Thursday, May 31, 2018

You don't know what you don't know

Behemoth - Job 40:15-24
Leviathan - Job 41:1-34

Behemoth and Leviathan - Wm. Blake
Behemoth & Leviathan - Wm. Blake
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 40-42; Psalm 146

"'Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.'" Job 40:7

Have you heard the saying, "You don't know what you don't know"? I've heard it quoted to writers who think their work is perfect just the way it is and needs no editing. But this little truism could also apply to life in general. It reminds us that there are a multitude of things about which we don't have a clue.

This is, in effect, what God says to Job in our reading today, along with "You can't do what you can't do." I love how Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message:

6-7 God addressed Job next from the eye of the storm, and this is what he said:
“I have some more questions for you,
    and I want straight answers.
8-14 “Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong?
    Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint?
Do you have an arm like my arm?
    Can you shout in thunder the way I can?
Go ahead, show your stuff.
    Let’s see what you’re made of, what you can do.
Unleash your outrage.
    Target the arrogant and lay them flat.
Target the arrogant and bring them to their knees.
    Stop the wicked in their tracks—make mincemeat of them!
Dig a mass grave and dump them in it—
    faceless corpses in an unmarked grave.
I’ll gladly step aside and hand things over to you—
    you can surely save yourself with no help from me! - Job 40:6-14 MSG

I need—we all need to remind ourselves of God's comeback to Job here when we hear people criticizing Him for His mishandling of the earth and the people on it—indeed, when we ourselves question His goodness, His wisdom, His justice, His power… For we see only part of the picture. We have only limited information. And we're impotent to do much about what we do think we know and understand.

So what is our realistic stance here?
  • Humility in admitting our limitations - Ecclesiastes 8:7; 9:12; 11:5.
  • Repentance for our arrogance - Job 42:5,6.
  • Prayer for God's help to be able to live wisely during the time and in the place God has set us - James 1:5-8

Dear God, please help me to face life realistically. I don't think You want me to throw up my hands in despair that I'm powerless. At the same time, You don't need my help and advice on how to run the world. Please help me to fulfill the destiny You have for me in humility and obedience as I trust You with the big picture. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 146

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Do you know?

Mountain goat kid
Mountain goat kid - Photo from
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 38-39; Psalm 145

TO CHEW ON: "Do you know…?" Job 39:1

In His reply to Job, God draws Job's attention to several animals that humans only observe from afar. They have little or no use to mankind and we often don't understand their mysterious ways.

The wild mountain goats go through their cycles of bearing young without any help or attention from people. They even seem heartless in the way they abandon them - Job 39:1-4.

The wild donkeys shun the city and are useless as beasts of burden that would obey and help people - Job 39:5-8.

The wild ox, though strong, is not an animal people would entrust with their precious harvest - Job 39:9-12.

The ostrich is without wisdom. She challenges the horse for speed but doesn't even have the good sense to incubate her eggs in a safe place - Job 39:13-18.

I'm sure we could all come up with similar lists of things about creation that we don't understand. Much of it may be of little use to us and even seem frivolous. For example, what's the point of high alpine meadows filled with summer flowers when there's no one there to see? Why did God create the vast expanse of stars and galaxies or the mysterious creatures of the ocean depths?

However, there is also much we do understand. Modern microscopes, telescopes, and nature cameras have revealed things to us that the people of Job's day had no idea about.  

The wonderful thing is that the more closely we look and drill down, the more (not less) awed we become at our creator God's wisdom, foresight, creativity, and design smarts. It brings us to the place of admitting that there's enough we do understand to be confident of the intelligence and intention of the One behind all the things about creation and life that we don't know.

PRAYER: Dear God, I am amazed at the intricacy and intelligence that's obvious in creation. Thank You for the beauty, variety, and attention to detail that You gave to created things. I worship you! Amen. 

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 145

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Resisting the temptation of pat answers

man with questions
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 35-37; Psalm 144

TO CHEW ON: "Then He tells them their work and their transgression—
That they have acted defiantly.
He also opens their ear to instruction,
And commands that they turn from iniquity." Job 36:9,10

In the beginning  of his fourth speech, Elihu lectures Job about a purpose of suffering that Job's other friends have left out: that it is instructive.

God despises no one, Elihu insists (Job 36:5). He doesn't preserve the life of the wicked (Job 36:6) despite what Job thinks (Job 21:7). Rather, God speaks to the righteous person through his or her suffering (Job 36:9) in that way alerting them to sin so they can repent (Job 36:10). If they do, prosperity will result (Job 36:11). If they don't, they are doomed (Job 36:12).

Though what Elihu says may contain general truth, his cut-and-dried explanation that this is why Job is suffering is inadequate. We see how wrong he is when he applies this to Job (Job 36:16-18). For as the heavenly prologue to all these speeches has told us, Job's suffering is neither punishment nor instruction but a demonstration and proof to Satan of Job's integrity (Job 2:1-6).

If Elihu is teaching us anything it is that we need to temper our defense of God, always leaving room for what we don't know. To us earth-bound humans there remains mystery in His actions or lack of them. Though the Bible is clear in its description of God and what He is like (love, omnipotent, omnipresent, righteous, just, holy etc.) we will not understand the outworking of these attributes in our lives and the lives of those we love, until we see Him face to face and "…know even as we are known" - 1 Corinthians 13:12.

PRAYER: Dear God, when I or my loved ones suffer, I long for explanations. Help me to avoid the temptation of giving myself and others pat answers because, frankly, I don't see what's happening behind the scenes and what You are accomplishing through these hard times. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 144 

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Is God just when ...?

"Job and His Friends" - Ilya Repin (1844-1930)
"Job and His Friends" - Ilya Repin (1844-1930)
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 32-34; Psalm 143

TO CHEW ON: " 'Surely God will never do wickedly
Nor will the Almighty pervert justice.' " Job 34:13

I must admit that after three chapters of Elihu I'm finding him a little hard to take. The writer of my Bible's study notes describes him: "He is not a friend seeking to comfort but he is a young, developing sage attempting to offer new insight while the others are waiting to hear from God" - Charles E. Blair, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 673.

Like apologists are sometimes wont to do, he leads from his head rather than his heart, throwing punches of pride (" 'Hear my word you wise men; / Give ear to me, you who have knowledge…' " - Job 34:2) and sarcasm (" ' What man is like Job, / Who drinks scorn like water, / Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity …. / For he has said, "It profits a man nothing / That he should delight in God" ' " - Job 34:7-9).

However, if we can get past our emotional resistance to this upstart and set ourselves to focus on his words rather than the spirit in which they're spoken, we realize that Elihu is speaking an important truth about God: He is just: " ' Surely God will never do wickedly
Nor will the Almighty pervert justice' " - Job 34:13.

The theme of God's justice runs through the Bible:
  • Abraham appeals to it when bartering with the angel of the Lord to spare Sodom and Gomorah - Genesis 18:25.
  • Moses defends it after 40+ years of working under His direction as the Israelites' leader - Deuteronomy 32:4.
  • Numerous psalms praise God's justice - Psalm 17:2; 37:28; 101:1.
  • Proverbs implies that God's own justice should characterize the business dealings of those who identify with Him - Proverbs 16:11.
  • God speaks about His justice in the first person through the mouths of prophets like Isaiah (Isaiah 61:8), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:5), and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 14:23).
  • Jesus, who existed from eternity with God, is unequivocal about it: "…'My judgment is righteous because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me' " - John 5:30.

All of the above notwithstanding, the decision to believe that God is just when He deals with us in ways we don't understand is still ours to make. Like Job was faced with it here, so we will be at some point. When the diagnosis is dire, the baby doesn't live, the accident leaves us in a wheelchair etc., will we still choose to believe that God is righteous in his justice?

PRAYER: Dear God, Paul was so right when he said "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV).  Help me to trust You in any and every life circumstance, even when I don't understand You. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 143

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Prayer from the cave

Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Job 29-31; Psalm 142

“Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For you shall deal bountifully with me.” Psalm 142:7

It’s interesting to know the circumstances that sparked a piece of writing. Under Psalm 142’s title is a note that gives us a clue about this psalm: “A Contemplation of David. A Prayer when he was in the cave.”

My Bible’s notes cite two instances this might have been: the Cave of Adullum (2 Samuel 22) or En Gedi (1 Samuel 24). In both cases he was on the run from King Saul, his father-in-law, former boss, and man to whom he had shown nothing but loyalty and respect. His physical life was in danger, the rift between them was deeply personal and hurtful, and he was forced to live in settings (like this cave) that were inconvenient, physically demanding, and challenging. Considering all that, we would not be surprised if he were angry, resentful, vengeful, full of self-pity, even shaking his fist at God.

But that was not his stance in this contemplation.

Instead he:
1] Consoled himself in God’s knowledge and awareness of him--God's omniscience:
“When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then you knew my path” - Psalm 142:3.

2] Begged God for His help:
“I cried out to You Lord;
Attend to my cry…
Deliver me from my persecutors…
Bring my soul out of prison…" - Psalm 142:5,6.

3]  Affirmed his faith in God’s goodness:
“For You shall deal bountifully with me” - Psalm 142:7.

Perhaps we could use Psalm 142 as a model next time we’re in a “cave”:
- Remind ourselves that God knows and sees us and everything about and around us (Psalm 139).
- Pour out our requests to God. Make a list, write a journal entry, enumerate these things on our prayer list…
- End with faith and affirmations of God’s goodness. Use David’s (“For you shall deal bountifully with me” - Psalm 142:7) or compile a list of your own.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You that You supervise my bad times as well as my good. Help me to develop a theology of suffering that is faith- and hope-filled. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 142

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thanks for reading! This year we are using The Bible Project "Timeless Reading Plan" to read through the Bible in 2018. If you'd like to read along in your own Bible, you can download a pdf of the reading plan HERE.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

God's whispers

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 24-28; Psalm 141

TO CHEW ON: "Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways,
And how small a whisper we hear of Him!
But the thunder of His power who can understand?" Job 26:14

Job did not struggle with the fact of God's existence. He found evidence of God wherever he looked, and credits Him with the massive brush strokes of creation (for a man in physical distress, he sure hadn't lost his knack for poetry!):

"He hangs the earth on nothing
He binds up the water in His thick clouds,
Yet the clouds are not broken under it
He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters
At the boundary of light and darkness..." Job 26:7-10

And these things, Job says, are just the 'edges of His ways,' a mere whisper of what He is really like.

I wonder if, in that mention of God's whisper, there isn't a hint too of Job's longing to hear God's voice more clearly? He seems to be saying, evidences of God's power are everywhere but does He see me? Is He aware of what's going on in my life? Couldn't He speak to me more loudly about why these things are happening?

I have felt this way. Perhaps you have too. That's why I'm glad that the Bible also contains passages that reassure us of God's detailed knowledge of us. Psalm 139 is one. If you're feeling abandoned or ignored by God as Job was so often during his illness, let the words of David reassure you:

"O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

You know my sitting down and my rising up.
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways..." Read all of Psalm 139:1-24.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for seeing me completely down to my thoughts, always and everywhere, and that Your eyes are eyes of love. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 141

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 25, 2018

When God feels absent

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 20-23; Psalm 140

TO CHEW ON: "Look, I go forward, but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
But He knows the way that I take,
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." - Job 23:8-10

We left Job sitting in the ash heap, scraping his itchy, painful boils, mourning the loss of his children and possessions, and confused about why all this has happened. After sitting with him in silence for seven days, his three friends try to answer his question.

His friend Eliphaz thinks Job is suffering because he has sinned.

Bildad thinks he is a hypocrite.

Zophar condemns him for being verbose and presumptuous in his attempts to answer their accusations. *

Our reading today is one of Job's responses to his accusing friends. He, in effect, ignores all their finger-pointing and pleads his integrity. If only he could find God, God would "take note of" him. But God feels absent.

Still Job doesn't give up. Instead he puts into words his unswerving faith: "But He knows the way I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold" - Job 23:10.

Job does a number of things that we would do well to copy when we're going through trials:

1. He restates his belief that God is fair and is for him, even though it doesn't feel that way (Job 23:1-6).

2. He expresses the belief that God has a purpose for what is going on in his life even though He feels absent (Job 23:8-10).

3. He honours God with his statements of respect, trust and awe (Job 23:13-17).

The attitude he displays reminds me of the advice Jerry Bridges gives in his book Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts:

"Again, let me emphasize that trusting God does not mean we do not experience pain. It means we believe that God is at work through the occasion of our pain for our ultimate good. It means we work back through the Scriptures regarding His sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness, and ask Him to use those Scriptures to bring peace and comfort to our hearts. It means above all, that we do not sin against God by allowing distrustful and hard thoughts about Him to hold sway in our minds. It will often mean that we may have to say, 'God I don't understand, but I trust You'" - Jerry Bridges,  Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, Kindle edition p. 214 (emphasis added)
I sure have far to go in this department! What about you?

PRAYER: Dear God, I can't tell how I would react in a tough situation like Job's—neither do I want to have to find out.  Please engrave Job's faith and confidence in You into my spirit so that I will be as solid as he was when troubles come to me, as I know they will. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 140

* Job summarized with help from "Introduction to Job," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, pp. 644, 645.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Limited days

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 16-19; Psalm 139

TO CHEW ON: "Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them." Psalm 139:16

There is nothing like being in the presence of impending death to give one a sense of how much of life is out of one's control. About two years before he died, my brother's diagnosis of untreatable cancer had us all wondering how his life would play out. Would the doctor's diagnosis prove as fatal as it sounded, or would God give a miracle of healing? When, in July of 2010 he took a turn for the worse, we hurried to be by his side. Would this be the end? He soldiered on for six more months after that. None of us, not even his wife and children who were with him every day, could predict exactly when or how he would die.

Though such a limitation may make us feel frustrated, it is also a source of comfort when viewed within the context of God's knowledge and power. David refers to God's knowledge of our lifespan several times in this psalm:

"You know my sitting down and my rising up" (vs. 2).
"You... are acquainted with all my ways" (vs. 3).
" Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them" (vs. 16).

But God doesn't only know the number of our days — He has determined it:

"You have hedged me behind and before
And laid Your hand in me" (vs. 16).

And so we know that every day of our lives is meant to be. If we are still here, God is allowing it, indeed ordaining it, to accomplish our part in His plan on earth.

The challenge for me, and you, is to use up these years, days, hours, and minutes wisely and well. To find the "way everlasting" and walk in it.

PRAYER: "Search me O God and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me
And lead me in the way everlasting" (vs. 23-24).

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 139


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

God is committed to our perfection

roped tent peg
Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Job 12-15; Psalm 138

TO CHEW ON: “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me.” Psalm 138:8

David drives a big stake of faith to anchor the tent of his life here when he declares: “God will perfect that which concerns me.”

The word perfect here is the Hebrew word gamar which has two meanings: 1] to come to an end, be no more, cease; and 2] to bring to an end, finish, accomplish, perfect, perform, fulfill. Twice (in the Old Testament) it takes that second meaning, referring to the completing, finishing and perfecting of God’s work in one’s life (Psalm 57:2 and Psalm 138:8)

The author of the word studies in my Bible explains:
“The idea is that God begins to work out His purposes in the life of His servant and continues His work until it is absolutely and completely done” - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 792.

At least two New Testament writers echo that promise.
Paul writes:
“Being confident of this very thing; that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” - Philippians 1:6.

Peter writes:
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” - 1 Peter 5:10.

I don’t like the idea of suffering, of having myself hammered into shape (Romans 8:29), of going through tests and exercises meant to strengthen and perfect me any more than the next person. But knowing that God is in these things, that He knows just the amount of stress, tension, stretching, discomfort, pain, inconvenience needed to “perfect that which concerns me” is a huge comfort to me—and I hope to you too.
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for Your commitment to me. Help me to cooperate with you, learning and growing and becoming more like Jesus at every stage of this perfecting process. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 138

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thanks for reading! This year we are using The Bible Project "Timeless Reading Plan" to read through the Bible in 2018. If you'd like to read along in your own Bible, you can download a pdf of the reading plan HERE.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Singing in a pagan land

Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Job 8-11; Psalm 137

“But how can we sing the songs of the LORD
While in a pagan land?” Psalm 137:4 NLT

This psalm is heavy with homesickness. What a poignant picture it paints of captives, urged by their captors to provide entertainment with their joyous songs of religious celebration, refusing to sing. Instead they hung their harps on the trees that lined the rivers and irrigation canals of Babylon.

The songs the Babylonians asked them to sing were for religious purposes, not entertainment. These reminders of Yahweh’s greatness and goodness were meant to be the the accompaniment on their happy journeys to the Jerusalem and part of the feasts. 

There might also have been undertones of of mockery and gloating in the Babylonian requests. Many of these songs praised Zion (Jerusalem) as an exalted, beautiful, glorious place. Jerusalem had, at this point, been conquered and no longer existed in its former beauty and glory.

And so this psalm asks the rhetorical question:
“How can we sing the songs of the LORD
While in a pagan land

The implied answer: we can’t!

This psalm resonates with me not only because I can relate to its feelings of homesickness, but also its spiritual alienation.

We modern disciples of Jesus also live in a pagan land where the dominant culture is against much of what we stand for (and drifting farther from its Judeo-Christian roots all the time). We too might ask: “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a pagan land?”

I would submit, though, that that doesn’t need to silence us. For we can also live in the reality of who we are in Christ and embrace right now, the life of the Kingdom of Heaven (where pagan values are turned on their heads: the first are last, the last first, the poor are rich, we give to get, forgive seventy times seven, and deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Jesus, but know that this is not the end - John 14:1-3).

 And so we take down those harps, dust off those keyboards and guitars, and tune our voices because by faith we are exiles no more but pilgrims, passing through this life to our real home (1 Peter 2:11-12).

PRAYER: Dear Father, help me to live as a citizen of the Kingdom of God while I also live in my life as a pilgrim and stranger here on earth. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 137

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scriptures marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

Thanks for reading! This year we are using The Bible Project "Timeless Reading Plan" to read through the Bible in 2018. If you'd like to read along in your own Bible, you can download a pdf of the reading plan HERE.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Calamities and spiritual warfare

Job and his three friends
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 4-7; Psalm 136

TO CHEW ON: "'Oh that I might have my request,
That God would grant me the thing that I long for!
That it would please God to crush me,
that He would loose His hand and cut me off!'" Job 6:8,9

Does Job sound depressed or what?

You will recall the beginning of the story, how in one day Job's life falls apart when calamity strikes from all directions. And then he gets sick (Job 1-2:10). His friends come to comfort him. Here he responds to the speech of his friend Eliphaz.

Job sounds like he feels betrayed, double-crossed, and attacked by the God he has been trying to please: "'For the arrows of the Almighty are within me; My spirit drinks their poison; The terrors of God are arrayed against me'" - Job 6:4.

He feels physically unable to bear the agony: "'Is my strength the strength of stones? Or is my flesh bronze?'" - Job 6:12.

He begs to die: "'Oh that I would have my request … That it would please God to crush me, That He would loose HIs hand and cut me off.'" - Job 6:8,9.

Is there a reply to what Job has said that isn't shallow and trite? Job's friends certainly don't have it for they keep insisting Job is responsible for the horrible scenario. We, however, have information that Job and his friends didn't have about what was happening behind the scenes. Charles E. Blair, my Bible's commenter on Job says:

"Job's criticisms of God that appear in chapters 6 and 7 as well as in his other responses to his friends can best be understood as a man's feeble attempts to make sense of a scenario for which he is missing an essential piece of information, namely that there is something happening between God and Satan—that there are spiritual purposes overriding earthly circumstances. Because he is unaware of this dimension of the spiritual realm, his understanding is severely impaired" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 652.

Could unseen spiritual battles also be a part of the troubles, illnesses, calamities, and disasters that come to us? I believe they could. When we feel puzzled, let down, even betrayed by God, let's remember this aspect of Job's story. Let's pray over and into the activities in the spiritual realm, of which we're unaware, and let's keep despair and bitterness toward God from creeping into our hearts.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to see troubles that come to me and those around me with insight into spiritual warfare. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 136

The Bible Project - VIDEO: Job (Wisdom Series)


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


"Inter filios die affuit etiam Satan 
Job 2 6 1967 " by Salvidor Dali

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job1-3; Psalm 135

TO CHEW ON: "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
And the Lord said to Satan, 'From where do you come?' So Satan answered the Lord and said, 'From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.'" Job 1:6-7

Here we get a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of cosmic persons—God and Satan—in conversation. God draws attention to Job and what a unique, upright man he is.

We recognize the sly, cynical tone in Satan's response. It's the same voice we heard in the Garden:
* Satan to Eve in Eden: "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?'" - Genesis 3:1
* Satan to God about Job: "Does Job fear God for nothing?" - Job 1:9.

Who is this Satan? A Word Wealth article in my Bible explains him in terms of the meaning of his name:

[Satan - satan - means an Opponent or the Accuser; the hater, adversary, enemy; one who resists, obstructs and hinders whatever is good. Satan comes from the verb which means to 'be an opponent,' or 'to withstand.' - Dick Mills, "Word Wealth - Satan" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 648.]

Where did Satan come from? Wayne Grudem says of the origins of Satan and demons:
"When God created the world, he 'saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:31). This means that even the angelic world that God had created did not have evil angels or demons in it at that time. But by the time of Genesis 3, we find that Satan, in the form of a serpent, was tempting Eve to sin (Genesis 3:1-5). Therefore sometime between the events of Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 3:1, there must have been a rebellion in the angelic world with many angels turning against God and becoming evil" - Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 412.

Though no human witnessed Satan's fall, God gave Bible authors insight into it: 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6, and Isaiah 14:12-15.

Satan, as the hater, is the polar opposite of God who is love (1 John 4:7,8). And we align ourselves with one or the other. John says that we prove we are either children of God or children of the devil by the way we live and love - 1 John 3:10-15.

When I read this beginning of Job passage, I often wonder, what would God say about me? Would He recognize me as one of His own, demonstrated by my family trait of love? And how would Satan reply?

Finally, my response to pressure and temptation can change if I realize I am in the fire of a test that God allows because of His confidence that I'll pass that test—as my Bible's commenter on Job explains:
 "God does not allow trials to see if we will fail; He allows trials to strengthen our faith. The trial is, in fact, a statement of God's faith in our faithfulness and integrity" - Charles E. Blair, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 648 (emphasis added).

Dear God, when I am tested, help me to remember that there are bigger issues at play than my comfort and well-being. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 135

The Bible Project VIDEO: Job (Read Scripture Series)

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

He sings over you

"Sing O Daughter of Zion"
by Charles Joseph Staniland (1838-1916).

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Zephaniah 1-3; Psalm 134

TO CHEW ON: "The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Zephaniah ends his mostly doom-filled message on a note of hope. Though the "day of the LORD" has been pictured as a terrible time of judgement, there is another aspect to it as well. The Day of the Lord also means.
- There will be singing, shouting and rejoicing - Zephaniah 3:14.
- There will be deliverance from enemies - Zephaniah 3:15.
- God's people will be exalted - Zephaniah 3:20.
- And God shows His love for His beloved people - Zephaniah 3:17.

Let's take a minute to dig into this promise:

"The Lord your God in your midst..."
He is not far off, but right among us.

"The Mighty One will save..."
He is a great hero who has and will come to our rescue.

"He will rejoice over you with gladness..."
[Rejoice here (sus) means to rejoice, be glad, be greatly happy.] It is a rejoicing that is the complete opposite of mourning—a pervasive, irresistible joy.

"He will quiet you with His love..."
I see the picture of God as a parent, calming a fretful child, hugging, comforting, saying things like "It's okay. Everything will be alright."

"He will rejoice over you with singing."
[Rejoice here is gil. It contains the suggestion of "dancing for joy" since the verb originally meant 'to spin around with intense motion.'] A word study article in my Bible says: "This lays to rest the notion that the biblical concept of joy is only a 'quiet inner sense of well-being.' God dances for joy over Jerusalem and because of His people - Isaiah 65:9, Zephaniah 3:17." New Spirit-Filled Bible, p. 1228.

I can only imagine the songs accompanying that kind of rejoicing as songs of celebration, joy, and victory.

Here's a great sum-up of this verse for us to take into our day:
"Did you know that God sings, shouts for joy and dances over you because He loves you so much? Take time to think about that; let the Holy Spirit imbed this truth in your spirit. Allow this understanding to bring new joy, fresh freedom and tender love for God into your devotional life" - Leslyn Musch, Truth-In-Action Through Zephaniah, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1239 (emphasis added).

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this beautiful picture of Your love, Help me to be quieted by the knowledge that you are tenderly watching over me. Help me to "hear" your songs. How can I not love you back? Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 134

The Bible Project VIDEO: Zephaniah (Read Scripture Series)

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Trust - no matter what!

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Habakkuk 1-3; Psalm 133

TO CHEW ON: "Though the fig tree may not blossom
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail
And the fields yield no food
And there be no herd in the stalls —
Yet will I rejoice in the Lord
I will joy in the God of my salvation." Habakkuk 3:17-18

What has brought Habakkuk from despair to faith? We see, at the beginning of the book, how he was obsessed with the negatives around him. He saw only lack of justice (Habakkuk 1:2-4), evil flourishing (Habakkuk 1:12-13), and the surrounding heathen nations ravishing their neighbours (including Israel) and getting away with it (Habakkuk 1:14-17). How did he get to this declaration of trust in God?

By focusing on the right things.

If we look at what precedes his flag-plant of faith we see that it's a song / prayer of praise which looks at God's strength and lists the ways He has come to Israel's rescue in the past (Habakkuk 3:1-16).

It reminds us of other great prayers of faith. For example, compare Habakkuk 3:3-4 with Moses' blessing in Deuteronomy 33:2.

Habakkuk alludes to God's judgment of Egypt and the Israelites (in the desert) with sickness in Habakkuk 3:5.

When he says, "The overflowing of the water passed by" (Habakkuk 3:10), we are reminded of the way the Israelites passed through the Red Sea between walls of water as described in Exodus 14:22.

All this remembering, this seeing God in the big brush strokes of history buoys Habakkuk's faith till finally he can say with confidence, No matter what it looks like today and tomorrow, this season or next, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

My Bible's commentary on this verse sums it up well:
"Habakkuk asked genuine questions, waited for God's answers, and accepted them. He put his hope in God and experienced His presence. In faith, he looked beyond his present circumstances to God, placing his hope in God's saving grace and absolute faithfulness. He set his heart and his eyes on God"
We can do that too. We can:
  • Understand that it is acceptable to acknowledge the difficulty of our situation.
  • Focus our attention on God rather than circumstances.
  • Remember our circumstances will change but God remains the same.
  • Put hope in God's ability to save us; He is present with us in even the most difficult of times.
  • Choose to rejoice in the Lord regardless of the way we feel
  • Trust that He will enable us to overcome.
(Leslyn Musch, "Truth In Action Through Habakkuk," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1230.)
PRAYER: Dear God, Habakkuk moved from doubt and fear to faith and confidence in You, even though his circumstances didn't change. Help me to have that reaction to the puzzling things in my life, as I choose to trust You no matter how things look. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 133

The Bible Project VIDEO: Habakkuk (Read Scripture Series)

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Good news of PEACE

Bible journaling - Isaiah 26:3 (V.Nesdoly)
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nahum 1-3; Psalm 132

TO CHEW ON: “Behold on the mountains
The feet of him who brings good tidings,
Who proclaims peace!” - Nahum 1:15

The book of Nahum delivers one main prophecy—the defeat of Nineveh (the capital of Assyria). Quoting from my study Bible’s introduction to the book:
“The kingdom of the Assyrians, with their capital at Nineveh, had been a thriving nation for centuries by the time Nahum appeared on the scene. … Ancient documents attest to the cruelty of the Assyrians against other nations. Assyrian kings boast of their savagery, celebrating the abuse and torture they inflicted on conquered peoples” - Timothy Mark Powell, “Introduction to Nahum,” New Spirit-Filled Life Bible p. 1214.

The introduction to Nahum goes on to describe how the prediction of Nineveh’s doom was a consoling message to Judah (Nahum 1:15). But how does this little book relate to us?

Nahum speaks of God’s ability and desire to judge wickedness—personified in this book by Nineveh. The book’s introduction goes on:
“Nineveh was indeed destroyed, but that partial and temporary defeat of evil awaited the complete and permanent conquest that would come only through Jesus Christ” - Op. Cit, p. 1215.

Nahum alludes to the messenger who brings that message of peace in Nahum 1:15 (as does Isaiah in Isaiah 52:7). His words bring to mind a chorus of Handel’s Messiah that we often perform or listen to during the Christmas season.

"How beautiful are the feet"

What message does that mountain messenger bring?

News of Peace

[Peace: shalom: Completeness, wholeness, peace, health, welfare, safety, soundness, prosperity, fullness, rest, harmony … shalom is much more than the absence of war and conflict; it is the wholeness that the entire race seeks” - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible p. 1218.]

In our world of personal and interpersonal, national and international conflict, isn’t shalom what we long for—for ourselves, our families, neighbourhoods, our nation, our world?

Where is that peace found but in Jesus (John 14:27)?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for these Old Testament prophets who point us to You in whom we find peace for ourselves and learn peace with each other. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 132

The Bible Project VIDEO: Nahum (Read Scripture Series)

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A 700-year-old prophecy

Star shining over Bethlehem
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Micah 5-7; Psalm 131

TO CHEW ON: "'But you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
from everlasting.'" Micah 5:2

Near the time of Jesus' birth stargazers, "wise men" from the east followed a mysterious star to Judea. They believed it was a supernatural announcement of the birth of the King of the Jews.  They stopped in Jerusalem to inquire of King Herod about the whereabouts of this baby king. He was understandably puzzled (and vexed and disturbed—as far as he knew, he was the king of the Jews)!

He summoned the Jewish religious scholars. They quoted our verse from Micah as the prophecy concerning the birthplace of such a king (Matthew 2:6). Bethlehem was also the birthplace of David, the beginning of the Davidic line, from which the Jews  believed the Messiah would come (Matthew 2:5; John 5:41,42).

The fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem when his parents actually lived in Galilee was as flukey as some of the seemingly random things that happen to us. Who would have connected the fulfillment of a seven-hundred-year-old prophecy with a census decree by a very secular Roman ruler?

As we reflect on the accuracy of this ancient prophecy and God's use of a secular ruler to accomplish His purposes, let's be encouraged about our own lives. For no person or circumstance can stymie God's plans and purposes for us either as we seek Him and live under His direction - Jeremiah 29:11-13.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to relax in the knowledge that You have my future in Your hands and can, with great efficiency, use every life event to fulfill your plans for me and in me. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 131


New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


TODAY'S SPECIAL: Micah1-4; Psalm 130

"I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob,
I will surely gather the remnant of Israel;
I will put them together like sheep of the fold,
Like a flock in the midst of their pasture;
They shall make a loud noise because of so many people.
The one who breaks open will come up before them;
They will break out,
Pass through the gate,
And go out by it;
And their King will pass before them,
With the Lord at their head." - Micah 2:12,13

In the middle of this pronouncement of woe on evildoers (Micah 2:1-5) and an exposé of lying prophets and wicked rulers (Micah 2:6-11 and 3:1-12) Micah inserts a little bit of comfort.

He talks about a leader who will round up the exiles and lead them back home like a shepherd leads his flock home (Micah 2:12-13). But this is no ordinary shepherd but also a King. The writer of my Bible's study notes on Micah says about this passage:
"This prophecy of the Shepherd-King, the divine deliverer, would have brought joy to Micah's hearers … 'The one who breaks open' is also a messianic title, meaning 'deliverer.' and adding to the comforting assurance of return from exile the hope of one who would be a shepherd-king to all who recognize His caring authority" - Willard S. Elijahson, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1206.

Of course we recognize in this metaphor of the shepherd, Jesus, who used it of Himself - John 10:11.

A brief overview of how He shepherds us, helps us appreciate all He is and does for us:
  • He leads us to "green pastures" and "still waters" so we have all we need - Psalm 23:1,2.
  • He is tender with the young and vulnerable - Isaiah 40:11.
  • He gathers and brings back the strays - Jeremiah 31:10; Ezekiel 34:11.
  • He is also our King - Ezekiel 37:24; Micah 2:12, 13 (our focus verse).
  • He gives His life for the sheep - John 10:11.
  • He will supervise the reward ceremony in heaven where He will also "wipe away every tear" and continue to lead us to "living fountains of water" - 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 7:17.

Jesus, our Shepherd-King—what a rich thought to meditate on. We can thank Him for how He has shepherded us in the past. We can pray for His continued guidance now. And we can look forward to His deliverance, leadership, and reign as our Shepherd-King after our earthly life is done.

Dear Jesus, thank You for all the ways You have shepherded me, supplying needs, and leading with tenderness. I pray for those in my circle who have strayed from You. Please be the Seeking Shepherd to them. Help me to live within the bounds of Your care throughout life and to eternity. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 130

The Bible Project VIDEO: Micah (Read Scripture Series)

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The pouting prophet

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Jonah 1-4; Psalm 129

TO CHEW ON: "But it (God's relenting from the disaster He said He would bring on Nineveh - Jonah 3:11) displeased Jonah exceedingly and he became angry." Jonah 4:1

At a church conference I attended some years ago, I heard Rich Wilkerson sum up each of the church offices in a catchy way.

Apostles: Entrepreneurs who start new things for God.
Evangelists: Salesmen—"You need Jesus."
Pastors: Encouragers—"Everything is going to be okay."
Teachers: Always looking for the teachable moment.
Prophets: Concerned with keeping things in the right category—"That's just not right!"

Isn't that last so Jonah! After preaching, he camped outside the city—his front-row seat for the fireworks—but they never came. And so he said to God (my paraphrase): I told you so! I knew Your merciful nature. That's exactly why I ran away to Tarshish—because I knew in the end You'd change Your mind.

Then God gave this pouting prophet an object lesson from his own reaction to circumstances. When a fast-growing vine sprung up providing shelter from the sun, he was happy. But when a worm nibbled at it till it died he had pity on the plant, simply because it affected his own comfort. In this way God showed him his shallowness and how very different Jonah was from God, whose compassion went way beyond a plant to embrace all people (as well as animals - Jonah 4:11).

How readily we too get hung up on our own ideas of how God should work and like Jonah get swept into self-righteous anger when things don't happen according to our little prophetic 'that's not right' categories. A sidebar article in my Bible leaves us with some advice on how to neutralize such an attitude:

"Do not allow anger or pride to remain in your heart. They led to Jonah's disobedience. Turn away from these attitudes, and seek to have God's character of mercy, grace, patience, forgiveness and lovingkindness" - Leslyn Musch, "Truth-In-Action Through Jonah," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1199.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to have Your heart of compassion and pity on the people around me in the spirit of being a fellow traveler. Help me to be a conduit of your mercy, grace, patience, forgiveness, and love to everyone around me. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 129

The Bible Project VIDEO: Jonah (Read Scripture Series)

MORE: God's patience with His Jonahs
"...God not only treats Nineveh with pity and mercy, but also treats his stiff-necked prophet that way too. He is slow to anger and ready to relent in his wrath toward Nineveh, and toward Jonah" - By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: (Read all of "Should I not Pity That Great City Minneapolis.")

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A special people

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers reading here

Jacob and Esau by Raphael, 1518-1519
 Jacob and Esau - Fresco painting by Raphael, 1518-1519
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Obadiah 1; Psalm 128

TO CHEW ON: "For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever." Obadiah 1:10

Do we have brothers and/or sisters with whom we quarrel? Arguments and quarrels between siblings are common. Bible brothers and sisters had their differences too.

Take Jacob and Esau. Though they were twins, they were always competing against each other. Jacob tricked Esau into giving him the birthright (the inheritance that belonged to Esau as the oldest). Then he tricked Isaac, their father, into blessing him instead of Esau. This made Esau so angry, he threatened to kill Jacob. So Jacob left home.

Over the years the descendants of Esau became the nation of Edom. Jacob’s descendants became Israel. But there was no more love between the nations of Edom and Israel than there had been between their great-great-great-... grandfathers.

When Nebuchaednezzar destroyed and looted Judah, he was joined by soldiers from Edom. It is after this event that Obadiah prophesies.  In this short book (the shortest in the Old Testament) he speaks to the Jewish people mourning over the deaths of their family members and friends and the destruction of their beloved Jerusalem

His message condemns Edom for their treatment of their 'brothers.' He lists their treacheries against the Israelites in Obadiah 11-14. He scolds them for their pride. He tells Edom that though they think their strong cities can’t be conquered, because they have mistreated the Jews they will be defeated and disappear as a nation. And this happened. After 70 A.D. there is no more mention of Edom anywhere in history.

Still today the Jews have a special place in God’s heart (Deuteronomy 26:18,19). They are the people through whom God chose to bring His Son Jesus to earth. God has promised to raise them up as a strong nation again (Deuteronomy 30:3). God promises to bless those that bless and help the Jews (Genesis 12:3).

Though we may not understand or agree with everything that modern Israel does, God’s feelings about Israel haven’t changed. This nation is still His treasured possession. It is a nation Christians everywhere love and pray for.

Dear God, please bless the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY:  Psalm 128

The Bible Project VIDEO: Obadiah (Read Scripture Series)

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The climax of judgment

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Amos 6-9; Psalm 127

TO CHEW ON: "Shall the land not tremble for this .... I will make the sun go down at noon .... I will turn your feasts into mourning .... I will send a famine on the land ... of hearing the word of the Lord." Amos 8:8,9,10,11

Amos's prophecy starts with a vision—a basket of summer fruit. As if the image of fruit (an understandable metaphor for consequences) isn't enough, apparently the Hebrew word for fruit (qayits) and end (qets) sound almost identical. And so we have a word-play pun underlining this vision's message of judgment.

The judgment was for Israel's secularism and greed. The prophet reports their talk: "'When will the New Moon be past, / That we may sell grain? / And the Sabbath / That we may trade wheat?'" - Amos 8:5.

The judgment was also for their deception and unfairness. He reminds of what they do: "Making the ephah small and the shekel large, / Falsifying the scales by deceit" - Amos 8:5. (The ephah was a measure of grain. Making it small was lowering the amount of it. The shekel was money. Making it large was increasing the price of whatever commodity was being sold.)

The "fruit" of this is interesting to see. I read the consequences as being delivered in increments.
- There are natural disasters - earthquakes and unnatural daytime darkness (coming from volcanic eruptions, perhaps or wildfires) - Amos 8:8,9.
- Life's milestones and even religious celebrations that are usually occasions of joy become times of lament. They are characterized by mourning, premature aging and disease, ("...baldness on every head ...") and tragedy ("... like mourning for an only son") - Amos 8:10.
- But the climax of judgment is God's silence that results in a desperate but futile search for Him - Amos 8:11,12:
“I’ll send a famine through the whole country.
    It won’t be food or water that’s lacking, but my Word.
People will drift from one end of the country to the other,
    roam to the north, wander to the east.
They’ll go anywhere, listen to anyone,    hoping to hear God’s Word—but they won’t hear it - Amos 8:11,12 MSG (emphasis added).

My questions: 
  • Do we understand what a grave place we put ourselves into when we stop listening to God, ignore His invitation to eternal life and live in selfishness and disobedience—as a nation, as churches, as individuals?
  • Do we understand God's ensuing silence as the climax of judgment and ultimate consequence that it is?

Dear Father, please help me to keep the channel of communication with You open.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 127

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Walking with God

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Amos 1-5; Psalm 126

TO CHEW ON: "Can two walk together unless they are agreed?" Amos 3:3

This eight-word rhetorical question could be the text of a wedding sermon, or the basis of a talk on the principles of a business partnership. Where it appears, in the middle of Amos's prophecy, it refers to another even more basic relationship -- one's relationship to God.

"Now we are at the heart of Amos's prophecy," says a sidebar article about this verse. "God elected Israel to be His people but they were not walking in oneness with Yahweh. In fact they were heading in different directions!" - Lloyd Olgivie, New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1176

When we walk with someone we go in the same direction. We move at the same speed. A walk conjures pictures of conversation and fellowship along the way. It is exercise non-strenuous enough that we don't tire quickly -- a relationship for the long haul.

  • Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:22).
  • So did Noah (Genesis 6:9). 
  • The psalmist pleaded with readers to walk with God and expounded on its delights. (Psalm 81:13; Psalm 89:15). 
  • Prophets Micah (Micah 4:5).
  • Zechariah (Zechariah 10:12), and
  • Malachi spoke of the same thing (Malachi 2:6). 

The challenge to walk with God is still ours today, as a group (the church), and as individuals.

I have, in my collection of e-books, the old classic Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray: Devotional Classics: Andrew Murray George Muller Collection. The subject of the whole book is intimacy with God. I've highlighted many spots. Here are some of Murray's thoughts that, I think, shed light on walking with God:

"Abiding in Jesus is nothing but the giving up of oneself to be ruled and taught and led, and so resting in the arms of Everlasting Love" (Location 216).

"Your body is His temple, your daily life the sphere for glorifying Him: it is to Him a matter of deep interest that all your earthly concerns should be guided aright. Only trust His sympathy, believe His love, and wait for His guidance--it will be given" (Location 515).
"Abiding in Jesus is not a work that needs each moment the mind to be engaged, or the affections to be directly and actively occupied with it. It is an entrusting of oneself to the keeping of the Eternal Love, in the faith that it will abide near us, and with its holy presence watch over us and ward off the evil, even when we have to be most intently occupied with other things. And so the heart has rest and peace and joy in the consciousness of being kept when it cannot keep itself" (Location 847).

"We are so easily led to look at life as a great whole, and to neglect the little to-day, to forget that the single days do indeed make up the whole, and that the value of each single day depends on its influence on the whole" (Location 913).

"Each day of faithfulness brings a blessing for the next; makes both the trust and the surrender easier and more blessed. And so the Christian life grows: as we give our whole heart to the work of each day, it becomes all the day, and from that every day" (Location 941).

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to walk with You today -- in the same direction, at the same speed with time for fellowship along the way. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 126

The Bible Project VIDEO: Amos (Read Scripture Series)

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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