Category: Listen


Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 10)

Weaning On the Everlasting Arms

As much as we like to think we are leaning on the Everlasting arms, we very seldom are. So many are doing everything they can to accomplish their will in their way, that they are seldom caught in the act of seeking God’s will. But He has a plan for those who want to know Him better and deeper. He has made it clear that He wants you to be separated unto Him.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate.” 2 Cor. 6:17.

When God came, He mingled with His children and had His being among us. He made Himself visible just not overly striking. He had set aside His glory, not considering equality with God something to be grasped. He was in the world, but not of the world. He made this clear when speaking to the religious leaders, “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” John 8:23. We too have this quality and trait, we are not of this world but we are in this world. We are among men but we are separated unto God for his purpose – that is the meaning of sanctification – separated for a special purpose.

We do not get to leave once we are born from above, at least not immediately. In fact Jesus prayed specifically to this end, “ I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” John 17:15-18.

So how does God go about sanctifying us? He is weaning us from our worldly attractions and affiliations, separating us to Himself? If you are a son of God you are a pet project of His. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10. The word translated workmanship is the Greek word poeima from which we get our word poem. We are His special creative masterpiece, His poem.

Contrary to popular opinion and thinking the sons of God are not made in the womb, in the seminary or the church. Son’s are made in the fire. They are processed through the trials and afflictions that are necessary to make a son. Even Jesus, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” Heb. 5:8.

God’s processing of Job is as clear a picture as you will get of this with the exception the life and times of Jesus Christ, although if you check, you will see the Word riddled with this same story over and over again. God had given Job, and gives us, if we are a son, a mandate, an assignment – “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. What is your good work? Being made conformable to the image of Christ in the fires of separation.

First Job was separated from the things of this world that he loved and enjoyed. God allowed – no, prodded Satan – to turn the heat up on Job. “Have you considered my servant Job?…” Then the satanic appeal, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Haven’t you made an hedge [of protection and blessing] around him and his house?”

So right here is the test. God allows Satan access to all that is dear to Job and outside him, his things and his family, to test and prove just what he is made of. He does this by separating Job from the things of this world. Do not think this strange. Get this clear in your head. This becoming like Christ is not a mere signing of the card at the church, saying the prayer and living happily ever after. Making a son of God is delicate, precise work. Work that requires very high heat.

It is very likely that you may have to leave some things behind: “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” Mark 10: 29,30. Just saying…

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  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.

So how is this a testimony and proof of your love for God? Listen in to the report regarding Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego, men familiar with the process of the fire and weaning from this world, “And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.” Daniel 3:27.

Job passed the test gloriously, like a true son would. “And said, 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.

But that is not the end of the matter. “And there was a(nother) day… And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job… he still holds fast his integrity, although you moved me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Get that, Job did not do anything yet God is moving against him. This is the cost of confessing Christ, and here is the reward. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 10:32. “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Rev. 3:5,6.

So now, the ultimate test is upon Job. “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” Job 2:6,7. God let Satan attack Job personally to within an inch of his life – and he did. Satan loves this stuff. He is always signing up for this job. For all practical purposes Job died to himself. First he denied himself, and now he took up his cross ad followed Christ. And was Satan able to destroy him? No, not even at the goading of his wife. (It is suspected that God left Job’s wife behind so she could be the ultimate test.)

“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.

So Satan was allowed and used by God to separate Job from his things, his family, his very life yet in all this he did not sin with his lips (i.e. curse God and die – separate from God.)

It has been wisely said, “You will never know that God is all you need till He is all you have.” Separation from everyone and everything is part God’s calling for sons. Now you are weaning on the Everlasting arms, not your own provision, protection, pleasures or plans.

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.

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Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 9)

Integrity is the Heart of the True Believer

It is time for me to begin moving into the account of Job, the retelling of this actual event. I have been meandering about the fragrance of its death and the splendor of its beauty. Death to Job and his will and reasonings about God and beauty regarding the actual Life of God in Job and revelation of Him through Job.

These are no small or mundane thoughts of truth, these are the warp and weave of the fabric of heaven and Eternity set in the context of Time on the earth. Death to Self for another – both physical and soulical; Beauty beheld in the Person and personification of God through men.

Beloved, our little thoughts and meanderings in life are of such insignificance unless they are the thoughts of His Mind and the goings of His Way.

So beginning in Job 1 let us begin some thinking and going with eternal purpose and portent, let us lay aside avery weight (of our thinking and doing), and the sin (of arguing I am something, when I am nothing) which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

“There was a man… whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” v.1 How was Job perfect? Not in the way we think. We so often are lost in translation. The translators do a very good job at exchanging the thought of one culture to another through the currency of language, but not perfect, in the way we think of perfection. We think of perfection as flawless, without blame or fault.

Here is the Hebrew expansion of the word translated as perfect #8535 (tawm): complete; usually (moral) pious;… undefiled, upright. An advective meaning integrity… a rare, almost exclusively poetic term often translated perfect but not carrying the sense of totally free from fault, for it was used of flawed people.

I believe the sense of integrity carries the meaning very far. This is a person who is not hypocritical, not false, not deceiving in any way toward others and especially to himself “… one that feareth God, and escheweth evil”. There are massive numbers of those who make a pretense of loving God and hating evil, but that is all it is – a pretense and a show. It is sad how easily we deceive ourselves to believe what we want to believe.

What is it in man that he can be so easily duped into thinking that because he can make others believe things are true about him (through lies, deceptions and manipulations) that that makes those things actually true? God looks right through the outside presentation and sees the heart. And we had better get really good about searching the heart to see what is really in there, because God can see it. In fact it is what He is intensely focused on.

God’s great preoccupation is not what you do or what is happening to you. His great occupation is who you are becoming and what is happening in you, in Christ. While so many put a lot of effort into the outward showing, trying to attract God’s attention by the works of our hands, trying to concern God with our affairs and plight, His plight remains that there are none that seek Him to do His will.

So what kind of heart is God looking for? “… one that feareth God, and escheweth evil”. What does that look like? “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. I believe that those who are seeking Him with all their heart, with all their mind, with all their strength, with all their soul have His attention – like Job.

Who is Satan going to and fro throughout the earth looking to devour? I believe that those who are seeking Him with all their heart, with all their mind, with all their strength, with all their soul have His attention – like Job – “… one that feareth God, and escheweth evil”.

Those who are not known by God are not sought by Satan. They are his already, they are not lost in his opinion. How can someone be lost if they are still in the same place you left them?

God is looking for those in the Way, those who have begun and remain in Him. Remember that a seed (the Word) can be planted and then never bear fruit because of the conditions of the soil? How can God’s seed be fruitless? It is not the seed, but the soil which is bad. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isa. 55:11.

Is everyone who hears the Word saved? “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Cor. 13:5. It is your will, which no one can control but you, that must not only meet God’s will in the matter of your salvation, but work with it, submit to it and even die to it.

Yes, God is continually looking for those whose hearts are turned toward Him with integrity, who actually believe Him, love Him and trust Him – not those who say they believe Him, say they love Him and say they trust Him and then go about establishing their own will in their life.

“He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Mark 7:6.

Who do you suppose God is talking about here?, those who are lost or those who are making a pretense of a relationship with God for their own personal sense of security or financial and social welfare, yet have no integrity in that relationship? “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.

Well, we have established one thing thus far – Job has both God’s and Satan’s attention. Satan is certain that he has Job in his clutches like so many others who are making a good show of it. God knows Job’s heart and the stuff he is made of – Him. Now comes the classic showdown at the OK corral. The entire arsenal of Satan (limited by God) is pointed right at the heart of the matter – a heart of integrity. Can it stand the onslaughts of hell? Stay tuned.

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.

Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 8)

“Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” Ex. 20:3

This is the classic struggle since the dawn of mankind, letting God be God as He reveals Himself and not making Him in our own mind or with our hands, to our own liking, fashioning Him to be like us.

We just love to play creator. Everything you create you control. If you are the designer then you can decide its purpose and function. Wouldn’t you love to make a god who serves your purpose and functions according to your will? It is the latent desire, often unconfessed and unknown of every natural man. Perhaps that is why God made it the very first of His commandments.

No! We are not the creator, God the Father-Creator has made us with His purpose and function in mind. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Gen. 1:26. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph. 4:10…  “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son” Rom 8:29… “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” John 1:12… “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Rom 8:14… “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory” Heb. 2:10. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Rom. 8:17. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.” 2 Tim. 2:12.

This whole denial business is the crux of suffering. The dictionary says that suffering is experiencing something unpleasant. We consider having and doing what we want pleasant or pleasing. It is the denial of what we want to have and do that is an experience of suffering. God will not make you suffer beyond what you are able. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able” 1 Cor. 10:13. Because of this many are not brought to suffering – they can bear so little – and few are brought to the image of Christ.

Jesus taught that if you would be His disciple (e.g. walk in His footsteps and become His representative of His Way) you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. You must say no to what you want to have and do – your will – and seek His will. The question is will you deny yourself or will you deny Him before others?

It is very unlikely that you will face the type of self-denial and testing of faith that Job did. He was brought through a terrible ordeal, but his Father knew he could handle it. Few will go this far, but some, choice specimens will be given the honor of suffering for Him and God will glorify Himself through them.

And who is chosen to manifest the glory of God? Those who know Him, who will not shrink back. “Those who know their God will do mighty exploits”. Just survey the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 and you will see that it could just as easily be titled the Hall of Suffering and Self Denial.

“Choosing rather to suffer affliction (v.25)… Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt (v.26)… forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king (v.27)… And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.  Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:  And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (vv.32-38).

That is a whole lot of faith, a whole lot of self-denial, a whole lot of suffering going on.

How did these do it? How did Job pass through his fire? There was a refining, a gradual burning away of the self, a dying. Know God, know peace. The Peace that passes understanding gives us the victory. And this is the victory, even our faith, even the proof and testimony given through our suffering, even our death to self. Not my will, but Thy will be done.

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.

Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 7)

Righteousness Which is By Faith

The more I read Job, the more convinced I am that it is, among other things, a portrait of contrast to show us the difference between the righteousness of religion and the righteousness which is by faith.

God seems to make a big deal about the importance of righteousness which is by faith. Consider the following verses and I believe you will agree:

Romans 1:17: For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 3:22: Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Galatians 5:5: For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

Philippians 3:8,9: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Hebrews 11:7: By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Look again at Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ…” Paul did not want to be found with his own righteousness. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Isa. 64:65. If my righteousness was as filthy rags (and it is), I would not want to be found with it either.

This analogy is a reference to the rags that were used to clean the flow of the menstrual cycle. In a very real way it was a picture of life that was possible but never brought to fruition. There was a Levitical law which made a woman unclean till the seventh day after her issue of blood as well as everything she touched or sat upon (i.e. rags).Recall that we are no longer under the law (if you are in Christ). “for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Rom. 6:14.

So what is “a righteousness which is by the law“? It is very much a righteousness which is claimed and presented by external observance of practices and rule keeping – in other words religious works. If someone says to you, “I just want to know what I am supposed to do”, you know that they are misguided regarding the kind of righteousness which God seeks, that which is by faith in the Son of God. They are wanting to be found right by what they do, not by what Christ has done. They are making themselves, (or so they think), righteous by doing things. We were never meant to be human doings, but human beings. We are what we are essentially and spiritually, not what we do temporally and demonstratively.

The righteousness which is in Christ is apart from the law. It is not about external conformity to practices and rules. It is a matter of the heart.

It never ceases to amaze me how slippery and steep this slope is. It reminds me of the saying, “like trying to nail jello to a wall” It is just that slippery and that steep. Self righteousness, religious righteousness is devilish at heart because it is red-handed rebellion (as Oswald says). In trying to find a way to be righteous enough in yourself you are making a break from dependence upon God and toward an independent stand apart from Him. You are trying to find a way to do this thing (e.g. be good enough) apart from Him. There is none good but Him (Matt. 19:17, Mark 10:18).

And this is what Job’s three friends were doing. Their entire argument toward Job was an attempt to get him to confess sin, and specifically to redeem God as though Job’s denial of sin was condemning God. You see they all (including Job) had a theology of works. Generally speaking – those who do good stand in God’s favor, while those who sinned were the subjects of his wrath.

Do you see the blatant trap and immature approach to that philosophy? It means that I can judge people based on what happens to them – if good things happen they are God’s people, if bad things happen they are against God. Here is the subtlety: if bad things are not happening to me then God is pleased with me, if bad things happen then I have angered Him somehow. There is no room for God to be God, I can force His hand by my works. This makes God out to be a cosmic Santa – rewarding the good boys and girls and handing out coal to the bad boys and girls. Wouldn’t that make it all easy. Problem is, that is not the way it is.

Over and over we see the righteous facing hardship, poverty, trials, sickness, even death. And the converse is true too – we often see the wicked flourish and prosper (see Psalm 73). All of these are revealing what is in the heart. Is your giving to others a product of what is in your pocket or what is in your heart? Is obedience a product of whether or not you like the plan or not? Is you praise because you love Him or because you enjoy the current circumstances? Are all your good acts done in front of others reported to others – then you have your reward. What happens when you don’t get what you want, expect or like, is God being unjust?

That was Satan’s (the accuser’s) point. He challenged God to allow suffering in Job’s life. You can get at what is inside pretty quick with a little fire and pressure. Is it gold, or some cheap useless metal that the fire will significantly damage? Let’s see.

Repeatedly Job’s friends revealed their religious beliefs. I do good and therefore God is obligated to do good to me. Job is getting bad, therefore he must have unconfessed sin. If this is not true – if Job is righteous then our theology is bankrupt and we are exposed, then we are not necessarily good if Job is not bad.

Brothers and sisters we have to get past this. God is God. He does not fit in our neat little box. He doesn’t do, based on what we do. He does based on Who He is. “For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment“ Job 9:32. You can no more make God answer to you than you can command the wind where to go. Get real. God is not here to prove Himself worthy of you and your idea of goodness. God can not go anywhere to get a better picture of perfection than in Himself, and we are, if we are in fact sons, to bear His image. For you to show God something impressive is for you to reflect Him.

While Job’s friends were making God after their own image, Job was coming to terms with Reality. Job was beginning to see that he did not have an accurate view of God, that He didn’t fit in the box he made for Him. God can do whatever He wants to do and the beauty is that He remains Love, Righteousness, Light and Glory because He defines them to us. Our idea of these things are remnants of eternity past when we walked with Him in the cool of the day, when we knew Him (being in the loins of our father Adam).

Job sat on that hill suffering to reveal a righteousness which is by faith, not by works, not by religious adherence to a creed or set of practices, but by supernatural faith in a Person, his heavenly Father. And Job continues to show us today what it means to suffer for Christ. Job like Paul and any other son worth his salt can say, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.

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.

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.

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