go back to "the good old days." BUT, our life changes very quickly. AND YET, God is always with us, even in tough times. TRUST IN GOD.

Share YOUR thoughts and experiences. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


The September 2009 issue of National Geographic published a recent discovery of remains of dinosaurs excavated in Brazil.

The newly discovered dinosaur is now called a TUPUXUARA, a type of pterosaur, which lived on earth 112 million years ago.

These creatures were weirdly shaped weaklings, giraffe-tall hang gliders forced to hurl themselves off cliffs to get airborne. At least, that is the traditional view of the flying reptiles called pterosaurs, which went extinct along with dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. But a novel idea of pterosaur flight was caught the notice of paleotologists worldwide. Accord to Johns Hopkins doctoral student Michael Habib, these dragon-like creatures--the largest of which may have weighed well over 500 pounds--had the power to take off from flat ground. Habib, who used to study bird flight, says pterosaurs' wing bones were too massive for them to have simply been frail gliders. But beefy wings make sense if they flew by first tipping forward off comparatively spindly back legs, then using their frong limbs to explosively leapfrog into the air. If that theory takes wing, pterosaurs could gain a muscular new profile in Mesozoic history.

God's creatures, extinct and presently alive, are unique, marvelous, arresting, and challenging. This is true of all of God's creatures, including YOU and every animal and insect and plant and reptile and fish around YOUR world. Appreciate ALL these creatures, and more than this, appreciate GOD, the CREATOR of everything.
"The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers." (Psalm 24:1-2).

Tell YOUR friends about the wonders around YOU. Let me hear from YOU. Do YOU like dinosaurs?

John Willis

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

God is All Wise--Job's Third Response to Bildad--Part 2--Job 28

Job continues his "monologue" which began in Job 26. [We discussed Job 26-27 in a previous blog]. Job affirms that God is ALL POWERFUL--BUT HOW does God use his power?--Thus, Job 26-27.

Now, Job affirms that god is ALL WISE--Job 28. This section falls into two parts.

I. Human beings mine or quarry or excavate all kinds of precious elements on earth: silver, gold, iron, copper, sapphire, coral, crystal, pearl, crysolite, onyx. Miners devise various means of finding and unearthing and refining all these elements. Verses 1-11.

II. BUT, "where shall WISDOM be found?" The obvious answer is that it is impossible for human beings to mine or quarry or excavate wisdom the ground like they quarry all these other precious gems. Verses 12-28.
a. Mortals cannot devise or find wisdom. Yet, wisdom is much more precious than gold and silver and onyx and sapphire. So "Where does wisdom come from? Verses 12-22.
b. Job declares that GOD understands the way to wisdom. When God "saw it and declared it, he established it, and searched it out." Then God said [revealed] to human beings:
"Truly, the fear of the Lord, THAT IS WISDOM,
and to depart from evil is understanding." Verses 23-28.

Job affirms that God ALONE is all wise. ANY and ALL human wisdom comes from God. And by God's revelation, in essence Wisdom is "fearing the Lord and departing from evil." We emphasized this near the beginning of our study of the Book of Job.

NOW, Job knows and believes that God is ALL WISE. But, as we will see in Job 29-31, Job asks: HOW does God use his wisdom? And Job believes right now that God is using his wisdom wrongly.

What are YOUR thoughts about Job 28? This is a wonderful chapter, contrasting wisdom with all earthly treasure. How do YOU respond to this? Share your ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


Throughout human history, different peoples in different cultures have created and used certain phrases to communicate certain ideas.

One type of linguistic terminology is called METONYMY. Metonymy is the use of one word in place of another word with which it is intimately associated.

Here is one example: A good cook prepares a wonderful dinner, and invites guests. One of the guests says: "You set a beautiful TABLE." Now, all the guests know very well that they have in mind the food that the woman prepared. "You set a beautiful TABLE" is an expression meaning "You prepare excellent FOOD." The table is closely connected to the food, since the food sits on the table.

Biblical speakers and writers use metonymy. Here is one example.
When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, the Bible says: "He took a CUP, and after giving thanks he said, 'Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the FRUIT OF THE VINE until the kingdom of God comes.' Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it an gave it to them saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' And he did the same with the CUP after supper, saying, 'This CUP that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.'" (Luke 22:17-20).

Similarly, Paul says: "For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way he took the CUP also, after supper, saying, 'This CUP is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this CUP, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

But I ask you, did Jesus and his followers drink a CUP or CUPS? Do Christians today drink CUPS? Of course not. Rather, we drink the CONTENTS in the cup, NOT the CONTAINER, the CUP. A cup and its contents are intimately related, but literally they are not the same.

The language here is called METONYMY. As an aside, once a person realizes this linguistic phrase, the age old "issue" about drinking from ONE CUP or MANY is irrelevant. What is important is the CONTENT=the wine, the fruit of the vine, NOT the CONTAINER. Jesus' blood is not like a "cup" or a "container," but like the flowing wine or fruit of the vine in the cup or container.

This is academic. Sorry. This will bore some of YOU. What are YOUR thoughts? Share YOUR ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

Monday, October 19, 2009

God is All Powerful--But--Bildad's Third Speech and Job's Response--Part 1--Job 25-27

Job's friends quickly come to a stop--with the tiny speech of Bildad, recorded in Job 25. Job has a long monologue, recorded in Job 26-31. In this blog, we will work through Job 25-27.

Some scholars think that Job 26-31 have been altered greatly, and attempt to reconstruct these chapters, to give Bildad a longer speech, and to give Zophar a speech. But a careful study of the various proposals are hopelessly conflict with one another.

There are good reasons why Job's friends have quit talking:
1. Job's friends have nothing more to say. Their speeches are very repetitious, asserting the same idea again and again. The only difference is that they use different word and metaphors and similes.
2. Job's friends are convinced that Job would never listen to their arguments, so why continue to talk? Job 32:1 supports this suggestion.
3. Job's friends do not have a defensible position. In reality, "they had found no answer, though they had declared to Job to be in the wrong." Job 32:3, 5.

Now, let us turn to the text.

I. Bildad's Speech. Bildad declares that God is all powerful, so "How then can a mortal be righteous before God?" Job 25. Of course--Job himself admits this. But, are Job's friends "righteous before God?" If not, why do they not suffer like Job is suffering?

II. Job's Monologue. Job 26-31.

A. Part I--God is all Powerful, but HOW does God use his Power? Job 26-27. These chapters fall into two parts.
1. Job says: I fully agree that God is all powerful. Job 26.
a. Job denies that his friends have helped Job at all. Verses 1-5.
b. Job proclaims that the universe demonstrates that God is all powerful. God exposes the grave=Sheol, stretches the north over the void, hangs the earth on nothing, brings water from below to produce clouds and cause rain, brings thunder, stills the sea, calms the storm. "By his POWER he stilled the Sea."
"These are indeed but the outskirts of his ways;
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his POWER who can understand?" Verses 6-14.

2. But Job contends that "God has taken away my [Job's] right" (27:2).
a. And yet, I will continue to live a righteous life. Verses 3-6.
b. Furthermore, I pray that God will destroy the wicked. Verses 7-12.
c. Then Job "quotes" the position of Job's friends, who argue that all wicked people suffer. Job says that his friends to not have to repeat their view. Job can "quote" their view back to them--and Job does just this. Verses 13-23.

There are many words here, but neither Job nor his friends are making any advance. They are simply repeating their previous ideas. This often happens in a debate. The debaters get nowhere quickly.

How do YOU react to Job 25-27? What are YOUR insights? Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


When Evelyn and I were doing mission work in Singapore, we spent some time with the Singapore Zoo. One of the most fascinating aspects of the zoo was the Crocodile Show. This is an amazing show. The performers carried crocodiles on their backs. One performer opened the mouth of a crocodile, put his head inside the crocodile's mouth, and dropped a dollar bill on the tongue of the crocodile. A little later, he put his head back in the mouth of the crocodile, and picked the dollar bill with his lips. After the show, Evelyn and I held a crocodile on our laps--if you want to see a picture of this, come to see us, and we will show this to you. Uh-Huh!!! Evelyn and I are TOUGH people.

A crocodile is any species belonging to he family Crocodylidae, and loosely can include alligators, caimans, and gharials, and can include Crocodylomorpha which includes prehistoric crocodile relatives and ancestors. Crocodiles are large aquatic reptiles that lives throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Crocodiles tend to congregate in freshwater habitats like rivers, lakes, wetlands and sometimes in brackish water. They feed mostly on vertebrates like fish, reptiles, and mammals. Crocodiles date back to at least 200 million years old, and while dinosaurs became extinct 65 millions years ago, crocodiles continue to survive and prosper.

The word "crocodile" comes from the Ancient Greek word "krokodilios," used in the phrase "the lizard of the Nile river." Crocodiles are among the more biologically complex reptiles despite their prehistoric look. Unlike other reptiles, they incorporate muscles used for aquatic locomotion into respiration, giving them the functional equivalent of a diaphragm, a cerebral cortex, and a four-chambered heart. Crocodiles have a streamlined body that enables them to swim swiftly. Crocodiles tuck their feet to their sides while swimming, making them faster by decreasing water resistance. They have webbed feet which allow it to make fast turns and sudden moves in the water or initiate swimming. Crocodiles have a palatal lap, a rigid tissue at the back of the mouth that blocks the entry of water. The palate has a special path from the nostril to the glottis that bypasses the mouth. The nostrils are closed during submergence. Their tongues are not free but held in place by a membrane which limits movement, so crocodiles are unable to stick out their tongues.

Crocodiles are very swift in water or on land. Their jaws can bite down with immense force--more than 5,000 pounds per square inch, compared with a large great white shark which can bite down at 400 pounds per square inch. Workers tan the hide of crocodiles and use this to make leather goods such as shoes and handbags. Further, we have eaten crocodile meat. It is very tasty.

In Job 41, Yahweh describes a crocodile at length. We will work through this chapter when we get to Job 41 in our study of the Book of Job. The "leviathan" in this chapter is the crocodile. YOU might want to study this chapter in advance.

What experiences have YOU had with crocodiles? Crocodiles are another of God's numerous marvelous creatures on earth. Of course, we human beings must respect crocodiles, but we should also appreciate God's work here.

Let me hear from YOU. Share YOUR thoughts with others.

John Willis

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Can Prove That God Is Unjust--Job's Third Response to Eliphaz--Job 23-24

The debate continues. Eliphaz has just argued that God is an overt, blatant sinner, as we discussed in the previous blog dealing with Job 22. Now we come to Job's response to this speech, which is Job's third response to Eliphaz, recorded in Job 23-24. Actually, Job does not introduce any new arguments. Rather, Job clings to his position that God is arbitrary, God is unjust because he makes the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper. Hence, Job again challenges God to meet Job in a fair court trial, and then Job will prove that God is making Job suffer without just cause. Job's speech falls into two parts.

I. Job cries out: I want to meet God in a fair court trial. Job 23.
a. Job begins by declaring that his complaint is bitter, since God's hand is heavy on Job in spite of Job's constant groaning. Verses 1-2.
b. Job cries out in desperation: "Oh, that I knew where I might find him [God]." Job claims that God is hiding himself from Job. If God would just come out of the woodwork, Job would lay Job's "case" [law court trial] before God, and "fill Job's mouth with arguments." Job is convinced that Job has ample arguments to prove that Job is right and God is making Job suffer without just cause. Job says Job would certainly be happy to listen to God's position, but in the end God would have to give heed to Job, because Job's position is correct. As a fair court case, Job would be "acquitted forever" by his judge=God. Verses 3-7.
c. Job rushes in every direction: forward, backward, to the left, and to the right, but God is nowhere to be found. But, God's conscience is hurting God severely. How can God live with himself, allowing God to make Job suffer without just cause? "God knows the way that Job takes"--God knows that Job is a blameless and upright man. And if and when God tests Job, Job will come out like GOLD. Job has faithfully served God all his life. Verses 8-12.
d. But God is more powerful than God, SO God can do whatever God desires. Hence, God "terrifies" Job by the terrible way that God behaves toward Job and other people on earth. Verses 13-17.

II. Job suggests a better way for God to conduct human life on earth: Have God bring all people on earth periodically and bless the righteous and curse the wicked. Job 24
a. Job says: Why doesn't God do the right thing, namely, keep times to judge the righteous and the wicked? Verse 1.
b. Then Job gives a description of the terrible things the wicked do against innocent people, especially the orphans, the widows, the needy, and the poor. The wicked remove landmarks and thus seize the property of helpless people, the wicked rob the flocks of their neighbors, drive away the donkey and the ox of the widow and orphan, thrust the needy and poor off the road, reap the fields and vineyards of other people, take away the clothes, food, and drink of orphans and infants, and the victims cry out for help--"YET GOD PAY NO ATTENTION TO THEIR PRAYER." Verses 2-12.
c. Murderers kill the innocent, thieves take possessions from the defenseless, adulterers prosper, wicked people harm the childless woman and do no good to the widow--"YET GOD PROLONGS THE LIFE OF THE MIGHTY BY HIS POWER." God gives the wicked security, and favors the sinful. So, Job concludes:
"If it is no so, who will prove me a liar,
and show that there is nothing in what I say?" Verses 13-25.

Job is obviously in great distraught. Job is in tremendous pain and suffering. And Job is convinced that God has picked Job out to make Job suffer without just cause. And thus, Job launches a tirade against God's injustice.

Again, let me remind YOU that I am not taking Job's position. As a matter of fact, I think Job is incorrect. Wait until the end of the Book of Job. But right now, we are trying to understand Job's position and Job's situation and Job's feelings. How would YOU do better than Job under similar circumstances? I must confess that I would probably do much worse than Job.

How do YOU respond to Job's speech in Job 23-24? Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Laugh Break

The last few days have been challenging, to say the least--right? SO, how about a little break with a few jokes?

A guy drives into a ditch, but luckily, a farmer is there to help. He hitches his horse, Buddy, up to the car and yells, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy doesn't budge. "Pull, Coco, pull!" Nothing. Then the farmer says, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" And the horse drags the car out of the ditch. Curious, the motorist asks the farmer why he kept calling his horse by the wrong name. "Buddy's blind," said the farmer. "And if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try."

Fresh out of gifts, a man buys his mother-in-law a large plot in an expensive cemetery. On her next birthday, he buys her nothing, so she lets him have it. "What are you complaining about?" he fires back. "You still haven't used the present I gave you last year."

Question: How was copper wire invented? Answer: Two lawyers were fighting over a penny.

We should have a way of telling people they have bad breath without hurting their feelings. "Well, I'm bored. Let's go brush our teeth." Or, "I've got to make a phone call. Hold this gum in your mouth."

Louie was shipwrecked and lived alone on a desert island for years until he was finally rescued. Before leaving the island, he gave the rescue party a tour. "I built myself a house. That's it there. Here's the barn, and over here is the church I worshipped in." "What's that building over there?" one of the rescuers asked. Louis sneered. "That's the church I used to belong to."

Max the little camel walks into his parents' room at 3 a. m. and asks for a glass of water. "Another one?" says his father. "That's the second glass this month."

Other people's tattoos are like other people's children: Only you can see how bad they are.

What's the oddest thing about belonging to a support group for hypochondriacs? Every member calls in sick, but they all show up for the meeting.

The Last Facebook Status Update:
Frank Ferri . . . is standing over a patient in the operating room, scalpel in hand, wishing he hadn't lied on his resume about being a surgrous. Here goes
nothing . . .
Frank Ferri . . . is in a marriage-counseling session with his wife, wondering what the score of the football game is. Go, Eagles!
Frank Ferri . . . thinks that if his boss doesn't like him sleeping on the floor ofo the office, then his boss shouldn't have gotten such comfy carpets.
Frank Ferri . . . needs help robbing he bank over on the corner of Main and Willow. Any takers? Be there around noonish.

A few choise quips from the books of the British humorist P. G. Wodehouse's 128th birthday:
"He looked as if he had been poured into his clothes and had forgotten to say 'when.'"
"Golf, like measles, should be caught young."
"She had a penetrating sort of laugh. Rather like a train going into a tunnel."

I hope YOU enjoyed as least some of these jokes. Share YOUR jokes with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis