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Beliefnet is pleased to present an inspirational devotional from the gifted Christian author Brian McLaren. This is week 4 of the 8 week-long devotional. If you missed the previous entries, stay subscribed to this feed to start over.
Abraham leaves his home in Ur and journeys west to Canaan and settles there. Isaac and Jacob live in the land, but a famine forces Jacob’s sons to flee south to Egypt, where their rejected brother Joseph forgives them and provides for them. The Egyptians enslave them for 400 years, until Moses follows God’s call to lead them to freedom. Because of unbelief and disobedience, they wander 40 years in the desert until Joshua leads them to resettle Canaan. Even after being miraculously liberated, the people forget God and worship the little idols of the surrounding nations. Eventually they seek a kingdom with a king like the nations around them; but of their many kings, only a few are good, like David. Although prophets call them back to faithful living, they lapse into civil war, and eventually, they are conquered and carried off as exiles to Babylon. After 70 years in exile, Nehemiah leads them back to Canaan to rebuild under the eye of their oppressors.
Through all these experiences, the people argue, wonder, rage, encourage, pray, listen, doubt, believe, and otherwise express in a thousand different ways the wonder and agony of life in this unfolding story with God. The Scriptures preserve a record of this dynamic conversation with and about God. The voices of priest and prophet, sage and poet, leader and common people come together in an honest, inspiring, and sometimes troubling conversation across generations–a conversation into which we are invited today.

All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God maybe thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4-5)

11. Imagine that you were invited to contribute to an anthology entitled “Life with God in the 21st Century.” Your only assignment: to share an honest paragraph or two about what it feels like to be you, in relation to God and God’s story, today.
12. It surprises people to discover how often in the biblical conversation doubt and rage are expressed to God. Read Ecclesiastes, for example, or Psalm 88. You might discover how expressing doubt and rage to God are actually acts of faith by composing an outpouring of your own questions or frustrations in faith to God.
–Brian McLaren

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