Wonderful day with the saints in SJCampos and Taubaté! I missed hearing the Word taught in Portuguese and singing praises and encouragements in this expressive language. In the morning, I read the selected Bible passage, closed with a short reading and prayer, and proffered the announcements. In the afternoon, I led singing. Our groups are small, but strong.
• We think of Abraham’s great faith in offering Isaac (Gen. 22). Hebrews 11 says God tested the patriarch, and Paul in Romans 4 says, “He did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God” (v. 20). When tested, do we waver or are we strengthened by trusting in the Lord and thereby giving him glory? What a powerful verse and marvelous reminder!
• I’m no prophet and even less of an economist, but this seems certain, just from seeing some scary numbers and irreversible trends: The U.S. is headed for hard times. The bottom is going to fall out. Brethren, pay your debts, save up, buckle down, for high inflation and unemployment as well as low dollar and housing values are going to test the country in the worst way since the Great Depression.
• In the coming crisis, the church will be greatly tested, if it will prioritize the mission of God in the world, or draw in upon itself and serve its own needs. Those congregations who are now busy in the Lord’s work will be well placed and practiced to continue putting the mission first. Those groups who have been serving self will likely close out any remaining impulse to do the will of God.
• A sister in Christ remarked in this morning’s Bible class, on Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac in Gen. 22, that a great faith is a series of small decisions, such as those the patriarch made to get from his camp to the land of Moriah. Obedience is not as often a great single leap as continuous small steps in the will of God.