Thursday, 19 July 2012

Bible reading and thoughts on Job

Some people are very disciplined in their life-style.  Once they make up their mind to do something, they let nothing get in their way of doing it.  Some people do things in “fits-and starts” as it were; I am one of them.  Life is full of diversion, distraction, and interruptions.  So my plans to faithfully read the Bible daily with the intent of reading through it in a year got derailed. 
                 I stared out by going to Radio Bible Class’s website: .  They have several selections of daily devotions, Our Daily Bread, My Utmost for His Highest, Our Daily Journey, Daily Strength.  They also offer Bible study materials, testimonies, and music resources.  The choice I made was Our Daily Bread, published by the Methodist Church.  Each day I clicked on the “Bible In A Year” link on the page—which would open in another window.    
                 Then I went to Florida.  Although I took my laptop, my sister didn’t have a wireless connection I could use in Mom’s room.  And Mom didn’t like being alone for very long.  My sister’s computer was hooked up in the lounge.  At any rate, the situation was a great excuse not to continue with that routine. 
                 Now that I’ve been home almost exactly three months, I find that I have lots of opportunity to make the time to re-establish daily Bible reading.  I refused to try to catch up with the readings I missed.  I simply decided to start on the current day’s reading and just carry on. 
                 Another website I frequently access is  They link with Radio Bible Class for the daily Bible readings.  Since both Our Daily Bread ( and Radio Bible Class used for daily reading plans, I went straight to their website. 
On the homepage is a sidebar with a menu of tools, including Reading Plans.  “Welcome to the Bible Gateway Reading Plans” is the big black banner.  There are two drop down menus on the page:  (1) the type of reading plan you want; (2) Your preference for the Bible version you want.   There is also a calendar on page with the current date hi-lighted.  I clicked on the date and another window opened with the daily reading.  That is how I found myself reading Job. 
I’ve read Job before.  I always thought that what Job’s friends said made sense—that there was a ring of truth in them.  Whilst Job could defend himself to his friends, Job wanted to have an audience with God. 
What caught me this time as I read Job, was that Job did not blame God for the tragedies that befell him and his family.  Job had confidence in God’s goodness.  God was and still is looking for people who will continue to believe in the goodness and faithfulness of God—even when circumstance seems to indicate otherwise.  Job was not going to confess to sinning just to make his friends feel better. 
Bildad said to Job, “Surely God does not reject one who is blameless or strengthen the hand of evildoers.  He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with sounds (shouts) of joy.  You enemies will be clothed in shame, and the tents of the wicked will be no more.”  Job 8:20-22.
There seems to be the premise that if we “are good”, and love God, we will not be allowed to undergo the testing and trial of our faith.  But through Job’s insistence that he had not neglected righteous behaviour, Job proved that we will not be protected from suffering just because we practice good works. 
“Is there not an (appointed) warfare and hard labour to man upon earth?  And are not his days like the days of a hireling?  As a servant earnestly longs for the shade and the evening shadows, and as a hirelings looks for the reward of his work, so am I allotted months of futile [suffering] and [long] nights of misery are appointed to me.”  Job 7:1-3.   
Job seemed to be saying that each person will endure times of hardship.  As a Christian we each will walk through times when it seems like Satan has laid siege to our lives. 
Job’s faith was in God’s worthiness of trust, regardless of how things appeared.  He still believed in God’s ability to heal, deliver and bring salvation. 
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.”  Job 19:25-16. 
“When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.  But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.”  Job 23:9-11
Job was saying, “God has allowed me to suffer because God’s bigger purposes are at work.  Though I can not see what He is doing, or how He is doing it, I do know that He is going to bring me to a good end.” 
Just like Abraham trusted God to provide a sacrifice up on the mountain, Job believed in the wisdom of God.  Job was able to say that suffering worked as a crucible for removing the useless actions, attitudes and motives from our hearts and minds.
When a baker wants to make sure that the micro-organisms in yeast are still active, they will “proof” the yeast.  When we are put into the “hot water” of a trial, God is in the process of “proving” our faith.  It is the goodness of God that we are taken through struggles and challenges.  In order for yeast to grow, it needs to be fed with sugar or honey.   Grace is the feeding agent that God adds to our faith to cause it to grow in times when we are being “kneaded and baked”. 
Because Father God saw that there were men who would believe in the perfection of God’s promises, God’s innate goodness—despite how things looked—God knew He could send Jesus into the world. 
In my own life, I’ve had a moment when my heart ached so badly, all I could do was pray with tears rolling down my cheeks.  A few months ago, I was up late; rubbing my mother’s back, trying to get her settled enough to fall asleep.  She was no longer the mother with a clear mind and full memory.  I hated the dementia that had stolen her away from me.  Why was she still with us?  Why did she have to be humiliated and ill?  Sitting on the chair next to the bed, I said, “God, I don’t understand, but I know You love Mom more than I do.  You have bigger purposes than I can see right now.  Lord, I believe in Your goodness, even though I don’t understand why—especially when it breaks my heart.  But You are worthy of my trust and praise.”  With that I found comfort; there was solace.  
I have now finished with Job and am into Psalms.  
As with anything making a decision with my will, with the determination to keep at it is the only way to bring change into my life.  However, even when I lose my way, the important thing is to start again.  Because I never know when it will turn from“fits & starts” behaviour into a tenacious and persistent behaviour!
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene”

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