Thursday, October 19, 2017

STAYING OUT OF TROUBLE

 

Ps. 1:1  Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with scoffers.

      If you are following the advice of the wicked, you are in trouble.  The wicked are up to no good, always.  It is what they do because that is all they know.  The wicked in heart do not know the truth because their eyes are encased in darkness and they can’t see the light.  Be careful who you turn to for advice.

     If you are standing around with sinners, you are in trouble.  It is never good to just be standing around.  Idleness is the devil’s workshop.  We need to be busy, working out our salvation.  If you are just standing around, taking in the scenery, you are an easy target.  Satan has the most trouble with those on the move.  Don’t stand around, and certainly don’t do it with sinners.  Hanging around doing nothing with sinners can only lead you away from God.  You will be far more apt to listen to their plea for your companionship in their sin and do it.

     If you join in with scoffers, you are in trouble.  Scoffers are those who do not value the things of God.  They reject what God says or stands for.  They make light of eternity and spurn the truth.  They not only make light of God, they look down on those who do stand up for truth.  Scoffers are everywhere.  They are in the political arena, sports, business world, and the church.  They are often very persuasive, subtle, and convincing.  Wise is he who stays alert and recognizes the scoffers around him.  Have nothing to do with them, for they will lead you away from God.

     Be aware of who you let into your life and influence you.  Be diligent and protect your soul so that you don’t get sucked into a way of life that draws you away from God.  Stand up against those who try to entice you into sin.  There is great joy in those who do not let themselves become entangled with sin.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

GOD SPEAKS

 

Job 33:14  But God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.

How often does God have to speak before we listen?  Over and over again God speaks to us.  He tells us of His love, mercy and grace.  He tells us of the difference between life here and life in heaven.  He tells us of the seriousness of sin and the horror of hell.  He tells us of our need to be holy in character and influencers for Him in the world.  He tells us we are sinners and need to be a people who are humble enough to confess our sins before Him.  He speaks, but people do not recognize it or pay attention to it.

We don’t recognize God’s voice because we get so wrapped up in this life that we fail to consider our eternal lives.  We become so preoccupied that we scarcely take the time to be still before Him.   We neglect our Bibles and prayer closets where the Lord speaks.  We fail to discipline ourselves to listen to His Word when it is taught and preached.  We lack the discipline to shut out the voices of temptation.  We fill our minds up with the voices of the world to the point where we don’t recognize the voice of God telling us not to.  We spend more time entertaining ourselves with the world’s offerings than we do those things which edify our souls.

When God speaks to your soul, do you recognize His voice?  If you are not hearing God speak to you, you need to rethink your priorities and put yourself in a position where you can hear Him speak.  You need to be consistently in the Word so you can know what God is saying and how He wants you to live and think.  You need to spend time in prayer with an open heart and ears to listen so that you can hear and recognize God’s voice.  You need to be in the fellowship of the church so you can be trained to hear God speak as He speaks through His Word and people.

God does speak again and again.  He wants us to hear Him.  He has important things to say to us.  Develop your spiritual senses so that you can hear Him speak to you.  Don’t miss out on what God is saying; it is a matter of life or death for your soul.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

COMMITTED TO GODLINESS

 

Job 31:7,8  If I have strayed from his pathway, or if my heart has lusted for what my eyes have seen, or if I am guilty of any other sin, then let someone else harvest the crops I have planted, and let all that I have planted be uprooted.

Job was a determined man.  He was determined that he was not going to let sin rule his life.  He was not going to open the door that would lead to sin.  He was going to protect his soul at all times.  To the best of his ability, Job was going to live a godly life.

Job was so sure of the purity of his heart that he was willing to give up everything in his life if he were to be found guilty of a life of sin.  He was determined to be found to be blameless before God, to walk on His pathway.  He didn't care if he was the only one on earth to walk with God; he was going to do it.

To live blamelessly before God does not mean that we will live perfect lives.  It means that we have hearts bent on doing what is right before God and when we fail we confess our sins instead of ignoring them or harboring them in our hearts.

We would do well to have the same determined spirit in our souls.  Our passion must always be to live blameless lives before God.  However, we must realize that even though we live blamelessly before God, we can’t always live blamelessly before man (believers included).  Because of our sinful nature we will come under fire by some who don’t know us well or understand the motives of our hearts.  There will always be those who will find fault with us.  Our goal is not to please man; it is always to please God.  Stay true to the Lord, walk faithfully on the pathway to godliness, and determine in your heart that you will not let sin rule your life.  If you do these things, all will be well with your soul.

Monday, October 16, 2017

LUST


LUST

Job 31:1 I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman. 

What a powerful and bold statement!  Job determined in his heart early on in life that he would not knowingly sin against God.  Lust is a willful act.  It is lingering on the thought of sinful desires.  It is deciding that you want what is not yours to have.  You can lust after anything or anyone.  No matter what it is, it is sin.  It is an act of discontentment.  It is saying to God what you have is not enough or good enough.

What do you lust after?  What is there in your life that makes you want more of what you don’t have?  What do you have that you are convinced is not good enough for you?

If you are lusting after anything but God, you need to make a covenant before God that you are going to get your desires under control and not do it any longer.  God can show you what you are lusting after, but only you can determine that you will do it no more.  The Lord will help you gain control over your sinful desires, but you have to be willing to let Him.

The Lord gives us desires and they are good for us.  Desires that are untainted by sin that motivate us to grow and become the people God desires us to be are good.  They are designed to help us, not hinder us.  Sin causes us to use our desires for evil purposes instead of good purposes.  In order to reclaim possession of your desires, you have to let the Lord reclaim possession of your soul.  If He has His rightful place in your heart, you will not be driven by lust; you will be driven by a desire to please Him in your mind, body and soul.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

EYE COVENANT

 

Job 31:1 I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman. 

Every believer should follow Job’s example.  Everyone has someone or something that will lead them into sin if they are not careful.  God made us uniquely different and only you know what your weaknesses really are.  Fixation on those things that exploits our weaknesses is a very dangerous thing.  It can only lead us into sin.

I encourage you to pause as you read this today and think about what your weaknesses are.  If you are tempted by visual things, make a covenant with your eyes so that you don’t look at them.  You can’t keep from seeing things that tempt you, but you can determine in your heart not to linger and dwell on them.  If you are tempted by the things you read, make a covenant with your eyes that you will not pick up material that exploits your weaknesses and read them. 

Our eyes are the gateway to the soul.  What we allow our eyes to see affects our souls.  The heart will dwell on what we see as long as we are looking at it.  Every time we allow ourselves to dwell on what tempts us, we weaken our resolve, which only leads us into sin. 

We are daily challenged by what filters through our eyes.  We constantly fight the urge to justify what we look at.  The sources we have available to us to look at are everywhere.  Whether it’s in the public arena or in the privacy of our homes, we must take charge of our souls and not allow ourselves to linger with our eyes on those things which are sinful or lead us into sinful thoughts or actions.

Dear friend, the Lord knows what you are looking at and dwelling on.  Do yourself a huge favor and make a covenant with your eyes to not play with fire and look at what tempts you.  Renew your covenant daily before the Lord and your successes will far outweigh your failures.  And when you do fall, confess your sin to the Lord and He will forgive you and help you to try harder the next time.  There is no shame in failing, but there is great shame in not trying.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

THE FEAR OF THE LORD

 

Job 28:28  And this is what he says to all humanity:  The fear of the LORD is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.

The fear of the Lord involves reverence, respect, reconciliation, regard, and reason.  We think about God and discover who He is.  We examine His claims about himself and life and come to the conclusion that He is trustworthy in all that He says.  We seek to be right with God knowing that if we aren’t, we are in grave danger.  We accept God for who He is and bow down before Him as our Savior and King.  We acknowledge that God is holy, the judge of all humanity, and that we are accountable to Him for our lives.  Knowing these things are true makes a man wise for he knows that he cannot take God lightly or his relationship with Him.

He who forsakes evil gets it.  The reason why we exist is to be a holy people before God.  We are not here because of some random act of nature.  We exist because in the beginning God created us to be who we are so we could have a relationship with Him.  He made us uniquely different from all the rest of creation.  We have souls which can connect to God on a personal level.  We have the ability to become one with God in love and holiness of character.  We are in essence like God; we are spiritual beings.  In creating us, God gives us life that will never die. He gives us the ability and opportunity to choose whether we will live with Him or apart from Him.

Real understanding is to forsake evil and live connected to God.  It is seeking to live holy lives.  It is taking God at His word and never looking back.  It is living as if our lives and eternity really do matter.  It is living as if God in His holiness really matters.  It is to fear God.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A COVENANT OF INTEGRITY

 

Job 27:3-6  As long as I live, while I have breath from God, my lips will speak no evil, and my tongue will speak no lies.  I will never concede that you are right until I die.  I will defend my innocence.  I will maintain my innocence without wavering.  My conscience is clear for as long as I live.

Reread slowly these verses.  Examine your own heart.  If you cannot honestly say the same things, you need to let the Lord take control of you.  We can control what comes out of our mouths.  In fact, Jesus reminds us that what comes out of our mouths is what is in our hearts. If evil words or lying words come from us it is because they are in us.  And if they are in us, we must ask the Lord to take them away from us.  If we don’t, we will face God and have to answer to Him for it.

Are you confident enough in your righteousness that you can stand up to anyone and defend your innocence because you know before God that you are right?  Now, there is a difference between a confidence rooted in self-deception and a confidence rooted in Christ.  We can convince ourselves that we are better off before God than we really are.  If we see ourselves in comparison to others and let that determine our righteousness, we will more than likely be led to believe we are okay.  However, our standard of righteousness in not others; it is God’s Word.  We must see ourselves as God sees us.  If we are not living up to the standards of God, we are not innocent before Him.

The right thing to do is to humble ourselves and admit our sinfulness.  There is no excuse for allowing sin to be a part of who we are.  Don’t maintain you are right with God when you know you are not.  Listen to the Spirit of Christ as He convicts you of sin.  Then, and only then, can you say with confidence that your conscious is clear.

May we too be determined to live before God with a clear conscious as long as we live.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

YOUR LEGACY

 

Job:27:1-6  Job continued speaking, “I make this vow by the living God, who has taken away my rights, by the Almighty who has embittered my soul.  As long as I live, while I have breath from God, my lips will speak no evil, and my tongues will speak no lies.  I will never concede that you are right; until I die, I will defend my innocence.  I will maintain my innocence without wavering.  My conscience is clear for as long as I live.

When you come to the end of your life, how do you want to be remembered?  What do you want others to remember about how you lived your life?  Will they be able to say you kept true to the Lord through the bad as well as the good times of your life?  Will they be able to say that you lived an innocent life before both God and man?  Better yet, will you be able to say it?

It is a liberating feeling to know that you have lived rightly before God.  When you know in your heart you have done what is right, you can handle whatever accusations that may come your way.  It won’t matter what others may think when you know that all is well with you before God.  It won’t matter whether or not others may understand or agree with you. 

Like Job, we must vow before God that we will live with hearts of integrity.  We must determine in our hearts that the only thing that comes out of our mouths will be truth.  We must determine that we do not let any evil thing come from our lips.  When we do, then we can stand on our innocence.  We can have confidence before God when we are falsely accused by others.  We do not have to cave in when we are confronted by others.

Is your conscious clear before God today?  If you were to stand before God today, would you be okay with that?  Is there anything you need to clear up with Him?  Have you determined in your heart that you will not cave into sin, no matter how great the pressure may be to do so?  Have you determined in your heart that no evil or lies will ever come from your lips? 

Live rightly before God moment by moment and you will never have to fear if this might be your last day on earth.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

WICKED PEOPLE

 

Job 24:13  Wicked people rebel against the light.  They refuse to acknowledge its ways.  They will not stay in its paths. 

One of the ways in which you can determine the real status of someone’s heart before God is how well they stay the course of faith.  Anyone who keeps wandering off the path of faith and into a sinful life pattern does not have saving faith.  Everyone stumbles and falls, but the child of God stands a whole lot more than he falls.  He is able to make progress in his struggles to overcome sin.  He is able to grow in his understanding of spiritual things.  He strives to live a godly life.

Those who rebel against the light are wicked in their heart.  These are people who refuse to live in the light they are shown.  They stay in the darkness of sin instead of coming to the light.  These people love the darkness instead of the light.  They turn off the light so that it doesn’t shine in their darkness.

In fact, the wicked in heart even refuse to acknowledge that there is light.  They acknowledge that there are many paths to heaven instead of one way.  They scorn those who claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven.  They may even deny that Jesus is God.  They do not acknowledge God’s Word as being absolute truth.  They strive to undermine the Word.  They stubbornly try to be good enough for heaven without heaven’s help.

Be careful who you hang out with.  The wicked will lead you away from God if you aren’t paying attention to your soul.  The path of the wicked is no good for you.  Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and do not deviate from His path.  Diligently protect your soul, because Satan is a master at chipping away at faith.  If you embrace sin in any way, it can be lethal to your soul.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

GOD'S SOVEREIGNITY

 

Job 23:13-14  “Nevertheless, his mind concerning me remains unchanged, and who can turn him from his purposes?  Whatever he wants to do, he does.  So he will do for me all he has planned.  He controls my destiny.”

Job is speaking her of God’s sovereign plan and control over us.  God knows the purpose of our lives and what it takes for us to fulfill it.  He knows what we need to experience and learn in order to be who we need to be serve Him best.  He knows best how to build our character.  He knows best how to instill within us godliness.  Each of us is different and requires different experiences.  Each of us has different roles to play in God’s kingdom and so the Lord has to deal with us accordingly.  Some of us require great maturity of faith and some of us less maturity.  The Lord knows what we don’t know and so we must yield to His lordship over us.

The Lord does not change His mind about us.  He will always move us in the direction He desires us to go.  We must be willing to be lead though.  We can refuse to go where He is taking us.  But if we allow Him to have His way with us, He will make sure that we will get to where He needs us to be so that we can do what He desires us to do.

No one can keep God from doing what He wants to do.  God has a purpose for everything He does.  We may not always understand it, but we aren't meant to.  He sees the whole picture and knows what needs to be done in order for us to participant in His plan.  All He asks of us is to trust Him as He leads us forward.

Are you letting the Lord lead you, or are you resisting Him?  The plans the Lord has for you are good.  You will never be happier or more content in life than you will be when you are allowing the Lord to fulfill His purposes for you.  Don’t let anything or anyone keep you from following the Lord.

Monday, October 9, 2017

STAYING ON GOD'S PATH

 

Job 23:11-12  “For I have stayed in God’s paths.  I have followed his ways and not turned aside.  I have not departed from his commands but have treasured his word in my heart.”

Can you say this about you?  Staying on God’s path is not an easy thing to do.  There are so many opportunities we face every day to wander off His path.  God is leading us down a path of righteousness and holiness that leads to heaven.  We want to get there, but we often don’t want to follow the path that leads us there.  We are drawn to those paths that lead us away from God.  We like what we see in the world around us and often pursue it.

The path of God requires much of us.  We must be totally committed to it.  We must not only hear the Word, we must live it.  We must be students of the Word so we can easily determine what God wants us to do.  We must be students of prayer so we can discern the heart of God as He ministers to our hearts.  We must be haters of evil and resist the urge to pursue it.  We must learn self-control so that our eyes, ears, minds, mouths, and hands are not gateways to sin in our lives.  We must desire the things of God to the point where we invest our lives in their pursuit.

The path to God is full of many obstacles along the way.  We are under constant attack and pressured to wander off it.  The only way we can stay the course is to take charge of our souls.  We must work hard to keep ourselves on track.  We must not make excuses for ourselves.  We must always let the Lord do whatever He wants and needs to do in us to make us a holy people after His own heart. We must treasure God's Word in our hearts so that the Lord has something to work with.

It takes a lot of determination and effort to stay on God's path, but great is the reward for those who do it.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

YOUR STANDING BEFORE GOD

 

Job 23:10-12  But he knows where I am going.  And when he has tested me like gold in a fire, he will pronounce me innocent.  For I have stayed in God’s paths.  I have followed his ways and not turned aside.  I have not departed from his commands but have treasured his word in my heart.

Job was a man who knew his standing before God.  He lived life in such a way that the sufferings he was going through did not cause him to doubt his righteousness.  He didn’t understand why he was suffering, but he knew that all was well with his soul.

Job knew that God knew him and the righteousness of his heart.  He knew that God knew that he was going to be with Him once he died.  There was no shred of doubting on Job’s part.  We too can know where we are going when we die.  In fact, we must know it if we are going to overcome the many ups and downs of life. 

Sometimes our faith is tested.  We go through sufferings and tough times to find out just how real our faith really is.  It is easy to maintain faith when all is going well.  It is in the bad times that we discover how things really are in our souls. 

Job knew that God was going to declare his soul innocent.  He knew that God would not find fault with him.  How could he be so sure?  He stayed on God’s paths.  He did not get side-tracked by life.  He lived a righteous life all the time.  He sought always to know God’s ways and lived them.  Knowing God’s ways was a priority in Job’s life.  Job determined in his heart that he would only do what he knew what God wanted him to do with his life. 

Job treasured God’s Word in his heart.  Because he owned them for himself, he was able to live them out on a daily basis.  We too can live by God’s Word when we value it enough to hide it in our hearts so that we can be constantly directed and influenced by it.  There is no short cut to godly living.  We must always live by God’s Word.  It is only then that we can have bold confidence in our standing before God both now and forever.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

I KNOW MY REDEEMER

 

Job 19:25-27  “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last.  And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God!  I will see him for myself.  Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.  I am overwhelmed at the thought!”

The issue before us today is how well we know that our Redeemer lives.  How do you know our Redeemer lives?  Do you know it’s true because that is what you have been taught, or do you know it because you experience it daily in your life?  There is a huge difference between what we know in our heads and what we know to be true in our hearts.

How well do you know your Redeemer?  Are you on good terms with Him?  Do you know Him well enough to know it when He speaks to you?  Do you know Him well enough to know the will of His heart for you?  Do you know Him well enough to trust Him with your very life?  Do you know that He always loves you and has your best interests at heart?  Do you know that He will NEVER leave or forsake you?  Do you know that He loves you so much that He will never leave you alone and let you fall into sin without trying to stop you?  Do you know Him well enough to stake your life on Him?

If you really know your Redeemer, you will know that you will see Him with your very own eyes.  You will be so captivated by the reality of it that it will permeate every detail of your living.  You will live in expectation of seeing Him and it will fill your heart with so much joy that you can scarce contain it.  Think about it.  Dear friend, there is coming a day in which you will see Jesus face to face.  You will see Him in all His love, glory, majesty and holiness.  Not only will you see Him, you will talk to Him and be with Him forever and ever!

Whatever you may be going through in this life, it pales in light of what is yet to come for you.  You may have the worst life possible here on earth, but if you have Jesus, you will find that it is indeed worth every moment of your misery now.  If you have Jesus, your reward will be greater than any life you may be able to know here on earth.  You will see Jesus and He will set you free from all sin and entanglements of this life.  He will clothe you in garments of pure holiness and love.

Don’t look around you and pine for what you see here on earth.  Look above you and pine for the things you see in heaven where your Redeemer is today.

Friday, October 6, 2017

THE DEMISE OF THE WICKED

 

Job 18:5-7  The truth remains that the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.  The sparks of their fire will not glow.  The light in them will grow dark.  The lamp hanging above them will be quenched.  The confident stride of the wicked will be short-lived.  Their own schemes will be their downfall.

We need to understand this truth.  God prevails over the wicked in heart.  There is nothing but darkness and emptiness, which characterizes their lives.  They have no hope beyond this life.  Whatever they may know, experience, or do in this life will be their reward.  In eternity they will be like everyone else who has denied or rejected Christ.  They will spend eternity in eternal torment understanding that it is well-deserved and did not have to be that way.

There is hope for the wicked while there is still life, but once life comes to an end, there is no more hope.  The longer one lingers in the darkness, the dimmer the light becomes.  Linger long enough and the light simply will go out. 

If you are counting on the pleasures of this life to satisfy your soul, you will regret it forever.  If you think that your legacy on earth is going to ease your suffering in hell, think again.  If you think that there is no God to fear or answer to, you will have a very rude awakening.  If you think you know what you are doing and that your way of life is a better way, you will soon find out just how wrong you really are.

The truth of the matter is that there is only one way to live that will spare any of us from an eternity in hell.  Our relationship with Christ before we die determines where we will live eternally.  We cannot be in Christ and live in the darkness of evil.  The evidence of our salvation is how we live.  Words will not cut it.  Saving faith results in godly living.  Profession of faith without practice of faith means nothing. 

 Dear friend, stay out of the darkness of the wicked.  It only leads you away from God and if you stay there it will destroy your soul.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD

 

Job 17:6-9  God has made a mockery of me among the people; they spit in my face.  My eyes are dim with weeping, and I am but a shadow of my former self.  The upright are astonished when they see me.  The innocent are aroused against the ungodly.  The righteous will move onward and forward, and those with pure hearts will become stronger and stronger. 

Even in the midst of the suffering he was going through, Job expressed his faith in God.  He knew God to be true to His Word.  God does not abandon His children.  God is good and His goodness doesn’t depend on our good circumstances.

The righteous do not buckle underneath or let themselves become entrapped by their circumstances.  They face their circumstances with determination.  They do not waver in their righteousness.  Instead, they move onward and forward.  They trust in God’s character.  They do not waver in their confidence in God.  They keep on moving towards God and not away from Him.

The righteous in heart do not sin against God by blaming God for their difficulties.  Instead they lean on God and allow Him to make them stronger because of them.  The more struggles they go through, the stronger they become.  Faith is never made stronger through the comforts of life.  In fact, life’s comforts will usually make one’s faith weaker.

Dear friend, do not let life’s struggles throw you.  Trust in God when you go through them.  Learn from them how faithful God is to you.  Let the Lord grow you and make your faith stronger.  Do not sit under your circumstances, rather keep on moving forward.  Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and you will soon find yourself not underneath your circumstances but on top of them. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

HOPE

 

Job 14:14-17  If mortals die, can they live again?  This thought would give me hope, and through my struggle I would eagerly wait for release.  You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.  For, then you would count my steps, instead of watching for my sins.  My sins would be sealed in a pouch, and you would cover over my iniquity. 

Job was overwhelmed by his troubles.  He was miserable.  His sufferings dominated his life.  His friends were no help to him at all.  In fact, they only made things worse for they were judging him for his struggles instead of comforting him through them.

The one thing that helped Job is hope.  Job was able to endure his sufferings because he believed that there was much more to life than his present sufferings.  He believed that even if he were to die in his sufferings, it would be worth it all because he would see God and be with Him.

We cannot predict or control our sufferings.  They come without regard to who we are.  They come in varied degrees.  Some of us suffer a lot, some far less.  No amount of self-will can make them go away.  What matters is how we handle ourselves when they come.

As children of God we have hope.   We understand that this life is not the end of the story.   Our lives may fall apart and rot away, but we have hope.  No matter what we may have to deal with in this life, we have eternal life with Christ on the other side of our lives.  No amount of suffering can take our hope away from us.  We have God’s guarantee that better days are ahead for us.

Dear friend, don’t give up; don’t buckle underneath the heavy load of suffering.  Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  He is the author of our salvation and He is the finisher of it.  He has in store for you a life that is beyond your ability to comprehend in its glory.  The life that waits for you in heaven is pure, without sin and any of its side effects on life.  This life is a joyous life without any suffering or pain.  It is an eternal life of celebration of life in God. 

Look up, dear friend, it is worth it all.  Someday soon we shall see Jesus!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

NUMBERED DAYS

 

Job 14:5  You have decided the length of our lives.  You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer. 

God is in control.  We will not live a day longer or less than God has determined we will live.  This truth should cause us to pause and think.

God does not tell us the date on our death certificate.  He withholds from us the details of when and how we will leave this life.  Graciously He spares us from the anxieties we would live with if we knew the details.  There could be no peace in daily living if all that was on our mind was when and how we would die.

Not knowing the details should inspire us to not waste our time on earth.   We are given just so much time on earth to be right with God and prepare for our deaths.  Our tomorrow may never come.  Each day and moment is a precious gift of God.  If we squander it, we will not see God except from afar. 

The issue before us today is our readiness to die.  Since we don’t know when that will be we must be prepared at all times for our death.  It is foolish to think that there is plenty of time left for us to get right with God.  It is foolish to think that we can determine when we will turn our lives around and live rightly before God. 

God knows when you will die, you don’t.  God knows whether or not you will even be able to choose to live for Him later in life, you don’t.  God alone knows how many more opportunities you have to get it right.  Are you ready to die?

Monday, October 2, 2017

JUST BE QUIET

 

Job 13:15  “Please be quiet!  That’s the smartest thing you could do.”

Sometimes just shutting up and being quiet is the best thing we can ever do.  There are times in which to say anything just makes matters worse.  Job’s friends simply didn’t understand this simple truth.  They insisted on telling Job what he was doing wrong to cause all his troubles.  They insisted that his physical problems were caused by his spiritual problems.

Sometimes we think we know so much when in reality we know so little.  We can easily show our ignorance by opening our mouths.  We often do more harm than good when we offer advice that is misguided.  Sometimes a troubled soul just needs a listening ear.  They need others to not try to fix them, just understand them.  Sometimes we need others to just be there to show support and concern, nothing else.

We can learn much by just being quiet.  When we are quiet we can listen with our heart instead of just with our minds.  We can gain understanding what troubled souls are feeling and thinking.  We can learn how to pray for them in their troubles and then perhaps offer godly advice when it is right to do so.

If you want to be a real help to those troubled in life, learn to be quiet.  Not everyone needs your wisdom nor welcomes it.  Ask the Lord to help you bridle your tongue.  Ask Him for wisdom to know when to be silent and pray and when to offer wisdom and guidance.  Ask Him to keep your heart humble enough so that you don’t have to be the savior of troubled souls.  And, ask Him to forgive you for those times you have done more harm than good by opening your mouth instead of just being quiet and waiting on Him on behalf of others.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

HANDLING LIFE'S DIFFICULTIES

 

Job 12:4-5a  Yet my friends laugh at me.  I am a man who calls on God and receives an answer.  I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me.  People who are at ease mock those in trouble.

It is easy to do; in fact, most people do it.  We are quick to find fault with one another and slow to understand one another.  There is a tendency to blame one another for our difficulties instead of supporting each other as we go through them.

Not all troubles are caused by wrong living.  Troubles are a natural by-product of living in a fallen world.  Many times we face troubles that have nothing to do whatsoever with the condition of our hearts.  Bad things do happen to good people; it’s just a part of living.

The issue is not why troubles come; it’s how we handle our troubles that matter.  We can internalize our troubles, feel sorry for ourselves, and blame God for them.  Or, we can turn to God and seek His help through them.  Sometimes God will alter circumstances to get us out of trouble and sometimes He will send others alongside of us to help us.  If we trust God, He will show us the way to handle our problems and a way out of them.

I like Job’s confidence in his relationship with God.  He was accustomed to God answering his prayers.  Why?  He was a just and blameless man.  He lived so close to God that there was no doubt whatsoever in his mind that his troubles had nothing to do with how he lived.  Oh, but that we would have such confidence before God!  Oh, but that we could say that when we pray God answers our prayers!  Oh, but that we could say that we live just and blameless lives!

What needs to change in order for you to make such claims about your relationship with the Lord?  It is God’s desire that all of us live blameless lives before Him.  In order for that to happen, we must be willing to let Him change us in any way He chooses.  We must seek to please Him in every area of our lives.  We must always strive to do what is right before Him.

Others may not understand us; they may even mock us.  But living just and blameless lives before God is our highest calling and greatest need in life.  It is the way of the cross and no one will make it to heaven unless they walk it.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

WHY DOES GOD BOTHER?

 

Job 7:17-18  What are mere mortals, that you should make so much of us?  For you examine us every morning and test us every moment.

Have you ever asked the Lord this question?  I know I have.  It is a mystery to me why the Lord pays so much attention to us.  Knowing what I know about me, I would think He would have much better things to do than to bother watching over and helping me.  I would think that my struggles with sin would be my problem and not His.  But, I have found that what I think doesn’t really matter.  God is deeply involved with each of us.  He cares about us and one of the ways He shows it is by examining our souls.

Even though it may make us uncomfortable at times, we should welcome God’s examinations.  It is important for our souls’ sake to have our sins brought to light.  We need to regularly have an attitude check.  We need to have our misconceptions and wrong ideas gotten rid of.  We need to constantly be reminded how much we need the Lord.  We need to constantly be put back on the pathway of holiness.

The Lord shows He cares for us also by testing our faith.  How else are we going to be made strong in faith?  How else are we going to know how strong our faith really is?  It is in the testing times of life that faith grows.  We can grow in our understanding of faith without the testings, but we will never grow in faith without the testings.

We are the objects of God’s love.  He created us in love to love us and for us to love Him in return.  That is why we are here.  We don’t deserve God’s attention, but I am so thankful we have it.  Let us strive to never spurn or take for granted His love.  Let us strive to act like we are loved by Him and strive to act like we love Him.  Let us strive to live in such a way that when the Lord examines our hearts, we will not be found wanting with hearts full of sin.

Friday, September 29, 2017

INTEGRITY AND MISERY

 

Job 6:14  One should be kind to a fainting friend, but you have accused me without the slightest fear of the Almighty.

Job’s friends were sitting with him in his misery.  They were there to try to help him get through this very rough time of his life.  But, they were doing more harm than good.  They had the idea that Job’s misery was caused by Job’s problems with God.   They were certain that God was punishing Job for sinning against Him.

Many of us have similar notions.  We see our trials and troubles of life as God’s punishment for our sins.  We believe that the more holy we are the less trouble we are going to have.  We strive to be as good as we can be so that we will avoid the disasters of life.

Job knew better.  He didn’t understand why things were as they were, but he knew it wasn’t because of sin.  He knew the integrity of his heart.  He knew that there were no issues going on between God and himself.  He knew because he made it a point to take care of his soul.  He pursued godliness in his heart.  He worked hard at keeping his heart right with God.

We need to be careful when we judge the heart of others.  We are often mistaken in our judgments.  It is not for us to accuse others of sin.  God alone has that right.  We can point out things that we see that are obviously sin, but that is as far as we dare go.  We have no authority or right to condemn others.  We must respect God and let Him take care of His own business.  He does not need our doing His work for Him, nor is it welcomed.

It is good for us to befriend each other in troublesome times.  It is good to come alongside each other as a helper.  It is good for us to show our compassion by doing that which is good.  Kindness to a suffering soul is the best medicine you can ever give.  Don’t add salt to a wounded soul.  If you don’t know how to help with kindness, don’t say anything.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

DENYING GOD

 

Job 6:10  “At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One.”

We need to learn from Job.  In spite of his enormous physical and emotional pain, he did not deny God.  He trusted and believed God no matter the circumstances of his life.  He did not take the easy way out and blame God for his troubles.  It is easy to use God as a scapegoat.  It is much harder to hold on to God no matter what comes our way.  It is easier to let go of God than it is to hang on.  It is easier to not believe in what God has promised than it is to act out what He has promised in the storms of life.

We are most vulnerable when we are in pain and suffering through very difficult circumstances and Satan knows it.  He will try his hardest to get you to doubt or deny God’s Word during those times.  We don’t like suffering or pain. 

A hymn that I grew up with asks the question, “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?”  How can we be sure it will hold?  The answer lies in what we do in the calm seasons of life.  It is then that we must invest our lives in Christ.  It is then that we must pursue a deeper walk with Him.  We must be faithfully and diligently into the Word, studying it and praying over it with a desire for greater understanding of it.  We may sort of get by with giving the Word a nominal place in our lives when things are going well, but it really shows up when the storms come.  The same thing holds true with our prayer life.  The time to really develop a strong connection with God is when things are calm and going well.

Seek the Lord out and never be satisfied with anything less than an intimate walk with Him.  Don’t play games with your soul.  The closer you get to the Lord while things are calm, the better you will be able to cling to Him when things get rough.  You will discover that you won’t doubt in the dark what you know to be true in the light.  You will discover that your anchor will hold in the storms of life.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

GOD'S CONFIDENCE IN YOU

 

Job 1:20-22  Job stood up and tore his robe in grief.  Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground before God.  He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die.  The LORD gave me everything I had, and the LORD has taken it away.  Praise the name of the LORD!”

Job had lost everything he had gained in this life.  The only thing he had left was his life, wife and integrity of heart.  His wealth was gone, his children were killed, his health was ruined and he was left in a state of utter misery.  Job had done nothing to warrant any of his problems.  God gave Satan permission to harass him.  God knew Job’s heart and trusted in his integrity.  God believed that Job would not turn on Him, no matter how bad things seemed to get.

Let us pause for a moment and think about this.  What kind of confidence does the Lord have in you?  He knows your heart.  He knows your strengths and weaknesses.  He knows if you are strong enough in your faith to withstand whatever comes your way and still remain strong in Him.  Can you be trusted to never compromise the integrity of your heart before Him?  Or, in other words, does your faith have strings attached?  Faith that really helps you is a faith that is not dependent on circumstances.  It is a faith that is rooted in and dependent on the character of God.  It is a faith that never wavers regardless of the happenings of life.

Like Job, we must understand that life is not about its pleasures or conveniences.  Life is far more than what we have, what we do, or who we know.  Life is not measured by who is in it.  Life is relational, about our faith in God.  Nothing else in life matters.  If we are not in a living relationship with God, we have no life.  Everything that life offers is delusional if we have not Christ.  No amount of earthly gain will give us one ounce of heaven’s soil.

We came into this world with absolutely nothing and we will leave it the same way.  It is all futile and means nothing if we don’t have Christ.  Keep your priorities straight; keep Christ always number one in your heart and in your living.