January 7, 2021
Genesis 9:16
Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.
New International Version (NIV)
               In my office I have a picture of a rainbow over the steeple of Tallowood.  One of our students who grew up and worshiped here on Saturday night captured it.  Through the years it has brought me comfort.  Never more than in the past year. 

                Sometimes the pain in our world is so great that we wonder.  After a great tragedy, one pastor wondered aloud, “Is God there?  Does God care?”  Perhaps Noah and his family felt that way coming off of the ark.  One could understand if their first response to being rescued was, “Wheww!”  On the other hand, as a preacher, Noah surely could not have delighted in the horrific loss of life. 

                After Hurricane Harvey, Houstonians may wonder when the next flood will come.  Am I the only one who gets a bit nervous when heavy rains come?  The losses were enormous.  A good friend told me last week:  we are back in our home after three years.  We celebrate their homecoming, but we grieve the loss.  I feel the same way about the flood of the Coronavirus which is reportedly filling our hospitals and has contributed to the deaths of friends I love.  Andrew Peterson asks in song, “Do you feel the world is broken?”  We answer, “We do!”

                How did God feel about the judgment in Noah’s day?  Was he happy to destroy the world he had made with a flood?  Did he say, “I’ll do it again if you guys mess up?”  God remembered Noah, called him out of the ark onto the dry ground and received his worship.  “Never again,” God says (8:21).  But how can we be sure?  How do we know that the challenges in our world will not just wipe out the world so it ends as T. S. Eliot said, “with a whimper”?  Because God promises.

                How can we be sure that God keeps his promises?  A friend and I were talking in my office when we noticed a rainbow out the window.  Even though I know they happen with regularity, I still delight when I see them.  God often keeps his promise publicly, but we can still take them personally.  We saw it as a reminder of God’s goodness to us.  God still makes and keeps promises.  All of God’s promises are “yes” in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). He alone is our hope!  Jesus is enough.  The world concludes not with a bang or a whimper or a flood, but with a resounding trumpet as Christ returns and redeems our broken world once and for all.
Pray with me:         
Father, our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  We dare not trust the sweetest human frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.  On Christ the solid rock we stand.  All other ground is sinking sand.  Thank you for keeping your promises.  Let us live this day with eyes lifted high in hope.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.    
Scripture memorization for this week:    
Genesis 1:27
So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
Hebrews 11:7
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
New International Version (NIV)
Our 2021 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations Bible reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy here:
https://www.tallowood.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Read-Through-Bible-Download.pdf
We would love for you to join us as we read through the Bible in one year, while still having the flexibility of reading 5 days per week.  In addition, I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  We will also memorize 2 scriptures each week.  As we journal together this year,  Robby Gallaty’s H.E.A.R. plan is a good resource: Highlight a verse that stands out to you, Explain what it means, Apply that truth to your life and Respond to what you’ve read with an action or prayer.
Joyfully, 
Duane 

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