Archive for February, 2012

Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 6)

“I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or his seed begging bread.” Psalm 37:25

The journey of this life is a journey of crises. We are continually presented with choices. Some obvious, others not so obvious. It is at these forks that we make decisions and reveal the stuff we’re made of. These choices of our own free will are creating a very graphic and representative case for the condition and desires of our heart. Our choices reveal what we want, who we serve, our often hidden agenda that could not otherwise be seen, they reveal the type and condition of the soil of our heart.

The evil one, the enemy of our souls, was allowed to sit in on the planning meetings and give input to the forks that would be laid in your path for your journey, just as he was given voice into Job’s. Do not think that all the evil, temptation, afflictions and trials that you have faced, are presently facing, and will face were orchestrated by your enemy alone. God never misses a planning meeting and He is the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and the Orchestral Conductor of ALL. Nothing escapes His magic wand. Even your and my free will are pre-figured in the score of Time. Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to Him?

Has it ever occurred to you that God has a definite plan for you, a journey which He has laid down before the foundation of the world and that at each fork you are to choose His will and not your own in order to arrive safely at the destination He provided? The creation of man was the result of the council of God with God with God. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Gen. 1:26. Did God make a mistake? Did we (Adam) thwart God’s plan? Or did He make provision for the redemption of His son’s even before Time began?

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” Eph. 4:1 It was, is and shall always be the desire of God to have son’s in the earth as it is in heaven. These are the elect, the chosen, those who deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him.

Romans 8:29: For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

Hebrews 2:10: For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Job is such a son. Job denied himself, took up his cross daily and followed Him. It is a matter of faith. It is easy to seek your own will, do your own thing, plan your own agenda, get your own way. There is no faith in these things – only self, motivated by fear. But to give up your will, your desire, your life, your agenda for His – that is faith, exhibited through a real denial of self, often before others, for His glory.

It is saying in the midst of your dying to self, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Job 1:21,22.

It takes faith, real faith, saving faith, to stay in the fire and trust God through it all. It takes faith to keep your integrity in the face of mockers who come to taunt you when you are at your lowest. “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.” But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. Job 2:9,10.

Religion will teach you about God, but only through relationship will you know Him personally. Faith will reveal an unseen God as seen and trusted and depended upon. People will never understand why you don’t curse God and die. People will accuse you of many things. They do not see what you see. They do not have eyes of faith, a believing heart and a relationship that is real and living. Even your close friends may judge you wrongly.

These are the fires and trials and times that are molding you to be conformed to the image of His Son. This is the process that redeems you to the original design – to be like Him.

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Favored of Men vs. Favored of God It is not uncommon to notice men or women who are favored of men. Their lives are blessed by the things that this world applauds and hold in high esteem beauty, fame, money, power, health, material possessions. Better to be favored of God and blessed with peace, contentment, humility, grace, wisdom, faith, integrity and love toward God and others. Tom Van Hoogen
God Helps the Needy Coming before God, the most forcible argument that ye can use is your necessity, poverty, tears, misery, unworthiness, and confessing them to Him, it shall be an open door to furnish you with all the things that He hath. The beggars lay open their sores to the view of the world, that the more they may move men to pity them. So let us deplore our miseries to God, that He, with the pitiful Samaritan, at the sight of our wounds, may help us in due time. Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
True Love Acts Consistent With The Talk You are clearly convinced now that perfect love consists not in loving acts nor tender ejaculations, nor yet in the internal acts in which you tell God that you have an infinite love for him and you love him more than yourself. It may be that at the time you seek yourself more, and the love of yourself, than the true love of God, because love consists in works and not in fair speeches. Miguel De Molinos – The Spiritual Guide, 1675 – excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Hearing Without Perception is Noise Perception means the power to discern what we hear and see and read; the power to discern the history of the nation to which we belong, the power to discern in our personal lives. This power is also in the heart. How many of us have the power to hear with our ears ? Jesus said, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. We must have the power of perception in order to interpret what we hear. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Tend the Garden First, cultivate the new life by daily disciplines. Commissioner Brendel of the salvation army, a center of great spiritual power, suggest three things to keep the fire burning: “Keep the draught open; clean the ashes out; keep putting in fuel.” Second, keep honest at any cost…. third, keep confessing your sins after conversion… fourth, pray for those who have wronged you…. fifth, constantly enlarge the area of your conversion. Make your conversion take in more and more areas of your life. E. Stanley Jones – The Habit of Reading the Bible Daily – circa 1930; excerpted from Devotional Classics by Foster and Smith © 2005
As We Behold Him We Are Changed It is not enough to be turned inwardly to your Lord an hour or two each day. There is little value in being turned within to the Lord unless the end result is an anointing and the spirit of prayer which continues with you during the whole day. Jeanne Guyon – Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, circa 1680
A Guide is a Comforter I remember vividly the comfort it used to be to me, when I was young, to have a sister who always knew what was the right and proper thing to do, and who, when we went out together, always kept me in order. I never felt any anxiety or responsibility about myself if she was by, for I knew she would keep a strict watch over me, and nudge me or whisper to me if I was making any mistakes. I was always made comfortable, and not uncomfortable, by her presence. But when it chanced that I went anywhere alone, then I would indeed feel uncomfortable, for then there was no one near to keep me straight. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
Seek and You Shall Find A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His Presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality. A. W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God
The Inconvenience of the Kingdom These persons likewise find it irksome when they are commanded to do that wherein they take no pleasure. Because they aim at spiritual sweetness and consolation, they are too weak to have the fortitude and bear the trials of perfection. [56] They resemble those who are softly nurtured and who run fretfully away from everything that is hard, and take offense at the Cross, wherein consist the delights of the spirit. The more spiritual a thing is, the more irksome they find it, for, as they seek to go about spiritual matters with complete freedom and according to the inclination of their will, it causes them great sorrow and repugnance to enter upon the narrow way, which, says Christ, is the way of life. St. John of the Cross – Dark Night of the Soul, circa 1560
Keep the Inside Looking Out When we are careful to instantly let go of all needless worries and restless thoughts (that is, self-centered thoughts, rather than loving, outgoing ones), then we shall find ourselves on plateaus of peace even in the midst of the straight and narrow. We shall find ourselves walking in the freedom and innocent peace of the children of God, not lacking wholesome relationships either toward God or man. Fenelon – Let Go, circa 1690, copyright 1973 Whitaker House

Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part5)

Pick of the Litter (Job 1)

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” v.1

The meaning of the word Uz is “counsel” and the name of Job means “the cry of woe”. It may very well be that the counsel of his wife and so-called friends are the source of his cry of woe. I want to share with you that the place of honor is often a place of aloneness and separation from others but that will come in a later message. For now lets look at how Job came into his famous predicament.

“That man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” The word eschew is an interesting word. It means to deliberately avoid and abstain from. Well, doesn’t everybody deliberately avoid and abstain from evil? Apparently not, very decidedly not. In fact very few eschew evil. Evil is sold in this world in every marketplace and the prices keep going up because of the enormous demand for it. Just look at how the most popular products glorify evil and sin. (Hint check the logos and themes related to death, anarchy, and destruction).

So how did all this singling out come about that Job found himself in the cross-hairs of Satan? “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.” v.6 For the record there is a difference between the devil and Satan which you should understand. According to Gen. 3:1-5 man is responsible for the introduction of Satan. He came into the world as a result of a conversation between man and the devil.

Satan is the counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. Man was never intended to listen to the voice of the devil but the voice of God by his Spirit to our spirit. When man decidedly sought for another voice of authority in the earth, Satan entered. He is the result of man’s desire and will to organize and live his life apart from God and His Word.

(This reminds me of the movie Shrek where he is looking for someone to accompany him to rescue the princess. He asks is anyone wants to go with him and there among the people is Donkey bouncing about 4 heads higher than all the rest of the crowd enthusiastically shouting “Pick me!, pick me!” to which Shrek replies, “Is there anyone else who wants to go?” God has sent His Holy Spirit to accompany us on our treacherous journey and yet so many are asking, “Is there anyone else who wants to go with me?” looking for other options.)

Satan is the voice of that other option to the revealed will of God. And we too often seek it out, wanting to serve and do our will, not His. He (Satan) is the voice and power behind every rebellious act.

Consider these facts regarding the person of Satan. Only once did our Lord address the devil as Satan. “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written…” Matt. 4:10. Notice that Satan was trying to get Jesus to listen to a voice of Self-service, to execute an independent plan. On another occasion Jesus labeled Peter’s self-pity (inordinate thinking about Self) as satanic.“But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Matt. 16:3.

I like what Oswald Chambers says about this “other” option: “When a man is born from above he has granted to him the disposition of Jesus, Holy Spirit, and if he obeys he will develop into the new manhood in Christ Jesus. If by deliberate refusal a man is not born again he is liable to find himself developing more and more into the satanic, which will ultimately head up into the devil.”

My will, is not my will but submission to the satanic charge to take control of my own destiny, to distrust
God, forsake Him and set an independent course based on natural reasoning and desire. This is why we must deny ourselves and seek His will. Every choice you make is an exposure of what is in your heart. You have a free will for that reason – that it might be known to whom you belong.

And here is Satan doing what he does best, accusing the brethren before God (thank God we have an Advocate that ever-intercedeth for us), “Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?” v.9

Satan zoomed right in on God’s choice man, the pick of the litter. God was boasting about his son Job to a roaring lion who was going about to see whom he might devour. “And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” v.7 And you think that God would protect his prized son from the fight, right? No way! God created Job to enter the arena, to show forth His son.

What is the point of creating a son if not for their manifestation before the world? It is working out what God has worked in. It is a demonstration of faith, trust, dependence and love in and for the Father to His glory.

The devil is not the only one looking throughout the earth. The Father is looking too. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” 2 Chron. 16:9. God is looking for the pick of the litter. And our life should be jumping up and down and stating, “Pick me!, pick me!”. Trust me, you don’t have to jump though, God knows a pick of the litter when He sees one.

“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:12-14

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Garden Variety Theology History therefore is a garden in which we may recognize three divisions. Within its ambit we find the creation, the reconciliation, and the renewal of heaven and earth. Creation is symbolized in the sowing or planting of the garden; reconciliation by the germination of what is sown or planted. For in due course, while the heavens showered from above and the skies rained down the Just one (Isaiah 45:8), the earth opened for a Savior to spring up, and heaven and earth were reconciled. “For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one” (Colossians 1:20), making peace by his blood between all things in heaven and on earth. Renewal however is to take place at the end of the world. Then there will be “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1), and the good will be gathered from the midst of the wicked like fruit from a garden, to be set at rest in the storehouse of God. Bernard of Clairvaux – Sermon on the Song of Songs 23 – circa 1135; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Imposter in the Wild But Disrobed at Home? There cannot be a secret Christian. Grace is like an ointment hidden in the hand; it betrays itself. A lively Christian cannot keep silent. If you truly feel the sweetness of the cross of Christ, you will be constrained to confess Christ before other people. Do you confess Christ in your family? Do you make it known there that you are His? Remember, you must make your position clear in your own house. It is the mark of a hypocrite to be a Christian everywhere except at home. Robert Murray McCheyne – The Best of Robert Murray McCheyne circa 1840, © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries
The Spirit is Working His Way Out Biblical regeneration is birth by which the innermost part of man s being, the deeply hidden spirit, is renewed and indwelt by the Spirit of God. It requires time for the power of this new life to reach the outside: that is, to be extended from the center to the circumference. Watchman Nee – The Spiritual Man, circa 1920, copyright 1968 Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
The Unction of Religious Presumption If Eliphaz had been wise he would have seen what Job was getting at Job is facing something I do not see; I don t understand his problem, but I will treat him with respect. Instead of that he said, According to my traditional belief, you are a hypocrite, Job. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Religion, Just Like the Law, is Powerless The subject of religion is valuable in its place, but it’s place is limited. The only Cross you can preach to the whole world is a theological one. It is not the fact of the Cross, it is the interpretation of the Cross, the prime theology of the Cross, what God meant by the Cross, that is everything. That is what the New Testament came to give. That is the only kind of Cross that can make or keep a Church. P. T. Forsyth – The Work of Christ, Wipf & Stock, 1910
Binding and Loosing Prayer grasps the power of heaven, and fasting loosens the hold on earthly pleasure. Andrew Murray – Andrew Murray 365 Day Devotional, © 2006 Whitaker House.
Actions Reveal Intentions of the Heart It was this general intention that made the primitive Christians such eminent instances of piety and made the goodly fellowship of the saints and all the glorious army of martyrs and confessors. And if you will here stop and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it. You observe the same Sunday worship that they did, and you are strict in it because it is your full intention to be so. And when you fully intend to be like them in their ordinary common life, when you intend to please God in all your actions, you will find it as possible as to be strictly exact in the service of the Church. And when you have this intention to please God in all your actions, as the happiest and best thing in the world, you will find in you as great an aversion to everything that is vain and impertinent in common life, whether of business or pleasure, as you now have to anything that is profane. William Law – A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, circa 1728; Random House Inc. © 2002
Taking Up the Shield of Faith You must take your stand on His trustworthiness. You must say to yourself, and to your friends if need be, “I am going to believe what Christ says about God. No matter what the seemings may be, nor what my own thoughts and feelings are, nor what anybody else may say, I know that what Christ says about God must be true, for He knew, as nobody else does, and I am going to believe Him right straight through, come what may. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
Ticket for the Homecoming Party The essence of love is others-centered. So many are busy about loving themselves and making themselves happy. Now joy is another matter altogether. Perhaps that is why God s word tells us, He who gains his life (i.e. spends himself for himself) will lose it, while he who loses his life (i.e. gives himself to God and his neighbors) will gain it in the next. Love is the ticket to this life and the next. Tom Van Hoogen
Marvelous – Astonishing, Wonderful This is a marvelous thing, that God thinks upon men and remembers them continually. — John Calvin Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
The Law Leads us to Christ Paul sets before us a demand: to bring about a newness of life by changing of habits. For when the fornicator becomes chaste, when the covetous person becomes merciful, when the harsh become subdued, a resurrection has taken place, a prelude to the final resurrection which is to come. How is it a resurrection? Is a resurrection because sin has been mortified, and righteousness has risen in its place; the old life has passed away, and new, angelic life is now being lived. John Chrysostom – Sermon on Dying to Sin – circa 400; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.

Himsights v358 – Pretty Good

Pretty Good

I’ve been meeting with some people from my office on Tuesdays each week in a little Bible study group. One of the members brought a video series that we have been watching that presents a systematic way of getting past some of the traditional barriers to sharing the gospel. Actually it has been instructive and a good reminder that we need to go into all the earth. Too often we get smug in our faith and surround ourselves with others, overlooking and even avoiding “those people” – the ones that Jesus hung with – you know, the sinners.

There are many cameos and small slices of gospel presentations filmed live, that help us see first hand that many people are very confused and willing to explore in a non-intimidating way the subject of faith and God, heaven and hell – subjects that most people do not delve too deeply into mainly because they have not thought too deeply about it. In watching these live dialogues between the evangelist and the general public we see first hand what people think on these subjects.

Very few people admit to others that they are not good, in fact I do not recall one interview where the person was not quick to say that they are a “pretty good” person. That is interesting to consider, when the truth is, “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Rom. 3:12. We are reminded that “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” Proverbs 30:12.

It amazes me how many people point to their own goodness when the subject of heaven comes up. People are not pretty good, they are not even remotely good, in fact they are ba-ba-ba-bad to the bone. Just ask God who can see your and my heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jer. 17:9. Apart from the righteousness of Christ imparted to us by grace through faith, we are doomed to be separated from God, and thus ALL Good for all eternity.

What comes out in these little interviews is the massive and complete self-deception that so many are under. These deceptions are lies and hold you in bondage and will eventually take many down to hell who have never trusted in Christ – and Christ alone – for salvation. In every case, the evangelist asks some very simple questions regarding the Ten Commandments, a safe enough subject when talking about sin, for all agree that we should keep the Ten Commandments or at least understand that they form a basis for God’s judgment.

By the time he establishes that they are a liar, a thief and have been an adulterer in their heart, they begin to squirm and fidget realizing that they are not so good after all, “pretty good” maybe but not good enough to go to heaven. What also should be noted is the time takes a  street evangelist with very simple concepts to totally undress their righteous robes – less than five minutes. Now imagine taking your little sales job of your own worthiness to enter heaven before God Almighty and thinking you will win your argument. This is so ludicrous that it is painfully and pathetically sad.

But the thing I want to focus on is that phrase that seems to be the universal passport for entering heaven – pretty good. I just recently saw something that I had never noticed before. That phrase when you break it down means: pretty – attractive in a delicate way without being truly beautiful or handsome; good – to be desired or approved of; appropriate to a particular purpose; strictly adhering to or fulfilling all the principles of a particular cause, religion, or party.

In addition the word pretty was taken “from a West Germanic base meaning ‘trick.’ The sense development ‘deceitful, cunning, clever, skillful”. Wow! So being pretty good means making an attractive, clever, deceitful, cunning and skill presentation of being approved of, appropriate, by strictly adhering to or fulfilling all the principles of a particular cause, religion or party.

I agree, most people are pretty good by that definition. Most people are presenting themselves as holy and righteous by adhering to principles of a particular cause, religion or party. Jesus referred to the Pharisees for their particular form of presentation as white-washed sepulchres. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Matt. 23:27. I think that was Jesus’ way of saying you look pretty good but you are bad to the bone.

God never looks at the outside. He looks clean through to the bone. When God was looking for his chosen son he had to teach Samuel what to look at. “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7.

Pretty good does not cut it. There will be a massive hoard who appear before God with some pretty good stuff.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt. 7:21-23.

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5:20

Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 4)

The Unseen Wager

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Heb. 11:6.

Faith is believing what is not seen, for once it is seen it is no longer faith but reality. So how do we believe in God when we do not see Him? By faith.

Among other profound and sorely needed lessons, the book of Job presents a vivid and colorful picture of faith. Job believed someOne who he did not see. Job believed God. How can someone see God who is unseen? They see Him in us, through a manifestation of a son of God – through the works of faith.

“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” James 2:18.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16

And what are these “good works” that our heavenly Father wants others to see? “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29.

The crisis of faith is a crisis of belief, and trust and dependence. What you believe is most often expressed in your ability to produce works in keeping with faith. As James says, to say I have faith is of no value if you do not present works (actions) in keeping with them. Very often faith is proven in a trial where you must deny yourself – that takes faith.

Remember Jesus was led by the Spirit into the Wilderness to be tested. Tested in what way? To see if His faith was all talk, to see if he produced works in keeping with righteousness. Each test was aimed directly at his potential to trust Himself and act for Himself, against His Father’s revealed Word.

First He was tempted to feed Himself, to meet His own needs by His own efforts. Second He was shown all the kingdoms of the world and tempted to have power to provide for Himself rather than trust in His Father. Thirdly he took Him to a high place and challenged Him to throw Himself down in an effort to force his Father’s hand and test Him.

The way through was to have faith in His Father, His Word and His Will. Job too was found in a high place and tempted, different place, same type of temptation. Will you trust God even though you cannot see, hear or understand the purpose in your current suffering? Or will you trust your own ability to reason and decide for yourself forsaking Him and His Word, acting independently? “Hath God said….?”

Job was set up. I can’t say whether this was a random choice of a son of God or this is an example that every son of God will be led into a place of temptation by the devil to test him. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Tim 3:18. It does seem to me that the only way to prove the mettle of the man or woman is in the fire. In a place that no one would stay by their own choice or volition. They would have to determine through faith, “Not my will (getting out of this fire), but Thy will (waiting on the Lord) be done.

Job was a pawn on the battlefield between forces beyond his skill and knowledge. These Titans (not to put the devil in the same class as God but only much mightier than Job) have influence beyond Job’s sight. His piece was moved into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, for real, by the sleight of hand of his most dreaded adversary and with the permission of his Loving Father. Game on.

The reason Job became the subject of the devil‘s attention is because he was the subject of God’s attention, affection and favor. God brought the subject up as a proud Father and drew focus to him. He likes to shine the light on those who best reflect His work and purpose in the earth. God is not ashamed to righteously boast about those with whom He is well pleased, in fact He is always scouring the earth to search them out.

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” 2 Chron. 16:9.

So the question we need to thoughtfully ask ourselves, Is God up in heaven drawing attention to me? Is He well-pleased with me? Is my name known and respected in heaven? It should be. For, “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12. There is absolutely no reason these things should not be true about you. God has, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” 1 Peter 1:3.

You are to: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15.

Trust me on this. There is no excuse for not coming into the fullness of Christ. It is God’s purpose in coming, to redeem you to the state of a son of God. He has made it possible and made everything available to you through faith.

Fair warning though, the tests will come.

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.

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