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Archive for December, 2010

Oh, that I were as in months past, As in the days when God watched over me. When His lamp shone upon my head, And when by His light I walked through darkness; Just as I was in the days of my prime, When the friendly counsel of God was over my tent; Job 29:2-4

On the Mend

It’s kind of a silly notion, but have you ever wondered why we have memories? I only bring up the topic today because in our story, Job had some recollections of his past that served to bring him to a better place, spiritually speaking. We would recall how twenty-six chapters earlier Job lamented,

“May the day perish on which I was born, And the night in which it was said, ‘A male child is conceived.’ May that day be darkness; May God above not seek it, Nor the light shine upon it. May darkness and the shadow of death claim it; May a cloud settle on it; May the blackness of the day terrify it. As for that night, may darkness seize it; May it not rejoice among the days of the year, May it not come into the number of the months. Oh, may that night be barren! May no joyful shout come into it! May those curse it who curse the day, Those who are ready to arouse Leviathan. May the stars of its morning be dark; May it look for light, but have none, And not see the dawning of the day; Because it did not shut up the doors of my mother’s womb, Nor hide sorrow from my eyes. “Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?” (Job 3:2-11)

In these latter chapters, as Job bathes in remembrances, he begins to heal. If believers were to liken memories to a ship, we could faithfully say that the past, good or bad, is not an anchor, but a rudder. In other words, they are not things that render us motionless, but rather the collective thing that steer us in the appropriate direction. This was Job’s discovery; he could rightly declare as the Psalmist had,

“Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah And I said, “This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.” (Psalm 77:9-12)

In bad times, Job recalled the good times and I suspect in the good times to come, he would remember his days of torment, grief, and pain. If we allow them to, all our memories, regardless of how we characterize them, will guide us in hope and gratitude for the One who affords them all.

Are You Lost

Are you saved, but sense you’re lost or out of touch with God? Return to the place where you last saw Jesus clearly and He will meet you there.

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent. Revelation 2:5


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? If even the moon does not shine, And the stars are not pure in His sight, How much less man, who is a maggot, And a son of man, who is a worm?” Job 25:4-6

These are the words of Job’s friend Bildad and they are a response to Job’s lament to go before the Lord and plead his case. Essentially Bildad is saying to Job, “Because all men are unrighteousness, they cannot stand before the throne of God.”

Theologically speaking, Bildad was right. And so were the psalmist and the prophet when they wrote, “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one…we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…” (Psalm 14:2-3; Isaiah 64:6a)

But prophetically speaking, Bildad was wrong, for it is the believer’s good fortune to be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ—those who believe by faith have access to God. What a glorious mystery it is!

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. Isaiah 61:10-11

There is however a predictive irony in Bildad’s reply; whether he realized it or not (probably not), he spoke prophetically of Christ Jesus. In the New Testament Jesus makes reference to Himself as the ‘Son of man’ over eighty times and He likens Himself to a worm one time in the Old Testament.

But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. Psalm 22:6

We collectively wonder, “Why would Jesus call Himself a worm?” The answer overwhelms us.

The word worm in Hebrew is towla and it is used to describe both a worm and the color scarlet. They are synonymous because the ‘towla worm’ was the source for the color scarlet; if you wanted scarlet material, you crushed some towlas in a bowl (I suppose) and tossed in the fabric you wanted to dye.

Henry Morris, in the book, “Biblical Basis for Modern Science”, give us this additional information on the towla: ‘When the female of the scarlet worm species was ready to give birth to her young, she would attach her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again. The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until the larvae were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother died, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood.’

Are you beginning to see the parallels between a worm and Jesus Christ? This next segment I borrowed from Calvin Ray Evans in an article he wrote for the ‘Insect man’ website. Savor and enjoy.

“First, the crimson worm climbs on the tree all by itself. Nobody forces it to get on the tree. It willingly searches out the kermes oak which is symbolic of its destiny. Then, by its own choice it climbs on the tree. Please understand that nobody forced Christ on the cross. What He did was of His own choice. He could have called all the angels of Heaven to release Him but He died alone for you and me.

The crimson worm knows when it climbs on the tree that it will not come back down alive. It is going to the tree to birth a family and to do that it must die. Jesus knowing all things still was willing to die on the cross to birth a family.

Once on the tree, the crimson worm then attaches itself to the tree. It makes sure it is secure because the body of the worm will eventually be the shelter for the young, which are born. Remember, it was not nails that held our Savior to the cross. It was love! That same love and broken body of our Lord is the protection for us against all the winds of heresy and unbelief of the ages. The worm will then lay its eggs and shelter them under her body.

During the birthing process, she secretes a crimson fluid or gel. The scarlet fluid covers her entire body and all the eggs she lays. It also leaves a stain on the tree, which will never fade away with the passing of time! (Please excuse me if I stop to shout right here! You may need to pause to join me too!) The blood of Jesus stained Him, the cross and all of us, which are saved! The blood will never lose its power!

After dying to birth the family, something amazing takes place. For a period of three days the worm can be scraped from the tree and the crimson gel can be used to make a dye. That dye was the same which was used in the tabernacle and in the garments of the High Priest.

On the morning of the fourth day, the worm has pulled the head and tail together and is now in the shape of a heart on the tree but it is no longer crimson. It is now a wax, which is white as snow. They can still harvest the wax and use it to make shellac, a preservative of wood. Praise God for the resurrection, which serves as the preservative of the message of the cross.

The crimson worm is also very fragrant when it is crushed. No other life in history has sweetened the pathway of humanity like the crimson worm who was crushed for our sin, Jesus.”

Here’s the bottom line. When Jesus referred to Himself as a worm, He was not coming down on Himself—the reference had doctrinal implications that would abide forever. The allusion was prophetic not poetic, it was momentous not insignificant; it was perfect and not irrelevant.

By the way…Happy Easter


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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But He is unique, and who can make Him change? And whatever His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is appointed for me, And many such things are with Him. Therefore I am terrified at His presence; When I consider this, I am afraid of Him. For God made my heart weak, And the Almighty terrifies me; Because I was not cut off from the presence of darkness, And He did not hide deep darkness from my face. Job 23:13-17

Twenty-three chapters into the Book of Job and I am wondering why our main character hasn’t told his friends to take a hike. Chapter after chapter Job has endured a verbal mugging from his so-called friend’s and following each one, he rises up to defend himself. Why Job—why are you doing this? It would seem that Job wishes to be a defense attorney, arguing against their character and for his integrity.

Spinning His Wheels

As we read the account we might say, “Good for Job! He has the right to let these guys have it.” Job might have the right, but is he right?

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 1 Corinthians 10:23

Job’s difficulty (so far) is that he has failed to recognize that he is not an attorney, but he is the star witness! He doesn’t need to stand up and defend God, himself, or anyone else. Job has been empowered to take the stand to give testimony only. Jesus put it this way…

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

In his hardship, righteous Job had been given a choice. Up until this point he has chosen unwisely; Job is in fact spinning the wheels. What does that mean? It means he has taken the power he has been given and he isn’t going any where. Oh he’s making a lot of noise–revving engines and whirling tires sound cool, but he hasn’t budged one inch. Job has made quite the commotion, but only succeeded in leaving behind a black mark.

I don’t know about you, but this insight convicts me. For the past week or so I’ve been down in the dumps—nothing major, just the accumulation of a bunch of rubbish that finally wore me down. As I read through Job today I realized that I have been playing lawyer and in so doing I passed up numerous opportunities to glory God with my witness. God has been trying to say to me all week, “Dave, its okay that your down, but lift Me up.”

It doesn’t matter if I am oppressed or strengthened, up or down, rich or poor, in all cases I am neither an attorney for the defense or the prosecution—in every situation, I am the witness. And more then that, I am a star witness. That does not mean I am stellar; far from it, but rather that when I consider and subsequently relate all that Jesus Christ has done for me, He is glorified, honored, and praised…He is the Star!

Regardless of my state, if I do anything other than give God the glory, all I am doing is wasting the power God has blessed me with—I am spinning my wheels and probably leaving a black mark somewhere or on somebody. By way of His Holy Spirit, God has given His church power to magnify Him and to redirect that energy elsewhere is extravagantly wasteful.

Oh that this lesson would be impressed upon my heart forever.

“I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.” Job 23:12b


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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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“Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock With an iron pen and lead, forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:23-27

Job has personal knowledge of an eternal, holy, Redeemer. Job speaks as one who has found an intermediary; the One who will stand up and pay the ransom that will ultimately deliver him. Incredibly Job speaks of the only One who could pay the price for his redemption and freedom. The question that remains is how did Job come by this knowledge—so how did Job know?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35

We know that the things that happened to Job were not caused by God, but by satan. However, we also know that God gave satan the freedom to do these things. For centuries the masses have asked why would God allow satan to do mean, horrible, nasty things to Job. Was it merely so God could prove a point to satan; was it solely to demonstrate that Job would not abandon God if all his blessings were removed? I submit to you that it was much deeper than that and that God never does anything for a singular reason—Job’s tribulation would bring about God’s revelation—our Redeemer lives!

“Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock With an iron pen and lead, forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:23-27

Job hadn’t a clue that these words would be recorded in the best selling Book of all time and that gazillions of people would glean from his miraculous insight. Job didn’t know, Eliphaz didn’t know, Bildad didn’t know, Zophar didn’t know, but God knew–He would give us a glimpse of His Son through the sufferings of one man and the notion of a kinsman redeemer would echo forever through the entire Bible.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Therefore, it stands reason that if God allowed Job to suffer in ways that would ultimately benefit Job and many others; He would allow us to suffer for similar reasons. Would perfectly successful people ever look to God for anything? No, they wouldn’t; without tribulation there is no need to look up. God in His infinite and perfect wisdom gives us a vehicle by which we will seek Him regularly. Christians therefore know that success is not measured by a lack of suffering, but rather how well we abide in Christ through them. Victory is realized when we hear from our Redeemer,

“Well done good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21

I am not suggesting that God does not speak to us in the good times as well; that would be a silly notion. The observation is that our Father has some valuable information to share with us every time we find ourselves crawling in the dark on our knees.


Follow me on Twitter HERE

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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Behold, my eye has seen all this, My ear has heard and understood it. What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. But I would speak to the Almighty, And I desire to reason with God. Job 13:1-3

Although we are cautioned against it, Christians like to argue, contest, and debate other Christians. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, and they’ve done it. Probably because it is a component of our sinful nature, we feel the need to defend God and our position in Christ. I submit to you that these things do not need defense.

”But Dave…”

Doesn’t the Bible says, ‘Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching,’ in 2 Timothy 4:2; and doesn’t 1 Peter 3:15 direct us to, ‘always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.’

The Bible most certainly does prescribe these things, but please note that the 2nd Timothy passage begins with the exclamation, “Preach the word!” and the 1st Peter verse, “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” Sadly, when we enter into our doctrinal discussions, we tend to forget the simple admonitions: know the Bible and know your heart. As far as Zophar, Bildad, and Eliphaz (Job’s friends) were concerned, they knew very little of one and almost nothing of the other.

The Response

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

Job’s response should be our response, that is, “I appreciate what you boys are saying, but I can speak directly to Him myself.” Job’s remark didn’t imply that he knew everything that was going on, but that he knew enough to discern these guys had missed the mark with their counsel—Job wisely turns to the Lord.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

Please let it be clear that I am not proposing that we reject godly direction or fellowship—Heaven forbid. Rather that we would yield to the Holy Spirit when He reveals counsel has turned to conflict.

Those who regularly submit their hearts to the Lord for inspection (and correction) and abide in His Word, will clearly hear His voice when He speaks.

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21


 

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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“If you would prepare your heart, And stretch out your hands toward Him; If iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, And would not let wickedness dwell in your tents; Then surely you could lift up your face without spot; Yes, you could be steadfast, and not fear; Because you would forget your misery, And remember it as waters that have passed away, And your life would be brighter than noonday. Job 11:13-17

As soon as I saw the pile on the floor I knew what I had neglected to do. It was obvious. Point of fact it was the odor wafting up the staircase that first alerted me. As I hunched over to remove the mound, it dawned on me that I had just been convicted by three of my senses. Little did I know I would soon be clapperclawed by a fourth.

“You forgot to let the dog out last night,” she said as I grappled with it .

My first thought was ironic, humorous and profane, and wisely I kept it shuttered behind my crooked teeth. Good thing, because it was also inaccurate, for there it was.

Nevertheless, my dear wife had proffered to me data the likes of which I was already intimately acquainted. Her remark was frivolous, unnecessary, unkind, superfluous, and just plain ol’ nasty. In that regard, my wife and Zophar have a lot in common (don’t tell her I said that, I’m just trying to make a point here).

There sits Job; scrapping at his leaching sores with a pot shard, bearing insufferable physical pain and mental anguish, as his good friend Zophar vilifies him, reminding him that he’s a sinner.

Thank you Captain Obvious

Job needed one thing and got something else entirely. Zophar blew it. He was there to affect sympathy, not enumerate the Law. Especially since it was not Job’s transgressions that brought about his condition—satan was to blame and God was allowing it for His divine purposes. Remember what God said about Job?

“Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” Job 1:8

Job was already a repented man and he didn’t need Zophar bashing him over the head with Bible facts. Job’s friends were guilty of taking the obvious truths of God’s word and verbally assaulting another believer with them (sadly, it is an abuse we’re often guilty of as well). The reality is that neither Job nor Zophar (or Eliphaz or Bildad for that matter) knew what was going on.

So Where’s God?

At this point we too may be asking the very same question Job asked, “Why God? Where are you in all this mess?” We even know how the story ends and we might still ask that question.

God Won’t Give You Anything You Can’t Handle

Baloney! Have you ever said that? Well stop saying it because it is not Biblical. Here’s the truth:

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Here are the keys words we need to cling to from this verse: Faithful-God-will-make-the-way-of-escape. Who makes the way? God does. Who is able? God is able. That’s foundational if we are to understand why God seemingly stands by and let’s His children suffer unnecessarily. God is faithful even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13) and asserting that God stands by as the Body suffers is an outrageous notion. By proxy we are the ones who have stood by while He suffered.

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

Satan is the Destroyer, Not God

Job’s story reveals two very important things about satan. First, he incredibly has access to Heaven. I don’t understand it and I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is. Second, satan can do nothing unless God allows it. That naturally begs the questions, “Why does God allow it?”

Here’s the Answer

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

We are being perfected! God has a plan so magnificent that we will not be able to grasp its gloriousness until we’re with Him in Heaven. As for now we are as the yielding stone, hewn and finished at the quarry in anticipation of becoming a part of a superior dwelling.

…You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

This is a Test

For those who are in Christ we have the assurance that this is all a preparatory test—from re-birth to last breath, everything we endure is purposed to refine us. The very good news is that every Born Again believer ultimately passes.


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

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