Tag Archives: suffering

The ending of the book of Job is in the Bible for a reason

And the rest of the Bible is also there for a reason.

People often have legitimate questions about suffering or all sorts of big picture questions about God, such as why He did or didn’t do this or that.  Sometimes the questions are natural and from reasonable motives, but they are often smokescreens.  Never forget Romans 1.  People know there is a God but they suppress the truth in unrighteousness.  I know, I used to be one of them!

Romans 1:18–21 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

In talking to a few skeptical Kairos prison ministry participants once they had lots of questions like that.  They were looking for reasons not to believe.  My strategy in situations like that is to give a quick answer then point to greater truths.

Example: One asked, “What if Adam hadn’t sinned?”  I could tell from the conversation to that point that it wasn’t coming from faith or genuine concern, but from skepticism. You could waste a lot of time on that sort of hypothetical, so I just smiled and said, “If Adam hadn’t sinned and ruined everything, then I would have.”  They got the joke and it gave me a chance to segue to the gospel.

Back to Job: As you probably know, Job had lots of things he wanted to know from God, but when God showed up and asked questions then Job got quiet very quickly.  He didn’t get the answers he wanted, just like we often don’t get answers we want.  It is important to acknowledge that to people without apology.

Job 38:1–7 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

And it goes on from there.

But as I like to say, the end of the book of Job is in the Bible for a reason: We don’t get to know everything.  Job was more devout than any of us but he didn’t get answers (at least at that time).

But the rest of the Bible is there for a reason as well: God reveals countless profound things about himself to us that we do need to know, including his remarkably gracious terms for saving our wretched souls.  Of course we can’t know everything about God, but we can know a lot.  So point people to what we do know and don’t get caught up in what we may never know (at least not in this life).

I also like this passage.  It reminds me that when there are things I don’t or can’t know I should just follow Jesus:

John 21:22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”

And this is a classic.  People forget that our default destination is Hell.   They think the default is Heaven and that you only go to Hell if you are “really” bad.

Romans 9:18–20 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

We just can’t fully comprehend his greatness!

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

Instead of apologizing for God when bad things happen, as some “Christian” Leftists do when pretending that God isn’t completely sovereign, we should switch the narrative.  When people ask where is God, include something like this: “God is where He has always been: Ready and willing to forgive repentant sinners.  He is also still withholding his wrath from those who completely deserve it right now: People who have killed their own children, who have sex out of wedlock with impunity, who mock his created order with every sort of perversion – including pretending they are a different gender, who are greedy, who are unkind, who are liars, and on and on.  Namely, everyone, including me!  So repent now and accept his gracious forgiveness.”

God is not soft on evil.  The cross was simultaneously the great act of evil ever (fallen man killing God in the flesh) and the greatest act of good (saving those who couldn’t save themselves).

More about knowing God:

1 Corinthians 2:11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

Isaiah 55:8–11 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

P.S. I liked this comment from the Bible Knowledge Commentary:

Like a deaf critic of Bach or a blind critic of Raphael is the unregenerate critic of God’s Word.

Roundup

 

A review of Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart (go there to see how to win a free copy)

 

This little book packs the punch and is one of the best pastoral and practical treatments I have seen on how to know whether or not you are a Christian.

In the church today, scores of pew-sitters are confident they have eternal life because of a few words they prayed when they were five years old. Others sincere believers battle tooth-and-nail wondering where they’ll end up after their last breath. In this helpful book, Greear biblically, wisely, personally, practically, and humorously helps us understand what conversion and salvation are all about.

Greear primarily writes to two main people: 1) those who think they are going to heaven simply because they prayed a prayer; and 2) those who wonder if their “sinner’s prayer” will really be enough for them to walk through heaven’s gates. The problem, says Greear, is that evangelical shorthand for the gospel is, simply, not gospel. Telling someone to “ask Jesus into your heart” or “accept Jesus as Lord and Savior” is simply not how the Bible points us to seek salvation (7). Hold your horses, however, if you think the book is a 128-page rant against the “sinner’s prayer.” Greear does not think the sinner’s prayer or saying, “ask Jesus into your heart” is heretical, and he even admits it might be one correct way to speak of salvation. Yet, his “concern is not on what words or actions we might use to express our faith in Christ but that we don’t substitute those words or actions for repentance and faith” in Jesus (9). In other words, the “sinner’s prayer” is not a ritual transaction between us and Jesus to get our names on heaven’s attendance list.

Contrary to popular opinion, God does want people to have assurance (ch. 2), and in order to obtain assurance, we must honestly examine our response to the gospel. Those who trust in the finished work of Christ as their only hope have eternal life. Cased closed. “If you base your assurance on what you do or how well you do it, you’ll never find assurance,” Greear writes. “If your assurance is based on what Christ has done, however, you can rest in His performance” (38).

The proper, saving response to Christ is summarized as “repentance” and “belief” in the gospel (see Acts 2:38).

36 purposes of God in our suffering — here’s part of the list.

Joni Eareckson Tada knows hardship firsthand and shares her experiences and reflections on suffering in many of her books. The following is an appendix from her book When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty.

  1. Suffering is used to increase our awareness of the sustaining power of God to whom we owe our sustenance (Ps 68:19).
  2. God uses suffering to refine, perfect, strengthen, and keep us from falling (Ps 66:8-9; Heb 2:10).
  3. Suffering allows the life of Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:7-11).
  4. Suffering bankrupts us, making us dependent upon God (2 Cor 12:9).
  5. Suffering teaches us humility (2 Cor 12:7).
  6. Suffering imparts the mind of Christ (Phil 2:1-11).
  7. Suffering teaches us that God is more concerned about character than comfort (Rom 5:3-4; Heb 12:10-11).

5 Tenets of Financial Independence – click the link for more details. This site has a lot of good money management tips.

  1. You are free from debt and don’t expect to face in any in the future.
  2. You spend significantly less than you earn.
  3. You don’t rely on family members or friends for income, earning it only through your work.
  4. If you were to lose your primary employment, your family would survive for an extended period of time without significant lifestyle change.
  5. You have a skill set that you can immediately apply in a variety of fields.

Bart Ehrman makes a nice living off his “ex-Christian” status, which for some reason gets lots more media play than all the ex-atheists on our side. Here is a great site addressing Ehrman’s errors.

Apparently brainstorming doesn’t work that well . . .

But there is a problem with brainstorming. It doesn’t work.

The first empirical test of Osborn’s brainstorming technique was performed at Yale University, in 1958. Forty-eight male undergraduates were divided into twelve groups and given a series of creative puzzles. The groups were instructed to follow Osborn’s guidelines. As a control sample, the scientists gave the same puzzles to forty-eight students working by themselves. The results were a sobering refutation of Osborn. The solo students came up with roughly twice as many solutions as the brainstorming groups, and a panel of judges deemed their solutions more “feasible” and “effective.” Brainstorming didn’t unleash the potential of the group, but rather made each individual less creative. Although the findings did nothing to hurt brainstorming’s popularity, numerous follow-up studies have come to the same conclusion. Keith Sawyer, a psychologist at Washington University, has summarized the science: “Decades of research have consistently shown that brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas.

New study confirms economy was destroyed by Democrat policies – Yes, it was the race-baiting housing changes, among other things, that caused the downfall. And even if it had been Bush’s fault, Obama is in year #5 and still making things worse.

Diabetes by the numbers

The saddest part is that 90% of diabetes cases are “type 2″, which for the most part are preventable. America is eating so poorly that our obesity problem is becoming a diabesity epidemic. 79 million Americans are pre-diabetic, which means that in a few years they may find themselves reliant on expensive medication and insulin, and at higher risks for heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and amputations.

The good news is that with proper diet and even modest weight loss, most people can keep diabetes away. And Fooducate is here to help you, with a newly released app in collaboration with Sanofi Diabetes.

Athens woman slit infant’s throat after giving birth – Gruesome, to be sure, but as long as the umbilical cord hadn’t been cut then it would fit in perfectly with the “bodily autonomy” pro-abortion argument.

Many people will recall the Duke Lacrosse case, which was a media sensation but blew up when the rape allegations were false. Yet how many know about this true story of the Gay Duke University Official Who Offered Adopted Child for Sex:

As you’ll recall, when a drunken prostitute made false rape accusations against Duke lacrosse players, the faculty loudly denounced them, with no need for evidence. But the moonbats aren’t so loud when the rape is real.

Indulgences are back?! Or did they never really leave? I missed these articles from 2009 –

For Catholics, a Door to Absolution Is Reopened and Why Catholic Indulgences are Making a Comeback.

Remember, folks, if part of your theology doesn’t require Jesus then it is wrong. And if it requires Jesus plus anything else it is wrong.

Yet Another Study Confirms Gay Life Expectancy 20 Years Shorter – Uh, wouldn’t this be relevant information to share in the mainstream media and in “comprehensive” sex education?

The Little Black Book – Queer in the 21st Century – This is one of things that is so disgusting I hate to link to it – then I remember that the public schools passed this out to kids! You’ve been warned.

Caution: extremely gross and disgusting. We debated posting this in unedited form; we did so because it was given to schoolchildren in a public school, written with public money. Unfortunately, it’s necessary that the public see it.

Victims of Rape and Incest Deserve Better than Abortion – read the link for more. And remember that abortion often hides the crimes of rape and incest.

  • Two major studies of pregnant rape victims found that 3/4 of these women chose to give birth.
  • None of the women who gave birth said they did not want their children or wished they had aborted instead.
  • Of those who aborted, nearly half did so because of the demands of others.
  • 94% of women who gave birth said abortion would not be a good solution to a pregnancy resulting from rape.
  • 93% of those who had abortions said it “had not been a good solution to their problems” and they “would not recommend it to others in their situation”
  • Nearly all incest victims who had an abortion reported no input in the decision; instead, their parents or the abuser made the decision for them.
  • All “explicitly stated that abortion was not a good solution and they would not recommend it to others.”
  • Of the incest victims who carried their children to term, all were happy they had given birth. They also “unanimously rejected abortion as a good option for incest related pregnancies.”

One of the more perverse examples of the law of unintended consequences: Pregnant South African women binge drinking in order to get more welfare

It’s very important for Christians to understand that policies that sound compassionate can actually provide incentives to people to do more bad things in order to get more money from the government. A good rule of thumb is this: whatever you tax, you get less of. And whatever you subsidize, you get more of. We shouldn’t be paying people to do evil things. We should be encouraging people who do good things instead. It’s important that we not just feel good, but that we do good.

Despite its promises, abortion increases out-of-wedlock births, increases crime and increases child abuse – oh, and it kills innocent but unwanted human beings.

Roundup

Voter fraud?  What voter fraud?  Nothing to see here, folks.  If you advocate for photo ID for voters then you are obviously a racist.

Ask yourself why the mainstream media isn’t all over this — or doing it themselves!

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I am actually a fan of congressional gridlock.  Less cooperation = less new laws to strangle the country and make our lives more complicated.  But sometimes bipartisanship can be good.  What is fascinating is how Obama ran his 2008 campaign pretending to want to unite people, when his career and his presidency showed the opposite.  Yet his supporters don’t seem to notice or care.

Hopefully the independents will notice that Romney has an actual track record of working with people on the other side.  Here’s a thorough analysis of how much better Clinton was at this than Obama.  The potentially good news is that Clinton’s ability to work across the aisle got him re-elected, and Obama’s hypocritical failure to do so may result in his loss.

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All these Obama fans at a political rally didn’t have a clue about Benghazi.  But they will totally vote for Obama.

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While Obama is trying to milk some ill-advised comments about rape and abortion made by a couple Republicans, what is lost is the pro-abortion extremism of him and his wife.  She actually sent a fund-raising letterbased on her support for infanticide (though they call it “partial-birth abortion.”).  Also see Obama supports late-term abortions, born-alive abortions and sex-selection abortions.  That is extremism.  Even most pro-choicers disagree with those positions.

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The media is still playing the race card.  Ann Coulter does a good job of refuting their arguments.  Ever wonder why the media doesn’t report how much higher the black unemployment rate is under Obama?

It’s hard to evaluate Matthews’ slander inasmuch as it contains no facts. But if it’s conservatives and “the white working class in the South” who are burning with racial hatred, why don’t white liberals ever vote for black representatives in their own congressional districts?

Black Democrats apparently can get elected to Congress only from majority black districts, whereas black Republicans are always elected from majority white districts: Gary Franks, J.C. Watts, Tim Scott, Allen West and (we hope!) Mia Love.

How come white liberals won’t vote for a black representative? Why can’t a black person represent Nita Lowey’s district?

Democrats do nothing for black Americans except mine them for votes, ginning them up with tall tales about racist Republicans.

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Free Contraception Reduces Pregnancy? An Adventure In Bogus Science — This is a good link to keep, as you’ll be hearing this bit a lot from the gullible.

recent study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology is creating a collective orgasm in the Sandra Fluke wing of the Democrat party. This study purports to show that free contraception reduces not only pregnancies but abortions. This study is a prime example of the politically motivated crap that appears in low impact scientific journals. It is research by press release and agitprop masquerading as science.

The study is a monument to tautology. We often hear that 30 percent of medical costs occur in the last year of life and that most traffic accidents occur within a mile of home. The reasons for this is obvious. Most people don’t receive expensive medical care unless they are near death and about 100% of your driving is done with a mile or so of home. The results of the study are hardly surprising. Women using contraception tend to have a lower rate of pregnancies and because they aren’t pregnant there is no need to have an abortion. I think most of us knew, or at least suspected, that to be the case.

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Public School Teacher Assaults Child During Islamic Indoctrination — Why no mainstream media coverage, even though she was charged with assault?  Oh, because it is about Islam and a pro-Obama teacher forcing her religious and political views on her students.

 [teacher Tara] Harris has a disturbing trend of “indoctrinating” students with Islamic teachings. She also said the teacher openly campaigns for President Barack Obama in the classroom.

When Bennett’s daughter couldn’t do the Islamic hand sign for “power and strength” properly after two straight days of instruction in place of reading and math class, Harris lost her patience.

“When she didn’t get it right, [Harris] went over and yanked her hand out of her desk and my daughter’s hand got hung up on the metal wire on her file folder and the skin got caught on it,” the mother explained, her voice cracking with emotion. “The other children saw my daughter’s hand dripping with blood after the teacher had gotten so mad that she went to twist my daughter’s hand into an Islamic sign.” …

The mother said her daughter told her that Harris “prays to Allah in Arabic” around five times a day in front of students and teaches them about Islam and how it is superior to other religions. …

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Super freaks: When government runs health care: NHS offers sex tips to children as young as 13.  In the U.S. we have Planned Parenthood fulfilling this role.

Teenagers as young as 13 are being given explicit sexual advice and tips on how to lose their virginity from a taxpayer-funded website and iPhone app.

The respectyourself.info website contains graphic detail about various sexual acts – including those that involve a man physically abusing his partner during sex.

On the website, which is targeted at those as young as 13, teens can take an ‘Are you ready quiz’ and answer a series of multiple-choice questions to assess whether they are prepared to lose their virginity.

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Porn-Free Church: Sex, God, and the Gospel —

This begins with exposing the lie of porn. We sin because we have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Rom. 1:23-25). Porn is no different. Porn makes false promises. . . . We need to expose these lies. Then we need to show how God promises more.

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California Official Who Misreported Unemployment Is Obama Donor — Shocking.

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The top 5 myths of Intelligent Design — A key to any productive conversation is ensuring you define your terms.  One of the ways that evolution / creation / Intelligent Design conversations get off track is by misstating definitions (whether deliberately or not).  The link has a great list.  My favorite:

MYTH #4: ID uses a disguised form of the “God of the gaps” fallacy.

The true story: ID does not say “We don’t yet know how life emerged from non-life, therefore an intelligence must have done it.” Rather, it makes a two-fold argument: 1) Neo-Darwinian explanations for the emergence and divergence of life are sorely insufficient in their explanatory power and 2) there are features of nature, such as the specified complexity of the digital information in DNA, that are best explained by intelligent agency. We already know from direct experience how to detect intelligence in other branches of science, so inferring intelligence based on the same type of observed effects is completely reasonable. In scientific practice, we infer the existing cause that is KNOWN to produce the effect in question. Since biochemistry contains information, ID theorists infer that there must be an informer, because there are no other sources of information. Ironically, whenever a materialist says, “We don’t yet know how life emerged from non-life, but one day science will explain it,” they are actually using the Science of the Gaps fallacy.

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Great video supporting natural marriage.

Roundup

Randy Alcorn’s interesting perspective on suffering.

Throughout history God has delayed justice, both upon believers and unbelievers, to give them time to come to him, grow in Christlikeness, and trust him more deeply.

Don’t we give thanks for God’s patience with Saul, the self-righteous killer who became Paul? Or John Newton, the evil slave trader who accepted God’s amazing grace and preached and wrote the song that countless millions have sung? Are we grateful for God’s patience with us? Think of those who endured many years of suffering before the day you came to faith in Christ. Aren’t you thankful God did not deliver this planet from the Curse when millions asked for relief, before you heard the gospel? I came to Christ in 1969. What if Christ had returned and brought final judgment in 1968? Or in 1950, before I was born? If God had brought justice long ago, where would you and If be today? We would either not exist, or we would have been ushered into an eternity without Christ [emphasis added].

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By their own words, Democrats must be racist for requiring photo IDs to their convention.

Obama administration advising black pastors on how to get out the vote — Don’t worry, the ACLU will put a stop to this transparent violation of the “separation of church and state.”  Wait, what’s that?!  The ACLU is part of the process?  Shocking.

It isn’t surprising that they are focusing on those supposedly racist voter ID laws that even flaming liberals in other countries realize are as practical as can be.  The real racism is assuming that if you aren’t white then you are too stupid to get a free government ID.

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More racism, from the “read from the script or get kicked off the plantation” category: NBC Dumps Corey Booker, Punishes Out Spoken Black Democrat for Disagreeing With Obama

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The vote on gender-selection abortions highlights just how extreme the pro-aborts are.

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EvangellyfishIf you like satire, check out Evangellyfish by Douglas Wilson.  I thought the Amazon reviews were good reflections of the book.  It was a good send up of false churches and the hypocrisy we can all fall prey to, yet still had a message of biblically accurate hope underneath. And it was funny.

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Half of all Americans live in households that get government handouts — And the worst part is that Democrats think this is a good thing.  I’m really glad I’m a Christian and that I have hope in eternity.  Otherwise I’d be really depressed about where this is all headed.

No, wait, it is worse: a college educated Liberal has no idea where food stamps really come from.  Junior Achievement classes should be required for all grades in this country.

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Religious Photographer Ordered to Take Pictures of Homosexual Ceremony

A soft tyranny is still a tyranny — and if this isn’t tyranny, what else do you call it? . . .

No doubt the courts would inflict the same ruling if the owner were black and refused to photograph a KKK cross burning. Just kidding.

The ruling confirms five facts familiar to countermoonbats:

1. We have lost the fundamental right of freedom of association.
2. The businesses we run are not ours, but the government’s; therefore, the government determines how we operate them.
3. Our rulers hold Christian religious convictions in contempt.
4. All the animals on the farm are equal, but perverts are much more equal.
5. If we don’t start fighting back more effectively, our society is lost.

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Abiogenesis, or life from non-life: Still impossible.  But that won’t slow down those with blind faith.

Seeking God in tough times

Are people turning to religion for comfort in these tough times?

I make it a point not to claim that God is doing this or that at a specific point in time for a specific reason.  I know He is completely sovereign but it is a fairly large and complicated world to go around insisting exactly what He is doing at a point in time. 

But I agree that we rely on ourselves too much during good times.   And I know that God can use all sorts of situations to reach people.  As C.S. Lewis said, God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience and shouts to us in our pain.  My goal is to listen carefully so I can hear the whispers.

Let’s face it, if you’ve seen how most of the world lives you realize that economically speaking we’re always having good times in the U.S. In the eyes of most of the world we live in God’s backyard. Plentiful food, great shelter, lots of clothes, clean water, etc. — all the time. But we aren’t more joyful, in general. We get accustomed to what we have and whine the second we lose even a little bit of it.

The poor of the world would love to switch places with us. They could increase their standard of living more than tenfold and still not take on the ridiculous consumer debt that so many people burden themselves with.

It is always a good time to seek God.  But if people are only doing it because they have a temporary drop in creature comforts then I doubt that is the right reason to have a fully restored relationship with him.

Job 1-3

job1.jpgGreetings!  We’re covering a lot of ground every other day with Job – 3 chapters at a time.  The middle chapters won’t have a lot of commentary.  This first set is chock full, though.

Job

Prologue

1     In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

Was Job sinless?  No, He was not Jesus.  But by any human measure he was a great and moral man.

4 His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 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.

Job’s First Test

6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 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.”

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.”

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “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. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 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.

Whether this story is allegory or real (I tend to think it is the latter), Satan is real.  He is referred to at least a couple hundred times in scripture from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation and is never presented as fictional. 

Remember what 1 Peter says: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Make no mistake: Satan hates you and he hates your soul.  He wants you to spend eternity in Hell, so his goal is to keep you from Jesus.  If you become a Christian, his goal is to make you as ineffective as possible.

13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 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!”

16 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!”

17 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!”

18 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, 19 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!”

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 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.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Two major points here: Charging God with wrongdoing is a sin, and Job recognized God’s sovereignty (his control of all things).  And Job praised him anyway!  It reminds me of the song by Casting Crowns, “Praise You in this Storm.”  How hard it is to praise job in good times and bad.  But He is still God no matter what. 

No matter how much you accumulate or accomplish in this world, you will die.  You will leave the world as you entered it: Naked before God and with nothing to brag of. 

Job’s Second Test

2     On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 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.”

3 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.”

4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

7 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. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

9 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

Many people – even close relatives and loved ones! – will test your faith and encourage you to abandon God.

10 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.

Job’s Three Friends

11 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. 12 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. 13 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.

Job’s friends got off to a great start.  They came to him, wept with him and were silent.  That is a great lesson in how to comfort someone.  Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here.  They started speculating as to why Job suffered and assumed it must be something he had done.

Job Speaks

3     After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said:

3 “May the day of my birth perish,

and the night it was said, ‘A boy is born!’

4 That day—may it turn to darkness;

may God above not care about it;

may no light shine upon it.

5 May darkness and deep shadow

claim it once more;

may a cloud settle over it;

may blackness overwhelm its light.

6 That night—may thick darkness seize it;

may it not be included among the days of the year

nor be entered in any of the months.

7 May that night be barren;

may no shout of joy be heard in it.

8 May those who curse days curse that day,

those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.

9 May its morning stars become dark;

may it wait for daylight in vain

and not see the first rays of dawn,

10 for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me

to hide trouble from my eyes.

11 “Why did I not perish at birth,

and die as I came from the womb?

12 Why were there knees to receive me

and breasts that I might be nursed?

13 For now I would be lying down in peace;

I would be asleep and at rest

14 with kings and counselors of the earth,

who built for themselves places now lying in ruins,

15 with rulers who had gold,

who filled their houses with silver.

16 Or why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child,

like an infant who never saw the light of day?

17 There the wicked cease from turmoil,

and there the weary are at rest.

18 Captives also enjoy their ease;

they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout.

19 The small and the great are there,

and the slave is freed from his master.

20 “Why is light given to those in misery,

and life to the bitter of soul,

21 to those who long for death that does not come,

who search for it more than for hidden treasure,

22 who are filled with gladness

and rejoice when they reach the grave?

23 Why is life given to a man

whose way is hidden,

whom God has hedged in?

24 For sighing comes to me instead of food;

my groans pour out like water.

25 What I feared has come upon me;

what I dreaded has happened to me.

26 I have no peace, no quietness;

I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Job was understandably depressed and wished he hadn’t been born.  But He did not appear to consider suicide, knowing that would be a sin.

Weekly roundup

force-beliefs.jpgI updated the Pro life reasoning PowerPoint slides I use for CareNet Pregnancy Center volunteer training.  I made a bunch of tweaks, updated a few arguments and added one about consciousness based on Theobromophile’s reasoning in one of her comments.  Here’s a paraphrase:

To legally remove someone from life support who is not conscious you need to demonstrate that you are acting in that person’s best interests (as they would so act if they were conscious) and that there is little or no hope of recovery.  Abortion fails on both counts.

I’d be glad to present these to church or other groups around the Houston area if the timing works out.  Just email me if you are interested.

I’m still going with Fred Thompson for President.  I think he has the right views (at least as right as any other candidate), is focusing on the right issues, has good leadership qualities and electibility.  Simply put, I think he’d make a good President. 

If Huckabee were running for next-door neighbor he’d have my vote.  But he isn’t presidential material in my view.  Romney has some good qualities but I don’t trust his pro-life and pro-family positions.  Switching views isn’t a problem if done convincingly and for the right reasons.  Giuliani?  He’s better than Hillary, of course, but that isn’t saying much. 

Abortion supporter knocks 69 yr. old pro-lifer unconscious; media silent – Would they be silent if the roles were reversed?  Not likely.

What about pain that we don’t understand?  Among other things, Greg Koukl points out that people never ask “Where is God when evil happens?” when they are doing something evil like adultery.

Suffering

question-mark.gifThere are lots of sound theological reasons as to why God permits suffering.

But when that question is raised, I encourage people to probe a little to see why it is being asked.  It is usually one of three categories. 

1. If someone asks it for the theological reasons, there are lots of answers (sin, free will, logical consequences of our actions, to draw you to God, etc.).

2. If people are asking because they are going through suffering, then console them and point out how Jesus – who is God – was not indifferent to suffering.  He suffered in countless physical and emotional ways on their behalf.

3. If someone asks it as a smokescreen then expose the motive.  Many times people find that to be a convenient excuse for not believing in God and no answers will suffice.

If you don’t understand why someone is asking about God and suffering you may give an accurate answer but not really address their question. 

These short videos offer excellent answers to the problem of suffering.