Tag Archives: Jesus

Job 29-31; Job’s Final Thoughts

The difference between Job and me is that I can look back on my life and recognize the multitude of sins I have committed. Job seems to be able to look back on his life and see none. I don’t know which is worse.

Let me just get it out there: I AM A SINNER. I know that I am. If I tried to list all the sins I remember committing I’m not sure I’d get to the end before the middle of next year. And that doesn’t include the sins I’ve conveniently forgotten.

Besides, I don’t want to spend that much time considering the “old nature,” because I am forgiven and Christ has made me a new person.

Some people allow their old nature to hold them back. I know you’ve sinned. God knows you’ve sinned. Maybe you are living with painful consequences for that sin.

But if you’ve repented, asked God to forgive you, you are washed clean. That sin, in God’s eyes, doesn’t even exist any more. Stop beating yourself up about it. Jesus has already been beaten up for you.

Paul told the Philippians (3:13-14):

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

He is talking about knowing Christ, pursuing a relationship with Jesus. If I am actively walking with the Lord I don’t have time – or desire – to continually look back. If I draw near to God, He draws near to me, and with Him comes joy, peace, comfort, and help to know Him more and serve Him better.

Job spent a lot of time defending himself. He couldn’t come up with one sin he’d committed. He was, no doubt a good man. God Himself called Job His servant, a blameless and upright man. (1:8)

Job did many good things for his family, his friends, his neighbors, his servants, his enemies, and even his land. He spent his life using the blessings God gave him to help others. But does that mean he was sinless?

Romans 3:23 tells us everyone has sinned, everyone falls short when compared to God. Yet there are people who rationalize or ignore sin in their lives. They convince themselves if they are religious enough, or if they meditate, or volunteer at a soup kitchen, or don’t murder anyone, somehow that  covers up or equalizes the bad things they’ve done.

Friend, the only thing that can cover up your sin is the blood of Jesus. The only way you can be good enough is by accepting the fact that Jesus is good enough, and let Him stand in your place when you repent of your sin and ask Him to forgive you – something He’s dying to do.

So whether you are living in the past and are paralyzing yourself over past sin and guilt, or if you have convinced yourself you are ok as is, let God tell you what He thinks about your life. Let Him remind you that He recognizes your sin and loves you anyway. Let Him lead you to the cross where your sin debt was paid. And let Him make you new, clean, free from the bondage of sin. Then know the joy of having His Presence living in you, and blessing you with Himself.

I’m praying for you.

 

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Job 18-19; Bildad, Part 2

I had a pastor one time who said that when he was younger he gave his heart to the Lord after reading the book of Revelation. He said it scared the faith right into him.

I think Bildad’s speech here in chapter 18 is every bit as terrifying, if not more so.

It’s nighttime. You are lying on your cot, almost asleep in your tent. A lantern flickers on the floor next to you, the embers of a campfire glow outside your door. Suddenly both fires go out, and you are in complete and utter darkness.

You stumble outside, only to trip and fall into a net that has been placed there to catch you. Immediately you feel a metal trap clamp down on your heel, holding you immobile. A noose slips over your head, then tightens around your neck.

Every sound terrifies you in the blackness of night. Something you can’t see begins to eat your flesh. It rips your arm from your body.

You are snatched away by soldiers, who take you to stand before the king, to give an account for offenses you do not know.

Your house is destroyed so that nothing remains. Your very life is ebbing away without hope. You’ve been driven from the light into unspeakable darkness, alone. Totally alone.

People are repulsed by the memory of you. The thought of you horrifies them.

(The only thing missing is a guy holding a chain saw, and wearing a mask)

Then Bildad implies… That’s what you deserve, Job.

Now that’s just mean.

Job knew first-hand what it meant to be crushed, unjustly accused, and absolutely alone. Why his friends thought they had to keep throwing salt into his wounds, I don’t know.

But Job, living in the horror Bildad described, demonstrates a faith that blows me away. Listen to what he says:

Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever!

I  know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me(19:23-27, emphasis mine)

I’m so thankful Job’s words were recorded like he wished. Job believed he would see God in the flesh some day. And Job longed for that day! In the midst of devastating pain, Job was confident in the fact that he had a Redeemer, alive, and coming to earth. Job wanted to look into those eyes.

We know the name of Job’s Redeemer. His name is Jesus. And He’s your Redeemer, too. Do you know Him with the same confidence Job displayed here? No matter what your circumstances, you have an advocate, one who died so you can live, one who sits at the throne of God and prays for you, draws you to Himself, loves you beyond what you can even imagine.

My dear Redeemer, Jesus, Lord, thank You for the reality of You! Thank You for taking my sins upon Yourself, for suffering what I deserved, for forgiving me. And thank You for the knowledge that You are alive, and one day I’ll look into those eyes of Yours and know for the first time, just how much I am loved. I praise You. I adore You. I worship You.

Job 8-10; Bildad

Now Job hears from another friend whose intent is to help Job through this difficult time. Eliphaz had talked to Job about sin. Bildad’s theme is more about God’s justice.

Bildad’s argument includes examples from nature about God’s order. Cause and effect. God, who created an orderly world, is right in his dealing with men. Sin=Punishment. Sinlessness=Blessing.

Job’s reply? You’re right, Bildad. “But how can a mortal man be righteous before God?” (9:2) The best, the smartest of us have no defense before a Holy God. None of us is innocent.

The Creator has no equal. His holiness renders us defenseless. And our finite minds will never understand Him.

Job, in his despair, is ready to give up trying.

Bildad tells Job to buck up, put on a smile, things will get better. Job tells him that putting a smile on his face would make him a hypocrite. His grief is real and unrelenting.

Some of you have been there, may be at that point now. I don’t want you to miss the precious truth found in 9:29-35. Job longs for a helper, someone who can bridge the gap between God and himself. He knows he can’t do it. He might not be the worst guy on the planet, but Job knew he could not approach Holy, Righteous, Creator God.

If only…

Friend, we have that One who touches God and touches us. One who can remove God’s “rod” from us. His Name is Jesus!

If we truly saw ourselves as Job saw himself, as helpless, hopeless sinners accountable to the God of Creation, we’d feel exactly like Job felt. You have no standing before God. I certainly don’t. You deserve hell. And so do I.

But Jesus.

Job longed for the One who is standing next to you, arms opened wide, ready to accept you as you surrender to Him.

Do it!

Esther; An Edict Not Revoked

Whenever I read this book I wonder, when I get to the part where the king who condemned all Jews to death, why he doesn’t just rescind his order and let them live once he discovers the truth. Why doesn’t he send out an updated edict and let the Jews off the hook? Instead, he gives the Jews a way to survive the death sentence.

Today Warren Wiresbe (With the Word Bible Handbook) put a light on the subject that helps me see things a bit more clearly. If you have read other posts of mine you know my strong conviction that all Scripture is given us by our loving Heavenly Father for the expressed purpose of revealing Himself to us. So what can a book that doesn’t even mention His Name teach us about God?

His Sovereignty. His dealing with prideful people. The fact He blesses obedience. And this:

JESUS!

Dr. Wiresbe reminded me God, from the time of Adam and Eve, has proclaimed an edict: Sin requires a death penalty. ALL sin, every sin comes with a deadly price tag whether we think that’s fair or not. And God is not going to revoke that edict.

Every impure thought, every vulgar word, every unkind action, all disobedience condemns you. You’re not going to talk God out of it, either.

Just like the Jews in Esther’s day were condemned to die, we are condemned to an eternity of death, separated from God.  But God provided a way for us to survive. He didn’t revoke the edict – He FULFILLED it! Jesus died so we don’t have to. That was our death sentence Jesus took on Himself.

Now here’s the other thing: The king didn’t write the new edict allowing the Jews to be saved, then lock the paper up in a vault. He sent couriers out into the land to tell the good news to everyone!

We need to be doing that, too. Your neighbor, your brother-in-law, your co-worker might need to know that they have a death sentence hanging over their heads, and that salvation is their’s for the asking! Jesus paid what they cannot pay. And they can have eternal life through the precious blood of their Savior.

Our Holy God cannot rescind the edict. Sin=Death. But Praise God that He Himself provided a way of salvation from the penalty of death my sin requires. I live because Jesus died. Praise God.

He did the same for you!

I Samuel 15-16; The Problem With Interior Decorating

Saul was King of Israel. Remember the handsome, tall young man who looked exactly how everyone thought a king should look? The Bible says no one was his equal. (9:2)

Even though this same hunk hid from Samuel because he was afraid. He still looked the part.

But when Saul had an encounter with God,  God changed Saul’s heart. No longer cowardly, Saul prophesied when the Spirit of God came upon him in power. (10:10) Saul became a fearless warrior, a formidable leader of the Jews.

Several times in Scripture we see where the Spirit of God came upon him, and Saul obeyed. But we also see evidence that the change in Saul didn’t go very deep. It didn’t overcome the temptation to feel self-sufficient, and we see Saul’s gradual decline from being God’s anointed king, to being a man who God will reject.

In chapter 15 we read where Saul is given the opportunity to repent of sin. Samuel confronts Saul with the evidence of his sin, but Saul only gives Samuel the lame excuse, “they made me do it.” Then Saul makes matters worse when he says, “I kind of disobeyed, but my intentions were good. I was going to give the best of the spoils to God.”

Neither excuse could balance the guilt of his sin. So Saul, knowing he’d blown it before God, says, “I have sinned. But please, Samuel, honor me in front of the people.”

Oh Saul. That was bad enough. But did you have to go on and say, “so that I may worship the Lord YOUR God”? Wasn’t He your God, too?

I’m going to try not to judge Saul’s heart except through the evidence we see in Scripture. Saul’s heart had been changed, even to the point where the Bible says he was changed into a different person. (10:6) God was with him in a very visible way. But by the end of chapter 13, God had rejected him, the kingdom taken away from Saul because of disobedience.

I like watching renovation shows on TV. Sometimes the changes in the remodeled homes is amazing. Run-down houses get a makeover that transforms them into modern, beautiful homes.

But as I watch these shows I realize that there is a difference between cosmetic and structural changes. You can put paint on rotting wood. It will make it look nicer. But it won’t fix the problem, and the rotting will continue beneath the paint.

Fixing the problem often means tearing down walls and rebuilding from the ground up.

If I can use this analogy in Saul’s life, it would appear that Saul allowed God to do a cosmetic change in his life. The change was real. It just didn’t go very deep. In the end, God turned His back on His anointed one. The Spirit of God left him. (16:14)

I pray that you have had an encounter with God that has changed your life. But I would ask you to consider how that change has effected you. Have you allowed God to get in there and tear down walls, to eliminate the rot, to fix the problem of sin in your life?

Or have you only submitted just enough to God so that you look better to other people?

I pray that all of us will turn ourselves over to God 100%. Because how we look on the outside is meaningless unless we have been changed from the inside. I don’t want God just to be my Interior Designer. I want a total rehab, overhauled, made brand new through the blood of His precious Son, Jesus Christ.

I Samuel 4-6; Faced With The Truth

I’m not sure why we are not reading about a massive turning to God among the Philistines here in these chapters. When the ark was there, when God’s Presence was among them, they witnessed His Power first hand. They saw their pretend god, Dagon, toppled twice by God. God’s hand was heavy on them, and many people developed tumors, many died.

The Philistines knew the stories of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. They’d heard about the plagues. They’d listened to the many miracles Israel’s God had performed for them in the desert, how many armies God had defeated to bring the Jews to Canaan. Now, they saw the power of Israel’s God up close and personal.

The Philistines acknowledged that God was responsible for the things going on among them. But instead of bowing down before Him, their response was to send Him away. They chose to hang on to a worthless idol, an idol they had to admit was inferior to God. They chose to get rid of the God who had power over their own bodies, and continue on in their devotion to a god that never was a god.

Why?

I wonder the same thing about people who hear the Gospel, yet choose to hang on to some worthless belief instead of running into the arms of the One who loves them beyond understanding, who longs to fellowship with them, and who went to the cross to make that possible.

When faced with the Truth, why cling to a lie?

Father, I pray for all those who will hear the Truth about You today. I pray for pastors of churches where Jesus will be preached as Your Son, the Savior of the world. I pray that hearts will break because of sin when they find themselves face to face with You. Defeat Satan today in a mighty way. And may no one hearing Your Truth choose to hold on to any lie, any false god. But may they fall before You, accept Your grace, and worship You in spirit and in truth.

Joshua 22-24; Choose

I wonder how many times Scripture tells us to “choose.” I wonder how often Scripture either explains in words or in examples the blessings associated with choosing God, and the severe consequences for choosing anything else. Never underestimate the importance of your choices.

God’s made His choice. He chose you. He went to the cross for you. He bought your salvation and is willing to shower you with grace.

When the jailer asked Paul what he needed to do to be saved, Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 16) In Joshua 24, the Jewish leader told the Jews to “choose today” who they would serve. Would they choose God, or the idols of their neighbors?

Choose Jesus today, my friend. Admit you are a sinner, and receive the forgiveness He died to give you. But let me remind you, if you say you aren’t quite ready to give your life to the Lord today, you’ve made your choice to reject Him today. Don’t do it.

Accept Jesus. Choose to obey Him. Choose today who you will serve.