Happy(?) Birthday America – The Saturday Morning Post

statue-of-liberty-tear-swscan04051

Today’s Reading – Psalms 90 – 95 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 7 – 8; Psalms 16 – 20; Proverbs 4)

Read the “0704 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” (Psalm 95)

I’m 61 years old, and have many memories of many Fourth of July’s. In 1976, my brother took me to see the Tall Ships come in for Operation Sail. And the fireworks around the Statue of Liberty were fantastic. On July fourth of 1999, the sign in front of our church (Longview Baptist Temple in Longview, TX, at the time) said ‘FIREWORKS INSIDE.’ And I’m sure that you also have fond memories of The Fourth. It was only 236 short years ago that we broke from the tyranny of man, and dedicated our new nation to God. We started off well. We could sing right along with verses 1 through 7 of Psalm 95. Then something happened. We became rich, and a world power. Soon we didn’t need God anymore. We took Him out of the schools. We took His commandments out of our courts, and out of government buildings. Our children turned into animals, not knowing right from wrong, killing each other, spreading STD’s. Sacrificing their unwanted babies to Molech through abortion. Being taught that evil is good, and good is evil…

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

This nation has turned it’s back on God, and is going down fast. Today, through Psalm 95, God still sends out a plea for His people to return to Him…

“…To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” (Psalm 95:7-11)

God also said in His Word…

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2Chronicles 7:14)

Do you want America to have a happy birthday? Then it’s time for America to turn back to God. And this must start with you and me. As Christians, we must rededicate ourselves to the Lord. We are His people, called by His name. The tyranny in this nation will not stop until every Christian is on his or her knees begging God to heal this nation. Will He? It may be too late. Time is running out.

Peace? (Isaiah 48:22)


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Ain’t God Good

Field-of-Flowers

Today’s Reading – Psalm 86 – 89 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 5 – 6; Psalms 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0703 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” (Psalms 86:5)

This morning’s passage contains a very simple, yet also very profound truth, which is perhaps the greatest truth in all of Scripture. God is good. God is better than good, God is awesome. We sing the song sometimes, “Ain’t God Good”; and He is. It may not be proper English, but it certainly is sound doctrine. Consider the following verses:

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalms 34:8)

“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalms 100:5)

“Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.” (Psalms 135:3)

“The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalms 145:9)

“The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 33:11)

“The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:25)

“The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” (Nahum 1:7)

The Lord is good for an infinite number of reasons, but in the context of Psalm 86, David declares that the Lord is good because He is merciful, and ready to forgive all them that call upon Him. Nearly 24 years ago I heard the gospel preached, and I realized that I was a sinner that needed salvation. I called upon the Lord, and He was merciful to me, and “ready to forgive”. He saved me. You see, I can testify firsthand that the Lord is good. And He hasn’t stopped being good to me. He has never done me wrong one time. Ain’t God good! Can I get a witness?


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Visit This Vine

Grape Vine

Today’s Reading – Psalms 80 – 85  (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 3 – 4; Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0702 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.” (Psalm 80:14 & 15)

The context of this passage of Scripture involves a time period in the history of Israel (the vine) when the people of God were under judgment due to their falling away from Him. Most people believe that it specifically involves the time of the Babylonian captivity. You will remember that God raised up the nation of Babylon to come and judge the northern kingdom of Judah in 586 BC because God’s people had turned away from Him and had fallen deeply into idolatry and immorality. The psalmist was pleading with God to return His favor to the vine (Israel), and to allow her to be restored to a place of God’s blessing; a place of provision and protection.

As a child of God today, I desire the same thing for my home, my church, and my nation. I so desperately want to see God move in my family and in my church. I want to see the evidence of God’s hand in the place where He has called me to live and to minister. I want God to visit the vine called Jersey Shore Baptist Church. I want God to use this place as a bright light in a dark world. I want to see multitudes of souls saved here; and I want to see the wayward saints return to the vineyard.

I believe this can happen. I believe we can see a great revival, even in these last days. But how is it going to happen. The answer to that question is found in vv 3, 7, & 19. Three times the psalmist pleads with God to:

“Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

Notice that it begins with a movement of God. The Psalmist asks God to move in the hearts of the people and cause them to desire to be turned toward the things of God. I guess that’s kind of what God has called me to do as a preacher. My job, in part, is to plead with the people and exhort them to turn away from the world and their sin; and turn back toward God. There can not be a salvation without a turning. Don’t misunderstand, I do not believe that this Psalm is specifically dealing with the salvation of a soul from Hell, but the principle can be applied. In order for a person to be saved they obviously have to turn to God; and in order to be moving in the direction of God, one must be moving away from their sin.

The same is true for the revival of our worldly, cold and indifferent hearts in the local church. We need to turn away from our sin and all of the trifles that this world has to offer; and turn back to God with all of our hearts. We are living here for a purpose; but merely living here is not that purpose. We are here to glorify our Lord in this dark world by shining the light of His glorious gospel.

God, please visit the vine of my life, my family, and my church; and cause me to turn away from all of those things that are hindering me from fulfilling your perfect will for my life. Help me to glorify you in everything that I do and say; and help me to wet the appetite of the people around me for the things of God.

 


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He Knows Our Humanity

He Knows Our Humanity

Today’s Reading – Psalms 78 – 79 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

Second Milers also read – Proverbs 1; Psalms 1 – 5; Mathew 1 – 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4

Read the “0701 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from today’s reading passage – “Where Is Their God?”

“But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” (Psalms 78:38-39)

“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Psalms 103:14)

Isn’t it comforting to know that we do not have to pretend to be anything other than human when dealing with God. Think about it. In every other relationship we have, we are always putting on our masks, and placing defensive barriers around us so that people will not see the real us. We want to portray an image of ourselves to the people we meet that is far better than the reality. But we know that it is futile to even attempt such a thing with God, because He can see right through any veil that covers us. He knows everything about us; every dirty detail; every hidden thought. He knows some things about us that perhaps we have pushed so far back in the recesses of our minds that even we don’t remember. He knows that we are merely “flesh”, and He knows that we are “dust”. To me that is comforting, because I know that God is the only one that I can truly be myself around. And the strange thing is that He loves me, even though He knows all of the dirt.

In our passage today, in Psalm 78, we read about the history of Israel from the perspective of God. God gave Israel everything that they have. He delivered them from Egypt, fed them and protected them as they wandered through the desert, brought them into the land of promise; but what did Israel do in return for God? They rebelled against Him, complained about Him, and turned to worship other gods. God had to send judgment in order to get them to turn back to Him, but their repentance was never permanent, they would always resort back to “being human”. Our humanity, our flesh, causes us to keep leaning unto our own understanding; doing our own thing. Most of the time our thing is in direct opposition to what God wants. But we have this flesh that is continually seeking to satisfy its own lusts, and is constantly pulling us out of the will of God. To make matters worse, we also have the world and the devil cheering our flesh on in its battle with the will of God. No wonder Paul said, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) I say “AMEN” to that, but I also, like Paul, thank the Lord that God sent a Saviour who died for my sins, and sent the Holy Spirit to live in and work on this old sinful flesh, conforming me into the image of Christ.  That means every once in a while I am going to get it right down here on the earth, and someday, praise God, I will be delivered completely from this body of flesh.

God didn’t utterly destroy us and wipe us out. He loved us, He died for us, and He is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. And someday soon, He will transport us up out of this world, and take us to be with Him (without our sinful flesh) forever.


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Slippery Places

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 73 – 77 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 17 – 22; Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 30 – 31)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0630 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.” – (Psalm 73:2)

“Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.” – (Psalm 73:18)

I remember one day years ago when I was working as a youth director at the Christian Bible Baptist Church in South Toms River, I was picking up one of the guys from the youth group during an ice storm. Everything was covered with ice. I watched as this young man very carefully left his house and walked toward my truck. I turned my head for a minute, and when I looked back he was nowhere in sight. I assumed that he went back inside for a moment because he had forgotten something. That’s when I saw a hand stretching up to grab the mirror on the pasenger door of the vehicle. He was holding on to that mirror for dear life. With all of his strength he pulled himself up, and steadied himself to get in the cab. I don’t think that I have ever laughed so hard in all of my life. The young man could not even stand on his own simply because the ground underneath him was too slippery.

I may be taking too much liberty with this passage, but I can not help but notice that twice in Psalm 73 there is a reference made to slipping. In verse 2 the psalmist says that he had almost slipped because of his envy of the prosperity of wicked people. Then again in verse 18 we see another reference to a slippery place. I got to thinking that God’s people often fall because they tread 0n slippery places. You can make the application here wherever it fits in your life, but a slippery place is a place, person or thing that presents to us a great temptation to sin. Maybe for you it’s the wrong crowd, or it could be sitting home alone on the internet; but it is a place where you can easily fall into sin. If you don’t want to fall, stay away from slippery places.

By the way, did you ever notice that when you fall off your feet, you often have a difficult time getting back up on your own. It is the same when you fall into sin. Don’t be too prideful to call out to someone and ask them for help.


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Time Is Running Out

redeeming-the-time

Today’s Reading – Psalms 69 – 72 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 13 – 16; Psalms 141 – 145; Proverbs 29)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0629 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a another post from this morning’s reading passage – “Who Are You Magnifying?”

“Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” – (Psalm 71:18)

A few years ago, the verse referenced above would have meant little to me. I would have probably glance right over it, quickly, without giving it much thought. However, the older I get, the more I realize that there is still a great deal more that I would like to see accomplished through the ministry the Lord has entrusted me with; yet I am quickly running out of both the time and energy that I need to do it. You may think based upon what you’ve just read that I am in my 70′s. Though I feel that old at times, I am only 47; but I am becoming more and more aware of the fact that my time on this earth is very limited.

I want my life to count for something. I want to be used of God to help “shew” my generation the strength and power of God. I need to get busy, and I need to become more proficient at what I am doing so as to make the best use of the time that I have left. I am not all that pleased with what has been accomplished so far in the twenty-two years that I have been saved; or even in the ten years that I have been a pastor. I know that God could have helped a lot more people through a more yielded vessel. But, He is not through with me yet. This morning, I have made a choice to not dwell in the failures (or even the successes) of the past, but instead look to the future. God has given me life today; and today I can give that life back to Him, for His use, and for His glory. So can you. What are you living your life for? What are you accomplishing today that will be used of God to make a difference in eternity. The Psalmist prayer was to remain here on the earth until he was able to fulfil his ministry of telling everybody about God. That’s a great request, and it should be the prayer and goal of each of us who are saved today. Time is running out; your appointment with death is approaching.

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – (Ephesians 5:16)

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” – (Hebrews 9:27)

 


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Make His Praise Glorious

glory-of-god-pic

Today’s Reading – Psalms 65 – 68 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 10 – 12; Psalms 136 – 140; Proverbs 28)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the  “0628 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read an earlier post from this passage – “What Are You Thinking About?”

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” – (Psalm 66:1-2)

Our God is an awesome, and wonderful, and great, and powerful God. The English language really does not contain enough adjectives to describe how glorious our God is. Yet, we who have been saved through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ are encouraged to learn about the greatness of God from His Word, and then communicate our appreciation and admiration to Him first, and then to the people around us. In order to do this, we must first study God. One of the reasons why many Christians hava a tough time praising Him is because they don’t know Him; and there are others who are praising Him, but not according to knowledge. We are commanded to study God through the Scriptures. If the God you serve seems vague or small to you, it is because you do not know Him very well. Open the Bible and read about His awesome power, as well as His infinite wisdom, and loving compassion. He is wonderful. Get to know Him.

Once we know some things about God, we are to sing about Him. These Psalms were all originally songs, and many of them are songs of praise. I sometimes get a kick out of watching the song service at our church. I often see people going through the motions, thoughtlessly and half-heartedly mouthing the words of the hymns. Every once in a while I have to shake myself, and remember what I am singing, and to whom I am doing it. Singing is a form of praise and worship. When we sing the songs of God, we are worshipping Him, and praising Him. If there is one part of our church service that I have really been trying to work on, it is the song service.

Notice also Psalm 66:3:

“Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.”

Finally, we are to speak our praise to God, and for God continuously. The Scripture says that the redeemed of the Lord are supposed to “say so” (Psam 107:2). We have an awful lot to be thankful for; and an awful lot to praise Him for. My preacher in Texas used to say, “if you’re not going to Hell, you ain’t got no problems; and you ought to be shouting.” He is right. I once heard Pastor Charlie Clark say, “Open your big, fat mouth, and praise God.” Perhaps if we started praising the Lord as we ought to, more people would be attracted to our God. Just a thought.


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God Is A Refuge For Us – The Saturday Morning Post

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 58 – 64 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 7 – 9; Psalms 131 – 135; Proverbs 27)

Read the “0627 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David. Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved. How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence. They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah. My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” (Psalm 62:1-8)

Good morning. Have you ever noticed that most people are basically ROTTEN!? It seems like it is getting harder and harder to trust others these days. In Psalm 62, David cries out, “How long will ye imagine mischief against a man?” Jesus said in John chapter 13, and verses 34 and 35…

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)

I’ve heard it said that living here on earth is as close to hell as a Christian will get, and likewise, this is as close to heaven as a lost person will get. Should we, as Christians show more love for others, or make Heaven and Hell look just about the same to a lost and dying world? When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied…

“…The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

Have you been hurt? Go to God first.

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” (Psalm 62:5-8)

Have you hurt someone? It would be best if you went to that person to get things right before God hears their weeping and has to correct your hardheartedness. We could have a little more heaven on earth. David wrote…

“A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Psalm 133)

Peace. (Galatians 5:14)


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Betrayed By A Friend

friend-betrayed

Today’s Reading – Psalms 51 – 57 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 4 – 6; Psalms 126 – 130; Proverbs 26)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “0626 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” (Psalms 55:12-14)

It is not clear exactly what the context is surrounding Psalm 55. Some have claimed that David was referring to Saul; others have suggested that it was his son, Absalom; and still others believe that it could have been Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15) who was David’s counsellor but had turned against him. A man as great as David was, no doubt, had a lot of friends, along with a lot of enemies; and I am sure that he had several friends (and even family members) that turned on him. Nothing is quite as painful as the betrayal of a friend. It hurts deeply. You expect your enemies to treat you badly, but when a friend turns on you, it often takes you completely by surprise.

What can you do today when you are betrayed by a friend:

Pray –  This whole Psalm is really a prayer from David regarding the situation. He gave the problem to the Lord. Resist the temptation to talk to people about the betrayers, and instead talk to the Lord. It is OK to “gossip” to the Lord.

“As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalms 55:16-17)

By the way, don’t just pray for the Lord to punish your enemy; pray that God will restore your friendship. Jesus commands us to love our enemies, which includes those enemies who used to be our friends. Pray also for God to show you where you might have failed as a friend yourself. It is very interesting that the person that betrays us often feels justified in their betrayal, and perhaps sometimes they are; not that their betrayal was necessarily right, but perhaps there may have been some underlying reasons, or hurt feelings that may have motivated the betrayal.

Love – You can continue to love and “do good to them which hate you”. This is certainly not easy, but it is the best way to demonstrate the love and grace of our Lord. He loves us, even though we fail Him continually, and even betray Him at times. We may never win back our friends, but we can make it easy for a restoration to take place. Continue to be a friend to those who no longer see you as a friend.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44)

I think we all have been on both sides of this equation. I have had people that in my view have betrayed me; but I am also sure that there are people out there that would say that I have betrayed them; and I suppose there is some truth to that. We don’t always get it right, do we? But, we can strive to make things right with the people who are at odds with us.


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You Can’t Take It With You

U-haul behind hearse

Today’s Reading – Psalms 46 – 50 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 1 – 3; Psalms 121 – 125; Proverbs 25)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32 

Read the “0625 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.” – (Psalm 49:17)

You have heard it said that you will never see a U-haul behind a hearse, except, of course, in comical pictures like the one above. The bottom line from Psalm 49 is, however, that your accumulated wealth and status in this life will do you no good in eternity, unless your life and wealth have been invested in the cause of Christ, and in the lives of others. This Psalm admonishes us to not envy the lifestyles of the rich and famous among us. First of all, we don’t see the whole picture. While they may seem to be enjoying life on the surface, we know that lives that are lived outside of the will of God are not really happy on the inside. There is a lack of inner peace, and a void that cannot be filled with the things that this world offers.

I want to be clear to point out, however, that wealth or possessions are not evil in themselves. God blesses His children with some of the non-sinful pleasures in this life. The key, however, is found in v. 20:

“Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.” – (Psalm 49:20)

Notice that only the man that understandeth not is like the beasts that perish. Honor and wealth, and possessions, etc. are wonderful gifts given by the Lord to the person that “understands” Him, and His will. So, go ahead and enjoy the possessions that this life contains, but do not let them possess you; and remember to thank the Lord who gave them to you.


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God Wants To Hear You Sing

girl_singing

Today’s Reading – Psalms 40 – 45 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 John, 3 John, Jude; Psalms 116 – 120; Proverbs 24)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the  “0624 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this morning’s reading – “Thirsty?”

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” (Psalms 40:1-3)

“Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” (Psalms 100:2)

“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.” (Psalms 126:2)

Christians ought to be a singing people. We are really the only people on this planet that have a reason to sing. David, the writer of Psalm 40 lists the reasons for his song in vs. 1 – 3. He tells us, first of all,  that the Lord inclined unto him, and heard his cry. The word, “incline”, has the idea of bowing down. David was saying that God bowed down, or leaned over, to hear David’s cry. I do not know the reason that David was crying, though I do know that in his lifetime there were many events that would have brought him to tears. This world has a way of beating you down, but isn’t it a great joy to know that God can “incline” to us, give us his full attention, and hear our cries.

God didn’t just listen to David’s problem, however; He fixed it. Notice v. 2 again:

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Psalms 40:2)

In the context of this psalm, I believe David was probably referring to one of the many earthly problems he faced. Perhaps, it was when God delivered him from the hands of Saul. We can’t be sure. However, I believe that we can apply the principles of this psalm on a deeper level. When the Lord saved me, He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, and he secured my salvation on the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ; and now He has given me a new direction in life, a new purpose. I get to live for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He established my goings within His perfect will for my life.

Because of all of this, I, like David, have a reason to sing. If you are saved, so do you. God wants to hear us sing. He tells in Psalm 100 that we are to enter into His presence with singing, and we are supposed to be in His presence all of the time, which means that we should be singing all of the time. So go ahead: let loose with a few verses of “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” David tells us that when this world hears us sing, many of them will “see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” Isn’t it interesting that it says here that people will be drawn to God through our singing. I believe that we should preach the Word, and live the Word; but if I am going to really be effective as a soul winner, I will also have to learn to sing the praises of God.


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Nuggets of Gold

Nuggets of Gold

Today’s Reading – Psalms 36 – 39 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 John 1 – 5; Psalms 111 – 115; Proverbs 23)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0623 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” – (Psalm 37:4)

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” – (Psalm 37:23)

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” – (Psalm 37:25)

Have you ever noticed that Psalm 37 contains many wonderful verses that we often quote. I have listed three of them above, but really I could have added more. This Psalm almost reminds me of a chapter from the Book of Proverbs, but the theme seems to be the same throughout the Psalm. The bottom line to this Psalm is that God is encouraging us to trust in His promises and provisions; and to not worry about the apparent prosperity of the lost world around us. Their success and superiority is short-lived at best; but ours is eternal.

Let’s consider the three verses listed above. David says that a good man will “order” his steps according to the direction of the Lord. This means tha a good man will yield himself to the will of the Lord. Notice that both verse 4 and 23 say that this good man will “delight” in God. God then in turn not only provides the necessities mentioned in v 25, but also will grant his desires. What a wonderful and awesome God we serve. What does this world have to offer you that could possibly compare to what God wants to give to that “good” man (or woman) who delights in Him.


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Forgiven

Forgiven

Today’s Reading – Psalms 32 – 35(Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Peter 1 – 3; Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read the “0622 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1

The Book of Hebrews admonishes us to grow up in our faith and move beyond the foundational truths of the Christian life. That’s good advice: we cannot stay babies forever. However, it is wonderful to be reminded often about the simple truths of the forgiveness that God offers to all those who are willing to put their faith in Him. In this passage, there is a reminder to all of us who are saved. The verse above simply reminds us of the fact those who have their sins forgiven are a blessed people. To think that an omniscient God, who knows every sinful act of my past as well as every evil thought, would be willing to forgive me, and even look at me and treat as if I had never done or thought any of those horrible things.

It gets even better. Notice verse 2:

“Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” (Psalm 32:2)

It is one thing to choose to forgive the acts of the past; but to also forgive ahead of time all of our future transgressions is beyond comprehension. God loves us unconditionally. He says he will not “impute” our sin. The word impute means to assign to or credit to. God says that he will not assign or credit our debts or sins to our account. Why? Because 2000 years ago he laid all of the debt of my sin upon the His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus paid my sin debt for me. What a wonderful thought. Notice h
ow that happened to David:

“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)

He acknowledged his sin. He did not deny them or hide them. He then confessed them to God and asked the Lord for forgiveness. God could only forgive him because the debt would be paid by Christ. Have you confessed your sin to God, and asked Him for forgiveness? Have you come to the foot of the cross and called upon the name of the Lord for salvation. If you haven’t done so yet, please call upon Him today.

To those of us who have received the forgiveness of God through the remission of our sins, how are we at forgiving each other? God has forgiven everything that I have ever done or will do. What right do I have to withhold forgiveness from others? Just a thought.


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Joy Cometh in the Morning

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Today’s Reading – Psalm 26 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Peter 1 – 5; Psalms 101 – 105; Proverbs 21)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0621 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” – (Psalm 30:5)

This is a tremendous, encouraging truth from the Word of God. Sometimes living and serving on this earth can be very trying. There are going to be days, and even seasons, where we experience hardships, pain, and suffering; but, praise God, He always brings us to the other side of the trials to the place where we can see the glorious sun of God’s love rising over the dark horizon.

As I read this verse this morning, I thought of the Stahl family. Ted and Camille have had a pretty rough go of it for the past few years. They dealt for years with the debilitating arthritis of their daughter, Melissa, which involved many surgeries.  Later, their daughter developed cancer, and after a long battle with more surgeries and painful treatments, she finally went home to be with the Lord. It was certainly a dark time for this godly, faithful, serving family. After Melissa’s death, Camille had a heart attack, which would necessitate surgeries for her. In the midst of it all, Brother Ted was struggling to take care of his family due to problems related to his job. Through it all, they remained true to their God: they stayed faithful. It did not seem like this long night of weeping would ever end, but God has brought them to the place where they could once again experience the joy of living and serving Him.

Ted and Camille Stahl are not the only ones that will go through the fiery trials of this life.Our family also went through a very dark valley last year, and there were times when we thought it would never end. But, God has brought us through to the other side of the trial, and we are now enjoying life more than ever. The truth is that we will all experience the rough times, the dark valleys; but it is good to know that God will be with us every step of the way, even though at times we cannot perceive His presence. It is also very comforting to understand, that every dark tunnel that we may experience in this life has a light at the end of it; and when this life is all over, we have the bliss and splender of Heaven waiting for us.

Are you in a dark valley right now? Take heart. Stay faithful. Joy does come in the morning.


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Saved! – The Saturday Morning Post

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 21 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – James 1 – 5; Psalms 96 – 100; Proverbs 20)

Read the “0620 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalm 23:1-6)

Good morning. Reading through the 23rd Psalm, I sometimes think about other verses that go along with. If you are saved, the Holy Spirit may bring things to mind about this Psalm. Let me just share with you what the 23rd Psalm means to me…

The LORD is my shepherd…

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:11-16)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want…

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul…

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

…he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

“For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” (Proverbs 3:12)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)

…thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)

…and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:37-40)

Ain’t God good to give us so many blessings? Undeserving, that’s what we are. We aught to thank Him, love and praise Him; a little more today, and a whole lot more tomorrow!

Peace! (Isaiah 45:21)


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My Thoughts and Words

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 17 – 20 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 9 – 13; Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0619 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

I love the Word of God. I thoroughly enjoyed the Book of Job; but I am also having a wonderful time each morning in the Psalms. As I read this morning, I was captured by the beauty of Psalm 19. Verses 1-6 are expressions of David’s worship of God. Verses 7 – 11 are remarks that lift up the Word of God, and the reader is admonished to place a higher value on the Word of God than gold. Great Advice!

However, the verses that really caught my attention were verses 12 – 14 where David prays to God regarding God’s help in keeping him from sin. In verses 12 and 13, he speaks of secret sins and presumptuous sins. The presumptuous sins are those that we do blatantly, proudly, and in public view. David begs God’s help in the removal of these things.

Verse 14 is the prayer that all of us should have on our lips and in our hearts the moment that we awake from sleep. How often do we violate our relationship with God by allowing evil thoughts to take hold of our meditations. we muse on things that are clearly outside of the will of God. Ask God to control your thought life. The minute the devil causes you to think about something that is wrong, take it to God. Ask Him to help you. Purposely divert your thoughts to things that are true, honest, just, and pure, etc. Our sin begins with the musings of our heart.

Notice also the petition regarding his words. Oh how I wish that I could take back some of my words. The tongue can be a consuming fire, a deadly poison. Why not ask God to help you get your tongue under control.

I wonder how many mistakes we could have avoided in the past had we made this our prayer? We don’t have to make the same mistake in the future. Let God control your thought life and your tongue!


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Does God See?

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 9 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 5 – 8; Psalms 86 – 90; Proverbs 18)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “0618 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.” – (Psalm 10:11)”

“The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” – (Psalm 11:4)

“For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.” – (Psalm 11:7)

“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” – (Proverbs 5:21)

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” – (Proverbs 15:3)

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” – (1 Peter 3:12)

The simple answer is yes – He sees. I believe the Scriptures referenced above make that clear, and there are many other verses we could include. Yet, little man thinks that somehow his actions and his thoughts are hidden from the eyes of God, but He sees it all. There is both a negative and a positive side to this principle. The negative, of course, is that God is aware of every evil thought that we contemplate, and every sinful thing that we do. The positive side, however, is that God also sees all of the things that we have done for His glory. Whether any man ever sees it or not is not important. We know that God knows, and we also understand that God will reward us for all that we do for Him. Just a thought.

 


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A Recipe for Success

FruitTree1

Today’s Reading – Psalms 1 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Philemon – Hebrews 4; Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the  “0617 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage –Kiss the Son

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” – (Psalm 1:1-6)

The recipe for success in God’s economy is simple and sure. God says that we are to separate ourselves from the philosophies of this world, and immerse our lives in the principles of the Word of God. It’s that simple. Notice that this psalm teaches that if we will do these things we will be fruitful and prosperous. This is a guaranteed promise from God.

Why is it that Christians do not follow this simple recipe from the Word of God? I think that there are many reasons for this, but the one that stands out above the rest seems to be that we really do not fully believe the promise. Our sight of the substance of this world overpowers our faith in the things that are not seen. Another reason that comes to mind is that because the blessings that come as a result of our faithfulness to God and His word often only come after a time of testing, Christians often throw in the towel and follow their own instincts. But whatever the reasons may be, the fact remains that most of us never arrive at the place where we experience the level of prosperity that God promises.

Christian, let me encourage you to meditate, and even memorize this wonderful psalm. Let it be absorbed into your soul. Even more importantly, however, you should put this portion of Scripture into practice in your life. Fall in love with the Word of God, and follow its principles. Don’t be enamored with all the glitz that this world may offer you. Choose to live for the things that really matter.


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I’d Better Keep My Mouth Shut

remain-silent

Today’s Reading – Job 39 – 42 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Titus 1 – 3; Psalms 76 – 80; Proverbs 16)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read the “0616 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.” (Job 40:4)

“Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.” (Job 42:3)

Have you ever made the statement, “I’d better keep my mouth shut”? Have you ever told your child the same thing? We can really get ourselves in trouble with our mouths, can’t we? Sometimes it’s better not to say anything. I remember when I was a brand new Christian. I was having a discussion with Pastor Thompson about reaching the people around me for the Lord. He said something that I never forgot: he said that if you don’t have an answer to their questions, or even their arguments, tell them that you don’t know the answer. His exact words were, “Don’t snow them”. What he meant was that we shouldn’t try to offer something on behalf of God that isn’t what God said. We shouldn’t offer what we feel or think about God; but only tell people what we know to be true. These friends of Job (and Job himself) were doing a lot of talking about God: each offering their own opinion about the situation; but how much of what they said was actually true.

The Bible says that we are God’s ambassadors. We represent God to this world around us. We speak on his behalf. Shouldn’t we be very careful about what we say? I wonder what God will have to say about me someday, especially the things that I have taught others about Him. Preachers and teachers have an awesome responsibility. Therefore we need to make sure that we are daily spending time with God in His word so that we can know how He thinks; and know what He teaches about any given subject. And then when we are given the opportunity to speak on His behalf, whenever possible, we should tell people what God actually said, instead of what our opinion is. As God’s ambassadors we have no right to represent ourselves, or present ourselves, or try to make ourselves look good in the eyes of the people. We need to make God look good; and we need to give people the actual Words of God.

In God’s rebuke of Job, He said, “will thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous”? What God was saying was that Job said things to justify himself; to make himself look good. How often do I do that. I am so afraid of the opinion of men that I have often condemned others in order to elevate myself. Shame on me! and shame on all of us. The Bible is very plain in its teaching that we don’t have to say too much, and that it is wise to hold our peace at times; and then when we do speak, we should be very careful about what we say.

 


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Gird Up Thy Loins Like A Man

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Today’s Reading – Job 36 – 38 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 2 Timothy 1 – 4; Psalms 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0615 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.” – (Job 38:3)

It is now God’s turn to speak. God hasn’t said anything in this book since His earlier conversation with Satan; and the humans in the story were not privy to that conversation. All of this talk that has been going on since chapter 2 has been by people who really had no idea of the true circumstances regarding the calamity that Job was facing. They were clueless. Job’s friends were accusing Job, and Job was defending himself. They were all speaking on behalf of God; yet much of what they said was not true. However, now we will hear from the Source. God is speaking, and we know that everything that God says is true. By the way, you get the idea from the tone of this passage that God is not very happy about all that has been said. It kind of reminds me of a time when I was much younger and I was rebuked by an authority figure in my life. He had some things to say to me, and I was going to listen. God will take 4 chapters to basically remind Job and his friends that He is God, and they are merely humans.

As we read chapters 39 – 42 together tomorrow, pay close attention to God describing Himself, and His magnificent, omnipotent power. Between now and then, however, think a little bit of how much we are like Job and His friends. We are just little humans, trying to understand an infinite God. Let’s start thinking of ourselves as we really are. We are not much. We are pretty small and insignificant in the big scheme of things. And while we are at it, let us also start trusting God’s wisdom in allowing the things that have happened to us in our lives.

 


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Multiplying Words

talking_too_much2

Today’s Reading – Job 33 – 35 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 1 Timothy 4 – 6; Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the  “0614 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “That Which I See Not

“Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.” – (Job 35:16)

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” – (Proverbs 26:4)

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” – (James 1:19)

“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” – (Proverbs 17:28 )

There is entirely too much talking going on in this entire Book of Job. Job’s so-called friends should be listening to Job rather than rebuking him. He certainly has suffered enough. Even Job is talking too much by arguing with these idiots. They are all “experts” on God; yet there is much that they do not, and cannot understand.

We do the same thing, don’t we? We talk about things, and try to sound like we have complete knowledge on a subject; but half the time we really do not know what we are talking about, especially when it comes to talking about God. The best thing that we can do is quote Scripture if we have to talk at all. The older I get, the more I realize that I really do not know much. I should keep my mouth open proportionately to the amount of knowledge that I have, which means it should not be open much.


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Kindling: Shallow Cuts Cut Deep Too – The Saturday Morning Post

tinder-shavings-ropeToday’s Reading – Job 30 – 32 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 1 Timothy 1 – 3; Psalms 61 – 65; Proverbs 13)

Read the “0613 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain; If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended. So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.” (Job 31:38-32:3)

Good morning. The words of Job ended in chapter 31. For twenty-nine chapters Job had to listen to his friends tell him that somewhere along the line, he sinned. And Job’s friends had to listen to Job tell them it was not sin that caused his current condition. Then Elihu, a fourth friend, adds kindling to his wrath. Why? He was mad at Job because Job justified himself and not God. And he was mad at Job’s three friends because they could not find an answer, but condemned Job anyway. Ephesians 4:26 tells us to be ye angry, and sin not. And I did not see the name of Elihu mentioned in Job chapter 42 and verse 7…

“And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.” (Job 42:7-9)

Rather than sit around and discuss the problem in deep theological thought, Job’s friends should have helped him. The Bible says in James chapter 3…

“Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” (James 3:3-10)

The tongue can be a powerful tool for both good and evil. The tongue can sooth and uplift a person, or it can gossip and destroy a person. The tongue does a good job at kindling a fire. It does no good to talk about people who talk about you. You need to go to that person and get things right. Jesus said…

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

If we are to do this for our enemies, shouldn’t we do the same for our brothers and sisters in Christ? Continuing in Job chapter 42, verse 10…

And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days.” (Job 42:10-17)

To quote a well know celebrity, “Remember, only you can prevent forest fires!”

Stop adding kindling to the fire.

Peace! (John13:34-35)


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Where Shall Wisdom Be Found

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Today’s Reading – Job 27 – 29 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 2 Thessalonians 1 – 3; Psalms 56 – 60; Proverbs 12)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “0612 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:12)

“And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28)

In today’s reading we have seen a continuation of what we have been reading for the past several days. Job is debating with his three friends regarding his calamity: they are claiming that Job is responsible; and Job is declaring his innocence. However, in the middle of this discussion is a passage dealing with wisdom. At first glance i wondered why God would put this teaching right in the middle of the discourse between Job and his friends regarding Job’s suffering; but then I remembered a similar teaching from the New Testament regarding trials and testing from the epistle penned by James. Remember that James admonished us to “count it all joy” in the trials; but then he added some instruction regarding wisdom:

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)

Apparently there is an association between enduring trials and wisdom. God doesn’t hold back wisdom to those who fear him and depart from evil. Job had the wisdom of God. We know this to be true because later on when God enters into the discussion He states that Job spoke of Him the thing that is right.

If you are going through a time of testing, don’t seek the world and its counselors for wisdom: go to God. If you fear Him and are seeking to do that which is right, God will give you the wisdom that you need to see your way through the trial. In order for you to get to the other side you will need God’s wisdom, coupled with God’s grace. It is apparent that Job had both of these attributes.

You can find wisdom in God’s Word. The Bible is full of the wisdom of God that will help you when you need it. You can also find wisdom from godly counselors who will take Biblical principles and help you to apply them to your situation.


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Gold

Gold

Today’s Reading – Job 22 – 26 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 1 Thessalonians 1 – 5; Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3

Read the “0611 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” – (Job 23:10)

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” – (1 Peter 1:6-7)

There are several great, golden nuggets of truth in the Book of Job, and many of them are in today’s passage. I thought this morning about the statement made by Job in chapter 23, and verse 10. Job is going through the worst trial in his life. I think it would be safe to say that no other man in history was put to the test like Job. Many people have suffered the loss of health, and many others have endured the death of a child, and still more have gone through tough financial situations; but who can say that they have had to face the loss of everything they owned, and all of the children they loved, and then had to suffer through perhaps the most painful health condition known to man, all within the same time frame. Job could certainly stand alongside any man on earth, and win the “pity party” comparison. Yet, Job knew that when it was all over,that God would bring him through to the other side of the trial; and he also knew that the trial would make him a better man.

All men will endure the hardships of trials, but to experience suffering for no apparent reason can be especially difficult. Job did nothing to deserve the treatment that he was receiving at the hand of Satan, but God would use Job’s suffering to accomplish a few wonderful things. First, He would prove to Satan that there are some men who will retain their integrity, even under the most difficult of circumstances. Second, though Job was a good man, even a great man when compared among men, this trial would make him a still better man. I believe Job had a better understanding of the greatness of his Creator, and also a better grasp of his own frail humanity as a result of this ordeal. But, perhaps the greatest thing that God would reveal to us through Job’s trial, is that we can trust God. He won’t allow us to go through something that is greater than our ability to glorify Him through. He loves us. He doesn’t punish, but He does correct us at times through the trials and sufferings of life. Sometimes the trials are a direct result of sin, but they are often just God’s way of bringing us to the next level of faith. And if we will allow God to have His way in our lives, we too can come forth as gold; better servants, and better sons: more equipped to represent Him as the ambassadors of His glorious gospel.


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The Words of My Mouth

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Today’s Reading – Job 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Colossians 1 – 4; Psalms 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17

Read the “0610 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Then Job answered and said, How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? (Job 19:1 & 2)

You didn’t have to read long this morning to find a great truth from today’s passage. Job is in the middle of the discourse with his three ‘friends’ who are accusing him of all kinds of wickedness; adding sorrow on top of sorrows. He is already as low as he can go, but these guys continue to beat him and kick him when he is down; and their weapons are their tongues.

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. … But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:6, 8 )

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

The Bible has so much to say about the deadly nature of the tongue. Why are we so quick to run our mouths when God tells us very plainly that we are to be slow to speak. We all could avoid much of our problems with our mouth by simply not saying anything unless it is absolutely necessary, or unless we are sure we are saying something that is edifying. If we have to speak at all maybe it would be best if we paused and prayed about what would be the best thing to say.

Job’s friends were not helping him at all; they were making him worse. Remember, the purpose for their visit was to ‘comfort’ him. Maybe they should have just listened to him; even let him vent a little. Maybe, I should try the same thing. As a pastor I need to learn to listen more; pray before speaking; and, as much as possible, tell people what God said instead of what I think.

Lord, help me not to kill or maim any more people with my tongue.


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Thoughts About Job from Phil Erickson Jr.

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Today’s Reading – Job 15 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Philippians 1 – 4; Psalms 41 – 45; Proverbs 9)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read the “0609 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.” (Job 16:2)

The story of Job in the Bible has always fascinated me. I have always loved hearing messages preached about his life. For those of you who attend our church, the “Hast thou retained thine integrity?” message is one of the all-time greats. To think that a man could go from being ”the greatest of all the men of the east” as the Bible calls him, to having nothing in just a matter of hours, and still praise God through all of it just boggles my mind. I have often wondered what it was that made Job such a “perfect and upright” man. Was it the fact that he gave his tithes and offerings faithfully? Maybe. Was it the fact that he cared so much about his family and their spiritual condition? Could be. Or maybe did God just like him better than anyone else at the time? God is not a respecter of persons, but who knows? Maybe He did favor him. He obviously blessed him with a lot. But as I read these few chapters a thought jumped out at me. Job is right smack in the middle of the absolute worst time in his life, and here come his ”friends.” They go on and on about why they think this is all happening to Job. And right in the middle of it, I noticed verses 19-20 of chapter 16. And, I may be wrong, but I think these couple verses may be the secret to Job’s “success” as a man of God. The verses say – “And now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high. My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.” Job cared about what God thought, and ONLY about what God thought. He said ‘my witness is in heaven’ , and ‘ my record is on high.’ He knew that God knew everything that was going on. He knew that God knew his heart and his intentions with everything he did in his life. He knew that God knew that his tithes and offerings, his service to God, and his love for his family was out of his love and devotion to God. It had nothing to do with ANYONE else. So, when the chips were down, and everything went down the drain, he didn’t go running to his friends or anyone else. He went to God. He brought his tears to God. He knew that when things were good, it was God. When things were bad, it was God. And he praised God through it all.

As Christians we need to see that everything that happens to us, good or bad, comes from the Lord. He loves us more than we can ever know. He has a plan for our lives, and we need to trust Him and Him alone. When the chips are down, our friends won’t always be there. Sometimes even our family won’t be there. But God is always there. He never turns His back on us…who are we to turn our backs on Him?


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We Will Trust in Him

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Today’s Reading –Job 12 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Ephesians 4 – 6; Psalms 36 – 40Proverbs 8)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0608 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read another post from this passage – “Wisdom

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15)

In this statement we see Job’s declaration of faith in God. Though Job certainly has not figured out why God has allowed all of this tragedy to come into his life, he plainly declares here that no matter what God does to him (or allows to be done to him), he will continue to trust Him. When you and I read this book of the Bible it is easy for us, from the perspective of history, to identify with what Job has stated here. But think for a minute with me. If it were you or me going through what Job went through, how would we be feeling about God? If God were to allow us to lose everything all at once; and then to have excruciating physical pain be placed on top of it all, how would we react? Could we say, truthfully, “yet will I trust in Him”?

A few years back, I watched a movie/documentary called Amish Grace about the Nickle Mines tragedy in Lancaster, PA. The movie recounts the true story of a troubled man who went into an Amish school house, shooting 10 little girls and killing 5 of them. The amazing thing is that the Amish people chose to trust God’s wisdom in allowing what happened. Though it was very painful; though it took a little time for all of them to come to this decision: they chose to forgive the man that shot their children. This was certainly a modern day picture of what Job went through. These Amish folks did not understand why God had allowed it to happened, yet they continued to keep their trust in the Lord.

Most of the time I feel that my faith is so weak, I doubt whether it could stand up to such intense suffering. I guess it will have to be the grace of God that will sustain me through the dark days that seem to find their way into every believers life at one point or another. I know that difficult days lie ahead for me as well. I want to be prepared for them by getting so close to God that it will be easier to trust Him when it doesn’t seem like He is even there.

I also wanted to make a comment about the second half of verse 15. Job says that he will maintain [his] ways before him (God). I believe what Job was saying here is that though he was being severely tested by the Lord, he was still going to continue to do what he had always done. In other words, he wasn’t going to quit. He was going to keep on living for the Lord through the difficult trial. I know that when we are going through trials in life it can be very difficult to “maintain” your walk with the Lord; but it is especially important to stay close to God during the tough times. Don’t quit.


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The Daysman

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Today’s Reading –  Job 8 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Ephesians 1 – 3; Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1

Read the “0607 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.” – (Job 9:32-33)

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” – (1 Timothy 2:5)

The word “daysman” in verse 33 of chapter 9 literally means a mediator. Job is lamenting because there is no one to bridge the gap between the righteous and holy God, and a sinner like himself. He already stated in verse 20 that he could not justify himself. God became man in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as the God-man he came to justify sinners like Job, and you and me also. He was the go-between, the mediator, the one who came between God and men, so that men could come into the presence of an holy God.

Consider some of these verses regarding what Christ accomplished for us when He came to earth as a man and died for our sins:

“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” – (Matthew 27:50-51)

The veil in the temple separated men from God; but through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus, the veil was removed. Notice that the veil was torn from the top to the bottom, signifying that it was God that removed the veil that once kept man from Him.

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Jesus was, and is, fully God, yet also fully man. He understands what it is like to be tempted, because he experienced it; yet without sin. He, as our great high priest, went before us and opened up a door for us to now boldly enter into the presence of God. We can now enter into God’s presence through “the Door”; through “the Way”; through Christ.

There has always been a “daysman”, even in Job’s time; but Job may not have understood it at the time. Praise God, however, we definitely have one that we can know today!


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Living The Christian Life – The Saturday Morning Post

hammock2_flickr_ashleyr.good-carouselToday’s Reading – Job 5 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Galatians 4 – 6; Psalms 26 – 30; Proverbs 6)

Read the “0606 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Chastening of the Lord

“Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!” (Job 6:8-9)

“I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.” (Job7:20-21)

Good morning. It seems like Job’s friends while trying to lift him up brought him down. Maybe there are times we don’t know what to say. If we do say something at those times, it will probably cause more hurt than healing. Galatians chapter 6 has a few guidelines we can glean from it…

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)

Whether it be by sin or not sin, when we try to restore someone, or lift him back up, do it in the spirit of meekness. Don’t kick a man when he’s down: you are just one small step away from being in the same predicament.

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Job lost everything he had: his family, his livestock, his health. All he had left was his wife who told him to curse God and die. And, of course, his friends. In the spirit of meekness, his friends should have brought him some of their livestock, lent him servants to replant his fields, applied some medication to his sores. Depending on the situation, there many ways to help in the spirit of meekness. Can you pray?

“Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” (Galatians 6:6)

If we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, He will lead us in the right things to say, and the right things to do…

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:7-10)

Peace. (Matthew 22:36-40)


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The Road May Be Long

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Today’s Reading – Job 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Galatians 1 – 3; Psalms 21 – 25; Proverbs 5)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read the “0605 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” – (Job 2:13 )

I have read these first four chapters from Job many times, and I have preached several messages from them; but I noticed something new today that I thought was worth developing, but first, let me review the story. In chapter one Job lost all of his children, and nearly everything that he possessed; yet his response was worship for God (see vv 20 – 22). In chapter two, Satan is permitted to destroy Job’s health. I do not know much about what Job experienced, but I would imagine that Satan chose the most painful malady possible in order to make him break. Yet, Job maintained his integrity, even when his wife turned against him. By the way, I used to beat up Job’s wife for her weakness, but now I have some compassion for her. After all, she did lose all of her children and possessions also. This must have been a very difficult time for her as well. Then Job’s friends arrive. Again, I used to be pretty rough on Job’s friends, but they stayed with him for seven days without saying a word. I believe they truly wanted to help him.

It is not until we get to chapter three that we see Job begin to break down. He begins to complain that he wished that he had never been born at all. Satan couldn’t get him to break with the loss of his children and possessions; and he couldn’t get him to yield initially when Job lost his health. However, after enough time went by, Job began to crack. Time was the element used by Satan to wear Job away. Then, once he began to break, Job’s friends also piled up on him. They shouldn’t have said anything, but I think, like most well-meaning people, they didn’t have a clue.

I have seen this happen in people’s lives today. When tragedy comes their way, oftentimes their first reaction is positive, but after a little time, bitterness begins to set in, and soon their faith begins to wane. Had Job’s trial ended the day after it started, he would have been fine, but time took its toll and slowly caused him to lose all hope.

I don’t know exactly what can be done in order to keep encouraged during trials like this, but I think that understanding that trials are seldom short-term can be a help in itself. In other words, we need to realize that when we go into the valley, we need to be prepared to be there for quite a while. I have experienced long seasons in the valley, and I am sure there will be some more of them in my future. I need to understand that God may not be finished working in, and or, through me. I need to just trust Him. He can do what ever He wants. I need to remember that He knows what He is doing, even if I cannot see it. God may never remove a trial, but that is His decision. We need to be prepared to endure until the Lord removes the trial, or takes us home. It may be a very long road.


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