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