Why did God let Job suffer?

Why did God let Job suffer?

The book of Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible and is considered by scholars to be the oldest piece of literature to survive into the present. Some say it is an allegory, but many Biblical scholars note that Job is spoken of in the Ezekiel as a real person like Noah and Daniel, and in the book of James, Job is cited as an example of patience, suggesting a real rather than a fictional character. That’s important, because if Job was a real person, then then the gravity of your question increases significantly.

Job is about how a man’s trust in God is greater than Satan’s ability to tempt him to give it up. God allows Job to endure hardship and loss. And that hardship and loss is well beyond that which most of would endure, but he does not allow Satan to take Job’s life.  

What we observe is life not being fair. Job’s story is an object lesson for all of us.  Life isn’t fair, but God is just. He gives us all equal amounts of grace and mercy to allow us to grow through the circumstances that this unfair life causes us to go through. For Job those circumstances were terrible. Nonetheless, God’s grace and mercy shine through when Job does not turn his back on God. God restores Job’s health and his riches—not because Job was good, but because God is merciful.

Matthew reminds us that God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45) God loves all of His creation equally and is not a “respecter of persons.” He knows that we may make bad decisions and suffer as a result. He also knows that we may suffer through no fault of our own. While Satan reigns on earth, evil and death will infect it. However, God’s desire is for every one of us to be saved and live with Him forever at peace, secure in his love for us.

Jesus comforts us through his words:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

The circumstances of this world can get us down sometimes, but take heart and anticipate Christ’s return!

Illustration by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA. Copyright 1984.), under new license, CC-BY-SA 3.0

Where does God reside?

Where does God reside?

Where does God reside?

God doesn’t live anywhere. He is everywhere or omnipresent.  It’s a concept that is hard for us to comprehend since we are not God.  However, once we recognize that God is a transcendent being and operates outside of time and space, it is easy to understand that God can be involved in every aspect of creation. For example, nuclear physicists have hypothesized that at the subatomic level the smallest identifiable quantity is light. So, just as light is everywhere—inside every cell of the human body, inside every grain of dust and blade of grass—God can be everywhere all the time.

In the Bible, writers of the Scriptures, inspired by the Holy Spirit, describe God as one who is involved in every aspect of his creation. You can test the theory of God’s omnipresence by talking with him. As you become aware of your communication, you only have to imagine billions of others carrying on a conversation with God at the same time. If millions can be on Google at one time, it is not to difficult to reason that God can handle an infinite number of communications simultaneously—being everywhere at once.

Three thousand years ago, David, a king of Israel and prolific songwriter, penned these words that beautifully describe an omnipresent God.

Where can I go from your Spirit?

    Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

    your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

    and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you;

    the night will shine like the day,

    for darkness is as light to you.

Psalms 139:7-12

Can a Christian become demon-possessed?

Can a Christian become demon-possessed?

The simple answer is, no. But the forces of evil can both influence and tempt you, even if you are a Christ-follower.

As a child of God, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, you are protected from any inroads of demons. In Johns gospel, he reminds us that “Greater is he that is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) The “ he ” John is referencing is God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, who is within all believers. That Holy Spirit is greater than the spirit of evil represented by Satan.

Satan uses many devices to draw Christians away from God. He is a master of deceit and uses all manner of temptations to try and separate a Christian from his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. In fact, it was on Jesus, that Satan tried all of his tricks to tempt Jesus to turn his back on his Father and the mission he came to earth to fulfill. Jesus was tempted in all the ways that a Christian may be tempted, but he did not give in, he did not sin.

Unlike Jesus, we are not God, and all people, Christians and non-Christians alike will sin. But, if you sin and you confess that sin to God and ask for his forgiveness, he will forgive and bring you back into a right relationship with him. The good news is that God also gives you the power to flee from temptation and not enter into sin. You have been given the free will to decide how you will respond. Choose wisely.

What does it mean to let your light shine?

What does it mean to let your light shine?

What does it mean to let your light shine?

As youngsters in Sunday School, we learned a song, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…” and we would raise an upstretched finger, pretending it was a candle.  When we sang a verse about Satan blowing it out, or another about hiding it under bushel (basket), we would incorporate motions that reinforced the notion that we were going to let our light shine.  It was a fun song that I have taught to my children and grandchildren, but it has taken much of my life to truly understand what Jesus was saying in Matthew 5:14 to 16:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The light is not the good deeds you do, no is it drawing attention to your actions so as to be seen as a “good Christian.” People do good deeds all the time, but aren’t necessarily Christians. And the light isn’t so much like a candle as it is a light bulb where the most important thing is the power that surges through the line and excites some electrons producing light. When the power is switched off, the bulb won’t provide light. In the same way, when a Christian is not “plugged into” God’s power, their light is not going to shine.

So, letting your light shine is all about being connected to the source of the greatest power in the universe. That connection come through prayer, reading God’s word—the Bible—and regularly interacting with other Christians who are able to encourage you in your daily life. Being connected to the source of all wisdom and power will help you live a life that others will see as positive and attractive—a life that will cause them to ask about the source of your “light” and will give you an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus and glorify his and your father in heaven.

Should a Christian make New Year’s Resolutions?

Should a Christian make New Year’s Resolutions?

Yes. Resolving to do something is part of human nature. Giving up a bad habit, improving fitness, eating healthier, improving relationships can all be very helpful. However, just saying you’re going to do something, without having a plan to achieve the goal, is foolhardy, and the surest way to fail.

A New Year’s resolution has to be reasonable and if it is to be achieved, it must include these four elements:

  • It must be stated positively
  • It must be stated specifically
  • It must be important to you, the goal setter
  • It must be under your control

So, if you resolve to make a million dollars this year and have a job that pays you $25 an hour, there aren’t enough hours in the year to reach the million-dollar mark.  However, if you say you’re going to read the Bible through in a year, and that’s important to you, then setting a plan to reach that goal is under your control. You will be able to fulfill your resolution if you add discipline to the process.

Of course, not all resolutions are worthwhile, so a Christian should choose wisely.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in the Roman city of Philippi, wrote:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-15

Paul has a clear goal and is pursuing it with discipline. You may want to consider another suggestion of Paul:

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:14-15

Resolving to love others and daily asking God to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart is a great place to start. Resolving to spend time each day thanking God for all he has done for you, and will do for you, is also a way to enhance your life in ways that exercise and diet never can. Resolutions that not only change you, but those around you should also be on your list. Jesus offered one of the best resolutions for a follower of Christ. In Luke 6:27-28 we read one of his teachings:

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Luke 6:27-28

If we all resolved to follow that guidance, imagine how wonderful life would be in 2020.

When you make your New Year’s resolutions, make sure that one of them is to daily ask God to give you wisdom and strength to successfully achieve the others.