Happy in All Situations

Bible:

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. Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.

And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days. Job 42:10-17 ESV

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13 ESV

Reflection:

Some people learn skills of wilderness survival. They learn how to find water to drink, how to hunt animals and catch fish, what kinds of insects and plants are good for food, how to build a shelter and a fire, how to stay safe from wild animals, and many other things. They enjoy the feeling of being able to take care of themselves in the wild. When they return to the comforts of their homes, they can enjoy those, too. But they aren’t afraid of losing their homes, furnaces, stoves, refrigerators, running water, supermarkets, and all the things that make life comfortable. They know they can survive and be happy without them.

After God tested Job, he gave Job even more blessings than he had given him before. Job was able to accept those blessings from God. He knew it was possible to lose those blessings. But he also knew that there was one blessing he would never lose. He knew God’s love and believed in the promised Savior. Because of that, he knew that whatever happened to him, he could be happy.

Whatever good things God gives us, and whatever problems he allows us to have, we can have the same faith Job did. We can know for sure that God loves us and will never leave us. We know that because we know the promised Savior, Jesus, came for us. Jesus died on the cross to bring us back to God. Jesus promises to be with us always, and to give us strength to face whatever life brings.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the blessings you give us every day, and especially for sending Jesus to be our Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Our Advocate

Bible:

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 ESV

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 2:1-2 ESV

Reflection:

Did you know that when Abraham Lincoln was a young man, he was a lawyer? Once he was the defense lawyer for a man named Duff Armstrong. Duff was accused of killing a man, but Mr. Lincoln proved that it wasn’t true. A witness had said that he had seen the murder in the light of a full moon, but Lincoln showed that there was no full moon on the night of the murder, and in fact no moon at all at the time of the murder! At the end, Mr. Lincoln pleaded with the jury to set Duff Armstrong free, and they did. A defense lawyer like Abraham Lincoln speaks for his client, acting as an advocate for the person.

Job was an advocate, too. His friends had angered God with some of their words. They talked as if God had no mercy and would never forgive a sinful person. Their words tempted Job to become angry and bitter. But Job spoke to God for his friends, and God listened to him. They weren’t innocent like Duff Armstrong, but God spoke to one of them, telling them to offer animals as a sacrifice. These animals pointed ahead to the promised Savior, who would give his life so that everyone’s sins could be forgiven.

When we sin and feel as if God might be angry with us, we can be sure we have someone to speak for us. Jesus is our advocate. He also died on the cross to pay for all of our sins. Because of what Jesus did, we know God will always forgive our sins. We never have to worry about God’s anger, but can go to him in prayer with anything we want to talk to him about, and know that he hears us and loves us.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for dying for us and for being our advocate with our Heavenly Father. Amen.

Source:

https://www.encyclopedia.com/law/law-magazines/duff-armstrong-trial-1858

Confession and Forgiveness

Bible:

Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘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.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6 ESV

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:1-5 ESV

Reflection:

One day Pa took his family to a wonderful swimming hole. There was deep water to play in, and everyone had a lot of fun swimming and enjoying the water. But Pa told his daughters that they must never go to the swimming hole by themselves, because the deep water would be dangerous for them. But Laura wanted to go to the swimming hole, so one day she started down the path until a badger turned her toward home again. No one knew what she had done, but she felt terrible inside because she had disobeyed her parents and broken her promise to Pa. She couldn’t sleep that night until she got out of bed and told Ma and Pa what she had done. After she had confessed what she had done wrong, she felt better, even though she had to be disciplined for disobeying.

At first, when Job had all his troubles, he kept his faith in God. But later, he started getting angry and bitter. He began to doubt God’s love and wisdom. He said things to God that were sinful. This made him feel even worse. After God talked to Job, Job confessed that he was wrong. God forgave Job for his sins. He restored Job to a good relationship with him.

We are like Job. We sin against God. Sometimes there might be something we do that we feel very bad about. We can always take that to God and know that he forgives us. We can be sure he does because Jesus died on the cross for us. He took the punishment for all our sins when he did that. We know that God will always forgive our sins for Jesus’ sake.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive all our sins for Jesus’ sake. Thank you that you sent him to die on the cross for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Wilder, Laura Ingalls On the Banks of Plum Creek New York: Harper & Brothers, 1937.

The Ibex

Bible:

“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you observe the calving of the does?
Can you number the months that they fulfill,
and do you know the time when they give birth,
when they crouch, bring forth their offspring,
and are delivered of their young?
Their young ones become strong; they grow up in the open;
they go out and do not return to them.” Job 39:1-4 ESV

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures. Psalm 104:24 ESV

Reflection:

In the eastern hemisphere, there are several species of mountain goats called ibex. Ibex live in spectacular mountain areas, in places that would be impossible for humans to climb without a lot of equipment. Not too many other animals can climb like the ibex, either. Ibex hooves have sharp edges and are hollow in the middle. That makes their hooves work like suction cups. They can climb up the sides of steep, rocky cliffs. When their babies are born, they are able to stand and even jump around right away. If they couldn’t, they might fall down the mountain! Ibex eat grass and other mountain plants.

When God made the ibex, he made an amazing creature. God talked to Job about the many amazing things he had made. A God who could design the hooves of the ibex so that they could climb and jump high in the mountains without falling is an amazing God. He knows what he is doing. We can trust him to be able to keep our lives in order.

Like Job, we sometimes don’t think God is fair or is doing the right thing for us. We might grumble and complain. This shows that we don’t trust God. When we are tempted not to trust God, we can think about the ibex, and their incredible design. If God can do that, he can work in our lives as well. Even better than looking at the ibex, we can look at the cross. God sent his Son Jesus to die for us there. Because of Jesus, God forgives all our sins, including the times we don’t trust in him. We can see at the cross how God can take something that seems terrible, and turn it into something wonderful.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the wonderful things you’ve made, and for sending Jesus. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.livescience.com/28102-ibex.html

God Speaks

Bible:

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?” Job 38:1-5 ESV

You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”? Isaiah 29:16 ESV

Reflection:

Mrs. Brown was going to have surgery, and her eight-year-old son Bob was really worried about it. He hoped the surgeon would know what he was doing. What if the surgeon made a mistake? It sounded scary, the thought of his mother being put to sleep and the surgeon cutting her open. When he went with his mom to the doctor’s appointment, he had a lot of questions. He wanted to know everything the surgeon was going to do, and why. He even asked the surgeon if he was sure he was going to do everything right. The surgeon was patient and answered Bob’s questions as well as he could. In a way Bob was foolish, though. He was only eight years old. How could he think that he knew more about what was best for his mother’s health than the surgeon, who was an expert and had studied and practiced for a long time?

Job started out in his troubles by trusting in God, but as his sufferings continued, he started to question God. He wondered if God had made a mistake, or if God really knew what he was doing. This was foolish. How could Job, who was only a man, know better than the almighty God? God spoke angrily to Job, scolding him for some of his thoughts and questions. But even though God was correcting Job with his words, God also was showing Job a lot of love. Job had said again and again that he wished he could find God and talk to him, but God seemed so far away. God showed that he was close to Job and came to talk to him.

God talks to us in his Word. He has words of anger for us because of our sins. But he also has words of love for us. His love sent Jesus to die for us. Because of Jesus, God speaks to us in love and tells us our sins are forgiven. Because of Jesus, we can always trust that God will do what is best for us, even when we don’t understand everything that is happening or how God is at work in some situations.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving my sins for Jesus’ sake. Help me to trust you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Discipline

Bible:

And Elihu continued, and said:

“Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any;
he is mighty in strength of understanding.
He does not keep the wicked alive,
but gives the afflicted their right.
He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
but with kings on the throne
he sets them forever, and they are exalted.
And if they are bound in chains
and caught in the cords of affliction,
then he declares to them their work
and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.
He opens their ears to instruction
and commands that they return from iniquity.
If they listen and serve him,
they complete their days in prosperity,
and their years in pleasantness.
But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword
and die without knowledge.” Job 36:1, 5-12 ESV

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:7-11 ESV

Reflection:

Bud, Andy, and Jim wanted to go to the park to play basketball. Bud and Jim had to ask their parents first. If they didn’t tell their parents where they were going, they would be disciplined. Bud would not be allowed to go anywhere except school without his parents for three days. Jim would have to do a chore or two around the house. Andy didn’t have to ask his parents. “My parents don’t care what I do,” he bragged. Bud and Jim kind of wished their parents were like that. They thought Andy was lucky. But really, they were the lucky ones. Parents who discipline their children show that they love them. If parents never discipline their children, it often means they really don’t care about them.

God, our heavenly father, also disciplines his children. Elihu tried to explain that to Job. If we have troubles and hurts, it’s sometimes God’s way of making us stronger, better, and more trusting. If God never allowed us to have any trouble, we would probably not be very strong Christians. We might be selfish and not care about other people’s problems. We might not learn to trust God.

When we have problems, we might think that it isn’t fair. Or we might think God is punishing us for something we did wrong. But Jesus took all our punishment when he died on the cross. Because of that, we can always be sure we are God’s children. God doesn’t need to punish us to pay us back for our sins, but our problems can sometimes be God’s disciplining us like loving parents do, helping us become closer to him and more like Jesus, our Savior.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making us your children. Help us to trust you to know what’s best for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

A Mediator

Bible:

So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.

Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger.

And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said:

“Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed
and with continual strife in his bones,
so that his life loathes bread,
and his appetite the choicest food.
His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen,
and his bones that were not seen stick out.
His soul draws near the pit,
and his life to those who bring death.
If there be for him an angel,
a mediator, one of the thousand,
to declare to man what is right for him,
and he is merciful to him, and says,
‘Deliver him from going down into the pit;
I have found a ransom;
let his flesh become fresh with youth;
let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’;
then man prays to God, and he accepts him;
he sees his face with a shout of joy,
and he restores to man his righteousness.” Job 32:1, 4-6, 33:19-26 ESV

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:11-12 ESV

Reflection:

When Fern woke up early in the morning, she saw her father heading to the barn with an ax in his hand. She asked her mother what her father was going to do with the ax. Her mother told her that a litter of baby pigs had been born that night, and one of them was a runt. A runt is smaller than the other animals in a litter, and often does not live because it is weak. Fern’s father thought it would be best to simply kill the runt. Fern was horrified. She ran out to her father and argued and begged him not to kill the runt. Her father listened to her, and gave her the runty pig as a pet. Fern named the little pig Wilbur.

Elihu, another friend of Job’s, talked about the possibility that a person in trouble might have a mediator with God who would do what Fern did for Wilbur. If the mediator would speak to God, then God would help and spare that person from trouble. Elihu might have believed in the promised Savior, and his words would have been a good reminder for Job, who did believe. The promised Savior would come and speak to God on behalf of all his people.

We know that Jesus is that promised Savior. Jesus does more than speak to God on our behalf. Jesus took all our sins with him to the cross, and because of what he did, God looks at us as if we were righteous, or good. Jesus continues to speak to God for us, asking God to help when he have troubles and to forgive us our sins. Because of Jesus, we can be sure God loves us and wants to help us and forgive us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for listening to us, helping us, and forgiving us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Source:

White, E. B. Charlotte’s Web New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1952

I Plead, “Not Guilty!”

Bible:

And Job again took up his discourse, and said:
“As God lives, who has taken away my right,
and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter,
as long as my breath is in me,
and the spirit of God is in my nostrils,
my lips will not speak falsehood,
and my tongue will not utter deceit.
Far be it from me to say that you are right;
till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go;
my heart does not reproach me for any of my days. Job 27:1-6 ESV

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. Romans 3:21-25a ESV

Reflection:

Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother had been murdered in a terrible way, and some people thought Lizzie was the one who had committed these murders. She was sent to trial, but at her trial she pleaded, “not guilty.” Her lawyers argued her case for her, and in the end the jury was persuaded, and Lizzie was set free. However, many people thought that she actually was guilty, so the crime followed her for the rest of her life.

Job was sure that he had not done any terrible sins to deserve all the trouble he was having. Again and again his friends had told him that bad things only happen to bad people, and that he must have done something very horrible. Job said that he was not guilty, and that he would never confess to a sin he did not commit, even though his friends were sure that he wasn’t innocent. Job wished God would hear him and agree and set him free from his problems.

We all wish that we could be not guilty before God. But, that isn’t possible based on our own good deeds. Everyone in the world has sinned, and there’s no one that has a right to hope God will declare him or her not guilty. The good news is that God has given us a different way. That way is through faith in Jesus and his death on the cross for us. Because of Jesus, God looks at us and says that we are “not guilty.” What a wonderful gift!

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die for us so that we could be not guilty before you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

https://famous-trials.com/lizzieborden/1437-home

How to Find God

Bible:

Then Job answered and said:

“Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
that I might come even to his seat!
I would lay my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,
and backward, but I do not perceive him;
on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.” Job 23:1, 3-4, 8-9 ESV

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? John 14:5-10a

Reflection:

Many people today seem to be trying to find God. There are many places they look. They might go out in nature and try to find him there. Or they might try to make their minds and bodies very quiet, and see if they can find God inside themselves. Some people learn a little about a lot of different religions, thinking that in this one or that one, or in a combination of two or three religions, they might find the God they’re looking for. A man named Swami Vivekananda once said, “Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being.” He thought that we could find God inside ourselves and in others.

Job felt that God was far away from him. He didn’t think God had treated him fairly, and he wanted to talk to him and tell him how he felt. But he didn’t know where to find God. He looked very hard for him, but he couldn’t find him anywhere. Jesus’ disciples wanted to see and know God, too. They asked Jesus to show God to them, because they didn’t realize that in Jesus, God was with them, teaching them and helping them.

Jesus told them that he and God were the same. If they looked at him, they were looking at God. To find the way to God the Father, you have to go through Jesus. He is the only way. This is good news for us. Jesus opened the way for us to find and know God by dying for us on the cross so that all our sins could be forgiven. Because of this, we never have to search for God. We know we will always find him in Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being the way back to our Heavenly Father. Help us always to look for God in you. Amen.

Source:

https://allauthor.com/quotes/5859/

God’s Will be Done

Bible:

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

“Agree with God, and be at peace;
thereby good will come to you.
Receive instruction from his mouth,
and lay up his words in your heart.

For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty
and lift up your face to God.
You will make your prayer to him, and he will hear you,
and you will pay your vows.
You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you,
and light will shine on your ways.” Job 22:1, 21-22, 26-28 ESV

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” Matthew 26:36-46 ESV

Reflection:

Aladdin found a wonderful lamp. When he rubbed the lamp, a genie would come out and give him whatever he asked for. Aladdin asked for many things: riches, a beautiful princess for a wife, and a palace. As long as he had the lamp, the genie gave him everything he wanted.

Job’s friends thought God was like the magic genie. They thought that if you were a good person and did what was right, God would give you everything you asked for. They told Job that if he would only agree with God and learn from him, everything would go better for Job. The Lord would answer his prayers and give him success in everything.

We sometimes think that way too. We think that if we are good, or do certain things for God, he will do whatever we want. Yet, no one could be more perfect than Jesus, and no one is closer to the Heavenly Father. But when Jesus was about to die on the cross, he asked his Father three times not to have to die. But his Father was working out the way we could come back to him through Jesus’ death. He did not give Jesus what he asked for, and this is good news for us. Because Jesus died for us, all our sins are forgiven and we are God’s children. God will not always give us everything we ask for. He will do what he knows is best, even if we don’t understand why. Because we see what he did for us through Jesus, we can trust that he will work things out for the best in our lives too.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving our sins for Jesus’ sake. Help us to trust you to work out what’s best in our lives. Amen