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God Never Changes!

That’s right! God never changes! Why do we limit Him and go our own way without Him until trials come and then fall on our knees calling out to Him? He is with us every day in every way. One of the greatest lessons I have learned over my lifetime is to talk with God every day, or the “little days” when everything seems okay, not just crying out to Him in the midst of trials when I have strayed too far from Him or life just happens. God is the same every day, no matter what goes on in my life. He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, forever!

I recall being very young and thinking I was invincible, as we all do at that point in our lives. I went my own way, which was the way of the world, but after a time my Lord let me find out the hard way that the world’s way is the devil’s way, and hence we face trials that bring us back to our loving and merciful God Jehovah. But, just as God was forgiving time and time again with the children of Israel, so He is with us. When we humble ourselves and repent from our sin of turning away from Him, He always welcomes us back with open arms and withholds our much deserved wrath and punishment. I find such great joy in my golden years as I spend precious time with Him each day and grow so fond of His presence.

As I look back over trials in the past few years such as loss of loved ones and straying adult children and grandchildren, I am amazed at how the Lord has bathed me in His grace and peace that passes understanding. He tells me “Peace be still” and “Pray. Leave it with me and let me be God.” When we spend time with our Lord every “little” day, He gives us His strength through those bigger, badder days of trial. I love Mark Bishop’s song about this. So very true! Enjoy!

 

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2017 in God's Love

 

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All is Vanity

Towards the end of his life Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes as the “Preacher” to teach us what he had learned with all the wisdom and knowledge God blessed him with. As I read Chapter 2 this morning, I became aware of the greatest thing we can learn from him, and that is that anything and everything of this world is vanity and cannot bring true happiness. The only way to true happiness is to know and grow in our LORD and the things He teaches in His Word. I like the comments from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary for added thoughts.

Ecclesiastes 2

1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.

2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:

5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:

6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:

7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:

8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. (Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. What does noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? The manifold devices of men’s hearts, to get satisfaction from the world, and their changing from one thing to another, are like the restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly to give himself to wine, he next tried the costly amusements of princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is in the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanity and vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the same result to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthly pleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves the mind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises not from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through Jesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained.)

12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.

15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.

16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Solomon found that knowledge and prudence were preferable to ignorance and folly, though human wisdom and knowledge will not make a man happy. The most learned of men, who dies a stranger to Christ Jesus, will perish equally with the most ignorant; and what good can commendations on earth do to the body in the grave, or the soul in hell? And the spirits of just men made perfect cannot want them. So that if this were all, we might be led to hate our life, as it is all vanity and vexation of spirit.)

18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?

23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.

24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?

26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Our hearts are very loth to quit their expectations of great things from the creature; but Solomon came to this at length. The world is a vale of tears, even to those that have much of it. See what fools they are, who make themselves drudges to the world, which affords a man nothing better than subsistence for the body. And the utmost he can attain in this respect is to allow himself a sober, cheerful use thereof, according to his rank and condition. But we must enjoy good in our labour; we must use those things to make us diligent and cheerful in worldly business. And this is the gift of God. Riches are a blessing or a curse to a man, according as he has, or has not, a heart to make a good use of them. To those that are accepted of the Lord, he gives joy and satisfaction in the knowledge and love of him. But to the sinner he allots labour, sorrow, vanity, and vexation, in seeking a worldly portion, which yet afterwards comes into better hands. Let the sinner seriously consider his latter end. To seek a lasting portion in the love of Christ and the blessings it bestows, is the only way to true and satisfying enjoyment even of this present world.)

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Posted by on April 25, 2017 in God's Love

 

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Being Aware of Faith-Friendly Companies Helps us to be Better Stewards of God’s Money

So I suppose I should say happy Black Friday. Except I never really cared much for this day. Kudos to those who have the courage to do it.

My thoughts today are strongly on how God intervened in this Presidential election and had mercy on His children. Not only am I certain that God intervened to try and turn this country around for the good and bring Him back into it, but I also believe He woke many of His children up to finally take a stand before the progressives would totally destroy what God began here. It appears that there really are many more Christians in this country than we were sure of over the past couple of decades.

I would encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to stay strong in doing right and continue to take a stand for Godly values and not expect those in charge to do it for us. God heard our prayers and answered them, because we stood up and said “Enough!” He has won this battle, but there are many more to overcome in the near future. It will take all of us on our knees and attempting to live a truly Christ-like life to bring about the needed changes in this blessed land. “This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let it Shine!” ought to be a song in all our hearts. Can the Lord continue to count on us to do our part?

It appears that many are not aware of some of the resources at our disposal to stand for Godly principles and really make our country great again. As many are out there trying to get the best deals for their loved ones to have a happy Christmas, I wonder how many are aware of the companies who are “faith-friendly.” We can be encouraged by the fact that for every company used by evil there is an alternative for Christians to turn to.

We must understand that when we give the money that God blesses us with to those companies who attack God’s morals and therefore His children, we are encouraging them to think that it is okay with us that they destroy the lives of those who strive to live out their Christ-like beliefs in these tumultuous times. After all they do not hide the fact that they take our money to further the agenda of the progressive left. It should really bother us that the money God gives us helps contribute to groups, such as the homosexuals, who sue our brothers and sisters out of business, and in the process destroy their livelihoods, because they do not agree with their lifestyle. We know that that group of people is only between 1% and 2% of our total population, yet they seem to get more done for evil than God’s children do for God’s Kingdom. We must also make ourselves aware of those judges who stand for God or evil.

Let us not stop shining for Jehovah God just because the election appears to have went the way we wanted it to. The evil ones are right now trying to influence those in power to try and undo the results of this election. I believe that our mighty God is more powerful than they, and He will not let that happen. But He needs each and everyone of us to live for Him, and continue to stand up and make our voices heard for Him. There are many more of us than there are those influenced by evil.

Some would say, “There are many companies who contribute to the devil’s evil agenda. We can’t know them all, so it does not matter if we spend God’s money there.” (I know, hardly makes any sense at all does it.) Well, there are resources to make us aware, and I will share one shortly. My answer is, “We may not know all of those doing satan’s work, but there are many who are blatantly open about their “agenda.” We have empowered them by saying nothing and supporting their cause with God’s money! So because we do not know all of them, should we still choose to give God’s money to those we are aware of and help them further evil in our country?!” I would say that is just plain laziness on the part of the Christian.

Luke 16:10 “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”

When we are made aware of even one who goes against Godly values and furthers satan’s values, we have a choice to make. We can either say no and refuse to contribute to their agenda, with God’s money, or we can say we do not care, like we have in the past, and then when things are gone awry and we suffer the consequences of sticking our heads in the sand, we will again ask, “How did this happen?” Really?!

I have shared this information before, and I feel led to do it again. The Faith Driven Consumer organization works very hard to do the work required to help us be aware of faith-friendly, and not so faith friendly companies that help us to make the Godly choices this country so badly needs to get back to following a Holy God. “Because He is Holy, we are to be Holy.” Although this is just one area where we can choose to make a Godly difference, it is a very important starting place.

If we are putting God first in all areas of our lives, this is not a hard choice to make. Colossians 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

I am sure there are more organizations like this out there. Please share any that you know of.

 

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2016 in Call to Action

 

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What is True Wisdom?


First, wisdom is a healthy fear and awe of our Lord. It is the process of discernment in which choices are considered and alternatives weighed. For the Godly person, choices are always to be made in keeping with God’s purposes and desires.

In the Old Testament, wisdom was used in various ways which ranged from describing artistic skills as in Exodus 36:1-3 “Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded. And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it: And they received of Moses all the offering, which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, to make it withal. And they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning.”, and financial savvy – Proverbs 8:18-21 “Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.”, to the ability to discern truth. Wisdom is regarded as being very practical in application. It flows from a reverential awe of God and a deep respect for God’s Word – Proverbs 1:7; 2:6 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction…For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” The wise person is repeatedly described as one who acknowledges, relies upon, and trusts God’s superior understanding. Wise decisions are those that keep a person from all that is wicked and perverse – Proverbs 2:7-12 “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;”

The wisdom teachings of the Bible–Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and selected Psalms–contain passages that offer very practical advice and give observations about the results of wise and foolish choices. Throughout the Book of Proverbs, wisdom is portrayed as a woman, i.e. Proverbs 1; 8; 9. Wisdom begs and pleads for women and men to choose the way that leads to health and life, the way of fearing the Lord that brings purpose and meaning to life and the development of a living relationship with God. The wisdom of Proverbs is applied in a special way to the many relationships that women have: wife-husband; mother-child; daughter-parent; friend-friend; employer-employee; and neighbor-neighbor.

Wisdom for believers is our knowledge of God’s will that allows us to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord – Colossians 1:9-10 “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Wisdom is evident in our lives when we lead a life that is marked by purity, peace, gentleness, a yielding spirit, mercy, and “good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” – James 3:17 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

The Good News all through Scripture is that our Lord gives us wisdom liberally and without reproach, if we but ask Him – James 1:5-6 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” In other words, if we ask the Lord in faith to show us what to do, what to say, and how to live, we can count on Him to reveal His answers to us.

Wisdom Personified:

Proverbs 9

1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

2 She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.

3 She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,

4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.

6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.

12 If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.

13 A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.

14 For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,

15 To call passengers who go right on their ways:

16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2016 in Godly Women

 

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Only the Armor of God is Our Arsenal!

EVERY BORN AGAIN CHILD OF GOD MUST IMPLEMENT THIS IN OUR LIVES EACH AND EVERY DAY! Yes, only the armor of God will win the battle of spiritual warfare that we all face if we are born again by the blood of Jesus Christ. When we become children of God, we not only inherit God’s blessings but God’s enemies as well. The Lord’s foremost enemy is satan, whose purpose is to destroy God’s work – John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” But, Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil!” 1 John 3:8 “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

satan is a fallen angel – Isaiah 14:12-15 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” As a fallen angel, he is only a created being. He is in no way equal to God, our Creator! While satan is superior in intellect and strength to mankind, he is inferior to God in every way. Believers have the power of the indwelling resurrected Christ over them and protecting them. All we have to do is use the Living Word of God and believe, His power will overcome the enemy – 1 John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (Man do I wear that verse out!)

In addition, believers have been given the whole armor of God “to stand against the wiles of the devil” – Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Each piece of the armor is to be put on to help believers overcome the temptations and attacks of the evil one!

  1.  Having Girded Your Waist with Truth (Ephesians 6:14): The waist or abdomen area was generally thought to be the seat of emotions. To gird this area with truth is to commit your emotions to believe the truth. Often a person knowingly allows herself to believe a lie because of fear or self-pity. Believers must hold a commitment to truth regardless of the repercussions – John 8:32, 36 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
  2.  Having Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14): “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” The breast is generally thought of as the place of the soul. The heart must be kept pure and righteous because sin gives a foothold to the enemy. We must confess our sin, and then forgiveness on the basis of the blood of Christ cleanses our hearts – 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
  3. Having Shod Your Feet with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15): “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” The proper shoes enable our feet to go from place to place. The believer is to be about her Father’s business, which is to spread the gospel of peace and reconciliation. An unshakable sense of this mission will keep us headed in the right direction – Matthew 28:19, 20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
  4. Taking the Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16): “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Notice it says ALL the fiery darts of the wicked. The wicked one is “the accuser of our brethren” – Revelation 12:10 “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” He will send his fiery darts to instill doubt, fear, and guilt. Faith acts as an invisible shield that deflects such false accusations – Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” The one thing that helps us keep that faith is memorizing these words from God and using them against that evil accuser. God’s Words are living and they have power from on High that we do not have. Remember how Jesus did that when He was tempted by satan?
  5. Take the Helmet of Salvation (Ephesians 6:17): “And take the helmet of salvation,” A helmet protects the head, that is, our brain and our thoughts (yes, satan can try to attack us and make us doubt by getting into our thoughts. We must come against those thoughts immediately, for we learn to know and discern right away that such thoughts are not from God. And evil MUST flee at the name of Jesus – “the LORD rebuke you satan”, “get thee behind me satan, in the name of JESUS I command you!”). Assurance of Salvation is a mighty defense against doubt and insecurity and the kinds of works that are bred by them – 1 John 5:11-13 “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” What an awesome, assuring promise! Memorize it!
  6. Take the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17): “and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God:” The Word of God, the only offensive weapon in this armor, was used by the Lord Jesus against satan as I said above. We find this account in Luke 4:1-13. As I said, the Word of God is living and all powerful as well as effective and instructive (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17) “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart…All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
  7. Praying Always (Ephesians 6:18): “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Prayer opens communication between us and God. In the midst of battle, we as believers MUST keep in CONSTANT communication with our Leader for directions and encouragement. Our prayers for one another are important and effectual – James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

 

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Call to Action

 

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Each Thanksgiving is Sweeter than the One Before!

My family and I were very blessed to share a fun-filled Thanksgiving Day of Monopoly and movies with a couple of young military men from our church this year. They would say we blessed them, but I see it the other way around. 😉 Ronnie made his scrumptious Lasagna, and of course we had rolls, green bean casserole, and pies. The guys were very sweet when I was overcome with emotion as I took my turn thanking God for His healing hand in my life this year. In October I was diagnosed with a very scary health issue and scheduled for a test on the 16th of this month, to allow time for the “episode” to subside. The test would show us what stage it was in and which direction we would need to go to treat it. I had four weeks to wait for the procedure, and believe me, I went through many different phases of emotions and thoughts during that time.

Being who I am, my first reaction was one of anger. I did go to the Lord asking, “Really Lord?! I finally understand what it means to totally turn my life over to You, and desire to serve You more each day, and now You say I am done? You don’t need me any more?” (Maybe I did not turn my life over to Him as much as I thought I had, right?) I do believe it is okay with God for us to interact with Him that way. Now, I am not saying we ought to disrespect Him or curse Him in any way, but I truly believe He wants to hear from us concerning all things, especially things like this. He did create us for His good pleasure, and I think that means that it pleases Him when we sincerely communicate our feelings to Him. I thought about how Jacob wrestled with God and how Hezekiah asked God for 15 more years of life and God granted his request. I remembered how Job spoke with God when satan was allowed to “test” him. (It just so happened that we started in the Book of Job at church during this time; God’s timing is indeed perfect. I tell you, I felt our God speaking directly to me as I read His response to Job.)

Then there was a time of sadness and reflection on everything that God has ever allowed to happen to me, good and bad, which brought much understanding and seeing that God’s hand was in it all along. In the midst of these emotions, I experienced a Grace that I believe came from my family and my brothers and sisters in Christ’s prayers pleading with God to heal me. I finally was able to say, “Thank you Lord for what you are teaching me through this.” My prayer is that I will keep growing in Him and come to the point where I will honestly and earnestly say thank you before responding in anger and mistrust.

I tear up now as I am so very thankful to say that after the test, my doctor said, “It looks like it has gone away.” (This is unheard of medically speaking, but as children of a great an awesome God, we are not surprised.) Of course you can guess my immediate response, “Praise the Lord!” (Well, there is a slight condition, but nothing compared to what they initially said. Maybe just enough of an issue to remind me of what God has done for me.) I believe God is still moving this verse from my head to my heart: Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” I thank thee Lord for they mercy and thy Grace that you continue to bless me with. Guess You are not done with me yet! 🙂

I can truly say I  am closer to understanding the meaning of the saying and the promise from God’s Word “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength!” When we can say, “Thank you Lord. I know You are in control and You are allowing this for Your purpose and for Your Glory,” we do indeed experience joy that can only come from YAHWEH. Nehemiah 8:10.

 

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2015 in God's Love, Uncategorized

 

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“A Man Who Feared God”

Although the Book of Job seems to be about a righteous man who endures incredible suffering, it does focus more on God’s Wisdom and Sovereignty. The grand themes of God’s wisdom and justice are indeed more significant than the suffering and faith of Job. The Book raises rather intense questions that we humans spend time on at different points in our lives: “Why do the righteous suffer? Why would God allow such suffering? Why should a man believe in God? Why believe in God when we cannot visibly see Him?” The answers to those questions point out the limitations of our human wisdom as opposed to the immense, unlimited wisdom of God.

I first want to address the fact that Chapter 1 tells us that God considered Job “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” So, why did He allow all this suffering to come upon him? Let us not forget verses 6-12 in Chapter 1: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” God knew Job’s heart more than even Job did, just as He knows us more than we know ourselves. We know that satan roams to and fro on this earth seeking God’s strongest so that he can attempt to destroy them, but we learn here that that evil beast must ask God’s permission first. I believe that if God did not believe Job strong enough to get through these afflictions, He would not have allowed them.

Job’s friends thought they had all the answers for Job, and God let them ramble on for a time with ‘their’ opinions; much longer than I like. Although our friends, and ourselves in vice versa, sometimes just want to ‘help’ us get through our suffering with what they believe to be ‘good answers,’ they might do better to just be there and be sensitive to God’s Holy Spirit before speaking. I see Job’s friends’ answers as comfortable for them, but not comforting for Job. God let them know that their answers were inadequate and just plain wrong. They spoke from their experience and from traditions that were limited to the doctrine of retribution –  the belief that suffering is always punishment for sin. After God confronted Job, He told Job’s friends that He was angry with them because their answers were sinful and for them to offer up burnt offerings in atonement, AND He told them to let Job pray for them asking that God not deal with them as they deserved. Job 42:7, 8 “And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.” I believe that God understood Job’s questions and frustration about the horrendous losses He allowed him to suffer, and what a compliment to Job that God had confidence that he would not curse Him for it.

There is definitely a greater answer to Job’s suffering founded on God’s great wisdom. As I noted above, we have a rare behind-the-scenes look at God’s control and limitations that He put on Satan. Job was singled out by God to be a tested man of faith. satan accused God of bribing Job to believe in Him: Job 1:9, 10 ” Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.” Job came through this testing without sin, even in the face of the crushing disaster and the undeserved suffering. Even his wife told him to “Curse God and die.” He responded: Job 1:22; 2:10 “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly…But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” The key to having this mindset is staying so very close in our relationship to God, searching and standing on His promises in His Word. If we are not close to Him, our flesh listens to satan’s lies and we become angry with God.

In the first 13 chapters of Job, the question “Why?” is asked over and over, but with no reply. In our minds, the question demands an explanation and a justification, but even if Job could have understood God’s answers, he would have only known “parts of God’s ways: Job 26:14 “Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?” Our human minds lack the capacity to truly understand God’s ways, therefore, when we are faced with suffering, it is actually inappropriate to ask “Why?”

A better question would be “Who?”; “Who is in charge?” When God replied to Job He asked him, “Who?” at least 20 times in Chapters 38-41. When the “Who?” is God, then the persisting “Why?” is softened. The Believer can be like “a child that is weaned from his mother,” a child who has learned to wait for and to trust in his mother to give him what he needs at the right time: Psalm 131:2 “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.”

So, Job rightly and unwaveringly named God as the One who is ultimately responsible for all his suffering. He did not ever once blame satan, who was the one who directly struck him with those suffering blows-Job 2:10. God Himself told satan in Job 2:3: “Thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” God is not only in charge of the “good” things that happen to us while “helplessly” observing as “bad” things happen, but He is sovereignly in control of ALL things, good and bad. He permits His children to endure testing. At times, we want only to accept the good from God’s hand, but then we risk rejecting Him completely when things do not work out as we desire. That limited attitude of God’s wisdom is very foolish indeed, and we miss out on the blessings that come with our growth through testing.

Though Job was grief-stricken and bewildered at his trials, he recognized that God was in them and he determinedly chose to cling to God: Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” In his destitute and exhausted state Job uttered what I believe is a profound statement of faith: Job 19:25-27 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” While Job was in what we consider to be a hopeless state of affairs, he did not lose sight of his, and our, greatest hope that no matter what happens in this world, we can look forward to the world of Heaven to come. So, if our sufferings do lead to death here, we can be comforted that we will immediately be in the presence of our loving Saviour and Lord.

In Conclusion: Only our Lord knows all the whys and wherefores of our human suffering. Until “then shall I know even as also I am known,” knowing Him is more than enough for now:

1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

2 Timothy 1:12 “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

James 5:11 “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in God's Truth

 

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