Summary: Things we need to give thanks for

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Lamentations 3:1-57

The book of Lamentations describes Jerusalem’s destruction not only for its own sake but also for the profound theological lessons to be learned from it. The horrors of 586 B.C. are not overlooked, of course: 1. Wholesale devastation and slaughter engulf kings, princes, elders, priests, prophets and commoners alike. 2. Starving mothers are reduced to cannibalism. 3. The flower of Judah’s citizenry is dragged off into ignominious exile. 4. An elaborate system of ceremony and worship comes to an end. But other matters, ultimately of far greater significance, are probed as well. The author of Lamentations understands clearly that the Babylonians were merely the human agents of divine retribution and that God himself has destroyed his city and temple. Although weeping is to be expected and cries for right against the enemy are understandable, the proper response in the wake of judgment is sincere, heartfelt repentance. The book that begins with lament rightly ends in repentance. In the middle of the book, the theology of Lamentations reaches its apex as it focuses on the goodness of God. He is the Lord of hope, of love, of faithfulness, of salvation. In spite of all evidence to the contrary, "his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness".

The news for this week makes us think about how bad things can be and only God can help in what happens to us.

DHAKA, Bangladesh, CNN, More than 900 bodies have been recovered in Bangladesh following a devastating tropical cyclone, but local news reports put the death toll at more than double that figure. As flood waters recede, aid workers say they expect to find scores more bodies when remote villages are finally reached and the counting is done. They face debris blocked roads, no electricity and almost nonexistent communications. In addition to the dead, another 15,000 were hurt and 1,000 people were missing, according to a relief official. The government said Saturday that at least 915 bodies had been recovered, but news media, including a United News of Bangladesh report put the death toll at 2,000. United News said it had reporters deployed across the cyclone region. Cyclone Sidr, with sustained winds of at least 131 mph, made landfall Thursday night along the western coast of Bangladesh near the border with India, unleashing floodwaters."We still don’t really know the extent of the damage. There are so many areas inaccessible," Vince Edwards. Adding to the tragedy is the loss of rice crops, normally harvested in December, Edwards said. In Dhaka, about 200 miles north of the worst-hit region, there were power outages, massive traffic jams and spotty phone service, CNN’s Cal Perry said from the city. "From an infrastructure perspective, the country absolutely has been brought to its knees," he said.

In Villahermosa, Mexico, Maria looks over the inside of her home in Villahermosa, Mexico. Damp and ruined furniture sits by the side of the road, while papers and other personal effects dry out in the front yard. The floodwaters have receded somewhat, but an impromptu lake still splashes up the back steps. Now emptied of possessions, the only thing inside her house is a layer of mud on the floor. "I have nothing," she cries. "I don’t have anyone. My family left me here. I have no food or water. I lost all my clothes. I don’t know what to do." Thousands of Mexicans share her despair, after their homes were ransacked by widespread floods. In Tabasco, a Mexican state about the size of Massachusetts with a population of 1 million, an unprecedented 80 percent of the land area is underwater. Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón is calling this the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. Such an immense catastrophe has elicited a disaster relief response of similar proportions.


Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings each morning, thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf. Even though I keep my eyes tightly closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. There are many who are blind. Even though I huddle in my bed and put off the effort of rising, thank you, Lord that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden. Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned, and tempers are short, thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely. Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced, thank you, Lord for the food we have. There are many who have no job. Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for the gift of life. (Author unknown)

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