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Showing posts with label Providence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Providence. Show all posts

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Like Fredo, I’m Smaart and I say that’s RIDICULOUS! – Answers in Christ - Purity 579


Like Fredo, I’m Smaart and I say that’s RIDICULOUS! – Answers in Christ - Purity 579

Purity 579 11/18/2021  Purity 579 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the front of a kayak gliding over the waters of Lake George with the sky and clouds above reflected on the surface of the lake and with the trees on the shoreline displaying early Autumn glory comes to us from a friend who shared a scene from a paddling excursion back in early October. 

As chance would have it my phone was turned back about a month in my photos section as I was searching for a particular photo last evening, so when I looked for a photo of a pathway or road to represent journeying down the path of Christian discipleship this morning I came across this one and immediately decided to share it today because it’s a great pic and it adequately portrays the idea of peacefully moving forward and making progress that is characteristic of “walking in the Spirit”. 

Today is Thursday and I am equally thrilled and saddened to announce that I will be facilitating the last class in the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course this evening at Rock Solid Church and will be uploading the last podcast version installment of the class later today.  

When I developed the schedule for this year’s teaching back in the spring I purposely placed the Freedom in Christ Course to end the week before Thanksgiving because I thought presenting a class about establishing and maintaining our Freedom in Christ was a great way to transition from Labor Day to the holiday season.  And what a transition it has been! 

Not only has the material been impactful for the local students and podcast listeners, but it has also served to edify the facilitator as well as I have become comfortable enough to step out in faith and volunteer to facilitate zoom classes of the Freedom in Christ Course for Freedom in Christ Ministries in 2022.

 I haven’t gotten confirmation yet, but I have submitted a preferred timeline of classes to the FICM coordinators that will encompass 2 sessions, one in the winter from early January to March, and another in the spring from April to June.  My approval is pending so I cannot announce that this will come to pass but I have been asked about the possibility of leading a men’s group of the class and about my preferences for which day I would choose to teach, good signs that mean absolutely nothing. 

But you know what?  Whether or not I am chosen to facilitate classes next year for FICM, I know that I was faithful to what I perceive to be a call from God to step out and volunteer.   

As I stated my belief in the Sovereign God that is alive and well and described in the Bible yesterday, I know that the things that come to pass are His will, either His permissive will or His explicit will, and that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  

So whether or not I am called according to the purpose of teaching for FICM in 2022 will be a part of His plan, regardless of if my request is accepted or rejected.  

And this situation, my stepping out in faith and saying, “Send Me!” but not knowing the what the outcome will be, aka if it is the Lord’s will to send me or not, is what “walking in the Spirit” or living the life of a disciple of Christ is all about.  

Our knowledge of the Lord’s will for our lives is not perfect. But guess what? There is a whole lot about God that we do know and is not just a matter of preference or opinion.  

We know the truth of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ  alone.  

We know that the Bible is the inspired word of God and is living and valuable for our instruction and correction.   

When we know these two things and place our faith in Jesus Christ – Ha Ha – if you thought I was going to let you go with just knowing facts and not committing your life to Christ you got another thing coming! - 

When we know these things and make our Christ Lord and Savior and commit our lives to follow Him, we are made spiritually alive, assured of our place in the kingdom of God for all eternity, and  then we get to enter into the mystery of our faith in terms of knowing who God is, who we are as His adopted spiritually alive children, and what we are called to do with the lives that God gave us to live out here on the earth!

Our faith in Christ makes us alive forever and that life starts the moment we put our faith in Him.   

The journey of our faith lies in discovering who we are in Christ, experiencing our freedom in Christ - which encompasses our freedom over sin and death and our freedom to do His will, and our journey includes discovering our purpose for God and to live it out moment to moment as an expression of God’s wisdom and love.     

After my testimony yesterday I received a negative comment that told me that my “beliefs” were RIDICULOUS, all caps, and I was challenged to produce evidence for God that could somehow convince this angry commenter.  

But the thing is, while they spoke of how they “prefer” to “believe” a god (small g) who x,y, and z’s   - I KNOW (all caps) the living God – who made me and saved me. 

I don’t have to convince anybody because God convinced me, personally, by pulling me out of the darkness of my former life that included an extended period atheism and participation in Eastern Mysticism and the ways of the world.     No intellectual evidence ever convinced me because my heart was set on doing things according to my sinful desires and I was spiritually blind.  

The word says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is foolishness to those who are perishing.  So when someone tells me that my “beliefs” about God which are based on the Word of God are “RIDICULOUS”, all caps,  I know that like me in the past – they are also spiritually blind and, cue the really scary music, are perishing!  

So if what I write about regarding God and the Christian faith seems ridiculous to you,  I hear you. I used to be you.  But after 38 years of living according to my whims and ways, with so much intellectual wisdom of the ways of the world – like Fredo in the Godfather- I thought I was SMAAART,  I took a wallop of the world’s suffering and decided to seek the Truth to see if there was something more than this world that is slowly fading to black. 

And although I was “looking for love” and truth in all the wrong places, the Author of Truth, God Almighty, revealed the Truth to me in a simple gospel message that led me to put my faith in Christ and allowed me to have a personal relationship with God through Him.   

I know that might sound ridiculous, but I encourage you to not rely on someone else to convince you of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ or the existence of God, Really?, but to take personal responsibility for your spiritual destiny by seeking the Truth and by seeking God for yourself.  

The word says that if you seek God, you will find Him. And I for one can tell you that even though finding Him will undoubtedly disrupt your life, finding God and placing your faith in Jesus Christ to be a part of His royal family is a GOOD THING, all caps, and is worth the search and all the trouble that is promised to come to you when you come into His kingdom.  

The world hated Jesus so it undoubtedly will hate you too. But Christ overcame the world and gives those who place their faith in Him the power to overcome all our personal darkness and the adversity of the world and to peacefully move forward and make progress into the meaning and purpose that the Creator of the universe has planned for you.  

So either start or keep walking and talking with God. The going may be rough at first but when you come into harmony with God through placing your faith in Jesus and living according to His ways you will discover that peace and joy are possible no matter what circumstances you will have to face.


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is :

Psalm 18:30 (NLT2)
30  God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

 

Today’s verse assures us that God’s way is indeed perfect and His promises are true and protects those who look to Him.  

I love the Lord so much! Yesterday my testimony of being protected by Him when I made a mistake and almost got into an accident was met with ire and derision like you would not believe. Look on r/Christianity on Reddit for the specific comments on yesterday’s post to see the gems that I am referring to.

But I didn’t take offense by those comments that basically told me to be careful, and to ashamed of my human frailty?,  and that challenged my view of a Sovereign God that shapes the courses of events that could “work all things together for good for those who love Him” by protecting us through His providence.  

Those commenting seemed angry at the idea that God would choose to protect some one who made a mistake.  I mean come on guys I made a mistake but took the right action to correct it! My foot slipped off the brake! But God worked it for good by protecting me and If it didn’t there would have been no testimony of God’s providential goodness.

One commentor sought to challenge my assertion of protection by calling up doubts of God’s miraculous intervention.  But guess what?  I didn’t claim a miracle.  I didn’t claim supernatural intervention.  I claimed something that was not as dramatic as that but if considered is even far more amazing.  I claimed that ALL the things that happen in the universe fall under God’s will, either His explicit will or His permissive will.  

God’s in control and even though bad and evil things happen, and people suffer, evil will be put in its place and those who humbly and loyally align themselves with their  Creator by placing their faith in Christ will receive the ultimate protection of life eternal.

All the hard questions are answered in Christ. 

And as today’s verse assures us today: God’s ways are perfect. All His promises prove true. 

AND He is a WHAT? A SHEILD, all caps, for those who WHAT look to Him for WHAT? PROTECTION!!! All Caps and and three exclamation points.  

Oh and yesterday’s testimony did not include – my literal cry for the Lord’s help – which  was probably something like “Oh God! Help Me!” literally said by me before my near miss.   And God obviously answered that prayer. 

I know… Go ahead – send your negative comments about not believing in answered prayers – but the fact remains I follow the Lord and through His providential shaping of the events of time and space did receive grace (God’s favor) and mercy (not getting what I deserved) when I “looked” and called out to Him.  

And although I didn’t defend myself against the negative comments about my beliefs in God’s protection,  God providentially provided an evidence verse from His inspired word this morning that tells us that He does indeed act as a shield to those who look  to Him for protection.  

Goose bumps, man!

God is alive and working in the world but if you doubt and don’t believe or choose to not follow, you will not see it.   

If you think I hand craft these messages to push an agenda to “convince you” of the reality of God, you don’t know my schedule. I barely have time to get these messages out and honestly don’t know what I am going to write and say until its written and said.  

And if you think, I arranged today’s verse purposefully, again you don’t know me, but more tragically you don’t fully know who God is and how He can arrange things all by Himself.  

So Trust that His ways are perfect and that His promises are true. And follow Him and when you need that shield, brother and sister,  look to Him for protection. 

You may not always avoid heart ache, pain ,and suffering, but when you walk with God you might. And even if you don’t God will provide you with the strength to overcome what ever you do suffer.  

His ways are perfect. So go and follow Him into the purpose He has for your life.  

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.

 

III. Causes For Evil And Suffering In The World

What part does God play in this pain-filled world? Does God bear all responsibility, some responsibility, or no responsibility? Many blame God for all the pain in this world, stating something like this: "An all-powerful God, responsible for creating the world, must also bear responsibility for causing all the pain in the world." Others jump to the defense of God: "An all-loving God would never cause suffering—much less condone it." Clearly, God does not cause all suffering. But those who try to "get God off the hook" for any pain and suffering have a mistaken mindset. Based on the sovereignty of God, our Almighty God even says about Himself...

"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand." (Deuteronomy 32:39)

A. What Is the Cause of Evil and Suffering?

There is no single clear cause for the evil and suffering in the world ... many variables can be involved. Therefore, several factors have to be considered in answering this question. However, it is clear that evil and suffering are the result of at least 5 different elements that may occur independently or in conjunction with one another. Ultimately, evil and suffering are...

#1. The result of our choices

Because Adam and Eve made the choice not to obey God, they were expelled from their perfect environment to be subjected to suffering in an imperfect world.

"The Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken." (Genesis 3:23)

#2. The result of the choices of others

Because of Adam and Eve's choice to sin, all humanity is subjected to the consequences of their choice—suffering in an imperfect world.

"Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men." (Romans 5:18)

#3. The result of some evil spirit beings

Because "the evil one," Satan, channeled himself into the serpent, he deceived Eve and enticed her to sin.

"'You will not surely die,' the serpent said to the woman. 'For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." (Genesis 3:4-6)

#4. The result of natural order

Because of "the fall," there is natural pain and deterioration including natural disasters that impact all humanity.

"To the woman he said, 'I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.' To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, "You must not eat of it," Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.'" (Genesis 3:16-17)

#5. The result of God's permissive will

Because God gave Adam and Eve free will—the choice to obey or disobey—God permitted them to go against His will, and they suffered for it.

"The Lord God commanded the man 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'" (Genesis 2:16-17)

 

Question: "Why do people have to go through suffering in this life?"

Answer: Adam's choice to sin changed him from being innocent to being guilty and his nature from being sinless to being sinful. Therefore, all people have inherited a "sin nature." As a result, we are born spiritually dead in God's eyes, standing in need of spiritual life. Suffering is the by-product of both our sin nature and our subsequent sin.

"As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:22)

 

Question: "Why does God allow terrible diseases such as cancer and AIDS?"

Answer: Throughout history terrible diseases have afflicted people. What we can cling to in the midst of the suffering these diseases cause is that all suffering in this life is temporary and can drive us to God for comfort and strength.

  • In truth, all of creation suffers from disease and decay in one form or another due to the Fall. Disease is terrible because sin is terrible.
  • Were it not for the corruption of Adam's sin, passed on to all humanity, no one would experience disease.
  • And although all diseases are ultimately a result of our fallen world, were it not for some of our poor choices, we could avoid many diseases related to improper treatment of our bodies and improper use of our bodies.

In the final analysis, we are all destined to die—we just don't know when or how ... but God does ...

"Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath." (Psalm 39:4-5)

 

Question: "Why do some people die at an early age while others live to be more than 100 years old?"

Answer: The potter has power over the clay to form, to shape, and to break for his purposes ... and so does the Creator over His creation.

  • The Lord plans and carries out His plans for each of His people.
  • Some are designed and equipped for length of days and some for brevity of days.

It is not the time you have on earth that is critical, but how the time is lived out and who you allow to have control of your life: yourself, another person, the enemy (Satan)—or the Lord ...

"Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:16)

 

Question: "Is a birth defect or the death of a baby the result of a parent's sin?"

Answer: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. In some situations, deformities and defects are the direct result of parents' destructive choices.

  • Parents who abuse their bodies with drugs or who carry diseases within their bodies cannot expect their offspring to be unaffected.
  • Sometimes moral sins, alcohol, and medications can permanently damage unborn babies.
  • Even the emotional and mental state of a pregnant woman affects the chemical makeup of her unborn child. In the case of King David and Bathsheba's firstborn child, the sin of the parents resulted not only in an illness, but also in the death of their baby (Read 2 Samuel chapter 12).
  • We live in a world broken by sin. That brokenness extends from the spiritual world to the physical world ... even to precious children, who are part of this broken world.

In other cases, deformities and defects are intended to glorify God ...

"His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'" (John 9:2-3)

 

Question: "Since my life is in such a mess, could God be punishing me for something?"

Answer: If you are a Christian, He may be disciplining you. If you are not a Christian, He may be using circumstances to demonstrate your need for Him. Both Christians and non-Christians experience the consequences for poor choices. (Read Hebrews 12:5-11.)

  • —"Punishment" has implications of revenge. God's "revenge" for our sins has already been poured out on the person of Jesus at Calvary. God does not "punish" His children.
  • —"Discipline" is a loving action that is intended to change our direction so that we are headed in a way that is beneficial.

"In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: 'My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you.'" (Hebrews 12:4-5)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Near Death Experience – The Dangers of Being on Autopilot - Purity 578


 

Near Death Experience – The Dangers of Being on Autopilot - Purity 578

Purity 578 11/17/2021  Purity 578 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of one whopper of a seashell underneath the blazing sun on the shores a Florida beach, presumably near Jacksonville,  comes to us from a friend from the U.K. who was visiting their transplanted and recently married offspring and enjoyed a week filled with coffee shops, early morning beach walks, and family time.  As life has seen their children grow, marry, and move to another country, our friend expressed how blessed they felt to have this special time away from “not so sunny Portsmouth”.

I believe it was the American philosopher, Ferris Bueller, who said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  My British friend knows the truth of that, and his report encourages us all to stop and look around and appreciate the life that God has given us.  

Last night, I had a moment to appreciate the life that God has given me in a sudden and startling way. 

I have been frequenting Star Point Church in Clifton Park NY for various purposes over the last several months and have gotten in the habit of speedily leaving their grounds to get on to State Route 146 on my way home, which is 45 minutes away.  Because of the frequency of my visits, the length of my drive home, and the traffic on 146, I have learned that it is best to not hesitate too long at the stop sign at the edge of their property because the traffic on 146 can be substantial and if you wait too long you could find yourself waiting what seems to be an eternity to start that near hour long drive home.    

So last night, as I left a session of pre-marriage counseling there, I was almost victim to the perfect storm of circumstances that could have ended in tragedy.  I was tired and in a hurry which is never a good mix.  Because I was tired and feared the fatigue of the drive ahead I decided to grab an energy drink as I was driving out of the parking lot.  As I approached Route 146, I did what I always did: I looked both ways and gauged whether it was safe to do a “rolling stop” before hitting the gas and zooming into the flow of traffic safely, preparing to do just that as I had on a dozen occasions in the past.  

But unlike my previous exits from that property, last night it wasn’t safe to do a rolling stop and as I was fumbling with the just opened energy drink, I panicked and went to step on the brake but last night my foot slipped off the brake and got momentarily stuck between the gas pedal and the brake pedal!

As I tried to correct my action and reapply my foot to the brake, I started to careen directly into the path of an oncoming SUV.  From their perspective the other drive would have seen me pull up to the stop sign, pause, and then do a herky, jerky entrance right into their way!

The Lord protected me last evening with an alert driver in that vehicle because as I fought to slow down and correct my progress, the other driver adjusted their direction and was able to avoid broad siding me as I sat helplessly bathed in their headlights as they went speeding past me.   

I immediately thanked God for His protection because I know that His will is sovereign and the things that happen or don’t happen are all under His control. Thankfully, MT getting smashed, injured, and possibly killed on the 16th day of November in 2021 was not in the Lord’s plans.  

As I cautiously drove the rest of the way home, I repeatedly thanked and praised God for His protection and mercy as I recalled a similar situation in my past where a woman I didn’t know made a similar mistake while driving and paid the ultimate cost.  

A few years ago I was working as part of the line crew doing some pole work on Route 20 near Duanesburg when a woman who couldn’t see the oncoming traffic because of an obscured view decided to take a chance by blindly easing out of a parking lot of a Mobil gas station onto the State Highway.  At the precise moment that she decided to trust that it was safe, a pickup truck was coming the other way at 55 miles an hour.  The crash was loud and immediately one of my colleagues yelled for someone to call 911.  As a flagger on an adjacent road, with my work area safe, I ran down to route 20 and started flagging traffic away from the accident site.  After 45 minutes or so I was relieved from my post by local police who closed the road with their squad car.  

As I walked back to the site, I learned that one of our line crew had performed CPR on the woman at the site but to no avail. From what I understand she was killed almost instantly from the impact trauma.  

So after my near miss last night, I realized that I didn’t just avoid a fender bender. Because of the alertness of the other driver, and because of God’s protection,  I avoided a crash that could have taken my life.  

Stuff like this happens all the time.  Because of our repeated actions and familiarity of settings we all have places where we have come accustomed to acting in a certain way.   I have friends who have joked about stop signs that are “really a yield sign”  or “only a suggestion”.  I and my friends have also admitted that the details of an entire commute were a blur because of the over activity of a busy brain or the laxity of inactive mind.  So I know that I am not alone with being guilty of the sin of being on autopilot. 

Thankfully, we don’t hear of the fatal accidents among our friends too often, but they do happen. Our near misses are so commonplace that we often are jolted to attention by them but quickly take them for granted and fail to mention them to anyone.  

A lot of people just think they were “lucky” but if we properly understand how God has created and shaped the universe according to His will, we understand that there are “no accidents”.    

So if you “get lucky” today because of a near miss, because something really good happens, or because you just lived to make it home to experience the “same old same old” with your loved ones, remember to stop and look around at your life and thank the Lord who gave it to you and all blessings you enjoy.  

God’s common grace falls out upon all mankind as the potential disasters that could come from us being on autopilot “somehow” don’t come to pass.

For every tragedy that does come , there are tales of how it could have been worse and even in those moments we are given an opportunity to see the big picture of the brevity and precious value of our lives. 

He saves us for our mistakes even when we don’t deserve it and He sent Jesus Christ to save us for all eternity.

So keep walking and talking with God. Pray everyday for His protection and presence in your life. When you do that, you will recognize that He never leaves us or forsakes us and that His comfort and love is available to experience every day of our lives.       


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is :

1 Kings 8:56 (NLT2)
56  “Praise the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses.

Today’s verse reminds us that God is faithful to His promises and delivers us from calamity and gives us rest.   

The appropriate response to our “good fortune” of near misses is to praise the Lord.  

Today’s verse tells us to do just that.  As adopted sons and daughters of God through our faith in Jesus Christ we become grafted into God’s spiritual nation of Israel.   Now while Gentiles like me can’t claim a direct natural heritage with the people of Zion, because of Jesus Christ, I can claim a spiritual heritage with “God’s chosen people.” 

New Testament scripture points out that just because you have a natural connection to the Sons of Abraham does not mean that you are a part God’s chosen people. The Old Testament documents that all but two of the original nation of Israel, that experienced the supernatural deliverance from bondage to Egypt, were allowed to go into the promised land.  

So even though some experienced the faithfulness of God as physical members of the nation of Israel when He parted the Red Sea and Moses led the tribes to safety, scripture indicates that you still have to have a personal relationship with God to be delivered into God’s kingdom.  

The promises of God are for the people of God. So make sure you and your loved ones have made Christ the Lord and Savior of your lives to have assurance of your salvation and membership into God’s spiritual “Israel”.   

When you make peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, you become one of His chosen people and you can finally know what it feels like to find rest.  

The fear of death and the power of sin over you are put to rest through Christ.  In Him you become heirs of the promises of God and as you agree with and live according to God’s will and ways for our lives as described in the Bible you will experience just how faithful God is in fulfilling His promises.

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.

 

B. How Did Job Respond to His Horrendous Ordeal?

Job's perspective of life had become thoroughly saturated with physical, mental, and emotional pain. He could not peer "behind the scenes." Feeling robbed of joy, he saw death as the better option. Did Job see God as good? Read the points that follow and draw your own conclusion.

  1. Job, who does not deny or cover up his pain, acknowledges that the Lord has the right to decide what is given to him and what is taken away.
        "'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.' In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing." (Job 1:21-22)
  2. Job, after confronting his overly critical wife, lives with obvious integrity and focuses on trusting God with their lives—with their present circumstances and with their future.
        "His wife said to him, 'Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!' He replied, 'You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?' In all this, Job did not sin in what he said." (Job 2:9-10)
  3. Job suffers such severe pain that he wishes he could die. He honestly laments before his 3 friends.
        "Why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day?" (Job 3:16)
  4. Job repeats his desire to be released from his earthly life in order to stop the pain, yet he focuses on being a man of integrity. If he were dead, he says,
        "Then I would still have this consolationmy joy in unrelenting painthat I had not denied the words of the Holy One." (Job 6:10)
  5. Job, though dismayed over his misery, admits that his God is the Maker of the universe and has performed innumerable miracles.
        "He [God] is the maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted." (Job 9:9-10)
  6. Job doesn't stuff his feelings—even admitting to self-loathing, complaining, and bitterness—but then pleads with God to reveal what he has done wrong.
        "I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God: Do not condemn me, but tell me what charges you have against me." (Job 10:1-2)
  7. Job doesn't understand why he has become a laughingstock to his friends; however, he continues to focus on the many attributes of God.
        "In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.... To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.... To him belong strength and victory; both deceived and deceiver are his.... He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light." (Job 12:10, 13, 16, 22)
  8. Job states that even if God were to kill him for attempting to defend himself or to argue his case, still—and he makes this clear—he will continue to trust in the Lord.
        "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face." (Job 13:15)
  9. Job answers that God has established the precise length of our lives—even has set limits we cannot exceed.
        "Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed." (Job 14:5)
  10. Job, though distraught over his human accusers, realizes he has a heavenly advocate—an intercessor who is also his friend.
        "Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend." (Job 16:19-21)
  11. Job, who knows he is surrounded by mockers, restates that he will hold to righteous ways.
        "The righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger." (Job 17:9)
  12. Job, in spite of feeling torn down by his friends and even by God Himself, focuses on seeing his Redeemer in the future.
        "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!" (Job 19:25-27)
  13. Job has no comprehension of why calamity has continued to afflict him, yet he still states that God is the highest judge.
        "Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest?" (Job 21:22)
  14. Job, though he can't find the Lord, realizes that he is not lost to the Lord—the Refiner who is testing him so that he will come forth as gold.
        "He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread." (Job 23:10-12)
  15. Job, who genuinely believes he is undeserving of such calamities, remains determined to defend his integrity.
        "As long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will utter no deceit. I will never admit you [my friends] are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live." (Job 27:3-6)
  16. Job, after experiencing a deep encounter with God, realizes that it is only because of the extremity of his severe suffering that now he is able to "see" God.
        "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:5-6)

Conclusion: Although Job suffers severely in the furnace of affliction, he indeed comes out like gold—pure gold refined by the fire.

 

Question: "Why do Christians sometimes suffer for doing good?"

Answer: Evil is always in opposition to good. By its very nature, evil will seek to harm and destroy those who do good. The only real peace to be found in the midst of suffering is in the One who has made us to be at peace with God. In His time, this Prince of Peace will do away with evil and thereby secure total peace for all eternity for His followers. He Himself suffered for doing good. As His followers, we at times will also experience suffering for doing good. Jesus said ...

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.... If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." (John 15:18, 20)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship