Friday, January 28, 2011

Job's Friends

Job 2:11-13 (New King James Version)

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

How should I respond when a friend is suffering great grief? What is it I should say? How should I act? We hurt for our friend, just wanting their pain to go away. Sometimes we try to speak a word of comfort, yet it does not help. Maybe even makes them feel worse.

When my wife died I suffered pain which I could not even describe. Many times people tried to say words of comfort. Yes I appreciated that, as I knew they truly cared. But what brought me the most comfort? It was when someone walked up to me and gave me a great big Ole hug and I could see the sorrow in their eyes. They did not even have to say a word, and if they did speak, just to let me know they cared. Our presence and praying means everything to someone in the early stages of grief.

We never know when death, serious illness or financial disaster is going to rear its ugly head. Many times it is not us it happens to, but a friend. It is good to be prepared in advance, first by knowing who God is and being in a close relationship with Him. I like the way Job’s three friends responded in the passages above. When they heard, they came to him to mourn and comfort him. Then they expressed their grief and set with him without saying a word. This does not mean to not speak at all, but there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. Sometimes our presence and showing we care is the greatest comfort we can give. Unfortunately, later in the book Job’s friends words were not a comfort.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What If You Lost Everything?

Would you still worship God?

That is a very good question to pounder. At times we all have had losses to some degree or another. But what if one day everything was taken from you… your money, your home, your cars, your friends and family all gone. Would you still worship God?

Look at the news Job received one day in Job chapter 1:

Job 1:14b-15 … “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

Job 1:16b …“The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

Job 1:17b …“Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

Job1:18b-19 …“Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

Could you and I respond as Job did?

Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:

“ Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.
Job 1:20-22

It could be very tempting to curse God during our trials. But we must remember; if our name is written in the Lambs Book of Life, God will never leave us of forsake us. He will see us through. I heard someone say once, “in the end (of your trial) everything will be better. If everything is not better yet, then it is not the end.” We serve an awesome God who loves us more that we can even imagine. All we need to do is to look at the Cross of Jesus Christ to see it. Because we live in a fallen world due to sin, we must at time go through some very hard things. But we must remember: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Rom 8:28

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

If you have about 3 minutes, please check out the following video from Voice of the Martyrs. It is very fitting for this post. After some 500 Nigerian Christians were killed, their Church and houses burnt in March 2010, see how they responded:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

No Hiding From God

Psalm 139:7-12

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

It is impossible to hide from God, yet I see many people trying to do just that. People think they can make God go away by denying His existence or by creating a god to their own liking. The fallacy which states “all roads lead to heaven” is denying the truth, and you cannot hide from God behind it. Wherever you are, God is there also. He is either your Lord and Savior or Judge. The awesome thing, God wants to lead people out of darkness (sin and death) and into the light (salvation through Jesus Christ). Also see: John 14:6 and 1 John 1:5-7


Monday, January 17, 2011

Worry Not

So many times I find myself thinking “everything is going to crash and burn.” “Why,” I ask myself, “why?” I have God’s Word and He has proven Himself to be faithful. I remember a couple years ago when I was unemployed and my wife recently had passed away. This was during the great stock market crash and jobs! What jobs! Everyone was cutting back on their work force.

One afternoon, it was a nice sunny winter day here in Phoenix. I went to North Mountain Park worried about my future. “Lord,” I ask, “Why did you take both my wife and my job at the same time?” I said, “Dealing with unemployment would have been much easier if my wife was still alive. But, if you had to take my wife now, why didn’t you at least allow me to keep my job? Dealing with the pain would have been a whole lot easier.” Fearful about what lies ahead, I asked the Lord, “please give me a job, I need to work.” I can remember so clearly to this day His response, “Do not fear, I will open up a job for you quickly.” No, I did not hear voices, but He spoke clearly into my spirit. I left the park that day knowing I was going to work, no question in my mind. The amazing thing, one week later I was at work, hired for a job I had not even applied for. They had contacted me one month earlier, choose to hire someone else. That individual did not work out, so they called offering me the job.

This is just one example of many where the Lord has proven Himself faithful. His grace also was sufficient for me. We as Christians can boldly walk in the path the Lord has chosen us for because we walk with Him. There is no reason to worry, but we do it anyway. Instead, let us seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and trust in Him to lead us through this life.

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matt 6:25-34

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Lord Will Deliver

Psalm 93:1 (New King James Version)

The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The LORD is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.

Oh I love this: “the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.” If God can keep the world from being moved, then what about us?

We all live in a world which seems like it has gone crazy. Evil is on a mission to destroy, but we know Him who sits on the throne. When the floods rage against us, we know the one who will see us through. We have a BIG God looking after us, so why do we fear? For we have a solid promise to stand:

2 Tim 4:18 NKJV

"And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

Photography: xedos4

Friday, January 7, 2011

Let Us Not Become Weary

Do you ever feel like ”throwing in the towel?” Maybe you have spent years praying for a lost loved one to come to Christ, yet success seems as far away as the day you first began.

Or do you ever feel like withholding your giving so you can satisfy some want? After all, you labored all week and you want to go out and blow some money.

I do not know about you, but I have been there, done that. Oh how times I have set my eyes on something, go buy it, just to realize it is not cracked up to be what I thought it was. Then, to reimburse my wallet, the thought of withholding my giving comes to mind. I have to say, “Wait a minute, what’s wrong with this picture?” I also have loved ones who are not saved. I have been faithful in prayer and sharing Jesus with them, yet they remain uninterested. I begin to wonder “why bother?” The temptations are strong, but look at what God promises if we do not lose heart.

6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal 6:6-10 NKJV)

 Lord, give us the strength that we “may not grow weary.” Help us to “press on,” for we trust, in due season we will reap, if we have not given up. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Imagine 100 years from now, we are praising God in heaven, our loved one comes to us saying “You were faithful, God heard your cry, and I am here!” Then, someone else came to you and saying “you were faithful, the Lord blessed, and I am here!” We can be sure, if we do not lose heart, we (and many others) will be eternally grateful.


Monday, January 3, 2011

God's Mercy

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
Psa 103:11-13 ESV

I remember before I was saved, there was a time when I had not a care in the world what so ever about God’s opinion on anything. This is an example of the lack of fear of God. How can one come to understand the mercy of God without a fear of God? The cross of Jesus does not make any sense. Why would God send His only Son to die on the cross if there was nothing to fear because our sin had no eternal consequences?

Now suppose your job was an electrician. You need not be afraid of electricity, but you do need to have a fear of it. You must respect it and know the rules to perform your job. If you thought you were bigger than the electricity and did not care about the “rules” in working with it, the ending is not going to be good, now is it.

Now suppose once again you are a child whose parents love you very much, they show great compassion for you and are deeply concerned about your welfare. All in all you are obedient to them. Every once in a while you blow it; they show you love and mercy because they understand you are not going to be perfect. Every now and again they must discipline you because of your disobedience. This discipline teaches you respect. The fear of their discipline hopefully will keep you from doing wrong, at least most of the time. If you respect them and understand they know what is best, you know they have your best interests in mind. Now one day you broke the rules, got seriously injured and you are going to die. Your father would say, “If I could, I would step in and take your place.”

The good news is Jesus did step in to take our place. He died for us and now God remembers our transgressions no more. He casts them “as far as east if from the west.” This is God’s compassion and His mercy. There is no one else who is able to step in for us. Every one of us has broken the “rules” which lead to death. Jesus will step in, but we must not reject it. Click here if you like more information on receiving God’s mercy.

Photographer: Arvind Balaraman

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fountain of Life

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.

(Pro 14:27 NKJV)

Photographer: Bonnita Moaby.

Every commandment of God is for our own good.
They protect us from harm and keep us away from traps the evil one sets before us. Jesus said in John 10:10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."