Category Archives: Christianity

January 18; Being Intentional

As I read, and re-read this portion of Scripture this morning, I noticed how often Abram built altars in his travels. It seems like building an altar was usually the first thing he did when he and his entourage took a break from their journey. Is that significant? Does that have anything to do with my relationship with God?

To me, it indicates that Abram was intentional in his worship of God. He didn’t just throw a lamb on a pile of rocks. He took those rocks and built a proper altar before offering a sacrifice. How Abram worshiped seemed to matter a great deal to him.

There was nothing casual about the way Abram approached God. He was prepared to deal with sin, and worship God.

Here’s what else spoke to me today: I don’t read about any altar-building or even prayer when Abram took the gang into Egypt. And that trip didn’t go well. Abram feared for his life. So he lied. Without following God’s lead, he put himself in danger, and sinned.

So God is asking me today how intentional I am in my worship of, and obedience to Him? I can’t go through the motions of worship no matter how a worship experience makes me feel, and expect God to bless me if I’m not actually worshiping HIM. And I can’t assume He’ll be in on my decisions if I don’t intentionally go to Him first, then follow His lead.

I don’t want to just be a person who goes through the motions, or who does just enough to get by. I want to be an intentional follower of God. I want my worship of Him to come from a heart prepared to worship by reading His Word, by prayer, by dealing with sin in my life. I want to build that beautiful altar so that my worship is exactly what God deserves.

 

January 17; Putting Yourself in a Position to be Blessed

Job 40-42

The Lord continues to speak to Job in the storm. He continues to remind Job that there is one God, and it’s not Job. Job’s reaction is:

I am unworthy. I spoke out of turn. I thought I understood You, but now I really see who You are. I’m sorry.

This past Sunday the pastor spoke about putting ourselves in a position to be blessed by God. I think Job does that here. Job emptied himself, confessed his sin, and repented. Then God blessed him.

Yes, Job received material blessings after this. But please don’t make this about material things. The pastor reminded us that putting ourselves in a position to be blessed means humbling ourselves before our holy God, recognizing sin and repenting, allowing Jesus to do what He died to do.

Then God will lavish us with the greatest blessing of all. Himself.

He’ll forgive you. He’ll break the hold sin has over you. He will walk with you every minute of every day. And one day, He’ll welcome you home.

I believe Job knew how blessed he was when he said:

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. (42:5)

Have you seen God? I don’t mean have you face-timed Him. Have you recognized God for who He IS? Have you had the experience of total surrender to the One who died to save you? If you haven’t, I pray you will do that today. Put yourself in a position to be blessed. Get on your knees and ask Him to forgive you.

Then brace yourself. God in your life is a blessing like you’ve never experience before.

January 17; No, Sir

Job finally gets what he’s been asking. God speaks! But it wasn’t at all what Job expected. Instead of answers, Job got questions thrown at him.

I was not raised in the south. So when I moved down here, I had to get used to being called, “Ma’am.” Most southern children are taught to address all adults with a respectful, Ma’am, or Sir. I like it.

Today, as I read God’s words to Job, I pictured a stern, yet loving parent addressing his son caught in the act of showing off, or maybe of throwing a temper tantrum. What was there to say when Job’s heavenly parent asked those questions? I could think of only one response:

No, Sir.

No, Sir.

No Sir.

The Bible doesn’t tell us God’s tone of voice. Was He angry? Was He frustrated, or offended? Today when I read His Words I heard a tenderness, a daddy telling his know-it-all son that he doesn’t really know everything he thinks he knows. God let the Truth convict Job.

Do you think you have God figured out, or that you are self-sufficient and don’t need Him? Let Him ask you the same questions He asked Job. I’m pretty sure your truthful response will only be:

No, Sir.

January 15; The Man Upstairs

Job 35-37

People who know about God may think like Elihu. In fact, most false religions in the world have gods like the one Elihu describes.

Do you know people who refer to God as, “the man upstairs?” There are some who picture God on a cushy throne, wine glass in hand, feet up and eyes closed, with no thought of his creation, no involvement in the lives of his people. In a sense, it’s convenient to believe in a god like that. What does he care how I live my life?

Some people might think of God as a big old bully, sitting up there in heaven with lightning bolts in his fists, hurling them at helpless people like a villain in a video game. “Take that, human!”

Nature does declare God’s power. But Jesus reveals a different side of God; the softer side, the side that loves and cares for people, the side of God that rubbed shoulders with the least of us, and called us His friends. Jesus told us God not only sees every sparrow out there, not only counts every hair on our heads, He wants to gather us up like a chicken gathers her chicks to protect us.

The truth, contrary to what Elihu would have you believe, is that you DO matter to God. He DOES answer when you call out to Him, and He DOES listen to your pleas. Not only that, but if we are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness, we can have an intimate relationship with this great God of ours. That means everything to Him.

Do you know this personal, great God of ours? He’s not at all like “the man upstairs.” He is here, right now, and He wants you to know Him.

January 14; Worthy

Job 32-34

Chapter 32 starts out by saying Job’s three friends are done with him because he continues to persist in being “righteous in his own eyes.” This gave the younger man, Elihu, the opportunity to put in his two cents. But Elihu is really no different than the other three, or even Job. There is a kernel of truth in what he has to say. But, overall he doesn’t understand any better than the rest.

The thing is, Job did hold on to his own righteousness. He continued to say he didn’t deserve what was happening. But remember, if Job was righteous in his own eyes, he was also righteous in God’s. “Righteousness” has nothing to do with what happened to Job.

The best of us, the nicest, most generous of us, those whose morality is without question, are owed nothing of God. What all the men we read about here in the book of Job, and what many of us fail to realize is that God is not bound to circumstances. He is above it all.

If we connect our worship of God to our comfort, or our trials, we are not worshiping God. God identified Himself in the Old Testament as “I AM.” Jesus did the same in the New Testament. “I AM,” not “I WILL.”

I do appreciate what Elihu says in chapter 33. The Great I Am. speaks. He pleads. He nudges. He whispers. He shouts. He doesn’t stop trying to get our attention. I love that so much. God won’t stop revealing Himself to people while we still have breath.

God wants me to worship HIM. He wants you to worship HIM. Not for what he does. Lay that aside. He is worthy of our worship because HE IS.

 

January 13; Spiritual Inventory

As Job was taking inventory of his life, I am encouraged to do the same. Can I, like Job, lay it all out there and know in my heart I have done what is right and good? Join me as I look at my heart’s condition before my God.

31:1-4; Job determined not to lust after another woman. This takes an intentional act of will.  So I’m checking my own lust-level. I can hardly watch TV without something popping up to try to get me to think about sex. Sex sells. God is asking me if I intentionally guard my heart even in front of the tube.

31:5-8; Job tells me he didn’t “walk in falsehood,” or hurry “after deceit.” Again, speaking the truth, living the truth is a choice. God is asking me how important it is to me to always speak the truth, even in these days when the truth is something to be laughed at and denied, and when people think there’s such a thing as a “white lie”.

31:9-12; Jealousy. Can I really be genuinely happy for my neighbor over their good fortune without longing for what they have? Job says jealousy is a sin to be judged.

31:13-15; Job reminds me that everyone is born in the exact same way. So, how do I treat people? If I consider myself more important, or better than someone else, I will be called to account.

31:16-23; Job tells me he had compassion, that he gave to needy people. God is prompting me to check my heart’s ability to feel, and my resources to do. I don’t want to be so desensitized that I can ignore someone who is hurting, or in need of something I have the ability to provide.

31:24-28; Job didn’t put his trust in wealth, or the universe. How faithful am I to God? If my bank account becomes more important than my relationship with God, that is a sin to be judged. If I entertain the idea that God plus anything is worth worship, I am unfaithful to God, and that is a sin to be judged.

31:29-34; What is my attitude toward an enemy? If I find myself even a little glad someone who wronged me is facing a trial or a hardship, I cannot please God. And Job reminds me that I don’t even need to express my feelings out loud. Trying to hide any sin is a futile effort. God always knows what’s in my heart and mind.

31:35-40; Job challenges me to look at my stewardship. God has blessed me. Am I using what He has given me to be a blessing to others? I am reminded I am blessed for that purpose. How am I doing?

Aren’t these things that Job spoke about the things that should identify us as God’s? I know that nothing I do – no matter how sacrificial – can make up for even one sin I’ve committed. I don’t believe the lesson here is: do good so God likes you better.

But as a woman who is saved by grace, a child of God through the precious blood of Jesus, I want my life to be above reproach. After all, I wear His Name. I want my testimony to be true, my heart in tune with God’s.

Thank you, Job, for helping me take inventory. Help me, God, to address the things You have laid on my heart. I want to represent you well today. For Jesus’ sake.

 

January 12; Something More

Job 27-19

Job tells his friends: “Let me tell you what I know about God. I’m going to give it to you straight, even though He’s revealed Himself to you exactly the same way He revealed Himself to me. Maybe it will put an end to this meaningless talk.” (from 27:11-12)

God is still revealing Himself to all of mankind in the same way He showed Himself to Job and his friends. A beautiful sunset is seen by millions. Winter always turns into spring, which always precedes summer, summer leads into fall, and back to winter. Year after year after year. The tiniest insects or the largest animals are all unique by species, yet uniquely similar to others within their species.

Just look around. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of His hand… (Psalm 19:1-6)

There are a multitude of other truths God reveals about Himself every minute of every day. Job uses mining as an example. Beneath the surface, there is treasure. It doesn’t come easy, But for those who dig for it, it is life-altering.

Yes, God reveals Himself in nature to all of us, so no one has an excuse if they refuse to acknowledge HIm. But there is so much more. And knowing God in an intimate way requires some digging.

Job calls it wisdom, understanding. “…The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” (28:28)

No one, not even Job knows everything there is to know about God. William Cowper, who wrote the hymn “There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood” said, “Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; wisdom is humble that he knows no more.” Job’s friends may have had a knowledge of God, but Job realized there was something more, something worth digging for.

Friend, are you digging? Are you reading and re-reading God’s Word? Are you praying? Do you take God with you throughout your day? Do you know Him better today than you did yesterday?

I pray so. Because whatever your relationship is with Him now – there is always something more He has in store for you