Thursday, July 16, 2009

Birthday Prayer

As I pass the half-century mark in my life and count my many gifts and treasures, I want to state once more my intention, lest I should forget!

Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and
my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

In years to come I pray the words of my mouth will consistently acknowledge and honor Jesus, and that I will keep the eyes of my heart focused on him moment-by-moment and day-by-day! I rely on his Spirit to supply the wherewithal to fulfill this intention, and am thankful that he is able to do it! AMEN.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


The story of Job is not my favorite part of the Bible, but I'm playing catch-up from last week's readings (24th and 25th of June), and it is time to go through it again! It hurts just to look at that poor guy, and read the account of all he went through. But I'll read through the saga again because I believe what the Bible says of itself, "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable . . ."

Once again, I'm blessed by reading even this account, which I don't find "uplifting." It is good for me to be reminded that non-believers look at God's people and think our lives are just a bowl of cherries. They think, just as the adversary stated of Job, that we don't have a care in the world, so why would we NOT speak praises of God? Why would we be anything but happy campers when we lead such a charmed life? The enemy said this of Job:

Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you [God] not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? - Job 1:9-11

Maybe you are suffering unduly right now, just as Job did when God removed the "hedge" and allowed Job to be tested within an inch of his life. You now have the opportunity to prove your faith by walking it out even when you are not feeling particularly "blessed," but in fact quite the opposite - burdened down. Your faith shines as a beacon in the night when you speak well of God even in times of distress:

. . . [Job] said, "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." from - Job 1:21

We often throw around the term, "the joy of the Lord," and I think this is an defining example of that very thing. God points to Job and exclaims, " . . . my servant . . . still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason." - from Job 2:3

There is no ulterior motive of a charmed life full of blessings here. Job honors God out of pure faith. There is no veneer of earthly security, no prosperity granted from the magical Santa Claus in the sky, nothing but a belief that God is, and is to be trusted. Even Job's best friends taunt him, saying many things that hurt him deeply. At least Job's buddy Eliphaz got one thing right when he asked Job this question:

Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?Job 4:6

It's true that the fear of God should be our source of confidence. Ant although we do not trust in our own integrity (we trust in Christ alone), we do train our integrity by making it a habit to line ourselves up with Bible truth. When we hide God's truth in our hearts and his word in our heads, so that we will have reason to hope that our integrity will not fail us in a crisis, but that we will have the integrity to do right when we are up against a wall.

And it is typical for us Christians to be against a wall from time to time, for sure. We're faced with rejection, misunderstandings, oppression, and all kinds of harsh circumstances. Yet the answer when bad things happen for no good reason is to keep right on going, confidently moving forward in the direction you are called. Keep right on trusting in God’s promises, and standing on the truth of his word, which cannot be broken.

My prayers are with you today, as I hope yours are with me. Let’s claim victory for all the saints today, that God’s people will stand firm in the truth of his word, and hold fast our integrity for the joy of the Lord. Let's count it a special privilege to bless God’s name, especially in the face of trouble. This attitude is what sets us apart as Christians, and shows the rest of the world a little more about who God is. And THAT is what we live for, right? AMEN.