Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Word in Season

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”*

Oh Father, I’ve tasted the abundance of a life rooted in trusting Christ. How I fail when I trust anyone or anything else. Bring to mind the words and promises of Christ. Remind me Christ is standing before you advocating (1 John 2:1) and interceding (Hebrews 7:25) on my behalf. By grace, not working, you have declared me forgiven, holy, and blameless (Ephesians 1:3-12, 2:1-10). All of your words are true. Give me faith to believe them.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Him,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend
And I know that He is with me,
Will be with me to the end.

It was you Lord who taught me to trust you. It was you who showed me the love of Christ. It was you that first called me friend (John 15:15). It is you who refuses to leave me in my sin and continues to sanctify me in your truth (John 17:17). It is you that promises to not leave or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:8). I cannot keep promises like that, but you can and you promise to finish what you started in me (Philippians 1:6).

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood
And in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

I trust you Jesus. When you say you are faithful to forgive, you are (1 John 1:9). Your blood secured my salvation once and for all (Hebrews 10:11-14). With simple childlike faith, I come to you assured of things I hope for and convicted of things I haven’t seen (Hebrews 11:1). Because of this cleansing, I approach you with confidence to find the help I need (Hebrews 4:16)

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’ve tried many paths Lord and I’ve found nothing sweeter to my soul than you. I must decrease and you must increase (John 3:30). Impress upon my heart that your power is made perfect in my weakness. Your grace is sufficient for what you have for me today (2 Cor 12:19). Teach me again that Christ is gentle and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29) so I can imitate him to others. Help me to stop my striving and rest in you (Matthew 11:28).

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

I trust you Jesus. I trust you with my life. I trust that to live is Christ and to die is gain. That you are worthy of whatever you ask me to give up because knowing you is better than having everything (Philippians 3:7-11). I’ve seen your faithfulness in your word. To Abraham and the offspring you promised (Genesis 21:1-5, Galatians 3:16). To work for good through Joseph’s suffering at the hands of his own family (Genesis 50:20). To Moses and the Isrealites in the wilderness (Exodus 16:31-32). To Job even in the darkest season of his life (Job 42:1-6). To the world by providing a substitute in Jesus for dead, sinful people in rebellion against their God (Ephesians 2:1-10). Jesus, I’ve seen your faithfulness in my own life. I have pages of ebenezer’s. Thus far, you have helped me Lord! Oh I forget and I drift. Lord I need your grace to keep me trusting. Keep me trusting Jesus. Keep me trusting Jesus!

*”Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” is a Christian hymn with music by William J. Kirkpatrick and lyrics by Louisa M. R. Stead.

The Christian Greeting

The Christian Greeting

What I Learned Last Sunday

We finished up Titus at 9 am Sunday School this past week (Side Note: We start the Gospel of Mark next week, it is the perfect time to start coming to Sunday School!). We lingered on Titus 3:15, “All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.” 

The Christian greeting. Mention of the Christian greeting is abundant in the New Testament and referenced over 80 times. But how often does it come to mind? Usually we skip over these first and last sentences in the New Testament letters. 

Paul spends 16 verses in his letter to the Romans on Christian greeting (Romans 16:1-16), concluding this section with instructions for believers to greet each other with a “holy kiss” (Romans 16:6). Peter has similar instructions (1 Peter 5:14). John wants the recipient of his letter to greet all of the believers but more specifically, he wants them greeted by name (3 John 1:15). Paul wants to make sure every single believer in Philippi receives a greeting from him (Philippians 4:21). 

What are we to make of this emphasis on the Christian greeting, and how can we apply it to our lives? 

  • It starts with simply making an effort to greet your brothers and sisters in Christ like a family member would be greeted. Enthusiastically, intentionally, sincerely, and with love (maybe not a “holy kiss” but with that measure of love). 
  • When you see a fellow believer out and about, is it evident by your greeting how much you love this person? Eye contact, body language, full attention, sincere words, making time to stop for a few minutes to talk. 
  • These things matter greatly because it is by our love for each other that others will come to know Christ (John 13:35). Let that sink in for a moment. What would others make of Christ by the way you interacted with a fellow believer at Walmart or during the church service?

There is another aspect to Christian greeting and its importance. In the New Testament, many believers lost their families when they became a Christian. The body of Christ was their family, support system, and the only community where they belonged. This still happens today in many countries. This may not happen as much in the Western world we live in, but it is still relevant. 

  • Kids may be the only believers at their school but they have a place to belong with their church family. 
  • An elderly widow may have no one left of her blood family, but her eternal family is here at church. 
  • That college student sitting in the back row feels out of place because they choose to not party on the weekends and they need to be welcomed and encouraged Sunday morning. 
  • What about the woman who comes to church without her husband every week and sits behind you? She needs support, love, tender care, and someone to notice her.

None of this happens without the Christian greeting. 

Jesus took time to greet people; sinful, messed up people. He came down from heaven to pursue us!  In the Gospels we see Jesus as someone who has his arms wide open. “Come to me”, he says. “Talk to me. I am a good shepherd, I’d love to care for you and listen to your troubles. You matter to me. Let me love you and pour out my grace on you.” People are so very important to Christ that he died for them. 

When a believer greets you at church this Sunday or at the store this week, turn your body towards them, look them in the eye, listen to what they are saying, ask them how they are doing or about important things you know that are going on in their life. Put aside that worry we all struggle with about how we will be received. Follow the example of Christ and the disciples, and together let’s make an effort to greet our fellow brother and sisters with the love Christ has shown us all. 

Sin’s Opposition to God’s Superiority

Sin’s Opposition to God’s Superiority

What I Learned Last Sunday

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive… that God may be all in all” – 1 Corinthians 15:22, 28c

Last Sunday the focus in 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 helped reveal the true meaning to life. Why am I here? Where are we going? How should I live? Paul ties the answers to those questions intimately to the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus, in His resurrection has made a way for all in Christ to live! More than that, Christ is putting all things under his feet showing the universe that God is number 1.

The reality of the resurrection cannot be fully understood without the truth of sin and our nature “in Adam”. 1 Corinthians 15 attributes death to sin and as a great foe of humanity and consequence of not living under the reality of God’s authority in the universe. It is not often that we view sin in such a deadly and damaging way.

How do I view my sin? Is it seen as simply a personal issue connected to my self-improvement? I would challenge the reader to see sin not as something simply keeping you from your “best life now” but as a nature full of attitudes and actions that directly contradict the reality for which the universe was created.

Sin leads to all death

“As in Adam all die…”

The cost of your sin is death (Romans 6:23). Death is not a state of non-existence but an eternal reality away from God’s presence (1Thessalonians 1:8-9). Combining these two truths (sin leading to death which is separation from God’s presence) we see that sin is terrible and terrifying. You feel the weight of sin right now. Of course there are glimmers of God’s common grace for you. You feel the warm hopefulness of a sunrise. The kindness of a neighbor encourages you. Or, the laws of God’s established governments (see Romans 13) keep disorder in check. However, the weight of sin is revealed from God’s Word. The cost of your sin is death, and your sin is found in merely looking at that man or woman with lust, in the simple desiring of your neighbors new boat and being unthankful for what you have, or in valuing yourself above others. Yes, even your “harmless” self-preservation is a sign that inside of you is the very thing that will remove everything good God has provided for your life forever! No sunrise, no God, no kindness, no mercy, or love forever.

Sin is that for which Christ died for you

“…so also in Christ shall all be made alive”

If that is true about your sin, then how much more crucial and pivotal is the truth that Christ has died to pay for sin. Is Christ merely one who provided moral teachings for the betterment of society? No! Christ died for sin and sinners like you. The life we live in Adam, leading to our death, is transformed in Christ. We shall be made alive, saved from the consequence of our sin.
The view in 1 Corinthians 15:24 is not of Christ the moral teacher but Christ the conqueror who through His death has brought sinners over to His side and is putting any non-God under His feet. If you are in Christ, you are no longer in fear of being conquered and condemned by God, for you have already willingly surrendered yourself to the king of all creation.

Sin is in opposition to your seeing God as all in all

Finally, Christ’s death and resurrection is revealing to the universe that God is over all things. What a marvelous and terrifying reality!

It is marvelous because Christ’s death and resurrection mean so much more than a “get out of hell free card”, and Christ’s life is not merely an example for you to be a moral person. Christ has opened a way by which we can see the ultimate meaning to life—God’s glory and superiority over all things.

Why is this terrifying? Think about sin. Sin is not simply small character flaws that you hope to change. Sin is that opposition to the God of the universe. Sin is anything that takes glory from God by attributing glory to another. Therefore, if you are not in Christ (willingly surrendered to God through Jesus) you are currently that opposition Christ will crush under His feet to show the universe that God is number 1. Without Christ, you are that “power” against God, that “enemy” of Christ as stated in 1 Corinthians 15:24-23. You are not on God’s side now, but one day will see in terror that God is over all including your life.

What now?
Why am I here?
Answer: You are here to see God’s superiority over all things and to live willingly under Him.

Where are we going?
Answer: Christ’s death for sin is leading to a final revelation of God’s superiority over all things.

How should I live?
Answer: If Christ has died for the thing in my life that is in opposition to God (my sin), then I am called to live in service to that God because of what Christ has done.

Surrender to Christ!

Death is Not Ultimate

Death is Not Ultimate

What I Learned Last Sunday

“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” – 1 Corinthians 15:19-20

How does one functionally deny the resurrection of Jesus? As Pastor Mike shared last Sunday in 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, it is done as we, “Make this life ultimate and the after life an afterthought.”

Making This Life Ultimate.

Imagine with me for a moment. 

Say you are a young person with a clean bill of health. You view Life as one of infinite potential. Perhaps you are starting into a college career. Maybe you are ending your college career and looking forward to that new job opportunity. Or, perhaps you are recently married and everything seems to be moving in the right direction. 

All your present circumstances, your health, your success, and your comforts, are lining up perfectly. Life is good. Of course, you have had ups and downs through the years, but the downs never last long. In the back of your mind there are the beliefs, “I still have a lot of time.” and, “I have control of my future.” 

Then COVID. 

Then your job market dried up. 

Then civil unrest over accusations of injustice. 

Then your parents start speaking of the potential end of America as we know it on November 3rd. 

Then you lose a friend in the prime of their life. 

Many of these troubles, you avoid or rationalize. “I’m a healthy person and won’t get that sick.” “It’s just an election, and I will be fine.” “Things will get back to normal soon.” “It happened to them, but it won’t happen to me.” 

Then you see a headline in the news like, “If You’ve Just Had Covid, Exercise Might Not Be Good for You.” You read of potential cardiovascular problems that could arise if you contract the disease. Regardless of the truth of those claims, the thought is planted and doubts arise. If not COVID, it could be any thought or fear that questions your health, comfort, and freedom.

Anxiety starts to creep in. The comfort of youth and freedom are challenged. 

“What if COVID steals my health?” 

“What if things don’t get better in my country but worse?” 

“What if I die?”

But in Fact Christ has been Raised

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead” – 1 Corinthians 15:20a

Fear, anxiety, and worry about the “what ifs” of life are obliterated in the truth of the resurrection. As shared on Sunday, Christ’s resurrection establishes four truths for the Christian:

  1. When we speak the gospel, we celebrate our present hope in Christ. Christ has brought us from death to life.
  1. Death is not ultimate (Not fearful). Death is the doorway to a realized inheritance of eternity with God.
  1. We are no longer in our sins. The fear of condemnation is gone. Christ has defeated the penalty of sin (death) in His resurrection.
  1. We are not to be pitied. Because death is not the end but the beginning of great joy for a Christian, there can be no pity for our death.

If anxiety is your response to the troubles of life, let the truth of Christ’s resurrection build hope in your heart!

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, Last three lines

“Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.”

Standing in the Gospel

Standing in the Gospel

What I Learned Last Sunday

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

On Sunday Pastor Mike shared from 1 Corinthians 15 the three-fold work of the gospel in a Christian. First, Paul reminds us of the work of God in us to save us in the past (whether five minutes ago or 50 years ago). Second, and vital, is that we do not merely look back to that moment of God’s work, but we stand now in the gospel, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:1. Mike said, “One massive evidence of your conversion is that today your hope for life and everything is Jesus.” And, “We will never be defeated so long as we stand in the gospel.” Finally, the gospel has future hope in that we are “being saved” as Paul says. God saved us in a moment in time (five minutes ago or 50 years ago), God is saving us (presently), and God will save us.

Question: What does it look like to stand in the gospel and look confidently to God for hope? Should a Christian life be filled with doubt, anxiety, and fear? What response should the past, present, and future understanding of Paul’s gospel awaken in a Christian?

Martin Luther’s Anfechtungen

In his biographical work* on the great reformer, Martin Luther, Eric Metaxas noted a time between July-September in 1527 when Luther was plagued with physical illness but an even more spiritual crisis or tribulation which he referred to as “anfechtungen”. 

During one of these physical and spiritual crises, Luther believed he was about to die and responded accordingly:

He prayed out loud the Lord’s Prayer and then two penitential Psalms. He was not only physically ill but also clearly tormented in his spirit feeling guilty of past sins and generally unworthy…He asked everyone around him to pray for him, quite sure he was now dying. He lamented not having been counted worthy to shed his blood for the sake of the gospel as others had done. Luther was inconsolable, slipping away.

Luther later described this suffering more vividly to his close friend, Philipp Melanchthon, in a letter.

For more than a whole week I have been tossed to and fro in death and in hell, so that I am still drained from all strength in my body and am trembling in all my limbs.

I have lost Christ completely and have been shaken by the floods and storms of despair and blasphemy. However, as moved by the prayers of the saints, God has begun to have mercy on me and to snatch my soul from deepest hell.

Should we stand in the gospel like Luther in his hour of anfechtungen?

In Luther’s hour of anfechtungen, his focus was more on his insufficiency before God (which is true), but he did not move from his insufficiency to the overwhelming sufficiency of Christ!

A Christian’s present stand in the gospel takes into account two massive truths which John Newton articulated as:

  1. I am a great sinner (insufficient and damned before God).
  2. Christ is a great Savior (totally sufficient taking on my sin before God).

Question: What does it look like to stand in the gospel and look confidently to God for hope? 

Answer: Standing in the gospel involves a clear conviction of Newton’s two statements. “Yes, I am unworthy.” AND, “Yes, Christ alone makes me worthy.”

Question: Should a Christian life be filled with doubt, anxiety, and fear? 

Answer: See below

Question: What response should the past, present, and future understanding of Paul’s gospel awaken in a Christian?

Answer: For a moment of Martin Luther’s life, he suffered a lapse into doubt and unbelief that he was still in Christ. The idea of standing before God knowing he was a sinner brought immense dread to the point of believing, “I have lost Christ completely…”

Praise God, our hope in the gospel is not in any way dependent on our goodness but on God’s mercy.

“[God] saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit…” – Titus 3:5

Praise God that he brought Martin Luther from the pit of anfechtungen, reminding him of his hope in Christ.

Stand in the gospel today. Stand in the truth that you are not worthy and only worthy in Christ. 

Christ is a great Savior!

*”Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World”, by Eric Metaxas (Viking, 2017)

Christ’s Kids Starts on Sunday!!!

Christ’s Kids Starts on Sunday!!!

Announcements Christ's Kids

Christ’s Kids will be starting up again this Sunday, September 13th, at 10:30AM, and we are so excited!

What is Christ’s Kids? It’s a ministry that takes place during the Sunday worship-gathering hour at Ridgeview. It is for children from 6-months old to the 2nd grade. We exist to glorify God by coming alongside parents to help “train our children in the ways of the Lord” as we are commanded to do in Proverbs 22:6.

At Christ’s Kids we have teachers who LOVE Jesus and work hard to prepare lessons each Sunday that help the children grow in their knowledge of the Lord, and learn how they can live for Him. This year, all families must complete a Registration Sheet for their children, which includes a Covid-19 waiver. Click here to access that form. They will also be available Sunday morning at the check-in table.

Be sure to like and follow Christ’s Kids Facebook page for the latest info!  See you Sunday morning at 10:30! As always, we need helpers! If you are interested in teaching, leading music, or helping in any other way, please let us know.

Learning from Job and his God

Learning from Job and his God

What I Learned Last Sunday

“Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” – James 5:11

Last week we finished a summer-long study through Job. As we close this chapter, meditate on the applications Pastor Mike called us to. I encourage you to return to the messages on our site any time to reflect on suffering and the working of God through all things.

Seven Examples of Job’s Patience

1. Job worshiped God in his suffering.

Death. Loss. Suffering. Worship.

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” – Job 1:20-21

2. Job suffered in his health, but defended God before his wife.

God allows Satan to strike Job’s health on top of all the pain and loss. 

“Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”- Job 2:9-10

3. Job lamented instead of grumbled

Biblical lament acknowledges the suffering, cries to God for relief, and fights any bitterness that would accuse God of wrong. As Pastor Mike said Sunday, “Lament is turning to God in all of your pain and hurt.”

“I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.” – Job 3:26

[Job speaking of God] “Though he slay me, I will hope in him;” – Job 13:15

4. Job spoke well of God.

A reflection of Job’s perseverance was his unwillingness to reject God despite the suffering.

[Following the first round of Job’s suffering] “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” – Job 1:22

“After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” – Job 42:7

5. Job knew he had a Redeemer who would advocate for him.

Rather than looking inward to himself, Job knew his only hope was in a redeemer to step in on his behalf. Job found no hope in himself. 

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.”- Job 19:25

6. When Job saw God, he confessed his ignorance.

Rather than defiance, Job confessed his ignorance upon hearing the word of God.

“‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” – Job 42:3

7. Job repented of his wrong thinking and words.

Job turns to God from sin for hope. 

[Job’s response upon seeing the greatness of God] “therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” – Job 42:6

Seven Examples of God’s Mercy and Compassion

1. God was kind and blessed Job.

God extended many undeserved blessings to Job. The only thing God owes us is to be God along with all that entails.

“…The Lord gave…” – Job 1:22b

2. God spared Job’s life.

God spared Job’s life and that is mercy and compassion.

“And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”- Job 2:6

3. God was compassionate by revealing Himself to Job.

Job saw more of God in his suffering than he had before, and that is great news for us to hope for in our moment of suffering. “God will you show yourself to me in this trial?”

“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;”- Job 42:5

4. God accepted Job’s repentance.

The implication of the passage following Job 42:6 is that God accepted Job’s repentance. God considers Job worthy to be the intermediary between his friends. Do not take this lightly, when the sovereign King of all creation stoops down to extend forgiveness to a sinful man.

5. God provided a way for Job’s three friends to be justified.

God did not deal with the three friends according to their folly. 

“After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.” – Job 42:7-9

6. God restored Job’s fortunes.

God gave. God took. God gave again. God often gives what we do not deserve. What grace, mercy and compassion!

“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. ”- Job 42:10

7. God took.

If God’s taking is leading you to a clearer vision of God, then it is God’s grace!

In Suffering

If in this suffering you will be,

More real and true and clearly seen,

Though pain will beg me cry, “Take this cup!”

In mercy use this trial and fill me up

More with you

Our Greatest Need in Suffering

Our Greatest Need in Suffering

What I Learned Last Sunday

Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted …I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you…” – Job 42:1-2, 5

Pastor Mike shared with us last Sunday that the greatest need of every human being is to see God for who He truly is. More than that, in our suffering, our greatest need is to see who God is (leading to greater trust in God) rather than to seek answers to why suffering is happening.

How can that be true when in our suffering, our first response is often to ask, “Why am I suffering?”

Our Greatest Need in Suffering is God…

…Because of who God is.

God is all-knowing (Psalm 94:11). He is intimately aware of every thought, fear, need, and desire in your mind and heart. He is so aware that the secrets of human hearts will be exposed by God when he judges (Romans 2:16).

God has power over all things. There is nothing that is too far out of His reach. He spoke the world into existence and breathed humanity out of dust.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27

God is all-wise and all-good. God is revealed in His Word as the absolute, irrevocable standard of rightness. Words used to describe God include righteous, holy (utterly set apart from all else), and good.

“Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice. – [Elihu speaking to Job about God.] – Job 34:12

God is gracious, loving, and kind. The absolute sovereign over all things does not owe His created things the smallest crumb. But, in the tenderness and kindness of God’s nature, He has given us a feast. God has revealed Himself to God-dishonoring fleas. God revealed Himself to Job–great grace. God reveals Himself to us–great kindness.

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” [Paul speaking to Titus about the state of every human before Christ and those in Christ.] – Titus 3:3-7

Because of who God is…

…When suffering comes our only hope is to see God.

If God is everything we just read and more, then seeing Him is our greatest good no matter the circumstances.

You are being crushed by the weight of depression. Pressure is on every side. He is God. He is great. Look to Him for hope in your depression. 

When your child dies, the only rock to cling is the God who holds all things. He will hold you. Run to him.

Your body is wasting away from disease. If God is who He has revealed Himself to be, then disease and trouble is our call to find Him as an everlasting refuge and strength.

Our only hope is to see God and trust…

…Because if God is everything He claims to be, no human reasoning or worldly answer to our suffering will satisfy in comparison to the God who knows your every need.

Do not allow the bitterness of the world, steal your hope and joy in God.

Do not turn to temporary relief the world provides and forfeit your soul to the God who judges.

Prayer

God, please help me see you so clearly that no pain, suffering, or loss turns my eyes away from you to the deceitfulness of sinful things.

Humble Yourself Before God

Humble Yourself Before God

What I Learned Last Sunday

Then Job answered the Lord and said: “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you. I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.” Job 40:3-5

The past three Sundays, we have studied allusions to God’s reply to Job (Elihu in chapters 32-37) and then God’s actual reply in the form of His voice in a whirlwind. Pastor Mike mentioned last Sunday how God’s answer to Job should invoke three reactions in us.

  1. God’s answer to Job should humble us.
  2. God’s answer to Job should warn us against self-confidence.
  3. God’s answer should give us great confidence in God.

Let’s meditate for a moment on humility for a moment.

Humble yourself before the Lord

What do we know about Job’s condition before God throughout the entire book? 

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. […] His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.” Job 1:1, 4-5

We know from Job 1:1-5 that Job’s attitude of his life was submission to God. Job feared God. Satan noticed it. God saw it. Job would offer sacrifices to God on behalf of his children. He knew that he and his family answered to and were under God. Job had a healthy fear of God we would say. He was humble before God.

What about Job’s response when suffering arose? First, we know from chapter 1:20 that Job worshipped God as a first response to the terrible loss that happened. Later on as well we see Job’s continual understanding that God is over him and his three friends. Look at what Job says in response to his friends’ foolish words in chapter 13.

Will it be well with you when he searches you out? Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man? He will surely rebuke you if in secret you show partiality. Will not his majesty terrify you, and the dread of him fall upon you? Job 13:9-11

Job’s God is BIG throughout the entire book. He knows God is in control. He knows God has the answers which is why he continually seeks an audience with God. 

It is  interesting then that we see Job’s first words in reply to God in chapter 40:3-5. 

Then Job answered the Lord and said: “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.” Job 40:3-5

Why do we foolishly measure up the righteousness of Job and forget that he too, like all of us is, “…of small account” before the almighty God of the universe? Job’s righteousness did not earn him the right to puff up his chest in front of his boss and speak his mind. He was utterly and totally silenced. All of us should be utterly and totally silenced before God in humility now, for one day every human will recognize the greatness of God.

O that we would humble ourselves before God and realize in every breathing moment that he is over us! It is better to be a beggar and humble before God than a king with selfish pride.

Ask Yourself

Question: Does my response to the bad things that happen in life reflect a conviction that God is over me and over all things?

Question: Do I recognize I am under God while life is easy (the money is coming in, I am healthy…)?

Question: Do I give my day to the Lord for Him to be exalted in it, or am I more concerned about exalting myself?

Question: When God convicts me of my pride, will I respond in prayerful humility asking that He transform my heart to live under Him every moment of life?

Equipped for Every Good Work

Equipped for Every Good Work

Word in Season

Fresh out of college, I started working at a construction equipment manufacturing company. In my first week on the job, I found myself in a machine shop looking at a 9-cylinder diesel engine. My task was to work with a small group to disassemble and reassemble this engine. I graduated with a degree in marketing. To describe me as ill-equipped for this task was the understatement of the century. Alone, I was ill-equipped. 

As believers, we aren’t so different from this situation I found myself in. Our dead hearts were made alive by Christ and now we find ourselves sent into a world of which we are we are not supposed to be. (John 17:14-18). We are forgiven all sin but still struggle to live by the Spirit and not the flesh (Romans 8:5). We are called to die to ourselves and live for Christ (Matthew 16:25). Our Lord asks us to suffer with patience, be angry and not sin, spread the gospel to the ends of the earth, and practice meekness in the face of our opponents. Alone, we are ill-equipped.

But the Lord has plans to equip us to do his work and does not leave us alone. He has not only given us his Spirit and the body of Christ, but also his Word. His Word has many purposes, one being to equip the man of God. 

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

This means that on Sunday when we sit and hear the Word preached or attend a weekly Bible study, God intends to use it to equip us. How can we be better prepared to attend that Bible study or sit and listen to the Sunday sermon so that the Word equips us instead of going in one ear and out the other? How can we get better at applying truth and growing toward Christ?

  1. Recognize your Need: God sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7) and the posture of our hearts towards him. It is hard to teach someone who doesn’t want to be taught. We are better prepared to let God do his work on us with a heart posture of knowing we need his help. We come Sunday morning or to our mid-week Bible study wanting to be equipped. We keep in the forefront of our minds this purpose of God and we stop and pray that God would use his Word to do his work on our hearts. We get out of the habit of checking Sunday mornings off of our list and remember how much we need Christ to change us.
  2. Prepare:  It sounds almost too simplistic yet many of us don’t do this and it is so helpful. Read the passage in advance. We prepare for tests, we prepare meal plans, we prepare for sports practice, we prepare for that big presentation at work, but rarely do we prepare for Sunday morning. Spending time in the text before you come to church starts to prepare your heart. You will be more familiar with the passage and it will be easier to listen, understand, and apply. We need to hear things multiple times before they start to stick. The same goes for your Bible study; set aside time to read and think about what you are studying that week. If you don’t know what your pastor will preach on, ask him to share his weekly plan with you. It takes discipline to manage your time and priorities well and we must acknowledge that God’s equipping is needed more than just about everything else for which we take time to prepare.
  3. Engage: Be an active participant. Have your Bible open, take notes, write questions or thoughts about application. Then, talk to others about the sermon or engage with your Bible study group. As a leader of a Bible study, I can’t tell you how encouraged I am to hear questions from women because it means they are engaging with the text! Things stick more when we process them with others. Come to a Sunday night home group where you can discuss and apply the sermon. Plan to review the sermon as a family on Monday mornings at breakfast and have everyone share what they learned about God. If you are discipling someone, plan to talk about the sermon weekly with them. Ask others in the church how the sermon series has been affecting them spiritually. There are many ways to engage; let’s get in the habit of talking about application and how our lives are being transformed by God’s Word. 

I wasn’t equipped to put together that diesel engine and was useless to the three engineering majors in my group. I don’t want to find myself ill-equipped for the good works God has planned in advance for me (Ephesians 2:10). Let’s get better at applying truth and growing toward Christ as we come to church next Sunday and start our next Bible study this fall.