Let Your Suffering lead to Restoration

And the journey continues… into Job. Biblical scholars feel this book was written in the first or second century B.C. but the story contained within the book was probably much older and passed down orally before that time. The unknown author reveals a story with a unique beginning which records God speaking with Satan. The writer could not have known of this conversation unless it was revealed to him by God himself. The book begins with God asking Satan if he had considered his servant Job. Job was a righteous, blameless and upright man who feared and worshiped God. God allowed Satan to test Job’s faith by removing his physical wealth. When this did not cause Job to lose faith, Satan said it was because Job still had his health. God allowed Satan to touch his body removing his good health, but God told Satan that he could not take Job’s life. Job 2:6 This account of Job’s life reveals his true sufferings, the torment of his wife and friends as they told Job to curse God and die. In all this, Job does not waver and persists in faith. He clings to his faith in Almighty God. In the last chapters Job questions God and God responds that He alone is sovereign and a just judge. Job’s final words show what he learned about God through his suffering.

I particularly love Chapter 42 (the last chapter) when after questioning God, Job concludes Job answered God: “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
    Nothing and no one can upset your plans.

You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
    ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
    made small talk about wonders way over my head.
You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.
    Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
    now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!

I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
    I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” The Message Job 42:1-6

There are several important points in these last 6 verses. 1) Job was convinced that God is sovereign and in control of all things. He also now knows that nothing can upset, change or ruin God’s plans! 2) Job now has personal experience and knowledge of God Almighty. No one has to tell him about God- He knows first hand who God is and what He is about.

The book ends with restoration of Job’s wealth and a new family. I have personally experienced God’s restoration in my life. God does not bring us back what we’ve lost, but he restores our body, soul and mind so that we feel totally blessed and satisfied. God’s restoration is complete and fills the voids where we previously experienced loss. I believe it was this restoration that Job received from God.

If you need restoration today, humbly turn to God and acknowledge His sovereign justice, confess your attitude of pride and frustration as you yield to His will for your life. Ask God to fill and restore you in your heart, mind, body and soul. Ask God to reveal himself to you so you can experience Him and know He is real.

Linda

Amazing, God loves me that much!

Colossians 1:18-20 was about the reconciliation we have through Christ. Paul continues with this topic in Colossians 1:21-22 explaining in more detail the how’s and why’s of this amazing transformation that is available to us. “This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” Paul explains our state of being from birth. We are born sinners, separated from God by our sin-filled nature which we act out in words and deeds. It is our natural state of being because of the sin passed on to us from Adam and Eve and held captive in a world ruled by Satan. That may sound harsh but Christ called Satan the devil, the prince of this world and an angel of darkness.

Once we came to know Jesus and believe in His death and resurrection, we were brought into a relationship with God. Our sins were forgiven and we were clean and pure, holy, blameless and able to stand before God. God cannot tolerate sin and where sin is- God is not. However, He loves us and loved us even before we knew Him. Romans 5:8 is a precious verse that is hard to even fathom, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” God loved us and wanted to make a way for sinful man to be restored to relationship with Him. The entire Bible is God’s love story to mankind as He seeks to find the lost and redeem us. When you consider all of this truth, it is staggering. It is amazing that God loved me so much that He was willing to send Jesus to suffer and die for me. God wanted me that much. How can I not be thankful that He loves, cares, and wants me to spend eternity with Him.

Ponder this amazing truth today! Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am redeemed and reconciled to Almighty God so I have His hope-filled love for eternity. Thank you Jesus!

Linda

Advent begins with Love

The story of the coming Messiah, who was to save his people, began in Genesis 3:15. Adam and Eve had sinned in the Garden of Eden by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil as God had forbidden. They were deceived by the serpent, Satan, and then cast out of the garden lest they eat of the tree of life and suffer in their sins for eternity. God cursed the serpent and proclaimed there would be enmity between the offspring of Satan and hers. Her child would crush Satan’s head and Satan would bruise his heel. This is the first prophecy of a coming redeemer who would defeat Satan. The Amplified translation gives us some good insights into who is who and what will be accomplished. “And I will put enmity (open hostility) Between you and the woman, And between your seed (offspring) and her Seed; He shall [fatally] bruise your head, And you shall [only] bruise His heel.”

Why start Advent here? There needed to be a compelling reason for God to send His Son to earth to live among mortals and died. John 3:16 gives us God’s motivation for this sacrificially act. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The Christmas story is all about God’s great love for us. His great desire is to restore the relationship He had with mankind before sin entered the world. Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Even though we are filled with a sinful nature and prone to wander, God loves us and desires to restore man unto himself. Christ came to accomplish this. He was the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins once for all time. Hebrews 10:10 “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

So as we begin our journey through Advent, we need to remember it is because God loved us and desired a relationship with us that He sent Jesus. What a loving God to fix our problem of sin through His own sacrifice.

Linda

Peace, essential footwear for the Believer

After putting on the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness the believer needs to tend to their footwear.  Usually the picture of messengers is one running with bare feet.  Here the soldier, ready for all terrain conditions,  has his feet covered and Ephesians 6 15protected.  But what kind of foot wear is Paul suggesting, spiritual footwear that only comes through the gospel’s good news = peace.   “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.”  Ephesians 6:15

How does the peace given through the Good News of Jesus protect us?  Jesus promised through faith an other worldly peace that keeps away fearJohn 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  His peace also gives us strength and blessing.  Psalm 29:11 “May the Lord give strength to his people!  May the Lord bless his people with peace!”   His peace acts as a guard against Satan’s attacks and keeps us from being anxious.  Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  The gospel message also brings peace through the assurance of salvationIsaiah 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace,  who bring good tidings,  who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion,  “Your God reigns!””  Lastly, His peace is brought to us through faith in an attitude of thanksgiving.  Colossians 3:17 colossians 3 17“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  This attitude of thankfulness allows God’s peace to rule in our lives.  Peace will guard and keep us  moving forward with confidence in God and His plan to give out the Good News of Jesus.

As you pray and think on God’s Word today, remember the peace that comes through Jesus confounds Satan and brings glory to God.  When have you experienced this other worldly peace that gave you strength, kept away your fears, assured you of your salvation, caused you to be thankful and gave you a mind that was calm and resting in Him?  It is this peace that all believers need to possess, grab hold of, hold close, as they witness and walk each day living for Jesus.  Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have peace filling my life as I strive to walk in witness to His truth.

Linda

Holy Week – on Monday Jesus cleansed the temple and cursed the fig tree.  He was  righteously angry at the greedy money changers that were keeping the Gentiles from worshiping and treating His house with disrespect.  Matthew 21:13 “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”  Jesus also cursed the fig tree which was fully leaved and yet had no figs.  This was a foreshadowing of the coming judgement on the nation of Israel for rejecting the truth of His coming.

What is your battle plan? Got armor?

Ephesians 6:13 is a promise we can all claim.  “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”   God promises that wearing His armor will enable us to stand firmly against Satan’s attacks.   His armor provides us with what we need for this fight when combined with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power.  God’s armor includes truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation , the Word of God and prayer.  That is a treasure trove of pieces God provides for our fight.

Here are some Lessons and Truths from this verse:

  • God’s armor protects me in both physical and spiritual battles.
  • God’s armor fully covers me.
  • God desire me to stand firm in my faith.
  • Our world contains evil that desires to defeat and destroy my faith.
  • God wants me to do my best and then remain standing in Him.
  • God is more powerful than Satan.

ephesians 6 13Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can be filled with His Holy Spirit and protected by His armor to face the challenges of each day.  May you be emboldened today as you step out in faith, knowing and trusting God to have you protected through His armor.  Put it on and step out!

Linda

Rescued and Redeemed for Eternity Thank you Jesus!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been rescued from Satan’s domain and transferred into the kingdom of Christ.  These truths are stated by Paul in his letter to the Colossians.  He opens the letter with thanksgiving and prayer for the state that all believers find themselves in because of Christ.  Colossians 1:13 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.”  Our state of being before knowing Christ is one of eternal darkness and sin.  Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Our sin separates us from God and Jesus tell us that He is the light in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Without Jesus we are dead in our sins and trapped in darkness.   Following Him bring us into the light, truth and knowledge of God.  Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, a man who was seeking to know if Jesus was the Messiah.  In John 3:5 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  Jesus went on to explain we have 2 births.  The first is our physical birth given by our mothers and then our spiritual birth that is given by God’s Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Savior.  In John 3:16 Jesus tells Nicodemus why God sent him, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Eternal life in His kingdom is ours when we believe in Jesus.  He further explains the difference between His light and darkness of the world.   John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”   Jesus wanted Nicodemus and you and me, to know and understand that being apart from Him is darkness, sin and condemnation.  With Jesus there is light, love, hope and eternal life.  He has indeed rescued us from the domain of darkness ruled over by Satan and brought us into His light and His kingdom to be with Him forever.  His death on the cross and resurrection made this possible.  Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice on my behalf to rescue me from the fate of death and condemnation.

Linda

Suggestion:  Spend some time in prayer thanking Jesus for your salvation and eternal home with Him.  Remember in prayer someone you know who does not know Jesus and pray that they will come to know Him.We can be assured that Jesus wants everyone to know and come to Him.  2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow  in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”