It's really not about you. It's not.

It's about God.

Whether anyone might describe you as religious, or pious, or even good, none of these has meaning apart from the maker of all that is good and right. We are dependent on the one who made us to make us better.

But we can give in to the process; we can be willing to become more what God has in mind. Such a moment as this—now—provides one such opportunity for the change to continue.

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Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy. Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

Joel 2:12–17

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It is said among the peoples, "Where is your God?"

Why wouldn't it be said? Amidst (1) all the evil, all the tragedy, all the pain and loneliness; (2) the hypocrisy of many who call themselves followers of God; and (3) the success-oriented perspective with which our culture evaluates life. The better question is, in fact, why wouldn't people ask, "Where is that God of love you profess is with you? How is that God making a difference for you?"

And if we cannot name the difference God is making in our living, then we should return to our friends and families and to God with what we say we believe, and ask for help writing it on our hearts so we can live it out, so that those who would ask, "And where is that God of yours?" could look to our living and know.

John Ballenger

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God, may the way I live my life address your critics, instead of encouraging them. Amen.

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There before you lies all the world,
Given as a gift.

Go into the world as a work in progress,
Someone who is not yet who you will be,
But someone who is on the way.

The world will be better and blessed
Because you are in it,
Growing, becoming, gleaming with
The light reflected from above.

John Ballenger

John Ballenger is pastor of Woodbrook Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Worrying at Scripture and wondering about life constitute one of the great joys in his life. His wife, daughters, dog, cats, congregation, and friends (all also great joys—most of the time) keep him worrying and wondering!

Reflections on the Way: I Surrender All

Ken Medema -

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