Devotional · Uncategorized

The Haves and Have-nots

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Job 1:21

We have heard this expression used when calculating global economies, but how does it apply to the world of 2020?

The book of Job is written about a man favoured by God. Not only was Job wealthy, but he had a large family. The Bible records “He was the greatest man among all the people of the East” (Job 1:3). Apparently his lifestyle pleased God, for we are given a glimpse into a conversation taking place before the throne of God. The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and up-right, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8).

In 2020 I wonder how the conversation has gone between God and Satan. God could challenge Satan again to look at the world He created and the people whom He loves. (Let’s remember, since we just celebrated Easter, God sent His only begotten Son to pay the price of the sins of all people.) Hypothetically, would it have gone something like this? God: Have you considered my servants in North America? They have been reading their Bibles and praying, giving selflessly to the poor, caring for the disadvantaged at home and abroad, welcoming strangers into their hearts and homes, so they could tell them about the love of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. They have been straining to look after the environment, even at the cost of their own comfort and convenience. There is no other nation on earth like them!

Or, would God looking down see self-indulgence, greed, hatred and a spirit of entitlement? In this “me” generation does God care about our human rights, yours and mine, or has He called His children to care about the rights of those less fortunate? Surely as the world trembles in the face of an invisible enemy today, we might do some soul-searching.

Faced with the overthrow of all his good fortune, God had allowed Satan to test Job to the limit. He lost his property, his family and his health. Wouldn’t that make most people scream that God is ‘unfair’? Perhaps Job’s worldview may mean something to anyone facing the loss of all they hold dear. The Bible tells us he did not lose his faith in God, but rather fell to the ground and worshiped, saying: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised!” (Job 1:21).

Hundreds of years later, the Apostle Paul knew something of Job’s experience. He tells us “I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11-12).

Reflection:

Does our happiness depend on what we have, or does the attitude of gratitude colour our world rosy?

When do we most often find ourselves on our knees? Usually it is when we are in need.

Can we, do we trust God to supply all our needs through His riches in glory in Christ Jesus? (Philippians

4:19)

Do we count our relationship with God among our riches? Do you have, or have not?

Let us pray the prayer of David – Psalm 51:10-12.

Devotional · Uncategorized

The Perfect Man

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Job 42:1-6

The Bible spells out the realities of man’s sin nature in every example. Thankfully it doesn’t drop a veil over human folly, but rather gives hope to you and me. Even in the case of Job, described as blameless and continually devout, we find him repenting in dust and ashes. Why? What was his sin? We know he suffered cruelly from loss and bereavement, from physical illness and mental cruelty. When his wife advised him to curse God and die, she attacked the thing most precious to him – his faith.

What then did he repent of, in Job 42:6? Was he humbled by the greatness of a God he could never fully comprehend, God who had blessed him so abundantly in the past, a God who was personal in spite of his own lack of knowledge and understanding? Job now saw God whereas before he had only heard of Him.

Perhaps Job realized how deeply he may have offended God by cursing the day of his birth. We can only guess at thoughts and feelings arising from his renewed understanding of the supreme God he worshiped.

Like David, Job’s adoration and intentionality toward God had never failed. In this regard he was blameless. However, he now saw the difference between himself as a created being, and the Creator of a design far beyond his understanding. God, seeing his heart, through suffering opened his mind to greater things than Job would have perhaps ever explored in the normal course of everyday living.

We know scripture tells us Jesus was without sin; the only human form that can claim that distinction. Was this because He knew the mind of God and fully understood His heart and will? Certainly no other human being ever has.

However, as we struggle here on earth, let us rejoice that we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to guide our hearts and minds. Having placed our feet upon the Way of Jesus Christ, and with Him as our supreme example, we have every cause to hope that we might be found blameless of intentionally rebelling against God Almighty, even if we do not achieve perfection in this life.

Reflection:

Describe in your own words what a perfect man would look like? Example?

How has God gifted us in order to achieve perfection?

Does God demand perfection?

by Marilyn Daniels

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional · Uncategorized

The Dead Will Hear

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John 6:24-29

 

Again we are privileged to listen in as Jesus is speaking to the crowds. We need to look at the context to understand what He means when He says “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God” (:25). First of all notice that He identifies Himself as the Son of God throughout this chapter. Nearly 20 times, Jesus refers to His special Father-Son relationship with God. Secondly He is talking about eternal life (:24). He uses the present tense to describe crossing from death to life.

 

Now, as so often John records, Jesus prefaces His message with “I tell you the truth….” (6:25). Only God is the essence of truth. Here on earth our truth is motivated so often by self-interest, but God’s is pure truth and this is what His only begotten Son will tell people then, and now.

 

Jesus says the time has come, in fact it is now – when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. Who are the dead? Surely Jesus didn’t mean those buried in the ground. Of course not! He is talking about spiritually dead people. Paul spelled it out for the Ephesian church “You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live” (2:1). That describes spiritual death in the midst of physical life, separation from God who cannot be in the presence of sin.

 

To further prove He is talking about spiritual life and death, Jesus clarified His Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him, should have eternal life…and I will raise him/her up in the last day” (6:40). Note that eternal life begins at the moment when a person puts their faith in God’s Holy Son! It is not something we wait to receive when we die. That eternal life is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).

 

The Jews kept asking Jesus for a sign to prove His deity (6:30). One might wonder what they expected. After all He was known for His miracles, so much so that crowds followed Him (6:24). How many of those who followed Him then were still dead, looking for excitement because of this miracle-worker new in town? Curious? Wanting to be fed, healed, to be seen as good because they were allied with a Holy man? How many things motivate a human being’s loyalties? We know the crowd was fickle. After lauding Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, within a week they turned to shout “Crucify Him”! What caused their change of heart? They were dead spiritually. Those who were alive followed Christ to the tomb, grieving over His suffering and sacrifice.

 

It is a mystery how some folks go to church all their lives, but never hear the voice of the Son of God. We cannot judge another human heart, but Jesus knows, and the final judgment has been given to Him (5:22). Its never too late to hear, while physical life lasts. The thief on the cross was promised eternal life in Paradise that very day. How merciful is God to forgive at the eleventh hour, but oh what a waste of life in which one might have found such joy and peace through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

Reflection:

“Come Holy Spirit, dark is the hour.

We need Your filling your love and Your mighty power.

Move now among us, stir us today.

Come Holy Spirit – Revive Your church today!” John W. Peterson

Devotional · Uncategorized

My Way

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Job 23:10

Previously I have referred to the verse where, with assurance, a suffering man relies on God’s wisdom. Job wrote “But..” …that big little word which forms a bridge between thoughts. “But He…” Who? God of course. The all-knowing, omniscient One.

 

Job goes on to indulge in the certainty that his strong reliance on God brought, while he sat on the ash heap nursing his broken body. This was not the way it was supposed to be. He was a wealthy man, but wealth does not ensure health. However, he was also a God-fearing man, one whom the Bible describes as blameless. Would to God each one of us could have that inscribed on our tombstones.

 

Among his family he was known as a man of prayer (Job 1:4). In his community he was respected for his wisdom as a man of faith. So wouldn’t we think God would bless him because his thoughts and labours pleased the Lord? Not so! As Job cursed the day he was born, he did not feel particularly blessed. He suffered real pain, along with the frustration of not understanding the way life was going.

 

However, Job was also wise. He had enough insight to see that God was testing him; for what reason he did not know, but he faced this test with the fortitude only experienced by a man or woman of God. Although he had followed in God’s steps (23:11), keeping to God’s way by obey God’s laws, right now the path ahead was in darkness. That darkness terrified him, but did not silence him (23:17).

 

He saw light at the end of the tunnel. “I will come forth as gold”. He believed God would judge him on the basis of his pure heart. In these words he claims innocence. He has not deliberately turned away from God. There had to be a deeper meaning to his suffering that he could comprehend. Though his friends tried to persuade him there were secret sins in his life, Job was adamant that his trial would prove them wrong.

 

In the end God raised him up and blessed him with sons and daughters, multiplying his flocks. Why did he suffer? We may not know the answer fully until we get to heaven, but many a person has been comforted by his steadfast belief in the God whose plans cannot be thwarted (42:1). Comparing himself to Almighty God, Job declared he was unworthy (40:2 & 4). He longed for the days when “God’s intimate friendship blessed my house” (29:4).

 

He trusted God who made him taste bitterness of soul (27:2) because he realized in this world man is born to trouble as the sparks certainly flew upward from a fire (5:7). Trouble mingles with blessings as a reality of life, so he rebuked his wife whose sage advice suggested he curse God and die (2:10). Instead Job comforted himself with the fact that God gave him life, showing him kindness and watching over his spirit (10:12). This was the God Job trusted knew his way. His famous words bring us hope to this day “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him” (13:15).

 

Reflection:

Job knew that God was fully aware of the path ahead of him, even though he couldn’t see where it was leading. Do we have that same level of trust when things don’t go the way we planned?…the way we expected?

He knew that if a man dies, he will live again (19:25-27). That then life will be glorious because in it we will see our Redeemer. This is a prophetic utterance because as yet Jesus had not come to redeem mankind from sin! There will be a physical resurrection of the body that so plagued Job, a body fully restored. At that moment His heart yearned within him for such a blessing!

Does your heart yearn for the time when you will be healed either physically or emotionally?

by Marilyn Daniels. http://www.marilyndaniels.net