The suffering of Job was intense. To bury all of your children after a catastrophic storm is doubtless a devastating pain that would cause many to shake their fist at God. Instead, as you know, Job did not. He did take on the ancient near-Eastern sign of a person in severe emotional pain (“he tore his robe and shaved his head”), but in a spectacular demonstration of true perspective, Job “fell to the ground and worshipped” (Job 1:20). He knew to think, much like Peter when Jesus asked him if he wanted to leave him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (Jn.6:67-68). He knew that it was God who was in control and while he brought pain, he was really the only One who could bring comfort (Lam.3:32). More than that, Job’s high view of God’s sovereignty led him to gratefully credit God with the gift of his children in the hour God had taken them away – “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” (Job 1:21b). Job, in his dark hour of loss, had no sense of entitlement. He understood the gifts of God’s grace and was able to say as one undeserving of them, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart” (Job 1:21a). In a day when most of us have bought Satan’s lie that we are somehow entitled to the “good life,” we can learn from the first twenty-two verses of the book of Job that when, for whatever reason, God chooses to revoke, withhold or postpone his generous gifts, we can still worship him as a good God who never does wrong. May it be that in any and every circumstance we can say with Job, “May the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21c).
-- Pastor Mike
The Christmas season is in full swing, and before we know it, 2015 will be upon us. For some, this flip of the calendar goes by without much thought. Others make big commitments for personal change, only to abandon them a few weeks down the road. Whatever your goals for the New Year, it’s wise for followers of Jesus to use this natural transition in the calendar to remember our God-given calling. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Those are big questions, and knowing the answer will set us up for success, no matter what the future holds.
Beyond any other goal, make 2015 a year where you grow to know Christ better. In the coming weeks, think about specific ways you can accomplish this goal. How will you be intentional about running hard after your calling in the coming year? When you give a gift of any amount we would like to send you a book by John MacArthur called A Year of Prayer: Approaching God with an Open Heart Week After Week. This book provides an excellent opportunity to grow in your relationship with God in 2015! It provides a prayer for each week that is thoughtfully and scripturally crafted to express adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and petitions to our Heavenly Father.
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