Archive for March, 2013
As soon as they had heard about the calamity, actually multiple tragedies cascading, one after the other, the three began their journey to see him.
At first they did not recognize him. He had changed; scrawny, eyes hollowed out from the now drooping cheeks, seated almost lifeless, covered in ash and filth. It was if he had endured torture and was now barely holding on as death waited nearby to claim its prize.
They had come to comfort and mourn, but wailed and were shocked at what they saw. And then they just sat down, on the cold hard ground, alongside of him and said nothing. They sat there for seven days and seven nights and no one spoke. Sometimes grief is so very great that silence is the only offering of respect. They waited until he was ready to talk.
The story of Job and his three friends begins in chapter 2 and consumes most of the remainder of the book. As you read the accusations of the friends, Job must have done something really bad to provoke God and Job’s claim of innocence and bewilderment, it’s easy to forget that up until the time they opened their mouths, they were doing what good friends do when one is hurting.
They traveled a great distance, grieved with their friend and waited until he was ready to talk. This is how it is described in Job 2:11-15
Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.
That story from ancient times is repeated countless times in living rooms, by hospital beds and at funeral homes when friends come without adequate words to support, comfort, mourn with those that are hurting.
Do you have a Job/Friends story?
What made that situation one that you remember?
How do you plan to be a Friend to someone who is hurting?
He is not here; he has risen! The resurrection changed the world. It changed history. More importantly, it can change you and me. He is not here… he has risen!
If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (Ecclesiastes 4:10)
Everyone needs a hand up at some point in their life. You will fall. Who will help you get up? Make friends. You will need them someday, so pick friends who will help you be faithful to God. And be a friend like that.
“Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”” (John 18:36)
Our King could die on a cross because he knew that his kingdom is not of this world. If we can remember the same thing, we can do great things for our Lord.
It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me. Who is he that will condemn me? They will all wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up. (Isaiah 50:9)
God is the one who helps you. If he is on your side, those who would condemn you will wear out like old clothes. So do not get discouraged and give up
“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”” (Matthew 26:39)
It’s the prayer that never fails: “Not as I will but as you will.” Learn to give yourselves up to God’s will, and you’ll never have an unanswered prayer.
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. (I Corinthians 4:3)
Do not worry so much about how others judge you. Their opinions will not matter in the long run. Neither will yours. But God’s judgement will matter. Focus on pleasing him.
It’s the right time of the year. Maybe not the exact week nor the exact day. But this is the time of the year when Jesus Christ was crucified. For many of us, it’s hard to imagine all of that really happening: the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the conflicts at the temple, the Last Supper, the prayerful night in Gethsemane, the betrayal, the arrests, the trials, the terrible death on the cross.
It’s easier to think of this story as a fable or fairy tale. Fodder for movies, Renaissance paintings and children’s picture books, but not a part of the world we live in.
But the crucifixion is a fact of history. God sent his Son to the earth, and evil men put him to death.
Even the resurrection seems out of place in our world, though it fits the season better. Dead people stay dead in our world; the thought that Jesus escaped unscathed from the tomb seems like an unrealistic plot twist.
Yet the resurrection also has its place in history. The two things go together. The cross makes no sense unless the Innocent One lives again. The resurrection receives its power from the sacrificial death that made it necessary.
That’s why those things are at the heart of the good news of Jesus. He came to this world, was rejected and killed, then overcame death and the grave. One day he will come again, and God will judge the world through him. Those who have put their faith in Jesus, being born again of water and Spirit, will live with him forever.
It’s real. It’s true. It’s our past, our present and our future.
It’s the Gospel.
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, but it can grow in so many different ways. One important way is through praying and asking God to give us more faith. The cry of this father should be mine and yours: I believe, help my unbelief!
The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Isrealites, thought they turn to other gods and love the sacred rasin cakes.” (Hosea 3:1)
God still loves you. Come back to Him.