Journey of Blessings (1)


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 Chapter 15

Eliphaz has been quiet, allowing his friends to offer theiropinions. In verse 15 Eliphaz has hissecond response to the questions of Job’s heart. It would appear that Eliphaz’s patience isspent, as he comes out swinging, with the words:
“A wise man wouldn’tanswer with such empty talk! You arenothing but a windbag. The wise don’t engage in empty chatter. What good are such words?” (v1-3 NLT)
Well, so much for compassion and stepping lightly on the downtrodden, Eliphaz! Remember that last week we looked at chapter14 as the inner turmoil of lies vs. truth being spoken over Job – and we cansee him wrestling with these concepts. What a gift and a blessing to be able to know the backstory and see howGod – perpetually – showers us with truth, as satan tries to put God on thejudgment seat and turn inner peace into turmoil. Satan begs the question,
“Where is God now?”
“Is He really faithful”
“What an angry God you serve”
Meanwhile, God is singing over Job, on a lighter frequency-a softer frequency that is hardwired into our hearts and our souls….feedinglife and hope, truth and mercy, grace and forgiveness…….
As satan shouts his accusations against God.

Eliphaz enters into the conversation – and offers littlehope. From the text we can surmise that Eliphaz is older and deems himself aseat of wisdom.
7 “Were you the first person ever born?
    Wereyou born before the hills were made?
8 Were you listening at God’s secret council?
    Doyou have a monopoly on wisdom?
9 What do you know that we don’t?
    Whatdo you understand that we do not?
10 On our side are aged, gray-haired men
    mucholder than your father!

This does not seem to be helping matters Eliphaz. Drawing a line in the sand and dictatingsides between : you and we- will not bring this poor man comfort. Somewhere along the line you stopped helpingJob scratch and started poking him with your words and contempt. Pride seems to have leaked into Eliphaz’ lineof thinking. Pride is satan’s number oneally.  I think that when we start lookingat everything through the lens of “Me”, and “My strengths” and “My wisdom” we have aligned with pride. Eliphaz seems to pride himself on his wisdomand the wisdom of the other elders.
He goes on to say,
17 “If you will listen, I will show you.
    Iwill answer you from my own experience.
18 And it is confirmed by the reports of wisemen
    whohave heard the same thing from their fathers—
19 from those to whom the land was given
    longbefore any foreigners arrived.

Can you hear Job groaning? “I will answer from my own experience- which has been confirmed by thereports of wise men”. Egads. I think that sometimes we can put ourselves ona pedestal and we look down on everyone around us. No one can possibly be as spirituallyinsightful as us. We started to look atthis last week – when we find ourselves camping out at who we were. I would like to take us to the story of Abram one more time. Let’s look at Genesis 12;
27 This is the account of Terah’s family line.
Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haranbecame the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was stillalive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abramand Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name ofNahor’s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of bothMilkah and Iskah. 30 Now Sarai was childless because she wasnot able to conceive.
31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, andhis daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set outfrom Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, theysettled there.
32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.
Terah is thefather of Abram (who will later be named Abraham by God) , Nahor andHaran. Some background:
·     This family had been living in the land of Ur of theChaldeans
·     This is a wicked place
·     Joshua 24:2 says that Terah worshipped other Gods  
Joshuasaid to all the people, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:'Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor,lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods.
·     Haran dies at an early age, in UR, while his father wasstill living
·     Haran is the father of Lot
·     Terah started the trek to Canaan- he left with Abram andSarai, and Lot.
·     Nahor stayed behind
·     They stopped at Haran and settled there
·     He never made it to Canaan- he settled half way at Haran.
Whatcaused Terah to leave Ur? Was it grief over loosing his youngest son? Was a change in location necessary? Haran ishalf way to Canaan. Terah only made ithalf way. He settled and died in Haran.I think we can settle in circumstances and in grief. We cans settle in past victories and in pastdefeats. We can stop reaching, striving, pulling and give up – halfway to ourpromised land. We may get tired from the journey, from the baggage, from thegrief and pain. We can get distracted by other gods – gods of money, control,possession and power, bitterness, jealousy, unforgiveness.   Terah never made it to Canaan. He settled and died in Haran – in hispast. God lets us do that. He is a God that offers us free will. He letsus lament and give up half way to the promised land- all the while encouragingus forward – while allowing stagnation.
Christcame, and died, so that we might live abundantly. Are you living an abundant Christian life? Idon’t mean abundance in possessions- I mean a life where you are operating outof the fruits of the Spirit, constantly excited at what God is going to donext? Are you on fire for Hispurposes? Are you presently walking,waiting to enter into your promised land? Have you staked a tent and camped out at your own “Haran”? Are you willing to die there?
Ithink Eliphaz staked out a claim in his own “Haran”. A Haran, a heritage, of generational wisdomand age. Our personal Haran doesn’talways have to be grief, despair, sickness-----I think it can be pride,arrogance, control.   I would offer thatEliphaz has staked his marker in pride and rested on his laurels of wisdom andspiritual arrogance.   He assumes that heknows more than Job and he offers, ever so graciously to “Answer Job from HISOWN, PERSONAL experience.” Oh Job, I am groaning with you!!! I don’t want tolisten to dear Eliphaz either!!
Throughthis journey we are learning the character and nature of God. In doing this,through gratitude journaling, and pouring through the scriptures, my hope wouldbe that the fruits of the Spirit are multiplying in us – as we spend more timewith the King of Kings. It does not feellike Eliphaz is operating out of compassion, but out of arrogance. Based onprior experiences and the wisdom that has been passed down to him, he tries tooffer Job a textbook God. Wisdom mayhave usurped relationship. Knowledge of God, may have usurped experience ofGod.   In the tent of pride, in Eliphaz’Haran, there is not much room for compassion.
OurGod is wildly creative God. Think on it – the heavenly storehouses of snow –and not one is duplicated.  How manymillions of people are on the earth? Andthere is just one of ME, that looks like ME. My fingerprints – all my own. Is that not mind blowing? There is no recycling with God – He loves ustoo much to recycle. He is always fresh,always alive, never stagnant – and never, ever seems to show up the same waytwice. The second we think we have Him figured out – and what we are“expecting” – He blows our paradigms wide open and does a new thing…isn’t thatthe excitement of the Christian walk?? He is always doing a new thing!
Wecan stake a tent in our “Haran” of expectations of God.
·     Maybe we had a mountaintop experience – and we want toduplicate it….I would offer that He has a higher mountain with a more relevantmountain peak for where you are walking today.
·     We may think that we are versed in Scripture and that there–couldn’t possible be- more revelation. I would invite you into the relationship of Scripture – the LIVING WORDof God.
·     We may think that we have to be in control of ministries andin control of what others are doing, in order to glorify God “correctly”- Iwould say – let go – let the Body operate as a body, not a robot.
·     We may think we are the only one that truly hears from God-I would introduce you to pride.
·     We may think that we have to do ALL the ministries on ourplate, because God needs us in everything- I would introduce you todistraction.

Eliphaz seems to be operating in thisconversation out of head knowledge, of his past, not life compassion in hispresent. God shows up differently allthe time – we cant clone Him or duplicate past experiences! We can KNOW His character and nature – andtrust in Him- for the showing up.   Hisreactions to our prayers are as varied and exciting as our fingerprints. His answered prayers and blessings are asunique as the snow that falls, as unique as each hair on my head – as unique asall of the different names He has.

This week I did a page that consists ofall of His names – which house all of His promises. Perhaps if Eliphaz had spoken these namesover Job, encouragement would have been sprouted and hope formed.   Pointing a finger of judgment does nothingto heal, help or encourage. In today’stroubling times- a finger pointed will not encourage others, love them, supportthem, or introduce them to Jesus Christ. I think the church is being called toradical love in this time. What if welooked at the world as Job? What if weput this earth in the story – in place of Job? We would find the earth crippled, broken, deceived, inner turmoils andouter struggles. How will we approachthis earth – filled with countless people in need of a Savior? Will we approach with head knowledge of God, past wisdom and spiritual arrogance,  like Eliphaz did? Or, will we approach this earth as Jesus did-with loving truth, grace and mercy? Pointing the way to the Father through love and truth?   We have a chance, today, to be an Eliphaz tothe world – or to be like Jesus. Let’sput our pointing fingers down, our contempt, hate, and spiritual arrogance andchoose Jesus’ way – reckless love -paired with scriptural truth,   grace unbridled, mercy unfolded.   The time is now for His Bride to come awakeand love recklessly. Let’s choose wisely, in these days, how we approach thosethat are hurting!





Job: Week 25
You will remember the work of Your hands

My crown slips...often
My hair is often..... unkempt
My elbows are often....dirty
My dress is perpetually .....stained
My shoes...scuffed
Perfect, I am not
Princess, I am
Because you remember your handiwork. Job 14:15



 
his week We will continue looking at Chapter 14: 10-22, I am reading here from the New Living Translation:
10“But when people die, their strength is gone.
They breathe their last, and then where are they?
11 As water evaporates from a lake
and a river disappears in drought,
12 people are laid to rest and do not rise again.
Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up
nor be roused from their sleep.
13 “I wish you would hide me in the grave[a]
and forget me there until your anger has passed.
But mark your calendar to think of me again!
14 Can the dead live again?
If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle,
and I would eagerly await the release of death.
15 You would call and I would answer,
and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.
16 For then you would guard my steps,
instead of watching for my sins.
17 My sins would be sealed in a pouch,
and you would cover my guilt.
18 “But instead, as mountains fall and crumble
and as rocks fall from a cliff,
19 as water wears away the stones
and floods wash away the soil,
so you destroy people’s hope.
20 You always overpower them, and they pass from the scene.
You disfigure them in death and send them away.
21 They never know if their children grow up in honor
or sink to insignificance.
22 They suffer painfully;
their life is full of trouble.”
It seems that Job is still struggling with lies and with truth – struggling with the horrors of God that the enemy is stirring up, trying to convince, lying and sinking his talons into Jobs flesh, offering hopelessness and death. And then, the Spirit of the Lord washing over him offering grace and forgiveness. The battle wages on and Job is in the thick of inner turmoil. I love that the curtain is peeled back for us here and we can see the schemes of the enemy as the character and nature of God are brought under scrutiny again. I love that we get to see, exactly, why we have to take all thoughts captive to Christ. Joyce Meyers says that the battlefield is in the mind – and here we see the cheap shots of the enemy – countered with the grace, love, mercy and forgiveness of God.
Have you ever slowed down enough to hear the inner thoughts? Listened to your inner soundtrack? Sometimes we get so familiar with a particular soundtrack, it is so ingrained, we don’t even realize that it has helped formed who we are and our worldview. What would you say that if this week, in your journal you kept track of that inner voice. What if you slowed down, and I mean, this week we have to r.e.a.l.l.y slow down…because I would wager that our thoughts are so familiar, it may be hard to even root out the lies!! This would just be a one-week assignment – so freeing- if we commit to it. One week. Keep a little journal with you – and slow down to listen to that inner dialogue – and then ask the Lord what is truth and what is a lie? This same war is being waged within each one of us….satan has ground that we may not even be aware of! Satan is whispering who we are not constantly ---what if we gave him that ground, by –simply – not – being – aware – of –what – was – happening?? Lets all agree to tune into that frequency and record the thoughts that are constantly bombarding us. As I entered into this process, the first thing I noticed is that I am constantly being averted and distracted. I will sit down to write, and I hear, “I can do this tomorrow, I have plenty of time before its due”. I sit down to paint and I get a whisper – barely audible – “I sure would like to sit down and relax, maybe watch a movie.” This revelation came from recording my thoughts and tuning into their frequency, turning up that channel – and what a revelation it is!! It seems that one of the biggest schemes of the enemy is procrastination. If he can distract us, putting everything off until tomorrow – well – that is one more day that we are not walking in God’s calling – one more day that we are not impacting the world with heavenly realms, one more day of COMPLACENCY. The devil lulls us back to sleep, as individuals and as churches. We are found to be 10 virgins, with no oil in our lamps, because – we can do it tomorrow. Complacency is killing the church- it is time for a mature bride to awaken and claim her spot in the earth – shining His love out in the world – loving a broken world, walking out truth in love!!! All he does is whisper, “Not now – I will do it tomorrow”…..and tomorrow never comes. Lets rise up, shall we and claim – together that TOMORROW HAS COME!!!! Lets be a light, a beacon to the world!! In verses 10 -12:
10“But when people die, their strength is gone.
They breathe their last, and then where are they?
11 As water evaporates from a lake
and a river disappears in drought,
12 people are laid to rest and do not rise again.
Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up
nor be roused from their sleep.
This seems to capture the picture of our sleeping church – I know this was not the intended purpose of the text, but our ambitions, our dreams, our callings evaporate as we sleep. As the church slumbers, the world finds itself in need of a Savior. It’s time to wake up and pick up our mantle of authority and be who He created us to be – because the BRIDE needs us in all of our talents, ready, willing and able to love the Lord, our God with all our heart, soul AND MIND, and love our neighbor as ourself. This revelation came to me after recording my thoughts and weeding out the lies, the turmoil, the lullaby of the enemy. There is power in weeding our minds. Imagine if we all, intentionally did some weeding this week – and encouraged others to do the same – would we start a grass root awakening of His Bride? I hope so.
In verses 13-17, I fall in love with Job all over again – here is our man of integrity, here is our man of God, here is hope:
13 “I wish you would hide me in the grave[a]
and forget me there until your anger has passed.
But mark your calendar to think of me again!
14 Can the dead live again?
If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle,
and I would eagerly await the release of death.
15 You would call and I would answer,
and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.
16 For then you would guard my steps,
instead of watching for my sins.
17 My sins would be sealed in a pouch,
and you would cover my guilt.
I read these passages and I can see that little sprout of life straining to live off of that old, dead tree stump. He wished he could be hidden in the grave until God’s anger passes. But – the sweetest sentiment, ever------But mark your calendar to think of me again. You see, Job needs his God!! He is confused at the turn his life has taken, he does not understand, he believes God is angry with him…but- he will wait for God…and he begs God to MARK HIS CALENDAR, so He doesn’t forget his faithful servant. Knowing that there is a whole lot of inner turmoil and a war raging in Job’s mind – we can whisper to him that God is not angry with him. I want to say to you that God is not angry with you. If you find yourself in a place of not understanding your circumstances, press in to find Him. Listen to the inner dialogue and find truth. God is not angry with you. Sometimes we cant understand the “Whys” of our situations, but we know the WHO of God. We know who He is. We know who Father God is because Jesus walked out the Fathers heart on earth. He is not angry with you- He wants to love you.
“For You would call, and I would answer”. Oh my word – I love you Job!! He seems to be longing for his yesterday, his relationship that he knew, and understood of God. We cant live in our yesterdays. We cant live in who we know God to be yesterday, just like every other relationship we have, it is new- fresh – alive, each and every morning. Try to keep your children trapped in yesterday and you miss today. Try to fix your husband in yesterday and you miss morning coffee with the man you woke up with this morning. Yesterday is over – it is gone, it has to be. Who we were yesterday has disappeared like a vapor ---but, we have today. What will we do with it? His mercies are fresh every day – His grace falls afresh every morning. Do we allow the same thing in our hearts? Do we release yesterday when we wake up and offer grace new each morning? Do we forgive and offer mercy to those who may have hurt us yesterday? Do we offer the same grace filled manna each morning to those that are important to us?
In thinking on Job, He longs for who He knew God to be. I have meet Christians who camped out on their Baptism day, or a place where they – significantly – met God. They built a tent, then a house and lived right there for the rest of their lives. God is a relationship, ever changing, ever exciting, ever adventurous!! We cant camp out on our spiritual highs, we have to keep walking. Do you feel like you are separate from God? Have you camped in who you were in your yesterday, with your relationship with God? At the end of Job, Job comes to the realization that he had only heard of God before, but now he had seen Him with his own eyes. Job grows and expands into the mysteries of God. Through the trial, he has fresh encounters, and his understanding and knowledge of God increases. Let’s agree to silence the lull of the enemy that would have us camp out, and be content, with yesterdays relationship with God. His word is a LIVING WORD----can we get our heads around that ----we GET TO open up our Bible – each and every day – and interact with GOD!!!!! That should never, ever be old news to us. A relationship housed between the covers of a book – HOW AMAZING!!! Do you feel like you are separated from God – open His word and speak with Him – let Him speak truth over your heart and reclaim daily relationship as your daily manna!
“You would yearn for me, your handiwork” – oh my. Can you see how beautiful this is that God would YEARN for us, His handiwork. The simple purity of this sentence just stops me in my tracks. This is the truth – this is our reality. God is not angered by us, He years for us to choose Him freely, and to come to Him with heart wide open. We can be dirty from walking in the world, our crowns can be tarnished and the gems faded, our hair unkempt, the world holds onto us through the death rags that we wear – BUT, God yearns for His handiwork. Let’s rest in this place, this Holy Ground. This is the reality of our God. In this place our sins are sealed in a pouch and He covers our guilt. He gets up from the front porch, where He has waited for His prodigal child to come home….He meets us and He takes off our rags- and bestows us with a cloak of His inheritance, a staff and a signet ring –that speaks of our identity in Him. He yearns for us. God is not angry with you. God does not persecute you. God years for His handiwork. Let’s let this become our frequency that we are allowing into our consciousness this week – silencing all the lies of the enemy as this- simple, pure, truth takes root in our hearts, in our minds and in our souls. HE. YEARNS. FOR. YOU> HIS HANDI WORK.

 
Job Week 24: Even a tree has more hope!

This week we will look at Chapter 14, Job’s continued response to his friends.
It seems to me that Job bounces between truth and lies in this chapter.  I can almost feel the heavenly battle that rages in his mind, as he battles with the lies of the enemy, versus the truth that he knows of his God.
It is interesting to note, yet again, that Job is a blameless man- that KNOWS God….how subversive is the enemy, that he can get in under the radar of our hearts and twist the truth- no matter how devout we are!  We must guard our thoughts, and guard what we put into our vessels- lest we give satan a foothold!
I love that we can see the inner workings of Job’s mind here as he struggles with the worse torment of all – the torment of despair, hopelessness, and death.  This is not who we created to be, not who we were created to be thinking about.  You can feel the tug of war between the talons of despair and the joy of hope.
Lets look at these verses together.
We will start with verses 1-6 (NLT)
1How frail is humanity!
    How short is life, how full of trouble!
We blossom like a flower and then wither.
    Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.
Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature
    and demand an accounting from me?
Who can bring purity out of an impure person?
    No one!
You have decided the length of our lives.
    You know how many months we will live,
    and we are not given a minute longer.
So leave us alone and let us rest!
    We are like hired hands, so let us finish our work in peace.
Truly, Job sees and understands the frailty of life and how fleeting our time is.  This experience is a moment compared to our home in eternity----wherever we spend it.   Have you ever seen the cartoon of two twins in utero?  One is asking the other,
“Do you believe in life after birth?  Do you believe in Mom, even though we have never seen her?”  This is, how I believe we are living in this world right now.  There is a vast world just outside of our awareness.  We catch glimpses and we sense the presence of a mighty, loving God- we see evidence of His vast love. but we need to accept and bend out knee to the King of Kings.    We are preparing, here,  for our eternal home.  We cant take anything with us, but we can, certainly, send things ahead!   There is nothing that we can find here that will offer security, as Job has found out.  There is a famous story about Rockefeller.  After he died, a  reporter asked, “How much did he leave?”   The response?  “He left…..it all”. 
Matthew 6:20-21(NIV)  says, 
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
Where are we storing our treasures?  Are you sending them ahead, or clutching onto them here?   If you are sending them on ahead of you – then, I would offer, that your heart is rooted in heavenly places.  If you are clutching onto worldly status, power, control, monetary items, your heart may be wound up in earthly gain, success and monetary value.
I know that we know this, but, I am struck by the subtle nuances of satan as he torments us with thoughts.  IT is so important to me that we see the inner turmoil of Job’s thought life, what a gift the scriptures give us!!   Job, who prayed daily, for “just in case” thoughts in his children’s hearts falls prey to the inner torment of satan as he wages war on his belief system and who Job knows God to be.   What a gift- to really show us- that we MUST hold each thought captive to Christ.  The enemy can get in and so slightly begin to shift our thinking that we hardly notice.   Did you know that if you are off course by just one degree then for every mile that you travel you get 92 feet further away from the right heading.  One degree – just one degree and you miss your destination. We see this in Job’s dialogue as he battles between what he knows about his God and what satan is trying to convince him of.
In verse 6 we can see this battle;
You have decided the length of our lives.
    You know how many months we will live,
    and we are not given a minute longer.
So leave us alone and let us rest!

Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV) says:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
All the days ordained for me were written in Your book, BEFORE one of them came to be- so we know that Job is tapping into eternal truths when he says “You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.”  But then…..saddest of sad, he continues with, “So leave us alone and let us rest. We are like hired hands, so let us finish our work in peace.”  Oh Job, though it has not been written yet for you, we know that our God is the same today as He was yesterday.  Can I tell you about Romans 15:13 ? “I pray that God, the source of HOPE, will fill you completely with JOY AND PEACE, because you trust in Him.  Then, you will OVERFLOW with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (NLT)
Satan manipulates Job’s thinking – pointing the finger at our God, as the source of Job’s discomfort, despair and inner turmoil.  Satan, the one who approached the throne, and asked to be given Job to test him and try him. takes no responsibility for what is occurring.  How easy it would be to stay far away from the fire of satan’s accusations  if it were presented as lethal!!! Instead, he launches an attack against the integrity and character of God. It started in the Garden, and it continues today.   If he can bluff us into doubting the existence of a good God, our mind and heart become a playground for his tactics, thoughts and despair.
Romans shows us that God is the author of HOPE- and the perfecter of JOY AND PEACE. There is no peace in God leaving us alone.  The lie is so shifty, such a fragmented piece of a larger – huge, massive, lie of looking to separate us from God.   Job says, “So leave us alone and let us rest”. Oh Job, you have fallen prey to stinkin’ thinkin’.
Psalm 62:5 (NIV) says, “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.’   Matthew 11:30 (NIV) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  In Him, we find rest, we find courage, we find freedom from anxiety. Job forgot, though he is continually reminded in this chapter, he forgot the character and nature of God.  He forgot to trust in the Lord, circumstances are temporary – He is and forever shall be the great I AM.   I AM combats despair and hopelessness, as He is the SOURCE of Hope. Oh Job, just wait a second, can we lift our hands to praise Him?  You boil ridden, disfigured hands, can I help you to raise them high and praise His Holy name?   I will be gentle as I remind you of His nature and His goodness. I will bandage your hands and sing songs of His faithfulness in your weary ears. 
It is almost as if the war shifts here, and it is more than the heavens can bear- Job speaking of God leaving Him alone to rest….and Job seems to be filled with a light of hope – it is as if heaven gives him a picture to hold onto.  Has the Lord ever done that for you, given you truth through a mental picture?  Somehow, when I get these pictures they are profound and remain with me.  It seems that Job gets a mental picture of a tree:
Even a tree has more hope!
    If it is cut down, it will sprout again
    and grow new branches.
Though its roots have grown old in the earth
    and its stump decays,
at the scent of water it will bud
    and sprout again like a new seedling.  Job 14:7-9 (NLT)
Well, I would agree that, at this point, a tree may have more hope that is available for Job right now. Have you ever felt that way – that hope is simply out of reach? The circumstances are bigger, the relationships too trying, the sickness overwhelming, the poverty devastating?  Could we look at the tree together?  The visual picture that is afforded us in Scripture?
If a tree is cut down….
Has something that you have been working toward, seemingly, been cut down. Removed, finished. Deteriorated. Rapidly declined. Was there a season where you were growing, stretching into the light, up into the heavenlies, and you feel like you were just cut down?  Well, hold on…
It will sprout again.
You will sprout again, with new fruits, new branches, new hope, and in a new direction – always towards the heavenlies, always striving towards the sun – but in a new, exciting direction you will be grown!
You will grow new branches.
You will offer new life and hope to those who roost in your branches.  From your hardship, from your circumstance, you will find strength and victory, amongst that very memory of the tree that once was.
Though your roots have grown old in the earth
What a lovely thought – “Old roots”  roots that speak of a spiritual level of maturity.  Roots that may have been put down as a child, or may have been put down much more recently.  Old roots speak to me of a weathered walk, of growing faith, a love of scripture, an awakening of the Spirit within us. Old roots- oh please Lord, let my roots be old and let them be a strong foundation to the tree that you have planted---stretching, growing, expanding inside- to compensate and balance all that You have planned for me, within my branches.
My stump decays
Ok, this one isn’t glorious – we just sort of, well age, you know?   The knees get achier and the eye sight starts to fail. But, as the stump decays, there is wisdom and there are laugh lines. My stump has some battle scars, but I love this season of my life. I think I have enjoyed most seasons of life, with the exception of Middle School <shudder>.
At the SCENT of water we will bid anew
That is the hope of our God – at the scent of water, our souls respond with joy and awakening!  God, the source of Hope, waters us with His love – and at the SCENT of His living water – our souls awaken and respond to His heartbeat. Maybe you feel like you forgot what it feels like to feel the presence of the Lord. Maybe you forgot what the scent of living water smells like. Might I offer you this: God never moves, we usually have gone astray.  Those are hard words to right and can scream of judgment- but, I promise I don’t mean them that way!  We usually find ourselves walking away from Him, through less time in His presence, through an alignment with something we shouldn’t be doing, through anger, jealousy, unforgiveness.  He never left you – and He sprinkles the scent of His Living Water all around you! Would you stop and pray and ask Him where He is and where you are?  He wants to overwhelm you with His presence today!
Perhaps your roots are old, and your stump is decayed, but it has been so, very, very long since you have tastd and seen the goodness of the Lord.  Perhaps you have forgotten what the scent of His living water smells like?  Perhaps you may have to shut some doors that you shouldn’t be in and redirect your thoughts to the Lord. As you shut the doors and you walk away from the dance in the world, perhaps you might want to rededicate your life back to the Lord?  Sometimes the world starts to put our death rags back on us, and we forget that we are children of the King- and we allow them to hamper us and constrict us.  We forget that we wear robes of white, because of the blood of red. Have you allowed your past to attach again? Have you taken on the rags of yesterday, as s a new creature- today?  Let’s say a prayer together:
“Lord, I give you all of me. All of the things that I have tried to hide, all of the things that hurt me and steal me of my joy.  I give you my tomorrows, because I remember know that you have rescued me from my yesterdays and I don’t need to go back there ever again.   Thank you for rescuing me, thank you for offering Hope, Joy and Peace in my today and for orchestrating my tomorrows. I give you my heart, again, today. I ask for you to be the Lord of my life again.  The Lord of my tomorrows, the hero of my yesterdays and my hope for today. Guide me in Your ways, in Your paths of righteousness, and in Your purpose for my life.  I look towards tomorrow with great expectation and anticipation for what we will do together.  Amen.”
Perhaps, you have never drank of the Living Waters.   Perhaps you grew up in church, grew up in a household of believers, adapting your parents beliefs as your own. But, have you ever chosen the personal relationship of Jesus- taken the hand that He extends to you, not to your parents, not to aunts, uncles, friends, pastors, ----the hand He extends to you.  Have you ever taken it?   You may have watched others be in relationship, but never taken the hand that was extended to YOU.   There are so many reasons folks don’t take the hand of grace that is extended out to them, so many ways satan confuses and confounds the invitation.  I know this – the Holy Spirit is bigger and our God is eternal love.  If the Holy Spirit is working in yo now – this may feel like a heightened awareness.  It may feel like your chest is beating quickly.  It may feel like a pressure on your chest…..thats God getting your attention.  He wants you to see the Hand of eternal Love that He stretches across the heavenlies towards you…..and He asks- “Will you take my hand today?”   Lets say a prayer together:
“Lord, thank you for extending your hand out to ME.  Thank you for noticing my need for a Savior.  My need for eternal love, and acceptance.  Thank you for dying on a cross so that I might live.  Thank you for coming into the world,as a vulnerable baby, so that I might know that You, God, are always unpredictable, and always in control. Thank you that I can give you my yesterdays and the many mistakes that I made – and you wipe my slate clean and say, “It is Finished”. Thank you for the healing that comes with releasing the baggage of yesterday.  I give you my heart and my hopes and dreams.  Help me to remember the dreams that I forgot how to dream.  Help me to find what you would have me do with my life. Help me to live a life that would be pleasing to You.  I give you everything I am, with joyful expectation as we walk out mnay tomorrows together.  Amen”
And sprout again like a new seedling.
Isnt that fun – we are promised resurrection power through the blood of Christ. Resurrection into our circumstances. Ressurection, as new beings, in Christ Jesus.  The old is GONE.  YESTERDAY is over. Let it go and release it into His love.  You don’t need to carry it or lament over it---it will only be grave clothes on your robes of white.  You have a new identity and a new way of doing things!  The tree may have been cut down, but hope emerges in the form of new life, a new seedling, that sprouts out of decay and death.
Job saw the truth in the stump in the woods.  But, he got one thing wrong, we house more hope in Christ Jesus that any old stump could possess. Lets learn from the stump, grow our roots deep and look for new life amongst our present circumstances.








Week 23: take The Mountain!!!

Job: Week 23- Taking the Mountain!

Today I want to finish looking at Abraham, as he  arrives at his Mount Moriah. Job asks to speak to God directly, to argue his case with God Himself Job 13:3, what happens when we approach God and we don’t like the answers, the calling, or the next step?  Let’s finish looking at how Abraham responds to this.

Remember that Mt. Moriah is found in a mountainous region...like the appalachians. God led Abraham and Isaac to their mount Moriah- the place they would have to completely die to self. They would have to give up every expectation and every preconceived notion. They would have to lay their hearts in Jehovah's hands and trust in His faithfulness.
It strikes me tht there is one Mountain they are called to. With listening hearts and minds – they were led to the mountain that God was asking them to sacrifice all on.  Confession, I am directionally challenged.  I am can get lost in a paper bag.  When God is leading me I don’t get lost.  I may not take the route I thought, it may go quicker, or slower than I had anticipated….but, I am never lost.
My husband and I attempted to hike the Appalachian Trail for our honeymoon.  He had already completed 1,000 miles on it, and had to get off for a job offer.  We determined we would try it together- for our honeymoon.  I walked and walked. I have to tell you, when you are walking in the woods, there is a lot of time in your head.  All of the mountain tops looked the same to me, even aided with trail markers and topographical maps.  Abraham started walking and was called to HIS mountain- one mountaintop amidst all of the other mountaintops. .I would offer that the Lord is calling you to YOUR own Mount Moriah- your own experience of total obedience. God has been moving in my heart and speaking to me about my very own mountain that I have to die on. The places where I have to let go of everything I thought I understood, let go every aspect of my nature, and trust Him.
Has He revealed your mountain? Has He revealed the place you have to surrender to Him?
Some of the best advice my husband gave me as we started up our first mountain, and my whine factor was increasing as steadily as the altitude….”Take the mountain one step at a time.” I looked down at my feet, quieted my spirit, bit down my critical spirit and concentrated on one footstep at a time. You may be looking at your mountain and your whine factor might be increasing, the excuses are getting ready to be released….Look up, and take the mountain one step at a time.
While we were hiking the trail, a very delicious opportunity presented itself…blue blazing. This was an easier way around the mountain.  Follow the white blazes, over the top of the mountain….the blue blazes took you around the mountain, which could be easier, albeit longer. I think sometimes we are called to take the mountain head on- follow the white blazes up and over.  Through the strength of the Lord we storm the mountain.
Other times, we are so afraid, apprehensive, grumpy, and the Lord provides a little trail off to the side, only wide enough for the two of you to walk on, as you walk around the mountain, observing the sights and the time of fellowship.
Sometimes, we are urged to move the mountain. Scripture says that the Spirit that lives in us can move mountains with the faith of a mustard seed. Have you ever been asked, to pray in faith, for a mountain to be moved?  I hope so.
Lets pick up the story at the base of Abraham’s  mountain. Abraham brought 2 servants and a donkey with him- they were left behind. God was very specific, that it was to be JUST Abraham and Isaac.
And that is where we will pause.
Just Abraham and Isaac went up on their mountain.
Here's the thing that God is laying on my heart today. There are times that He speaks- and He wants instant obedience. He wants us to trust Him - through the fire and through the trial...and to walk it out- With our eyes on HIM, looking up as we take the mountain head on.
We could get lost asking our friends what they think.
We could get sidetracked with trying to figure out God's intentions
WE could be frozen in fear
We could get lost in analyzing and thinking
We could run into the "Fix it room" and try to figure out a different way.
We could twist God's request to suit our purposes- to keep it comfortable and to keep us from stretching outside of our boundaries and safe zone.
WE could give up before we even start
WE could say NO - its too hard, I'm too small- You, God, are too big, asking too much.
Ultimately- we could get lost in excuses. How it must grieve the heart of God, when He calls to HIs children- and they start spinning around in circles- with excuses. Imagine a dog chasing his tail...and satan mocking us - as we get lost in the chronicles of self and doubt, in the need to control.
We get lost in if we heard right….Abraham was told to sacrifice His son!! Abraham knew the voice of the Lord. The only way we can discern the quiet voice of the Lord, is by talking to Him.
Ok, stick with me a minute. My husbands car squeaks when he brakes. He can be gone for weeks on end, but the second his car approaches the driveway, and squeaks - the dogs start barking, and the kids start screaming, "Dad's home!" We know the sound of his car. The dogs know the sound of his car. The sound of his car brings a smile to all of our faces...because we know he will be following shortly behind.

Abraham was THAT familiar with the sound of God's voice....okay pause here - cause that just makes me happy all over! He was that familiar with the voice of God...that he did not question, he did not run into the fix it room, he did seek advice from everyone he knew....
He knew the sound of his God's voice and he was going to obey - at whatever cost. He knew that when he heard the sound of God's voice - God was entering into his atmosphere.

Abraham knew the voice of his shepherd. I pray we all can discern the voice of our Shepherd, from the voice of he who is a wolf disguised in sheep's clothing. The voice of the Lord is usually quiet and steady...the voice of the enemy loud, obnoxious and intrusive. The ONLY way to discern the voice of God is to spend time with Him, and listen in obedience. Each interaction you have with Him imprints His voice on your heart. But, you have to spend quiet time with Him. Do you ever just listen to what God has to say to you?
Do you ever go before Him in quiet reverence and allow Him to speak to you?
Are you always chattering your laundry list of needs?
What if.......
*We asked God about His request - prayed, while walking it out? (Abraham walked 3 days through his wilderness- to get to the mountain) His heart was in obedience to God - as he walked, I can only imagine the inner dialogue he was having with God - each and every step - bathed in prayer.
What if.......
*WE walked WITHOUT KNOWING THE FINAL OUTCOME??? Sometimes He meets us at one step of obedience at a time. You must take the first step for Him to give you the second step.
What if.......
*We denied fear its stronghold and choose to put on the full spiritual armor of God - and walk out in His authority?
What if.......
*We stopped over analyzing and let FAITH blossom up into our hearts? Analyzing will never take the place of FAITH...at some point you have to step off the mountain to fly- no matter how long you look at the air and the clouds and think of the air pressure and wind currents, topographical and geographical locations in reference to the proximity of the mountain and the speed of descent......stand there and think about all of that - and you will never feel the rush of the wind under you wings and through your spirit. At some point- you have to stop analyzing and JUMP>
What if.......
We closed the Fix IT Room. The Fix It Room is so alluring...it holds such promise and intrigue in our flesh. The way that we Fix IT - will never, ever, EVER bring the satisfaction and surrender that giving into God does. Our Fix IT Rooms will never satisfy, will never glorify God, will never walk out our destinies. They are booby traps to get us lost in circles ...nothing more. We cant FIX anything - but satan lures us into that room to distract us from God's purpose in our lives.
What if.......
*We trusted God in the trials, and were ok with coloring outside the lines, living outside our comfort zones? I always say it - I think we find God outside the lines. I think we have our greatest God moments when we allow Him to stretch us and mold us to His will. Stretching is uncomfortable - but it always comes with INCREASE of Him and a DECREASE of us..
What if.......
*We didn't give into a spirit of discouragement. It never fails - the SECOND He starts to bubble up a dream - a spirit of discouragement will come along and try to pop that dream. How many dreams die before they even get born? What if we denied the spirit of discouragement and chose to walk out the dream?
What if.......
*We realized that we were children of GOD. We have a divine inheritance! We are not too small to do anything - because we have the King of Kings with us, in us and for us! Stand up, daughters of the King - and look the world in the eye- you were made to do great things for the kingdom!!
Abraham took his son- and started to ascent up the mountain. He didn't know what would meet him at the top of that mountain - but he had a faith in his God - that protected him with each step through the trial. Is there something that God is calling you to?
Take a step of faith today- and let Him overwhelm you with His presence.  Look at that mountain and check in with God how He wants you to approach it!


Job Week 22: Abraham and His Sticks



Job Week 22

This week we will finish looking at the two things that Job started out knowing in chapter 12. The first was that Job knew who he was and didn’t let the accusations of his friends take root in him.  He could not be shaken from the fact that he was a just and blameless man.   I respect Job for staying true to who he really was and not allowing the attacks in his mind to bear any fruit!

The second thing I love in this passage is that he says, “Yet my friends laugh at me, for I call on God and expect an answer” (NLT) and the ESV says, “I who called to God and he answered me” 12:4  In either case the verb here is qara (kawraw) :  to accost, to callout, address by name, cry aloud, invoke.  To qara is to approach and speak to, especially aggressively or insistently, as with a demand or request.  (to accost)

Remember that Job knows God- he is in relationship with Him, before the trials begin.  This will be my own version of these scriptures, the Lisa Standard Version, if you will. I can imagine that Job is more distressed that he is not hearing from his God like he did in the past. He calls out to Him, expecting an answer! How frustrating and difficult when the Lord is silent.

You may be going through a time now that you cannot understand.  For this week, I would like to leave Job where he is, firmly rooted in calling out to his God and expecting an answer, and look at this situation through the eyes of Abraham!

In Genesis 22, Abraham’s faith is going to be tested. In verse 1 we see God calling Abraham by name: "Abraham!"....and the sweetest answer possible to God's ears...."Here I am"
I don’t know about you - but just those two lines make my heart happy, and give me reason to pause. How I long to be that obedient and that in tune with the heartbeat of the Father. That, a second after He calls my name, I can answer, "Here I am, and be ready to move in His direction.
The distractions melt away, the priorities melt away, the focus of everything and anything dissipates as HE calls out to me. His priorities become my priorities.  O that my heart is in such perfect rhythm with His- that I stop, and give Him my full attention. "Here I am Lord"....
There is a song that I just love..."Here I am Lord". This song always seems to move me to tears. The cry of my heart has always been, "Here I am Lord"...but, as I grew older and there were diapers and bills, homeschooling and choir, sickness and schedules....my life has gotten busier. Long gone are those days, of being a young adult, and having nothing but time - my own time to spend as I chose. Even back then, I remember a friend that became a priest. I remember being jealous of the time - the solitary time- he got to devote to God.  My soul continues to pant for this intimacy with God.

There seems to be more distractions, as I get older. I am pulled in more directions and stretched thinner than I can sometimes bare. Can I still hear His voice through the din of the other voices that call out to me? Can I discern that lovely, sweet voice that calls me to deeper water? Am I willing to stop everything to listen, to respond with the same enthusiasm present in the lyrics of :
"Here I am Lord...."
"I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?
Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart."

Getting back to Abraham and the testing of his faith, let's eavesdrop on their conversation and see what the Lord would like Abraham to do, LSV (The Lisa Standard Version!): Take your son -you remember - THE ONE YOU LOVE- and go to the region of Moriah; and offer him, as a burnt offering, on ONE OF THE mountains - of which the Lord would reveal.
(I would have started sweating about here....)
Abraham doesn't miss a beat - He "rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two young men with him and his son, Issac"
On an aside...he also took the wood for the burnt offering.
Scripture would insinuate that there is an awakening in Isaac, a bit further on in the chapter, as he asks his father (LSV): We have the wood, the fire and the knife - but where is the offering?"
Abraham must have had to swallow hard when he replied" The Lord will provide", as Isaac carried the wood for the fire that would consume HIM, while Abraham held the torch of obedience that would ignite that fire.

I think we all carry the wood for our fire, that He would have consume us.
There is something that we have, something that we want, pieces of the world and pieces of self that we carry on our backs. I believe our sticks and wood could be labeled "self".
* Our giftings- that we so easily use to exalt OURSELVES, rather than glorify He that provided.
* Our woundings that we hold onto and won’t release into Him, woundings that say our past and our problems are bigger than an All Powerful God.
*Our fears, not believing that God is bigger than anything that we face.
* Our Future that we want to control and navigate- rather than give to Him and His purposes.
I see Isaac walking up the mountain- holding the vestiges of SELF, ready to let it burn in Jehovah Jireh's all consuming fire. If we can give Him EVERYTHING - we get to incorporate more of His presence in our lives and in our hearts. But, in absolute submission and obedience, we have to lay our past, and our future, on the altar of burnt sacrifice and let His fire consume it.
In this place of trust and faith,   you have a God who's name is Jehovah Jireh - a God who promises to provide. He will provide you with a clean past, forgiven, pure and white as snow - AND a future planted on a rock and filled with His Spirit. He will give you a strength and spirit of boldness. He will rejoice over you with singing! It is not easy to die to self, but the rewards are worth it!

What are the names of the sticks that you are carrying on YOUR back? Isaac's sticks came from the world...they were dried pieces of dead wood. "Green" wood doesn't burn. The things that He calls us to offer up to Him - are those things that can be replaced with fruit and His providence. Pray that He would reveal what your sticks are!

Two important things to know about a BURNT OFFERING:
1-It had to be freely given, not coerced or manipulated...freely given to the Lord...Abraham got up that morning - freely ready to do what the Lord asked.
2-It was a total sacrifice. It had to be burnt- in its entirety before the Lord. Total Sacrifice - Isaac would be a TOTAL sacrifice of Abraham's heart.

You may be walking in a season right now that you don’t understand what is being asked of you.   Are you willing to offer your will and control as a total sacrifice to the Lord?

Let’s do a timeline check on Abraham and Isaac - they walk three days. Strapped and straddled with the wood for His son's total sacrifice. Three days walking....equals (to me) three days thinking time. Three days to be alone with my thoughts and my fears. Three days to build a revolving door in my own "Fix-it Room", so I could get in there faster. THREE DAYS...as long as Christ left us....THREE DAYS- with each step closer to the uncertainty of God's plan.
It doesn't say that the Lord spoke to Abraham for these three days...but, I know me, I would have been pounding on the doors of heaven - trying to understand. But, God appears to be silent...for three days. Sometimes, we grow the most in the silence. A tree has a dormant stage. A tree has a season of fruit and blossom- but, it also has a winter, where it appears to be dead- but its roots are growing stronger and deeper. In silence, I believe we grow stronger - so that we can offer mighty fruit for the kingdom- when God unleashes us again. In silence our faith grows.

With each step, Abraham confronted his fear and combated his fear. Each step was a step of victory, a step that he denied self and won over fear.

Has God ever asked you to do something crazy? I hope so.

Are you walking now- sense that the Lord has asked you to do something - but you are paralyzed by fear...fear of the unknown, fear of giving up too much of yourself, fear of the journey, fear of letting go, fear of it not playing out the way you wanted? Fear of the first step?

Abraham did what came naturally - he just started walking it out. One step at a time...one step of obedience at a time. God may not have spoken during those three days - but Abraham’s heart, faith and belief in a mighty Lord - that would provide- spoke volumes as he walked through his own wilderness. I believe God smiled with each step that Abraham took towards TOTAL SACRIFICE of himself.

You may not know all of your answers- you may not know how it is going to play out. Today - why not try to walk like Abraham did:
1- Give yourself freely to Him, the situation, the problem, the calling, the dream, the relationship....give it freely to Him.
2- Let it be a TOTAL SACRIFICE. That means you have to let go of the outcome and trust in God's provision and sovereignty. You don't know how it is going to turn out. But - you know that we serve Jehovah-Jireh - a God that provides.
And then...start walking. One step at a time you will make it through your wilderness.  He will provide the next step once you take the first step.

Cry out to God, accost God with your prayers, and expect an answer.  It may not sound like you wanted, it may look different than your most wild imaginings, but there will be an answer because our God is Jehovah-Jirah and He provides, and He listens.  The Word even says that HE BENDS DOWN to LISTEN- so, I will pray as long as I have breath (Psalm 116:2 NLT)

This is the God we serve!





Job Week 21


Blessed Assurance



This week we will look at Job 12: 1-4
Can you hear Job’s sarcasm as he answers Zophar, “You people really know everything don’t you? And when you die, wisdom will die with you!” It would appear Job’s patience is stretched thin by the constant accusation and judgement being hurled at him by his friends. Words have so much power, and it seems, that Job’s friend are not using their power to build up, encourage and strengthen. How do you use your words? Do they speak life over those that you come in contact with? We hold the power of life and death in our tongues, lets all choose to “Speak L life” for the remainder of our study - always aware of our words and the reaction of those around us when they leave our mouth.
Job goes on, in his aggravation, to say that he is aware of all that they are telling him, “Who doesn’t know these things you have been saying?” It seems that Job’s friends may be the hardest test that he has to endure. The constant criticism, the judgement washing over him…wave after wave. His patience begins to falter I love Job’s humanness here- how real he is. I have felt like Job often in my life! Always wanting to have a teachable spirit, always striving to listen and to hear, yet, sometimes the patience wears thin and our thoughts need to be redirected to a higher level. Job takes us right there- and I fall in love with him all over again. In verse 4, he says, “Yet my friends laugh at me for I call on God and expect an answer. I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me” There are a few things that jump out at me, in this sentence, this appeal that Job offers up.
1- (We will look at the second point next week!!) Job KNOWS who he is. Remember that this war,against his character, has raged from within his mind and from the mouths of his friends. A relentless stream of WHO HE IS NOT has been hurled against him. Every accusation in the book has been thrown at him, accusing him of his sinful an wrongful ways, his deceit, his wrongdoing…..yet Job has not faltered. Job has not been worn down by their accusations…he says “I am a just and blameless man”. What a lesson we can learn from job here!! We must KNOW who we are and WHOSE we are!!
How often do we believe the lies that are spoken over us, taking them on and owning them? We must know who we are in Christ.
How often do we pick up offense, when lies are spoken over us, and carry it with us- allowing it to poison our hearts and minds?
In this world, that seems to tolerate more and more, we have to know who we are in Christ. We have to know what our boundaries and our values look like. We have to be so sure of whose we are, and how to operate in the authority of Christ. As an example, if someone were to say to me, “You are a man”, I would sigh and offer that I am, indeed, not a man. This accusation wouldn’t touch me, it is so ludicrous. I must know, and operate, out of the identity of Christ. My mindset, my attitude, my authority, my thought patterns should line up with this identity, this royal priesthood, to such an extent that any other identity spoken over me would have no ground.
I believe that one of satan’s tricks are to bring up our past and try to get us to put on our grave clothes again. WE are new creatures in Christ – that means the old is GONE. Let’s let that truth set in a moment….remember the you, before Christ – that creature is gone. That you no longer exists. When you came into relationship with Christ – you were made brand-spankin’- new. So often, we do not embrace this new identity. We hold onto our grave clothes. Imagine a caterpillar – going into its cocoon, ready to metamorphose into a butterfly. AS it emerges from its cocoon, it chooses to hold onto it. Try as it might, it simply can not fly. It is holding onto the past and who it was.
When we are made new – we are transformed an will continue that transformation through sanctification in Christ. Let go of your past, let go of the labels that used to define you. You will never fly if you hold onto the vestiges of that which used to define you. Your old thinking patterns wont work in this new body, they are the old you…..transform your mind. Get in the Word, let God define you now and what your tomorrows look like! Let the Holy Spirit be the wind beneath those butterfly wings- that lifts you higher and higher Don’t hold onto who you were- each day you are made new and reach for further transformation. You are just and blameless before God, walk with authority and in the inheritance of authority of a royal priesthood!

Job is this secure in who he is and the relationship he walks in with God – He knows that he is a just an blameless man. I love that satan has no ground in his mind, no ground in worry and anxiety about who he is and what he may have done. Do you play the endless mind chatter on your internal loop.
What I I say?
Did they take that the wrong way?
What did they mean by that?
We listen to the wrong voice within and all of our communications start to short circuit. We doubt who we are, we doubt our relationships, we question and we withdraw.
Romans 12:2 says, Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Transformation of the mind, means that we are constantly being transformed into a new person- BY CHANGING THE WAY YOU THINK!!! Have you ever slowed down enough to hear the way you think? Have you ever allowed truth into the endless loop that keeps tripping you up? Do you find yourself having knee jerk reactions often? Do you find that you, often, find yourself in the same situation….over and over? The same sort of person, the same circumstances? I would offer to you that our God is so merciful, so kind, so wanting you to be holy, not happy, that He keeps sending you EXACTLY what you need to look within and find your faulty thinking, your faulty identity. Hold on now, and take a deep breath, because I am going to offer up here- that God is trying to sanctify you….not the other person. It is always about us and the affairs of our heart. He just uses other people to magnify a lie that we have allowed into our identity.
If I could offer up an example that that the Lord showed me. I was a little girl, in the cutest pink dress you could imagine. I had on pink tights and the cutest party shoes. I had a tiara on. I was/am a daughter of the King. My tights were ripped though and my tiara was sitting wonky on my head. I was smudged and dirty. Imagine the Lincoln Memorial, here in the states. I was little, little, and Father God was BIG, BIG. I was standing by His feet, an alls I could see was His pants leg, as if I were standing by the feet of the Lincoln Memorial. He called to me. I hitched up my tights, bit my lower lip and started climbing. You see, I was standing in offense. Someone had hurt me with their words and their accusations. These words did not have ground in me…like Job, I recognized them as faulty thinking and didn’t receive them….BUT, I took on great offense at the words.
As I continued to grab and climb up the enormous leg of My Father- I started to loose the smudges and the dirt that stained me. I found that I was getting cleaner, feeling better as my thoughts went higher. As I reached the lap of the Father, I sat down with a <HARUMPH> and squiggled until my back was resting on Him and my feet- with the cutest party shoes EVER- jutted out in front of me. I promptly put my thumb in my mouth and I pouted. I said, “They hurt me”
He said, “I know”
HE allowed me to sit there, in that offense, as long as I wanted.
I sat there mad for a good, bit of a while.
“It still hurts”
“I know”
He then changed my world with His words- that were so gentle- but so convicting. He said, “Look out over your backyard. Do you find any ground for the accusations made against you.”
I did look- I always pray – “God show me ----ME, so that I can change anything in me that doesn’t line up with You.”
I looked over my yard, and it was clean. The hedges were trimmed and not hanging over into anyone else’s yard.
He then revealed the other person’s yard – and it was dusty and there were tumbleweeds blowing around. There was no life there.
He said, “You can crawl down and enter into that fight, but I cant go with you there. IF you choose to enter into their backyard, into their accusations, into their mindset….you go on your own. I will be here when you tire of the fight, and you can crawl up here anytime to get a fresh perspective”
My thumb came out of my mouth as I began to realize the implications of entering into anther’s backyard and entering into the argument.
He continue, “If you stay within your own boundaries and tend to the condition of your own heart – my banner over you is love, and you battle from this seat of authority.”
We can crawl down that enormous leg of Father God and enter into a battle of the tongues and a battle of accusations- or we can “do life” from His seat of authority…on His lap- surveying our own “backyard”, ie the condition of our own heart, and tending to our thinking, and our actions.
If you find that you are often in a “reactive” state of mind, rather than a “responsive” state of heart…there may be buttons that continue to be pushed, eliciting a reaction. This is when we FLIP into anger, jealousy, rage or rejection – and wonder how we got there again. This is referred to as the “Fear Cycle”. In the fear cycle there is a
1-Trigger
2-Fear Response
3-Negative Feeling
4-Self Destructive Behavior
The button, or trigger, flips your switch and you find that you are reacting, and replaying the same record over and over.

What do you say if we try to break into this fear cycle and try to find what triggers you, and what the underlying lie is that you have agreed to? I did this map of my heart years ago – and it has changed the way I do life. I now slow down and process others through my lens, and from the lap of the Father…..looking to see if there is ground in me and releasing others as they bump into my fears- owning, refining my own triggers and my own buttons.
In the worksheet that I will share with you, it refers to this fear cycle through the lens of marriage. Know this, that if you have these buttons, anyone can bump into you, but – it is usually those that we have given the most access to our hearts: children, mothers, friends. Ironically – these folks that we trust enough to react all over, usually see most of who we are NOT, rather than who we are. They tend to see us as we are reacting in fear, rather than reacting with love and the power of a transformed mind.
You can work through your fear cycle through this link:
http://nationalmarriage.com/…/u…/2012/06/2007-fear-dance.pdf
This assessment will help to break into your fear cycle and give you the insight needed to release your yesterdays into healthier tomorrows. I look forward to hearing back from you on how it is going in transforming your mind, by the way you THINK!!!



Job Week 20
An empty page to receive all my blessings this week

Job – Week 20: Prepare Your Heart and Lift Your Hands to Him in Prayer!
This week we will look at Zophar, the third of Job’s friends to offer “encouragement” and “understanding”. Zophar is considered to be the ordinary man. Eliphaz was the poet, who saw drams and visions. Bildad appealed to tradition and authority. Zophar is the man of worldly understanding of God, and perhaps the most offensive of all three!! He is thought by many to be the youngest of Job’s friends (As he is the last to speak) …..perhaps, it is his youth that lets the words and venom of his heart spill out over poor Job? In The Message, Zophar spits out his anger at Job as he enters into the discussion:
“What a flood of words! Shouldn’t we put a stop to it? Should this loose kind of talk be permitted? Job, do you think you can carry on like this and we’ll say nothing?” 11:1-3
My eyes fly open and I inhale deeply from the rampage that Zophar has launched. It seems pure hostility, anger and judgement. What in the world? He continues:
You claim, “My doctrine is sound and my conduct is impeccable”
Groan, accusation is piled on top of anger. Accusation against the character of Job.
How I wish God would give you a piece of His mind –tell you what’s what! I wish he would show you how wisdom looks from the inside, for true wisdom is mostly ‘inside’
He wishes God would give Him a piece of His mind. Let’s remember Job’s condition – he has lost his children, his belongings, his health, his peace of mind, his status, his prayer life. Zophar, the friend that has come to encourage, wished God would REALLY tell Job what was what.
But you can be sure of this, you havent gotten half of what you deserve
Stop. I have to stop him and place my fingers on his lips and ask him to think before he speaks. To think of the person that sits before him, to reflect on him with mercy and compassion – not judgment. Not speaking FOR God, of Gods anger and disappointment in the righteous man. This is not comfort Zophar. This is cruelty.How many times do we cut down, hurt and maim, in the name of God? Where is the compassion? Where is the wet cloth to wipe his brow? What happened to the silence?
If I could have introduced Zophar to some of my friends, I think they could teach him much and offer great wisdom for his younger years. My friends have modeled for me what it is to be a good friend- what unconditional love looks like and how to love extravagantly- just as the Father loves us. In walking out my fathers passing and his arrangements- I have been blessed beyond compare through the love, prayers, support and encouragement of my friends and family. These angels stormed, quietly, around my campfire and took up a mat and sat with me. They waited for me to speak, with gentle encouragement and support….letting me know they were always there. They rallied around me and they held up my arms through the honor of loving my dad into eternity. POh Zophar, love speaks so much louder than judgement and is a soothing balm for tears and pain. My family was loved extravagantly by those that sat around the campfire with me.
Extravagant prayer
Extravagant meals
Extravagant flowers
Extravagant presence
Extravagant laughter
Extravagant stories
Extravagant cards
Extravagant conversations
Extravagant transparency and vulnerability
Extravagant hugs
These saints came in and showed up extravagantly- they showered so much love and compassion on my family – that I got a glimpse of the Fathers love. While they were being the hands, and the heart of Christ – I received LOVE that healed, uplifted, fed, nurtured, equipped and ministered. I am grateful for those that the Lord has graced me to walk with- whether it is online, or in person…..I can not even begin to count the blessings in the hearts of those I get to call friends. Zophar, there is a way to be a friend. Though your condemnation, accusaations and judgement feels good as you speak it out – it cuts, it hurts, it maims, and it causes separation.
My friends have inspired me to be a better friend.
Isn’t that what life’s about? Being inspired to be a better version of me? A more Christ like version of me – dying to self and loving extravagantly?
I want to love like Donna and Kim, Janna and Tammy, Jennifer and Joe, Carolyn and Debbie, Anne and Laura, Jill and Patti, Nada and Kylie, Sarah and Larry……the list goes on and on- I want to love the way that Christ loves. Remember last week – the love the Father has for Jesus, living in me…..how do I NOT splash the world with love-----how do I NOT love extravagantly?
So thank you- to my friends, far and near, that showed me the Love of the Father and how to be a good friend heart emoticon
Zophar continues on – with, what I consider to be truth, though his delivery is lacking –
Do you think you can explain the mystery of God? Do you think you can diagram God Almighty? God is far higher than you can imagine, far deeper than you can comprehend, stretching farther than the earth’s horizons, far wider than the endless oceans.
We finally agree on something Zophar!! God is that deep, wide and high - HE is more- He is the beginning and the end. Reading His Scriptures are like an endless ocean- you can splash with fresh discovery in the surf- finding all sorts of treasures. You can swim out past the breakers and learn what it feels like to trust, as your feet no longer touch the ground, and you are tossed to and fro – fighting for control and loving the freedom in no control. If you choose to experience the vastness of God, you could stay in a boat and dip your toes in every now and again – controlling how much you give to God….see He is that vast….He leaves it up to us. As mighty and as vast as an elephant is on land - it is a wee creature lost in the expanse of the ocean. We can get lost in the expanse of God – ever reaching, ever going deeper, living in the expanse of His love – loving on His world – splashing them, enticing them into the surf- to begin the endless discoveries of God.
This is where Zophar and I part ways again, and I find myself disconcerted by his advice.
In the next part of his dialogue- he presents God as a Cause-Effect God. And, though that is true, to an extent…we will pay the consequences for our actions. The criminal on the cross next to Jesus still died on that cross – he wasn’t taken down because he chose to believe in Jesus. There were consequences to his actions that he got himself into and would have to get himself out of. How many times do we blame God because of our circumstances- that we got ourselves into?
God can not be moved because we catch Him in a checkmate. We can not force the hand of God, with our good behavior, with our prayers, with our challenges, with our business plans…..Gods ways are higher than our ways. We can not see the beginning and the end. God gets to be God and we cant coerce Him into something that isnt in His will for us, or for our lives.
If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to Him in prayer! (esv)
Giving our hearts, preparing a clean heart, and lifting our hands in prayer does not guarantee that we will get what we want, be healed, be blessed with provision. God is not our Genie in a bottle that we “rub” through prayer and supplication to get our own way. In this scenario – we are taking on the job of God-----God is merely the power source behind what we want to manifest in our lives. There is no trust, there is no faith.
Imagine a world where we limit God with our biggest, grandest dreams, seeking to manifest His creative power to get what we want. I think the greatest part of the Christian walk is not knowing and letting God love up on us. To watch and be amazed at how He loves. To wait with expectant joy to see what is next on our grand adventure. The Holy Spirit is an adventure that beats any rollercoaster ride or white water ride-----there are dips and valleys – there are unknown buena vistas and quiet resting spots-----exhilarating highs and butterfly wings that make nary a sound . The adventure of God is as vast as that ocean of love- I don’t want to be in the boat, trying to control the current- I want to be free in the current, breathing Him in and breathing Him out. That- to me is the expanse of God! In Zophar’s advice above I would gt rid of the words “If Only” – because this, to me, leads me to a cause and effect relationship- If you prepare your heart, THEN>……..
What about if we say:
Prepare your heart and lift your hands to Him in prayer (because He is so worthy)
Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you.
Then your face will brighten with innocence
You will be strong and free from fear
You will forget your misery it will be like water flowing away
Your life will be brighter than the noonday
Even darkness will be brighter than morning.
Having hope will give you courage,
You will be protected and rest in safety
You will lie down unafraid
And many will look to you for help
(ESV verses 13-19, excluding “If Only”) When we leave off the “If Only” I say, “Amen Zophar!” This theology I can agree with and embrace- preparing our hearts to receive more of Him, and raising our hands in prayer makes everything else fall into place!
Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
I would caution myself against the lure of Zophar, sprinkling a little bit of truth, with a lot of anger, condemnation and judgement
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. 1 Corinthians 4:5
Perhaps if we are slow to speak and slow to anger, we will be quick to love and quick to forgive. Perhaps if we stay in a posture of prayer, we will have patience with those that mourn, hurt, and are sick. We will enter into others campfires, with respect and honor- grateful that we are invited into anothers suffering. Grateful for the chance to love with abandon and extravagance. Grateful that we can wipe a brow, offer a prayer, bring a meal and hug tightly. To enter into anothers suffering is to enter into Holy Ground. I want to thank all of those that sat with me around my campfire the past few months, through my moms fall and my dads passing. I am all the better of a person after seeing how friendship is done in the Kingdom of God.
Trust allows the release and the praises

I prepare my heart and lift my hands in prayer. Through trust, I release prayer,thanks and hope on the wings of love. These are received by the Father in love.

I stand on faith: For All I Trust Him

Job Week 19: Job Chapter 10: 12-22

In verses 13- 15 (NLT) Job says:
Yet your real motive- your true intent- was to watch me, and if I sinned,
You would not forgive my guilt
I think this is the “ANGRY GOD” scenario….I grew up under this scenario. I was raised in a pre-vatican 2 church, where God was not portrayed to me- a small child- as a God of love. He was to be feared, and fear Him I did. My perception of my religion was that there were many rules, and you could mess up at any time- and God would be angry. I remember going into the confessional for my first communion. I was seven, and preparing to receive this sacrament. We had to enter into the confessional, two small wooden closets, with a screen in between them and a bench to sit on, and start our confession, “Forgive me Father, it has been ______long since my last confession.” It is intimidating to walk into a wooden closet – alone, and confess the horrors of my 7 year old heart to a priest on the other side of the screen. I remember being in a near panic. There were 2 priests, at that time, processing through the confessions of our communion class- one Father was yelling at all of the little innocents that entered into his confessional – big, bellowing yells. The slain innocents came out of his confessional ashen, shaken, crying. I got Father Dobson that morning, the angry priest, – and I survived. Because, I now know that he was not a representation of our God, and I believe God somehow protected me from his onslaught. My thoughts, as I was going through my sacraments, learning of the precepts of the Catholic Church- was that God was angry. I couldn’t please Him. I didn’t think I wanted to spend eternity with such an angry God figure. I was able to appease my Catholicism as a young adult, with Vatican 2, and a progressive Catholic Church. My image of God softened into respect, awe, fear, longing and love.
All of this is to say that I, personally, can relate to Job with this mindset of God. You may have vestiges of this mindset from your childhood, from a church experience, from an older relative. Some are in love with Jesus, but fear the God of the Old Testament. The God who smites and sends plagues. I want to defend Father God this morning. I would like to take Him off the trial seat and offer Him to us all as a God of hope. When folks are asked about their perceptions of Jesus, we hear:
Grace
Mercy
Love
Forgiveness
Sacrifice
I do believe all of these things about our Jesus. I also believe all of these things about Father God. In John 14: 9 we see,
Jesus replied, “ Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show Him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me – does His work through me (NLT)
If we are in love with Jesus, we can know that we also are in love with Father God, because Jesus portrayed the heart of the Father while He walked on this earth. Another favorite scripture is John 18:25 (NLT)
O, righteous Father, the world does not know you, But I do. And these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them and I will continue to do so. Then, your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them
Oh my goodness, each time I think on this scripture, I collapse in awe and wonder. Let’s unpack this just a bit.
O, righteous Father – the world does not know you.
The world He created, the world He created to walk in the gardens with His creations – the world does not know Him
But I do
Jesus came to show us the Father, to walk out the Father’s heart on earth, spreading love, grace, wisdom, discernment. To love with abandon and set the world religions on alert.
And these disciples know You sent Me.
Jesus always pointed back to the Father. These disciples, you and me included, know that Father God sent Jesus into the world to die for our sins, so that we may have everlasting life. This was the ultimate act of love, and sacrifice, on our behalf. There is a Mark Schultz Song, “Can You See Him” – that speaks of a young boy dying of cancer- it tugs at the heart strings and brings tears to the eyes
I'm down on my knees again tonight,
I'm hoping this prayer will turn out right.
See, there is a boy that needs Your help.
I've done all that I can do myself
His mother is tired,
I'm sure You can understand.
Each night as he sleeps
She goes in to hold his hand,
And she tries
Not to cry
As the tears fill her eyes.
Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place some how.
See, he's not just anyone, he's my son.
Sometimes late at night I watch him sleep,
I dream of the boy he'd like to be.
I try to be strong and see him through,
But God, who he needs right now is You.
Let him grow old,
Live life without this fear.
What would I be
Living without him here?
He's so tired,
And he's scared
Let him know that You're there.
Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place some how.
See, he's not just anyone, he's my son.
Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place somehow.
See, he's not just anyone.
Can You hear me?
Can You see him?
Please don't leave him,
He's my son.
Imagine the mother and father at the bedside, pleading for their son.
Now, if you would, read it again, with Mary – the mother of God- pleading for her Son and God as the Father, watching His son dying on a cross- blameless, spotless- battered, beaten, broken and humiliated…calling out to all the earth-
Mary pleads:
Can you hear me?????
Am I getting through tonight??
CAN YOU SEE HIM?
Can You make Him feel all right?
If you can hear me- let me take His place somehow…..
See- He’s not just anyone-
HE’S MY SON.
God answers, His Son on a cross, rying out to the world He came to save:
Can you hear me??
Can you see Him???
Please, don’t leave Him-
He’s my SON.
For me- this is the love of the Father. The love that walked on this earth, through the feet, hands and heart of Jesus Christ.
Can you hear Me?...I sent my Son to speak of the wonders and expanse of My love
Can you see Him….He walks among you for a short time, see Him with your hearts, not your heads. Even now as He is strung on a cross- do you SEE Him??
Please don’t leave Him…..Love Him
He’s MY SON…..my only Son, sent to die for your sins – Can you see Him??
I have revealed You to them
Amen – to love Jesus is to love the Father who sent Him.
And I will continue to do so
Holy Spirit, even now, please reveal evermore of the mysteries of scripture, the mysteries of God and the depths of love to our hearts.
Then, Your love for me will be in them.
And here is where I have a come-undone. To love Jesus- as the Father loves Jesus. That we would inhabit the love of the Father for His Son. That we would swim –with ease- in an expanse of love so large- for Jesus Christ. I can not fathom or imagine that universe of love living in this tainted vessel. Yet, this is the idea- that His love for His Son would live in me. Even the rocks cry out, may my heart sing of the love I have of Jesus Christ. May my heart be able to expand to such depth, breadth and scope to inhabit LOVE UNBRIDLED.
…….
Can you see Him?
Please don’t leave Him-
He’s my Son.
Yes, Father, we see Him, and we love Him. Yes, Father.
And I will be in them.
Not worthy, O Lord, I am not worthy. Like Isaiah my lips are stained and my heart plots evil. Thank you God for being a God whose real intent, whose true motive is to watch me and if I sin- forgive and cast my sins as far as the east is to the west.
Job is a praying man – Job has known the Father in the good times, and now frets over who God is to him now. If you are walking through tough times – God is the same today as He was yesterday. He is the Alpha-Omega – the beginning and the end. If we really believe that- if we are going to really walk that out- we have to know that God holds every beginning in our lives in His hands- AND- He holds every ending in His hand. It is easier (I think) to trust Him with our beginnings. They are exciting and fresh. Endings don’t always go the way we want. To trust Him with the endings- is part of the faith walk.
My dad passed away this week. I trust God with Dad’s ending. In verses 20 -22 Job speaks of death:
I have only a few days left, so leave me alone, that I may have a moment of comfort, before I leave – never to return- for the land of darkness and utter gloom. IT is a land as dark as midnight, a land of gloom and confusion, where even the light is as dark as midnight” (NLT)
If I were around the campfire, with Job, I would start singing praises and offering thanksgiving. I would take God off of the trial seat and help Job remember the faithfulness of our God. Spending this last week with my Dad was a blessing that I will hold most dear. My family was able to love my Dad into eternity. As we walked out the past week, it felt like heaven was closer than I have ever experienced. My perception of what was waiting for my Dad was not one of darkness and utter gloom. My perception of heaven receiving my dad was one of pure joy. There were moments when I felt like I was given glimpses of the excitement and the expectation of my dad coming home. Angels were dancing in exuberant expectation of the one that was returning. I felt like I lived Proverbs 31:25 this past week:
She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs , without fear, of the future” (NLT)
Because I know Jesus , I know the heart of the Father, and I have a mighty counselor living within this tabernacle, called “the body”. I was able to trust God with dad’s ending- and laugh at the beginning of his beginning. My dad had a glorious unfolding. Happy Birth- day Dad- well done.




 Job Week 18- Chapter 10





Who is God? Job seems to be wrestling with everything he knew of God, trying to make his past line up with his perceived future. Who is God? How can there be a God that blesses beyond measure and then turns a deaf ear? This week we will look at a few viewpoints that we, as humans, can assign to God.
In verses 2 and 3 We see Job questioning the Almighty:
I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. My bitter soul must complain. I will say to God, “Don’t simply condemn me- tell me the charge you are bringing against me. What do you gain by oppressing me? Why do you reject me, the work of your won hands, while smiling on the schemes of the wicked”
Here we see Job asking God to explain the WHY’S of life. Why do people die? Why do people get cancer? Why is this happening to me? Why cant we get a job? Why cant they stop their addiction? Why were they taken away from me so suddenly?
We shake our fists at heaven and we demand answers from God. We put Him on trial- and we cross our arms across our chests and we turn a deaf ear to the singing that is going on over us. WE don’t see the blessings and the smiles – the ministering angels that He sends through our heartbreak.
Enter God as our “Silent Partner”….in this scenario, we plan out everything. We have it all figured out and we “pray” ie – tell God how we would like things to unfold. We write up our own business plans and we present this completed business plan to God – asking Him to sign His approval, His might, miracles, power, grace and favor on what we put together. God isn’t our silent partner! In Ephesians 3:20 it says, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish INFINITELY more than we might ask or think”
Think about that INFINITELY MORE that we could ask or think. Let’s remember that business plan that we dreamed up, wrote up in our hearts, committed to within our thinking and are waiting on God to manifest. GOD HAS INFINITELY MORE THAN THAT.
Infinite - 1.
limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate.
"the infinite mercy of God"
synonyms: boundless, unbounded, unlimited, limitless, never-ending, interminable; More
immeasurable, fathomless, imponderable;
extensive, vast;
immense, great, huge, enormous
"the universe is infinite"
countless, uncountable, inestimable, innumerable, numberless, immeasurable, incalculable, untold, myriad
"infinite resources"
antonyms: limited, small
very great in amount or degree."he bathed the wound with infinite care"
MATHEMATICSgreater than any assignable quantity or countable number.
MATHEMATICS(of a series) able to be continued indefinitely.
Lets get our head and heart around that truth – He can accomplish INFINITELY more than we might ask or think. The business plans that we present to God – waiting for His approval – He says, “Don’t limit me with your dreams- trust me with your tomorrows”. The Christian journey should be one of constant, joyful expectation, of what is around the next corner. He knows the desires of our hearts, why not let Him overwhelm us with His plans for us, rather than limit Him with our wildest dreams?
Sometimes life takes us out at the knees and staggers us. We reel and we try to find our balance – but we cant seem to. Job says to God – “Tell me the charge you are bringing against me”. Be still and listen for His heartbeat. Listen to the singing that He sings over you. Watch for the ministering angels that He sends to you. Watch for His kisses that come through daily manna called blessings. Remember, God is out to make us Holy not happy. WE may not ever understand they WHYS on this side. But, do you trust Him? Do you have HOPE in Him, the expectation of good? Do you believe that He has plans for you, plans to prosper you and to grow you? That may not look like you think it is going to look. We hear “prosper” and we think money. I have great prosperity in my family and my friends. I am rich beyond measure in studying the Word. No one can compare my riches in the hearts of friends that I have, in the ministries that I get to do, and in the laughter of my family. I am prosperous beyond measure – infinitely prosperous- and some months we are not sure how the mortgage is going to be paid. Some weeks are mac and cheese weeks because there were too many days in our pay week and not enough shekels. If we let go of our expectations and our business plans – would we see things differently? Would we stop trying to calculate our blessings according to income? Sometimes He provides the services, other times He provides the money. Sometimes He provides the friends, other times He provides ministering angels. We cant know the ways of God. Do you trust Him with your today? Do you trust Him with your present circumstances and do you have hope – the expectation of good- in your tomorrow? I hope so. I wish we could have sat with Job and reminded him of these things. Reminded him that God draws near to the broken hearted.
Let’s remember that Job is a praying man – He knows God, he is in relationship with Him. Has your present circumstances ever found you questioning everything that you knew of God? Like Job, you knew Him in the mountain heights, but cant seem to find Him in the valleys? Job cant find his God. He scratches and he waits and he sits and he listens and…he….cant….hear….God. I think some of the hardest times we are called to are the wilderness experiences where we walk and we trust. If you find yourself in the dessert and you haven’t heard anything in a while- go back to your last marching orders and see if you have done them. Go back to the last thing you have heard and take note of you have been obedient with the last thing He trusted you with. Have you committed yourself to your own business plan? Why not let God overwhelm you with infinite possibilities?
We all go through seasons where we just don’t understand what is going on. I recently walked through a season of absolute confusion. Everything I knew was taken. Everything that I had been doing, seemingly for the Lord, was stripped from me. I still don’t know why. I found myself “Waitin’ on the Lord”….watching each new turn with excitement to see what He had in store. Watching, waiting, praying hoping in the expectation of something good. He has infinitely overwhelmed me in the past month with His plans- they were far MORE than I could have ever imagined. I don’t know what the last season was about and why everything was taken away – but I do know that He uses everything with good, so I will wait and listen and pray and keep walking- one step at a time. So many times we want to see the whole journey laid out. We want it to be highlighted with rest stops visible. We want to know all the attractions and all the stops, hills and valleys along the way. God doesn’t work that way with me. He shows me one step, once I take it- in faith and trust- He offers the next step. We never know where we will end up or where the rest stops are going to be…we walk by faith.
Maybe that’s what death is like. We approach this great unknown with fear and trembling. Will it hurt, will we suffer? Death is the ultimate journey of faith that we take. In finding Nemo, they are about to be swallowed by a whale, holding onto the whales uvula, Dory
“Lets go”
with childlike faith and innocence she says
“Let go!!”
She drops into the unknown
And she tells Marlin to do the same
”How do I know I will be alright?”
“You don’t!”
I think death is like that- we have to let go sometimes. Let go of diseased bodies, let go of broken relationships, let go of addictive behaviors, let go of bad mindsets, let go of business plans, let go of the past, let go of hurts and bruises, let go of jealousies…..we don’t know it will be alright, but we know we serve a God that created the heavens but still wants our hearts.
Maybe we all need to let go of some things. Maybe we could start a new way this week, giving a blank sheet of paper to God and saying YES to it before we know what He is planning. What if we let go,like Dory, into the expanse of God, and trusted that it would be alright. Or we can be Merlin and hold on – with everything that we have – on the spot we have claimed as safe. If we don’t go into the places we are called, we cant claim the promises laid out for us.
I pray that all of us can “let go” a bit this week into the vast expanse of Love that God has for us.



Job Week 17






Job: Week 17, Chapter 9
God is good. God is not out to make us happy, but to make us holy…shaping us to higher ground. He constantly shapes and reshapes, but God is good. We need to keep that in the front of our minds and this needs to become our foundations. Happiness is fleeting. Remember that JOY comes from trust in the Lord. Trusting in Him is our first step. (Insert the pitch on the importance of constant gratitude journaling!) Let’s look at this weeks chapter through the lens that GOD IS GOOD.
Some of my favorite verses in Job are in this weeks reading.
“He shakes the earth from its place, and its foundations tremble. If He commands it, the sun wont rise, and the stars wont shine. He alone spreads out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea. He made all the stars-the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky. He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles” Job 9:5-10 NLT
Elohim breathed life into existence. He created Mount Everest while painting the blues on a bluebird. He cast the stars into the galaxies, while fashioning a newborns baby toes. He is grand, yet gentle. He is majestic, while tender. He is just, while filled with grace. That is our God. He created the sparrow, not one will fall to the ground apart from our Father (Mthw 10:29) And you, you are more valuable than many sparrows! Remember:
1- God is good
2- You are more important than many sparrows
Did you see the hope start to blossom, feel it begin to bloom once again ,in Job 9:10- He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles! (He is actually directly quoting Eliphaz’s words back to his friends here – see Job5:9, isn’t it funny that the truth sticks – no matter how dismal our circumstances! ) Yes, that is who Job knows Him to be! That is our God! In this moment, this splinter of time, can you feel the praise and worship about to break into the atmosphere? Job is remembering who He is. When we remember who He is HOPE breaks into our atmosphere, because HOPE is the expectation of good. Can you hear the angels still and listen as Job enters into the countless miracles of God? Can you see the smile spread out on God’s face as He hears Job begin to remember whose he is? Can you see satan kicking the ground, cursing the turn of events, unleashing an inner attack, whispering lies into Job’s ears, needing to turn the tables around again?
Our splinter of time passes and with Job’s next breath, he sinks back into despair, the loss of hope for his future.
“Yet when He comes near, I can not see Him. When He moves by me, I do not see Him go.” (verse11) Can you feel the angels wings slump with downcast eyes, and can you feel God pull Job a little closer, a little tighter? and even if I summoned Him and He responded, I’m not sure he would listen to me.” (verse 16)
I think there are a few things going on here that we need to look at. Are you, exactly, where Job is today? Do you feel like God is not listening to you? That He, somehow, does not see you? Tell Him. He is big enough to take it, He is God enough to love you through it. We cant interact with God until we come before Him broken and hurting, raw and vulnerable. I wont throw Christian talk at your pain, telling you pat Christian answers that will fall on a hurting heart. I wont deny your heartbreak or despair. I wont tell you your are going to be alright. I don’t know if you are…going to be alright. I wont tell you that your faith is lacking, so your walk is lacking. I wont dismiss your pain with prayers that fall from my lips, never engaging my heart. I wont throw “Christianese” at your pain, rather than entering into your suffering with you. As a good friend, I will sit with you and I will help you remember whose you are. I will encourage your eyes to find the one that has been holding you through your ordeal and help you remember that HE IS GOOD.
I will remind you that you are more important than the sparrows, flying to and fro.
I will remind you of the lillies that don’t worry about tomorrow.
Luke 12:27
Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these
I will remind you of Psalm 84:11
For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold NO GOOD THING from those who do what is right. O lord of Heavens Armies, what joy for those that trust you”
Psalm 136
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
For His loving kindness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
To Him who alone does great wonders,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
To Him who made the heavens with skill,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
To Him who spread out the earth above the waters,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
To Him who made the great lights,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting:
The sun to rule by day,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
The moon and stars to rule [d]by night,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
To Him who smote the Egyptians in their firstborn,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And brought Israel out from their midst,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
With a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
To Him who divided the Red Sea asunder,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And made Israel pass through the midst of it,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
But He [h]overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the [i]Red Sea,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
To Him who led His people through the wilderness,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
To Him who smote great kings,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And slew mighty kings,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting:
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And Og, king of Bashan,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And gave their land as a heritage,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
Even a heritage to Israel His servant,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Who remembered us in our low estate,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And has rescued us from our adversaries,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
Who gives food to all flesh,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
What is going on here in Psalm 136? They are remembering all of the things God has done for them, because of his everlasting lovingkindness. Remember your stories of His faithfulness in your life. Cry out to Him as Job did. The source of hope is the only one that can fill your desperate places. Lets remember Romans 15:13: I pray that God, THE SOURCE OF HOPE, will fill you COMPLETELY, with JOY AND PEACE because YOU TRUST IN HIM. Take out a pen and write, remember who He is, remember the one who holds you, and cry and scream, as you give it all to Him, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
The truth is HE sees you, He knows everything you have been walking through….everything. He knows, like Job where you have fallen short, and He knows of your faithfulness. He knows it all and He…loves. That- I can promise you. I don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like, but I know a God that is faithful and offers daily manna in ways we cant fathom or imagine. I can remind you of the story of Joseph, who went through horror, after horror- but always landed on his feet, because God directed his steps. . When faced with the very beginning of his troubles, that looked like his brothers- but smelled like rejection and deceit – Joseph was able to say “It was GOD who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.” Genesis 45: 5 NLT
Joseph trusted, not in the circumstances, not on his surroundings, but on the one who led him and held him.
You may feel like you have been rejected and lied to by those you held most dear.
Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
You may feel like you were cast into a hole to die.
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for is lovingkindness is everlasting.
You may feel like you are hungry and you don’t know where your next meal will come from. Through the fear and through the anxiety…oh my goodness, it just seems impossible…..
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
You may find yourself in a prison – real or self imposed and unable to get out
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
You may find yourself being used as a pawn
Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
You may find yourself being abused and hurt
…this is so hard to even fathom or imagine, even writing it seems contrary….find help…get safe..and….yes……. Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
I am crying writing this – how can that even be? How can I even have the audacity to throw such christian glib at such horrific situations?? Fear, pain, rejection, bodily harm, persecution, abuse……
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
<sob, why God, why?> <how God, how?>
Remember, if we take God off of the trial seat- we can remember that we live in a fallen world, that dwells, excites and encourages depravity. We were never promised that the rain would only fall on some. We are promised that this world is broken and we are in it, not of it, but we walk in and out of the shades of darkness that inhabit the minds, hearts, people, and governments. Trouble is here, our circumstances will change, our possessions will change.
God is the same now, yesterday and tomorrow. Joseph says at the end of his father’s life, to his brother’s- that deceived him, sold him and lied to him: “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it ALL for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people (Genesis 50:20 NLT)
I think God is more concerned about our holiness than our happiness. Everything that you are walking through will be turned around for good, so that He can save the lives of many people. Trust that He is GOOD. When you trust in Him – you will be filled with joy and peace and hope. That is how you can get through your present trials with the hope, and the peace, and the joy of the Lord as your foundation.
He is good
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
He is faithful
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
He is merciful
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
His love endures forever
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
He chases after one, leaving 99 behind
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
We know the voice of our Shepherd
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
He loved us first
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
He died for our sins
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
He came so that we might have abundant life
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
The King of Kings came as a baby
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
The King of Kings died as a criminal
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
He came to the world He created, but the world did not recognize Him
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
He is GOOD>
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting
Job Week 16
The tree is a women- with ehr arms raised in praise

A double spread to add weekly belssings

Bildad Speaks – Chapter 8
This week we will meet Bildad, Job’s friend, who is a Shuhite. Bildad seems to have no filter….he just sort of lays it out like he sees it. He opens with, “How long will you go on like this? You sound like a blustering wind.” (Eyebrows raise and my breath halts in my chest, can you feel the tension in the air?) And here we start to really feel the suffering of Job as he is introduced to –perhaps – one of his hardest trials …the persecution and judgments of his friends. Can you feel the tense atmosphere as Bildad begins to speak? Can you feel the downcast eyes, afraid to make eye contact, as he continues on with, “Your children must have sinned against Him, so their punishment was well deserved”. (v4) <Gasp> Bildad, honey, what are you doing? Suga’pie, do you realize that is your outside voice?? Mental note to self on communication skills and how to NOT enter into a conversation….perhaps it would be best to leave the condemnation, judgement and cruelty at the door?? Can you feel the tension begin to cackle around the old ash heap? Oh my goodness, I practically break out in hives just reading this interaction! He is so outspoken, so harsh, so condemning. Remember that there is always one more person around the campfire, satan, spurring, speaking, whispering. Satan quotes scripture to Jesus in the wilderness. Satan knows the character and nature of God- and satan is a master of taking a shred of truth and adding a shred of a lie. At first bite, it is palatable- it feels like truth. But as we continue to ingest it – we hardly notice that we are just a little farther away from the truth. If the truth is our destination, one degree- in any direction, will land us far from the truth – squarely in deception. If we are using a compass to find our way…a one degree error will land us half way around the world. Bildad comes in like a bull in a china shop – and though his argument has some truth- I feel there is one degree of separation that lands us in troubled waters.
Let’s start to break down his theology and his thoughts on God. Because, ultimately, who is on trial here? We are told time and time again, that Job is a blameless man, and none of his friends have any conclusive evidence against him…it is all conjecture and theological observances. God, I think, God is on trial here – why do we have to suffer? Why do the Godly suffer?? How can we call Him a God of Love- with suffering ever present? It, somehow, is more palatable if we find the unholy and the unrighteous suffering. Somehow, we can sit back in our righteous indignation – like Bildad, looking on the boil infested carcass of his friend – and deem thy own self healthy and righteous- and that of the broken, unrighteous sinner a just-deserving- punishment. Let’s slow down the accusations and offer Bildad a hand as he steps off of his soapbox. Let’s offer him a seat around the campfire. We wont throw him out, we will alter the atmosphere a bit. Let’s silence the enemy and begin with worship.
Let’s look at God. Let’s remember God. Lets remember His faithfulness and who HE is. Lets recount and remember past testimonies of His goodness. Lets remember that God is around the old ash heap, watching and listening and breathing and ……loving. God is not absent from Job’s trial, He did not turn His back, nor did He write him off. HE is there is our present time of need, and He draws close to the broken hearted. I imagine God being closer to Job in, in this time, than He ever was. I can imagine God’s breath on Job’s cheek as he scratches, allowing Job the space to lean on Him through Bildad’s discourse. Remember who God is and He will, always, remind you who you are.
So, let’s remember God and let’s enter this accusation through the lens of worship, and praises to a faithful God. What if this was always our first step, entering with worship and praise. Taking God off the trial seat, and trusting in His goodness, though we may not understand circumstances…letting THAT be our foundation. How would our hearts be changed- if God was no longer on trial? Again, this is the importance of the gratitude journaling – THIS is where we adapt a lifestyle of worship and praise. One of my biggest worries would be that we get so sidetracked in making art and doing our journals, that we forget – what I consider- one of the most important aspects of our Journey (other than ingesting the Scriptures)- journaling our blessings. When we journal our blessings, we take God off of the trial seat and we worship. When we worship, we trust Him. When we trust Him, the source of Hope, HE fills us with joy and peace. The first step, is entering His courts through Thanksgiving. He will fill our mouths with laughter and our lips with shouts of joy! (Job8:21)
So, with God in our midst, let’s look at Bildad’s discourse. Job will say in Chapter 9: “I know this is all true in principle….but……” So- what is true “in principle” . The unrighteous will suffer. Does God even have to “smite” them? There are consequences to our unrighteous actions. The thieves that were crucified next to Jesus, still died on the cross- even though one was promised eternity- he still suffered an excruciating death.There are trials for the righteous and the unrighteous. It rains on the wicked and on the righteous.I do believe in the validity of trials – I may not trust the trial, but I trust the one in control.
I get a little bit ansy with verse 6 – “….and if you are pure and live with integrity, He will surely rise up and restore your happy home. And though you started with little, you will end up with much”. Enter the retribution principle – or the “Prosperity Gospel”. My hiccup here is that we should not seek righteous for what we can get out of it – to milk God of wealth, status and prosperity – as a payment for our righteousness. To enter righteous relationship for what we will gain, is not righteous after all. Let’s cast our eyes to God, who is in our midst, holding up Job. Can you ask Him for wealth untold, based on your righteousness? I shudder at the thought and feel like Isaiah –“Lord I have unclean lips”. I have unclean hands, feet, heart, mind, - you name it Lord, I am a mess and need a Savior! I am not entitled to anything because of my “righteousness”!
I do know though, that when I live with purity and righteousness, there are fruits of the Spirit that surround me and my little circle of influence. I know when I love with abandon, I receive love unbridled. I know there are benefits to living out of His overflow, and splashing everyone around me. Its not because I deserve it, it is because I am entering into relationships through the eyes of integrity and love, through trust and honor. I offer a teachable spirit, rather than arrogance….and the world is softer.
In verses 8-10, Bildad gives voice to the generations before him, to pay heed to their wisdom. Oh, Bildad, I so agree. There is so much wisdom in our older generations, so much life, and joy. To discount an entire generation of wisdom, is a exercise in foolishness. I encourage us all to love and listen- to all generations. Toddlers can, sometimes, amaze with their simple analysis, while stuffing Cheerios in their noses. :- ) Seniors have anecdotes and hymns, wisdom and stories…lets all agree to soak in the stages and the ages of life on this planet as it is presented to us…all have worth, all have wisdom, all have stories that need to be shared and heard. Bildad, I so agree with you, lets pay attention to the wisdom of our ancestors.
Bildad goes on to speak of those that do not know God, and how the hopes of the godless evaporate. “They are leaning on a spider web, their roots are entwined around rocks, as the lush green spreads across the garden, in the sunshine. When they are uprooted- it is as if they never existed.” Let’s cast a glance over at God again, sitting in our midst. Who would not want to know Him? As your eyes approach His Glory – doesn’t your heart melt? Who would not feel more complete being in relationship with Him? Who would not want to grow deep in His word, know Him as Savior, drink deeply of His faithfulness? There are some that don’t know Him. There are so many signs that folks are saying that the end is coming---the red moons in conjunction with Hebrew feasts. When you think about the end of times do you think about your house standing on The Rock? About having your lamp full? About not being asleep? What if we shifted focus from self…. what if we thought about those that are not in relationship? What if we switched our thinking from, “Will I be ready when He returns” to “Who am I taking with me?” To spread the Gospel, to love His world, to make disciples of Nations….who are you taking with you?
The godless do seem frail to me. How do you get through a trial without knowing God? What are you leaning on – the riches of the world? The house? The Car? The position? The status? The ministry? All of these are temporary. God is, was and ever shall be. God is the great I AM. He is a rock and a foundation that is not comprised of shifting sands. Lean not on your own understanding. Are you comfortable in the cleft of the rock, under His protection…or are you winning souls for the Kingdom? I would offer that it is not enough for us to know God,we have a responsibility to share Him and offer testimony of the joy that lives within us.
My journal this week reflects my disdain of the prosperity Gospel. There are roots going down into the rocks. Roots of righteousness.

 When I am rooted in righteousness, the outgrowth is integrity.

There are no promises that there wont be storms. There are no promises that I wont loose a limb every now and again, and that I will enter into seasons of drought. There are no promises that certain branches may dry up, and fall off. There are no promises that new shoots wont take off and grow with wild abandon. There are no promises that my surroundings may change a hundred times over. Nestled within the branches is the word TRUST and THANKSGIVING. To trust in Him and to offer Thanksgiving.



 I do trust that He will fill my mouth with laughter and with shouts of joy. “I pray that God, the source of HOPE, will fill you completely with JOY AND PEACE, because you TRUST in Him. Then, you will overflow with confident Hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15:13.
In taking God out of the trial, and trusting in Him, through all of life’s good times and bad times…is to flower in our circumstances. We wont always understand, Oswald Chambers said, “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.” Trusting in Him and that His ways are not our ways, though they are the best ways. There is a peace in that place. There is a sense of wellness, when the world is not well. I thank God that He is a God that sits with us in the ash heap and loves us through the hardest of times, forever sifting and sanctifying us to bring out our highest good.

 Job Week 15
Chapter 7

We pick up our story in Chapter 7, Job continues to lament over the futility of his life, and I just want to silence him, assure his spirit, and offer a hug. To hear his despair spoken is almost too much to bear, as we sit alongside him. If I could, I would gently take Job’s chin and lift it upwards- upwards towards the horizon and upwards towards the heavenly realm. This is where our hope comes from. HOPE. What a word- what a concept- what a promise.
Remember that we started our study of Job with the word, “Elohim”- the one true, compassionate, gracious creator God who interacts with His creation. This is the Father of HOPE, and Job forgot. Sometimes we all forget who’s we are and we allow our circumstances to overpower us. I want to remind you who’s you are today, and who plans your future
I want to start this week by looking at a scripture from Romans15: 13, New Living Translation: I pray that God, the SOURCE OF HOPE, will fill you COMPLETELY with JOY AND PEACE, because you trust in Him. Then, you will OVERFLOW with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s unpack this for a moment and see the flow:
God is the Source of Hope
1st – TRUST in Him
2nd – He fills us with Joy and peace.
3rd – We overflow with confident hope
Just as He loved us first, HE is the source of Hope that we must tap into, through trust.
We weren’t at the ash heap with Job, but, we gather around each other through the suffering and through the trials and we have the power and the courage to direct eyes and hearts back to the Father of hope. WE GET TO remind ourselves and others where our hope comes from and to see JOY in the trials. Hope is the expectation of good, JOY is the passion, or emotion, excited by hope (or the expectation of good). More easily said- Hope is the seed and Joy is the flower. Hope comes from God, and Joy is the flower we find in trusting Him.


Biblical hope is vital, because when we loose hope- this is called despair- in the future……we loose JOY---this is called grief or sorrow- in the present. Let’s say that one more time, because it bears repeating,
To despair and loose hope
in the future –
is to loose Joy, through grief and sorrow,
in the present.

I don’t know if you have shivers – but this absolutely makes my heart sing. What a kingdom treasure! Despair from cancer, because you lost hope in your tomorrow. Despair in divorce, because you lost hope in your future. Despair from the death of a loved one, because you lost hope in your tomorrow. Despair in sickness, because you cant trust in your tomorrow. Stop. Right there….like Job you have lost hope in your tomorrow. Like Job, you have forgotten the expectation of good, from a goood, goood Father- called Elohim. You are lost in the moment, in the tragedy, in the circumstance. I come beside you and- ever so gently- whisper “He is good” in your ear, as I lift your eyes, and your heart, heavenly. HE is good. He has plans to prosper and to grow you. If you are stuck in the sickness, the circumstance, the heartbreak, the disappointment, the rejection, the confusion- I want to remind you, HE is good and you can expect good. Let hope be born in you again. Let hope be born in the circumstances, the heartbreak, the disappointments and the sickness.
Puritan Thomas Brooks says,” The soothing balm of Biblical hope allows us to see heaven through the thickest clouds”. Cast your eyes heavenly and trust in Elohim, our gracious, compassionate God. Allow hope to be born, once again, in your tomorrow. Allow the grief and the sorrow of yesterday to be wiped away with the hope of tomorrow. Expect good. Joy and peace will be loosed in your present, in the here and now- allowing you the chance to do life through a different lens. Our circumstances may not change, but we change in the circumstance. WE find joy in the trial, because we have hope in tomorrow.
How would you speak to Job as his despair overpowered his senses? We have the power to speak life through the scriptures. We have the chance to redirect hearts back to the Father, and connect hearts with our Savior. We get to walk through trials with the expectation for good, from a Father who causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8: 28)
I want to offer some scriptures that we can use to change our mindsets, alter our hearts, and sing of His goodness. My prayer is that these scriptures would be a soothing balm to all of us, allowing us to see heaven through the thickest of clouds!
Scriptures on Joy
Romans 12:12 ESV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Galatians 5:22 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Proverbs 17:22 ESV
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Isaiah 55:12 ESV
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Psalm 33:21 ESV
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
Psalm 30:11 ESV
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
Acts 13:52 ESV
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Scriptures on Hope
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Romans 12:12 ESV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 5:2-5 ESV
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Isaiah 40:31 ESV
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Psalm 39:7 ESV
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Romans 8:24 ESV
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
Proverbs 23:18 ESV
Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
Romans 8:25 ESV
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience
Jeremiah 17:7 ESV
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
Proverbs 13:12 ESV
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Hebrews 11:1 ESV
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Luke 1:37 ESV
For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Psalm 71:5 ESV
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
2 Corinthians 3:12 ESV
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold,
Lamentations 3:24 ESV
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
Hope is the seed and Joy is the flower. His promises can be found in scripture. Let these scriptures speak hope into any despair. Let’s lift each others eyes toward heaven and remind each other that He is good, and we can expect goodness, as His children.


Job Week 14
Chapter 6: 14-30

Job 6:14-30Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
A despairing man should receive loyalty from his friends,even if he abandons the fear of the Almighty. My brothers are as treacherous as a wadi,as seasonal streams that overflow
and become darkened because of ice,and the snow melts into them.The wadis evaporate in warm weather;they disappear from their channels in hot weather.
Caravans turn away from their routes,go up into the desert, and perish.
The caravans of Tema look for these streams.The traveling merchants of Sheba hope for them.
They are ashamed because they had been confident of finding water.When they arrive there, they are frustrated.So this is what you have now become to me]
When you see something dreadful, you are afraid.Have I ever said: “Give me something”
or “Pay a bribe for me from your wealth”or “Deliver me from the enemy’s power”
or “Redeem me from the grasp of the ruthless”?
Teach me, and I will be silent.
Help me understand what I did wrong.
How painful honest words can be!
But what does your rebuke prove?
Do you think that you can disprove my words or that a despairing man’s words are mere wind?
No doubt you would cast lots for a fatherless child and negotiate a price to sell your friend.
But now, please look at me; would I lie to your face?
Reconsider; don’t be unjust.
Reconsider; my righteousness is still the issue.
Is there injustice on my tongue
or can my palate not taste disaster?
Ouch! Would we agree that Job held back nothing as he responds to Eliphaz? Calling out that a despairing man should receive loyalty from his friends, even through the dark night of the soul when one questions existence. Especially through the dark night of the soul as one questions everything that is familiar to them!
Loyalty – that is an interesting concept. Faithfulness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. I think of the fruits of the Spirit as the the character and nature of God that we can manifest. Through the fruits of the Spirit, we can operate effectively in our gifts of the Spirit. One of the fruits of the Spirit is faithfulness. Loyalty is to show support, or allegiance. I think Job wanted someone to scratch with, commiserate with ….not a lecture on who he was NOT. What does a loyal friend look like? I am reminded of love- the greatest commandment and it’s definition:
Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not
Insist on it’s own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but
rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.
1Corinth 13:4-7
Did Eliphaz respond to Job’s condition as a friend, in a manner of love. I, of course, would offer that, “No, he did not.” According to the above definition, I think Eliphaz slipped on a few rocks as he was attempting to walk out mercy, grace and compassion.
Where do you think Eliphaz fell short of “Love”?
Job goes on to compare his friend to streams that overflow in the the winter months and dry up as the warmer weather comes on. Friends that are there through the good times, the easy times….but as the heat rises….they dry up.
Faithfulness as a fruit of the Spirit. Faithful friends stay, support and encourage through the trials of life and through the ups and downs, hot and colds. Plentiful and meager seasons of life. I understand those people that come into your life for a season. I understand we cant hold on to everyone forever. But those that the Lord has graced you with for the long haul, what does faithfulness look like in these relationships? What does love look like in these relationships?
• Patient
• Kind
• Does not envy or boast
• Not arrogant
• Not rude
• Does not insist on its own way
• Not irritable
• Not resentful
• Not rejoice at wrongdoing (iron sharpens iron)
• Rejoices with truth
• Bears all things
• Believes all things
• Hopes all things
• Endures all things
I want to be a friend that loves, and I know I have my good days and I have my bad days. I know that some days I fall terribly short, and other times I can love extravagantly. One of my goals for this year is to learn to love with abandon, to love unconditionally- in all circumstances, through all pitfalls, through all trials. To walk out the definition of LOVE as our Father set it out for us.
My journal this week reflects this love----we were loved first- with extravagance beyond all recognition, poured over us, on us and through us from heavenly realms. This love, if I allow it to flow over me and fill me becomes part of who I am and what I operate out of. In this filling, this overflow of love, I am able to pour out love onto those that the Lord has called me to walk with. I don’t ever want to be found to be a dry stream for those that are weary and come to my heart for a good, long drink. I want to be a mere conduit of His love. So that my world starts to reflect who I want to be:
LISA is patient, LISA is kind, LISA does not envy or boast. Lisa is not arrogant. Lisa is not rude. Lisa does not insist on her own way. Lisa is not irritable. LISA is not resentful. Lisa does not rejoice at wrongdoing. LISA rejoices with the truth. LISA bears all things. LISA believes all things. LISA hopes all things. LISA endures all things.

FAITHFUL LOVE AND LOYALTY…..an admirable quality to strive for.
Getting back to the scriptures, I love Job’s humility, and how he walks the tightrope between iron sharpening iron and loyalty…he says “Teach me and I will be silent. Show me what I did wrong”. Job has a teachable spirit, he is looking for his friends to enter into his suffering and look through his eyes….not, stand on the outside and offer empty reasonings and arguments. “Honest words can be painful”, amen Job!!
How do we respond when LOVE washes on our shores and reflects wrongdoing?
Do we have a teachable spirit?
The blame game is a tough road to walk out- a hamster wheel that we can never pause, lest we get thrown off into the mass of our deceit. Job is not blaming or pointing, he is hurting- a deep SOUL hurt and he says, “Show me what I have done wrong. Look at me! Would I lie to your face?” An honest man, a righteous man, a blameless man sitting in a den of vipers- scratching at his defenses, wearing him down with words and accusations, rather than applying a balm to his festering boils.
“Stop assuming my guilt, for I have done no wrong. Do you think I am lying? Don’t I know the difference between right and wrong? (verse 29-30)
Love is not arrogant, actually it is one of the 7 things that God hates (Proverbs 6: 16-19). Arrogance has an elevated importance of self. Eliphaz speaks of things that have been revealed to HIM. That Job should do what He would do, assuming an elevation of importance, knowledge and relationship. Eliphaz, Eliphaz, lets remember to love. Lets all agree to love the hurting world, our hurting brothers and sisters, and to endure with them. To stay in the trenches and hold up the arms of the weary. To hope when our downtrodden friends forget how to hope. LOVE is a mighty thing- the most important thing, according to our Savior.
What if….just what if…..we really got our head and our hearts around what it means to love? What would our world look like?

 

Job: Week 13; Chapter 6

Job week 13: chapter 6
Job’s Reply to Eliphaz
6 Then Job answered: If only my grief could be weighed and my devastation placed with it in the scales.For then it would outweigh the sand of the seas!
That is why my words are rash. Surely the arrows of the Almighty have pierced me;
my spirit drinks their poison.God’s terrors are arrayed against me.
Does a wild donkey bray over fresh grassor an ox low over its fodder?
Is bland food eaten without salt?Is there flavor in an egg white?
I refuse to touch them; they are like contaminated food.
If only my request would be granted and God would provide what I hope for:
that He would decide to crush me, to unleash His power and cut me off!
It would still bring me comfort,
and I would leap for joy in unrelenting pain
that I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
What strength do I have that I should continue to hope?
What is my future, that I should be patient?
Is my strength that of stone,
or my flesh made of bronze?
Since I cannot help myself,
the hope for success has been banished from me.Job 6:1-13
The first thing I notice, that makes me respect Job just a little more, he did not interrupt Eliphaz during his dissertation. He allows Eliphaz the time and the patience for him to lay his argument. I can learn a lot from Job- silence. Respectful, honoring silence. To meet accusation, judgement, righteousness with silence.
Eliphaz suggests that he was given truth, in secret, that condemned Job as a sinful man. True, we all are sinful- none can stand before God without the blood of the lamb covering us, but, he accuses Job’s calamities aa consequence of sin. Job does not interrupt or defend himself. NOTE TO SELF; did not defend.
Eliphaz suggests that Job’s children paid the price for this sin….and Job, when his CHILDREN were called into account….keeps silent. I can only imagine his heart shattering with each judgmental syllable spoken. I think children are a sore spot, the “Momma Bear” tends to come out. Don’t hurt my babies, just……don’t.
Eliphaz starts telling him how to fix it : “If I were you….” G.R. O.A. N. I find myself rolling my eyes and seething on Job’s behalf - yet, Job remains silent.
Silence during the launch of an attack, even a religious attack, even an attack by a friend….silence. Could I have that much restraint? Would my need to defend break through and shatter my silence? Probably…but, we can learn from these heroes of the faith. I can learn volumes from Job’s silence.
New International Version
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19
Job was quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.
There is another – later on in history- who will be silent as accusations are thrown at Him. Silence in the face of adversity.
When Job does speak he says, “If my misery could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would outweigh all the sands of the sea. “
A man that previously prayed religiously, now switches gears. In the New Living Translation, Job admits that has spoken impulsively.
In verse 4 he speaks that the Almighty has cut him down, the poison of His arrows infects His spirit, God terrors are lined us against him. In this “poison” the Hebrew word is “chemah” (khay-maw) meaning heat, hot displeasure, hot tempered, venom wrath. In 2Kings 22:17, it is used to show God’s INTENSE ANGER against Israel, who had practiced idolatry.
I would offer that Eliphazes words were nothing more to Job than an annoying fly pestering him, as there was a larger disturbance in Job’s spirit. I believe he felt that God had turned His wrath on Him and it infects his spirit. Never mind the boils and the itching. Never mind the deformities. Never mind the losses. Never mind the accusations of his friend, His GOD had turned His wrath on Him. In this moment, we can see the humanness of Job. Much later in history another innocent will say the words, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Can you feel it? The abandonment, the sorrow…in Jesus case He faces the first time that He is separated from His Father – and His soul cries out----far worse than the physical pain, far worse than the anguish, separation from God, causes the silent, slaughtered Lamb to cry out to His Father.
Imagine the darkest of nights in Job’s soul. Everything He knew, everything He had trusted, was no longer a trusted relationship. God never left Job….God never leaves us or abandons us….yet, satan would have us believe in a God that is temperamental and angry. As the whispers tantalize around the old campfire, prayers stop and worship dries up. “Impulsive” words spill from Job’s heart. Can you feel the hopelessness? Can you feel the ultimate battle that satan is waging? Always the same strategy, undermine God and His faithfulness. Question God and His goodness. Can you feel the war in his spirit as he is prompted, prodded, coerced and cajoled into cursing God and dying. Satan seems to whisper of God’s wrath against him. Job doesn’t pray – he speaks impulsively. And Job says, “Don’t I have a right to complain? “
Job, everything has gone wrong. Goodness, you have lost everything that you have held most dear. Your children, your possessions, and your friends are being less that supportive. You are covered in itchy boils with suggested, overt, deformities. You have lost it all- do you have the right to complain?
Might I offer one thing we never loose? We never loose God. Job did not loose God in the midst of his anguish. Please hear me that I can not understand what Job walked through, nor the sufferings that you are walking through. As a good friend, I will sit a spell with you and I will help you scratch, and worship. Let’s not forget to worship, even if it is a squeak of worship. Worship shifts our focus from us to Him. A squeak of worship will alter the atmosphere and silence the traitor in our midst. I can surely scratch and squeak with you, in honor of our God.
The past few weeks have been hectic. When family members are hurting, we hurt. We are at the mercy of Dr’s and nurses and we beg for their attention for our loved ones. Seemingly, we can do nothing as we watch them suffer. Do I have a right to complain? Job says (paraphrase LSV –Lisa Standard Version) doesn’t a wild donkey bray –complaining and carrying on – even when he has grass?? Does an ox grumble and gripe when he is hungry? Goodness- don’t we complain when food doesn’t taste good and it is in need of salt? These simple things bring out discontent- Job has lost eVErYTHING---don’t we have a right to complain???
I have been blessed with friends that have come and sat with me at my campfire the past few weeks. In the midst of worship and faith, there has been no space for complaining. We get to alter atmospheres with our words and with our attention. At my campfire there has not been empty prayers and empty promises. No, because masked christianity and empty promises resonate within as hollow promises. No, I am blessed with Eliphaz’ that speak life and hope and faith- and bring coffee and prayers and love. A gentle hand – laid out in prayer- squashes complaining. Easy laughter and visits in a hospital room brighten and lighten. I am blessed beyond compare.
Did Job have a right to complain? Do I have a right to complain? Do you have a right to complain? I don’t know, I can only speak for myself. As I journal the blessings that are bestowed upon me, it silences that complaining spirit that wants to bubble and burst. As I document the faithfulness of our God, it builds my faith and girds my defenses. Daily relationship helps me remember who I am. Job was a praying man, Job had daily relationship….if he fell pray to complaining, loosing focus- I know I can too.
I want to thank all of those that have held us up in prayer. It focused us and reminded us who’s we are. What glasses are you looking at your circumstances through?
Do you see your struggles through the lens of sanctification and wholeness, faith and grace?
What are your top complaints- How could God become more present in those thought bubbles?
Do you find that you complain a lot?
Are you a glass half empty kinda gal – or a glass half full kind guy?
How can you shift focus and prospective?
Do you recognize times that you are more grumbly than others? I know that when I am tired I can get negative and complain. Recognizing this in myself, I can be quiet and recognize that I need sleep, rest and quiet time….and the tremors stop.
Are you a good campfire friend? Do you alter the atmospheres when you enter into anothers suffering?
Are you a 911 friend? I am grateful for my 911 friends – those that I know are praying without ceasing, They don’t require a lot of time or attention in the midst of the trial----they just pray. A lot. Often. These friends can be called from the sidelines at a moments notice.
When I went to my journal this week to draw – I didn’t want to portray the negativity of the past few weeks – I wanted to , somehow, capture the joy in the midst of the trials. Find the rainbow and focus on the promises. Job proclaims that his calamities were heavier than the sand of the seas. This brings to mind the beach for me. This evokes smells of Coppertone sunscreen, body surfing with my brother in the outerbanks, plums, cheese and fried chicken on our blankets. Drying our towels over the sun bleached rails at Kings Motel. The beach feels like home. I can look at troubles through two lenses- through the lens of complaining or the lens of expectation. Each instance in our lives is a place to grow fear or faith.
This week I choose faith and joyful expectation in what God is doing. It might not look like I thought it would, but I am thankful for those He has LIBERALLY sprinkled over my life to walk with me, squeak for me and help me itch.
My journal reflects the joyful expectation found within the sands of the sea. I offer a special, heart felt thank you, to all of those that have prayed for my family over the past few weeks. Thank you for sitting a spell at my campfire. Pass that clay pot, would ya?

 

Job- Week12!  Chapter 5          


We are going to pick up in chapter 5, where it seems that Eliphaz has merely taken a breath after chapter 4 and continues to launch his thoughts and opinions on, our Job.
It seems a slippery slope once we commit our tongue to the thoughts and ramblings that have been rattling around inside our head.  There is a poem by Karl Shapiro, called “The Dirty Word”:
            "The dirty word hops in the cage of the mind like the Pondicherry vulture, stomping with its heavy claw on the sweet meat of the brain and tearing it with its vicious beak, ripping and chopping the flesh. Terrified, the small boy bears the big bird of the dirty word into the house, and, grunting, puffing, carries it up the stairs to his own room in the skull. Bits of black feather cling to his clothes and his hair as he locks the staring creature in the dark closet.
All day the small boy returns to the closet to examine and feed the bird, to caress and kick the bird, that now snaps and flaps its wings savagely whenever the door is opened. How the boy trembles and delights at the sight of the white excrement of the bird! How the bird leaps and rushes against the walls of the skull, trying to escape from the zoo of the vocabulary! How wildly snaps the sweet meat of the brain in its rage.”
 Eliphaz seems to loose all control of the dirty word that had been trapped within the confines of his skull.  I love the image of a dirty word, something nasty and volatile that we allow access into our consciousness.  We allow it in, and it tears us up – it, literally, tears at our peace and our sound judgement…but, somehow we delight in it.  We take it out of the closet  and relish it as we examine our dirty word, in the quiet of our minds eye.   We feed it each time we take it out, remembering and polishing our arguments, feeding the offense, saturating our minds, and ultimately our hearts with this vulture of a dirty word….we delight in our self inflated offenses and arguments.  The bird wants out – the arguments want to find flesh to tear into, the dirty word rattles against the confines of conscious looking for its escape through the mouth and the spoken  word.
  While it remains housed, it grows and it is fed with each ounce of attention we give it….eventually, it wins.  It can not be housed anymore. Righteous indignation is the fuel that launches the dirty word at its victim, tearing the flesh, ripping into the heart, leaving no survivors.
It is interesting to me that in the Amplified version, Hosea 8:1 says: “ Set the trumpet to your lips, the enemy comes as a great vulture against the house of the Lord because they have broken My covenant and transgressed My law. “ The enemy as a vulture, ripping and tearing, leaving its victim for  dead,  on the side of the road- once all damage has been inflicted.
Let’s pick up with Eliphaz, with these fresh insights, as he takes a breath and completes his arguments.  Let us also call to mind that we know, from previous chapters, that JOB did not sin against the Lord. It would appear that Eliphaz opens his mouth and now the vulture that tears at the very identity, character and integrity of Job is unleashed and the accusations fly.  Satan is a cruel task master- Eliphaz, oh Eliphaz, you who call Job friend, who came to comfort- unleashes an attack against Job’s dead children….can you feel Job crumble?  Can you feel the darts pierce his heart?  Once the vulture is released, it gains momentum and hungers for the flesh of the human heart. 
Eliphaz calls into account Job’s life and the surety of his sinfulness. In righteous indignation, he poses himself as an authority of such matters:  Job 5:27 says, “We have studied life and found all of this to be true.  Listen to my counsel and apply it to yourself”.  The authority, in pharisaical arrogance standing between Job and God with words such as: “If I were you, I would go to God and present my case to Him…”  Does anyone like the words, “If I were you…”?  They seem to promote self as authority. He says, “Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin” (verse 17)  There are pieces of truth in Eliphaz’ argument, but his argument begins with an inaccurate assumption- that Job sin has been the cause of this calamity.  He bases his entire argument on an assumption- and his argument is as lifeless as the hot air it is voiced through and as dangerous as the sharpest sword.   Eliphaz has formed an argument in his head, he has fed it, he has polished it- and the comforter now has become the persecutor.  The friend does not feel like a friend, but an adversary. The friend speaks of who Job is not.  The friend accuses and points. I think we have to be so careful who we allow into our inner circles and into the inner chambers of our hearts. I think we have to be careful and honorable in the communications that we have with each other- and with those sacred relationships that dwell in our inner courts.
Eliphaz spoke lies over Job, lies about his identity, lies about his character, lies about his relationship with God.  We have to be so careful in allowing others to speak into  our identity.  Lies about WHO YOU ARE NOT should never become the foundation of WHO YOU ARE. 
My picture this week was pivotal in planning out this devotional.  I saw the self righteousness of Eliphaz disguised in white.  I want to forgive Eliphaz and offer him grace.  Eliphaz came when he heard of the distress Job had undergone.  I know it is holy imaginings that his heart was so moved that he took a journey to a friend, but the Bible does say that the friend tore their clothes, in grief, upon seeing Job.  Eliphaz cared and Eliphaz came. Remember that there is always one more character around the old campfire- satan is the true enemy.  Satan is the one we battle, we arent battling each other.  I believe that satan was doing double time as the “Dirty Word” rattling within hearts and minds in the silence of 7 days.
Clothed with righteous indignation and self imposed authority, the dirty word is hammered into the heart.  Satan has one purpose to inflict maximum damage and splinter the Body of Christ. United, we are strong….alone we are easy pickings.  With Eliphaz’s words, I can feel the ties of friendship being strained to maximum tension. I can feel Job’s countenance fall, after all this is his friend- who doesn’t believe in him- doesn’t believe in his character or his integrity.  A friend that supposes the worst  of a blameless man.
We simply must guard our tongues, check our attitudes and take all thoughts captive to Christ!  We must look heavenly for our identity, not on the labels of man- whether they be good labels or bad labels- Jesus gives us our identity.  I had a situation in my life recently, where I found myself trying to please man- an exhausting occupation. I was close to sleep one night and I saw this vision of me- jumping through hoops of fire – one after the other…faster, closer, more intricate, faster, more, more, more……suddenly, I fell.  I will always fall – I will always have to start at the beginning again. With the fall, came this overwhelming sense of failure. It started again…the hoops of fire..one…two…faster now…more intricate now…..faster still……I felt my agitation growing, I felt the anxiety – when was I going to fall again – I knew I couldn’t keep this pace, I knew it was too much, I knew I was compromising my relationship with God to jump
through these hoops- after all – “flaming hoop jumping” is a full time position, with often overtime necessary. He broke into the insanity, and calm washed over me.

I felt Him say, “How long will you do this?”
HE had my attention
“You are good enough right now, as you are”
<sob> I turned  from  the flaming hoop and concentrated my heart on Him.
“You will never make them happy”
I crumble in exhaustion and tears
You can do this as long as you need to……
Tears fall from my eyes, He knows me…..my Savior looks at me with such love and grace
But, when you are done- you could live for me and let me say who you are. You could let me dictate your steps.
And so,, I turned from the flaming hoops and took His hand – and He now leads, and I now seek His face with decisions – not the face of man, nor the approval of man.

I think we all have walked on both sides of this argument – we have been Eliphaz and we have spoken and unleashed the dirty word on our victims.We have been Job and felt the pain of the vulture ripping at our identity.  Ultimately, we have a Savior that forgives and offers grace, we are called to do the same thing.   
Are there any Job’s in your life that you could bless this week with words of encouragement and love – support and grace, HOPE?  Words of life?
Are there and Eliphaz’s in your life that you can offer forgiveness?
Are there hoops that need to be extinguished?
Are you looking to prove yourself to man, to ministry, or to God?
Is it time to let the dirty word out of captivity in your brain, releasing it into the arms of grace?
IS there an argument that you have lived over and over – maybe it has formed a dirty word- maybe we could choose forgiveness this week?


 
 Rather than pounding each other with our words, clothed in religious speech, lets sit still and remember who we are. Let's not let speech break the stillness of our hearts. Lets just sit and remember that we are a Body, lets just laugh and help each other through the trials....

                           Job: Week 11/Chapter 4

Do our words encourage and offer life?

Job Week 11; Chapter 4
This week we will start interacting with Job’s friends. I know that there has been a lot of bad press for Job’s friends, but I would like to offer them grace and not come at this week slamming those that came to sit with Job for 7 days. Men who came to him, even though he had lost everything. Men that tore their clothes and sat in silence with Job, hearing of his tragedies, they travelled to be with him. We all have a few Eliphaz’, Bildad’s, Zophar’s and Elihu’s in our lives. I can see a small smile playing at your lips and laughter dancing through your eyes…..you know the friends of which I speak. So, lets agree to start out on a foot that offers grace to those whose intentions are good, but delivery is lacking.
Eliphaz is the first to speak in answer to Job’s despondence. He opens his dialogue with, “Will you be patient and let me say a word? For who could keep me from speaking out?” Job 4:2 Can you feel Job’s back straightening just a bit, taking a breath, holding it for a second longer than usual…waiting to hear what will come forth from his friends mouth. Uh-oh. We know these folks in our lives, when confronted with the question: “Can I say something?” - we want to say, “I would prefer you didn’t , thank you !” Eliphaz starts out singing the praises of Job, and gives further testimony to Job’s character. In verses 3 and 4 we learn that Job is an encourager , he offers strength when others are weak. We see that his kind words have been a soothing balm to those who were falling and his encouraging ways have steadied the fainthearted. I fall more and more in love with Job as we learn more of his character and nature.
Eliphaz next begins to question Job’s faith, and his trust in God….He asks, “But now, when trouble strikes, you loose heart. You are terrified when it touches you. Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence? Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope? “ Job 4:5-6
Eliphaz, Eliphaz, Eliphaz, did you see the “Slow It Down” signs as you approached your detour from encouragement? Why does it feel like Job’s traits now feel like a mockery on the lips of Eliphaz? Those things that define Job are now brought into question, again…Satan is unrelenting in his attacks against Job.
Eliphaz, I want to offer you grace here, but, it seems you are beginning a perilous argument. An argument where you are judging the heart of another. We know we can not do this- only God knows the inner workings of our hearts. Eliphaz did not have the glimpse into the heavenly courts, as we did…he does not know God’s esteem of His faithful servant. We can never know what someone else is walking through, or the motives of their hearts. When we judge and accuse, through our own perceptions….we judge and accuse according to the lens that we view life from. We all have a different lens that we “do” life through. Unfortunately, some do life through a lens of rejection- and everything magnifies the rejection through this lens. Some do life through a lens of self righteousness- and magnification of self is what the world is viewed through. There are so many lens’ that satan holds up to our eyes, so many lens’ that we view others through- we cant be trusted- with judging the heart of another man. Goodness, we have enough work to do in keeping our own backyard free and clean!!
I would offer that Eliphaz has securely placed his self righteous glasses on in viewing our poor, helpless, Job that sits before him. In the way that the self righteous do, he begins to puff up and proclaim and deem himself THE AUTHORITY. Oh, Eliphaz…..could I ask you to remember your friend, Job, that sits before you? The one that has lost everything, seemingly , in the past few weeks? Could you remember the man, and all of the character traits that have made him known, far and wide, as a man of integrity? Remember, our Job, that prayed every day- lest his children MAY sin? Remember the encourager Job- that now sits before you broken and hurting and desperate? Do you want to put those glasses on Eliphaz? Wouldn’t glasses of compassion, grace and encouragement be a better medicine?
Well, we know what happened, don’t we? The self righteous are always right, never wrong, and can not be questioned. Elpihaz takes a deep breath and starts a rant that is not founded in truth. We know his words not to be true as Job 42: 7 says, “After the Lord finished speaking to Job, He said to Eliphaz- I am angry with you for you have not spoken accurately about me”. Ouch.
What if we all took a deep breath and honored silence? What if we honored each other? These men, that sit in a circle, are friends. Friends. We know that there is one more guest at the ash pile….satan- who has been allowed this time in Job’s life. He is the invisible adversary at the gathering….cursing Job’s faith and integrity through the actions, manners and opinions of Eliphaz. Sometimes, the thoughts we are thinking shouldn’t be spoken, they should be prayed over. Sometimes, the accusations that pop into our hearts should be considered and weighed against the character and nature of the person that we know. Sometimes, we need to release harboring malice, rather than allowing it root in our hearts and minds. Eliphaz, friend of Job, forgot all of this. The self righteous rises and Eliphaz hurts his friend with words. I imagine the words to cut deeper than the shards of pottery that Job holds. The unfound accusations, presenting a need to defend oneself, is a further missile attack from hell itself. Oh, that I could have been there, and defended our Job. Helping him scratch with one hand, encouraging him with my other and silencing the accuser with my mouth. When we see the innocent attacked, held up in a self proclaimed court – do we defend? I would like to think that all of us would defend Job around that ash heap, silencing the attacks of the enemy- speaking truth of who God is and His faithfulness. Remembering to praise Him through all things, praise and worship- just one person standing on the truth, toppling the self righteous, and remembering who Job is – though he is broken, his character and nature have not changed from who they know him to be. But, Eliphaz has the stage, and he continues on….
In verse 12 and 13 I think Eliphaz just goes too far……”The truth was given to me in secret, as though whispered in my ear. It came to me in a disturbing vision at night when people are in a deep sleep.” We must be so aware of false teaching, false accusations, gossip, false prophets…..the first thing that makes me a bit squirrelly is the word “Secret” . I am no prophet, I am no great thing, so hear me when I say that – in my humble opinion, we serve a God of order. We serve a God that unties and ties things, people, ministries, churches, nations together. We are a body – and we all need each other. Things revealed in “Secret” make me nervous. How many times have we all seen it….God shares a vision with one, two, three people – and confirmation is acquired.- it is amazing to see how He pieces the puzzle together- faith is built, relationship is established, leaders grow, ministries are born----very orderly, very encouraging, very Godly. Eliphaz words, revealed in secret, hurt and dismember. His self righteous opinions, undoubtedly, are thought to be truth- given to him to execute a change, a repentance. His words execute, but they execute the heart.
Be aware of those that say they “heard from God”, that “It has been revealed to them”, “God said”…..I think that if we, ever, talk or act, upon the will of God- we better make sure that it is Him whispering in our ear and wooing our heart. Remember that we are called to test the spirits and to question. We are called to question our own thoughts and motives, as well as, others actions and words.
Eliphaz does have an important point here – that no one can be brought before God as holy and pure. We are a mess, ready to get into a mess, just getting out of a mess, or recovering from a mess- but a mess, we are!! It is only through the blood of Jesus that we can enter into the throne room. Eliphaz has shreds of truth mixed in with his argument- and, I think that is how satan works the best. A little bit of truth mixed with ample deception. The truth is the rocks that we stand on, and our self righteousness gains confidence, the deception is the water that carries our accusations.
Elphaz, I bring you back to your friend- Job, remember him? Remember the encourager? The one who offers strength to the weak? Do you see your friend sitting there in misery? Will your words be a comforting balm to his spirit? Will your words encourage the encourager? Will your words make him strong and stop his knees from trembling? We always stand on the brink of grace or judgement.
What does “grace” mean to you?
For me, in this situation, grace would be wiping the brow of the downtrodden. It would be finding a sharper clay shard, it would be silence and comfort. Grace would be changing his pus laden wrappings. Grace would be getting a new mat to sit on. Grace would encourage the encourager.
We all face situations everyday with those that need an encourager, those that need to be defended, and those that need to be silenced. How will you react to the Job’s in your life this week and to the Eliphaz’ this week? May we all be encouragers……





Job Week 10

Heaven caught its breath, as Job opened his mouth to speak

I can only imagine sorrow as he cursed his life, and hope was forgotten



Job Week 10 3: 1-26
This week we will look at Job’s first discourse. Remember that there are three friends siting, waiting. No One has spoken. It is proper etiquette to allow the one stricken with grief to speak first. In my imaginings, I feel the tension mounting as heaven and earth wait for Job to speak. In my journal page this week, I tried to capture the surprise of the angels---when, he finally utters his first words, and their surprise at his response: cursing the day he was born. I imagine the angels to be startled that the silence has been disrupted and their heads whip around to hear what he is going to say….only to be dismayed at the response that escapes from Job’s heart.
The word here for Job 3;2 “He Said” is amar- it refers to thought as internal speech, meaning he answers that which he has been debating and pondering within his mind. It also communicates through a person’s actions – as well as the words spoken. Imagine the body language spoken here through “amar”. A man who has lost everything. A man that has been entertaining an internal dialogue for 7 days. A man that sits on the ground- with a battle raging within his head and within his heart. Scratching, seemingly in pain, debating his current circumstances….he takes a breath and the silence is shattered with his curses. He curses his own death, but not his God.
Through his discourse in verses 3: 3-11, he wishes the day of his birth would be erased from time itself. In verses 3: 11-19 he wishes that he were a stillborn. Here he begins to play with the thoughts of stillness of death, and the relief it would offer his heart and body. He entertains these thoughts as a relief, as a means of escape. If you consider death a means of escape –please know that this is driven by satan himself. You were created for a purpose and for a reason. You were created to live. If thoughts of death permeate your heart, please find help. I pray for you now, in this moment: Lord, I pray for those that are sinking, and they cant get a foothold. I pray for all calamities and sufferings to SLOW DOWN…..allowing a breath of light into the darkness that surrounds, dampens, and permeates. I pray light and truth and love into the atmosphere. I pray for a hand to reach into the darkness and for strength and boldness to break through, so that they can grab hold of an outstretched hand, and choose life. I write these words with a sense of urgency, as if they are intended for someone…if this is you, please know that this is no accident and you are reading this for a reason. He sees, HE knows, He loves and He rescues. Look up, make a phone call and reach out for help. You are not alone. You are not trash. God doesn’t make trash – let Him restore the broken parts. Call for help. Please.
In verses3: 20 – 25 he wonders why life is given to one who suffers and is in misery. Why is life given to a man who has no future and whom God has surrounded with difficulties? In verse3: 24, The Message says:
“Instead of bread I get groans for my supper,
then leave the table and vomit my anguish.
The worst of my fears has come true,
What I’ve dreaded most has happened.
My repose is shattered, my peace destroyed.
No rest for me ever- death has invaded life”.
Death has invaded life. I think death invades life when we give up on hope. We are so quick to offer words, such as, “I hope all goes well”, “I hope you make it.” Hope here is a thing not known, a thing that is unsure and can not be depended upon. This is not the hope that the Bible speaks of- to have HOPE in a biblical sense is to know the outcome… Hope and faith are strongly tied together…Faith says you trust in God and His character and nature, HOPE says you have confidence in Him and His outcomes.
I think Job lost his hope here. Have you lost hope in a situation or in a circumstance that you are walking through? Let’s see if we can open the blinds a little and let the sunshine in….
“Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better. ... Everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful, whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. It is enough just to know we can get there, that however measured or faraway, there is the promise of 'good things to come.' ... There is help. There is happiness. There really is light at the end of the tunnel”. – Jeffrey R. Holland
In our God, we know there are promises of good things to come! In this life, or in the hereafter, we know God works all things for good. We might now understand, and we might not know what tomorrow looks like, but we – ALWAYS- know God, and who He is and how faithful He is.
We have been documenting our blessings, learning the nature of our God. If you are not participating int his aspect of our journey, I would encourage you to do so. To document the blessings that He FREELY bestows upon us, is to learn how generous our God is and how faithful. I promise it will change your faith life, offer hope AND increase joy….I promise! We all need to be reminded of how involved God is in our everyday. When we see how faithful He is with the littlest of details, we can HOPE into our bigger trials – because WE KNOW WHO GOD IS!!! We have hope, because we know that He is FOR US, and that He works everything out for good. Look for Him and find Him in your everyday- and write it down, offer testimonies of His faithfulness, sing His praises – on facebook and on Twitter, at supper and at the coffee machine at work.….Hope will be renewed, and Joy will soon follow.
C. S. Lewis said, “God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.” Are you in a low point? Look up and wait, and listen, and record, the places where God intersects with your life. Has death crept into your thinking? Has death invaded your life, your mind and your heart? Has fear found its home in your heart? In verse 25 Job addresses that his worst fears have come true. Most scholars agree that the quickness of Job’s calamities have altered his thought life. Job barely caught a breath before the next tragedy fell. When one thing hits us, I think it is our nature to start watching for something else to happen. How many times do we hear, “Trouble comes in threes”. I say “PHOOOEY!” this mentality kills hope on the vine. As tragedy falls around us and on us – I think it is important what perspective we process this tragedy through…..are we looking for more tragedy, are we afraid of what else is going to happen? Are we waiting for the shoe to drop, like Job was? Job stopped worshipping and started worrying.
JOB STOPPED WORSHIPPING AND STARTED WORRYING.
How can we break into the worry cycle- by worshipping, by paying attention to God – and His promises. When we shift our focus to the circumstances, I think we start to worry, and fret, and make up scenarios in our heads, and worry gives way to fear. Fear gives way to hopelessness.
Has fear taken over your thinking? Has worry become your companion? My prayer would be that your gratitude journaling is breaking into this fear and worry by walking hand in hand with Christ. Psalm 42:11 says:
“Why am I so discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again-
My Savior and my GOD!”
HOPE and praise seem to go hand in hand….fear and worry go hand in hand. How will you shift your perspective this week?
What about journaling His promises in scripture? Remember that the Word never comes back void…
What about identifying your biggest fears and finding scriptures that speak TRUTH over these fears?
Are there things that you are worried about? Do you have a prayer journal, where you can record His answers to your prayers? When we record His faithful answers to our simplest prayers, faith is built, hope is restored and Joy comes into full bloom!
My prayer for us this week is to choose HOPE and to release worry
Job Week 9


“At last Job spoke, and he cursed the day of his birth” Job 3;1

Lets look at what has been going on here….Job’s friends have come from afar after hearing of the calamities that have struck Job and his family.   They have torn their clothes and they have joined him in his grief.    There have been no words spoke since his wife uttered, “Curse God and die”.
Silence.  7 days. That is a whole lot of “head time”.
Remember Job’s response to his first set of trials, He WORSHIPPED.
Here – he is so severely afflicted with disease, his friends scarcely recognized him. Think of that for a moment- his friends barely recognized him, that is a significant amount of boils – to render his image different!!
From http://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/job/2.htm, Keil and Delitzch Old Testament Commentary – it is interesting to note the sort of disease that they feel befell Job:
“The description of this disease calls to mind Deuteronomy 28:35 with Deuteronomy 28:27, and is, according to the symptoms mentioned further on in the book, elephantiasis so called because the limbs become jointless lumps like elephants' legs), Arab. jḏâm, gudhâm, Lat. lepra nodosa, the most fearful form of lepra, which sometimes seizes persons even of the higher ranks. Artapan (C. Mller, Fragm. iii. 222) says, that an Egyptian king was the first man who died of elephantiasis. Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, was afflicted with it in a very dangerous form.

The disease begins with the rising of tubercular boils, and at length resembles a cancer spreading itself over the whole body, by which the body is so affected, that some of the limbs fall completely away. Scraping with a potsherd will not only relieve the intolerable itching of the skin, but also remove the matter. Sitting among ashes is on account of the deep sorrow (comp. Jonah 3:6) into which Job is brought by his heavy losses, especially the loss of his children. The lxx adds that he sat on a dunghill outside the city: the dunghill is taken from the passage Psalm 113:7, and the "outside the city" from the law of the מצרע. In addition to the four losses, a fifth temptation, in the form of a disease incurable in the eye of man, is now come upon Job: a natural disease, but brought on by Satan, permitted, and therefore decreed, by God. Satan does not appear again throughout the whole book. Evil has not only a personal existence in the invisible world, but also its agents and instruments in this; and by these it is henceforth manifested.”

We don’t know, if this was, indeed the case….but, we can read in scripture that this was a disfiguring, relentless condition that was unleashed upon Job. 
Let’s return to the story, with these fresh insights.  Job, disfigured and unrecognizable is sitting.  His friends lament, tear their clothes and sit with him.  Seven days……168 hours of silence.   That is a lot of time and space for satan to wreak havoc with our thoughts. Something is happening here that is different from the first round where Job fell to his knees to worship. I can not say that Job has sinned, he has not cursed God…but, here we see that he has not worshipped God.
Imagine, if you will, that satan sees a different response.  Imagine the excitement escalating that Job is not worshipping here- he is scratching, seemingly distracted with the unbearable itching…scraping his flesh trying to find relief.  An all encompassing physical malady that consumes him, and I am sure satan doesn’t miss a beat in seeing this. 

I have to question….what would have happened if Job had worshipped here?  It would appear that Job’s worship defeated satan in his first trial….forcing him back into the heavenly courts  to petition to expand his schemes  against Job.
What happens when we  worship? It  has been shown that when entire congregations join together in worship, heartbeats all fall into the same  pattern. Job was not worshipping here – he was silent. The heartbeats of these men were not all in unison, beating with the rhythm of God’s heartbeat, they were divided. And…that…..is how satan enjoys us most.So – before we head further into the story- let’s think about worshipping and praising Him in all things…..
“Publish His glorious deeds among the nations, Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the Lord –He is most worthy of praise! 1Chron16:24
Remember that during this journey we are journaling our blessings, praising Him for all the things that He is doing in our lives….have you praised Him for heartache? Have you praised Him for trials?  At the end of the rope, do you know  that God is up to something and will offer you the next grip?  Write of His faithfulness, keep record of His promises, Tell everyone about the miracles that you see- for, He is most worthy of our praise!
            So, let’s head back to the story….seven days and Job opens his mouth to speak.  Here this is the proper etiquette- to allow Job to speak first, as he is the one grieving. Etiquette, when to speak and when to be silent- now, there is a fancy idea!   His friends are silent.  They are with him.  Now, one could argue that they were entertaining satan in their own minds and gathering ammunition to launch against Job, going over it and over it in their minds…entertaining unhealthy thoughts, entering into imaginary arguments, filing checking and ordering their  accusations.  Finding, searching, judging and forming arguments against a man, that God Himself, called righteous. Satan can get busy in our minds….he can turn brother against brother, friend against friend, parent against child….with his accusations, and judgments.  Have you ever been here? To start thinking ill of someone – to start on the path of “righteous indignation” to gather, polish and hone the arguments to be launched against someone? Everything you do, everything you see is further proof against the judged. STOP. This is satan’s folly. STOP playing that soundtrack in your mind. STOP entertaining who they are not- and start seeing who they are. STOP hurting with glances and accusations. STOP judging and condemning. STOP- for the Bride of Christ – STOP.  The damage is so deep when we come out punching. The wounds bleed from unfound accusations and pharisaical condemnations .  I don’t know the  posturing of Job’s friends in this little snippet of the story, but one could imagine the body language of the arguments stored up within their hearts. When we relish, polish and seek out judgements and accusations, filling our storehouses with argument….our body leaks this into our atmospheres. Our lips become thin and pursed. Our muscles tighten and we – almost shake- with righteous indignation.  We are waiting for the time to unleash our ammunition stored and refined….the arguments we have rehearsed and played, the false accusations – sharpened- ready to inflict damage.   STOP. Rewind- let’s praise and worship who He is and what He is doing in each other!  Let’s rejoice in each others victories and support each others talents. Lets support and encourage each other, in the Body of Christ – and let’s love the world----not point a finger at it.
            Can you feel the tension in the air as Job opens his mouth to speak? The days of mourning are over and there is no, visible, relief from his physical malady.  Here the word for “Spoke” implies deep thoughts well considered beforehand. Job had been brewing his thoughts in his minds percolator. The words he, finally, utters do not curse God…but curse the day he was born.  There are many commentaries her on wether or not Job sinned by questioning the sovereignty of God….but, I want to consider His thought life. Simply stated, he was not in a 
state of worship. His response here is not to praise the name of the Lord. I would suggest satan was having an internal dialogue with God’s faithful servant and worship would have silenced the argument. Job, with this firestorm within- still does not curse the name of his beloved God. He does not blame others.   We all know that hamster wheel, right? When we can not take the blame, and we are forced to stay on the hamster wheel within- finding fault and laying blame far away from ourselves.  The blame game is – nothing – but exhausting.   Job doesn’t even enter into this arena – he launches against self. He does not lash out at the 3 that sit with him, he does not lash out at God. A man, stripped of patience, and all defenses weeps,within, that he was even made.  His grief is the biggest thing in the room.  To love is a huge risk. Enter absolute grief- unlimited in depth and sphere in Job’s heart. He lost everything…..would it been better to never have been born? In that moment – there is no end in sight. There is suffering and a vast aloneness setting in his mind, through his physical condition.
We know the end of his story – in the moment- when we are going through life’s hardest moments, when unexplainable, exhausting, horrific tragedy hits….
             It consumes.
What would happen if we were to rewind and we were to praise? What if we were to focus on God and remind ourselves of His nature?
I don’t know…..hypothetical questions from a woman that is not going through insufferable tragedy. And I think, proper etiquette would demand that I keep my mouth shut in this circumstance, for those of you that are in the grips of grief.  Etiquette would have me silent, but praying for your welfare.  Praying for those tired, worry lines- around your eyes - to turn back into laughter lines. In my silence I can love and I can support and I can encourage and I can wipe your brow and help you itch.  But, speak I will not – it is not mine to speak into.  The dignity in your suffering is meant for an intimate dance with your Savior- not a square dance with others ideas, solutions, thoughts and condemnations. I can pray – if you would like prayer, pleases drop me a note, it would be my honor and privilege  to sit with you for seven days and seven nights.



Job's grief was the biggest thing in the room

           

 

Job Week 8 

A thought for this week, as we examine who and what we allow to influence us....."We count our miseries carefully, and accept our blessings without much thought"- Chinese proverb....oh, to rewire our brain to rejoice over the blessings and accept our trials without much thought!!

 

Job 2:8-13New American Standard Bible (NASB)
8 And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.
9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, they came each one from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite; and they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and comfort him12 When they lifted up their eyes at a distance and did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky. 13 Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.
This week we are introduced to 4 more characters in the story of Job. His friends and his wife.
I think it is so important to watch what we allow into our spheres of influence, our minds and our hearts. To control our thoughts and to take all thoughts captive to Christ….
Job’s friends enter the scene and- at first- they just sit and watch and mourn with him.
I think this is a posture that so few of us are ready to take. So often, we enter in the analyzing mode, the “fix-it mode” or the judgement mode. To be still, to be silent is far harder than judging and fixing.
To be silent, supportive and prayerful during anothers suffering is a gift. To be a shoulder to lean on, not an arm to steer, fix and control.
I think it is also a fine line between crawling down in the pit with someone and offering them a hand up. Job’s friends met him in his grief, tearing their robes and sitting with him. Recognizing his grief and his misery. Job will be the first one to speak, not them. My hat goes up to his friends for this constraint- but, as we know- they will not be still, and silent, for long.
His wife. Hmmmmmmm, what can one say? In all of the trials, Job lost everything. Please know that this is purely the meanderings of my mind and nothing more, as far as I know, there are no theological debates or writings on this, ….but, satan didn’t take his wife. He, literally, lost everything, but not his wife. Satan set out to “…take everything that he has” (Job 1: 11), but his wife remained. I would propose the thought that Job’s wife was left for “just cause”. We see her response to Job is “…Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9) Not exactly the words of an encouraging spouse, not exactly the words of a wife supporting her husband through the trials. She mocks his integrity (it is interesting to me to note that, even she, proclaims the character and nature of Job) and tells him to curse God….I don’t know about you – but, I can almost feel satan pulling and twisting her strings – like a puppet master. These words – are EXACTLY- what satan wants Job to do------uttered – from heavenly realms, through the natural – by Job’s, very own, ……wife.
All of this is to say, that there are people in our worlds that we allow access into our hearts and into our minds. Sometimes relationships aren’t healthy and they need nutrition and ample amounts of grace and love. James has such wonderful advice for living…..James 3:7-10 says; 7 For every [a]species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human [b]race. 8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
Blessings and curses from the same mouth. We get to choose what our mouths say and what our character speaks.
We also get to choose what council we take in and we hold most dear. Once again, James says in James 3:1-17:
13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and [a]selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, [b]natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and [c]selfish ambition exist, [d]there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [e]reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
What have you been allowing into your heart and into your sphere of influence? Not all people in our worlds are offering advice, council and friendship from a heavenly realm. Looking at what you are allowing to influence you- is there :
Purity?
Peace?
Gentleness?
Is it Reasonable?
Full of mercy?
Good fruits?
Unwavering?
Without hypocrisy?
If we keep this list at the forefront of our minds, as we read through the rest of Job, we can examine Job’s friends through this scriptural lens.
There is power in who we allow in and who we allow to give us council.

 

Job Week 7



Chapter 2
On another day angels came to the Lord. Satan also came to him along with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered, “From traveling all around the earth. I’ve been going from one end of it to the other.”
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you thought about my servant Job? There isn’t anyone on earth like him. He is honest. He does what is right. He has respect for God and avoids evil. You tried to turn me against him. You wanted me to destroy him without any reason. But he still continues to be faithful.”
Satan replied, “A man will give everything he has to save himself. So Job is willing to give up the lives of his family to save his own life. But now reach out your hand and strike his flesh and bones. Then I’m sure he will speak evil things against you. In fact, he’ll do it right in front of you.”
The Lord said to Satan, “All right. I am handing him over to you. But you must spare his life.”
Then Satan left the Lord and went on his way. He sent painful sores on Job. They covered him from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. He got part of a broken pot. He used it to scrape his skin. He did it while he was sitting in ashes.
His wife said to him, “Are you still continuing to be faithful to the Lord? Speak evil things against him and die!”
10 Job replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. We accept good things from God. So we should also accept trouble when he sends it.”
In spite of everything, Job didn’t say anything that was sinful.

In this chapter we almost have an instant replay of the first chapter, satan called before God and asked the same questions, except here God confirms that with all that has happened to JOB- “He still holds fast to his integrity”.  The word for integrity here is “tummah”- a feminine noun that is only used 5 times in the OT.  FOUR of these times it is used by God and Job’s wife to refer to Job’s integrity (Job 2:3, 9, 27:5  and 31:6). In Proverbs 11:3 it is said that integrity guides the upright person. It is interesting to me that this word seems to be reserved for Job, and it speaks volumes, to my heart, how GOD KNEW Job. 
            I always tell my kids that we can loose everything, the only thing that matters is our character and integrity. To be trusted, to never tell a lie, to be honest and forthright…these are the traits I want to pass onto my children. Job possessed  these traits, even through the trials and through his breaking point.
            If I could share a story a story with you, I had a friend that chose to believe the worst possible things about another friend. They did not know this person, but they had fallen prey to hearsay, and chose to continue the gossip trail – leaving a wreckage behind. When I was confronted with this gossip and these lies, I refused to listen.  I knew the character, the integrity and the heart of the person in question. I defended their heart and their nature and shut down all future conversations about them. I want to have that kind of character and that kind of integrity…that if someone were to spread rumors about me, behind my back, those would know me would say, “Not Lisa, she wouldn’t do that….its not in her character”. I want my character to be my calling card, not what I own, the friends I posses, or a fake christian mask.  I want to be real and I want to be genuine.  Will I slip- yup.  Will I fall – without question. The words “I’m sorry” can be humbling and genuine – and some can not even whisper them, much less say them.  I want to  be quick to apologize, quick to repent, quick to love and quick to forgive. To let God

be my plumb line. Integrity- I strive for TUMMAH in my heart, in my relationships and in any ministries the Lord calls me to. Tummah.....what does it look like for you?
            While satan is addressing God, God says, “You wanted me to destroy him (incited me against him) without reason. God KNEW the character and the integrity of Job- God knew His faithful servant.  God saw TUMMAH in Job, while satan attempted to incite God’s wrath against His faithful, blameless servant.  Here we see satan as the accuser of the brethren.  In an audience with the Most High – he accuses the man of TUMMAH.  He accuses the man who GOD HIMSELF calls blameless, upright, a many who turns away from evil.  Yet, satan accuses the heart of a man – what he is capable of.  It is like playing futures in stocks…what will cause us to break, what will cause us to turn from God.  He pushes and prods and he implores for extended boundaries from God- to test us, to break us – to splinter our faith.  That is the face of our enemy. It is interesting to note that there are boundaries to what is “allowed”.  God always holds our future!  Through it all- there is never a time that God is not present. We are never alone and our Savior replaces our rags with robes.
            Sometimes we don’t know the reason for our trials, the reasons for the happenings of our lives. I am in “such a time as this”, I wait on the Lord.  I am not understanding the “why” of where I am standing now, nor what tomorrow will look like.  Everything I felt to be sure was not. Everything I felt called to –I question. Opportunities arise and I pray to His will and His highest good for my life.  I am in an extreme season of “not knowing” and “not understanding”.
Have you ever found yourself in a season of “not understanding”?
Have you ever seemed to have lost everything that you knew and understood?
What were your prayers like?
What did it look like when you were waiting on the Lord?
In my JOB journal – I have set aside an entire section where I can journal this journey of waiting on Him, trusting in Him and waiting to hear His still, small voice. 
Do you have a place to journal the spaces and places of your uncertainty?
Do you have a space to journal His faithfulness, reminding yourself WHO He is …during the waiting?
It is helpful for me to remember who God is, and how much I love Him…that He works everything out for my good and that He knits my future together, so that I might glorify Him through the works of my hands, the words from my mouth and the love I show His world. He holds my future, and though satan may have opportunities while he is “going to and fro on the earth, from walking up and down on it”- there is nothing that escapes the hands, eyes and heart of my heavenly Father.  So, I wait, on Him and I trust Him for my tomorrows. 
Job's despair moved my heart this week

I could feel the despair of JOB this week, but as his despair strengthened, the presence of the Lord never strayed...just a glimmer of the heavenly hosts protecting the boundaries set forth by God, but a glimmer nonetheless... God is always there

Heavenly hosts protecting the boundaries set by God


  

Job Week 6

Satan Allowed to Test Job
13 Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the [g]donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and [h]the Sabeans [i]attacked and took them. They also [j]slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and [k]I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and [l]slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 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.”
22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he [m]blame God.

Some things jump right out at me in this weeks reading….
*The Lord can place a hedge of protection around us (Job 1:10)  here  we see that there is protection around Job, his house, and ALL that he has – on all sides.  That is a great deal of protection – clearly satan can not penetrate this “hedge” .  The Lord has blessed the work of His hands and “increase” is a word that Job is familiar with.  
*There are limits to satan…just as the water is told where to stop, satan is given limits. God defines parameters, not satan.
In looking at all that Job looses, seemingly very quickly….we see that satan starts with his “stuff”.  His possessions :
First his oxen (500 pairs)  and donkeys (500 females) were stolen by Sabeans (southwest Aabia)
All servants were killed.
WHILE THIS WAS BEING REPORTED, the sheep and shepherds fell prey to lightning.  Imagine  that storm, that would kill 7,000 sheep.
WHILE THIS WAS BEING REPORTED Chaldean raiders (a region north of the Persian Gulf) stole the camels (3,000)
Killed the servants.
WHILE HE WAS STILL SPEAKING, 7 sons and 3 daughters were eating when the wind hit. All of his children were lost.
This appears to be Job’s breaking point..he stands up and tears his robes and shaves his head in grief. Job does not hide his feelings that this last report sends him over the edge,  Clearly, this moan loved his family and was a faithful father- praying for his children daily. God created us and created our emotions. Job grieved here. It is not wrong to grieve, to express great sorrow as Job did.If you have experienced a great loss or disappointment, even a heartbreak, it is ok to admit your feelings to yourself and to others and to grieve.

It is interesting to me to see the attacks that satan uses here – he manipulates entire armies of men (the Sabeans and the Chaldeans) to fulfill his purposes.
It would appear that there is some degree of manipulation allowed to satan in the weather – lightning hits the sheep and a great wind destroys his family.
We know that God is aware of this attack launched upon his servant. It is interesting that we are allowed to see this intimate glimpse into heavenly realms and see into the inner working of heavenly chambers.   We are given a great deal of information on the limits and the workings of satan and the protection and faithfulness of God.  We also see that God uses tests and trials to refine us.
Thinking back in my life, I have learned more about myself and more about the character and the nature of God during my trials. There is so much to learn and to refine in us  during these trials.  I know that He is always calling us higher and deeper. Trials for me have offered me places to refine my character and search after His ways. Rather than pointing fingers and blaming others, what if we look within and see what God is showing us about ourselves?  If we search, refine, redesign and realign during a trial, would our character and integrity explode exponentially….rather than taking all of our time in blaming others and pointing fingers? You know that hamster wheel, we all know it and have been a slave to it at some point in our lives…..it takes all of our time and energy to stay on the hamster wheel that says, “Well, they did this and they did that…..and it wasn’t me, they made me do that…did you see what thEY did?  I was justified in my reaction……I had to do it, there was no other option…..” and so on, and so on…… It is EXHAUSTING to play the “blame game”. Focus on self. Make sure that your backyard is in order, keep your heart pure and firmly, umbilically attached to the Father’s heart.  That doesn’t mean that  people don’t hurt us, and that we aren’t, sometimes, the recipient of the short end of the stick.  Unfairness, bitterness, jealousies -all hit upon our shores. But, if we I look within first- for as long as it takes to search  our own heart and search our own  motives, if we  seek to realign with His character and nature,  when all the  soul searching is done, we  get to offer forgiveness to others, and heal through His strength and power.  First, always first, what if we were to look within and see what God needs us to work on within  ourselves? .
Job does not sin against God in his despair. He shaves his head and tears his clothes- an outward sign of the inner turmoil- and then –
HE WORSHIPPED
He bowed down (shachah) in humble reverence.

First, he acknowledged to himself and to others ,that were near him, that he was grieving greatly and then he humbly  prostrates himself before the Lord. He pays homage to His God.
I can think of times when my grief has been overwhelming.  When betrayal seemed to cut me in half.
Bowing before God was not on my list of things to do- as a second response to great, personal tragedy.
We ask why
We shake our fists at God
We blame God
We blame others

Job passed the first test that satan launched- in all of its atrocities, JOB worshipped and did not sin in his heart, by blaming God.

That is a powerful sentence (Job 1:22):
“ In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God”.  have you ever thought of blaming God as a sin?
When tragedy befalls you have you sinned with your lips against God?
What would be a different way to look at grieving, hurt and loss?
Lets look it as Job enters into his grief:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return”
We can not take anything with us….if we lead lives with our hands clenched into fists, holding onto everything that we have, our hands and our hearts are not open to receive the bountiful blessings and people that the Lord has for us.  Job here seems to realize that all of the stuff is in vain, there is no security in our possessions or our position.
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away”
Job realizes that God is the source of ALL things here, and accepts, in humble submission – that sometimes we don’t understand why things happen.  To fight with God, to keep our eyes fixed on the past, closes any and all opportunities that He has presented in our NOW. Sometimes, things don’t make a bit of sense and the world seems cruel and unfair….Job does  not blame God- Here he seems to give God his faith – that the Lord has chosen to take away, and Job accepts it. He does not lash out at God, he doesn’t curse God, He doe not compromise his character or integrity.  He grieves, without sinning.
“Blessed be the name of the Lord”
Through the loss of everything, he holds the name of God as blessed within his heart and within his lips.
God KNEW Job and JOB knew GOD…..JOB SHOWED UP EVERYDAY TO OFFER SACRIFICES AND TO PRAY, Job could stand on the firm ground of his faith and his relationship when times got tough. We have to know God in the good times if we are going to draw from Him and live within the shadow of His wing in the hard times.  Many times, in trials, we find God.  Many times, in trials, we grow stronger in our relationship with Him. Many times, in trials, He refines our character.  There is dignity in the trials when one faces them –through God, with God, drawing into Him and not loosing oneself in the trial.  Dignity in the suffering.  Who would have thought?
“In all of this, JOB did not sin by blaming God”
In all of this Job continued what he already knew- he drew into God.  His God was not a genie in a bottle that dispensed riches, power and position.  His God was the living God who he knew and had relationship with.  In the trial, as it exploded  around  him – He  drew into the one safe place he knew,  His God.  Is God your safe place?
Do you remember a time when you could not understand what was happening around you?
How did you face that trial?
How would you like to face trials in the future?

AS I was praying over this week – I kept hearing Psalm 100- “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise- give thanks to Him and praise to His name” 100:4
His ways are not our ways, His designs and purposes ARE for our greatest good- though we may not understand it at the time, though it feels like betrayal and loss- He WILL work all things out for good.
If we enter into His courts with praise – we are blessing His name with our hearts and with our lips. Our Journey of Blessing is more than a documentation of His blessings, it is diving into the deepest ocean and loosing ourself in His love.  It is breathing Him in, so that we know His character and His nature. It is acknowledging Him for ALL things- an omnipresent, omniscient God  that died so that we might live in abundance -  THAT’S our God.  That’s His love.  That’s who Job knew his God to be….may we all experience God in the same fashion!





 

 JOB: Week 5

  6 aNow there was a day when the bsons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and 1Satan also came among them.

7 The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “aFrom roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”
8 The Lord said to Satan, “Have you 1considered aMy servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, ba blameless and upright man, 2fearing God and turning away from evil.”
9 Then aSatan answered the 1Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing?
10 “aHave You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? bYou have blessed the work of his hands, and his cpossessions have increased in the land.
11 “aBut put forth Your hand now and btouch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.”
12 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your 1power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord. Job 1: 6-12

Here we are introduced to our enemy and we get an insight into some of his limitations. In the beginning scene, we see that satan is amongst the angels, and seemingly he is allowed to be there. From the reading you don’t get the sense that he “snuck in” – he is simply there, and he is called before God.  Sometimes, I think, we seem to put satan on equal footing with God, two opposing forces – battling, in an epic tale as big as “The Lord of the Rings”.  Here we see that satan is created, a created being.  From elsewhere in the text, we find that he is a fallen angel.  A fallen, created angel that must answer to God.  God has not met His match in satan.  God is God, and satan is a created being, created by God, as one of His creations- therefore, satan must answer to God.  So, satan enters the picture in the courts with the other angels, but somehow different than the others- as he is brought to our attention, separately, from the other sons of God.
Next, we find some of the most poignant verses in scripture, and the saddest. When asked “Where have you come from?” comes the most horrid of answers….”From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it”. There you have it, there he is.  He roams the earth going back and forth, crouching at the door, we see the endless restlessness of evil. “Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1Peter 5:8)
We have an enemy, we have an enemy that looks to trap us, and with the hideous potential hidden within the human heart, there are many places he can take us and keep us captive within our own sins.   But, we also have a savior…..we have the goals of decreasing ourselves so that HE may increase within our lives.  We know that He came so that we would have life and that we would have it abundantly….yes, I choose to concentrate on my Savior and His redemption and His robes of white that are layed over my shoulders when I come before Him, with a repentant heart.  Yes, we have a Savior!  We know that we battle FROM victory TO victory – the story is written, we know the ending….Jesus wins. God can not be usurped from His throne, not by the arrogant meanderings of human pride, not by worshipping the stuff that we surround ourselves with, not by finding our identity and purpose within a church building….not by a fallen angel that looks to trap and ensnare us.  No – God is and God wins and God gets our attention.
Some say that it must be a drag to be a christian. Some see us as BIG, pointing fingers that are quick to judge and quick to condemn, quick to cast out and quick to exclude…..And, sadly, this is what Christianity has become in some of our churches and in broken parts of the Body of Christ. This is not who we are created to be, we are created to love, not to judge.  See that person there – the one all alone and dirty? That precious one is the one that Jesus would have been drawn to.
Some say that to be a Christian there is no fun.  Who would want to give up the things that this world has to offer. Have you chased after the things of this world? It is all in vain. Work gets more work. Money makes more money. Position is a struggle to maintain. Control is an evil task master that consumes the heart. Wealth must be increased…when is enough? Alcohol lulls us to sleep…walking dead. Drugs? Wired walking dead. Porn, lust, power, greed…pleasantries that the world offers us- pleasantries that trap and ensnare- holding us hostage for the next “fix”. Church can become exploited for power and position, jockeying for stature and status. The building becomes an altar to a foreign god. Satan has been busy creating snares in every institution and every nuance.

And then there was God, who came into the world “In Him was life and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it”.  John 1: 4-5  The darkness can NOT overcome the light.  The darkness would have us think that we can not escape….but the light SHINES into the darkness- evaporating the lusts of the flesh like a vapor.  We have to recognize the light, the life, the love that has never betrayed us, nor forsaken us….. “The true light which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him.  He came to His own and His own people did not receive Him” John 1: 9-11  We have been given the choice, by a gracious God, to choose Him- or to choose the darkness.   The wandering, relentless lusts of the dark are an option. But, God is always bigger and always present- waiting for us…waiting through the trials and through the fires to cast our eyes heavenly and to look into the eyes of love, and grace and acceptance. How foreign that feels after we have served shame and guilt.
            Satan enters the picture here and he asks God to “strike everything that he has”.  Make no mistake- satan wants to rob you of everything and to leave you in a dark, stank prison cursing and questioning the presence- and the reality- of God. Here, he stands before God and asks for a life to be tested to the brink…Satan implies here that Job only serves God because he is blessed, he is getting something out of it- so he is “in” as long as the getting is good. Satan’s implications here seem to birth the “Prosperity Gospel” – a gospel that has God as a genie- answering our three wishes that turn into 3,000,000 wishes.  When we pray and we are angered that a prayer did not get answered the way we thought it should, when we pray and people die, when we pray for relief and none comes, when we pray for answers and are met by silence.  Quickly, we turn and we curse God and we deny His existence. God is our Genie in a bottle and we present Him with our business plans – fully written out- and we ask Him to sign on the dotted line and “make it so”…..God is not our genie, He has so much more in store for us – MORE than we can fathom or imagine- in His mysteries and in His ways. We would be so robbed of the experience and the relationship of God if He met us as our genie. He meets us as our Savior. He meets us in love and acceptance and calls us higher.  He calls us into something deeper than stuff, power, position or control. We meet Him on the shores of grace and we are called to mirror that grace, mercy and love into the world of darkness where satan prowls, kills and destroys….we get to love, and encourage, and build up and introduce folks to the one who can save them.  No one knows God, until someone introduces them and sometimes the best gospel presentations -don’t require a single word.  He is so much more than Job’s stuff, power, position, ministry and relationships…He is so much more than your stuff, power, position, ministry and relationships.
Out of all of the things JOB looses, his children hurt my heart the most.  (It is funny that he gets to keep his wife….I wonder whos side she was on!!! )
What about in your life?
Are there areas where the light is not allowed in?
Perhaps harboring unforgiveness?
Harboring offense?
Holding onto destructive characteristics?
 What about “Sinning a little”- little sins that don’t matter much….white lies, unkindness, gossip, judgement, power, comparison, jealousy?
Is there anything that you have to put under His heel- and stamp out of your heart?
Are you in a trial now? I pray for you that you would seek farther into the heart of God, than in despising God. I pray you find yourself cleaving to the rock, holding on to Him, searching His faithfulness in the scriptures. 
Are there things in your life that you have built an altar to?
This week I choose to put God on His throne, and to take myself off of my throne, I choose to give God the power and the praise, and turn  my eyes from the one that looks to seek, kill and destroy.
Remember that we win in Christ and we GET TO live abundant lives through Him.
Satan is limited God is limitless. Satan is created, God is the creator. Satan seeks to kill and destroy, God chooses to redeem and restore.





Job - Week 4 

Create in  me a clean heart and renew a loyal spirit within me.....


4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

Here Job is operating as priest in his home. It is believed that Job lived during the days of the Patriarchs. This would have been before God gave His written law and appointed priests to be religious leaders. In Job’s day, the father was the religious leader of his family. Job acted as priest and offered sacrifices for sins that MAY have been committed, within the human heart. What do we know from the scriptures?
• Job knew the hideous potential hidden within the human heart.
• Job was a praying man.
• Job was a dedicated man, to his children and to his God.
• Job prayed without ceasing.
• Job offered sacrifices for his children, on the chance that they may have cursed God in their hearts.
In their hearts.
It is interesting to me that we are looking at the heart of man, and its hideous potential. We started this book by looking at the human heart and its potential to strive after the heart of God. and be “blameless” (to the best of our ability, though this is futility without Jesus) and now we see the depravity of man….that we can curse God in our hearts, unknowingly. Fearful that they may have sinned unknowingly,  he continually sacrificed on their behalf.
To be honest, this amount of righteousness is staggering to me. JOB was concerned about the state of his heart and his children’s hearts, that they may have sinned unknowingly…JUST IN CASE….he offers sacrifices to God. I am going to be honest here….how many times do I sin – outright- in a day. Not sins hidden in stinkin’ thinkin’, that may be deeper and harder to detect…but outright sin? Do I stop, continually, and offer repentance and thanksgiving to my God for His mercy and grace, thanking Him for His forgiveness and for the mercies that He offers fresh every day? Do I stop, moment by moment and check in with God on the spiritual condition of my heart? ? Job took this a step further than this. He took it a step further than I have ever sacrificed for my God…He prayed continually for the “just in case” sins that may have occurred within the human heart of his children.
The JUST IN CASE SINS, the sins committed without knowing it……the sins that curse God. Job was a blameless man, an upright -pure man…that sought after the heart of the Father and stayed in perfect synchronicity of his heart. He repented, offered sacrifices for the JUST IN CASE SINS!!
What would it look like to have a heart like Job’s? To be that aware of our behavior, our words,our thoughts, our actions? To be so tuned into the heavenly realm that we look and see where we might be grieving the heart of God- and repent immediately. Repent and become aware of a character trait or a behavior that must stop. To be constantly adjusting our rudder, our behavior, our heart- so that it aligns with God’s? Job was a goood, goood man!! I can see why God deemed Job the finest man in all the earth! Such a repentant spirit…
I pray that the Lord and the Holy Spirit would help me navigate through Job’s character and mold my heart into such a teachable spirit, that is quick to repent and apologize, slow to judge. Quick to offer sacrifice, slow to anger. I pray that the Holy Spirit would convict me and that I would repent immediately and continually. I pray that I sacrifice time to check in with God, in His word and through a healthy, vibrant prayer life. To pray for others, for my children- for their future spouses, for regions, for leaders. I pray that there would be an increase in my passion for God in this year of my life.
I pray for a character like Job and commit to the path in establishing this character. A humble man, a praying man, a man of character and integrity. This is who I want to be.
Do I pray continually for my children?
Do I repent immediately when I am convicted?
Do I ask the Holy Spirit to search my heart – daily- and convict me of sins known and unknown?
Is daily prayer and heart searching part of my every day?
Am I going slow enough to receive the heart messages that are being sent my way? Am I seeing the hurt eyes and demeanor of those that I may hurt with my tongue? Am I going slow enough to see when I am brushing off my kids for “something more important”? Slow enough to see if I run someone over with thought, speech or deed? Am I going slow enough, and intentionally enough, to make it right with God and my brother?
Slow me down Lord….slow me down to see the intricacies of the human heart and interactions. Slow me down so that I may love well. Slow me down so that I know when I have sinned against God and against man. Slow me down to see the hurt and the helpless and to have a heart of mercy and compassion. Slow me down Lord, so that I can find you.
Job knew the hideous potential hidden in the human heart.....

 

 

Job Week 3


There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. Seven sons and three daughters were born to him. His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants; and that man was the greatest of all the men of the east.


Job knew his God, knew Him by name…and God knew His Job, by name and by character.  Lets look at Job and his character….we see that he is:
·         Blameless
·         Upright
·         Fearing God
·         Turning away from evil

Job’s character spoke loudly of his fear of God, and the matters of importance in his heart! Lets look at his first character: Job was blameless, In looking at the Hebrew, the word for Blameless here is: tam (pronounced tawm)  meaning gentle, dear, pious.  It is an adjective meaning integrity, completeness.  This is a rare , almost exclusively poetic term- often translated perfect…but NOT carrying the sense of TOTALLY free from fault. Let’s remember that Job was human, and though, we may be “tam”, complete, pious and gentle in the Lord, we walk with, and among, terrible sin and suffering.

Job was Upright (Yashar). He was honest and straight, he was right in an emotional, ethical sense, agreeable and pleasing.

Job Feared the Lord (Yare) He was cautious, He revered His God

Job Turned away from evil…this is a verb (suwr)  – it requires action.  This is not a passive voice, He actively avoided, ceased, kept far away from evil.

Of all of Job’s possessions, his character is listed first, and I believe to be, his greatest asset and greatest treasure.   Think about you….what does your lifestyle, choices and reactions say about your character?  Where is there room for improvement over this year?  The fruits of the Spirit test should give a compass to things we can develop through the Lord.

Job had some serious stuff…..He is noted as the “…greatest man in the East”. Job’s stuff will not keep him from suffering trials.  There is no security in “stuff”, there is no security in things and acquisitions of this world.  How many times do we chase after a new gadget, lust for a new object….only to get it and feel like the “chase” was the best part?  We can not stockpile and hoard our way into security.  Life is going to happen and life sometimes hurts.  Sometimes we suffer, sometimes things don’t make sense. “Stuff” wasn’t the answer for Job, “stuff” shouldn’t be our source or our destination.

Job was rich, JOB was esteemed in his culture.  He had status, a reputation.  How many times can we get stuck in what others think?  I do believe that our testimony and how we live our life is the largest Gospel presentation we, as Christians, give.  I believe that we “preach” the Gospel through our everyday actions, when no one is looking.  To be blameless, upright and to fear the Lord- while turning away from evil.  To be this person when no one is looking, to treat people with respect and dignity.  To love those who hurt us and to reach  a hand out to those who need us, regardless of how they look.  Job had character that far outweighed His riches. Job was focused on God, it would seem that all the rest just happened.  He was blessed, a blessed man.

The bible says that it is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle that for a rich man to get into heaven. (Mthw 19:24)  What are we focusing on? Where is our strength and our security?  Job’s character was listed first.  What would you list as your greatest treasure?  For where your heart is, there your treasure is also (Mthw 6:21)  Our treasure can be in pleasing man, and being praised….our treasure can be in riches and wealth…our treasure can be in status, position….our treasure can be in ministry- finding our identity in Christ through our ministries, not through Him…..our treasure can be in arrogance over knowledge of the Word, forgetting to live the Gospel through a heart of love….with our wicked, wicked hearts…our treasures have so many places to fall, other than in the heart of our savior and with our feet resting  on the solid foundation of Elohim.

As we undertake this journey together, lets agree to not worship our  blessings, rather, lets worship Him that bestows all good things…in addition, let us also agree, from the onset,  to worship Him that makes it to rain on the wicked, as well as the righteous.  We will agree to document our blessings, not as a means of worship to earthly gain, but as an active act of worship to HIM, for all that He does and the thousand ways He makes His presence known in our lives and in our hearts…..I just love God, don’t you????



 



Job: Week 2

I wanted to go into a little history before we start digging into the Word….JOB means “The hated or persecuted one”.  It is believed to be written by Moses, by most scholars, at the time Genesis was written.  (Others have attributed it to Solomon.)  In the writing style and tense, it is most probable that JOB was a man that lived during Moses time and Moses recounts His story through the book.  Let’s look at the text:

 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil- Job 1:1

In looking at this verse, something jumps at me right from the get-go.  JOB KNEW GOD.  The word here for KNEW, or FEARED is “YARE- yuw.ray) meaning cautious, revere.  Job had a respect, reverence for His God.
It is also interesting that God, in this text uses the name ELOHIM.  This name of God is used when God interacts with His creation. 
So, lets put that together, Job revered His God and God interacted with His creation .  That is the first place that this book opens.  The book opens with relationship.  A relationship based on reverence, on Job’s part -  and intent on God’s part.  It starts where we should all start- that we KNOW our God.
As we open this journey and we start unpacking the Word and delving further into the mysteries of God…..lets look at our relationship with God. With Father Elohim – mighty creator, Lord and Judge.  Who is God to you?  If you feel led to do a word search this week, what meanings do you find for “Elohim”?  This week, let’s dig into the name of God…>ELOHIM and see where the road takes us and what the Spirit reveals.
What does it mean to “revere” the Lord, to “Fear” the Lord?  There is a quote by Oswald Chambers: “The remarkable thing about fearing the Lord is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas, if you do not fear God- you fear everything else”
This week, I would like to dive, as deep as the Spirit would take us, into the names of God and what it means to actively revere our living God.
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Job: Week 1

This week we will be laying the groundwork for the year to come.  For the past few years I have inquired after God as to a purpose, a focus, an insight in to the coming year and a way to seek Him.  In the past I have had words to focus on such as “sanctification” and “character”.  He has also provided me with scripture verses as my focus.  Last year my focus was:    
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners" 
Isaiah 61:1

This year, I would ask that you pray into a verse, a word something for you to seek after the Heart of God.  I know that this is not a new idea for most of us.  It has been an extremely meaningful practice for me.

I thought it might be interesting to add a few more “assignments” to this journey we are about to undergo together.  Most folks have taken a “Spiritual Gifts” test at one point or another.  Have you?  What are your Spiritual Gifts?  Jot them down somewhere in your journal and let’s pray, together, that the Lord would give further growth and opportunity to operate out of your spiritual giftings.  If you don’t know what they are, you can find a spiritual gifts inventory here:

It is my belief that we have to go one step back even, from our spiritual gift inventory.  It is my belief, that as we seek after the character and nature of God, that we look at the FRUITS of the Spirit.  I believe  that the fruits of the spirit ARE the character and nature of God…So, if we operate in our gifts, without the fruit…we can fall prey to a host of fallen virtues, aims, and motivations.   Operate out of the fruits of the spirit and we are working our giftings with out love…ouch.  Try teaching without patience, and goodness and kindness, your words will fall on hurt, offended ears.  Admin without patience is the  HR person of our nightmares.  Teach a sermon without grace and feel the pull of the pharasitical spirit.  So, the fruits of the spirit are where I would really like to start this journey of blessings…..because each of these fruits ARE our very first blessing.  Think on this,,,,we serve a God that is
*Loving
*Joyful
*Peaceful
*Patient
*Kind
*Good
*Gentle
*Faithful

We serve an amazing God…… we know of Jesus having these virtues and these fruits.  Sometimes we can loose Father God in the violence of the Old Testament.  I would like to introduce you to Father God today….in John 14:9  Jesus says, “Anyone who has  seen me, has seen the Father”. Jesus walked out on earth, the heart of the Father, and the attributes of the Father. 

To grow in the fruits of the Spirit is to allow more of Him into our hearts and less of the world.  It starts to shift our eyes from earthly goals and ambitions to a heavenly focus, where we seek after the heart of the Father.  You will find a spiritual fruit test here….not a test that you can pass or fail, but an inventory of strengths and weaknesses.  Lets concentrate on growing our fruit this year. 


Your assignment:
*Search your heart, through the scriptures for a verse, word, phrase that seems to encompass a vision for the year.  Others have resolutions, that seek to start or stop a behavior… we will have a journey into greater understanding.
*In your journal write, paint, collage this word or phrase as a reminder of what you are choosing to focus on this year. Include scriptures that contain this word.
*Take the spiritual gifts test, if you have never done so…write your giftings in your journal
*Take the Spiritual Fruit inventory and write your strengths and weaknesses. Fashion a prayer that asks for these fruits to be grown, as you intentionally seek experiences that will water these fruits.
  Question:  Does your word or phrase correlate, in any way, to your spiritual fruit inventory?





Journey of Blessings!! (intro)

What is a “Journey of Blessings”?  I would like to propose to you that we, together, take the next year…..and take a journey through our hearts, our attitudes and our perceptions. To enter His courts with THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE.  It occurred to me that Herod was under the same star that the wise men followed.   The difference was focus.  The wise men were searching and waiting, in expectancy, for a divine appointment.  Herod was watching the world, his political prowess, social standing and fortune.  One set of men had their eyes cast to the heavens-with expectancy, and one had his eyes cast to his own kingdom- looking for personal gain. 

I would like to propose that we shift our focus – from our circumstances- to a joyful expectancy, waiting for God to arrive.  How do we do that…how do we take a journey from the heart of Herod to the heart of a wise man?  I would propose through a "Journey of Blessings".

We will start by gathering our blessings daily, paying attention to those places that God intersects heaven with earth, on our behalf.  Places and spaces where God is displaying His glory, His attention to our details, His mercy and His grace.  With the heart of Herod we miss it, no matter how bright the star is in our lives.  If we start to document these blessings, pay attention to the little things in our lives….an amazing thing happens......we find God in the littlest places AND in the brightest stars.  I find God in laughter and in the trusting smiles of friends.  I find God in sunsets and cloud formations.  I find God in warm showers and time to slow down to hear Him.  He is at our supper table and He lives in my car with me, while I drive here and there.  He is everywhere, because I find Him.  HE WILL be found by us, if we search with all of our hearts. 

As I look for Him, in the daily manna that He provides, I learn the character and the nature of God.  I know of His mercy and of His compassion.  I learn that He is fun and unpredictable…yet, judge and to be revered. I learn who God is, in my everyday miracles…so that, when the hard times hit, which they surely will, my eyes are focused on the star, not in the world.  The wise men, surely hit  calamities on their journey, as surely as we will hit difficult times.  There eyes were focused upwards. Lets shift our perceptions this year.

So – are you excited about the prospect of a life altering journey??  How do we get started and what will it  entail?  Lets get ready to start, first what you will need:

*A journal of some sorts…whatever you like, whatever makes your heart expectant to open.  I will use a Moleskine yearly planner. 
 
In this journal, we will document our blessings weekly.  In addition, we will work through, perhaps one of the most beautiful masterpieces of the bible: “The Book of Job”.  Job which means “The hated, or persecuted one” had to shift his focus and focus on his living God.  He dealt with negativity, know- it- alls, religious zealots, great loss, and harrowing pain in his journey.  Where did he wind up focusing – on God.  He went TO GOD for his answers,. He questioned GOD…lets dig into God’s word,as we learn how to shift our focus!Let's inquire to God, and listen for His answers!

I have set up my journey so that I will document the week of blessings on one page, and the other side I will work through the Bible lesson. 

So, get a journal, and gather some supplies.  I will do my journal as a mixed media journal.  How will you take this journey of blessings?



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