the devotional blog of Center Point Church

Author Archive

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

July 4, 2014

Today you should read: Job 24

Every year our church and students hear about Compassion International, a Christian ministry that sponsors children in poverty-stricken countries in order for them to get water, food, education and most importantly a verbal hearing of the Gospel and opportunity to respond/be discipled. Each year we dedicate a Sunday to exposure for this ministry and both middle school and high school camps dedicate a day to it as well. This has resulted in many families and students to support children through this ministry with two families who were able to even meet the kids they have supported for years in Haiti last summer on a mission trip with CPC.

I bring this up because Job 24 is the cry of every Christian’s heart for those who are needy, starving, fatherless, orphaned, poor and oppressed. Job is sick of arguing and defending himself with his friends and over this chapter starts crying out for those who are similar to his position at the time while saying at the end that God is just and sovereign in how he handles it. Although this should be the cry of every Christian’s heart, we usually forget about how we are commanded to help people out in this state until we hear about ministries like this or God brings us into a similar state like Job was in. When in this position or dwelling upon such devastating needs it’s easy to question God but like Job says in this chapter:

[22] Yet God prolongs the life of the mighty by his power; they rise up when they despair of life.
​[23] He gives them security, and they are supported,
​​and his eyes are up on their ways.

God cares, just like he cared about Job at this time and He shows that care when we take action. For more information on Compassion International visit this link.

Posted by: Erik Koliser

July 3, 2014

Today you should read: Job 23

God loves you and me with a love that cannot even be described in words.  He has plans for us that are beyond our wildest dreams.  He desires an intimate relationship with us – He wants to be our Abba – our Daddy and our Friend.

Even though all of these things are true and we believe them in our heart, we may not always feel them in our head.  Sometimes, like Job in this chapter, we want God to explain to us what He’s doing.  It doesn’t seem fair.  If I could only sit down with Him and talk…

Often we feel like this, God seems strangely distant.  He’s not moved – but we feel like He has.   We search our hearts and lives for sin – but we come up empty on unconfessed, undealt with iniquity.  We’re in the Word – our prayers are desperate – but we still feel the canyon between us.

Sometimes this is just how it is.  It’s a fact of our humanity.  We must not allow our feelings to affect our confidence in our Creator.  He never changes.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever! 

Hebrews 13:8

What we must remember are the words of a song from 25 or so years ago…

Trust His Heart

All things work for our good though sometimes we don’t see how they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two sometimes blind us to the truth
Our Father knows what’s best for us His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim and you just don’t see him,

Remember your never alone

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don’t understand
When don’t see his plan
When you can’t trace his hand
Trust His Heart

He sees the master plan He holds the future in his hand,
So don’t live as those who have no hope,  ALL our hope is found in him.

We see the present clearly He sees the first and last
And like a tapestry He’s weaving you and me,  To someday be just like Him

(Listen if you can

“God is too good to be unkind. He is too wise to be confused. If I cannot trace His hand, I can always trust His heart.”  ―Charles H. Spurgeon

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…  Proverbs 3:5

Posted by: Tim Parsons

July 2, 2014

Today you should read: Job 22

Have you ever gone through a situation that no one really understands, but everyone seemed to have advice about the situation?  Maybe it was a sickness, a death, a break-up, a legal issue, a financial issue, etc.

“Hey, just surrender it to God.” 

“Just let go and let God.” 

“Read your bible a little more.”

“Confess the sin that is causing your problem.”

There was nothing inherently bad about the advice that was given, but it just didn’t help.  In fact, it probably just made the situation worse.  You might know that feeling.

If that has happened to you, or is happening to you now, well, you aren’t alone.  It’s probably happened to most of us, and we know it happened to Job.  If it’s any consolation to you at all, just know that when people offer their advice, it’s usually because they care for you and love you.  Sometimes, people can be insensitive, judgmental idiots, but for the most part, people are trying to care for you.

Now, for those of us who are advice givers to the hurting, let me offer a few suggestions.  Be sensitive.  Watch your communication style.  Temper your immediate judgments and assumptions.  I know your desire is to help, but, if you aren’t careful, you’ll do more harm than good.  Ask the Spirit for guidance before you speak.  Be quick to listen and slow to speak.  Sometimes your hurting friend just needs a listening ear without even hearing your advice and counsel.

I understand that there are times when we need to call out sin and that sometimes we need to let people know that their dumb decisions have caused their trial.  But, just because someone is dealing with an issue doesn’t mean they have done something wrong.

There’s some food for thought from Job 22.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

July 1, 2014

Today you should read: Job 21

This world is filled with sorrowful stories of people who go through horrible tragedies and ultimately ask the question, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ or ‘How could such a bad thing happen to such a good family?’ You might have a personal example of when you’ve had a similar experience. This passage is all about that question and really the whole book of Job deals with this idea of the wicked prospering and the righteous suffering.

Job’s friends had it stuck in their heads that bad circumstances in Job’s life meant there was unconfessed sin that Job was not repenting from. For them, God always blessed the righteous and cursed sinfulness. God does love righteousness and does bless those who obey him. However, this world does not operate according to “perfect” and “right” standards. This world is broken and sin has caused the world to not act according to God’s original perfect design. Bad things can happen to “good” people and evil people can prosper.

In this chapter Job replies to the second cycle of speeches given by his three friends saying that the wicked do prosper. Again, his friends have been telling him that there is wickedness in Job’s life that is causing God to curse him. Job is frustrated with his friends giving poor advice because he knows that he has no sin to confess for the horrible things he has suffered. He is showing them that their logic is flawed because some wicked people in this world live wonderful lives.

Job will learn later and what we know today is that people of faith will suffer and go through trials. When we ask the question “why” we might not get an immediate answer. Fortunately, we know that the ultimate question of “why is this happening?” will always have the answer that first, God’s glory might be displayed and second, it is for your good(Romans 8:28). God has a plan, a good plan for his people. We must trust God and his ways because his thoughts are above our thinking and his ways are above our comprehension (Isaiah 55:9). Trust God in the midst of your anguish, in the core of your heartache, and in the middle of suffocating anger because he is the all-powerful and loving Father that has control over all things.

Posted by: Kelly Jones, Ministry Intern-West Campus

June 30, 2014

Today you should read: Job 20

Last week, I shared some thoughts on what Job’s friends did right. Go back and check it out here, s’il vous plait. Today, we look at some of the things they got wrong.

1) They assumed that Job’s sin was the cause.

Each of them, after the period where they comforted Job in silence, opened their mouths with eloquent speeches, explaining Job’s suffering and thinking they had all the answers. The problem was that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar each assumed that Job’s sin was the cause of his suffering.

Eliphaz: “Remember: who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off? As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.” (Job 4:7-8)

Bildad: “Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert the right?” (Job 8:3)

Zophar: “If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward Him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear… But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last.” (Job 11:13-15, 20)

While these guys desired to be helpful, they didn’t really know the reason for the suffering. Their guesses were errant.

2) They had a faulty theology of suffering.

They assumed that all suffering = retribution. SIMPLY NOT TRUE. What these friends didn’t understand was a biblical framework for suffering. Their limited, small-minded theology led them astray. Mark Driscoll notes 15 different kinds of suffering in the Bible (read his original post here):

- Adamic Suffering: Romans 5:12-21
- Grief Suffering: 2 Samuel 12:18-22, John 11:35
- Punishment/Retributive Suffering: Revelation 20:15
- Consequential Suffering: Galatians 6:7-9
- Demonic Suffering: Acts 15:16, John 8:44, Revelation 12:10
- Victim Suffering: Genesis 37
- Apocalyptic Suffering: Isaiah 24-25
- Disciplinary Suffering: Hebrews 12:7
- Vicarious Suffering: Isaiah 53
- Empathetic Suffering: Romans 12:15, 2 Corinthians 2:4
- Testimonial Suffering: Hebrews 11
- Doxological Suffering: John 9:1-3
- Mysterious Suffering: 1 Corinthians 13:12

The friends made a colossal mistake in thinking all suffering was God’s revenge on us. Really, it was as much a poor theology of suffering as it was an improper view of God. God’s ways and mind are so much higher than we can fathom. We must be careful in making theological assumptions.

3) They became more confrontational and judgmental rather than helpful.

When you read chapters 3-36 of Job, you find them filled with banter and arguments with Job over the cause of his suffering. Instead of really being there for him, they wouldn’t give up their case. A good proverb on this very idea: Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools. Proverbs 26:9 In other words, bad theology with foolish minds led to more pain for Job. While these guys may have set a poor example for us on helping a friend through suffering, the Bible is articulate about the care and love we should show. Here are a few verses that talk about being a true friend to someone in crisis:

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Romans 15:1

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:8-9

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24

Any other verses come to mind? What’s your evaluation of Job’s friends? Share your comments/thoughts and let’s critically think through being the Church.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

June 28, 2014

Today you should read: Job 19:23-29

Job is in the midst of not only terrible trials but also having his friends harass him and give him bad advice as to how to handle his current situation. You ever been here? Job is swimming in emotions in this passage and he is clearly wrestling with several questions at once:

Why is this happening?

What did I do?

Why is God doing this or at least letting it happen?

Are my friends right here?

Where is God in all of this?

Today’s passage is a glimpse into Job’s mind as he is going through all this pain and turmoil. Job wants everyone to hear at least three things here:

  1. We all suffer 

This is a running theme throughout the book of Job. Job suffered great loss and hurt and he wants us to know how he feels and how he is thinking.

  1. We will all die

Just as Job’s “body has decayed” so ours will, too. We will someday die. We live this life in this world full of sin and pain and sorrow and then we go to our eternity.

  1. Our redeemer lives

I am noticing more and more as we go through the book of Job something I never noticed before.

In the midst of trials we can see hope

It’s one thing to say we have hope in the midst of our trials but to say that we can see hope in the midst of trials is quite another thing all together. Job constantly gives us glimpses that redemption and salvation and peace and hope are not just something we will have when trials end but rather these are things we already have in Christ now, even in the midst of our hurts and sorrows. So, as you go through these things in your life remember you have all these things in Jesus now.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

June 27, 2014

Today you should read: Job 19:1-22

Job can relate…and so can Jesus…

Who are the people you trust?  

I’m not just talking about the people you are in casual contact with, I’m talking about those whom you think you would rely and depend on during a time of trial.

It’s a hard fact that during difficult times we can feel isolated by those we need the most.  It can feel as if the people we most need, trust, and depend on are indifferent to our situation and trial.  It can feel as if they just don’t understand.  It hurts.

Take comfort in this:  Job can relate, and so can Jesus.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

In verse 14 of our passage today Job shares that even his relatives and close friends have forgotten him in his season of difficulty.  He feels isolated and that those whom he needs most are indifferent to his situation.  Job felt the blow of God’s hand upon him, yet he also felt the sting of those closest to him not understanding or caring.   Do you feel like this?

Not only can we find comfort in the fact that one of the most righteous men who has ever walked the earth (Job) can relate, but we can find comfort in the fact that THE most righteous man who has ever walked the earth can relate.  Jesus was betrayed by, given over by, and isolated from the very people He created and loved.

So, what’s our application?  I think we must conclude that we must most confidently rely on God.  Others will love us, help us through, be there with us, as well as let us down.  It can be hard sometimes, and we may feel alone.  That’s why our ultimate hope must be in Christ, in God’s character, and in His love for us.  As we will see tomorrow, Job could ultimately only rely upon his Redeemer.

Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus can sympathize with us because He has been through everything that we experience.  And, feeling alone in difficult times is one of those experiences.  We can and must wholly lean on Him.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 263 other followers