Friday, December 15, 2017

Comforting Friends

O. T. #1116  "Comforting Friends"
Dec. 15, 2017
Job 2-Part 4

LET IT GLOW

What? Shall we receive good from God and not evil? (Job 2:10b)
The LORD gave, and the LORD taketh away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 1:21b)

Those words came from a man who had once been healthy, wealthy, and wise. (Although, Job did not throw away his wisdom  as he endured the loss of finances, family, and health.) He moved himself from the big house to the city dump where the lepers would go. Job's foolish wife encouraged him all right-she encouraged him to curse God and be done with the suffering. (They believed blaspheming was a sin that led to death.)

Whew! This poor man who had it all, ended up with nothing, in the eyes of the world that is. He didn't know what was happening to him amidst all those trials. Satan had accused Job before God of only serving God because of His blessings. In proving Job's loyalty and love, God permitted Satan to do whatever he desired, to try to prove his point. The only restriction was that Satan could not take Job's life. Through it all, Job never sinned with his lips. Through all the sleepless nights of grief, the scraping of the horrible sores covering his body, the bankruptcy. the loss of servants, Job didn't blame God and kept loving Him.

If the story of Job's patience and endurance ended there, we would have quite an example for the way a believer is to live, right?
How are you doing today, friend?
Twice in chapter 5, James tells us to be patient:

For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the LORD. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy. (verses 10-11)



LET IT GROW

I don't know about you, but there are times that my friends and I need a ladies lunch together. We may be small in number or take up two tables. Yes, we need times to laugh and cry and hug. Our support lets us know everything is going to be all right. There's nothing like the comfort of friends.

However, Job's life story doesn't end there. More discouragement was to come. It came in the form of three so called friends. They will be the main character until the last few chapters.They were named:
  1. Eliphaz, the Temanite-the oldest, most prominent, took the lead using his philosophical  bent;
  2. Bildad, the Shuhite-a scholar who used the traditions of people as his authority;
  3. Zophar, the Naamathite-the most dogmatic and legalistic of the three. (Falwell)
It must have taken a few months for the word of Job's lowly condition to reach his friends in the East. They communicated among themselves and set a date to meet and go together for a visit to Job. Aw, how nice. Their purpose was to mourn with Job and to comfort him. Their intention was to show sincere sympathy to a friend going through an extremely difficult time. At least they got up and went to a hurting friend, and didn't just talk about doing it. They had no idea that their discussion to come would end by calling their dear friend a secret sinner and a hypocrite.

When someone is in need, do we go to them having the intention of comforting them and mourning with them? Are we sensitive to their needs? Can we lay aside our experiences and suffering?

LET IT GO

Mourn with  those who mourn, laugh with those who laugh.
Be all things to all people as Paul was.
Listen and love, remaining alert to the needs of others.
Endure suffering, knowing God is full of tenderness and mercy.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Advise for Wives

O. T. #1115  "Advise for Wives"
Dec. 14, 2017
Job 2-Part 3

LET IT GLOW

Just say it Job! Curse God and be done with it. Why are you holding onto your integrity? Job needed a devoted and loving wife, but she had come to the end of her rope of hope, hanging on no more, letting go. She was done. Job had lost his 10 children, all his livestock, all his servants except 4. Now he was covered with boils and sat at the city dump, scratching with a piece of pottery. Although, through it all, Job never sinned.
What would be our response if we only had one of those situations to go through?

Why do you think Mrs. Job responded in this way? Swindoll suggests four reasons:
  1. She. too, had lost ten children. In her weakening struggle with deep grief, she may have blurted this out.
  2. She, too, had suffered the loss of their wealth and possessions. Since her husband had reached a high level of financial security, there were benefits, perks, and pleasures that bring great satisfaction with that lifestyle. Those many possessions that were destroyed were her possessions, too. Job's wife was reduced to the same economical level has her husband.
  3. For years she had enjoyed being the wife of "the greatest of all the men of the east." There were great moments of public, acknowledgement and inner joy in that. She was no longer the leading lady of the community. She's now the pathetic wife of a broken man whose world has collapsed, who now sits alone in abject poverty, covered with sores.
  4. She lost her companion. Their quiet give-and-take conversation and romantic times are over. The woman has no hope that this will ever change.
I don't recall ever hearing a message or a study that considered the situation from Job's wife perspective. I can't imagine having to endure such things.

Swindoll makes some suggestions for wives to consider:
  • Always guard your words when your husband is going through terribly hard times. Going through sustained hard times weakens most men. We tend to loos our objectivity, stability, discernment, determination, becoming vulnerable, afraid. Men need their woman's clear perspective, wisdom, and spiritual strength. Hardship seems to strengthen women. They need prayers, emotional support, encouraging words.
  • Never suggest that we compromise our integrity, even if it would provide temporary relief. Job need his wife to tell him to stand fast. She was with him as they walked with God together.
Sounds like some good advice for us wives.

LET IT GROW

In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (verse 10)

Can we hear Job's trust and faith in God?
We can't explain what happens to us, often times. However, we can watch and wait on our God to work in and through it. God has a plan unfolding although we cannot understand it now. Our faithfulness can be a witness of God's grace and love.

Here are three timeless principles Swindoll  gleaned from Job's experience:
  1. Since our lives are full of trials, we need to remember there are always more to come. Trials are inevitable, so don't be surprised. Be aware that the Adversary is on the loose. 
  2. Since our world is fallen, we need to understand that those who love us may give us wrong advice. Square whatever you hear with the principles of God's Word. They may be speaking as a foolish person.
  3. Since our God is sovereign, we must prepare ourselves for blessing and adversity.
Dr. Frances I. Anderson, a medical doctor and archeologist, biblical scholar and author from Australia comments on this segment of Job's story:
When the bad as well as the good is received at the hand of God, every experience of life becomes an occasion of blessing. But the cost is high. It is easier to lower your view of God than to raise your faith to such a height.

But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.  (Ps. 115:3)

God is not obligated to explain Himself. Someday it will all be made clear to us. May we continue to praise His name! Submit to Him today, dear one.
(Keep in mind that our hard times may be the result of others sins, our bad choices made, or the devil working to bring us down.)

LET IT GO

                                ... of those hurtful words and deeds, forgiving.
                                ... of those mean schemes and gossips of the ones trying to hurt us.
                                ... and cling to Jesus and give Him the glory for our story.
                                ... maintaining our integrity as a Christian.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sitting in the City Dump

O. T. #1114 "Sitting in the City Dump"
Dec. 13, 2017
Job 2-Part 2

LET IT GLOW

Do we ever feel like we are sitting in the city dump? Our world is a mess, things couldn't get any worse. Our life stinks. Dogs are growing round us. We need to sit down and have a good cry. Maybe that will make things better. Well, pouring out our heart to God does. He loves us with an unfailing love. His mercies are new every morning. Beyond his control, Job's life stinks.

Through it all, Job trusted in God. He was ruined financially. His family fell apart. His position in the community was wiped out. Yet during all the devastation, Job's integrity remained in tact.
But the Adversary was not finished with Job yet. He had another scheme. With God's permission, Satan brought on the second wave of suffering upon Job. His only restriction was Job's life must be spared. Then Satan smit Job with boils.


There are many opinions as to what kind of disease Job was struck with:
smallpox, elephantiasis, eczema, keratosis, melanoma. Whatever the skin ulcers were, Job was covered from head to toe. What misery for this godly man to experience. What physical pain and emotional pain he went through. It was for sure that Satan wasted no time hitting Job while he was down.

Swindoll gave symptoms of Jobs ailment using Scriptures:
  • Inflamed ulcerous sores (2:7)
  • Persistent itching (2:8)
  • Facial disfiguration (2:12)

The list goes on in other chapters. What misery for one person to endure. Whatever the disease was, we know that Satan caused it. We learn that he has the power to inflict people with disease, even believers. (Sometimes diseases are self inflicted, though.)


LET IT GLOW


Job's poverty and rejection would have resulted in a relocation to what we call the city dump, where the lepers went. Can we picture a man who once was the wealthiest in the East and highly respected in the area, sitting in the city dump? Job is sitting in an ash heap, surrounded by rejects that lived there, a place where dogs fought over a scrap to eat, and where the city's dung was brought and burned. Job scraped his sores with a broken piece of pottery, too. How horrible for him. Doesn't our heart go out to this man suffering beyond our comprehension?

Death under these conditions would have been preferred. During one of Mrs. Job's visits to her husband, she encouraged him to just curse God and die. Say it and get this over. Why was he still trying to maintain his integrity?

Matthew 22:37 says, Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

Job called his wife foolish. His answer is found in verse 10: Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?
In all of this, Job did nothing wrong.

Was Job's wife presenting another trial for him?  She advised the very thing Satan had been trying to get Job to do. Perhaps in her deep love for her husband, Mrs. Job could not stand to see him suffer any longer. At that time, it was presumed that cursing God would bring death. Through it all, Job remained faithful to his God. He did not sin with his lips.

Satan was rebuffed, defeated, and overcome, and does not appear again in the book. (Falwell)

A man must continue to fear God even when his world flies apart and life strands him, like Job, in stunned bewilderment on the refuse heap. (Kline says in Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

Amidst the suffering, no matter what it is, will we stand firm in our love for our God?
Remember, God loves us so much that he left heaven, took on the form of man, and died for us so we could have heaven for all of eternity. Thank You Jesus!

LET IT GO

Love God with all my heart, soul, and mind.
Love others.
Trust God with the reasons for suffering.



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Compared to What Job Went Through

O. T. #1113 "Compared to What Job Went Through"
Dec. 12, 2017
Job 2

LET IT GLOW

When I consider all that has happened to me this year, even the worse suffering and hardest trials do not compare one iota to what Job endured. His makes mine seem so small. After all, I haven't lost my children, nor our lively hood. Compared to what Job went through, well...

Seems like we've been here before. A second time Satan appeared before God. Again, God describes Job as perfect, upright, God-fearing, and evil shunning man. However, this time, God added to the description of Job-he holds fast to his integrity.

Integrity, in the Hebrew language, means innocence.

Even through all his losses, under the most adverse circumstances, Job did not curse his God. In spite of  Satan talking God into ruining Job without cause. We see why Job claims his innocence later in chapter 27. It was true. God even said so.

Certainly, much suffering in the world is due to sin, but not the case of Job. Oh, he wasn't sinless, but there was no direct cause and effect relationship between his life and the suffering he experienced.
(Falwell)

And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. but put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. (verses 4-5)

Satan was implying that when you come right down to it, man is so selfish and self-centered he will always sacrifice someone else's skin to save his own, even his own family. Isn't he saying that anyone would give up all his possession to save his life? Could the Adversary imply that Job's response to his losses was a fake to stop the attacks while he still had his life and health? Job only said what God wanted to hear. What accusations! Not everyone is like Satan.

Satan contended that what he had done to Job so far was just touching the skin, scratching the surface. (MacArthur)

Satan thought his second request would produce what the first one did not-destroying Job's confidence and faith in God and result in his cursing God. His first scheme failed, but would his second scheme?

Do we hold fast our integrity or do we compromise?

LET IT GROW

He is in your power, only spare Job's life. God set limitations on Satan's authority. Had Satan been allowed to take Job's life, the effect of Job's testing would not have been evident.

Satan in his own right does not have the authority to take the life of a faithful believer. (Falwell)

There was not better man living in his day than Job. This godly man was a faithful husband, a loving father, a good employer. he had an abundance of everything until the day the bottom dropped out. Job lost his servants except four, his means for making a living, and his 10 grown children. Having buried all of his children and lying next to as grieving wife, did Job have a sleepless night? How could it  get any worse?
More was to come. Job had no idea that unfair and undeserved suffering which lay ahead for him.

Do we have unwavering character and unconditional trust in God like Job had?
What do we need to make us happy?
Are we thankful for what God has blessed us with?


LET IT GO

                               ... and let God be my joy.
                               ...of stuff that drags me down.
                               ... and rejoice in the Lord always.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Good Giver, The Giver of Good

O. T. #1112  "The Good Giver, The Giver of Good"
Dec. 11, 2017
Job 1-Part 5

LET IT GLOW

Last time we discussed the four rapid-fire disasters that Satan used to destroy Job's livestock servants, and children. Only the four messengers of such survived. Satan's purpose for all of that tragedy was for Job to curse God, having nothing left.
In verse 20, we read of four verbs which describe what Job did before it tells what he said: he arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, fell down on the ground, and worshiped. Job did all of this tin expression of his grief.

He didn't wallow and wail...he worships. The Hebrew verb means to fall prostrate in utter submission and worship. (Swindoll)

The one cursing was Satan. Of all things, the man lost it all, and the One who allowed it to happen, his God, the man still worships Him. No blame, bitterness, cursing, clinched fists, no "why," no "how dare You."

What was it this man of faith had grown to realize and recognize in his life? We find the answer in verse 21:
Naked I came out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I turn thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Job came in this world naked and would go out the same way, as his body was prepared for burial. All that we have in between those two events is given to us by the Giver of Life. It is all on loan to us. Blessed be the name of the LORD for loaning it to me. Blessed be His name for choosing to remove it. Now that is a man who has his priorities in the right place. It's all on loan, every bit of it, as Swindoll said..

So the next time we walk through out house, sit on the couch, sleep in our bed, drive our car, go to our job, will we give thanks to the Good Giver, the Giver of good?


LET IT GROW

Stuff never owned Job, did it? When our possessions own us, then we are in trouble. Job did not set his affections on things on the earth, but on God. Even concerning Job's kids, he believed that the One who gave them has the right to take them when He wants. Job was not the soul owner and he knew it. We are only stewards of what we have been given. After all, we will let go of it when we die, so why not acknowledge God's right to take it early?

I'm not saying this is easy. Haven't we Americans gotten comfortable here in this world? (Perhaps greedy for more things, the latest of things.) What are we teaching our children? Do they see we love God above all thins?

In all this, Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. (verse 22)

Satan failed at his tasks. In spite of his tremendous losses and legitimate grief, Job did not impute anything wrong to God, much less curse Him to His face. This does not mean Job understand why all these things happened to him, but he did recognize God's sovereign rights over His creation. (Falwell)

Job still continued to worship, even while he grieved. His circumstances did not make a sinner out of hm. He didn't turn to evil when evil came to him.

Isn't it wonderful that God has given us a heroic and enduring  example in Job to show us that we can make it through whatever life throws our way?

No matter what happens, will we continue to love and serve God?
Will we trust Him to word all things out for our good and His glory?
When our world falls in on us, will our faith in Jesus see us through?
Is there anything we need to release our ownership to God?

LET IT GO

Give God my everything so He can be my Everything.
Hold all things loosely.
Accept the unrevealed answers as to God's reasons for taking something back.
Let nothing separate me from God's love.

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Door of Devastation

O. T. #1111  "A Door of Devastation"
Dec. 8, 2017
Job 1-Part 4
I am the door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (words of Jesus in John 10:9)

LET IT GLOW

It may be that one phone call, a loud knock on the door, a cold text, facing words of hate, or hearing the results of a medical report, that come to inform us of the devastation that has happened to one of our loved ones or to us. Some of us have already opened the door of devastation. Instead of stiffening our heart and knees, we bend and fall down, pouring out the pain we feel to our compassionate God. Nothing takes Him by surprise.

Verse 13 begins: And there was a day... The scene shifts back to earth. Satan got what he wanted-the chance to cause Job to curse God. Did Satan have a plan? Boy, did he ever. The Adversary hit Job where it hurts. Yet, to Job that day, all appeared to be well. His grown children had gone over the Job Junior's house for a relaxing time together. Job, being the good father that he was, prayed for his children. Faithful Job worshiped the Lord and sacrificed unto Him on behalf of his children. He must have felt confident of the Lord's protection and favor. God's hedge of protection surrounded him and his house, family, and business. Job hadn't the foggiest idea what he was about to face.

Now it happened-the hedge was removed. Then comes the banging on the door of the big house. Once he opened the door, Job's life would never be the same. Four trembling messengers poured out their tragic reports, which they witnessed, one after another.
They regretfully reported;
  1. The oxen that were plowing and the donkeys that were feeding beside them were attacked  by the Sabeans and took them all away. (Sebeans were terrorizing robbers from Arabia.)They killed Job's servants there, except for the one who escaped to tell Job.
  2. Lightning fell from heaven and burnt up the sheep and Job's servants caring for them. The reporter was the only survivor.
  3. A band of Chaldeans captured the camels and killed all of Job's servants but the reporter. (The Chaldeans were semi-nomadic people experienced in war.)
  4. Job's children were all killed by a tornado clasping the oldest brother's house in which they eating. They are all dead.
All these events happened on the same day, almost simultaneously. Satan has some power over nature and the weather, but it does not supersede the power of God.
In all four catastrophes there was a loss of human life. Don't you think the news of the four devastations that Job heard kept playing over and over in his mind?

LET IT GROW

It seems that Job handled the first three events calmly. However, Satan had Job right where he wanted him. Surely Job would curse God after the fourth tragedy, so he thought.

How did Job respond? Verses 20-22 tell us:
  • Job stood up and tore his robe in grief.
  • He shaved his head as a sign of grief.
  • Job fell to the ground in submission and humility and worshiped God. 
I just can't imagine the pain Job must have felt that day. Not only was he wiped out financially, loosing his high position in the community, but on the same day he lost his beloved children and his heritage. This most wealthy and powerful man in the East became a nobody overnight. The Adversary had done his work well, hadn't he? Yet it was to no avail. Instead of cursing his God like Satan said Job would do, Job worshiped.
Would we react the same way? Or would we curse God instead of worshiping Him? We like to think we would remain a faith a faithful servant of our God. Yet do we really know how we would react until faced with suck tragedy? (I pray none of us ever find our self at that crossroad.)

Let's not duke ourselves into thinking: God is going to replace Job's wealth and give him more children. Suck up Buttercup. Take it like a man. No, love and compassion does not do that.

My heart goes out those many families in the Sutherland Springs, Texas community that are missing their loved ones this Christmas season. May they hold onto the hope of Jesus in their hearts.

In our key verse above, Jesus is speaking of himself as the Good Shepherd who has come to give us life, abundant life, as He gives life to us His sheep.

LET IT GO

Be a true believer in Jesus as Savior with faith that can't be broken.
Yield a broken and bent heart to Jesus for mending.
Stay a faithful servant of God as I love others.
Meet devastation head on with the sword of the Spirit.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Looking and Learning

O. T. #1110. "Looking and Learning"
Dec. 7, 2017
Job 1-Part 3


LET IT GLOW

The Accuser is claiming divine favoritism. He said that God built a hedge of protection around Job, his house, and all he has.
What protections/blessings did Job receive from God?
-his body from illness,
-his family from harm,
-his possessions from destruction,
-work of his hands was blessed,
-his possessions and fame were increased in the land.

Who wouldn't worship the God who gave all that? That was Satan's point.
But God stated that his servant Job was the greatest of all the men of the east. (verse3)
For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from sin. (verse 8)

You bring him down to the dirt like the rest of those humans have to live their lives, and You'll see what he's made of. He'll turn on You in a heartbeat! (Swindoll's wording)

The Lord said to Satan,"Behold, all that he has is in your power.  Don't take his life." (verse 12)
Satan purposes to destroy Job in hopes of disgracing God. We know that ain't going to happen.

Is there anything that could be taken from us that would cause us to turn from serving and worshiping God? Our health, family, job, possessions? Ask Him to show you what's in your heart, if anything, that is more important than He is to you.

LET IT GROW

In Swindoll's book, "A Man of Heroic Endurance," gives us 4 principles:
1. There is an enemy we encounter we cannot see...but he is real. He wants to deceive you, play tricks on your mind, weakening you, bring you down, and ruin your testimony as he destroys your life.
2. There are trials we endure we don't deserve, but they are permitted.
3. There is a plan we explore we will not understand, but it is best.
4. There are consequences we experience, we could not anticipate, but they are necessary.

Keep in mind: Nothing touches our life that has not first passed through the hands of God. He is in full control and because He is, He has the sovereign right to permit trials that we do not deserve. What is happening is a necessary part of our spiritual growth. Swindoll's

Will we accept it as necessary?
Will I look for the good this problem brings and develops in me through spiritual growth?

LET IT GO

Be on the lookout for Satan's tricks and temptations.
Even if I don't deserve what is happening to me, trust God through it all.
What am I to learn in
this?
Thank God for all His blessings and provisions and protection.