January 2012


Prayer Focus: Asia

Bible Reading: Job 33-36

Scripture

How great is God—beyond our understanding!  (Job 36:26)

Observation

After all this back and forth and everyone throwing in their 2 cents, 4 cents, and in Elihu’s case it seems like a couple bucks (what with him thinking he has perfect knowledge)…this is what really matters.  God is beyond our understanding.

Application

Too often I try to answer every last question and resolve every last detail, but in reality this is not necessary and in a very real sense can drive a person mad.  There are things about God, many things, we will never understand this side of the veil and we just have to come to terms with that.  God has revealed enough to us, in fact, a lot more than enough in His Word and in Creation.

Prayer

Lord, forgive me when I kick and scream like a child demanding you answer my every last question.  Teach me to trust in you with all my heart.

How great is God—beyond our understanding!

Prayer Focus: Asia

Bible Reading: Job 29-32

Scripture

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. (Job 31:1)

Observation

Ben Franklin said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s easy to find ourselves in the midst of temptation and look for a WWJD bracelet to help us choose our next step. Creating boundaries in advance of the temptation is far more effective in living righteously. While there are no guarantees, preventing sin is much easier than dealing with its consequences. Job “made a covenant” with his eyes in advance of temptation to “not look lustfully at a girl.” This is certainly in line with yesterday’s subject of wisdom.

Application

It is essential for me to have boundaries and accountability in my life in order to honor God. It is a lie of the enemy that I can do it on my own. I desperately need the Holy Spirit, trusted friends, and self-awareness in order to battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Prayer

LORD, thank You for the example of Job. Thank You for the Holy Spirit. Thank You also for my wife and other close friends that provide accountability and support for me in my daily battle against temptation. I desire to follow You completely. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Prayer Focus: Asia

Bible Reading: Job 25-28

Scripture

Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold.

God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.

And he said to man, ‘The fear of the Lord — that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.’” (Job 28:17, 23-24, 28)

Observation

Wisdom is usually associated with Solomon, and for good reason. Nevertheless, Job provides some poignant words on the subject. Perhaps no statement is more profound than verse 28.

Application

For years I have prayed for wisdom, yet it is not something that magically fills my head. Action is required on my part, both to fear the Lord and shunning evil.

Prayer

Awesome God, You are the source of wisdom. You see all and know all. I want to know You more, fear you more, hear You more, and obey You more. It is assuring to know that the LORD I serve possesses all wisdom…and control. I love You, LORD. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Prayer Focus: Asia

Bible Reading: Job 22-24

Scripture

“But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
He does whatever he pleases.”  (Job 23:13)

Observation

It’s my observation that the human race, generally speaking, doesn’t like being out of control.  We like the idea of having a set of rules and promises that keep both parties within expected boundaries and offer us terms of fairness, so that we can seek redress if the need arises.  Contracts are good, we like those because it spells it all out.  Action plans are good too, they keep us busy and focused and build credit, right?  We like three points in the sermon and favorite bible verses so that we can hold God accountable to his word for our futures.  It makes us feel safe, doesn’t it?

What an illusion!

How is it that Job got it?  He understood this about God.  Even with the help of Christ’s example and the work of the Holy Spirit, most of us still struggle with it.  Even with the pressures he was under, the advice he was getting from his friends, Job grasped that fundamental truth – that God does what he pleases – and clung to it while he grieved.

Application

Today I will look in my life and see what areas I hold back from God, the things I don’t trust Him with because He wouldn’t do with them what I would.  Today I will examine my heart for all the things I hold back from God because I don’t think he’s being fair.

Prayer

Lord, give me the courage to follow you into the places and spaces of my life where I keep the light off.  Help me surrender the things I hold hostage, refusing to release them because I want my own outcome.  Help me see not the illusion of control I think I have, but the things I miss because I haven’t shared it – surrendered it to you.  Thank you for loving me and being so very patient with me while I matured to the place where I could trust you with these things.  Deepen my faith, grow my trust, and hold my hand while I commit these things to you out of obedience.

Amen.

Prayer Focus: Asia

Bible Reading: Job 18-21

Scripture

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes — I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)

Observation

This passage, featured in Handel’s Messiah, is a rare moment of hope and optimism in the book of Job. He is not necessarily cheerful, but his faith looms large in knowing that this world is not the end. The best is yet to come.

Application

I need to live every day with the awareness that the best is yet to come. My Redeemer lives. He will stand upon the earth. I will see God with my own eyes.

Prayer

“Maranatha!” Come quickly, LORD Jesus!

Prayer Focus: Asia

Bible Reading: Job 14-17

Scripture

“Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure. Do you fix your eye on such a one? Will you bring him before you for judgment? Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one! Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. (Job 14:1-5)

Observation

In the midst of Job’s laments, he offers some profound descriptions of the relationship between the Creator and the created. We can deny or ignore the reality, but God is sovereign and in control…of everything!

Application

If God knows the number of my months, do I need to eat wheat germ and exercise?! It is both frightening and comforting to know that God is in control.

Prayer

Awesome God, I remain amazed that You care about me. It is incredible to think that You know everything about me—my past, present, and future—and still love me. Job’s declarations were spoke in the midst of tremendous suffering, yet each word remains true thousands of years later. You are God…and I’m not. There are moments when that frustrates me, but most of the time—including this moment—I am SO grateful! I love You, LORD! In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Prayer Focus: The Americas

Bible Reading: Job 10-13

Scripture

But I desire to speak my case to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.  Job 13:3

Observation

Job is certain of his innocence.  He is so sure of it he is willing to take the case directly before God.  He is convinced that his friends are so stupid that the wisest thing they could do is to shut up.  So, he sets the stage for a confrontation with the Lord and the stakes are high; either he is right, or he is dead (Job 13:19).  Yet, Job is also certain that God is the Almighty and in12:13-25 Job describes that great power and high position of the Lord.  Making it clear that Job is not trying to put himself above God with his argument of innocence, he’s trying to get back on God’s good side.

Application

I’d like to say I couldn’t imagine talking to God the way Job has, but I have.  What I find interesting here is that in the midst of Job wanting to take his case to the Lord and vehemently maintaining his innocence and calling his friends worthless physicians, Job still maintains that God is sovereign, almighty, and just.  He wants to take his case before the Lord because he knows God will give him a fair hearing.

Prayer

Lord, You hear my complaints and You deal with me justly.  Remind me always that not only is there nothing I can hide from You, but also there is nothing that I need to hide from You.  Amen.

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