Wednesday, September 30, 2009

2009 – Day 272.Sept 30 – God’s Justice

Passage of the Day: Job 42 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
I’m coming down the stretch in my study of the Book of Job along with Chuck Swindoll; and it has been another growth experience to do these devotionals. And being here in Chapter 42 at the end of Job’s book, Swindoll points out two salient points that we should take away as truths which can alter our world view and the values which influence the decisions we make in life.

And the first of these two is, according to Swindoll, that "… forgiveness is worth waiting for.” Somehow, he posits, we’ve got to internalize the truth that in God’s time and in His way our Lord is going to bring the scales of justice into balance. And right here in this last chapter of Job’s story we read of the results of Job’s willingness to forgive and pray for His friends as well as his confession to God for his weaknesses. And look at the result as Satan was proven wrong, his three friends were brought to their knees, and Job is duly rewarded with complete restoration and rewards twice over.

And secondly, in a related vein, Swindoll writes this, “… God’s justice is worth waiting for.” We certainly have seen that much went on in Job’s life which he couldn’t see, nor perceive; and some of it seemed unwarranted and most of it certainly unwanted. God’s “deal” with Satan behind the scenes in Job’s life would seem to be like something coming into our lives which happened and we didn’t ask for it, nor did we deserve it. But “WHAMO!” It did happen; and we, like Job, had to deal with the circumstances, not knowing why God allowed these things to happen. But looking to Job, we see how he dealt with it.

First, Job trusted God in the face of horrible personal loss and physical oppression. And yes, he mistakenly listened to the reasoning of the world, personified by his friends, who had all kinds of skewed worldly advice. But when he felt confused, Job took his inquiries directly to God, not to those friends; and in the end, as we read in this last chapter of his life, Job was rewarded and the mistaken friends were brought to their knees, worshipping God and asking Job for forgiveness. It took quite a long time; but God made things right; and Job finally saw that God’s justice was well worth waiting for.

My friends, my writing at this point in your life may find you experiencing some horrible set of unwanted and unwarranted circumstances. Just a couple of weeks ago a dear sister in Christ in our church, who has three teenage kids, learned that she had cancer; and in less than ten days she was taken home to eternity leaving her husband and kids behind. “Why, Lord?!” we are tempted to ask. But right now while we’re healthy and can reason, we need to go back and meditate on and recognize the truth of those verses we’ve brought up in this study of Job.

So, as I sit here and write this morning, I’m mulling over the truths of Isaiah 55: 8 – 9 and Romans 8: 28, which remind me that God’s ways are way above my understanding and when He allows things – even really bad things - into my life, they are ALWAYS for my good. Oh, how I pray that we all can get those truths into our consciousness so that we can draw on the power of truth when we need that power.

And I pray that we all can take these truths to heart from our study of our restored hero, Job.

My Prayer for Today: My God, I’ve read the end of Your story; and in the end You make all things right; and this story of redemption has taken thousands of years to unfold. So, give me patience, Lord, to wait for Your perfect justice and restoration in this wisp of time which is my life. Amen

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

2009 – Day 271.Sept 29 – God Hears

Passage of the Day: Job 42 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today: I agree with Chuck Swindoll that some may be reading what he or I write having been abused or treated extremely unfairly in their past; and you’ve read through Job with a bit more of a jaded attitude than I might have. Perhaps you’ve now chosen to place your trust in God; but you still hold some reservations. But, at least in your head, you have believed in the truth that God’s word is true. And now you’ve read through Job 42 and you read of God making it right for Job and bringing his three bad counselors to task for what they told our hero of the faith. But you still may have trouble trusting God completely because of all those bad things which happened in your past life.

My friend, I know how you might feel. I was abused sexually by a Boy Scout camp counselor when I was twelve; and my situation may not have been as bad or extended over time as was your situation; but mine did lead to me getting deeply addicted to pornography and spending 22 years of my life living a Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde life into all types of sexual sin and hiding that life from all who loved me. Those life choices also led me to atheism and a deep distrust of God. So, I do know what it feels like to be estranged from God.

But, a little over 25 years ago, God led me into a place in my life where I learned that He had never forgotten me; and, in brokenness, I was able to see that He had been watching over me all along. And He led me, as it says in Psalm 23 into, through, and out of the “valley of the shadow of death,” our of which I came into the Light and was able, as did Job, to see that He was in total control all along and that my God not only forgave me; but He gave me the enabling grace to forgive my original abuser as well as my mother, who, though she was never able to give me the hugs I so desperately desired and needed, really always loved me just as God had.

I came to experience, like Job, the God who never quits listening; and He is the God Who will exact perfect justice at exactly the right time – with HIS perfect timing. My friend, if you’ve had trouble trusting God; and He’s has seemed distant from you, do what Pastor Chuck suggests and go back and meditate on God’s word in Hebrews 6: 10, which states (in the NKJV), For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

And it’s good to see that Eugene Peterson, in The Message version of Scripture, translates the first phrase of that verse, “God didn’t miss anything.” No, my friend, if you can believe that God’s word is true, Job 42 and Hebrews 6: 10 and one of my favorites, Psalm 116: 1-2 [link provided], tells us that God never quits listening to us. Yes, God sometimes, like He did for Job, seems to be quiet for a long time; but He will intervene at exactly the right time in our lives to make things all right again.

However, I know, at times, for some of us, that’s going to require, as it did for Job, an extra degree of patience and a whole lot of faith. But the message of Job screams loudly for us to stick in there with God, to wait on Him, and to acknowledge that our God is in total control, with, as Paul learned in 2nd Cor. 12: 9, His grace being sufficient for us and that His strength being made perfect in our weakness.

I know that your situation may be entirely worse than mine; but it’s doubtful that it’s any worse than was Job’s. So, God’s word tell us – from Chapter 42 of Job - to stick in there with God; and let Him do His thing, in His time, and in His way. My friend, He’s going to make it right in the end.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for showing me the way to trust You is to trust in Your word, which lets me know of Your love and Your grace, which I now know is sufficient for me in all the circumstances of life. Amen

Monday, September 28, 2009

2009 – Day 270.Sept 28 – Humble Yourself NOW

Passage of the Day: Job 42 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Sometimes, when I’m touched by a certain passage of Scripture or I feel personally convicted by said passage, it helps to go back and read that passage from several versions of scripture to get the various colorations from the various English translations that passage. The one verse, which is the focus verse for Chuck Swindoll’s devotional today, is Job 42: 6, which reads as follows in the NASB, which is the version Swindoll uses. It says in the NASB, “Therefore, I retract myself and repent in dust and ashes.” But let’s take a look at this same passage in several other versions of Scripture.

For example from the version I usually use in my devotional study. From the NKJV ... “Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” And in that reading I think you can see that the interpretation of that verse takes on a little different color. Well, at least it does for me.

Let’s try the NIV, which states, “Therefore, I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” … Or from the NLT, which puts forth, “I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

I think taking all of these versions into my view helps me see the montage of truth being presented by God’s word and the point being made by Swindoll concerning Job’s attitude as he [Job] finally HUMBLY realizes where God stands and where he is at this point in his life. And the key here is the timing of Job’s attitude – just prior to God’s mercy of restoration being displayed.

Yes, it would be easy for Job to be humble AFTER God restores him; but verse 6 is stated while Job is still childless, homeless, penniless, powerless, and covered in boils. And therefore, in abject personal humility, Job surrenders himself – ALL of himself – to God’s will; and he is totally and utterly repentant. He pulls back and sees that all his questioning and confusion have been for naught. He sees that he can grieve his loss; but must return to his early attitude and personal psalm, which stated, (see Job 1: 21) “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, … Blessed by the Name of the Lord.”

How often in the course of my devotionals this year, as I have, with Chuck Swindoll’s help, studied the lives of such heroes of the faith as Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Esther, and now Job has the attitude of HUMILITY been raised? Well, the answer is in every one. And the reason for that is simple. In every one of these paragons of the faith, humility is the key attitude which makes them like Christ, … which separates them from the attitudes of “natural man,” where pride is the mark of our nature.

Swindoll, in closing his devotional for today, states a biblical command from God, taken from James 4:10, which I’ll quote from the NASB, “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” And this is just after James has quoted (see James 4: 6) from Prov. 3: 34, which states, “God opposes the proud but gives (His) grace to the humble.”

Oh, how I will now pray that we get this truth, my dear ones. If we cannot choose humility, as Job learned, God will put us or allow Satan to lead us, into such humbling circumstances that we will have to humbly repent and declare our submission to God’s will. Personally I think it wise to choose humility and surrender on the front end of life rather than having to go through the valley of the shadow of death to find God’s way in this world ... or to have to succumb in hell for eternity. As the kids now say, “Been there, … done that, … got the T-shirt.” And I have; and let me tell you, it’s far better to be proactive about this humility business rather than wait for God to humble you. Job will tell you. It’s a lot less painful to humble yourself NOW.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, You had to take job and me through hell to find a glimpse of heaven. But praise Your Holy Name that You did. Amen

Sunday, September 27, 2009

2009 – Day 269.Sept 27 – Incapable of Comprehending

Passage of the Day: Job 42 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Today’s message is a tough one to swallow. No matter how mature we are in our faith, I don’t think we’ll ever be any different than Job here in Chapter 42. Yes, Job finally gets the message that God is God; and he finally understands – to a certain degree – the truth we’ve revealed in earlier devotionals this month from Isaiah 55: 8 -9 … that God’s ways are simply way above our comprehension. However, in some respects, my fellow believer, we’ll never be able to fully grasp the WHYs and WHEREFOREs of God.

And Swindoll is right … that this very weakness in our nature as humans is just the way we are. Again I say … “God is God and we are not.” And Pastor Chuck speculates that it is actual part of the futility of this truth that helps us. I guess you’d call it the “ignorance is bliss” part of our nature. Let’s face it. Would it really help for us to be able to understand why God allows planes to fly into buildings or why a wonderful Christian contracts terminal cancer or why a little babe is killed in a senseless drive-by shooting?

I think of Christ’s own disciples who walked with Him for three years; and like Peter, most of them truly believed that this man was God’s very Son, the Messiah, and the Savior of mankind. But even with them seeing the Lord perform great and wondrous miracles, … even with some of them seeing Him transfigured in Heaven, they still didn’t get it when they saw Him crucified. Peter, the most ardent of the disciple believers even denied his Lord; and they all ran in fear from the garden showing their disbelief, given the circumstances of life coming down around them.

And my friend, we’re no different. We may believe in our God’s love and mercy and grace in our heads; but when we walk into a scenario somewhat like our righteous hero, Job, we get just as confused and disoriented as Job had been prior to Chapter 42. And we can only hope that our maturity finally rests on our faith in the truth of that verse we keep returning to in this series of devotional, Romans 8: 28, that one I really hope you have memorized and internalized … that [from my memory] “…our God works all things together for the good for those who love our God and whom are the called according to His purpose.”

Do you really believe that, my dear one? Because if we do, we will respond as did Job in Chapter 42; and we’ll simply acknowledge – BY FAITH – that The Father knows best … that God will restore us sometime and in some way; … but we’re going to have to know that it will be His way and in His time. Job finally got it; and God was merciful to allow our hero of the faith to experience that restoration in his human lifetime. But my friend, our faith just may have to be greater than Job’s. Oh, along the way in life, God may give us little glimpses of our Glory; but while we live, we will likely never be able to see what Jesus’ disciples saw, … the Living Lord coming back bodily to show them of His resurrection. We may not be able to see God’ justice being worked out in our lifetime for all the injustices we see occurring in our world. And we may never be able to explain WHY God allows us to have to fight ill health or financial woes or some obsessive/compulsive drive to sinfulness.

But I’ll say it again, my friend, praying that we’ll all at least understand that God is God though we are not! And our God loves us … yes, even when we fight the rigors of cancer. And God’s mercy is new every morning, … yes, even when we see some elderly woman beaten on a dark street in our city for $24. And God’s grace saved me, … yes, even though I had spit in His face for 22 years living in a double life of horrible habitual sin.

Yes, … it is in faith we must come to Him. It is in faith which we must receive His grace, even when we cannot explain it nor understand it. And it IN FAITH we will one day stand before Him perfectly glorified and sanctified by His going to that cross for our sin. I pray now that we get it.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, at least in this moment, I see it. I get it. Help me to hold on to this reality of faith when I face the world today. Amen

Saturday, September 26, 2009

2009 – Day 268.Sept 26 – Set Free

Passage of the Day: Job 42 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
I agree with my devotional shepherd, Chuck Swindoll in his book, Great Days with the Great Lives, that Chapter 42 of Job, especially the first eleven verses is a wonderful representation of what happens at the cross. And you know, the times I had read this victorious chapter earlier, I had never really seen it that way.

Oh, I saw Job being restored after his prayer for the three “friends” who had done him wrong [see this memorable passage of restoration in Job 42: 10]. And I had seen God’s justice coming into balance after it had seemingly been out of balance for so long with Job getting the short end of Satan’s stick. And I saw Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar having to humble themselves before God and Job. But until Pastor Swindoll helped me see it, I had never seen how God – as He did at the cross – released His justice and mercy so that the power of His grace could be worked out in one final efficacious act of love. I had never seen Job as a personification of what our Lord did for us on the cross.

Yes, that’s what is happening in Job 42; and it’s what happened at the cross. Job prayed for the three men here; and on the cross Jesus prayed, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” And in Job’s act, as well as that of the Lamb of God, sinners were set free – forever. And Job was then fully restored into his former glory, just as God, the Father, did for Jesus when The Father’s Son ascended back into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God, the Father, re-established into the glory which He had so ignominiously set aside to walk in agony as a servant of mankind (see Phil. 2: 5 – 11 - link provided).

Oh, my friends, isn’t the balance of God’s justice and His grace so, so perfect? And here, in this story of Job’s serving God, we see a picture of the suffering Servant, Jesus; and we must stand in awe of what our Savior went through to serve His Father and what He did in His earthly walk to suffer for my sins (and yours). Job becomes another of the arch types of The Christ that we study to realize whom we must become as God’s Spirit reshapes us into His image for eternity.

So, we must ask ourselves, are there any in our lives for whom we need to pray, “Forgive them, Father, for they really didn’t know what they were doing when they wronged me”? Do we need to repent our confused and selfish heart, as did Job, when we experience tribulations in this life and we’re tempted to ask, “Why, me, Lord?” Do we need to be more patient – as was Job in his account – realizing God truly does work out ALL things for my good and His glory [see, of course, Romans 8: 28]? This has been a good review for me to do the self inventory which Paul spoke of in 2nd Cor. 13: 5 [linked] to see if, indeed, my faith sees Christ is in me and I trust His Spirit for all that is going on in my life.

Perhaps we all need to take that test and see if we have the patience of Job [and Jesus] in our hearts.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I know I need to do more to see Your fruit of patience mature in my heart. Amen

Friday, September 25, 2009

2009 – Day 267.Sept 25 – A Profound Plan

Passage of the Day: Job 42 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
And now, Job having come to the realization that his God had a plan all along, … that the Lord knew what was best all along, … and that God’s ways are profound and way beyond the vision of man, the Lord’s mercy and justice is worked out before Job’s eyes. And as we read it in Chapter 42, those who gave Job all that bad information were reproved by God and Job was fully restored in his lifetime. Therefore, Job’s situation becomes a model of God’s justice being perfect; and we see that the scales held by the Father of all justice will one day be brought back into perfect balance – His balance.

My friend, we have to realize, as the circumstances of life seem to put those scales of justice out of balance, that God’s ways are mysterious to us. In my devotionals on Job these past few weeks, I have been brought to remember the truths of Isaiah 55: 8 – 9 [linked here for your meditation] and Romans 8: 28, the latter which I hope you have already memorized. These truths tell us that all things in our lives are for our good as Christians and that God’s ways are so much higher than our ways, often being so obscure that we are not given the privilege of seeing their profound ways in this life.

But Job was finally able to see God put it all into balance; and sometimes we will be given that privilege. I can remember thinking some of these same thoughts when we saw Neil Armstrong step down on the moon or when the Berlin wall was brought down in crumbles. Both of those events in our times seemed to be the result of a God moving to right the scales of justice. They had come about in such a miraculous way that it had to be something beyond man moving those events in our times. At the time Armstrong stepped on the moon I was not even a Christian; but I had to recognize that that accomplishment was way more than man could bring about himself. However, my perspective was very different when the Berlin wall and communism in Europe fell. The Lord was in my life then; and I saw, as did millions of others, that God can and will move in wondrous ways to bring about His own profound plan.

Are things all out of whack in your life? Are the scales of justice imbalanced from your perspective? Well, stay in there, fellow believer! Pray for patience and diligence because God is likely preparing you for some profound plan which you cannot see right now. If nothing else, He’s preparing you for Heaven; and that should be enough for any of us. One day the scales of God’s order are going to be brought into perfect balance; and we will be privileged to see God’s perfect plan in its perfection. But now, we simply must acknowledge that God is the only One Who can see it; and we will see only what HE designs for us to see and know. And truly all things do work themselves for His good and His glory.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to have the patience to wait for Your plan to reach Your perfection. Amen

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2009 – Day 266.Sept 24 – Turn Around

Passage of the Day: Job 42: 1 - 6 … 1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:
2 “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.
6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”

My Journal for Today: Okay, my friends who follow me here, we’re going to be in the climax chapter of Job for the remainder of our days with this hero of the faith. And what a chapter it is.

In it we begin by seeing this man, with whom we all should identify, finally get it; and by that I mean that all haughtiness is replace by humility; and our confused hero becomes our contrite hero.

You know, it has been said that if a Christian, after coming in faith to a saving knowledge of Christ, cannot choose to humble himself before God’s throne of sanctifying grace, God will “help” him do it; and that is the lesson we see Job finally learning in Chapter 42; and he flat-out says it in verses 1-6.

And I just can imagine a wry smile on God’s face as He hears His man, Job, candidly repenting in these words, spoken with conviction and understanding to the Living God. As Swindoll puts it, “Job [finally] got it!” And Pastor Chuck goes on to say what Job finally realized. And he writes about what Job came to acknowledge, which we should as well …

God’s purpose is unfolding; and I [we] cannot hinder it.
God’s plan is incredible; and I [we] will not comprehend it.
God’s reproof is reliable; and I [we] dare not ignore it.
God’s way is best; and I [we] must not resist it.

So, my dear one, I ask, “Have we gotten the message yet?” And I could go on to ask if we, who use the Name “Christian,” have learned that humility is a much more powerful choice than pride. Have we come to the realization that all I feel I own is from God? It’s not mine! Do I get it that none of what I enjoy in life is deserved?! It’s all from God … and for God!

Well, as Swindoll posits, it is tragic that many who have received the fire insurance of salvation have not come to the realization Job did in these first six verses of Job 42. Many of us walk around with the mistaken feeling that we deserve what we have and that we’re in control of our lives. In fact we actually seek to be in control of our lives. And my friend, that’s a lie; and we need to see it and acknowledge it before God.

Job is about to realize just how satisfying an attitude of humility and a choice of surrender can be. He’s about to find out how God rewards someone who lives a truly submissive life … a life dedicated to outright obedience. And Swindoll says that the blend of a strong-hearted, assertive Christian being in surrender mode to God can be a powerful force in the world. And when it happens, I strongly feel that a dimmed Christian lamp can become a bright light shining the world to fulfill Christ’s command in Matthew 5: 16 [link provided] were we, who carry the label “Christian,” can shine a light of good works for all in the darkness of this world to see Christ to the glory of our Father in heaven.

Job sees this; and he repents, … turning 180 degrees and walking in God’s direction, … away from self, away from the world, and most certainly away from Satan. The question becomes … “Have we really repented of our pride, our control, and our self-directed walk in this world?” Oh, how I pray that we get it as did Job!

My Prayer for Today: Lord, … if I have not seen what true repentance is like; … show me! Amen

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2009 – Day 265.Sept 23 – Follow In Obedience

Passage of the Day: Job 40: 1-5 … From The Message Version of God’s word … 1-2 God then confronted Job directly: "Now what do you have to say for yourself? Are you going to haul Me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?"
3-5 Job answered: "I'm speechless, in awe—words fail me. I should never have opened my mouth!I've talked too much, way too much. I'm ready to shut up and listen."

My Journal for Today: What a luxury, getting up with the sunrise, … light shining in my bedroom window rather than the darkness of my normal early rising. But even though I’ve let the bed reject me rather than bounding out to an alarm, my chosen purpose is the same this morning; and that is to start my day by spending time with my God so that I can know Him more, love Him more deeply, obey Him more readily, and serve Him more effectively.

And as I have come to my quiet place here this morning, a little later than usual, I still am here to worship my God just like any morning; and as I sit here, listening to the song Here I Am To Worship by Hillsong on my Ipod, I still revel in being with God as the sun comes up. I anticipate what God will give me from His word today to help me become more like Him or to reach out and share His truth with others. And again I join with Job in Job 40: 1-5, as he declares himself to be in awe of the Living God. I hope you’ll join me as we worship God by being in His word this day.

And this morning, listening to some wonderful praise songs playing in my headphones, I agree with my devotional shepherd, Chuck Swindoll, this morning as he tells of going to a Pastors’ conference some time ago where there was a sign over the marquee of the hotel which stated boldly …


And that’s essentially what God had declared to Job. Here in our highlight passage today we see Job getting God’s message to surrender to the fact that God was in control and that Job needed to surrender in obedience to the Lord’s power and his plan for Job’s life. Oh how we, over 3000 years later, should get this message. And I especially write this to any of us who, like myself, often seek to control the situation, who are called into leadership and feel that we should be THE LEADER. I say this strongly to those who pompously think that we are more intelligent than those who are in charge of our church, our company, or our government. So, … I say this to everyone. Relax and let God be God; … because we are not!

I often tell those with whom I have the opportunity to minister that we will never be in control anyway, so it’s time to surrender to Christ’s command which He declared to His disciples, (in Luke 9: 23), “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

So, as you read this, ask yourself, “Am I in surrender mode? Am I walking in obedience and denying self and giving preeminence to my Savior?” And if we answer those questions with anything but a resounding “YES,” we need to take serious steps to give our lives over to the LORD of our past, present, and future and become “living sacrifices” to God as Paul wrote in Romans 12: 1.

Join me today, my friend; … and let us surrender in obedience to the Living Lord of all.

My Prayer for Today: Oh, Lord, I surrender! Amen

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

2009 – Day 264.Sept 22 – “I Am in Awe”

Passage of the Day: Job 40: 1-5 … From The Message Version
1-2God then confronted Job directly: "Now what do you have to say for yourself? Are you going to haul Me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?"
3-5 Job answered: "I'm speechless, in awe—words fail me. I should never have opened my mouth!I've talked too much, way too much. I'm ready to shut up and listen."

My Journal for Today: I’ve gone to Peterson’s colloquial version of Scripture in Job 40, which, in the first five verses, shows where Job had come to realize how he had become too self assured and too determined in his defense before his four worldly friends. God had, in Chapters 38-39 deftly and powerfully put Job in his place; and now Job was forced to acknowledge his insignificance to the Almighty God.

The question immediately as to personal application becomes, “Am I seeing myself in proper proportion to my God?” Well, in these first five verses of Chapter 40 we read a model of humility, vulnerability, and reality.

Job first humbly acknowledges his awe, being in the presence of God; and that’s a position we need to continually hold in that we choose to come into the presence of the Throne of Grace, bearing our burdens before our Lord. Well, Job came to realize that before his calamities arose, he had gotten too self assured; and now he needed to bring himself down before the Creator of the world and acknowledge his dependence upon his God.

Secondly, we read how Job admits that he had likely over-spoken his case before God, questioning the “WHY” of his circumstances in all the confusion of his loss and pain. Actually God doesn’t mind any of His children bringing their feelings to Him as we read in Lam. 3: 22-23 or 1st Peter 5: 7; but we, as Job did here, need to do so with vulnerability, recognizing that God is still – and always - totally in control.

And finally, Job recognized and acknowledged what I’ve just said … the reality that we need to be in a listening posture when we come to God because we’re never in an adversarial role with our God. God is not on “the other side” of our circumstances. As I’ve said often – and need to remember - life often causes us to challenge our belief in the truth of Romans 8: 28 and to seek HOW we can grow from life’s circumstances rather than to know WHY things are not going the way we’d like to see them.

After Job acknowledged God so humbly in today’s highlighted passage, I can just imagine a wry smile coming over the face of our Lord as He knew that Job was now in a posture of readiness to receive God’s grace. And don’t you know, my dear one, that we so desperately need God’s grace. So, when – hopefully not IF – you go to God today, come to our Lord with a posture of humility, laying all pride aside; and when we do that, we’ll find what is promised in God’s word (see Prov. 3: 34, James 4: 6) that God will pour His grace into humility; but He will resist pride whenever He sees it raise its ugly head.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray that I don’t need to ask for You to help me find true humility this day. But if so, please do so; because I so need Your grace! Amen

Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 – Day 263.Sept 21 – How Big Is Your God?

Passage of the Day: Job 38 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
If you were here with me yesterday, I shared from my studies that Job 38 is a response to Job’s fourth “friend,” Elihu, whose message to Job probably had more real truth in it than the other three dudes. However, Elihu, also missed the boat of truth by claiming Job to be self-righteous; but he did convey one basic thing to Job in Chapter 36 which we all should take in; and that is that “God is mighty!” (see Job 36: 5)

What a shock it must’ve been for Job (in Chapter 38) to hear God’s voice coming from a whirlwind; and God was asking all of those questions which confirmed for Job just how BIG God is and just how small was Job.

How BIG is your God, my dear fellow Christian? Chuck Swindoll, in his devotional for today, holds a very clear mirror of truth in front of my face, a mirror for me to confront that question. He writes, “When your God is too small, your problems are too big and you retreat in fear and insecurity. But when your God is great, your problems pale into insignificance and you stand in awe as you worship the King.”

Oh, how true that statement is as it cries out to us: “How big is our God?!!”

I’ll never forget the day on April 13th, 1983, when God showed me just how weak I was spiritually and just how awesome He is. But rather than speaking to me in a whirlwind, he did it quietly – but very powerfully – by a taped testimony of a quadriplegic who found strength in Christ and a scripture verse, Phil. 4: 13, which was on a pamphlet laid on my desk at work the night before by my Christian secretary. Seeing the words Phil. “4:13” on the cover of that little pamphlet; and then seeing the date, “4/13,” flashing on my digital calendar, was like a lightning bolt going off in my brain. Like God speaking out of the whirlwind to Job, God was declaring to me on that morning, “Bill, if you’re looking for Spiritual strength, the only place you’re going to find it is in ME.” I got the message just as Job did; and on that morning I bowed before a very BIG GOD for the first time in my life.

But let’s not be deterred from the question today: “Just how big is your God?” As Swindoll asks, “Big enough to intervene? Big enough to be trusted? Big enough to be held in awe and ultimate respect? Big enough to erase your worries and replace them with peace?”

Because if we can answer that with a resounding “YES!”, we will find the truth in my favorite hymn, which I’ve quoted very often, and which I’m listening to on my Ipod as I write this. >>>

Turn Your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, speak to me loudly in a whirlwind or speak to me in a still, small voice. But speak to me, Lord! Amen

Sunday, September 20, 2009

2009 – Day 262.Sept 20 – Nothing Compares

Passage of the Day: Job 38 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Well, we jump ahead in Job’s story, all the way to Chapter 38; and lo and behold, God shows up. However, in the interim – if you’ve read it – Job continues with his vexation and his quandary over what has brought such maladies into his life; and we also have the entrance of a fourth “friend,” Elihu, who does a better job of trying to explain away Job’s dilemma; but even this fourth friend misses the boat in trying to capture why Job is experiencing all these trials.

So, finally we see God enter the scene; and as you begin to read God’s take on Job’s life, you’ll see that God doesn’t answer any of Job’s questions. No, rather, the Lord begins by asking Job questions about the His creation, something Job knows, can see, and can appreciate. But as we read God’s questions we see that the Lord is trying to get Job to see that any attempt to explain the WHY behind God’s providence will fall short of the mark, because as I’ve said many times in my devotional journal entries, “God is God and we are not!”

And Swindoll puts it this day, “We take a major step in maturity when we realize it’s not about us and our significance. It’s all about God’s significance … His holiness, … His greatness, … His glory.” And Swindoll goes on, “Without [God] there is no righteousness, … no holiness, … no promise of forgiveness, … no source of absolute truth, … no reason to endure, … and no hope beyond the grave.”

And Swindoll closes by quoting from the great 19th Century hymn by Robert Grant …

O worship the King, all glorious above,
And gratefully sing of His wonderful love.
Our shield, our defender, the Ancient of days;
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

Oh, my friend, when we cannot make heads nor tails of what is going on, our response needs to be … PRAISE, not platitudes; … ADORATION, not anxiety, … TRUST, not tragedy. If you’ve read the book of Job, you have seen that is where Job is headed; and it is the lesson we all need to learn from Job’s tragic life.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to see that I can’t see … that I need only seek You and You will lead me. Amen

Saturday, September 19, 2009

2009 – Day 261.Sept 19 – Learning From Suffering

Passage of the Day: Job 28 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today: At the end of his devotional for this date, Chuck Swindoll zeroes in on a pertinent and powerful truth from this study in Job, especially from Chapter 28; and that is we learn that “… the greater the suffering, the better we determine what really matters.” That’s what Job had learned; and be begins to assert this truth in Chapter 28 by his commitment to dig deeply into the mind of God to find the Lord’s wisdom to replace his own confusion and doubt.

This very date, a dear friend of mine was lamenting his long struggle with his weight and the outcomes of being overweight physically (high blood pressure, joint problems, and fatigue). And oh, how I empathize with that, having become obese myself some years ago and incurring diabetes as a result. However, when I was diagnosed with diabetes, God showed me I need not languish in my own habitual sin nor my feelings of defeat from my chronic obesity. God revealed to me that I could choose to be an “overcomer” because Christ had been THE OVERCOMER [see John 16: 33].

God’s Spirit led me to recognize that I need not live, as did Paul, in the lie of Romans 7: 14-23, I could rather live in the truth of Romans 8 - link provided. I need not live in the weakness and pain of 2nd Cor. 12: 7-8; I could rather live in the strength and victory of 2nd Cor. 9-10 - link provided. But if I bought into the lies the enemy would have me believe, such as those Job had heard from his three friends, I would not be able to share in the victories God had for me to experience in my future.

Job, in Chapter 28 made the decision to stand for God’s truth rather than to surrender to Satan’s lies. He decided to go deep and mine for God’s mind, rather than listen to the surface logic of the world. Job declared for all to hear that God was in control; and he (Job) was going to dig more deeply for Godly wisdom rather than rely on human logic.

And that’s what we need to do; … we need to learn from our suffering rather than to succumb to its pain. We need to begin mining for Godly wisdom rather than relying on human experience or logic. We need to find God’s way rather than man’s will. And you know, as do I, the primary source of those choices; … and that is God’s truth from His word.

So, are we going to choose to dig deeply into God’s mind; or are we going to listen to our own deceit-ridden heart or the world’s logic? Are we going to live in Romans 8, rather than Romans 7? Are we going to choose to receive God’s strength, or are we going to rely on our own weakness to deal with the challenges presented by the world?


My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to choose Your way, … not mine! Amen

Friday, September 18, 2009

2009 – Day 260.Sept 18 – God and God Alone

Passage of the Day: Job 28 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Chapter 28 of Job’s search for answers is one of my favorite chapters in this great Book; and Swindoll gets right to the nitty-gritty of the chapter in his devotional as he exposes two concepts Job pursues in Chapter 28; and the two are “wisdom” and “understanding.”

“Wisdom," according to Swindoll, is “… looking at life from God’s point of view.” And Job uses an elaborate word picture in Chapter 28 of the mining practices of his day as the way mankind must search for God’s mind or His will. And so, Job’s perspective on our search for wisdom would have man choosing to go deep and digging for the jewels of Godly understanding so that we can bring out God’s way at viewing life.

And that brings up the second of the concepts which Job pursues in this Chapter; and that is “understanding,” which according to Swindoll is “… responding to life’s struggles and challenges as God would have us respond.” And Job, after describing how man must go deep, even risking life it self, to find God’s infinitely valuable nuggets of life, asks the pointed questions we all need to have answered to have meaning in life in verse 20 of Chapter 28. He says, “Where does wisdom come from? … Where does understanding dwell?” And his answer is the title of my devotional today, “… with God and God alone!

Solomon’s declaration of this truth makes this pursuit of wisdom and understanding from God all the more evident, as he writes in Proverbs 9: 10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Therefore, putting together what Job and Solomon say, we come to the conclusion that a reverent and diligent pursuit of God’s will by digging into God’s truth is the only way to find Godly wisdom and understanding. It’s the only way to be able to make sense of a senseless world; and it’s the only way to be able to respond to meaningless circumstances.

That’s where Job was at this point in life as we find him in Chapter 28, having experienced a chain of confusing and inexplicable circumstances, all of which had him reeling with confusion. And then, the world, personified in his three friends, began giving him worldly knowledge which did not reflect God’s mind as Job knew it. And as we’re going to see, as Job’s tale unfolds, Job knew God’s mind well enough to understand that he, Job, needed to go deeper to pursue Godly wisdom; and he did. And as is God’s promise, when we go deep to know God and pursue His will by digging into His word, He will reward us with His wisdom (check out James 1: 5).

So, my friend, I pray that we’re all be setting down our mine shafts and mining deeply into the truth of God, by knowing/understanding His word, to discover God’s will and to view the world as our Lord would view it. Then, and only then, will we be able to respond to life in the way God intends for His children to respond.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to go deep to find the jewels of Your wisdom and to live by the nuggets of Your understanding. Amen

Thursday, September 17, 2009

2009 – Day 259.Sept 17 – True Convictions

Passage of the Day: Job 27 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
One last run through in Job, Chapter 27, has Chuck Swindoll reflecting on the great church reformers of the 16th Century, men like Martin Luther in Germany, John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland, and John Knox in Scotland. These were men, like Job, who stood for they believed in their time against the going tide of the church culture, even to the point of dying for their faith.

Apparently Swindoll had just returned from a tour of where these men had lived and proclaimed their faith in the face of the tribulations of their day. And I identified with Pastor Chuck; because my wife and I have been blessed to be in Switzerland and stood on the spot of where Calvin had to flee from France because of his reformation beliefs and where Zwingli had stood in a pulpit and preached what many considered heresies in those days. These were men who stood for truth in the gap of public trials and some of them went to their deaths, being burned for their faith.

And in Job 27, verses 5 – 6, we read our hero Job, who had been maligned by his three friends, standing up, with personal integrity, for what he believed. He says, …
5 I will never admit you are in the right;
till I die, I will not deny my integrity.
6 I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it;

my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.

Now I have to ask myself, in the spirit of the Apostle’s challenge in 2nd Cor. 13: 5 - link provided, “Would I stand up for my faith as did Job or Martin Luther? … Would I be willing to die for my faith as did young Cassie Bernall in the infamous Columbine High School massacre?” I would hope so; but Chuck Swindoll says that Job and these others were likely able to do what they did in the face of dire circumstances because they had prepared their hearts to stand in the gap with three disciplines of their faith.

Using Job as our example, we need to be able to REFLECT ON OUR PAST. When we face loss, physical ailment, or crushing circumstances, as Job certainly did, it’s good to look back and be grateful for what God has done for us in the past. Then it’s a good discipline to REHEARSE OUR PRESENT, acknowledging to God any confusion or quandary in which we find ourselves. And finally, as we read about Job in this Chapter 27, it’s a necessity for us to REAFFIRM OUR FUTURE, by declaring openly where we stand for Christ. As one, like Job, does these three things that one will find that God will pour His enabling grace into our stand for righteousness; and we’ll be able to stand in the gap for our God in the face of the most dire of circumstances.

Oh, how this is my prayer for yours truly as the tenor of our times becomes more and more hostile to the Christian way of life. Who knows, … one day we may be called upon, like a Job, or a Luther, or a Cassie Bernall to stand before a tribunal or even a gun and answer the question, “Are you a Christian?” And at that point I need to know what God has done for me, that He is allowing such troubles in my life for my good, and that I must always stand for His glory … no matter what transpires in my life.

Will I be ready and able to stand? I pray I will.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, prepare me today for what may happen in my future … that I’ll be willing and able to stand for You … no matter what! Amen

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2009 – Day 258.Sept 16 – Biblically Correct

Passage of the Day: Job 27 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Repeating a look at Job’s contentions in Chapter 27 of our Hero’s book, I hope you’ve been inspired, as have I, to aspire to be “biblically correct” rather than politically correct. And my devotional shepherd, Chuck Swindoll, points out that there is great tension today for the Christian who closely follows the media theses days to be influenced by the latter and to move away from the former.

All too often, even in “the church,” as we know it today, we see denominations or churches, which call themselves “Christian,” being drawn into the secularized or humanized world view rather than take up the banner of truth from The Bible. Job, on the other hand, in Chapter 27 of his book, does not yield to the influences of the world; and even in the most dire of circumstances which might cause his attention to be diverted from God’s truth, he stands in the gap for God’s way. The question becomes, … do we stand for biblical correctness, as did Job; or are we being swayed by the world?

Right now, as I sit here and meditate on this challenge, the passage from the Apostle Paul in Romans 12: 2 bubbles up from my memory. You probably know it too. It says, And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Well, Job’s mind had obviously been renewed as to God’s will long before Satan intervened and brought about the circumstances which were so confusing for him. However, in his confusion, he didn’t let the lessons in political correctness from his three “friends” influence him; and here in Chapter 27, we see God’s man standing up for what we now know as Biblical correctness.

Oh, how I pray that we’re all staying in God’s word, … studying, meditating, and memorizing its tenants, … so that when we are confronted by the news, skewed politics, pseudo science, or the reigning educational influences, we don’t cave and become like the world, moving away from God’s word and His ways. It’s worthwhile to let Job’s attitude and his plucky courage be an inspiration for us. And I pray that we can live up to his model of seeking Godly truth and standing for it in the face of worldly pressures.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help us to hold on to Your ways in the face of worldly peer pressures. Amen

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2009 – Day 257.Sept 15 – Things That Matter

Passage of the Day: Job 27 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Today, as Chapter 27 of Job’s life unfurls, and as we read our hero standing up for God’s truth in the face of the humanistic drivel which had been fed to him by his “friends,” Swindoll asks a very important question of anyone reading this passage. He asks, “What comes to your mind when you think about God.”

Because it is absolutely true that our concept of God will heavily impact our world view; and ultimately it will effect who we are and the decisions we make. Remember the adage from Proverbs 23: 7 in the NKJV, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Job, in Chapter 27 begins to stand even more strongly for God and what he knows of God, speaking out forcefully about what he KNOWS about God from his past relationship with his God. His stand had obviously been forged into his mind and heart years before this moment in time where he has lost everything which was dear to him, including his own health and wellness. We will stand for God only to the degree that we know God.

And I totally agree with Swindoll that this apologetic from Job in Chapter 27 is a good example of the reason for Scripture memorization. If you believe, as I do, that The Bible – all of it – is God’s very word; and if Scripture for you is as it is declared in 2nd Tim. 3: 16, God’s inspired truth, then it follows that if much of God’s truth is buried deep in your heart, you will rely on that truth when circumstances are confusing and when untruth is paraded before you.

That’s where Job is at the time of Chapter 27; and many untruths are being spouted forth from his “friends.” But then in this Chapter we read a broken man speaking Godly truth into the gap of dishonor and distortion. Knowing God and His truth and having a deep abiding relationship with God has shaped Job into a man who can stand for God in the face of untruths shaped by Satan and the world.

My dear one, do you have God’s truth deeply buried in your heart so that you can avoid untruth and distorted human logic? That’s the prescription given by the Psalmist in Psalm 119; and it’s one in which I personally believe strongly. We can – and will – stand for truth and more likely avoid sin in our lives if/when we bury much of God’s word in our hearts (see Ps. 119: 9-11).

I hope we’ll all become like Job when we’re faced with unGodly untruth. And I pray that we’ll all be able to declare, with confidence, that God’s word is a light unto our life (see Ps. 119: 105). So, … I hope we, like Job, shine that light of truth so that all who stand in darkness can see it.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, Your word is a lamp unto my path and a light unto my path. Amen

Monday, September 14, 2009

2009 – Day 256.Sept 14 – Look Up

Blogger’s Note: And finally, I’m back in the groove here at home, in my normal “quite place,” posting my daily devotional, having returned from the weekend retreat where a number of men experienced God’s love and grace in big doses. God was present and powerful this weekend; but it’s good to be back in my own place to be with my Lord here at home.


Passage of the Day: Job 26 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Yes, we’re back in Job 26 again; but Swindoll wants to make a point for his readers (me); and it is that often, when we are put on our backs with physical ailment, we should recognize that God has us in a good place where we can only look up to see The Lord.

My tendency - often - is to try to buck up rather than look up when I’m physically ill or in pain. I try to go it on my own strength; and these are the moments when I need to be dependent on God the most. Swindoll relates a story about the great British preacher Charles Spurgeon, who became depressed trying to take on the British press, who often went after this great preacher of his day. And Spurgeon’s wife, recognizing her husband’s depression, printed out Matt. 5: 11 – 12 (go find it and read it!), and taped those words from God’s word up on the ceiling over his bed when he wasn’t there. The next morning when Spurgeon awoke, he saw God’s encouraging word above him on the ceiling and was lifted up to go out and declare God’s truth with confidence again.

Well, we may not be as inventive as was Mrs. Spurgeon; but we can realize that when our gaze is cast down by our own attitude, maybe in a funk of depression, we should go to the mighty truths of God Himself and let Him lift us up as we LOOK UP to our Lord. Some days ago I listed several of the scripture memory verses which I use when I get down, verses like Isaiah 41: 10 or Phil. 4: 13 or 2nd Cor. 12: 9. It is always the case that my meditation on these truths lifts me up; but I have to choose to look up to God through His word to be lifted up by His truth.

So, my friend, we can all get down at times; but when we do, we need to see that it’s time to look up and let our Lord do what He promises in Matt. 11: 28-30; and when we let Him, He will always do exactly what He promises. He did it for Job; and He’ll do it for us.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for Your promises of Your power when we are weak. Amen

2009 – Day 255.Sept 13 – Who Can Understand

Passage of the Day: Job 26 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
The title of my devotional for today, "Who Can Understand,” given by Chuck Swindoll, is in the last verse of Chapter 26; and it represents the high degree of humility and theological insight exhibited by Job, especially in the midst his dire circumstances. I once heard Dr. Adrian Rogers, the late and famous Baptist Preacher from right here in Memphis, say something to this effect: “What fills our heart is what bubbles and flows out when our life is shaken to the core.”

It’s obvious to me that Job’s heart was filled with God’s Spirit; and God knew that when He negotiated with Satan, allowing the Devil to take away all from Job, except his life. Yes, Job reeled from the loss and pain; and he became disoriented and confused, going to God with his confusion. However, verse 14 of Chapter 26 illustrates that through all his confusion, Job still had it together, essentially declaring to Bildad, “… what I’ve mentioned (about God’s mighty works) represents only the fringes of His ways.” My reader friend, you’ll have to go back and read Job’s staunch declaration of all the ways of God which are beyond mankind’s comprehension (see verses 6 – 13). Bildad had declared that Job must still have some wickedness in him for God to allow all these evil things into Job’s life, comparing Job to a maggot or worms (see Chapter 25); and Job had had enough of his friends’ distorted theology.

My friend, I pray (see below) that we, who have so much more of God’s truth and wisdom from His word than did Job, could be so filled with God’s presence and power in adversity that we could – and would – stand up for God’s sovereignty. That is the model Job presents for us, … that he would stand in the gap of untruth and distortions, defending The Lord despite the humiliation of defeat, loss, and pain.

These days we Christians find our culture being confronted by men like Job’s “friends,” people who spout half-truths and distorted pictures of God; and many others simply deny God’s existence, let alone His sovereignty. And what are we doing to stand up for truth? When we hear untruth, do we declare God’s wisdom to the world? Can I hear Christians these days loudly declaring that God is control? Do I hear us declaring and responding forcefully with the truth of Paul’s words in 2nd Tim. 3: 16, that all of the Bible is true and it is God’s inspired word for today’s “me first” generation? Sadly, I think not. … So let me pray. …

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help us. Help those of us who claim Your Name to stand in the gap for truth. Help us to be Job in the face of a Bildad. Help us to be filled with You, Holy Spirit, to the point we will react to untruth with Your light; so that we can shine that Light of truth into this very dark world. Amen

2009 – Day 254.Sept 12 – No Surprise

Blogger’s Note: Some have noted my missing blogs. Unfortunately I had no internet access @ the Conference Center of “The Country Place,” a Christian retreat center in Moscow, TN, where a number of Christian men had gathered together to seek God’s healing and restoration from sexual brokenness. It was the second annual Midsouth Freedom Retreat [see this website]; and I’ve been blessed to be part of the planning group for this powerful weekend experience. Therefore, I was unable to post my devotionals here for this past weekend; but please know that my devotional disciplines were not missed due to weekend retreat. In fact, they were especially sweet and deep, being at the lovely retreat property in rural Tennessee. So, here we are on Monday morning; and I will enter a triple dose of the last three days for your edification and my own accountability.

Passage of the Day: Job 25 - 26 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Have you ever been in a state of abject pain, … especially for some length of time? I have; and for 33 years I was clinical director in a hospital. If I had never experienced the outcomes of pain myself, I have seen its devastating effects upon the emotions and attitudes of those who suffer. So, … with that in mind, let’s return to our suffering hero, Job, who is still sitting at the city gates, … out on a dung heap, covered with sores.

And again, one of his “friends,” Bildad in this instance (in the very short Chapter 25), comes to Job with more feedback and harsh speculations about the whys and wherefores of Job’s circumstances. Is it any surprise that Job in his pain and weariness comes back at Bildad with what we read in Chapter 26, … words filled with irony and bite? Go back and reread verse 3 (NIV) in Chapter 26 and you see Job’s biting sarcasm coming back at Bildad as he says [NIV], “What advice you have offered to one without wisdom! And what great insight you have displayed!”

Job had had enough from these dudes; and I’m surprised it took him this long, with all the suffering with which he was handling, to stand up and tell his friends off … in this case, Bildad. But Swindoll points out that what Job offers Bildad in verses 5 – 13 of this chapter is an absolutely incredible apologetic into God’s majesty and glorious presence and power. Personally, when I experience pain, I have trouble relating with God, let alone being clear about truth. But Job lays out a strong, clear case for God’s creative majesty, effectively putting Bildad in his place.

Bildad, or any of us, would be well to learn and repeat each morning a prayer that Swindoll apparently uses daily to start each day. It reads like this …

Lord, help me today not to add to anybody’s burden. Help me to bring encouragement to others; and where I can, enable me to be a comfort. And when I don’t know enough to help, help me to admit it or remain silent. And when I feel sorrow and sympathy for someone, help me to say that. Help me to lift the load of the hurting, not to add to their burden.

Oh, what a great prayer!

My Prayer for Today: Lord, that’s my prayer this day. Amen

Friday, September 11, 2009

2009 – Day 253.Sept 11 – Accepting God’s Plan

Passage of the Day: Job 24 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Wow, to say the least, this chapter illustrates our occasional frustration when we see God’s plan unfolding in the circumstances of life. And like Job, we have trouble understanding why our God, Whom we love to see as always being loving and merciful; and why He would allow such pain and agony to prevail in the lives of His children, especially those, like Job, who have been so good.

We see it all the time. A really good person like Lou Gehrig or your child comes down with an incurable disease. Some lovely, but gullible, elderly widow is wiped out by an unscrupulous con-man. Or a staunch and Godly person prays and prays for a relief from pain; and God seems far away, obviously saying “NO” or “WAIT” to the prayers. Why does God allow such bad things to visit such good people?

We can’t answer that question with great certainty, can we? And the Bible is full of stories about men of faith, like Job, who came to a place in their lives when God’s plan, which was unfolding for them, seemed like craziness. Think of Moses in the presence of the burning bush, overwhelmed by God’s instructions to go and free His people. Or there was the mighty Prophet, Elijah, sitting under the broom tree, wishing he could die in such despair and confusion. And there was the Apostle, Paul, who prayed and prayed and prayed for relief from the “thorn” God had allowed Satan to give him; and the pain just wouldn’t go away.

As Swindoll states today in his devotional entry, sometimes, “… we cannot explain the inexplicable. We cannot fathom the unfathomable. So, let’s not try to unscrew the inscrutable.” Job is coming to the realization, in today’s focus chapter 24, that God’s plan is just flat too confusing to figure out. He’s coming to the realization of what God says in Isaiah 55: 8 – 9

8 “ For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Wouldn’t Job had felt better hearing his three friends say something like, “Job, we just don’t have a clue what’s going on. And we just don’t understand why God is allowing all these things to happen to you; but we’re here for you … no matter what.” That would have been a lot easier to take than the feeble attempts of these three counselors to give him their OWN insights.

Sometimes, we’re at a loss to explain God’s plan; but, again, if we believe the truth of my own personal “hang-on” scriptures, some of which I’ve been using these past few days, we’ll come out okay in God’s long run. So, let me exhort you, if you’re reading this, to memorize and internalize a few key “strength” scriptures. I’ll not quote them here or link you to them. I want you to look them up, study them in context, memorize them, and then let God use His truth to give you comfort or strength when you need it like Job did.

Here are my hall-of-fame strength-giving passages which I turn to when I’m in the midst of some personal storm of circumstances. 2nd Tim. 3: 16-17 … Isaiah 26: 3 and 41: 10 … Romans 8: 28 … Phil. 4: 13 … 1st Cor. 10: 13 … 2nd Cor. 12: 9. And when I am grappling with my circumstances in life, totally confused, and down-in-the-dumps, I get to a quiet place and I begin reciting (aloud) these verses, which I have embedded deeply in my heart. And in between my verbal meditation, I pray such words as “Lord, I don’t understand what’s going on or why You’re leading me through this valley; but I know You love me and I know you are doing this for my good. Help me to see it, Lord; or help me even more to accept it.”

This faith exercise may not – and often doesn’t – make the bad stuff go away; but it ALWAYS quiets my heart and gives me God’s peace in the midst of my storm. I pray this little discipline will help someone else as much as it has me.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for giving me Your word to light my path, especially when things get really dark. Amen

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2009 – Day 252.Sept 10 – Grace Under Pressure

Passage of the Day: Job 24 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Job 24 is an interesting example of our human need to explain things. As sinners going through this life, we see all that is wrong, … all the perversity, … all the bad things happening to what we perceive as good people, … all the darkness descending upon the earth; and a lot of the time we are not privileged to the other side, God’s view of things. It’s so frustrating; and it could lead to hopelessness.

And in Chapter 24, Job is simply voicing a lot of his “What’s happening, Lord?” questions. And there’s nothing wrong with one of God’s children going to God with the frustrations of our lives, expressing our anguish to our Lord. BUT (again, the contrast word!), note the end of this chapter, where Job begins to come back into focus, seeing and expressing that no matter what may seem ugly on our side, God has a design for everything which will one day be completed; and we’ll see that He was creating a beautiful tapestry for us all to enjoy.

And that’s the word picture which Chuck Swindoll reminds his readers (like me) to attempt to see. When a tapestry artist weaves a tapestry to hang on the wall, beautifully illustrating some aspect of life, there are two sides of the tapestry. If you look at the back side, the colored threads are all gnarled and twisted by the artist; and they seem like a bizarre mess to our view. BUT, when we’re allowed to see what the artist is trying to represent by weaving all that backside together; … when we are privileged to see the artistry which has unfolded to be hung for all to see, those same threads, which were a distorted mess on the backside, become a beautiful picture on the front side. And that’s the way life often is to us. We see the backside, while God is weaving the front side. And we may go all the way through life not being able to see God’s intent and what He’s weaving together for us to see in heaven.

But Job closes with the reality of what Paul wrote about in Romans 8: 28, which I certainly hope you know by heart now. God is weaving all things together for our good – for our beauty; BUT we’ve got to trust that He’s doing just that; because what we see very often is the backside of His tapestry. And Job expresses this in Chapter 24, saying that we may not be able to see or explain the workings of God; and we will either trust His work for our good or we will live our lives in frustration, not being able to explain what God is doing.

My brothers or sisters in Christ, thus far in life I’m learning to trust my God’s work. I see all this mess around me; and I see, as you do, all the violence, all the abortions, all the corruption, all the greed, all the … [well, you fill in the blanks with your frustration]; and I’m learning to see that God is still in control. Oh, I come to God with my frustrations, just as Job is doing in Chapter 24; but ultimately I come to see that I’m still looking at the backside of God’s tapestry; and I trust that one day I’m going to see the beauty He is weaving for His glory.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, just give me glimpses of Your glory not and again so that I can hold onto the hope that I have in You, Lord, … in the midst of all the ugliness of this life. Amen

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

2009 – Day 251.Sept 09 – God Will Reward

Passage of the Day: Job 23 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
My friend, who might be reading Chapter 23 again along with me, don’t you just want to scream out to Job, “Hey, my suffering Brother, every thing’s going to be okay. I’ve read the end of your story; and God’s going to reward your faith in the end.”

Yes, if you’ve read on ahead or know the last chapter of Job’s book, God restores all that the suffering servant has lost; and Job’s body is refigured into normal health and wellness. But right now, in Chapter 23, Job can’t see that. He’s at a loss to explain why God seems so distant and why he [Job] is sitting out on a garbage heap, having lost all his children and his wealth, and why he’s covered in boils. But somehow, even with a bunch of friends who are giving him intolerably bad advice, Job remains faithful.

And Swindoll points out that our hero makes three declarations of faith in one verse (verse 10) of this chapter. He says, "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." And we need to catch the import of what Job is saying here.

First Job is saying that God is in control, saying, in essence, that God knows what is going on. And secondly Job denies that it is somehow Job’s fault that he suffers, saying that it is God Whom has chosen to test him. And finally, Job expresses the ultimate in hopefulness, declaring that one day God is going to reward his (Job’s) faithfulness, as he declaring that God will one day reward him in some unique way. Read verse 10, Chapter 23 again. All three of those faithful declarations are there. And don’t you just want to slap Job on the back as say, “Right on, brother!!”

And that’s why when you read Chapter 23, we empathetically want to be the fourth friend for Job, telling him that we know the end of the story; and we can assure our brother that God will ultimately do everything he’s declaring in verse 10. But when you think about it, we Christians who live today, can say that about any set of circumstances in our lives which makes God feel distant and where we suffer loss or physical deprivation.

I’m sure as I write this there have been times in your life where things have really gone bad for you and where God seemed like He was totally AWOL. But in moments like those are we not being tested as to our belief in all those truths we declare are absolutely true in God’s word. Think of verses I’ve already quoted in our study of Job. And if we believe in the truth of 2nd Tim. 3: 16, that all Scripture (all of the Bible) is God breathed, then we have to believe that Hebrews 11: 6 is true where it says that our faith is going to be rewarded. And we have to believe in the truth of 1st Cor. 15: 52 … that one day in glory we’ll have new, incorruptible bodies, and that all the physical challenges of our lives will not be for naught. And knowing what Christ did for us on the cross, we’re also tested in this life to believe what Paul declared in Romans 8: 28 that all of the tests and trials we experience are for God’s good purpose.

My devotional friend, we who have and believe in the “end of the Book,” are tested by our trials in life, just as was Job, to believe that God is never going to leave us; … that our Lord always has His grand scheme in what we’re suffering; … and that in the end we’ll be rewarded for our faith. Job is one of our models for this; and Jesus is our ultimate model. I pray that we can take the tests of life and pass with flying colors so that we can give God the glory for what we go through, holding on the hope we have in our Lord.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, when we’re tested, help us to pass and come out shining Your light of faith for all to see You in the darkness of our suffering. Amen

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

2009 – Day 250.Sept 08 – His Purpose

Passage of the Day: Job 23 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
If you’ve been coming along with me in following Job’s trek of frustration and pain, I hope you’ve seen, as evidenced in this chapter, that our hero, Job, is very human in his desire to feel the presence of God and very frustrated that God seems so far away. Yet, in spite of all, as Chapter 23 is evidence, Job still expresses his absolute faith that God is in control; and Job will not be deterred from his witness to that truth, even with the horrible things which have happened to him and the skewed witness of the world view in the personages of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

I’m sure there has been a time in your past, as there has mine, where you were terribly tested or in tribulation and you desired to see some evidence that God was out there. Swindoll pointed to his desire to see some sign or hear an audible voice from God, saying something like, “Hey, Chuck, it’s okay, I’m here with you. You’re going to be okay. Just stay the course.” But that’s not the way it works, does it? No, … ours is a walk by faith, not by sight; and all too often, we’re required to ride the tide of our life without visible or audible evidence of God’s presence. And I know … “It sucks!” … doesn’t it?

I’m not going to make this one a long teaching today. The point is simple and it’s evidenced in this Chapter of Job. We need to trust in God’s truth and the promises from His word, knowing that Deut. 31: 8 is true … that God is not only with us, He’s going on ahead of us to pave the way; and as it says in Ps. 119: 105, His word will light our path; and He will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death to the other side (yes, old, tried, and true Psalm 23). All of this presupposes, however, that you know and can follow God’s truth from His word and that you believe what it says.

My friend, if God’s word has permeated your heart, when you’re tried, as was Job, you’re going to be able to see God’s light shining on your path; and because you KNOW the truth of God’s word, you’ll be able to follow the light with Christ’s light shining on His power to lead you through the circumstances. So, let me pray this short prayer for us all.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray that we all have the fortitude to follow the light of Your truth. Amen

Monday, September 07, 2009

2009 – Day 249.Sept 07 – Demonstrating Class

Passage of the Day: Job, Chapter 23 – 24 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
I know that I’ve asked any who follow me here to read a long portion of Job, … two full chapters. However, I really hope you have done so, … especially focusing on the first 13 verses of Chapter 23. This is a powerful passage with which I believe all of us should be able to identify and even empathize. If not, I think we are missing a lot in our relationship with God.

Chuck Swindoll, in his devotional entry for this day from his book, Great Days with the Great Lives, has entitled this one, “Demonstrating Class,” likely because that’s exactly what Job does in these marvelously powerful chapters. Job is still down and out. He’s been confronted with a representation of the world view in his three stooges, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. And he has stood for God’s truth in these past chapters of this book. And here, in these two chapters, we read Job’s clear reasoning and understanding of God’s character. And simultaneously we also see his very human vulnerability and honesty.

Job still doesn’t have a clue why God has allowed these horrible circumstances to prevail in his life. However, his depth of understanding of his God rings through in those first 13 verses of Chapter 23. Go back and meditate on them again, my friend; and you will see that though Job doesn’t understand where God is and why He has allowed his strife, Job really does understand the nature of God. And Job also KNOWS that God has not abandoned him. Read of Job’s marvelous witness in verses 6 and 7; and we come away in awe of Job’s faith – at least I do. Read of his dedication and commitment to faith in verses 9 and 10; and you will be uplifted by Job’s surrender in the face of all the ill which has befallen him. This is most certainly a demonstration of Godly class.

Oh that we all could take what has befallen us, especially the loss and pain of life, and come away with a witness of class and faith like that of Job. In chapter 23 – 24 of his book, Job demonstrates, honestly and with vulnerability, that he still doesn’t know WHY God has brought him to this place in life; but Job also declares that He knows and trusts WHO God is; and he declares allegiance and faith to the God, Whom Job firmly believes has stayed with him through all of his ill-begotten fate.

I believe Job, in these two chapters, becomes a powerful light, shining on the truth of the New Testament declarations in Romans 8: 1 and 1st John 1: 9; and I would hope that any reader here has those two truths deeply embedded in your consciousness. These are two of the landmark truths of the New Covenant in Christ … that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and that we will find cleansing in the blood of Christ any time we confess and repent of our sins. And that is what is witnessed by Job in these two chapters of his book.

I pray that we all can come through the challenges which befall us with the same degree of Christian class our hero, Job, has shown us.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, give us the “class” which will shine a light to the darkness of this world, as that of Job, to glorify you in the face of the evil in our lives. Amen

Sunday, September 06, 2009

2009 – Day 248.Sept 06 – Harsh, But Realistic

Passage of the Day: Job 21: 23 - 34 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Well, reading this passage again today, perhaps you’ve been where Job was – at least to some degree. Maybe you were accused of something falsely. Perhaps a friend or two have given you advice laced with lies. Maybe you were the focus of some social attack on your character. Whatever the circumstances, it probably caused you great concern, anxiety, or angst.

Well, it’s in times such as these where the harsh realism of life tests our faith and trust in God, doesn’t it? It’s in these character-bending times where we learn whether we really believe in the truth of Romans 8: 28 or we exercise the reality of Proverbs 3: 5-6 or Philippians 4: 6-7. And by the way, my fellow Christian soldier, since we’re always going to be battling our enemies in the everyday spiritual warfare we call “life,” it would also be good to heed the old Revolutionary War saying which Swindoll quotes in his devotional today: "Trust in God; but keep your power dry.”

My dear one, WE ARE IN A WAR; and it is stark reality that we have enemies which could bring us down if we are not vigilant and well fortified, especially with the heart knowledge of God’s truth. Another old saying which will also prove true in the harsh reality of spiritual warfare is one you probably know: "Pray like it all depends upon God; but work like it all depends on you.”

Both of these old adages have much truth in them. And it’s in times like Job faced that our faith and trust in God gets tested to the limits of our human abilities. It’s in the testing times that we’re going to learn whether we really BELIEVE in what Jesus commanded in Matt. 11: 28-30, to let Him help carry the burden; and in Isaiah 41: 10, to let our God lift us up with His might right hand.

I can’t speak for you, my dear reader; but I’ve been through the “valley of the shadow of death” more than once. And God was always with me, just like He promised in Joshua 1: 5 or Hebrews 13: 5. My friend, you’re going to be tried, and you WILL be tested. So, now is the time to prepare yourself for the battles ahead. And if you do, you will discover that you can have the fortitude of a Job in facing the harsh, but realistic challenges that we face in life.

Test yourself now, my friend, in the safety of meditating on what I’ve written here. Do you know each of the passages which I quoted in this journal entry – BY HEART? If not, perhaps you need to bury more of God’s word deeply into your heart to prepare for the warfare ahead. I learned long ago that you can’t be a Spirit Swordsman if you don’t carry a well-sharpened and well-practiced sword (see Eph. 6: 17). And no battlefield leader would ever take his soldiers into battle without a well thought out battle plan. Do you have a written and personalized battle plan to prepare you, as much as you can be prepared, to face the spiritual battles you will face in life?

My dear one, these are perilous times; and you leave yourself vulnerable for the battles of life if you don’t have a battle plan and if your mind/heart are not saturated by God’s truth from His word. So, I leave it to you to become a warrior like Job … or to succumb to the enemy’s lies and attacks from the world or the vulnerabilities from your own deceit-ridden heart. I pray that we’re all prepared for the harsh realities of our future.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, God, set our course to follow You, no matter where You lead us so that You will be glorified when we stand and deliver. Amen

Saturday, September 05, 2009

2009 – Day 247.Sept 05 – Stay With The Truth

Passage of the Day: Job 21 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Chuck Swindoll is right on target today, emphasizing what we can learn from Job’s response to the slander and innuendo from Zophar, who had used half-truths to accuse Job of some hidden wickedness in Job 20. And so, we can learn from Job’s response in Job 21.

And first we must know that Job avoided reactions based on feelings and came back to Zophar, responding with truth, truth, and more truth. You can sense the strength and calmness in Job’s discourse in Chapter 21 as our fallen hero calmly lays out an apologetic which is based in absolute truth.

This is a lesson in standing for truth which we, as Christians, must learn and use in a day which has become so hostile to believers. If you stand for Christ and the truth of the Gospel these days, you will ultimately be confronted with those who will spout untruth about Jesus or the Bible; and many of them will tell you that you have no right to speak about your faith in public, mocking what we believe as Christians.

And so, when this happens, how do you respond? Well, you do what Job did in today’s highlight chapter. You stick with the truth and calmly stand up for what is right. And I believe the best way to do this is by using testimony based in Scripture. Every Christian needs to be able to give his/her testimony. No one can argue with how the truth has affected you personally. They may assail you from their own personal beliefs, as Zophar did with Job; but Job just came back with a calm argument from his own experience and his knowledge of truth.

As Swindoll, rightly states: “Respond [to slander or false accusation] with true facts and accurate information, knowing the nature of your accuser. … Speak truth!” And there is no better source of truth when we stand for our faith than God’s word. And so, you will not be as vulnerable to the accusations from the world, the ploys of Satan, or from your own deceitful heart (i.e., the flesh) if you are well versed in the truth from God’s word. That’s why my mentor, years ago, took me slowly and deliberately through a season of Scripture memory. He knew that one day I was going to get into a battle for truth in my life; and he wanted my heart and mind to be so filled with the truth that I could use it as the sword of the Spirit, just as Paul teaches in Eph. 6: 17b, … just like Jesus Himself did when he was confronted by Satan in the wilderness (see either Mark 4 or Luke 4, the latter linked for your review).

If Job’s style of argumentation is good enough for Jesus, then I feel it’s good enough me, don’t you? Job used it effectively in today’s study. I pray that we’ll all be able to stand for truth as he did, using the method our Master used to combat the lies of Satan.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help Your servants to be able to calmly and powerfully stand for truth using Your word whenever our enemies come against You with untruth. Amen

Friday, September 04, 2009

2009 – Day 246.Sept 04 – Silencing Lies

Passage of the Day: Job 20 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Apparently Zophar, one of Job’s three “friends,” who seem to be hovering around our hero now like buzzards with their lethal advice, has gotten a bit hot; and he levels a sermon at Job accusing him of some latent, previously unseen wickedness. And he gets pretty graphic with his choice of words, comparing poor Job with the contents of Job’s body. Ugh! I’ll leave you to put your own words to that word picture.

But this emotional rhetoric shows how verbal sparring can grow in intensity as feelings flair and the words which can come out, as Swindoll states, can be like “… like depth charges.” Zophar’s statements of opinion are said with eloquence and even as poetry; but they are hurtful and certainly not helpful. So, when we have opinions and we’re in the midst of a verbal sparring match with someone whom you know is leveling lies or false teachings, how does one know what to say?

Well, as I read Chapter 20 of Job and the devotional from Chuck Swindoll this morning, God raised in my consciousness a lesson I learned from a New Testament scripture I memorized and my mentor’s teaching from it. It is Ephesians 4: 29. Do you know it? If you don’t, let me quote it here; because it gives us Godly criteria on what to say and when to say it – or what not to say and when not to say it. It goes like this [NKJV] …

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Don’t you wish Zophar and the other three of Job’s friends had internalized that Godly lesson in verbal restraint? And I think we all need to get this truth into our mind and heart. What God, through the Apostle Paul, is teaching is how to know when to say something and when to keep our mouth’s (or in the modern day, our “keyboards”) silent. It is saying that if our communication cannot edify or give grace to the hearer, we should be verbally restrained. And that kind of self control is a reflection of the fruit of the Spirit found in the mature Christian.

Hopefully you also know the listing of the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5: 22, 23; … you’ve probably got them memorized, “… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” Have you ever noticed that the fruit of “self control” is last on that list; and I believe that is because Paul knew that this one fruit is the last to mature in most people and it requires the development and maturing of all of the other fruit listed before it so that we can exercise Godly self control.

Zophar is God’s example of how Godly people should weigh what they say before the words are said, even if they are poetic and eloquently articulated. Do our words uplift, enlighten, and provide grace (i.e., a gift from God) if they are spoken? You know, all too often I find that I let my feelings out too easily, especially with this mode of computer communication. Have you ever found yourself feeling like you have the answers and you send an email of Facebook posting, which is glibly offered but later you realize that it was not helpful and certainly not grace-filled in its intent? But the words are out there and you can’t bring them back. The damage has been done. The whip has already cracked; and the hurt cannot be retracted.

So, I think we all need to internalize the truth of Ephesians 4: 29; and use it as a filtering device for what we say or we post online. Do my words of confrontation edify and give grace to those I’m giving them? If not, … Bill, … just shut them off. Don’t speak them! Don’t send them out into cyberspace. If they can’t provide God’s grace to my hearer, God says, “Don’t say them; don’t write them.” Oh, how I pray I can learn that lesson and live it.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to have restraint in using my words for the provision of Your grace to others. Amen

Thursday, September 03, 2009

2009 – Day 245.Sept 03 – A Context of Pain

Passage of the Day: Job 19 … Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
We’ve paused again in Job’s horrible status to take stock on how a man, so devastated and so wracked with pain, having been “educated” by three insensitive and mistaken friends, would still be able to say, with great hope and assurance in this chapter, “I know that my redeemer lives!”

Have you ever been in a place in your life when you were racked in pain and/or ill health? Nothing can dull one’s perspective or bring down the hope for the future than physical pain. And that’s why one, when such circumstance befall him, needs to have a clear hope for the future; and Swindoll is right in his devotional assertion that “… without the Lord Jesus Christ in your life, your steps are marked by uncertainty. … Few thoughts are more frightening then not knowing where you will be when you die.”

Job, having lost all that was dear to him in life and being deluged by physical oppression was still clear of mind and purpose because – and only because – his hope for this life and the next life as well was clearly defined by his faith. Job knew he had a Redeemer and that his Redeemer lived in his heart and would carry him into eternity. And that is why our hero could stand the pain and move forward.

Just this week I was privileged to hear the testimony of a dear brother in Christ who is likely, save a miracle from God, spending his last days on this earth. My friend, Marvin, has been fighting kidney, lung, and vastly spreading cancer for some time now. He was told at his diagnosis that he had but a year to live at most. Well, that was almost seven years ago; and now he’s very weak and likely in the latter stages of his fight. And this week, he was called to our rescue mission to give witness to Christ in his life; and his testimony at this luncheon chapel service took about all he had. But Marvin did it with confidence and joy because he knew that he knew that he knew that his Redeemer lives. And as we listened to our brother in Christ, anyone there in that mission chapel could sense the peace that Marvin had, knowing, beyond doubt, that if this is the end of his physical life, it is only the beginning of his eternal life. It was uplifting to be there with my brother, who, with his broken physical body, could lift us all up with his testimony of the living Christ, Who was walking with Marvin all the way into eternity.

Oh how I hope and pray that anyone reading this has Job’s kind of clarity of faith. Because without the assurance of your salvation and the clear understanding of the Savior Who redeems you and gives you His grace to live, when life takes a bad turn, you will question God and be vulnerable to fools like those in Job’s life. But when you know, beyond all doubt, that your Redeemer lives, you will be able to sit quietly in a chair, like my friend, Marvin, did this week, and give strong witness to where you are going into the vast hope that is eternity. We can go forward, no matter how racked we are in ill circumstances or pain and declare to all around us, “I know that my Redeemer lives!”

My Prayer for Today: And I can do just that, Lord, because I know You live in me. Amen