Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - Not So Secret Superhero

Genesis 19:9-11 "Get out of our way," they replied. And they said, "This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them." They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

God gives us the strength we need for the moment. Yesterday morning, we were leaving early to go to co-op (a group of homeschooling families that get together) and as we were getting in the car my son was standing at the doorway of the house - he called out to me, "Mom, I feel like I'm going to throw up". All the girls were in the car and I had just put my purse and bag in the car, please keep in mind that I am usually carrying something out to the car right as I get in it - so for me to be empty-handed was already a miracle. As I turned to walk back to him I asked him if he had some milk with his cold medicine that I had laid out for him to take - without another word, his eyes glazed over and his body crumpled as he fell into my arms passed out. My son is 14 years old. He's not the little boy who sits on my lap anymore. I caught him and was able to move a chair out of the way with my other arm before we both were on the concrete. I called to my daughter to get out of the car and go get her dad who was still asleep (Thank God he hadn't left for work yet).

A mob of angry men were attacking Lot, death was going to be the only outcome. They were already pushing towards the door - the ominous music was playing. Then, in the midst of the struggle - when it looked as though all hope was lost, the men from inside came out and grabbed Lot, pulled him in and blinded the men so that they could not find the door. Keep in mind - they were already close to the door - so the blindness was such that all of them were terribly disoriented. Lot was pulled to safety by the strength of the angels inside.

It works the same way with us when we are children of God. In the times of struggle, when you are fighting with all your might and it is no longer physically possible for you to do anything more, Jesus steps out from inside your heart and pulls you to safety and provides the power you need to handle the situation.

My son is fine. We went to the doctor and she said he was only slightly dehydrated. His blood tests came back normal and by the end of a day of babying he was feeling good. While driving back from my daughter's acting class in the evening, she said to me, "I have a feeling that Dano is going to be in your blog tomorrow". When the power of Jesus comes out from inside of you - He doesn't want you to keep it a secret. . .

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - The Lifetime Channel doesn't want you to read this.

Genesis 19:6-7 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."

Marrying a person that you've slept with out of wedlock doesn't justify your past sin, you still need to take that to God. The same way sleeping with a woman doesn't justify a homosexual mans' previous actions with other men. However, that was what Lot was attempting to do here.

Looking at what Lot has said - it is as if the only problem he sees with this situation is the homosexual nature of these men wanting the angels that have come to stay with Lot. He greets them warmly - 'my friends' - He then states that he doesn't want them to do this 'wicked' thing. Which wicked thing is he talking about? - because we had a whole list of them in the last post. Lot is talking about the sin of homosexuality - only. How do I know? Because in the same breath - he suggests that they do exactly the same thing - only with his daughters. The only part of the equation that has changed has been the gender of the victims.

It infuriates me to picture in my mind these girls and what they might be thinking after hearing their father say this to this mob that has formed.

I don't find Lot to be the greatest of men. I don't think he was a good example for Christ. I don't think he should've stayed in a town that was so full of sin it caused him to hide his witness for God. This is so relevant to our lives today. How many people say they can't be effective for Christ because of their job, or their town, or their family? If you can't be an effective witness for Christ then you need to quit that job, move out of that town, and get away from that family. You can't quit your job at a law firm whose practice is unethical because you have a family to support? Luke 12:28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! Do you believe it or don't you?

On the other side of things - God is working hard to get Lot out of there. Lot, the one who didn't get father of the year - is being watched over by God and protected. God watches over His children and protects us even when we are not living a life that glorifies Him. How proud He must be of us when we do. I so want to make Him proud.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Soddom and Gomorrah - The Original Sin City

Genesis 19:5 They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."

Let's play a game. We will call it - how many sins can we find in this one verse. I'll start. Homosexuality (that's the obvious one) - Violence (I'm sure this would not be consensual) - Greed (These men wanted something so bad they were willing to do anything to get it) - Lust (They obviously saw the men and something started raging) - Adultery (I'm pretty sure at least one of all the men in the city had a spouse). I'll stop there for now.

Since I work for Weight Watchers, I'm going to use another weight analogy. People who are overweight did not get there in one day. It was a constant daily choice of eating the wrong foods. You don't gain an extra 40 pounds by having a piece of cheesecake at a birthday party two weeks ago.

Sin is not lonely. Sin very rarely comes in single form. The city of Sodom was not being destroyed because people were committing one sin. It was the onslaught of the multitude of sin in their every day lives. Even now when we sin - it is not in single form - but if we catch it, we can stop the snowball effect. A curse word does not just fly out of the mouth on its own - the sin of rage may have come before it. Or, a lie might follow the sin of jealousy or envy or pride.

The decline of a nation became such because they allowed this multitude of sin to continue. In this one verse alone - all in one action - an entire city finds nothing wrong with all the sin that has consumed them. Just like eating whatever you think makes you feel good all day long - one day, you're out of control.

The good thing is, in both situations - you can start making healthier choices and eating better and lose the weight and get back in control. Just like you can go to God and ask Him to start helping you remove that sin in your life. Make no mistake - sin is rampant and free-flowing. So much so that sometimes we don't even realize we're sinning anymore. This is where we must ask God's guidance to keep us strong and hold us accountable so that we don't become like the city of Sodom and Gomorrah

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - Knock Knock

Genesis 19:4 Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter;

I did a google search for the terms "a crowd gathered". I wanted to find out what types of things for which people will crowd around. There were things like when the men landed on the moon, an accident in Afghanistan causing a riot, the crumbling of the world trade center in a terrorist attack. These are big events that people, for whatever reason, wanted to be a part of. The historical benefit of being around when we hit the moon - anger of an injustice - or sympathy and support for the suffering.

But why would a whole town - of just men - show up for two strangers? The Bible verse is so specific - EVERY man in the town. Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, it didn't take too long for them to show up. We know that food was made rather quickly and then eaten and then it says - before they went to bed this crowd appeared. I think we're looking at maybe a couple of hours. We can't get a crowd to gather for a Bible study thats scheduled two months in advance - let alone have everyone in the class show up in two hours. What's the rush and the importance?(we'll see in tomorrows post)

Let's look at our own lives. What are we willing to drop everything and follow the crowd for? A sale at JCPenney's? An ambulance at the end of the block? We are called to follow in only ONE circumstance. Here's the irony - We are called to follow Christ - but in following Christ we become leaders. We are called to stand out of the crowd - turn away from the way everyone else is acting and look to God, alone, for guidance.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - You Are What You Eat

Genesis 19:3 Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

Parmesan Chicken Fingers with Lemon
Ready to Eat: 30 m
Serves: 4
4 each Chicken breasts; skinned an
2 each Eggs; lightly beaten
1 1/2 c Bread crumbs; dry
2/3 each Parmesan; grated
1/2 c Butter
1 Lemon wedges (optional)
Cut chicken breasts into desired size strips. Dip each strip into beaten eggs, then into mixture of bread crumbs. In large skillet, melt half of butter and cook chicken in single layer till crisp, about 3 minutes each side. Drain on paper towels and serve with lemon wedges.

This beautiful recipe takes 30 minutes from start to finish. Sounds pretty good if you ask me. There is something that really stuck out to me in this verse - and two things about it that I will touch on. Why mention the unleavened bread?

Lot invited the angels in for a feast - okay, their guests - he's hospitable - we should always be kind to angels. . . :) I get that, self explanatory. Then Lot prepared a feast - while it doesn't mention exactly what Lot cooked - the scriptures are specific that he did make unleavened bread. Why is it so important to mention that? Two reasons - here we go. . .

As I have proven with the above recipe, you can make a pretty good lookin' feast in a fairly short amount of time. But bread, that's another story. To bake bread, let it rise, and all that goodness is nothing short of three hours. Unleavened bread though - 20 minutes. The Bible mentions elsewhere about the Israelites rushing and making unleavened bread due to lack of time. I think it's important to notice that when they sat down to eat - they had only been in the house for a short amount of time - we'll talk about that when we get to our next verse.

Ever throw a red sock in with a white load of laundry? Ever watch a movie where someone did? What happens to the red sock? Nothing. What happens to the white clothes? They all turn pink. Same thing happens with bread when you add yeast. Once yeast is added to the mix, the bread begins to take on a form of its own. The yeast takes hold of the dough and spreads throughout to cause the entire loaf to act in like manner. If yeast represents sin - then the lack of the use of it in the house of Lot shows us that we can choose to not let sin enter in. There are many verses that talk about the use of yeast and bacteria - but the bottom line is that it controls the outcome of the bread.

If we choose to let sin enter in - we are letting Satan decide what our outcome will be. I'm glad I made the decision to let Jesus enter in instead.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - Team Players

Genesis 19:1-2 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. "My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning." "No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square."

My daughter played her tournament basketball games this weekend (She plays for a small private Christian school). After a long hard game in which five of her teammates fouled out and the game went into overtime, they lost by 6 points. I was so proud
of my little 6th grader. She played almost the whole game and had to be exhausted by the end. After they had finished changing out of their uniforms, she came and I gave her a hug and tried to console her from the days loss. When we got in the car, she began to tell me about how when they got into the locker room a couple of the girls started cursing in their anger about the game. I asked her quite calmly, "Did you say anything?" She told me, "I said, C'mon guys - we're Christians, we don't need to act like that even if we did lose." I said, with bated breath, "What did they do?" She said, "Well, Sierra backed me up and said that I was right and they just stopped cursing." I let her know that I was more proud of her for taking a stand in that locker room than for that entire game she played.

Lot met the angels at the city gate and immediately honored them by bowing. He offered them a place to rest and stay and then a quick exit out of the city. Why was Lot rushing these angels out? Because he knew the company he kept.

I've heard other Christians share with me about the way people act around them. Unbelievers who refrain from vulgar jokes and gossiping around them because they know they're Christians and how they would not participate or reciprocate in this type of behavior. Why did Lot not have that affect on the neighboring people in his town? Is it possible to be a Christian and no one know it - sure - is it effective for Christ - not at all.

Lot had lost his effectiveness. Whether it was the fear of the people in his city, the lack of support from his family and friends or some other reason, Lot did not share the power of God with the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. He knew the sins of this city and had found a way to simply survive. But that's not what we are called to do. We are not here on this earth to 'simply survive'. We are called to spread the gospel of Christ, that others may know him through our actions and our words.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - Press Your Luck

Genesis 18:29-33 He spoke to Him yet again and said, "Suppose forty are found there?" And He said, "I will not do it on account of the forty."Then he said, "Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?" And He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."And he said, "Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the twenty."Then he said, "Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the ten."As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD departed, and Abraham returned to his place.

Do you remember the game show from the early 1980's called 'Press Your Luck' - Here's the tagline: Today, these 3 players are after high stakes! But they'll have to avoid the whammy, as they play the most exciting game of their lives! From Television City in Hollywood, it's time to Press Your Luck! The players of this game would have to hit the button and hope to avoid the whammy (little demon) and lose everything.

This is what came to my mind when I read these verses. Abraham must be thinking this same thing - how far can I go before God says 'forget it - you've pushed Me too far and I'm just taking them all out'.

The difference between the show Press Your Luck and pressing your luck with God is that God doesn't throw out any whammies. God doesn't turn on you because you ask something too many many times. It's when you don't go to God with your concerns that those whammies (devils tricks) creep in to try to wipe away that relationship you have with God.

One more thing, in the final words of the conversation God tells Abraham that He will not destroy the city if there are ten found righteous as Abraham has asked - and Abraham turns and goes home. He doesn't continue after God saying - 'are you sure?' or 'should I remind you later?' He goes home resting in God's promise.
I want to be able to do that. I want to rest on His promise that He will take care of everything - no matter who's president or what the economy is like - that God is still on the throne, Jesus is still in control, and we can sleep easy tonight.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - Time for a reunion

Genesis 18:22-28 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD. Abraham came near and said, Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? "Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? "Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?" So the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account."

I received a friend request on my facebook from my old college roommate. I was so excited. I haven't spoken to her in a long time and it's been over 15 years since I've seen her. I've heard people say they can go years without talking to a best friend and then pick up again right where they left off like no time has passed. I think sometimes it's a little awkward right up front, but then you get to talking and remember how great the relationship is, you can just go from there.

When I read these verses, the thing that kept sticking out to me was the relationship between Abraham and the Lord. Yes, I know, a lot is at stake and we're talking about the destruction of a whole city - but I'd like to take a look at the conversation.

First of all, Abraham is standing face-to-face with the Lord. It's not set up as the loyal servant bowing before his almighty master. Although Abraham is His servant and He is the almighty Master - it's just not set up that way for us in these verses - it's showing the common, intimate relationship between the two. Abraham shares his opinion and asks in all honesty - 'will you kill the whole city if there are good people there?' Abraham even gives it a number - he says '50'. The Lord listens to Abraham and says - 'ok' - 'I agree' - 'If there are 50 of my people there, I'll spare the whole city.'

Is this not the type of relationship we should be striving for with God. One where we can stand face to face and share our concerns and have Him answer. God wants this type of relationship with us, and if its been awhile, it can be just as strong, if not stronger than it was before - like an old friend. Because - When we walk with the Lord in the light of His word what a Glory He sheds on our way....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - 911, What's your emergency?

Genesis 18:20-21 And the LORD said, "The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. "I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know."

Murder, Lying, Stealing, Rape, Adultery: Which one is worse? According to God? Well whatever sin Sodom and Gomorrah were committing, God calls it exceedingly grave. That sounds pretty bad to me. defines grave, the adjective, as significantly serious. Now since we know that God considers all sin very serious - to share with Abraham that these people are committing significantly serious sin leaves one to wonder what in the world these people are doing.

Here's something that's extremely interesting: How does God know about the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? Well we all know that God knows everything. He's well aware of the sinning that's going on. Sin goes on all the time and God doesn't blow people up - America would've been gone a long time ago. Why is He stepping in and not allowing it to continue? Because His people have prayed. If there was ever a question about God hearing our prayers - this is the answer. The people are praying about the situation in Sodom and Gomorrah.

It wasn't just one prayer in passing that caused God to take such action - it was the constant continual prayer of His people. If you are asking God to take control of a situation - He needs to know you are serious about it. Do you care enough about what ever the issue is to offer it up in prayer on a constant basis? Does it mean enough for you to bring it before God every time you are on your knees?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - Begins

Genesis 18:16-19 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. Then the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."

The Ty Warner Penthouse in New York at $34,000 a night is one of the most expensive hotels in the world. Beyond the architectural work of the building, penthouse guests enjoy amenities as impressive as their quarters: TVs programmed for every channel worldwide, unlimited global telephone calling, the services of both a personal butler and a personal trainer/therapist, and a private chauffeur for unlimited travel during your stay in your choice of a Rolls Royce Phantom or a Mercedes Maybach. What happened to the days of hospitality where you didn't have to pay a fortune to get the feeling that someone actually cared that you were welcomed?

Abraham must have taken a hospitality course, because he's walking his guests towards their destination - he doesn't just point them towards the east or west - he goes with them. This is just another little bit of insight into Abraham's character.

There is about to be some serious destruction. One that will change the lives of many. One that has been kept secret until now.
God had made a promise to Abraham - he will be the leader of nations. God has decided to let Abraham in on his plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Here is the neatest thing - God is giving Abraham this information because God has chosen him and in so doing, feels partnered with Abraham and shares His plans.

We have this same honor as Christians. We are God's chosen people and because of this, He has let us in on His plan. Jesus is coming back.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Job - Ends

Job 3 - 42.

The story of Cinderella is a classic. Every little girls dream fantasy of going to a ball and being swept off their feet by a handsome man. But I'd like to look at a different part of this story. Cinderella is badly treated by her step-mother and step-sisters. Yet, she remains kind and continues her daily work. Then, she gets this amazing opportunity to go to the ball and her dreams are dashed when her family makes it impossible for her to attend. We all know the rest of the story, and towards the end, in the midst of being mistreated, the prince arrives and announces that it is Cinderella who he has been looking for and asks for her hand in marriage - even in all this excitement, she accepts the apologies of her family and forgives them.

For the next 35 Chapters in Job, Job and his friends have a conversation. One where the friends tell Job that he should not be putting up with what he's going through because he doesn't deserve it and Job defends God saying that He is the almighty and he'll take whatever He decides to give. It's a long read, but the one-liners that Job comes up with are true and amazing. For 35 chapters Job goes on and on defending God and talking of His greatness only to the constant debate from his friends. And then it happens, the Lord speaks. Like the prince coming for Cinderella, God confirms that it is Job. Job is the man of whom He is proud. God berates the friends for their behavior and tells them it is up to Job to pray for their forgiveness ( and they have to sacrifice things) and He'll listen to him.

Can you imagine - going through all the struggle, all that pain and then - through the clouds - to hear the voice of God justify your argument.

Here's the thing: If we continue to stay strong in the word, to praise God even in the times of struggle that we have, to call on His name when we know we are weak - we Will hear the voice of God. It will be our comfort in the hurt and our strength through the storm.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Job - Inspiration for Michael W. Smith

Job 2:11-13 When Job's three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

Let's pretend for a moment that we don't know about the rest of the book of Job. That what we look at here is all we know. Three friends come to see Job and sit beside him and just weep and cry and don't say a word.

Thinking back, these actions are quite different than that of Job's wife. Now, we can understand, somewhat, the reasons for her bad actions. She, too, had just lo
st all her income, all of her children had been killed and looking at her husband - she figured she would be alone shortly and would rather be done with it. While her actions were wrong, I think we can all see how stressed she must have been at that moment.

These friends however, don't have any of that stress. What they have: Job, in agony. Yet they gave up their time - for a week at least - no working, no family, sleeping in the ashes with Job. Do you have a friend that would do that? Would you BE a friend that would do that? God calls us to minister to others - what better place to start than with our own friends.

In the middle of the story of Job - one of agony and misery and pain - who knew there was this sliver of touching friendship, if only momentary, for us to see. A passage that tells us a friend doesn't always need to talk to offer hope - sometimes - we just have to be there. Sitting in the ashes alongside one another. Who are you willing to sit in the ashes for?

Job - Are You A Risk-Taker?

Job 2:7-10 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

A boil usually appears suddenly as a painful pink or red bump. The surrounding skin also may be red and swollen. Within a few days, the bump fills with pus. It grows larger and more painful, sometimes reaching golf ball size before it develops a yellow-white tip that finally ruptures and drains. Boils generally clear completely in a couple weeks, though it can take a month or more. Boils can occur anywhere on your skin, but appear mainly on your face, neck, armpits, buttocks or thighs, hair-bearing areas where you're most likely to sweat or experience friction -

OUCH. Assuming that these were the types of boils Job had, we're looking at a good two weeks of this pain. First of all, he's removed himself from his house and everyone else and is sitting in the ashes (it's contagious). Job is not feeling sorry for himself, he's getting away from everyone so as not to infect them as well.

Don't you love the people who complain about everything. My gout is killing me. My knee can't bend anymore. My arthritis is acting up. BOILS have infected the whole of Job's body and he removes himself from physical contact with people. Then, to make matters worse, his wife comes out to him to tell him to die. Can you imagine? You are in pain, all alone, scraping yourself with broken pottery and then off in the distance you see your wife coming to you. And when she arrives, she tells you to curse God and die.

What a man Job was. Through his suffering (the kind where you just want to give in to whatever anyone tells you to do) he stood up for his God and basically told his wife she was a moron (again, Dorothy interpretation). I am in no way endorsing this type of conversation with your spouse, but it certainly does give us some insight. There are people all around us who need to hear the gospel. In my last post, I was rather adamant in what our goal is as Christians - showing Christ to others. Sometimes those 'others' might be the aborigine in Australia - but sometimes, it might just be our spouse or our child or our boss or our parent. Are you willing to risk being mocked and stand up for God by sharing His Word with someone close to you that needs to hear it?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Job - Why Are You Even Here?

Job 2:4-6 "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life."

I had a hang nail. I pulled it out. It throbbed. It seemed like my whole hand would fall off. Isn't that how we are? One small thing causes us pain and we have trouble focusing on anything else. I have never had to go through any serious illness, so I can't imagine the stress and pain of living a day with this type of situation.

Satan has come up with yet another reason why Job didn't curse God. "If Job was unhealthy, if his body was in pain - then he would curse You". It would make sense. That would be the next step. People all over the world do it today - curse God for their cancer or their AIDS or their heart condition. What would make Job any different? God said 'okay'. He allowed it to happen.

Here is the thing that I noticed. He wants Job's life spared. Satan is allowed to cripple him, give him disease, cause him to be blind, mute or deaf - but not kill him. God doesn't want Job dead because God still needs for him to serve His purpose on earth. To let others see God in Job. If you haven't figured it out yet, we, as Christians, have one purpose on this earth. To tell others about Christ. That's it! That's the bottom line. Children, spouses, jobs, education, homes: these are all just perks along the way - but none of these things matter if we are not striving for that one goal of sharing Christ with others.

So if disease takes over our bodies - if we are crippled - if mental anguish has taken its hold - until we are with Christ in heaven we must strive for our goal. If God has you here on earth - in whatever capacity - He needs you. He needs you to continue toward the goal until He calls you homeward.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Job - It's a Choice.

Job 2:3 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him.And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason."

Wow, am I having Deja Vu or did we already read these verses? Why would God feel it necessary to repeat this conversation? Why not just say 'and then Satan showed up and they had the same conversation'. I'll tell you what I think, I think God is mocking him. This is too funny! God is mocking Satan. 'Weren't you the guy who was just up here saying that no one held true to My Word, that no one would follow My Way?'

The words "I told you so" seem to slip our of our mouths so easily. Was it the same way for God when Satan returned from wreaking havoc on a man with so much integrity? Did God basically look at Satan and say, "I told you so".

Now two things could've happened at this point. Satan could admit defeat and go home, or his anger burned inside of him so much that he would come up with new ways to try and torture Job into cursing God. Satan chose the latter.

What about us? When we've challenged God, whether it be to make our own decisions and not seek God's guidance or outright going against His Word. Do we humbly admit defeat and ask Him to forgive us, or do we get angry and start throwing out excuses as to why we acted the way we did. What will we do today?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Job - Is it Raining at Your House?

Job 1:12-22 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house,a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Have you ever heard the phrase "when it rains it pours"? I often hear myself say it when there is sickness in my family. We'll go along for a nice stretch of everyone being healthy and doing school on time and then one of the kids will get a sore throat and the next thing you know - all the kids have it - when it rains it pours. It's hard enough to deal with it when it's only one child - but when it's four, it's just plain exhausting.

God has said the words that Satan wanted to hear, and off he goes to the land of Job. Job was minding his own business. It absolutely blows my mind to read these verses and think of Job simply sitting in his house taking it all in. First - the Sabeans attack and take all his plowing animals and field hands. This had to be a blow to Job. That was part of his income, and all those people that worked for him - how sad, how would he deal with the families of his workers. But, before he has time to think about this, another man shows up to tell him all his sheep and shepherds have been killed. A meteor fell from the sky (Dorothy interpretation) and killed them all with fire. That's almost unbelievable. I think Job would've been looking for Allen Funt and his hidden camera at this point. Job didn't have time to look though because another man had just come into his house to tell him that the Chaldeans came and took all his camels and servants. I think that about covers all of his income. Bankruptcy had to be imminent. No time to dwell on that though, because a tornado came (again Dorothy interpretation) and killed all of his partying children. Still, Job in all his grief, praised God.

I know I've mentioned this before, but I must say it again. It's not God's fault when something bad happens. Every bad event that just occurred before Job was instigated, laid out and followed through by Satan. Don't think for one minute that abortion, murder, rape, theft, adultery, alcoholism, starvation, cancer have ever come from God. Satan is at the forefront of all evil. Can God overcome this evil? Absolutely! Is it possible that God may not intervene in the situation? Yes. Will it all work out for God's people in the end anyway? Without a doubt.

In this horrific situation that Job is going through - caused solely by the devil - would it have been easy for him to blame God? Sure. God is always a good fall-guy. But here, in the book of Job - make no mistake - scripture reveals it - Satan is at the steering wheel and the problems start when he arrives. Cling to God, rest on His promise, hold fast to His truth and know there is hope.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Job - Just Say No

Job 1:9-11 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."

Today during math time, Sarie (my youngest, 8 year old daughter) began to get an attitude because she got a problem wrong. As I began to explain - very calmly really - why she should not act like this, she looks me in the eye - puts her hands to block me out and says, "This conversation is over." . . .
Needless to say, Sarie is without TV for a month. Along with that punishme
nt, she received a nice long lecture on who was in charge in this relationship and she has no business talking to me like that. It's a good thing she's cute. :)

In walks Satan - after God tells him that Job is upright and fears God - Satan tells God that it's
only because God protects and gives him everything, that Job wouldn't love God if He didn't give him all that stuff. Maybe here is where God should've explained to Satan who's in charge in that relationship - that Satan had no business talking to Him like that. Why didn't He? Why didn't God just say - Get out of my house and leave my people alone!

Here's why He didn't. Here's why He doesn't. He leaves it up to us. It is up to us to tell Satan who's in charge and to leave us alone. So if you didn't know it before, here it is for you now. It is up to US to say 'no' to Satan. It is up to us to turn away from him and make that effort to stay strong in God.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Job - Jesus loves me.

Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."

I really debated putting more than one verse, but I just didn't want to. I thought there was so much to see in just this one verse that it deserved a whole post all by its little self.

Satan has been bragging, again, about how he has had such an impact on everyone on earth. The pride that satan has developed over how he can persuade and manipulate people to do what he wants them to do - which is, quite simply, anything contrary to what God wants. The idea of this is infuriating - not just because satan is so evil - but that what he claims is pretty accurate. We, as a people, are easily swayed.

Then God speaks.

Have you ever watched a romance movie where the man, who you thought - kind of - maybe - liked the girl in the lead role, lays his whole heart on the line and confesses how much he truly loves her in the end. Think Pride and Prejudice. She spends the whole movie somewhat giving and taking, never wanting to wholly open up to Mr. Darcy - but then finds out in the end how much he deeply loves her.

Not that God is anywhere close to Mr. Darcy, but some of us play the role of Elizabeth Bennett. Only giving what they think they're getting. Why oh why do we play these games.

When God speaks here, we can see the amazing amount of love He has for Job and all of us. He praises Job for his commitment and love of God. If we could hear God in heaven speaking about us, would we not hear the same praise? Job was not perfect, this book never says he was - he was a man trying to live a life blameless before God. As we all are. Struggle after struggle. Know that God cares for you, loves you, and praises your efforts when you strive to be like Christ.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Job - Unwelcome home.

Job 1:6-7 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."

This was an interesting verse for me to read. I'll be honest - sometimes I read the Bible and 'nothing'. No insight, no understanding, zippo. Other times, I'll do a little research and things begin to get clearer and I can get a general idea on what God is really saying. This verse - even after all the research I did - came up differently to me than anything else I read. So - I can't say it's dipped in educational background or scholarly rhetoric - it's just from little ol' me. So here goes it.

Why is Satan walking in with the angels? I don't get that. Then it hit me - Satan, the master of disguise. . . maybe the angels don't realize who he is - is that possible? But notice that God doesn't rebuke the angels for hanging out with Satan - He speaks directly to Satan, himself. If this is true - if even the angels can be fooled by Satan, who are we to ever think we can come up against him without Jesus on our side. Who are we to ever think we can make it to get up out of bed without running into something Satan has cooked up for us and never even realize it. Thus the importance of morning quiet time - to get armed with Jesus before Satan ever has a chance to attack.

Satan answers God's question. He's not simply stating where he'd been, he's bragging. He's relishing the fact that he has been all through the earth and has inhabited the people there and had such an effect on them. We know that this is true of America today, but is it true in our own lives? If Satan had come to our door and toured our homes, would he be able to brag to God like he does here in verse 7? Would he be able to come in unknown, unrecognized and welcomed.

Oh God - we need You

Monday, January 5, 2009

Job - Now I lay me down to sleep. . .

Job 1:4-5 His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom.

There are 13.6 million single parents in the United States today. With 84% of those parents being the mother. It is not far-fetched to assume the child will take on the mannerisms and morals of the parent they are with the most.

In the time of Job, the role of the woman was to raise the children. The majority of the time, I bet Job's kids were at home with mom. We see the effects of children who have grown up in Hollywood getting everything they want and living the rich lifestyle - it seems like that lifestyle also affected Job's children.

As parents, we will go to extremes for our children - it was no different for Job. He would offer a sacrifice for each child after their partying to cover any sins they may have committed. Are we guilty of that? Are we teaching our children that our relationship with God is enough for them as well? Or do we show them the wonderful love that God has for them and how much they will benefit from having their own relationship with Him.

It is important for us to show an example to our children by living a life as Christ-like as possible, but we must also teach them how to have a strong relationship with Christ. Like any relationship - it takes work. It takes effort on our part to make the time to study His word and spend time talking to Him and praising Him and being kind to others for Him. Our kids need to hear this from us - it is not the responsibility of the preacher, the Sunday School teacher, the Youth Minister or even grandma. It's time for us, as parents, to start parenting. Children are a gift from God - I want to make sure I let Him know how much I appreciate that gift.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Job Begins - And That's The Way It Is

Job 1:1-3 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.

Warren Buffett has finally beat out Bill Gates as the richest man in America. Gates had a good run though - thirteen years in first place. Mr. Buffett has hit the record at $62 billion dollars.

Walter Kronkite was once titled as the "most trusted man in America". He read the news, gave his opinion, and people believed it. He was an American icon.

Paul Roos, was officially named 2008 Australian Father of the Year. The Australian Fathers Day Council awarded him this honor in direct relation to how he was raising his children.

Each of these awards are great achievements all on their own, but to have accomplished all three of them? Virtually impossible. Except for Job.

We are introduced to Job in the very first verse of his book. Job has it all and on top of that - he's a God-fearing man. We are so quick to think how easy the Joneses have it because of their high paying jobs and their expensive homes, but with the reputation that Job has, what a difficult time it must be to avoid becoming prideful. We get complements and our head swells, Job has it all and still he remains a good and honorable man.

One day, we will have it all because Jesus will have given it to us - will we be able to stand in His presence and ever think we are worthy? Are we thankful now for all that we have? Do we realize that it is only because of Him that we are even here. Job knew it, and I can't wait to be encouraged by his strength in what we will learn in his book.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Eve Ends - I'm back.

Genesis 3:16-24 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Adam because she would become the mother of all the living. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

So I finally got around to cleaning out the garage. Wow! Happy New Year to me! Those poor garbage men who had to pick up all that trash. Of course, when I cleaned out the garage it was three days before garbage day so I had a nice pile sitting there for the last two days. But - as is usual when I'm not looking for it - God teaches a lesson. . .

Whenever I would receive packages from work, I'd empty it out, and into the garage it was thrown. Do you know what comes in those packages? Peanuts. The styrofoam packing kind. Do you know what happens to styrofoam packing peanuts when you put them out on your curb in an open box on a windy day? Let me tell you - As I was walking back and forth from the garage to the curb, I noticed these little buggers starting to fly away. I looked at them, debating whether I really needed to chase after them. How festive my street would look with little white pieces of confetti strewn about. Reluctantly, I bent down to pick the pieces up. That's when the wind started to blow. All the little parts of styrofoam in the nice little group began to scatter as I bent down - blowing further down the sidewalk. Now it was a race against time to pick them up - that's when God spoke.

The last few verses of chapter three lays out the punishment for Adam and Eve - how sad. We can break apart their punishment and add insult to injury about their sin and how we are affected by it today - but I'd like to look at something else. After God has given them their punishment - He makes them some clothes and dresses them. The itchy leaves that they, in their sin, had used to hide themselves, were taken away by our Father and replaced with soft suede and fur. How quickly and easily Adam and Eve could've turned and ran from God after their punishment - but because they didn't, they were able to see the love of God.

The styrofoam peanuts ran when the wind blew - just like we run when trouble seems to come our way. And when God leans down to gather us back into His arms, we start to take off even faster. I wonder, "why doesn't God just let us go - why doesn't He just say 'forget it' (which is exactly what I wanted to do when those pesky packing things kept running off)". That's when I realized I could ask my children for help - "Come and get these things!" How cute those kids were chasing after those peanuts. I think that's exactly what God does. He calls on us to chase after His lost. How much pride must fill Him as He sees us try to help Him gather those that have "blown" off.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year