Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

In God we trust…seriously…<3

Good morning!

This past week, in two different resources, I was asked the question, “Where do you find it difficult to trust God?” 

One of these offered some areas to prompt a deep-thinking. Suggestions including finances, relationships, and health were listed. 

As I looked over each one, I didn’t feel any strong areas of lacking faith but then, right now, I don’t have any threats in those areas either. 

If I let my imaginings take over, I can paint some “what if’s” but overall I am not currently experiencing trust issues because I do not have lack issues. 

But I have in the past, and the fact that I can get worked up over the possibilities my mind can stir up, reveals that faith is not tested in times of plenty and joy. 

Faith is tested and tried in times of stress and sorrow and hard questions. 

This past week I was working through the book of Job. A godly man who was blessed with all the material and physical things that we still associate with the good life.

He had wealth, a successful business, a good reputation in the community, a big family that got along well together and good health to go with it all.

Then in a game of cosmic proportions that is difficult to understand, all is lost in a matter of days. 

From there we see friends show up to commiserate and then to offer commentary and judgment and some serious sermons on how to fix things. 

As they wrap up their dissertations, Job decides to put God on trial and demand Him to explain Himself. 

Finally the youngest friend speaks up to point out that maybe demanding for God to justify Himself and His character is not the wisest of moves. 

The commentary in The Message suggests that while the last friend’s advice and counsel is probably the best and closest to the truth, when a friend is down and out and wiped out, that may not be the best time to deliver a sermon. 

However, that does not negate the truth of the words spoken by the man and for me, distanced from being Job, I can apply the words of truth to my own tendency to put God on the witness stand from time and explain to me just why He has allowed this or that to happen. 

One nugget of truth I grabbed today was this:

“Here’s what you said.

I heard you say it with my own ears.

You said, ‘I’m pure – I’ve done nothing wrong. Believe me, I’m clean – my conscience is clear. But God keeps picking on me; he treats me like I’m his enemy. He’s thrown me in jail; he keeps me under constant surveillance.’

But let me tell you, Job, you’re wrong, dead wrong!

God is far greater than any human.

So how dare you haul him into court, and then complain that he won’t answer your charges?

God always answers, one way or another, even when people don’t recognize his presence.”

Job 33: 8-14 The Message

I have cringed numerous times as I have read this book again. 

It’s like a page out of my own journal at times as I have asked God to tell me why this or that has happened to me or to someone I love. 

I have listed all the reasons why we should have been spared, given forth our record and pointed out how others have not done good in His eyes and yet have been seemingly rewarded. 

If you read the rest of Chapter 33, Elihu gives several examples of how God speaks to us all. And as he says, whether we are aware it is Him or not, He is actively involved in His creation, offering us always a means of being reconciled to Him. 

Elihu says he speaks through dreams, through adversity, through a painful health crisis, through consequences for our reckless choices…always in the effort to bring us to the place where we will turn to Him. 

This past year has offered us a global opportunity to witness how quickly and easily all that we were putting our trust in can be swept away. 

I hope and pray we, as followers of Christ, do not glibly toss our masks into the garbage, declare victory over the demon Covid and totally miss that God just gave us a beautiful chance to evaluate where we have falsely placed our trust. 

Repentance and returning are the answer to a life of health, peace and prosperity…not as the world defines it, but as God has ordained it. 

Blessings my friends. 

You are deeply loved <3

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Well God, when You put it that way…. <3

This morning I finally got through the bulk of Job.

I finished off where Job’s youngest friend is beginning his assessment of all that has been said. I love how he says he had kept his mouth shut because age should bring wisdom, however he now was convinced that older does not mean wiser. 

I heartily amen that comment, Elihu. 

Right before he speaks out though, is some of the most painful lines of this whole difficult book. 

Job has silenced his critical friends and begins a long dissertation where he invites God to meet him face to face and just line out all the accusations He might wish to voice. 

Then Job opens up his own performance record on every area he can imagine…

  • Integrity in business
  • Diligence in worship
  • Generosity in caring for the poor
  • Kindness towards strangers
  • Meekness with the downcast
  • Responsible in parenting
  • Provision and protection for employees…

It goes on and on. 

And I cringe because I can hear this portion in my own voice. 

When I have been maligned or forgotten or misunderstood or injured, I begin first by asking what I did wrong and then very quickly jumping to defend myself on all accounts. 

I pull up all the things that would certainly put in me in a place of being blameless and stack the record in my favor. 

I am not alone. 

This is human nature. 

All of us at some point or many points have been much like Job and his friends. 

When we look at the book of Job, we see so clearly what we often miss in our dealings with God. 

We see a man who would like to put God on the stand and cross examine Him as to His motives and heart and character. 

We become the defense attorney for ourselves and we call forth our own view of our deeds as witnesses in our favor. 

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. 

I am excited for tomorrow. 

I know how this book of Job ends. 

After Elihu has his say, God answers Job. 

God shows up and starts asking the questions. 

If it had a soundtrack with it, it would be swelling and compelling and majestic as God asks Job about where he was when the foundations of the world were laid.

Has he been where snow is made?

Does he have a record book to count all the stars and clouds and can he commission the rain to fall?

Did he teach the hawk to fly or the lioness to hunt? 

In one beautiful verse after another, God reminds Job and He reminds me, that HE IS GOD.

And when I know who He is, who I am changes drastically.

Knowing who God is and being put in my rightful place is incredibly faith building. 

God’s word is alive….read it…study it…live it <3

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Such a curious book…so many questions in Job <3

Hello and happy Friday

I started the book of Job today and wow. 

Sooooo many questions. 

Satan was chatting it up with God one day??? What is this???  And then God points out this fellow named Job and next thing you know He is letting Satan test the poor man with enough onslaught of sudden and overwhelming disasters that it boggles the mind. And God continues to weigh the character of the man and is assured he will come through with his faith in tact. 

Before I can even wrap my mind about this whole scenario, I am hit up with the visits and advice and interjections of Job’s friends, which I have heard some sermons and teachings on and even though I know from these that the friends could all have taken some courses in how to love and support someone in times of crisis, I still see large chunks of truth in their comments. 

As I approach the book yet another year scratching my head and praying for insight and understanding through the Holy Spirit in me to teach me from this book, I pause to notice a few things. 

First is a great clearing up of a major misconception for Christ followers, or at least this Christ follower. 

Living for God and serving Him wholeheartedly is absolutely no guarantee for a life of ease and what we would call “blessings” here on planet earth. 

Here is the description of Job from The Message:

“Job was a man who lived in Uz. He was honest inside and out, a man of his word, who was totally devoted to God and hated evil with a passion. He had seven sons and three daughter. He was also very wealthy …the most influential man in all the East!”

Job 1: 1-3 The Message, Eugene Peterson

He was also an involved and concerned parent. Quite honestly, a rarity in most of the figures of the Bible as we see that godly kings and priests often failed to raise godly children. 

And yet, God allowed all that was of earthly blessing to be stripped away from him, and not in a long progression like most of our trials come, but fell swoop. 

I wince a little when I read this description and then the trials that follow because it flies in the face of a little false teaching that was somehow planted and fostered early in my faith walk. It went like this…if you just do everything right and follow God and honor Him, then everything will go well for you and you will be happy. 

It is the false teaching that when things do get lost and destroyed drives us to ask the assumption that either we failed to dot some I or cross some T, or God is unfair and has gone afoul of some promise that we assumed He had made to us.

It makes us wonder if He is a trickster or if we didn’t read the fine print well or we waste our time hashing over our track record to see where it was exactly we dropped the ball that brought this unwanted penalty. 

So I look at Job and I marvel. 

Because on the day where he lost all his wealth and all of his children, all the material and physical things that represented God’s provision and blessing, it says he stood up and did the things that expressed the deepest of grief in his culture. He ripped his robe, he shaved his head and then he fell to the ground and worshiped. 

Yes he grieved but then he worshiped.

That is who we are.

We read the Bible to learn who God is and who we are. 

We are people who live out this mystery that is life on planet earth with moments of great joy and prosperity and we live with moments when all that is precious to us is ripped from our hands and we feel like we have been sucker punched to the point of no recovery.

And like Job we realize that both extremes and all the moments in between are smoke and vapor. We suddenly remember that like the words of psalmists in Scripture and bards of secular music through the ages, life here is very temporary. 

Which makes us look to God because we are wired for eternity. 

And while the scene in the Throne Room leaves me with questions that I am thankful I am allowed by His Sovereign grace to ask, I have read the end of this curious book called Job and I know that God, when He has His say, will put us in our place and remind us who He is.

And who He is is awesome and powerful beyond our understanding. His grace and mercy and kindness are without measure and thus His authority over us can be trusted even when it cannot be understood or explained. 

And who He is is God who knows well our human frailties and our faults and our shortcomings and yet is cheering us on when He knows we have given our hearts towards loving and following Him no matter what.

And so we, like Job, in joy and in grief, are left with one obvious choice … to bow down in any and all season and worship Him who alone is worthy of glory and honor and praise <3

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