1 Then Job replied to the Lord: 2 “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. — Job 42:1,2 NLT
We are all familiar with Job’s story and all the things he had suffered at the hands of satan. God had allowed this to happen even though God considered Job a righteous man. Remember that God pointed Job out to satan and asked him “have you considered my servant Job?” Reading through the book of Job brings up a lot of questions. It also shows us that sometimes good friends can give us some bad advice. God wasn’t happy about the advice Job’s three friends had given him. It is good to get advice from Godly people, but sometimes God wants to speak to us directly and wants us to lean on Him and Him alone. There are mysteries that only He can solve and situations that only He understands. There are lessons that only God can teach us. God considered Job a righteous man but that doesn’t mean that Job didn’t sin. After all, there has only been one perfect man to ever walk this earth. Perhaps Job sinned in that he was always the one that offered sacrifices after the lengthy parties that his sons threw at their homes. We are not told whether or not he taught this practice to his kids, only that he always did it for them. Which begs the question. are we actively teaching our kids how to walk with integrity before God? Are we praying with them or just praying for them? When situations arise, are we doing all the praying and sacrificing or are we teaching them that the whole family prays, ask for God’s forgiveness and sacrifices together?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. — Philippians 1:9 NLT
The way we keep on growing spiritually is to keep meditating on God’s Word. We must spend time alone with God each and every day. Reading God’s Word, meditating on it, praying and practicing what we have learned is the way we grow and attract others to Christ. We can only attempt to live pure and blameless lives, but it would be totally impossible without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The time we spend in study will help us to live lives filled with the righteous character of God. This will bring praise and glory to God, which is our primary purpose for being here.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
that they were afraid to die. — The Revelation 12:11 NLT
Oftentimes when I read this verse, I am reminded of summer revivals out in the country. The revival services were usually scheduled for a week but would often times run longer because there would be a move of the Holy Spirit and God kept adding people to His Kingdom. The thing that I remember most about these revivals were the testimonies of the good people that came. There was a testimony service every night of the revival. Since the people usually gave pretty much the same testimony, I wondered why they did this night after night. Now I know there were at least three good reasons. First of all, it is very encouraging to other Christians to hear a brother or sister testify about the saving grace of Jesus and all of its benefits. Secondly, it is good practice for learning to talk to others about Jesus in a public setting. Thirdly and most importantly, our testimonies, not just the spoken ones but the way we live every day, are a huge part of our overcoming satan and his demons. We defeat satan by reminding Him daily that Jesus shed His blood for our redemption and we do that with the spoken word and our actions. Brothers and sisters, you may have never stood up all by yourself in a public setting and declared your love for Jesus and thank Him for all that He has done for you. But, believe this, we testify to what we believe every day. The outsiders are watching and they see our testimony every where we go every time we go.
28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” — Mark 9:28, 29 NKJV
While Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration, a man had brought his son, who was possessed by a demon, to the remaining disciples. They had been unable to cast the demon out of this particular boy, even though they had had success earlier in casting other demons out. They were confused by this and asked the same question that people are still asking today. “Why could we not cast it out?” We pray for the sick to be healed and when it doesn’t happen the way and the time we think it should, we ask the question — “Why?” Jesus explains that sometimes it takes more than a prayer, it takes fasting as well. Some translations do not include “fasting” in the answer Jesus gave. We know that Jesus spent many hours fasting and praying. Before His temptations in the desert with satan, He spent forty days fasting and praying. God does the healing, so why would we be required to pray and fast? The Scriptures never exactly explain the connection between fasting and praying. The Old Testament prophets and David fasted and prayed. John the Baptist and his disciples practiced fasting and praying. The disciples of Jesus practiced it, especially in Jerusalem after the Resurrection. Jesus made a practice of doing it, so it seems that it would be a good idea for us to try it as well. Each of us should do some resarch on different ways to fast, pray and allow the Holy Spirit to guide each of us into what and how long to fast. You may not think fasting is a good idea or that you have never practiced fasting. Think about this, in the physical world, what did you give up for a little while to get what you wanted the most? In the worst scenario, nothing unusual happens, in the best scenario, we end up with a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus, our best friend.
23 So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer. –Ezra 8:23 NLT
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. — James 3:13-16 NIV
Wisdom is defined as “the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight”. So, what we consider wisdom is largely determined by whatever belief system we adhere to. Since worldly religious systems are based on beliefs that do not believe in and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord are laid on an erroneous foundation, then any wisdom based on those beliefs will have error in it. So, it is very possible to be religious, have tons of knowledge, be worldly-wise and still be wrong. Such wisdom is considered foolishness by God.
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” — 1 Cor. 3:18, 19
This difference between beliefs in worldly wisdom and Christianity is used by satan to create chaos and violence. The people committing the acts of violence do so because in the “wisdom” of their religion it is “just judgment” to those who do not adhere to their beliefs. This “wisdom” does not come down from heaven. . The wider and deeper the differences in Christianity and any particularly world religion, the more problems and issues it will create. Some worldly religions teach their followers to hate and destroy the enemy. We should be thankful every second of every day that we serve a Savior who teaches us to love. His love for us not only requires that we love Him, our family and our friends, but also our enemies.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. — Matt. 5:43-45
1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. 3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.—1 Cor. 11:1-3 NIV
Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to continue in following the practices of Christianity just as he has taught them to do. He has lived his life in front of them, as much as it is humanly possible, as an example of how Christ lived. But there had been some reports of problems during the worship service. Paul points to the fact that we are all to submit ourselves to Christ as the head of the Church, His body. We submit to Christ because He loved us enough to die for us. So, this is the example for us to follow. Those who would be leaders in the Church must display the same kind of love that Christ did. This is what Jesus was inferring to Peter when He asked Peter three times: “Will you feed my sheep?” Jesus was talking about more than physical food, He was asking Peter if He was willing to feed them spiritually, even to the point of death, if that became necessary. This is exactly the same kind of love that a husband should show for his wife and his family. Husbands and Fathers need to ask themselves the same question that Jesus asked Peter. “Will I feed this flock that Jesus has given me? Will I not only provide for their physical needs, but also their spiritual needs? Will I remind them daily how much Jesus loves and cares for them?” If we do that, then we won’t have any problems being the “head” of the family.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.—Deut. 6:6,7 NIV
18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. 21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.—1 John 5:18-21 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Once we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are a new creation. We aren’t the old creation painted over, we are changed from the inside out. Will we still sin? Yes, as long as we are in these tabernacles of flesh, we will fail. But we will not adopt a lifestyle of sin. If we say that we have no sin then we make God a liar and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. It is not our faith or our holding on to Jesus that makes us secure, it is His faith and His holding onto us. No one can take us out of His hand. This is the fellowship and relationship that we have with Him and in Him. Being saved is a rational decision, not an emotional reaction. Once we make that decision, God places His Holy Spirit within us. Where there is Light, there can be no darkness. So our commitment to Jesus is that He is all we need, but we need all of Him. God doesn’t want to be in first place, he wants to be the only one in the race!!!! Let us keep our hearts pure and our eyes focused on Jesus!!!