Tag Archive: Bible


Job continues the longest speech in his namesake book of the Bible, found in Job chapters 26-31, with the “if only’s” of Job 29.

You can almost hear Job’s “woe is me” attitude, wishing things back to the way they were and turning all drama queen implying that God is no longer with him.

“Oh that I were as in months gone by, As in the days when God watched over me; When the Almighty was yet with me…”   Job 29:1, 5

He recounts his past blessings; how well he was treated, how wonderful and great he was, how he had everything… respect, honor, children and God.

How often do we do that ourselves?  We remember back to the “good ole’ days” when life was somehow better or easier or simpler, and wish we could go back.  But God doesn’t want us to dwell on the past…

“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.”   Isaiah 43:18

He wants us to learn from it.

 

 

The experiences we have in our lifetime make each of us unique.  Each experience molds us into the person God wants us to be and gives us our voice, our unique story and equips us to help others.  God uses the past to teach us and to better us.

“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”   Romans 15:4

Don’t look back upon your life with regret or wish away where you are now.  Ask God to help you find His plan for you right where you are.  God has given you a story only you can tell and equipped you with the tools you need.  Look around.  Who has God placed in your life right now?  Reach out…

 

 

 

Related posts:
I need a new… [Job 1-2]
with friends like these… [Job 4-25 reflections]
Are Job’s Friends All That Bad? [Job 1-2]
Are you a drama queen? [Job 3]
Shut don’t go up… [Job 7]
The beauty of a collector [Job 9]
You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME [Job 1-9 reflections]
Liar, liar, pants on fire! [Job 11]
Look around! [Job 12-13]
Put up your dukes! [Job 15]
Sticks and stones… [Job 18]
I pity the fool… [Job 20-21]
I am with you always. [Job 23-24]
Show some compassion! [Job 25-28]

As I continue reading the counsel of Job’s friends in chapter 11, I realize I could have clumped all of their responses together.

[cue: Zophar enters scowling, joining finger pointing already in progress]

Zophar lets Job have it.  “Liar, liar pants on fire!”  He practically sings as he echoes the words of Eliphaz and Bildad, encouraging Job to fess up.  [Job 11:4-5]

Zophar even goes as far to say that because of Job’s guilt, he actually deserves more punishment than what he has been given already! [Job 11:6]

The commentary in my Bible describes Zophar:

Zophar is the third of Job’s friends to speak, and the least courteous.  Full of anger, he lashed out at Job… his speech was by far the most arrogant.  Zophar has an answer for everything; he was totally insensitive to Job’s unique situation.

Which of course, may be entirely true… however, you know what it’s like when you and a couple buddies decide to approach a friend who is doing something you think is wrong.

The first guy approaches the subject carefully and gently but the friend gets upset and denies any problem. Then the second guy joins the discussion, a little more forcefully to drive home your collective concern for your friend, and again the friend denies any wrong-doing and tempers start to flare.

You’ve been sitting idly by watching the whole thing and you’re done with the shenanigans.  Your friend is not getting it so you come in guns-a-blazing to drive the point home.

That’s Zophar.

He and his friends are having an intervention.  Their view; Job is hiding something, he has sin in his life he’s not confessing and they are trying to help.

Isn’t that what an accountability partner is supposed to do?  Granted, not to approach with a baseball bat; there is something to be said for tact.

Listen and love first…

Smack down later.

But to have a person who isn’t afraid to tell us we have a booger hanging from our nose or that our skirt is tucked into our underwear.  A person who knows us well enough to give us a swift kick in the pants when we make excuses for not attending church or to call us out when we start eating chocolate cake every night for dinner.  Someone who asks us, out of the blue, if we’re reading our Bible or spending time with God in prayer.

Although, I’m not entirely seeing the problem with that cake one.

“… For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.'”   Romans 14:10-11

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak”   Mathew 12:36

We are to make good choices because…

“… each of us will give an account of himself to God.”   Romans 14:12

We are to help our friends make good choices because …

“… each of us will give an account of himself to God.”   Romans 14:12

Anyone see a recurring theme here?!!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a few good men who had our back?  Who told us the truth and wanted us to be the best we can be in God’s eyes?

Ok then, let’s get started.

How are you doing?
Are you reading your Bible?
Are you spending time with your Father?

Do you know Him?

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”   Jeremiah 33:3

“Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.”   Isaiah 55:6

I have now gone through the first 9 chapters of Job and even though Job has complained and rightly so in my mind, poor guy…and a couple friends gave advice in truth no less, but it still didn’t apply to Job’s situation, I have found it so interesting that at the time of Job’s life, most likely the people of that time didn’t have any sort of Scriptural writings.

I’m not sure any of God’s writings had been penned yet and even if they had, between the modes of transportation, shortage of Xerox® copiers and material available to write on… I’m totally envisioning honkin’ slabs of clay here [cue: Charlton Heston]… the likelihood of Job and his friends reading any piece of it would have been immensely slim.

So what Job and his friends had to go on in life were their experiences and the stories their families shared about God.  It is amazing to me that the truths they knew of God and especially the devotion Job had for God, all without a book of reference; something tangible to refer to, a source of comfort, inspiration and guidance like we have.

In chapter 8 another of Job’s friends Bildad joins the already-finger-pointing Eliphaz, putting in his two-cents about why this suffering has fallen upon Job.  And although he says pretty much the same thing as Eliphaz, there is a bluntness about the way he says it that is offensive.

Bildad is all business.  There’s no beating around the bush.  His view is right, there’s no other way around it, there is no wiggle room, it is what it is, that’s that.

Bildad’s experience;

People get what they deserve.

“If your children have sinned against him, he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression.”   Job 8:4

God answers prayer when we’re good.

“if you are pure and upright, surely then he will rouse himself for you and restore your rightful habitation.”   Job 8:6

Bad things happen when we don’t fully trust God.

“Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish.”   Job 8:14

The Job chapter hadn’t been written yet.  The things we know about God and Satan for that matter through the sufferings of Job haven’t been revealed to them yet.  The story is not finished, God has not spoken.

Bildad was right and what he says about God and righteous living was true, but it’s incomplete and it’s not his fault; he doesn’t have the whole story, he can’t see the whole picture.  He assumes that all he and his friends have experienced and all they know is all there is.

Therein lies the problem.  We so often do the same thing.  When we’re in the middle of a test or a trial, we are unable to see the truth or seek comfort in God’s promises because we are too close.  Our focus is on ourselves, our experiences, our own understanding.

We need someone who can see the big picture.  Someone who can guide us, share a similar story or encourage us with words of comfort and give us the strength to go on.

Thankfully, we have that.

Are you struggling?

Does life seem unbearable and unfair?

Are you getting through each day but not truly living?

God has a plan for your life and wants more for you!  Open His Word.  Talk to a Pastor.  Find someone who can show you in His Word the life God has for you.

“… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”   John 10:10

“A bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”
-Charles Spurgeon

I consider it a real blessing to be able to listen to Christian radio at work. Sirius FM plays throughout the clinic but there isn’t a speaker where I sit, so I have a radio on my desk and am able to tune it to anything I want.

Typically I run around and don’t get to sit at my desk for long periods of time during the day, but there is a span of about two hours when I am able to sit, listen, and sing along with the radio.  I very much enjoy that part of my day.

It’s during that time that I get to hear uplifting songs and sometimes a nugget of truth from God’s Word or a funny story…however, today was different.  There was a break in songs, and a local pastor came on the radio.  I figured he would share a short devotion or some insight, and I was intrigued by what God might say through him.  As I listened, I noticed that it became more and more difficult to hear, not only because of the noise of the clinic, but because his nugget of truth went on…

and on…

and on…  

It sounded much more like a sermon than a nugget, and I quickly became irritated…

and more irritated…

and more irritated…

So irritated in fact, that I sent an email to the radio station, admittedly not the nicest email, asking why there was preaching and not songs, because I listen specifically to Life 102.5 for the songs…but got no immediate response.

Time continued to drag as he continued to preach, and in his Southern preaching style began to get louder

and louder…

and louder…

(I could just see him pounding the pulpit with his Bible just to drive home his point!)

…which actually caused me to smile because I thought perhaps God was trying to get my attention.  Maybe, just maybe I should listen…but I shrugged it off, finished my work, and accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to hear any more singing.

At that point I had work to do elsewhere and I stepped away from my desk for a while.  When I returned, I could still hear the preaching echoing through the chart room and as I rolled my eyes and turned the corner and noticed a co-worker leaning on my desk.  I figured that she was finishing up some paperwork, but when I came closer I saw that she was leaning in, her ear pointed directly at the radio.

She was listening!!

She noticed that I had returned and immediately asked what station I was listening to.  I responded with “Life,” and she verified that it was 102.5.

It was at that moment when God stopped me in my tracks and you could’ve knocked me over with a feather.  This was exactly what I had prayed for this very morning!!

If you know me at all, you know that I don’t believe in coincidence.  I don’t believe in luck.  I don’t believe that anything happens by chance.  God orchestrates everything at every moment of every day, and each morning I pray for God to open my eyes so I can see His glory.  To reveal His working in my day and to see Him clearly, especially in the little things…

“…you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;”   Matthew 11:25b

…and I almost looked right past it!

I did finally get a response from the radio station:

“The answer to your question has not been resolved.  With our automation – something switched yesterday’s program from AM1190 to Life 102.5 this morning.
I believe that God wanted someone to hear that specific message!  
Sorry you missed your music, we do thank you for contacting us with your concern.”

Sure God tries to get our attention, and His power is more easily recognized through a sickness, a loss, a storm, a windfall, even a tragedy…

…but I think He prefers to be seen and receives more glory when we notice Him in the little things.

“And he said, ‘Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.’ And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.”   1 Kings 19:11-13

Not only was God trying to get my co-worker’s attention, but mine as well… and He even threw in some pulpit thumping!

Oh God I praise you.  Please don’t let me take you for granted…please open my eyes and help me to understand that in every situation you are there and you are always at work!  Thank you for allowing me to see you clearly!

The eyes of those who see will not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will give attention.”   Isaiah 32:3

“God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”

That is a common belief, a common saying; you hear it in sermons, loved ones repeat it, pictures quote it …and in times of struggle; a wonderful promise and encouragement.

But I don’t know that I necessarily believe it.

Many people refer to 1 Corinthians 10:13 when they say God won’t give us anything we can’t handle.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13

But that is clearly referring to temptation.  Referring to those times when sin entices us to make a choice; either to give in to it or turn from it.  God will always provide a way out of sin, but not always out of the storms and trials He allows in our life.

The Bible tells us that we will struggle, and be pushed to our breaking point.

For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”   2 Corinthians 1:8b-9

Sometimes trials are allowed because we need to learn or change something.  But sometimes they are solely for God‘s purpose and glory.  His strength is seen more clearly when we are unable to control things; when we are broken, weak, desperate and “have no hope,” when we have nowhere else to turn, but to the One who is hope.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. “   2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Job suffered greatly;

Cattle, crops, and children were taken from him.

“The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword…The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them…The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword…  sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead…”   Job 1:14-19

Painful boils over his entire body.

“So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.”   Job 2:7-8

Paul suffered greatly;

He was beaten and imprisoned.

“The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely.”   Acts 16:22-23

He was faced with incredible danger.

“Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”    2 Corinthians 11:25-27

So many believers suffered extreme hardships and were often fearful of death.  They had been tested so severely; they were so broken, so beaten, and they felt they couldn’t go on.  Obviously they did, so I suppose they weren’t given more than they could handle, because they weren’t dead…

My heart aches for a dear friend of mine facing some heavy burdens in her life right now.  She has given her life to and wants to glorify God, and has taken some absolutely amazing strides in her walk with Christ.  It is astounding to see how much she has changed from a woman who wanted to control everything and fought to do so, to a woman willing to give that control over to a loving and faithful God.

But my friend is broken.

She is pleading and begging God to take this burden from her, and I echo her sorrowful song.

I see the confusion and desperation in her tear filled eyes.  I see it in her downcast face.  I see the weight of it in her burden laden shoulders.  I hear it in her mournful prayer to our great God…

But as I watch her, I see a quiet strength within her.  As I see her questioning and at wit’s end, I also see arms reaching out, asking her Father to pick her up and comfort her; fists un-clenched and open, offering Him her heart, her life, her burdens…

I see sad, despairing eyes lifted up toward the heavens.

I see a woman begging for answers, lying in a heap of despair, desperately trying to hear God’s voice and reaching out to touch the corner, just the hem of Jesus’ garment.  (Mark 5:30-33)

 

Does God give us more than we can handle?  Absolutely.  When there is nothing left of us and we are at rock bottom, we have no other choice but to look up.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”   James 1:12

“but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.”   2 Corinthians 6:4-10

Lacking motivation…

I have been writing now for years, but since I felt God calling me to focus more on this writer’s journey several months ago, I have poured myself into spending time in His Word and in prayer over what His plan for me is, and I have at least a couple things straight.

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First and foremost: I am called to love God.  That’s pretty easy…it’s hard not to love and live for someone so AWESOME!!

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”   Deuteronomy 6:5

And secondly:  I’m called to be a help meet and teacher.  That one’s pretty darn obvious, I have a husband and four kids, and also very easy because again, it’s hard not to love and live with five entirely AWESOME peeps!!

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”   Genesis 2:18

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”   Proverbs 22:6

After that is where things get fuzzy.

I have an intense desire to write and share what God has done in my life, and so am writing, planning on attending a writer’s conference, and planning to write some more.

However since feeling this longing, I have poured myself into using the quiet hours of the morning in prayer… instead of sweat.

I have lost my motivation.

I previously used those hours to first pray and then work out.  I woke at 4:00am (the ONLY time I am not interrupted by the needs of my family) every day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still waking at 4:00am, but am now using my work out time to continue in prayer.  And what I have found is; praying for a couple hours straight is so sweet, and adding coffee to the mix??  EVEN BETTER!!

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However… with my spiritual life hopefully heading down the right track, I have found there to be a few side effects;

soft mid-section,

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spreading seat,

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and SERIOUS lack of motivation.

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You see, six years ago after having my 4th child, I was 33 years old, over 230 pounds, depressed, exhausted, and just felt so defeated.  I once heard someone say; “if you get to your goal weight when you’re in your 30’s, it is much more easy to maintain that weight as you get older.”

I desperately wanted to lose weight, but didn’t know how, and I so wanted to be a good example to my children about how to live a healthy lifestyle.

I started by setting goals each day:

 

A fitness goal:

GET OFF THE DANG COUCH!

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“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”   1 Corinthians 9:27

I began walking for 30 minutes or 1 mile, whichever came first.  Then it became 2 miles.  I started to feel a small urge to run, so I tried it.  And it was awful.  I couldn’t even run 30 seconds straight!  But I kept trying.  So I started small: walk 5 minutes, run 30 seconds, walk 5 minutes, etc…  I slowly got up to 1 minute straight, then 2…

After about 4 months, I was up to over 1 mile running.  It was not fun, but I could do it.  My sister asked me to do a 5k race the following month.  I never thought I could do over 3 miles – but she was told that if you can run 2, then the adrenaline would push you through the rest.  So I signed up, and set my goal to run 2 miles straight.  By the time the race came, I could do 2 miles.  I did finish the race, but the last ½ mile was very, very difficult.  I pushed myself and got through it.  I only stopped 3 times during the race, once for water, and twice for my sister’s untied shoelaces, and just the feeling of accomplishment is what I fell in love with.

A nutrition goal:

STOP BEING SUCH A PIG!

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So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”   1 Corinthians 10:11

My mother had gone through Weight Watchers, and had all of the books, so I poured through the information and essentially did weight watchers without the corporate weigh-ins.  Meaning; I ate minimal sugar, fat, carbs, caffeine and because I was exercising I ate more lean protein.

A weight goal:

JUST LOSE SOMETHING!

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“to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,”     Ephesians 4:22-23

I weighed myself daily, and still do.  My weight fluctuates by about 5 pounds…depending upon what I ate and drank and so forth – so I’m not too much of a stickler on the number, but it does help keep me on track.

And lastly…

REWARD YOURSELF!

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“but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”   Matthew 6:20a

Ok, so the Bible doesn’t tell us to reward ourselves, but in certain cases such as potty training and weight loss, bribing absolutely helps.

I set several longer term goals and rewarded myself when I reached them…and DO NOT use food as a reward!!  I baited myself with things I normally wouldn’t spend money on.

When I reached 200 pounds = Teeth whitening.  190 pounds = Pedicure.  180 pounds = New clothes (that fit!!)  170 pounds = Naval piercing.  160 pounds = Tattoo.

The results??  See for yourself…

2006 ~ 230 lbs

2011 ~ 160 lbs.

So…I guess I need to get back on track.  Stop making excuses and glorify God in every aspect of my life!!

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”   Colossians 3:17

He has clearly given me guidance and passion in writing, and has even given me more time to write…so now it’s time to get back on track and, well… run!!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”   Hebrews 12:1

heehee…

“lay aside every weight…” (Now that’s funny right there!)  as said by Mater from Cars 

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