There is a lot of human drama in the book of Job.  Most of it is centered on long dialogues between the human players in this story. What I love about Job was his endurance to stay the course in getting the answers straight from the mouth of God.  ‘Righteousness’ is a big deal. ‘Righteousness’, when truly understood, is an individual right. It is not  a ‘group’ thing. ‘Rightness’ comes from God in working through  and in any situation. That is where Job stayed the course.

Job’s three friends had flaws in their thinking. Job had obvious questions for God , and  we are made aware of the big questions he had in his own thinking.They were all products of the world around them. In the end, God told Job to pray for for the three friends.  God does not take sides, he is all about what’s right. God’s intent was growth for all of them: Job, and the three ‘miserable comforters’. God showed himself to all 4 of them. I assume Job’s friends learned that it is about looking for God rather than sin. Job learned about ‘seeing’ God! All’s well that ends well!

There is another player in the scenario: Elihu. He disappeared in the end. When one honestly reads through his drama, he’s not someone you would like to encounter in your local bible study. Job did not answer or argue with him and it seems, despite man-made chapter breaks, God’s whirlwind swoops down, interrupts and clears the air.

The lesson of ‘righteousness’ a big theme in the Book of Job. Despite our questions and flawed thinking at times, we have the right to humbly ask for answers to life’s questions. We have the right to the throne room of God. Guilt and shame can shut the door but Jesus Christ opened it for us in the New Testament.  Guilt and shame clouded and covered the light, Jesus Christ unveiled it. We have access to God, not thru some veil, but with clear bold access we too get to ‘see’ him distinctly.

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Job’s Sufficiency and Righteousness

Again I marvel at the multitude of opinions expressed about Job’s predicament as exposed in the Book of Job. It continually seems like denominational biases try to sneak their cause into the word of God.  The Word of God will always be the Word of God and it is unbreakable. God has protected it throughout history. We can get answers to our questions about God from God himself.

Job was a man that God actually praised. Job had some catastrophic events occur in his life.  He had endeavored to live like God expected him to live. He respected (good fear, in a reverential sense) God and yet he had another type of fear, (the negative kind of fear) and felt insecure. Fear can at times eclipse the light of God. Mentally, he acknowledged God, yet his heart had some worries that ballooned into a big cloud over him:

25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. 26 I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came. Job 3:25-26 

In response to this, three friends visited Job and sat silently with him for a while and when they started talking they accused Job of having some secret sin that was causing his troubles.  They were joined by a fourth who added fuel to the raging fire that was going on.  It seemed like God was unreachable and yet Job never gave up. Job wanted to talk to God himself.

In the book of Job there is a lot of dialogue devoted to his three friends.  Elihu gets quite a bit of print also. It almost seems like these miserable comforters are trying actually to separate Job from God rather than bring him closer. Is God unapproachable? No? Can one ask God questions? Yes! Job loved God. He wanted answers. Can we get answers? Do we really think God wants us sitting around in the dark? God is relational, not a distant judge as is proved in the final chapters of the book. Job got  his answers!

5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Job 42:5

Job held on to his righteousness throughout the ordeal  and that is an important lesson for all of us especially in the day and time within which we live. We live under the New Testament Covenant. Jesus Christ has made the login to God much easier through the sending of the gift of holy spirit.  To live in righteousness we believe in the actual ‘right’ to access to God. God doesn’t want us stupid regarding his blessings and all that he is.unnamed

The greatest thing one can do for other humans is to encourage them to get to know God. and understand that God can become their sufficiency (not us) as the relationship develops.  The results are beyond anything we could imagine! ‘Seeing’ God at work in another is one of our added riches of life!

17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. Isaiah 32:17

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What is God’s Focus in the Book of Job?

The Book of Job is one of the most hypothesized books in the Bible. There are so many opinions about things contained in the book that it is mind-boggling!  As I look into some of the sections of the book and take my time, it is fairly evident that most people get it wrong one way or another. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have all the right answers either, but I can see all the contradictions of opinions that pile up with each and every theory.cloud3

God actually spoke in the beginning and end of this book.  In the beginning, he praised Job for his righteousness. In the end, after posting the longest list of questions in the Bible, God praised Job again. In between, we read a lot of human dialogue page after page, where there is a lot of mention of sin and blame, which got worse and worse before God stepped in.

There was definitely a mental battle going on and when God entered to speak with Job directly towards the end of the book, he set the tone with:

2 Who is this that darkeneth (dims the light) counsel (advice) by words without knowledge (discernment, thinking)? 3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand (ask) of thee, and answer thou me. Job 38:2-3

I look up what it means ‘to gird up the loins’. The phrase is used several times in the Bible.Some historians describe this as pulling up the tunic and tucking it in to be ready to move. Job was not going anywhere physically, but spiritually he was moving ahead spiritually. In  Ephesians 6 it says:

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

After the discourse in Job 38:1-3, God asked Job question after question!  God asks questions throughout the Bible. The questions are thought-provoking! The questions allowed and prompted Job to think! (Check out Genesis 4:6, Job 1:7, Acts 9:5, Romans 8:31-39, or the first question in the Bible ‘Where art thou ?’ in Genesis 3:9). The questions didn’t box him in, accuse or blame him; they freed Job because he wanted to be freed:

5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Job 42:5

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Fresh Air

smell-clipart-smelling-clipart-smell-clipart-royalty-free-smell-clipart-illustration-438822Yesterday I smelled something odd in the main room of our house. It occurred to me that it might be coming from a small window air conditioner.  My husband said he didn’t smell anything, but it was gagging me. I shut down the air conditioner and opened the windows because it was a nice breezy day. Then later I opened the front piece on the air conditioner and WOW! The filter was totally covered with thick, thick, matted dark dust! I removed the filter, which to my joy, was a plastic mesh. I brushed it  and removed most of the dust . I then washed it with nice sudsy hot water. It actually was snowy white underneath. I get such satisfaction out of doing things like this.

The air conditioner was truly cooling the front room down, but deep in its inner workings something was causing it to give off a stinky smell. It had accumulated all that dust during its faithful normal functioning. It is a great little air conditioner and we only use it a month or two during the year. Now the filter and the grating on the inside is fresh and clean, and I expect this machine to operate at its best and keep the air cleaner.

Filters are important for so many things.  Our allergic systems alert us to contaminated air. They can be a pain in the sniffer, but they help us identify foreign particles floating around. I wish there were integrity filters for the TV and internet.  There is plenty of moldy dust floating around the media and cybersphere. If we smell enough of it over the course of time, it will be harder to detect.

Our minds as God made them, are to be operated with high efficiency. The best mental floss in life is the Word of God. God gets to the bottom of all human issues because he loves and wants us to know true joy and peace. It is our own choice to leave our filters dusty and moldy; but if we do we shouldn’t blame God for our discomfort for putting up with it.

In Exodus, every time something would go wrong, the people moaned and groaned over their plight. Leaders like Moses and later Joshua went to God for sudsy solutions instead of piling up more dust. That’s what good leaders do.

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

Guess it’s time to go clean the dehumidifier.🙂

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Gaslighting or Godlighting?

‘Gaslighting’ is a word floating around  that was spun from an old movie about a villain who manipulated his spouse by setting up situations to make her doubt her sanity. Actually ‘gaslighting’ is a technique that is more than floating around. It’s demonstration is everywhere. It is used in advertising, politics, religion and in simple everyday relationship transactions.

In the movie, the villain kept dimming the lights and when his target started to notice and remark about the dimming light, he said she was imagining it. The idea was to tamp down her perception of reality and drive her into confusion and self-doubt. ‘Gaslighting’ involves twisting the truth for an advantage to self, a far cry from love. This is the opposite of “speaking the truth in love” in Ephesians 4:15:

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Ephesians 4:15

Truth sets people free. Twisting the truth imprisons. Godly truth helps people to grow. Religion based on opinion is very dangerous. God’s truth is healing. It is easy to tell the difference when you look at the fruit produced.

The human mind can twist any thing when it is constantly focused on self. When the human mind is focused on the one true God there is a strong internal heart atmosphere that has amazing power. It is not the power to control: it is the power to do the bidding of the most powerful force in the universe.

God gave us a beautiful ‘truth-o-meter’ in the gift of holy spirit.  It is the inspiration of God in his word and in the human heart.  When the human heart and God’s word line up absolute peace results. There is no dimmer switch. The shadows disappear. The noise of the world fades. Quiet reassurance replaces anxiousness and fear dissipates.

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Who’s Side are you On?

Joshua 5:13-15

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?

15 And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” Abraham Lincoln

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Does God Hear?

I recently read an article on Deism. According to the article, deists believe in God but that he is not involved with his creation. Oh my! I get that people often feel that God is a million miles away. When we look at the world around us and see all that is going on it seems that way. The world is a noisy place.

We just drove through the great state of Pennsylvania! It is beautiful. If you drive on interstate 80, you can see majestic mountains that take your breath away. There are luscious green trees everywhere. Threading through the mountains are winding rivers. It is awe-inspiring.  As we drove, I couldn’t help but appreciate again God’s love in all that he created. It is so visible in his creation.13603270_10209934782829348_3543224891411611074_o

God is always close.  The farther you keep God out there, the harder you have to work. Total self-reliance is an inevitable result. Self-reliance is not built like those mountains or the gorgeous blue sky.

We can learn much from looking at God’s creation. Our eyes and ears are good examples of the intricate beauty and functionality of things God designed. The ear is an amazing organ. The eyes are complex second only to the brain. God is the designer of hearing and seeing.   It is very simple:

He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? Psalm 94:9

Surely our Father the designer understands hearing and seeing!It is a good thing to remember when we pray thankfully, with love and honor to a very involved God!

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