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World Need More Jesus? Adultery

“You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28

I’m just looking at the menu, I’m not ordering. I’ve never cheated on my wife or my husband, but Jesus says I can cheat by what I think? I can’t speak for women, but I can speak as a married man, by Jesus’ standard, I am guilty. For most married men, following this definition of adultery will be a challenge for the rest of their lives.

Thoughts are the unseen if no action is ever taken. The problem with thoughts is if we think those same thoughts for too long, they may very well lead to action. Imagine if your husband, wife, or best friend knew your every thought. What about your mom or dad? Or, the attractive man or woman that you just walked by on the street? They can’t, but there is one that can, God!

In our world, it is increasingly more difficult to have pure thoughts when it comes to the opposite sex. You can’t watch a sporting event on television without seeing at least one commercial about erectile dysfunction, usually with an attractive woman talking in a seductive tone. Click onto almost any website, and somewhere on that site is an advertisement about something sexual. “Sex sells” is not just a slogan.

How is it possible to go through the rest of our lives without having an impure thought? It probably isn’t possible which is why we need a savior, but there are steps that each of us can take. Jesus went on to say Matthew 5:29-30, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body do go to hell.”

Jesus is saying, whatever causes you to have those thoughts, get rid of it or don’t do it. If you can’t control yourself on the internet, get rid of it. What about Facebook or other social media websites? Unfortunately, through Facebook, I almost made the worst mistake of my life. By the Grace of God I didn’t. I’m still on Facebook, no longer do I entertain anything close to what almost happened.

Some will say that Jesus really didn’t mean to cut your hand off of gouge your eye out. I personally believe he meant it. He was saying whatever it is that causes you to stumble, get rid of it.

If going to a bar tempts you, don’t go! If your customer wants to go to a strip club, refuse. Even if it means losing the account or even your job. Is the sale or your job worth your soul? Try to never go somewhere alone with someone of the opposite sex that isn’t your spouse. If you are tempted by someone via social media, unfriend them. If that isn’t enough, get rid of it.

We all know where and who brings temptation. Avoid those places and those people if possible. Pray constantly for God to purify everything in your life, especially your thoughts. While everyone can see your actions, God can see your thoughts. People think they know you because of what they can see, whether what they see is real or not. You may be able to fool those around you, but you can never fool God. He know who you really are and here’s the most awesome thing. He loves you anyway! He knows we are going to struggle. Turn your thoughts towards him because he promises, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” Matthew 7:7

Really One Spark! You Have to Raffle a Gun?

Where do I begin? At first I was mad, but the truth is I’m sad. One reason I’m sad is because the people that need to read this probably will not.

About a year ago, I was introduced to someone that today is one of my best friends. He is the most selfless person that I have ever met. He has made it his mission to change the world through kindness. This guy doesn’t discriminate against anyone, especially if they need help. And frankly, he is right. The world can be changed with kindness and people living selflessly and not operating as the judgment police. I am truly honored to call David Hill my friend.

As many of you that follow One Spark on Facebook are aware, the foundation is raffling off a rifle, Sig 516 AR to be exact. Some people have let us know that they are offended, and let me tell you that I am as well, but probably not for the same reason. The sad thing is that One Spark has to raffle anything off to help pay for the Sparks that they give. You name me one other charity that has no paid employees? There are over 568,000 people that like the page, and if just half of those would give $1 a month, One Spark would not need to do a raffle. The fact is, it takes money to feed the homeless, help sick children, to educate about human trafficking,  and help families that have fallen on hard times.

Please understand, if you are following One Spark on Facebook and not complaining, this is not directed at you and we hope and pray that you continue to follow and share your spark stories because you are improving the lives of those you Spark.

For those who have chosen to judge, let me tell you a little about the founder and my friend, David Hill, and see if you stack up. I sure as heck know I don’t. Two weeks ago, I was with him in the emergency room as he was having chest pains and numbness in his left arm. As I’m writing this, we still do not know exactly why except for stress. Before he was released, the doctor told him to rest. Three days later, David receives a call from the mom of a child who had been battling cancer, and he is told that the child isn’t expected to make it through the night, and the child wanted to see David. Despite what the doctor told him to do, David gets in his truck after 11:00 PM and drives straight to the kid. The location was about 3 hours drive away. He made it to see the kid before he passed away.

I can’t tell you how many mornings I’ve gone to see David, and he hasn’t been to bed or has had very little sleep. He takes very little credit for all that One Spark does to help, but what little I’ve shared isn’t the most impressive part. If there ever was a person that could have been bitter and complained, it was David. Imagine being sold by your mother to have sex with men as a child 751 times. Heck, I can’t imagine that being done once. Imagine being left on the side of the road on purpose by a parent, hours from home as a young child, and it taking weeks to make it home. Being told by your mother that she wished she would have aborted you. If that isn’t enough, what if your father beat you mercilessly more times than you can count? You can read more of his story here, Dave’s Story and One Sparks Mission here, Mission.

Through all of this and more, most of us would be bitter, and with good reason. David says he is blessed because his story has helped many people turn their anchors into a keys. Personally, he has done that for me, and has helped my family in ways that I may never be able to repay.

We are so easily offended today by things I don’t even understand. The solution to every social issue could be solved if we simply open our eyes and love our neighbors as we want to be loved ourselves. They aren’t solved by electing a politician and they aren’t solved by simply complaining on social media. They are solved by love in action. One Spark and David Hill are doing that. We hope and pray that millions will join us. If you do not want to buy a raffle ticket, you can simply donate to One Spark here: Donate.

 

 

 

Prized Possession

“So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” James 1:16-18

What a statement! Out of all creation we are His prized possession.

It’s appropriate that I’m writing this on the day that I am. I had just texted co-author David Hill that I needed an attitude adjustment today. Some days, for whatever reason, are more of a challenge than others, and from day to day my mood can go from high one day to low the next. I still have food, a home, income, my health, and my family, yet I struggle to stay off of the roller coaster. Then I read in James that God never changes which is more proof as to why I need Him!

It’s frustrating! I don’t want to be in this mood! And, I have no reason to be in it. I/you are His “most prized possession.” God is our rock! He doesn’t shift with our moods. It’s us that change, and I pray that we all can learn from the Apostle Paul, “I know that I can live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”(Philippians 4:12-13)

We are God’s prized possession and our ultimate reward isn’t here on this earth. It’s in eternity with Him. He is perfect. Everything that is good comes from Him. Let James 1:16-18 be a passage of scripture to fall back on. No matter what you are going through, you are His prized possession and through His son, Jesus Christ, you will get through anything, even death.

Job and His Friends (Part 3)

“Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:

Would a wise person answer with empty notions or fill their belly with the hot east wind? Would they argue with useless words, with speeches that have no value? But you even undermine piety and hinder devotion to God. Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, not mine; your own lips testify against you. Are you the first man ever born? Were you brought forth before the hills? Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? What do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that we do not have? The gray-haired and the aged are on our side, men even older than your father. Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you? Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash, so that you vent your rage against God and pour out such words from your mouth? What are mortals, that they could be pure, or those born of woman, that they could be righteous? If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water! Listen to me and I will explain to you; let me tell you what I have seen, what the wise have declared, hiding nothing received from their ancestors (to whom alone the land was given when no foreigners moved among them): All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him. Terrifying sounds fill his ears; when all seems well, marauders attack him. He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness; he is marked for the sword. He wanders about for food like a vulture; he knows the day of darkness is at hand. Distress and anguish fill him with terror; troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack, because he shakes his fist at
God and vaunts himself against the Almighty, defiantly charging against him with a thick, strong shield. Though his face is covered with fat and his waist bulges with flesh, he will inhabit ruined towns and houses crumbling to rubble. He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure, nor will his possessions spread over the land. He will not escape the darkness; a flame will wither his shoots, and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away. Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return. Before his time he will wither, and his branches will not flourish. He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes, like an olive tree shedding its blossoms. For the company of the godless will be barren, and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes. They conceive trouble and give birth to evil; their womb fashions deceit.” Job 15

The “expert” says, “listen to me and I will explain to you, let me tell you what I have seen.” Eliphaz thinks he knows, yet knows nothing.

“Then Job replied:

I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you! Will your long-winded speeches ever end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring relief. Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away. Surely, God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household. You have shriveled me up – and it has become a witness; my gauntness rises up and testifies against me. God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me; my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes. People open their mouths to jeer at me; they strike my cheek in scorn and unite together against me. God has turned me over to the ungodly and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked. All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me. He has made me his target; his archers surround me. Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground. Again and again he bursts upon me; he rushes at me like a warrior. I have sewed sackcloth over my skin and buried my brow in the dust. My face is red with weeping, dark shadows ring my eyes; yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure. Earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest! Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend. Only a few years will pass before I take the path of no return.” Job 16

Job continues:

“My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me. Surely mockers surround me; my eyes must dwell on their hostility. Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me? You have closed their minds to understanding; therefore you will not let them triumph. If anyone denounces their friends for reward, the eyes of their children will fail. God has made me a byword to everyone, a man in whose face people spit. My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow. The upright are appalled at this; the innocent are aroused against the ungodly. Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger. But come on, all of you, try again! I will not find a wise man among you. My days have passed, my plans are shattered. Yet the desires of my heart turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near. If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness, if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’ and the worm, “My mother’ or ‘My sister,’ where then is my hope – who can see any hope for me? Will it go down to the gates of death? Will we descend together into the dust? Job 17

Are we Job’s friends? Do we assume to know why someone is going through something? God only knows and when we assume, we act as if we are God!

Job’s friends are finished with him yet!

“Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

When will you end these speeches? Be sensible, and then we can talk. Why are we regarded as cattle and considered stupid in you sight? You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger, is the earth to be abandoned for your sake? Or must rocks be removed from their place? The lamp of a wicked man is snuffed out; the flame of his fire stops burning. The light in his tent becomes dark; the lamp beside him goes out. The vigor of his step is weakened; his own schemes throw him down. His feet thrust him into a net; he wanders into its mesh. A trap seizes him by the heel; a snare holds him fast. A noose is hidden for him on the ground; a trap lies in his path. Terrors startle him on every side and a dog his every step. Calamity is hungry for him; disaster is ready for him when he falls. It eats away parts of his skin; death’s firstborn devours his limbs. He is torn from the security of his tent and marched off to the king of terrors. Fire resides in his tent: burning sulfur is scattered over his dwelling. His roots dry up below and his branches wither above. The memory of him perishes from the earth; he has no name in the land. He is driven from light into the realm of darkness and is banished from the world. He has no offspring or descendants among his people, no survivor where once he lived. People of the west are appalled at his fate; those of the east are seized with horror. Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man; such is the place of one who does not know God.” Job 18

Did Bildad just say Job doesn’t know God? The same man God said is blameless? There is no one like him?

“Then Job replied:

How long will you torment me and crush me with your words? Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me. If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone. If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me and use my humiliation against me, then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice. He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree. His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies. His troops advance in force; they build a siege ramp against me and encamp around my tent. He has alienated my family from me; my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. My relatives have gone away; my closest friends have forgotten me. My guests and my female servants count me a foreigner; they look on me as on a stranger. I summon my servant, but he does not answer, though I beg him with my mouth. My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own family. Even the little boys scorn me; when I appear, they ridicule me. All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me. I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth. Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me. Why do you pursue me as God does? Will you never get enough of my flesh? Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! If you say, “How we will hound him, since the root of the trouble lies in him, you should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment.” Job 19

More from Zophar:

“Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer because I am greatly disturbed. I hear a rebuke that dishonors me, and my understanding inspires me to reply. Surely you know how it has been of old, ever since mankind was placed on the earth, that the mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment. Though the pride of the godless person reaches to the heavens and his head touches the clouds, he will perish forever, like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’ Like a dream he flies away, no more to be found, banished like a vision of the night. The eye that saw him will not see him again; his place will look on him no more. His children must make amends to the poor; his own hands must give back his wealth. The youthful vigor that fills his bones will lie with him in the dust. Though evil is sweet in his mouth, and he hides it under his tongue, though he cannot bear to let it go and lets it linger in his mouth, yet his food will turn sour in his stomach; it will become like venom of serpents within him. He will spit out the riches he swallowed; God will make his stomach vomit them up. He will suck the poison of serpents; the fangs of an adder will kill him. He will not enjoy the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream. What he toiled for he must give back uneaten; he will not enjoy the profit from his trading. For he has oppressed the poor and left them destitute; he has seized houses he did not build. Surely he will have no respite from his craving; he cannot save himself by his treasure. Nothing is left for him to devour; his prosperity will not endure. In the midst of his plenty, distress will overtake him; the full force of misery will come upon him. When he has filled his belly, God will vent his burning anger against him and rain down his blows on him. Though he flees from an iron weapon, a bronze-tipped arrow pierces him. He pulls it out of his back, the gleaming point out of his liver. Terrors will come over him; total darkness lies in wait for his treasures. A fire unfanned will consume him and devour what is left in his tent. The heavens will expose his guilt; the earth will rise up against him. A flood will carry off his house, rushing waters on the day of God’s wrath. Such is the fate God allots the wicked, the heritage appointed for them by God.” Job 20

Will they ever stop?!

“Then Job replied:

Listen carefully to my words; let this be the consolation you give me. Bear with me while I speak, and after I have spoken, mock on. Is my complaint directed to a human being? Why should I not be impatient? Look at me and be appalled; clap your hand over your mouth. When I think about this, I am terrified; trembling seizes my body. Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not on them. Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry. They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about. They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre; they make merry to the sound of the pipe. They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace. Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?’ But their prosperity is not in their hands, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked. Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? How often does calamity come upon them, the fate of God allots in his anger? How often are they like straw before the wind, like chaff swept away by a gale? It is said, ‘God stores up the punishment of the wicked for their children.’ Let him repay the wicked, so that they themselves will experience it! Let their eyes see their destruction; let them drink the cup of the wrath of the Almighty. For what do they care about the families they leave behind when their allotted months come to an end? Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest? One person dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, well nourished in body, bones rich with marrow. Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good. Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both. I know full well what you are thinking, the schemes by which you would wrong me. You say, ‘Where now is the house of the great, the tents where the wicked lived? Have you never questioned those who travel? Have you paid no regard to their accounts – that the wicked are spared from the day of calamity, that they are delivered from the day of wrath? Who repays their conduct to their face? Who repays them for what they have done? They are carried to the grave, and watch is kept over their tombs. The soil in the valley is sweet to them; everyone follows after them, and a countless throng goes before them. So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!” Job 21

The patience of Job!

The World Needs More Jesus? Judging

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

What would happen in your church if a known murderer walked in? Would you want to be seen with a man who had an affair with the wife of one of his best friends? Would you let a prostitute into your church? Would people stare at someone covered in tattoos? You are hosting a party for the wealthiest people in your town, what would be your reaction when if homeless person wants to come in?

Would the murderer who also committed adultery be allowed to lead your church? Probably not! Yet, I’m describing David, who was described by the author of Acts in chapter 13 verse 22 like this, “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.”

The Apostle Paul wrote much of the New Testament, yet at one time he was one of the most zealous persecutors of Christians. Rahab from the Old Testament was a prostitute that protected the Israelite spies in Jericho.

Would we have recognized Jesus? Would we today? Jesus is the homeless person that I asked about earlier. Matthew 8:20 shows this when Jesus replied to a teacher of the law, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

We are all guilty of judging others. Many like to justify their judgment based on the severity of sin according to men.  Are there people who live lifestyles that I disagree with, and are their actions sinful? Yes, but then I’m reminded of this, “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

God gave Moses 10 Commandments, and my pride puffs up that I have broken all of them. Ask yourself these questions:

Have I ever put anything before God?

Have I ever misused His name?

Do I keep the Sabbath?

Have I ever dishonored my parents?

Have I committed murder? Some of you say absolutely not, but have you according to Jesus in Matthew 5 starting with verse 21?

Have I ever committed adultery? Again, I defer to the words of Jesus in Matthew 5 verse 27

Have I ever stolen anything or told a lie?

Have I ever coveted anything that anyone else has?

It is not our place to judge. Jesus said to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Jesus didn’t say love your neighbor unless. He did say, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured against you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

The only people that Jesus scolded were the pious religious teachers. When we judge others we risk being those same pious people that Jesus scolded. I’m humbled when I think about his love for me despite all that I have done wrong and all that I will do wrong in the future.

“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgement on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor.” James 4:11-12

Job and His Friends (Part 2)

“Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind. Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of sin. But if you ask God earnestly and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state. Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be. Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned, for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow. Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding? Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web. They lean on the web, but it gives way; they cling to it, but it does not hold. They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots over the garden; it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks and looks for a place among the stones. But when it is torn from its spot, that place disowns it and says, ‘I never saw you.’ Surely God does not reject one who is blameless or strengthen the hands of evildoers. He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Your enemies will be clothed in shame, and the tents of the wicked will be no more.” Job 8

Bildad’s words sound good and familiar, yet he has no idea what is really going on. God will let him know soon. We should be very careful not to assume what God is doing.

“Then Job replied:

Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God? Thought they wished to dispute with him, they could not answer him one time out of a thousand. His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble. He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, and Pleiades and the constellations of the south. He performs wonders that cannot be counted. When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him. If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ God does not restrain his anger; even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet. How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him? Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy. Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing. He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason. He would not let me catch my breath but would overwhelm me with misery. If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him? Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty. Although I am blameless, I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life. It is all the same; that is why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent. When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, he blindfolds its judges. If it is not he, then who is it? My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey. If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,’ I still dread all my sufferings for I know you will not hold me innocent. Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain? Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with cleansing powder, you would plunge me into a slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me. He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.” Job 9

Wow! We have what Job didn’t have. We have a mediator in Christ!

“I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. I say to God: Do not declare me guilty, but tell me what charges you have against me. Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the plans of the wicked? Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see as a mortal sees? Are your days like those of a mortal or your years like those of a strong man that you must search out my faults and probe after my sin – though you know that I am not guilty and that no one can rescue me from your hand? Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit. But this is what you concealed in your heart, and I know that this was in your mind: If I sinned, you would be watching me and would not let my offense go unpunished. If I am guilty – woe to me! Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame and drowned in my affliction. If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion and again display your awesome power against me. You bring new witnesses against me and increase your anger toward me; your forces come against me wave upon wave. Why then did you bring me from the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me. If only I had never come into being, or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave! Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy before I go to the place of no return to the land of gloom and utter darkness, to the land of deepest night, of utter darkness and disorder, where even the light is like darkness.” Job 10

The pain and agony that Job must have been going through is unimaginable. Even though he was called blameless by God, he doesn’t understand what has happened. He still doesn’t know that it isn’t God doing this to him.

“Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

Are all these words to go unanswered? Is this talker to be vindicated? Will your idle talk reduce others to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock? You say to God, ‘My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.’ Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin. Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above – what can you do? They are deeper that the depths below – what can you know? Their measure is longer that the earth and wider than the sea. If he comes along and confines you in prison and convenes a court, who can oppose him? Surely he recognizes deceivers; and when he sees evil, does he not take note? But the witless can no more become wise than a wild donkey’s colt can be born human. Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than the noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp.” Job 11

To say we know why God is putting someone through something is arrogance. Yes, we may be able to look back and see with understanding. These guys spoke with eloquence but without wisdom.

“Then Job replied:

Doubtless you are the only people who matter, and wisdom will die with you! But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know all these things? I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called on God and he answered – a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless! Those who are at ease have contempt for misfortune as the fate of those whose feet are slipping. The tent of marauders are undisturbed, and those who provoke God are secure – those God has in his hand. But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. What he tears down cannot be rebuilt; whose he imprisons cannot be released. If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are his. He leads rulers away stripped and makes fools of judges. He takes off the shackles put on by kings and ties a loincloth around their waist. He leads priests away stripped and overthrows officials long established. He silences the lips of trusted advisers and takes away the discernment of elders. He pours contempt on nobles and disarms the mighty. He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light. He makes nations great, and destroys them. He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he makes them wander in a trackless waste. They grope in the darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards.” Job 12

Job continues:

“My eyes have seen all this, my ears have heard and understood it. What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God. You, however, smear me with lies; you are worthless physicians, all of you! If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom. Hear now my argument; listen to the pleas of my lips. Will you speak wickedly on God’s behalf? Will you speak deceitfully for him? Will you show him partiality? Will you argue the case for God? Would it turn out well if he examined you? Could you deceive him as you might deceive a mortal? He would surely call you to account if you secretly showed partiality. Would not his splendor terrify you? Would not the dread of him fall on you? Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay. Keep silent and let me speak; then let come to me what may. Why do I put myself in jeopardy and take my life in my hands? Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance, for no godless person would dare come before him! Listen carefully to what I say; let my words ring in your ears. Now that I have prepared my case, I know I will be vindicated. Can anyone bring charges against me? If so, I will be silent and die. Only grant me these two things, God, and then I will not hide from you: Withdraw your hand far from me, and stop frightening me with your terrors. Then summon me and I will answer, or let me speak, and you reply to me. How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin. Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? Will you torment a windblown leaf? Will you chase after dry chaff? For you write down bitter things against me and make me reap the sins of my youth. You fasten my feet in shackles; you keep close watch on all my paths by putting marks on the soles of my feet. So man wastes away like something rotten, like a garment eaten by moths.” Job 13

More from Job:

“Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble. They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure. Do you fix your eye on them? Will you bring them before you for judgment? Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one! A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. So look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired laborer. At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. But a man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As the water of a lake dries up or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so he lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, people will not awake or be roused from their sleep. If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time and then remember me! If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made. Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover my sin. But as a mountain erodes and crumbles and as a rock is moved from its place, as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy a person’s hope. You overpower them once for all, and they are gone; you change their countenance and send them away. If their children are honored, they do not know it; if their offspring are brought low, they do not see it. They feel but the pain of their own bodies and mourn only for themselves.” Job 14

Job is tired of his friends’ blather and simply wants to plead his case before God. Many good lessons from Job about our opinions.

Job and His Friends (Part 1)

Recently I wrote a post that I titled Know the Truth! We Will Be Without Excuse. If you haven’t read it, please consider doing so because this post will make more sense. Sometimes we speak without knowing. Sometimes we judge without understanding. Job’s friends did, and their speaking without understanding should be a lesson for all of us.

This is the beginning of a series of posts about Job and his friends. There is very little in these posts that have been added by me, and I hope you will enjoy and let God speak to you as you read. God Bless!

Job Breaks the Silence

“May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ That day – may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it. May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm it. 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. May that night be barren; may no shout of joy be heard in it. May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan. May its morning stars become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn, for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide trouble from my eyes. Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed? For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest with kings and rulers of the earth, who built for themselves places now lying in ruins, with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver. Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day? There the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest. Captives also enjoy their ease; they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout. The small and the great are there, and the slaves are freed from their owners. Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure, who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave? Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? For sighing has become my daily food; my groans pour out like water. What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Job 3

I can’t say it any better than Job did. How miserable it must have been to have lost everything and be in so much pain with no relief. Somehow, Job never cursed God. How quickly would we turn and curse God with sayings such as, “I’ve tried to live a good life and follow you. And, this is my reward?”

Job’s friends now start to speak.

“Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:

‘If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can keep from speaking? Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope? Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it. At the breath of God they perish; at the blast of his anger they are no more. The lions may roar and growl, yet the teeth of the great lions are broken. The lion perishes for lack of prey, and the cubs of the lioness are scattered. A word was secretly brought to me, my ears caught a whisper of it. Amid disquieting dreams in the night, when deep sleep falls on people, fear and trembling seize me and made all my bones shake. A spirit glided past my face, and the hair on my body stood on end. It stopped, but I could not tell what it was. A form stood before my eyes, and I heard a hushed voice: Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker? If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error, how much more those who live in houses of clay, whose foundations are in the dust, who are crushed more readily than a moth! Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces; unnoticed, they perish forever. Are not cords of their tent pulled up so that they die without wisdom?’” Job 4

Eliphaz Continues:

“Call if you will, but who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn? Resentment kills a fool and envy slays the simple. I myself have seen a fool taking root, but suddenly his house was cursed. His children are far from safety, crushed in court without a defender. The hungry consume his harvest, taking it even from among the thorns, and the thirsty pant after his wealth. For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside. The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away. Darkness comes upon them in the daytime; at noon they grope as in the night. He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth. Blessed is the one who God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. For six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you. In famine he will deliver you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword. You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes. You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the wild animals. For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you. You will know that your tent is secure; you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing. You will know that your children will be many, and your descendants like the grass of the earth. You will come to the grave in full vigor, like sheaves gathered in season. We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.” Job 5

How many times to we repeat what others have taught us, say it is true, and you should apply it to yourself?

“Then Job replied:

If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas – no wonder my words have been impetuous. The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshaled against me. Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass, or an ox bellow when it has fodder? Is tasteless food eaten without salt, or is there flavor in the sap of the mallow? I refuse to touch it; such food makes me ill. Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut off my life? Then I would have consolation – my joy in unrelenting pain – that I had not denied the words of the Holy One. What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me? Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow when darkened by thawing ice and swollen with melting snow, but that stop flowing in the dry season, and in the heat vanish from the channels. Caravans turn aside from their routes; they go off into the wasteland and perish. The caravans of Tema look for water, the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope. They are distressed, because they had been confident; they arrive there, only to be disappointed. Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid. Have I ever said, ‘Give something on behalf, pay a ransom for me from your wealth, deliver me from the hand of the enemy, rescue me from the clutches of the ruthless’? Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. How painful are honest words! But what do your arguments prove? Do you mean to correct what I say, and treat my desperate words as wind? You would even cast lots for the fatherless and barter away your friend. But now be so kind as to look at me. Would I lie to your face? Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake. Is there any wickedness on my lips? Can my mouth not discern malice? Job 6

Do I have the power to help myself stands out!

“Do not mortals have hard service on earth? Are not their days like those of hired laborers? Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired laborer waiting to be paid, so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me. When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn. My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again. The eye that now sees me will see me no longer; you will look for me, but I will be no more. As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so one who goes down to the grave does not return. He will never come to his house again; his place will know him no more. Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep, that you put me under guard? When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning. What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention, that you examine them every morning and test them every moment? Will you never look away from me or let me alone even for and instant? If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who see everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you? Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins? For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more.” Job 7

Job is worn down. He doesn’t understand and he’s pleading with God to forgive him if he has sinned. If Job has, he doesn’t know what sin he has committed.

Will We Never Learn?

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana

“But when they said, ‘Give us a king to lead us,’ this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.’

Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king. He said, ‘This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and yourselves will become his slaves. When the day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and go out before us and fight our battles.’

When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, ‘Listen to them and give them a king.’ 1 Samuel 8:6-22

1 Samuel 8

Know The Truth! We Will Be Without Excuse

“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.” 1 Timothy 4:1-2

“My dear friends, many false prophets have gone out into the world. So do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God.” 1 John 4:1

“Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words.” Ezekiel 13:7

“Watch out for false prophets. They will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15

“But there were also false teachers among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves.” 2 Peter 2:1

“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross was abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves.” Galatians 5:7-12.                                         (Notice that Paul was being persecuted!)

“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think godliness is a means to financial gain.” 1 Timothy 6: 3-5

A little over two years ago, October of 2014, I set out with excitement in a ministry that I called Complete Fitness. Over time that excitement has moved from excitement to grief, frustration, burden, and sadness. The more I read scripture, the more burden and sadness I felt. Not because what I was reading was sad, rather what I was seeing.

What I saw was people that want to follow God, but are following false teachers. These teachers and preachers are teaching things that sound good. Frankly, things that most of us WANT to hear, but scripture also warns us of this, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3. Without understanding of Scripture, who doesn’t want to believe God wants them to be healthy? Who doesn’t want to hear God wants you to have wealth? Heck, those things are nice. But, that is not the true gospel.

Will God hold these false teachers accountable? Absolutely, but that doesn’t absolve us from being held accountable as well. We have the Truth at our fingertips. Access to Scripture is easy. And, the only way to know if you are being taught the truth is to compare what you are being taught with scripture. Even what I am teaching! Read Acts 17:11, “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Paul wrote most of the New Testament! If the Bereans examined what he was saying, don’t you think we should examine what someone today it teaching?

When I started Complete Fitness I was reading the book of Job. At the time, I didn’t see any significance. Over time I came to realize that Job was a major part of the message if not the message. We will now take some time to study Job. This book of scripture will open your eyes to the truth unless you want to remain willfully blind. False teachers will be with us until Christ returns, but we do not have to fall prey to them. Ultimately, each one of us will stand in judgment and the false teaching we followed will be no excuse. Hell will be filled with people who did not take the time to examine the Scriptures.

Let’s start with Job 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. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be 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 1:1-5

Are you blameless? Never done anything wrong? I’m not blameless and I have definitely sinned.

Job was wealthy. He had a large family, and he was healthy. Then,

“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 throughout the earth, going back and forth on 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.”

“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 spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, 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 made off with them. They put your servants to the sword, and I am the only one who escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on the camels and made off with them. They put your 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 all 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 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.” Job 1:6-21

This is one of the most amazing stories in all of the Bible. If you lost everything you own and all of your children, would you still praise God? If God wants us to be wealthy, how did a man He calls blameless lose his wealth and all of his children in one day? When Scripture and the Bible are so easily accessible, we are without excuse when we follow and believe false teachers. Heck, read what Paul wrote in Romans and these people didn’t have the entire Bible that we have today, “For what may be know about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are WITHOUT EXCUSE. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened their foolish hearts. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images of mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the desires of their hearts to impurity for the dishonoring of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator, who is forever worthy of praise! Amen” Romans 1:19-25

When in college, many of us pulled “all-nighters” in preparation for a final exam. For our careers, we have spent countless hours studying for tests to receive a license. I’m not pointing a finger at you alone on this because I have done the same. Think about this, we study and worry and sweat over a test, yet we know so little about Scripture that we can’t recognize a teaching that will take us to hell? Career or eternity? It’s our choice to be led astray.

As horrible as it sounds to lose your wealth and family in one day, for Job, it was about to get worse. Let’s read on:

“On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before the Him. And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on 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.”

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

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

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown 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 maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:1-10

Scripture destroys those that teach the gospel of health and wealth. The only way anyone could possibly believe in this false gospel is not to have read the True Gospel. I’m not saying that there aren’t any wealthy and healthy Christians because there most definitely are, but to teach that health and wealth on this earth is what God wants for us is not only dangerous, it is demonic.

I used to wonder how people could fall prey to these false teachers because their fakeness is so obvious. Yet, millions obviously do follow them because they fill stadiums with thousands, millions watch them on TV, and they sell millions of DVDs and books. Some of these famous teachers live such luxurious lives they make some movie stars and other celebrities look like paupers. Thirty thousand square foot homes, private jets, luxury cars, and expensive clothes. Things that most people covet. But, things that will not do anything for them when they stand before God in judgment.

Today, I don’t wonder how people fall prey because I know. They are not Bereans. They hear what they want to hear and never check what is being taught with Scripture. These wolves love to point out David and Solomon, especially Solomon the wealthiest man ever. What about Paul? He spent his ministry with a thorn in his side, was stoned and left for dead, was imprisoned, and eventually had his head cut off. Peter was martyred in Rome, possibly crucified upside down. James (son of Zebedee) was beheaded. Phillip was scourged, thrown into prison, and crucified. Bartholomew was possibly crucified and some accounts say that he was skinned alive. Thomas was killed with a spear. James (Son of Alphaeus) was beaten, stoned, and killed by being hit in the head with a club. Thaddaeus was crucified. Simon the Zealot was crucified. Only John died a peaceful death. That is faith!

We, in America, live in one of the rarest times in Christian history. As of now, we can speak freely about Jesus. We are starting to see some of those freedoms disappear, but as of now, it is illegal to have your head cut off simply for telling others about Jesus. You might lose your job, be made fun of, or possibly go to jail, but you will at least keep your head!

Back to Job! He had already lost his family and his wealth and now he has lost his health. How bad must he have looked? So bad that his wife told him to forget his integrity and curse God so he could die. Yet, Job refused!

Some of you are following the preachers teaching that you will have health and wealth if you just believe. You can even speak it into existence. You just have to think you will be something and eventually you will. That teaching is much more pleasant to hear than I don’t know what this life will bring for you, but through the blood of Jesus Christ, I know your eternity will be heaven.

We all will one day lose our health through old age or some other way, and everyone will lose their wealth that is stored in bank accounts when they die. What happens after you die is forever! Will you continue to follow false teachers? I pray that you read Scripture, learn the truth, repent and turn away from your sins, and believe in your heart as well as speak with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord!

As if Jobs troubles weren’t enough, here comes his friend to “help” him.

“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, because they saw how great his suffering was.” Job 2:11-13

I do believe that Job’s friends loved him. They proved it by traveling to be with him and sitting with him for seven days in silence. They were there for him. These guys were probably even like some of us when they finally began to speak. They said things that sound right, but in the end they were wrong, and God let them know it later.

Job breaks the silence in chapter 3. He is in such misery that he wishes he had never been born and wishes he could die. Who wouldn’t? Still he doesn’t curse God.

Sometime we will go back and look at the conversations that took place between Job and his friends. Here we will not, but I suggest that you do. For most of the book, Job’s friends want Job to ask for forgiveness, and when he tells them that he hasn’t sinned, they do not believe him. Job has become a laughing stock. There is no way these things would happen to an innocent man right? In chapter 16, Job finally says to his friends:

“Job replied, I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? I could also speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.” Job 16:1-5

His friends knew nothing! Yet, they thought they did. It’s easy to tell others what they should do when we aren’t them. How many people have told you how to raise your kids, yet they’ve never had one? Your expert advice doesn’t seem so expert when you finally have kids of your own.

Even after Job speaks his friends aren’t finished. Finally in chapter 27 Job says this:

“And Job continued his discourse. As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” Job 27:1-6

We can study more of the words that his friend said in another writing or a talk because what his friends said might sound right to some of us if we haven’t read the entire book of Job.

Finally in chapter 38, God speaks and puts Job’s friends in their place. We have heard preachers and teachers tell us what God thinks. When we hear this, we had better be on guard because you’re probably going to hear what they think, and it is egotistical to even utter the words, “this is what God thinks.” I have no idea what God thinks. I know what he did for us, but His power and wisdom is something that I cannot comprehend. Think! Look at the mountains, the ocean, and the stars. He has the power to speak them into existence. Unimaginable power!

If you want to get a better understanding of God’s power read from Job Chapter 38 until the end. The words from God to Job should humble all of us. It humbled Job:

“Then Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak, I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6

In the end it was Job praying for his friends after God said, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has…. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” Job 42:7-8

In the end Job was restored. For him it was on this earth, but that may not be the case for all of us. It wasn’t for the disciples, but they were restored in heaven with God. I beg and plead that you seek the truth. Don’t just take my word or the word of any other teacher. Read scripture. If you don’t understand what you are reading, read with friends and discuss what you read. Learn what it says, and do not allow yourself to be led by false teachers that peddle the gospel for personal gain.

My prayer is that each one of us would be saved. He gave it to us freely and by his Grace, not us, we can know what real freedom is.

Just Believe! Really?

There is a passage of Scripture that shook me to the core. It may very well be the one passage of scripture that led me to be saved. Since I was 7, I believed that I was saved. Until I read this passage. How could someone have gone to church for so long, and never had read this? My fear now, is that there are many more just like I was.

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of them says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” James 2:14-19

Up until the day I read this passage from James in earnest, had I died, I would have heard the worst words possible, “I never knew you.” If you have had any experience in church, you have probably heard it said, “You will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-20 reads, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

What kind of fruit was I bearing? Any? Too many times I focused on the believing part, and there is no doubt, I have always believed in One God. It had never crossed my mind that the demons, even Satan himself, believe that. But, did my actions serve as proof of my faith? The honest answer was no.

Had I done good deeds? Of course, and from a worldly standpoint, most would even say I was a pretty good guy. But, why did I do those good deeds? Why do I do them now? Before, it made me feel good, and today it still does, but when asked why, the answer today is Jesus Christ who commanded me to love God with all my heart, mind, and soul and to love my neighbor as myself.

There is one ultimate reason for good deeds. If any of us could prevent a friend from dying, we would do everything possible to save our friend’s life. So, if we believe that the destination for an unbelieving friend is eternal damnation in hell, why wouldn’t we do everything possible to prevent that from happening? In the first example, we are protecting their life that will end eventually anyway. In the second, we are talking about eternity. That never ends!

What if they get mad? What if they hate me for talking “religion” with them? What if they’re offended? Those things are possible. What if they die and spend eternity in hell? That’s a certainty without Christ. Offended or hell? What would you choose?

Reading the passage from James also inspired me to read more scripture to see what a real follower of Christ looks like and that changes the world around us especially in a country where we can do it openly. At least for now.

That’s now the mission! David Hill, Founder of The One Spark Foundation, and I hope you will follow us and join us in being a light for the rest of the world to see. A light that points towards Jesus.  God Bless!