August 31, 2012 Bible Reading
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:10
You’ve been down on your luck, everything is going wrong, nothing seems to give, and it’s coming from all directions. You are realizing that little bit of control you have been holding onto is not really control. You are admitting deep within your heart that this life is bigger than you and you don’t really control much, if any, of this life. You begin to question things, you agree to things, you find things hard to believe…
This is the assault. Not from God. From our enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil. You have an ally though. Sadly, we often don’t turn to the ally until after the assault. Usually to blame that ally, God. Only when we turn to God and admit that we are not in control, but He is. Only when we turn to God and admit, we need His help. Only when we find ourselves in need of mercy do we ask Him to help and stop blaming him.
The thing is, God’s been waiting on you to call on Him. Yep that’s right. Waiting on you to call on Him. Job called on Him and Job’s friends can’t stand the silence. They have to fill it… Sound Familiar? We have a really hard time waiting on God and we tend to fill the time between our requests and His answer with other things (answers from friends, answers from circumstances around us, etc.). Many times we force the issue and listen to the “false self” within our heart and give in to our own desires.
However, as you have seen today in the Book of Job, when God show’s up HE is Sovereign. He is the last stop. He shows up big and comes through for us that believe in Him. God loves to rescue us. He is the Hero of this story. We are a PART of His story. I love the way God lays it out for Job and Job’s friends today. He’s basically saying, “I am”.
How have you seen God show up lately? Did you have to wait? Can you hear God speak to your heart?
August 30, 2012 Bible Reading
2 Corinthians 4:1-12
As we build to the crescendo of The Book of Job we find Elihu, Job’s “friend”, laying on the “religious” speak pretty thick. The advice Elihu and the others have been giving Job seems like good things to say. These “human nuggets of spiritual wisdom” are actually things we all have probably heard, may have said, and generally seem like good advice.
BUT remember. Everyone else (the world) does not know the whole story between you and God. They might think they do, but they simply do not KNOW. That’s right. To me these “friends” represent one of our enemies, the world, the flesh, or the devil.
Attacks on you come from one of three enemies, the world, the flesh, or the devil. Usually at least two are involved, but often it is all three. ~John Eldridge, Wild At Heart (paraphrasing of course)
Do you see the enemies here in Job? We’ve identified early on that the devil is there, now we can see the world for what it is, but do we see the flesh? Think about the flesh for a little while. It is a little more subtle and that is one place we often fall and are taken out.
The point is… NO ONE can know what is between you and God. Many times you don’t even know. Not because God is unwilling to tell us, but because we are unwilling to seek His counsel, listen, and then carry out His instructions.
August 29, 2012 Bible Reading
2 Corinthians 3:1-18
The story of Job is one of my favorites. Why? Several reasons… It’s argued to be the oldest book in the Bible and yet it has struggles in it that we can all relate to (hopefully you never encounter the devastation Job did, but we can relate to his story in some ways). Also, it is written so that the reader has the insight of knowing that Job is innocent. We are told early on that Satan is his enemy pursuing him, not God. I just think it’s brilliant (my friend Liam’s word… brilliant).
Although it may seem to go on and on with these arguments back and forth of who is right and who is wrong, the Book of Job does a fantastic job of exploring our thoughts and reactions when we encounter “crisis” in our lives. How do we react to “crisis”? Are we oblivious? Do we pray? Do we withdraw? Engage? Struggle? Start a fight? Turn to an idol? (money, sex, exercise, anything that you put your trust in other than God). What is our reaction?
With me, I had gotten so far from the Spiritual Heart that Jesus put in me and paid for with His life that it actually felt, well… weird the first time I prayed for His help in a “crisis”. How often though? How often do we stop to ask God what to do or to come into the situation and fight along side us? Or to enter into our situation and comfort us? Usually we do it when tragedy strikes.
Practice. Practice. Practice… We’ve all heard it right? Well I plan to practice daily on taking things to God for help. He is available for us. He loves us. He wants us as a friend. Why would He not want me to consult His counsel in my life? I heard someone say this quote the other day and I don’t know where it is from or who originally said it.
Don’t practice until you get it right… practice until you can’t get it wrong.
I plan to take that approach to prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
Back to Job. The other reason I like The Book of Job is because it mirrors real life in that God SHOWS UP.
August 28, 2012 Bible Reading
2 Corinthians 2:12-17
How often do we do it? How often do we find ourselves in the place of Job (or at least we feel like it) or in the place of the Psalmists we read today? We feel alone… isolated… far from God and we cannot seem to figure out why He isn’t there for us. We “believe” in Him and “know” that He loves us, but we cannot for the life of ourselves figure out why in the world He has left us to… well… ourselves.
Let us remember this:
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:18 NKJV)
It is not God who has left us, but we that have left Him. We walk away from Him and His love in a thousand ways. If we are honest, we can admit that we do this. Most of the time… our worlds revolve only around ourselves and we cannot even see how we have walked away let alone see the first step that we took. It is that first step away from God in an area of our lives that we must pray to find. That is where God wants us to return. He wants to heal that place in us but we cannot do this our way… it must be His Way. He is God the Sovereign… remember? Or are we still the sovereign gods of our own lives… How’s that working out?
My goal is not to shame us into anything, but to shed light on some of the darker places within us. To see those places for what they are. To reveal to the Lord those places we have tucked away. The very places that are the root of our issue and the site that needs the most healing. God can and will heal those places, but we have to turn around and stop walking away from God exclaiming all the time that we don’t understand why He would leave us when we need Him so much. In fact, it is us that stepped off on our own.
Dear God, you are my Sovereign, my everything. Reveal to me where in my life I have walked away from your counsel, from your healing, and love. Guide me gently to that place and heal me that I may be able to glorify your Name. Reveal to me where you are working in my life that I may be healed and begin to walk in step with you. Fill me a fresh with your Holy Spirit today and lead me deeper into All Truth today.
August 27, 2012 Bible Reading
2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11
We see the word Amen throughout the Bible. We say it at the end of our prayers. That guy at our church keeps shouting it out after the Preacher says something moving during a sermon. What does it mean?
Take a look at Wikipedia’s definition and you will see that no matter what language or faith the word Amen is used in, it means truth, so be it, or agreed. The use of the word amen is to signify that you agree with what has been said.
We see this “agreement” of things pop up in our reading today and that’s what got me thinking about agreements and negative agreements. A positive agreement is easy to define… Anything that is truth that you agree to. But it is sometimes difficult to discern the difference in positive and negative agreements. The reason is because negative agreements disguise themselves as positive agreements and therefore all agreements you make should be tested by this:
Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:20 NKJV)
I know there is no way to cover everything about negative agreements we’ve made in our lives in one blog post. However, I do believe that bringing awareness to negative agreements and what they are may set you off on journey worth wild. A journey to find truth and realize that you may be living out negative agreements made when you were a child. My aim with this is that you do just that and that you make no more negative agreements.
Your heart is good because Jesus renewed it.
Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart. (Jeremiah 24:7 NKJV)
If that is the case then how can thoughts like this be yours… “I’m no good at this…” and “I am supposed to be fat” and “My finances are a mess because my parents finances were a mess. It will always be this way”. What are the fruits of those thoughts? They are negative and may be the enemy subtly getting you to agree to a life that is not your own. Make no agreements with negative thoughts.
We’ll talk about breaking negative agreements in another post. Until then you can find more information about negative agreements by googling Neil T. Anderson and his books, The Bondage Breaker and Victory Over The Darkness. Also, you can look up John Eldridge and his book Wild at Heart.
Let’s agree to this…
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NKJV)
I have to start today with where my heart is. This morning my son, Tyler, will be getting baptized at his church and I want to thank God for that. I hope you’ll all join me in supporting Tyler in his decision to accept our Lord, Jesus Christ, as his ultimate Savior! There is no better feeling that that I could have at this moment and I’m very proud of him for making this decision on his own and on his own time line.
What an amazing week I’ve had and I write with a heavy heart today knowing that my decision to commit to reading the One Year Bible is certainly making a difference in my life. Read with me and let’s look into Psalms 40:11-17….. For me, it’s the perfect prayer as I hear these words…..
“Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me. May all who want to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” be appalled at their own shame. But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say,THE LORD IS GREAT! But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay.”
Whoa! That’s what I needed today!
August 26, 2012 Bible Reading
2 Corinthians 1:1-11
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August 25, 2012 Bible Reading
1 Corinthians 16:1-24
Job KNOWS. He knows that God will show up for him. Job doesn’t allow his friends passing judgement on him to discourage that he will SEE God with his own eyes. Job knows he has remained righteous and he is standing his ground. Job knows where he stands… He let’s the rest of the world know where he stands… and he STANDS there.
He is wrong… God is not set against him. He has failed to recognize his enemy. This is another reminder that often when we come under attack from the enemy we tend to blame God. Job holds fast that God had the right to do everything he is doing and he doesn’t become angry with God because of the struggles he is going through. However, Job does say that God is doing these things to him.
I like how he handles it with his self-righteous friends though:
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! If you should say, ‘How shall we persecute him?’—
Since the root of the matter is found in me, Be afraid of the sword for yourselves;
For wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
That you may know there is a judgment.” (Job 19:25-29 NKJV)
In other words… I know what is in store for me… I will see God and He will tell me my judgement, but judgement is not for YOU to make. If you do pass judgment on me… be ready for judgement yourselves…