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August 1, 2014

Today you should read: Ephesians 2:11-22

Family can be messy.

There’s SEPERATION from divorce that causes kids to split time between parents. There’s ALIENATION when a parent abandons their spouse & kids for another person in an affair. Sometimes family member feel like STRANGERS to each other from family conflict.  Many kids feel HOPELESS that their family situations will never change or HOPELESS that they can reverse some of those same things from happening to their own future families. Many people become HOSTILE toward God and others from the anger and hurt they feel because of the above situations.

This is the stuff I hear when counseling families in crisis.

When the very people that’s supposed to love you, protect you, provide for you, sacrifice for you, show grace to you and discipline you out of love ends up hurting you in such ways the above capitalized words is the result.

This is also what Scripture describes of us when we are not in relationship with our loving, heavenly father & adopted into His Heavenly family.

In Ephesians 2:11-22, the words “Separated, Alienated, Strangers, Hopeless & Hostility” describes what it’s like when we are not Christians and adopted into God’s family. There’s a reason why our family dysfunction is so similar to our spiritual dysfunction outside of a relationship with God. There are similar consequences & feelings because FAMILY doesn’t just illustrate God’s Family but it’s an actual REPRESENTATION of God’s Family & the Gospel.

This is why the Gospel is important and keeping Christ at center of our marriages and parenting is important. The Gospel not only reconciles us with God but it’s the life source for the dysfunction in our family situations.

Ephesians 2:11-22 also shares that the good news of the Gospel is God making a covenant/promise with you by bringing you near to Him by the blood of Christ, giving us peace, making us ONE in His body, reconciling us back to God through the cross and makes those who were far off now near. However covenants being honored, peace at home and reconciliation between a Father and children is not just what we need in salvation but the same themes is what we need in our homes. Today show your family that there’s a reason why the our personal spiritual state without God is so similar to our family lives without Him and make the necessary changes to bring the Gospel back into your home.

Posted by: Erik Koliser

July 31, 2014

Today you should read: Ephesians 2:1-10

Ephesians is a great book!  It teaches us so much truth about who we are in Christ.  Today’s reading reveals that very idea.  It shows us the three parts to any good testimony.

Who you WERE…

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.  You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.  All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.  Ephesians 2:1-3

Before we met Jesus we were dead – without life – because life only comes in Jesus.  We were caught up in ourselves – in our disobedience and sins – living just like the others around us.  We were controlled by Satan – running after the passions and desires he placed in front of us that appealed to our sinful nature.  We were subject to God’s wrath because of our sin.  Just existing – day to day – trying to figure out what to do next.  Headed for a Christ-less eternity…  What was your life like before you met Jesus?

How you CHANGED…

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)  For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.  So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  Ephesians 2:4-9

Your change begins with God… God who was so rich in mercy.  He sought us out and extended mercy to us – not giving us what we really deserve.  He did this because of His incredible love for us – even though we were dead in our sins.  He saved us through the cross and changed our lives – raised us up with Him.  Someday in heaven, He will lavish his incredible grace and kindness to us for all eternity.  He did it all – it was a gift from Him and had nothing to do with anything we have done or could have done.  Do you remember when God saved you?

Who you ARE NOW…

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2:10

After God saved us – He began the process of remaking us…changing the things that were damaged and damaging into things that were “exhibit A” of what only He can do.  He’s been at work to prepare us for heaven ever since that day.  How has meeting Jesus changed you?

Stop right now and thank Him for His grace that reached out to you.  Thank Him for His love that found you where you were and changed your life forever.  Thank Him for the gift of salvation that has made an eternal difference in your life.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

July 30, 2014

Today you should read: Ephesians 1:15-23

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet today so that you will feel like you have the time and freedom of mind to pray for a few minutes.

After hearing of the faith of the Ephesians, Paul said he unceasingly gives thanks for them while praying for them (vs. 15-16).  Then he goes on to list some things that he prays for them:

  1. That God would truly make Himself known to them (vs. 17)
  1. That God would enlighten their hearts so that they would know…
  • the hope of the great eternity that lies ahead for believers in Jesus (vs. 18).
  • the surpassing greatness of His power toward believers (vs. 19).
  1. That they would see that all of this is possible because of the power of God which He brought about and made available to them through Jesus Christ, who is over and above all things (vs. 19-23).

I don’t know about you, but when I read Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, I am compelled to pray these things for myself, my disciples, and my church.  Would you take a few minutes and join me in praying these things today?

Posted by: Rich Duffield

July 29, 2014

Today you should read: Ephesians 1:7-14

Who am I? This seems to be the age old question of mankind. Over the centuries different philosophers have tried to crack this code. Today we see this question being played out on the big screen, in books and in song. We hear statements like, “I just need to take some time to find myself” or “I just need to be me.” This question leads so many of us to seek our identity in something in order to feel significant. Some of us look for that “one true love” to make us feel whole. Others of us might look for that corporate job that pays lots of money to feel significant. Many find their identity in a social group or even organizations like the military or a sports team. These are just a few of many ways that we as humans search to find an identity. As I think about how all of us want to feel significant, it begs the question, “Why do we feel a need to find an identity in the first place?”

Our passage today answers this very important question. Ephesians chapter one is one of my favorite books of the Bible because it points out our greatest need as humans which is “identity.” In counseling others I have realized the answer to the identity crisis in our lives is also the number one cure to the issues that many of us go through. I hope that you read jumpstart yesterday to get the first few verses of this chapter because God’s answer to our identity begins with verse three. Now let’s pick up in verse seven and look at what we need to know from this passage.

  1. We have redemption because we had to have it (v.7-8)

This is one of the most freeing sentences in all of scripture. We have redemption and forgiveness for all of our sin because God lavished it on us through Jesus Christ. Why did he do that? Because “you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked” (Ephesians 2:1-2a). Why do we all search our whole lives to feel significant and whole? Because all of us without Christ were dead and empty.

  1. We now have a family (v.11)

If you have ever talked with someone who was adopted, they have a desire to know who their biological parents are. We are no different, because of sin we were separated from our heavenly father, but through the redemption of the cross we can know our father and have the inheritance of heaven. In other words, we get to have a relationship with the father who created us and one day we get to go home to be with him in Heaven.

  1. He comes to be near to us now (v.13-14)

Those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ have been sealed. That word sealed signifies permanence in our relationship with God. We will never be lost again from our Father and he comes to live in us through the Holy Spirit. God is with his children and guides us. We no longer need to wander around looking for answers and wondering who we are. We are his children and co- heirs with Christ to the kingdom of Heaven. It does not get better than that!

So my question for you is this, do you believe that your identity is what this passage says it is? If so, do you act like this is true about you as a believer? If not, what do you find your identity in?

If you are not a believer in Christ I invite you to place your faith in Christ Jesus as your Lord because the answers that you have been looking for can only be found in Him.

Posted by: Chad Wiles

July 28, 2014

Today you should read: Ephesians 1:1-6

It’s all for His glory …

I know that you are aware that all things are for the glory of God.  We’ve heard it before, we can say it in our sleep, and we would all attest to it if anyone ever asked us.  But as I was reading this passage today the idea of everything being for God’s glory really stood out.

Here’s what I gleaned: Everything that God has provided for us in salvation and adoption should ultimately point back to praise to Him.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

As simple as this concept is, and as much as we know it, let’s pull it apart:

  1. Him blessing us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (v3)
  1. Him choosing us in him before the foundation of the world (v4)
  2. His purpose for us that we should be holy and blameless before him (v4)
  3. His love for us (v4)
  4. Him predestining us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will (v5)

…These are all to the praise of His glorious name through the grace He poured out on us in Jesus (v6)

So…today, as you think about your spiritual blessings, your salvation, and your adoption, remember that it was, and is, all for the glory of God Himself.

We are chosen and saved for the praise of His name.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

July 26, 2014

Today you should read: Job 42

The Perfect Response …

It used to make my stomach hurt when I thought I had done something wrong.  Actually, I have a sensitive conscience as it is, where most of the time I feel guilty.  I have to fight to believe truth in this area.  So, actually I would usually feel as if I had done something wrong…to offend someone, not abide by the “social guidelines,” to sin against God, etc.  If you’re anything like me in this, it can be hard to break.  It doesn’t allow you to be yourself, but forces you to be paralyzed and restrained by expectations of others and the world.  But take heart, for a chronic guilty conscience, there’s freedom.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

Freedom from this sensitive conscience comes when we learn that it’s ok to embrace our mistakes and failures.  We can embrace them.  We can admit them.

Most of the time this guilt-laden conscience comes from a fear of consequences for the wrong we’ve done.  Good part is…Jesus already took our consequences.  Jesus’ love for us drives out fear…because it is an unconditional love.  Not based on our success or failure.  It’s a perfect love based on His character.

1 John 4:18 talks about this exactly:

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

We don’t have to fear our punishment.  God has already taken it.  So we can embrace our failures, confess them, and trust that God will still love us and that He is still for us.

So, what does this have to do with our chapter today?  Everything.  After Job was challenged by God Job shows the perfect response.  The response perfected in the love of God.  Job embraced his mistakes.  Look at this:

“Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? ’Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you:  therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (V.1-6)

Job embraced the fact that he uttered things about God and his situation that he did not fully understand.  He repented and there was freedom in that.  We see a perfect response from Job after a few chapters of hearing from God Himself.

So my encouragement to you today is to find freedom in the fact that you don’t have to be afraid to confess or repent.  If Jesus has taken your sin, then there’s no more punishment left for you.  There’s only love and restoration.  You can be free today by embracing your failures instead of pushing them away.  You can have a response like Job and confess where you’ve gone wrong.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

July 25, 2014

Today you should read: Job 41

After God tells Job to “man up” in chapter 40:6-7 and asks him to answer how Job can say he is righteous in all his suffering with integrity but somehow God is not? Of course Job was right about his own integrity when answering his 3 friends but was wrong about God’s integrity. God, who needs no defense, still gives an answer to his character, sovereignty and justice in ch. 40 and continues in ch. 41 by sharing his power over Satan.

This chapter is important because many of us forget the power of Satan regarding his limited reign on earth. In no way should we have a dominant fear of Satan but we also shouldn’t think that we have any power ourselves over him outside of Christ. God asks 14 questions to Job regarding his (and other humans) authority over Satan (who’s named Leviathan in this chapter) where the obvious answer is “no” and that only God has that type of authority over Satan. This is a good reminder for many Christians like to get as close to the fire of certain temptations without burning themselves and we need to be reminded that it’s stupid to mess with Satan or his fire in the first place. We can find great peace knowing that Jesus defeated Him in the resurrection and has told us of the final victory in Job 41:11 which we get a picture of in the book of Revelation but until that day comes we are to take guard against Satan’s attacks and temptations. God spends this entire chapter in graphic detail over the scary details of Satan and the fear he raises in others.

As C.S. Lewis once said “There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.” Be on guard for Satan’s attacks here while being fully confident in Jesus’ ultimate victory over Him.

  • In what areas do you need to be on guard for Satan’s attacks and temptations?
  • In what areas do you already feel defeated by Satan and need to trust in God’s resurrected victory over Satan, sin and death?

Posted by: Erik Koliser

July 24, 2014

Today you should read: Job 40

Have you ever wanted to question God?  Job did.  He was a righteous, God-fearing man – but the trial that God allowed to come into His life drove Him to question the things that He believed the most and held most dear.  If you’ve never been there – you may not understand – but for those of us who have – we get it.

  1. We question God when we feel cheated

…when it feels like something was taken away from us or we were treated unjustly.  Job felt like that.  He didn’t understand why God would do/allow this to happen.  He didn’t have the advantage we have of knowing all the facts.  That’s how it is in our trial – God knows all the facts – and if we knew what He knew we’d agree with the action.

  1. We question God when we feel helpless

Life is all about control – and we don’t like it when we lose control.  Most of us are fixers – but sometimes God allows us to get in situations that we just can’t fix.  Then we often question Him.

  1. We question God when we feel overwhelmed with a trial

For each of us it’s different – what is trial for one is an adventure for others.  God knows exactly what trial will accomplish the most good in our lives.  Trials hurt – but they are designed to push us to the limit and develop our perseverance.

We ask God…

  • Why did you allow this?
  • When will it end?
  • How will I get through it?

Job experienced all of these and finally at His wits ends He asks God why.  Even in his questioning, he remembers his position before the Lord (v.4-5).   God responds by challenging Job… (v.6-24)

God is always the perfect parent.  He loves us more than we could ever imagine and He always works for our good.  We can trust Him – and our lives are exceedingly better when we do.  Questioning God is OK too – as long as we remember who He is and who we are.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

July 23, 2014

Today you should read: Job 39

After reading about Job’s friends and all of their attempts at guiding Job, it’s really nice to see God speak into Job’s situation. God speaks into this situation by reminding Job of His power and order and ultimate sovereignty.

OK, put yourself in Job’s shoes. Remember, he lost his family, his wealth, and his possessions. He lost everything. Imagine the pain, the confusion, and the frustration of this situation, not to mention the accusations that came from his friends. Job was a good and righteous man, and God allowed all this to happen!

Here, God is reminding Job of who He is. God is bringing some sense of order to Job’s chaos. God reminds Job of His great power amidst the confusion. How humbling, convicting, and encouraging it is to be reminded of God’s ultimate sovereignty as well as my incorrect assumption of having entitlement to a life full of ease, comfort, quick successes, etc.

God has a plan for our pain. Going through a difficult time? God allowed it. Dealing with difficult friends? God isn’t surprised. He isn’t testing you to see if you will be faithful, as if He doesn’t already know whether you will be faithful. He allows you to be tested to show you that He is worthy of your full devotion.

The same God that put the world in motion is the One who allowed your chaos to be set in motion. That’s confusing in many ways, yet comforting in many more ways.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

July 22, 2014

Today you should read: Job 38

“He is right behind me, isn’t he?” This line has been uttered in many different films and TV shows over the years. Usually in the context of someone boasting or making fun of an authority figure or someone physically more imposing only to find that the person is right behind them listening to the whole thing. The offender is usually stricken with fear and regret of their actions. The once proud and confident boaster becomes humbled and begins trying to apologize or excuse the stupidity of their actions.

When I read today’s passage I could not help but visualize Job swallowing hard and trembling when he saw the God of the universe coming at him in a whirlwind. Can you imagine? Have you ever seen a tornado in person? They are awe-inspiring. Now imagine that it was coming at you and God’s voice is coming out of it with these words:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.”

At this point, if this was happening to me I would need a change of clothes. There is absolutely no way that Job had any sort of prideful thoughts at this point. I want to draw attention to the areas that God challenged Job in and what we can take away from this passage.

1. God gives perspective to Job.

Job had been trying to understand from a very basic and finite understanding of the universe. He shaped his understanding of his circumstances from tradition and laws. Yet, Job did not take into consideration the mystery of God. Basically, Job could not understand fully what was happening to him because he is not God. I think this is important for you and me to understand because all of us have a perceived reality of control. We think that if we do the right things, generally good things will happen and things will work out.  The actual reality is that we have no control and God controls everything down to our every heart beat (Colossians 1:17).

2. Trials give us an opportunity to see things from God’s perspective and produces wisdom.

Job had lived his whole life as a religious man devoted to God. Yet, when everything was taken away Job just could not wrap his mind around it. I am not putting Job down because I would not have been as patient as Job through this process I am sure. However, Job’s world was small and he could only make sense of life through the lens of his life. God questions Job from a universal perspective. I wonder how often we fall into the same trap. Do you think about God’s work outside of your own lens? Meditate on the following questions and see how God-sized your focus is.

Do you think about the work that God is doing in the lives of the people closest to you?

Do you think about how God can impact your city? How about the USA?

Do you keep up with world events and how God is moving in other countries and across the globe?

Do you pray regularly for any or all of these three areas?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

July 21, 2014

Today you should read: Job 37

Here’s how I would summarize Job 37 and Elihu’s discourse:

The God of Heaven and Earth is worthy of all praise from all people at all times.

Reading this chapter inspired me to call to memory some of my favorite verses of praise to God. I am going to list a handful below. In the comments section below, it would be great to have a chorus of praise from all Jumpstarters. Post a verse that reminds you of our praiseworthy God. Voice a prayer of worship in admiration of our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let’s make today a day that is fixed on ascribing to the Lord the greatness due His name:

Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. (Psalm 29:1-2)

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. (Isaiah 54:17a)

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, (Luke 1:46-47)

And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:3-4)

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28-29)

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
(Jude 1:24-25)

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. (Psalm 8:1)

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. (Romans 16:25-27 ESV)

Alright CPC, it’s your turn. I got us started… let’s keep this going all day.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

July 19, 2015

Today you should read: Job 36

This is the final time one of Job’s friends gives him advice about why all these things are happening to him. Elihu gives Job a long discourse on how God treats the wicked and the righteous and on God’s power and might. Elihu says things that are mostly true but he makes two big mistakes in this passage.

1. Elihu takes pride in his knowledge of God

In 1 Corinthians 8:1 Paul, in talking about knowledge, makes the statement (in the NIV) that “knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” In all major English versions of the Bible the idea that is portrayed is this:

Knowledge without love equals pride

Elihu is exhibiting no real love for his friend but rather desires to show off his knowledge of God. God’s desire for us is that our knowledge of Him results in a deeper love for Him and for people. When knowledge is our end goal we lose sight of what God really wants for us.

2. Elihu puts God in a box

We have to be careful to say that God can or can’t do something or that God would never do or not do something when it is not explicit in scripture. We also have to be careful to assume things about God and about our situation in life. We can’t always assume that because hard trials are in our life that we have sinned. That is the easy way out because all we have to do is repent and it all goes away. The truth is trials can come for a variety of reasons. They come because of our sin or someone else’s sin. They can come for our sanctification. They can even come just because, as is the case for Job. Elihu also tells Job that God gives those who are in trouble the reason why they are in trouble. This, as we will see in the end of Job when God answers, is not always true. Job asks time and again why he is dealing with all this and God never answers him on that question. God does not play by our rules and God is not obligated to respond to us. We have to remember that, even in our trials, God deserves and expects our reverence. Job and his friends lost that and God responds in just a few chapters and sets them straight because God does not fit in our box.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

July 18, 2014

Today you should read: Job 35

Not too long ago I remember seeing a story go viral on facebook about a girl who was asked to leave KFC because her scars and missing eye (from a pitbull) were scaring people eating in the fast food chain. People started sharing the story all over social media crying out against KFC accusing them to be heartless, insensitive and cruel. They were right in those accusations if only the accusations were true for that particular girl and situation. KFC did an investigation and have yet to find one security camera showing the girl and grandma to ever even enter into a KFC and they have now took down their website about it and refused to accept $30,000 KFC offered to help the girl with surgeries, etc. If anyone were to treat a 3 yr old girl in that way I would hope we would stand up against those people and call them cruel, insensitive and heartless because it is true but we have to make sure that the situation is true as well.

I read much of Job 35 and find myself agreeing with much of what Elihu is saying to Job. Elihu warns against believing one’s righteousness should grant favor before God. He later talks about God not listening to the prideful when they cry out to Him along with vain requests and foolish words. Both wise counsel that can be supported by surrounding Scripture. In fact, if you took this chapter alone without the 34 previous chapters and the remaining 7 chapters following it, you’d probably believe Elihu was doing a dang good job ministering to his friend. Of course the problem with Elihu’s advice is not that the advice isn’t true but that it isn’t true for Job much like the KFC situation mentioned above.

Have you ever given good Biblical advice to the wrong person or situation? I know I have. Sometimes I’ve assumed motives or jumped to conclusions when trying to help someone out and was humbled by God pretty quickly. Have you ever done this? Don’t allow this to become an excuse to not keep one accountable or speaking loving truth to someone’s sin but make sure when you do speak up that you speak up knowing all facts and motives to the situation. Sometimes that will take leading questions, patience and more prayer before doing so but it’s better then making truths from God into a lie by wrongly applying it to a situation or person.

Posted by: Erik Koliser

July 17, 2014

Today you should read: Job 34

Exaggerating To Prove A Point …

It’s hard not to do…  Exaggerating is easier than lying and often times we don’t feel as bad for doing it.  It’s hard not to exaggerate when we feel it will further prove our point.  But we must be careful here.  When we exaggerate we manipulate the truth in order to receive the outcome that we deem is best.  But then God is no longer in control…we are.  We over-exaggerate, make things seem worse than they are, manipulate the truth, and paint things in a light that supports our desire for things to go the way we want them to.  In a way that makes people act under our vision of how things should go.

This might be hard to swallow…but just because we end up getting what we want or influence people to do what we want doesn’t mean that our exaggeration was right or successful.  We tell the truth and paint an accurate account, and that’s when we are successful.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

In our chapter, Elihu begins by basically saying that if someone is or wants to be wise he or she should listen to his argument.  Elihu then goes on with his argument. In verse 5 he misquotes Job.  I would go as far as to say he over-exaggerates what Job says in order to further prove his point.

In verses 5 and 9 Elihu represents Job as saying that God has taken away his “rights” and that it profits a man nothing to delight in God.  Elihu gets this from what takes place in chapter 21.  In chapter 21, Job was lamenting and stated that it seems as if the righteous and the wicked suffer the same fate.  Job also asked what profit there was to delight in God.  This is much of what we see in Psalm 73.  Sometimes it can seem as if the wicked prosper and that the righteous suffer, or that both suffer the same fate.  Job was questioning this and wrestling with it.  Yet Job honored God the whole time by never taking the advice of his wife in the beginning to “curse God and die.”  He never counted God out.  He never made God out to be the bad guy.

As we can see Elihu misrepresents Job.  It may seem small, but Elihu’s exaggeration had major implications.  Had Job said the things that Elihu claimed he said, we would see Job in a completely different light.  What’s also interesting is that when God steps onto the scene, He doesn’t support Elihu’s reasoning of why Job is suffering.

So, in our marriages, our friendships, our work relationships, and our leadership opportunities, be careful of misrepresenting or over-exaggerating truth to prove a point.  The God in heaven may not fully agree.

Posted by: Sam Cirrinicione

July 16, 2014

Today you should read: Job 33

There are two different views of a man named Elihu, who we were introduced to in chapter 32. Some think his words are wise, while others believe his words are foolish. I originally wrote this Jumpstart with a view that he was foolish like the other three friends, but now I am not so sure. So, with that being said, please allow me to comment briefly from both points of view while humbly admitting that I am not sure which view is correct. Feel free to give your interpretation if you’d like.

Viewpoint 1: Words of wisdom? (Was Elihu wise?)
The young man, Elihu, has now come into the scene. He’s angry because he is disappointed that Job’s three older friends don’t recognize the sovereignty of God and are trying to blame Job’s sin for his trials. He’s also angry at Job for defending his own righteousness instead of really defending the sovereignty and righteousness of God. So, Elihu brings a solid viewpoint about God and His sovereignty into the mix.

Here are a few things Elihu did well.
1. He was respectful of those older than him and he waited his turn to speak.
2. He was slow to speak and quick to listen.
3. He did not let the fact that he was younger keep him from speaking truth.
4. He spoke fearlessly with confidence.
5. He spoke what he believed the Lord was telling Him.

There some great lessons we can learn from Elihu when it comes to speaking up and speaking out. Re-read Chad’s commentary from yesterday to get some great specific application points.

Viewpoint 2: Foolish words? (Was Elihu foolish?)
Chapter 32 reveals that Elihu is about to pop if he doesn’t get to share his mind with Job. Now, he lets his words fly. I appreciate Elihu’s efforts to “restore” Job to righteousness, and his attempt to give wisdom. I’ll give him this…he is bold. But, part of me wants to tell him to chill out.

This chapter (and ch. 32) reveals some guidelines we should consider when giving our advice.

1. Waiting until you feel like you are going to explode is not the best time to speak your mind. Let facts and sincerity guide your conversation, not fiery emotions that you’ve let bottle up inside of you. (see 32:17-22)

2. There’s no need to share your spiritual credentials with a person with whom you have a relationship. Your spiritual credentials should be evident by your life. Busting out your spirituality comes off as arrogant. (see 33:6-7)

3. If you are going say “I’m speaking with total humility and God told me to tell you these things”, then be rock solid that you are speaking with total humility and that God actually told you to say what you are saying. (see 33:3-5)

There are some thoughts from a guy who has been a foolish Elihu at times. I’m thankful for the grace of Jesus that has forgiven me of my shortcomings in communicating to my friends and family.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

July 15, 2014

Today you should read: Job 32

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
We have a fourth friend in our passage today named Elihu. He, like Timothy, is young and younger than his three friends. He has shown respect to his elders and waited to speak until now. It would seem that Elihu may have been the only friend concerned with the correct thing. Some scholars believe that some of Elihu’s rebuke to Job sounds similar to the language that God uses later when He addresses Job. I think we can learn a couple of things from Elihu.
1. He showed respect even when disagreeing with his elders. 
He waited to speak and allowed his elders to speak first. This was a sign of respect and we can learn something from this. Our younger generation has lost respect for our elders. I think in a culture that is very individualistic we have lost out on sitting and learning from the generation that has paved the way for us. It doesn’t mean that the older generation is always right but all of us in the younger generation (that includes me) should at the least respect the fact that those who have gone before us have a lot to offer in life experience. Good or bad we can learn from it.
2. Elihu had the right idea but wrong approach. 
I think he was right to be angry when Job in the moment was justifying himself and not God (Job 32:2) but lashing out in anger at Job‘s friends was not the way to react (v.5) Paul speaks about this subject in 1 Timothy 5:1, “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers,”.
3. Wisdom comes from The Lord and not age. 
Although experience can help one to learn and gain wisdom it does not guarantee it. I have met many older unwise people. James tells us “that if anyone lacks wisdom then he should ask God” (James 5:1). Elihu understood this same principle:
“But it is the spirit in man,
the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
It is not the old who are wise,
nor the aged who understand what is right.”
Let us all seek wisdom from the only one who can give it, God our father. My prayer is that God will strengthen you today and give you his wisdom.

Posted by: Chad Wiles

July 14, 2014

Today you should read: Job 31

Job 31 opens with one of the most convicting verses in all of scripture, particularly for men. Job, in the horrible season of trial and tribulation, reasserts his passion for integrity. He tells himself, the Lord, and anyone who will ever read this book that he’s not giving in or giving up on this basic moral truth: lust is not of God. Here’s what he says (in a few translations in case the original context doesn’t make sense):

“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?”
(Job 31:1 ESV)

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman.”
(Job 31:1 NLT)

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”
(Job 31:1 NIV)

This is the verse that many purity-encouraging ministries use as their banner. It’s also what the famous internet pornography filter/reporting web company, Covenant Eyes, bases their software off of. But how do we apply this today? And what do ladies take away?

First: know that God takes lust {and all sin} seriously. He does not give meaningless rules; He knows the harm ANY lust does to our hearts, and His perfect standard is unwavering. Lust put Jesus on the cross. We need to think like Job and make a covenant.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
(Psalm 119:9-11 ESV)

Second: lust applies to more than just our physical desires. We all lust, daily, for things/status/money/relationships/etc.

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
(1 John 2:16-17 ESV)

Third: our resolve must be bold. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we must passionately fight our sin. The “eye covenant” Job made in this chapter is one to emulate.

What did you take away from this chapter? What has the Lord been teaching you through the book of Job? Finally, how can we pray for you today? Be blessed, CPC!

Posted by: Todd Thomas

July 12, 2014

Today you should read: Job 30

Today’s passage gives us some more doom and gloom. Not exactly a rosy, sunshiny read for us today. However, this is so real and so honest and really gives us great insight into the heart of someone dealing with great tragedy. I think many of us can forget that Job was a real person who really lost all his wealth, all his kids, and his health in a short period of time. He also had to deal with a wife who was discouraging him in his faith. Imagine being in Job’s position. Imagine within a few days or week’s time you get news that you have lost your job, your bank account is cleaned out, and most of your closest family members have suddenly and tragically passed away. When we realize this is a real account of a real, sinful man who is struggling with his loss and his faith it makes more sense that in one place he says, “blessed be the name of the Lord,” and in the next place says what he says about God and about life in this chapter. Chapters like this make me wonder how James, (James 5:11) can make reference to Job as “a man of great endurance.” At first glance today’s reading seems to contradict that notion. When I think of endurance in faith I immediately think of someone enduring hardship without questioning God. But I think endurance is more than that. So, here is what I think we can take away from today in connection with the rest of Job:

Endurance in hardship is wrestling with the pain and your faith and coming out with faith as the victor

When you run a marathon, for most people, the victory is finishing the race. You may, at some points slow down your pace, maybe even to a brisk walk, but the victory isn’t keeping the same pace from start to finish; the victory is finishing the race. This reminds me of what Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7.

“I have fought the good fight, I have fished the race, and I have remained faithful.”

So remember, the victory isn’t in the pace but in finishing the race.

Posted by:Robbie Byrd

July 11, 2014

Today you should read: Job 29

For most of us, if we are honest, we equate God being with us with blessing. In part, this is true, but what we often infer from this line of reasoning is that the opposite is true as well. We tend to believe that the absence of blessing and ease of life means the absence of God. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Job, in today’s passage, is reminiscing of how times used to be when, as Job says, “The almighty was still with me”. This would seem to mean that Job believes that God had left Him. Not in the since of leaving his presence because he and we all know that God is everywhere but rather Job sees it as a friend deserting Him in His time of need. What we can know and cling to today comes from Psalm 34:18:

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed”

What Job missed was that, even when bad times come, God is always a friend who is there ready to comfort and hold us. God never promises to take away the pain or calm the storm but He does promise to always be there with us. So many times we believe God’s “being there for us” in our trials means He just blows them up and takes them away or maybe He takes us away from them. There is a great song I am reminded of that illustrates that point. Take a few minutes today and listen to it and remember Jesus’ promise in Matthew 28:20:

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age”

Posted by:Robbie Byrd

July 10, 2014

Today you should read: Job 28:12-28

Today’s reading is all about wisdom. What is wisdom? Is it the same as knowledge? No – knowledge is the information – but wisdom is the ability to use the information. It’s a valuable commodity for us.

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Proverbs 4:6

There are a lot of futile places to look for wisdom…

​…it’s not found with people (v.13)

​…it’s not in creation (v.14)

​…you can’t buy it (v.15) – although it’s value is immeasurable (v.15-19)

God alone holds the path to wisdom (v.23)

- Not us… (Proverbs 3:7) We must look to Him for it.

God shows us His wisdom (v.24-27)

- He shows it in the wind, the rain, and the lightning.

Our reverential fear of God shows wisdom (v.28)

- When we live our lives full of ourselves – proud in our own eyes – we don’t exhibit wisdom. Our wisdom shows when we recognize God for who He is.

How do we get wisdom?

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8

Need a “wisdom boost”? Ask God and watch how He gives it. Then use it to show Him glory among all people.

Posted by:Tim Parsons

July 9, 2014

Today you should read: Job 28:1-11

Growing up in WV and now living in KY, coal is an important topic to me. My dad was a coal miner. I grew up within 5 miles of multiple coal mines. We burned coal for heat. I even have a “Friends of Coal” license plate on my Ford Explorer. Coal is extremely valuable and it “keeps the lights on” as they say.

Mining coal is not an easy job. It’d be nice if we could just pull a coal truck up to the side of a mountain and the coal would just start popping out of the mountain and loading itself into the truck. It doesn’t work that way. It takes a lot of effort, toil, and dangerous work to get this valued treasure. In fact, my dad became permanently disabled to work because of an injury while mining coal.

In Job 28:1-11,Job discusses the fact that the earth contains material treasures, and he told of the depths that man will search to find those treasures. This passage (vs. 1-11) is directly connected with the rest of the chapter (vs. 12-28), which we will discuss tomorrow, and Job is making a comparison and contrast here between the effort that is/must be given to obtain material treasure from the earth and the ease of which one can obtain true wisdom from God.

I think what Job is trying to tell his buddies in this discourse is that there is a lot to try to understand about this great trial he is going through, and what is most important is to seek God’s wisdom about the situation with great fervor.

Here’s what this passage taught me today. Though wisdom is obtained with much more ease than material treasures because it is given to us by God, we should approach the goal of attaining wisdom from God with as much fervor as we do to attain material treasures from the earth. In other words, I should be just as passionate about having God’s wisdom as I am about trying to obtain material treasures.

Obviously, I need God’s wisdom all the time, but there are a couple very specific areas where I absolutely need it in a powerful way today. Where do you need God’s wisdom today? Seek it with great energy, like a miner who is willing to work hard and risk his life to “keep the lights on.”

Posted by:Rich Duffield

July 8, 2014

Today you should read: Job 27

In today’s passage we see Job making another claim defending his integrity and hoping for vindication from the Lord. Job’s friends are convinced that Job is hiding some sort of sin and God is punishing him for it. Yet, Job knows that he is not hiding anything and is seeking vindication from God. There are a couple of things that we can take away from today’s passage.

1. In the end character shines through.

In verses 13-23, Job explains the rewards of the wicked. He states that the wicked may heap up silver and clothing but in the end the righteous will wear it. This is important for us to remember when we are going through a hard time. We may not get vindication immediately or in this life at all. At times we may be going through something that we can’t explain to those around us but you know your heart. Be encouraged that a pure heart will always shine through.

2. Be patient with your friends.

Job became more and more frustrated with his friends because of their accusations. As friends we need to learn from this and not pass harsh judgments when we don’t understand. However, to be fair Job’s friends were reacting to a general truth for that day and time. Often, people brought on God’s wrath when they were in sin. For example, read Joshua 7:10-26.

When we are going through a trial give your friends grace because they may not understand how to help you. They may say insensitive things at times without meaning to. Know that in the end your character will shine through either good or bad and sometimes God uses your trials to help your friends grow as well.

Posted by:Chad Wiles

July 7, 2014

Today you should read: Job 26:5-14

Rough Road AheadHow do you handle the tough trials that come into your life? How do you respond in the face of absolutely intense adversity? We could learn a thing or two from Job.

After his friends hammered him time and again on his sin and God’s judgment, Job asserts his pure heart. But Job doesn’t just defend himself; He acknowledges that God’s ways are beyond any of their comprehension. He tells his friends that, while he has no true idea as to why these things are happening, the Maker of Heaven and Earth is not fooled. This ESV commentary is helpful in understanding Job 26:

Job alludes to some obvious areas of knowledge that are open before God but concealed from human perspective, in order to warn his friends against their continued presumption that they know God’s purposes in Job’s disastrous circumstances. Job uses the repeated vocabulary of this section to emphasize things that are clearly known to God but are hidden from human cognizance. The state or realm of the dead is not visible to humanity (under the waters, Sheol, and Abaddon), but it is naked and has no covering before God (vv. 5–6). Likewise, the description of the creation or existence of the natural world implies that other things may be hidden: the heavens appear perched over the void, and the earth appears to hang on nothing (v. 7); a cloud often binds up, covers, and spreads over another element of the heavens and itself is not split open (vv. 8–9); and it is God who has set the limits for all of these divine artifacts (v. 10).

Job is facing a tough moment with his friends. He was no doubt let down by them. But Matthew Henry said a good word about this: “Christ knows how to speak what is proper for the weary (Isaiah 50:4); and his ministers should not grieve those whom God would not have made sad. We are often disappointed in our expectations from our friends who should comfort us; but the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, never mistakes, nor fails of his end.”

What did you learn from Job’s example today? What is the Lord teaching you through this book? We’d love to hear your comments below.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

July 5, 2014

Today you should read: Job 25:1-26:4

Today’s passage is quite funny. It is a simple conversation between Job and one of his friends, Bildad. Bildad offers what he thinks are words of wisdom and direction but there is one thing he lacks in his little monologue and it is this:

Theology without love is destructive

This might seem like a weird statement and, for some, may not even make sense. Let’s look at what he says and why it is destructive.
He tells Job a number of real truths about God but he is completely ignoring the fact that his friend is going through real hurt and sorrow. He is more worried about being right and pious than he is comforting his friend. Not only do Bildad’s comments not encourage Job but they cause him to get testy and sassy. Job’s response was to fire back at Bildad. He basically tells Bildad how “helpful” he was for sharing his “wisdom” when really all he needed was a friend to lean on to be there to listen.

This is a great lesson for us to take away. When people in our worlds are hurting sometimes what they need is mercy and grace with a touch of truth, not the other way around. That is why Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:15 to “speak the truth in love.” This is how we comfort those who are hurting. Not with cold hard truth but with warm and compassionate truth. So remember this the next time you have the opportunity to be with someone who is going through a hard time. Mercy triumphs.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd


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