Thursday, January 31, 2013

Job's Wife

In the second chapter we again discover that God initiates--yes, in the area of suffering--
and Job is the recipient, and, he has no idea why. God gives Satan permission to touch 
Job’s body and the result is not pretty. He is covered in oozing scabs which itch. He takes 
himself outside to the garbage dump, sits in the ashes, and scrapes his skin. It could not 
be worse. Really? In comes his wife.

“Still holding on to your precious integrity, are you? Curse God and be done with it.”

There have been many who have put down Job’s wife, but my heart goes out to her. 
In a relatively short time she has lost her wealth, prestige, and all ten of her children--
just because she married the wrong man!? Maybe it was the sight of him sitting in the 
garbage covered with ugly sores that put her over the edge. I wonder if Job’s wife moved 
in with her mother at this time. She is not mentioned until the last chapter and then it is by 
inference. I would hope she stayed and listened to the conversations going on behind the 
door. Well, the story is not about her, but she was a real person with real feelings who 
needed to find God for herself.

Papa, we wives are wedded to the things that impact our husbands, decisions they make. 
It is not so easy at times. That is an understatement for most of us in the course of 
marriage! However, personally, I have to go back to who You are and then see things 
from Your perspective. It is not always easy to do. Takes time. Lots of time. Fortunately, 
You are not in a rush for me to come to a place of peace and a new understanding of 
your sovereignty, and the promise that “you work all things together for good.” That good 
can be a deeper appreciation of You, my beloved Papa. Even though it is not recorded, 
I believe You did something beautiful in the heart of Job’s wife as well as in the heart of Job.

Take time to worship with Hillsong.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Same Song, Second Verse

“One day when the angels came to report to God, 
Satan also showed up. God singled out Satan:"

God: “What are you up to?”

Satan:  “Oh, going here and there, checking things out.”

God:  “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one 
quite like him, is there--honest and true to his word, totally 
devoted to God and hating evil? He still has a firm grip 
on his integrity! You tried to trick me into destroying him, 
but it didn’t work.”

Satan:  “A human would do anything to save his life. 
But what do you think would happen if you reached 
down and took away his health? He’d curse you to 
your face, that’s what.”

God:  “All right, go ahead--you can do whatever you like with
him. But mind you don’t kill him.”  (The Messenger, Job 2:1-6)

Hum. God singles Satan out, and then asks Satan if he had checked 
out his friend, Job. “No one like him, Satan, he is the best.”

As I read this, a monologue is taking place: 
“Really God, I want to stay in the background, match the wallpaper, 
keep my head down. Pay no attention to me. I want to live a normal 
life. No hassles. Would you like to get to know a friend of mine?”

A couple had a severely handicapped baby join their other two 
small children. Physically, emotionally, financially, it all added up 
to long term suffering. The young dad said, “I knew that life would 
not always be easy, but I never imagined it could be this hard!”

The book of Job hits all the raw places in us, but it is also a place 
of hope as we wrestle with the difficult things in life and 
'the unfairness" of it all.  The hardest thing for me is when I "fill in
all of the squares" and then God does not seem to notice. Life 
certainly, sometimes, does not make sense!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Devastating Losses

By the end of chapter one, Job has lost the following in quick succession:

  • All of his donkeys
  • All of his sheep
  • All of his camels
  • All seven of his children--in the blink of an eye!

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, 
and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said, 

‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb.
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.’
Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.”
(Job 1:20-22)

Job’s life had suddenly drastically changed forever. What did it cost this man, 
who was consumed by grief, to fall to the ground--and worship?  Dear reader,
just imagine that you are Job and in one day everything is gone, including the 
ones you love the most; your future. About seven years ago I gave God all 
of my rights: The right to good health, the right to healthy relationships, the right 
to be understood, even the right to be fruitful--the list was not short. Within a 
few months almost all were accepted. It was devastating. Not in my wildest 
imagination did I believe He would touch my heart the way that He did. 
Perhaps you, too, have unanswered questions and mountains of pain. 
Then, join me on this journey as we unpack the book of Job. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our Lord is God!

In the verses of yesterday I notice a few more things:
  • Satan not only has access to heaven but comes into the very throne room of God.
  • Satan can only touch us by God’s permission. He is not God.
  • Satan believes that the relationship between the Creator and his children is tenuous at best. 
  • After all, Adam and Eve fell like an apple from a tree.
  • Satan spends his time poking his nose into things on earth as he roams around.
I find myself looking at my arch enemy as my mind flits to issues in my own life. 
I look at events in the world, and the pain in the lives of my family and friends. 
God has a purpose in every detail. I can’t see behind the curtain and I am limited 
because I see events from the perspective of time alone. Unless, unless, I take 
the time to ponder eternity which is not bound by time. In my imagination “I see” 
God seated on His throne, surrounded by angels. Then I wonder how Satan 
can endure the glory, the purity of God for even one second. (See Isaiah 6:1-6 
for a word picture of what it was like for Isaiah to be transported into that very throne room.)                   

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Behind the Curtain

The first two chapters of Job are essential to the understanding 
of the book. These verses take us behind the curtain.

In verse six of chapter one, the reader finds himself at the throne of God.  
A conversation is going on. Let’s listen in.

The Lord: “From where do you come?”

Satan: “From going to and fro upon the earth, 
and from walking up and down on it.”

The Lord: “Have you considered my servant Job, 
that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless 
and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil?”

Satan: Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you 
not put a hedge around him and his house and all that 
he has on every side? You have blessed the work of 
his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 
But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, 
and he will curse you to your face.”

The Lord:Behold, all that he has is in your hand. 
Only against him do not stretch out your hand.”

My observations:
  • Satan has great familiarity with earth and all that happens here.
  • God echoes the very first verse of the chapter.
  • God, not Satan, singles out Job.
  • Satan gets huffy. Perhaps he has longed to make mischief. 
  • But God has put Job off limits.
  • Satan is eager to see Job curse God.
  • God gives Satan permission to take away all that Job holds dear.
I wonder, does God ever say, “have you checked out my friend Jane
who lives on a lake and has a cute dog named Jake?”

Monday, January 21, 2013

Back in Time

Job, after whom the book of Job was named, lived between the flood 
and the time of Abraham. He did not have the written law or the first 
five books of Moses. We don’t know anything about his family line except 
that he was a descendent of Noah. The book is found just before the Psalms, 
but if the Bible is read chronologically, the book of Job is placed before 
the 12th chapter of Genesis. 

“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man 
was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.”  
(Job 1:1)

Our story begins....

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Blog

I have been writing the blog for the past 14 months when, suddenly, over the 
past two weeks, I have nothing to share. This is not the first time, but it has 
lasted longer. Is it time to bag it?

Before the year started I decided to read the Bible through chronologically. 
I read the first eleven chapters of Genesis and then found myself in Job. 
This evening I sensed that I am to do something from this book, but I am not 
feeling very enthusiastic and not sure where to start. All I can say is, stay tuned 
and see what God is going to unfold--in my life and in yours also. Perhaps 
it is not what you want to hear right now... But, if God is in this, it will be good.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Man of Sorrows, What a Name...

When I was a child I loved to sing hymns--especially when there 
was an organ and a brightly robed choir. I learned many of the old 
hymns; hymns that focused on the gospel message of salvation. 
The following hymn by Philip Bliss is one of my favorites and it has 
come back to me as I have worked on the blog the past few days.

Man of Sorrows, what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile and helpless we:
Spotless lamb of God was He:
Full atonement can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die,
“It is finished,” was His cry;
Now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew this song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ayn Rand

Last week Glen and I watched a documentary on Ayn Rand. 
I remember reading her in college, but missed the point entirely. 
Her philosophy centers around self.

“We are not our brother’s keeper.” 

It is a philosophy of selfishness, a philosophy built on a universe 
where there is no God.

Our Savior “Made himself nothing and humbled himself by becoming 
obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross,” for us.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy of selfishness is in the ascendancy. 
Our culture has no compass, no sure foundation, no boundaries. 
As Christians, how then should we live? 
Where does our strength come from?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jesus, Made Himself NOTHING

The suffering of Jesus as a child has taken me to 
the book of Philippians, the second chapter:

“...Jesus Christ, who, though he was in the form of God, 
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but 
made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, 
being born in the likeness of men.”

Jesus, unlike Satan who lusted after the throne of God, 
turned his back on being equal with God, made Himself 
NOTHING and became a servant, a man. What other god 
has ever given up his throne, or stepped down from being 
number one? Has there ever been a god who has served the least 
without requiring anything first? 

Hear Paul’s anguished cry from the fourth chapter of Galations, 
verse 19:

I pray that “Christ would be formed in you!”

That has become my prayer for this year. I cannot emulate Jesus. 
I don’t even want to! But, deep inside I want to live my life as one 
conformed to the One who came as a Servant Man. God sees our 
hearts, not just the prayers we speak with our mouths. He answers 
our heart prayers, unspoken and hidden, even from us.

Dear Reader, what is your heart’s desire for this year?

Monday, January 7, 2013


If we go back to the book of Isaiah we find three verses that mark the 
childhood of Jesus.

Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
And like a root out of dry ground.

He had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
And no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
And, one from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we esteemed him not
(Isaiah 53:1-3)

The word, Nazareth, means a “a tender shoot” or “a little sprout.”
I don’t think that I have ever deeply connected the boyhood of Jesus 
with the town of Nazareth. His parents returned from Egypt and God 
told them to return to Nazareth where Jesus lived until He began 
his ministry at age 30.

Jesus grew up as a “little sprout,” a skinny Jewish kid. Nothing about Him 
was attractive. No one would have chosen him to be on their baseball team!  
Most of the village thought He was a bastard, AND, He had this accent! 
(South Philly, Brooklyn?) Later the Jewish leaders would remind Him of his 
not-so-kosher beginning, and his town of no consequence. Jesus had no 
educational certificates, his father being a poor, uneducated carpenter.

Here we have the Son of God, the Creator of the Universe coming to us as 
a babe wrapped in pieces of torn cloth, and laid in a feeding trough. 
Babies were slaughtered because of Him. What a weight for Him 
to carry later. He grew up in a very small town where the details 
of his conception were ridiculed. It must have pained Him to watch what 
His mother had to bear on account of Him. 

WHY, WHY, did Jesus have to go through all this? 
Because He chose to be completely identified with us in our pain, 
our every sorrow.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” 

Dear Reader, think on these things and be encouraged. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Jesus of Nazareth

What have I heard about Nazareth in the time of Christ? 
Very little, until recently.

  • It was very small. Thirty houses covered eight acres.
  • It was located on the brow of a hill 15 miles from the sea of Galilee.
  • It was not on a trade route, but tucked away in a secluded location.
  • Nazareth was not mentioned in the Old Testament.
  • "Nothing good ever came from Nazareth."
  • Those who grew up there had a peculiar accent.

Why did God choose Nazareth as the place where His Son would grow up?
I can imagine what Mary had to say when she found out that they had to go 
back to a place where everyone knew everything about everyone. Only 
no one believed the bit of how Mary became pregnant. What did that make Jesus? 
What was it like for him to grow up in such a town?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It Happened So Fast!

We spent a lovely time over the Holidays with dear friends in Tennessee. 
We set aside this week to catch up on all those little projects--like getting 
the Christmas letter written. On Monday we went on a long walk with Jake,
our miniature Aussie, who weighs in at 18 pounds. The walk included playing 
ball in the park that backs up to a housing area. A door opened and out came 
two Great Danes. Just as quickly Jake dropped the ball and headed for their fence. 
They sure looked like cattle to him! He found a low place under the fence and 
in he went. I could not believe my eyes as I watched him disappear. Glen ran over 
and managed to lift up the fence enough to see Jake lying on his back shivering 
with terror as one of the Great Danes towered over him. Glen called to Jake and 
the dog jumped up and ran past him, a mass of trembling jelly. We could not see 
any blood and we were able to walk him home, but left for the emergency room as
we noticed blood on his paw. He barely escaped with his life. There was a bite 
on his neck and multiple bites into his abdomen and back. He went into surgery 
late that afternoon and three hours later we learned that no serious damage was 
done to organs or bones or blood vessels. He came home yesterday afternoon 
and is comfortably sleeping in a borrowed kennel even as I write.

I am still incredulous. How can life change so quickly? A healthy dog one minute 
is reduced to the point of death the next, at the park, on a beautiful winter morning. 

We never know, do we, what a day will bring forth, but we do know who holds 
the future, and His Name is Jesus. I am so grateful that He is also sovereign 
in the affairs of men--and dogs. 
Don’t tell me that dogs don’t have angels watching over them!