Mountaintop or Valley

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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)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

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

Read a previous post from today’s reading – “Are You Teachable?

“Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.” (Psalm 21:2)

“O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.” (Psalm 22:2)

Isn’t it interesting the difference between Psalm 21 and Psalm 22. Many of these Psalms are just praises and prayers to God right out of the heart of David. In Psalm 21 everything is great. David is praising the Lord for all of the wonderful things that God has done for him. In Psalm 21 it appears that everything is going great in David’s life.

Now when we get to Psalm 22, it seems like the bottom has fallen out of David’s life. Notice in verse 2, he accuses God of not hearing him. That’s funny because in the first Psalm he said that God gave him the desires of his heart. What happened? Is there some kind of a contradiction here? No. It is just that David, like us, is viewing God through the eyes of his present circumstance. Apparently his circumstance in Psalm 22 was not as good as Psalm 21. Remember, these Psalms are expressions of the deep feeling coming straight out of David’s heart.

I find that my prayer and praise to God is much the same way. Like David, I too go through different seasons. At times, it feels like nothing is going wrong in life; but at other times it seems as if God is completely absent from my life and the devil is having a “free for all”. Do you ever feel that way? I guess maybe David was just as human as we are. I would like to some day get to the place where my praises to God are consistent regardless of the valley or the mountaintop I may be traveling through.


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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

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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

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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

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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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What Are You Looking At?

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Today’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)

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

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

“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1)

In our reading we have been following the conversation between Job and his friends. Job has been declaring his innocence: not that he claims sinlessness; but he does contend that his sins were open and confessed to God, and that he was not living a double life. His friends, however, are sure that Job must have some heinous secret sin in his life. In this chapter Job seems to be answering a charge regarding his fidelity. Perhaps the underlying accusation was that Job was an adulterer. Job’s answer in chapter 31 is that he had been faithful, not only in not touching that which is forbidden, but in not looking on another woman besides his wife.

In our culture the accepted instruction is, “you can look, but you just can’t touch”. The fact of the matter is that looking might just lead to touching. Job said that he made a covenant, a commitment to himself and his eyes not to think (let alone look) upon a maid. David said something similar when he said that he would set no wicked thing before his eyes.

Men, we need to do the same thing regarding the opposite sex. We need to determine to keep our eyes and our minds on that which is pleasing to the Lord. Turn off the TV if you have to; get rid of the internet if you must, but do what you have to do to keep yourself from sinning against your God and your wife. It is wise to know your limitations and put up some fences to protect yourself. A little accountability will go a long way. And ladies, your not exempt from this either. Your lusting may not be for the opposite sex per say, but I am sure you have your weak areas as well. Maybe with you the struggle involves seeing things at the mall that you can’t afford. We all need to make this same covenant that Job made to keep us from seeing and thinking about the things that we know are not part of God’s perfect will for our lives.


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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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