His wife said to him, “Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!” “You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said. Job 1:20-21 HCSB
“It Is Well with My Soul” is a hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss. This hymn was written after traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the 1871 Great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer and had invested significantly in property in the area of Chicago which was decimated by the Great Fire). He had planned to travel to Europe with his family. In a late change of plans, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife, Anna, survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone . . .”. Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died. Spafford never lost his faith in God.
Similarly, in the aftermath of his loss and overwhelming sorrow, Job never lost his faith in God. Even his wife encouraged him to curse God and die. Job’s wife expected him to die if he cursed God and that would end his suffering. Sometimes when people are faced with great adversity, they wish that they were dead. Unwavering trust in God during times of suffering provides a testimony to the world of what real faith in God looks like.
Challenge: Put your trust in God even when difficulties come your way. God is in charge and knows what is best. He can take even the problems of life and bring good out of them. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. Listen to the hymn “It is Well with My Soul” on GodTube at http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=FCM21CNU
Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh. Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything. Job 1:20-21 HCSB
Several years ago my father was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. It was operable but the doctor told us it was the type of cancer that would certainly grow back in time. Unexpectedly, the surgery left my father paralyzed on the left side of his body. He was moved to a rehabilitation center with the hopes of regaining some use of his left side. After making a little progress, his condition got worse and after a few more tests it was determined that the tumor had returned and was bigger than prior to the surgery. This was devastating news! There was no longer any hope, and in a short time my father passed away. He had been such a healthy and active man it was hard to believe that in nine short weeks he had gone from being healthy to passing away. It was a difficult time, but it was also a time to praise God for my father’s life and the influence he had had on so many people and how he had impacted the kingdom of God.
Job was presented with devastating news of the loss of his family, livestock, and servants. He did not hide his grief but expressed his anguish and sorrow by tearing his robe and shaving his head. It would have been natural for someone to curse God and ask why this was happening. Instead, Job fell to the ground and worshiped God. It would have been easy to blame God, but Job looked to God, acknowledged His sovereign authority, and trusted Him even through his deepest sorrow. He knew God loved him and wanted only the best for him.
Challenge: Be assured that God loves you and wants only the best for you. Trust God in both the good and the bad times. There is nothing wrong with expressing your emotions just as Job did when you are presented with bad news.
Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Haven’t You placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out Your hand and strike everything he owns and he will surely curse You to Your face.” Job 1:9-11 HCSB
It seems that just about everyone is wanting you to open up a retirement account. I received an email offering $600 if I would roll money from my current retirement account into a new retirement account. My motive for putting money into my retirement account is that I hope to someday retire and have enough money to live on without needing to work. In retirement I plan to participate in mission work if the Lord be willing.
Satan answered by attacking Job’s motives for loving and worshiping God. Since God had protected Job and blessed him with many children, land, and livestock, there was no reason Job should not worship God. Satan challenged God to take His hand off of Job and take away all of his blessings and God would find Job cursing Him instead of praising Him. Satan wanted to prove that Job worshiped God because of what he had received from God rather than out of true love.
Challenge: What are your motives for worshiping and praising God? Do you worship Him because of the material possessions you have received? Make sure your motives are pure. Worship God in Spirit and in truth.
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil. “ Job 1:2-3 HCSB
I have a file folder filled with letters and notes from people who have sent me messages of appreciation or encouragement over my 40 years in ministry. When I am discouraged, I sometimes read through a few of these to help me regain my confidence. No matter how wonderful these messages may be, they pale in comparison to being a called a “man of perfect integrity” by God.
Integrity is certainly one of my highest values. Nothing irritates me any more than someone questioning my honesty or integrity. One of the things I remember my father saying is, “You are only as good as your word.” Even though I have tried to live my life by this principle, I would never classify myself as having perfect integrity.
God was proud of Job, who consistently ran away from evil, and even boasted to Satan about his high level of integrity. Having perfect integrity means that one always makes the right choice and does what is holy and ethical. We should all strive to be people of perfect integrity.
Challenge: How would God describe your level of honesty and integrity? Would others or God say you have perfect integrity? What can you do to fear God and turn away from evil? Strive to live in a way that God is pleased and honored by your actions.
He (Job) had seven sons and three daughters. His estate included 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very large number of servants. Job was the greatest man among all the people of the east. Job 1:2-3 HCSB
USA Today reports, “Bill Gates is back on top of the world again. Or at least on top of the list of the world’s richest people, where your net worth has to be well above $55 billion to be in the club. Gates is co-founder of tech giant Microsoft. He regained the title after Microsoft shares, up 28% so far this year, closed at a five-year high recently. It is estimated that Gates is worth approximately 72.7 billion dollars. He has donated $28 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”
Like Bill Gates in our society, Job was one of the wealthiest men of his time. The Scripture tells us that he had seven sons and three daughters followed by a long list of livestock he owned. Job was recognized as the greatest man among all the people of the east. God had richly blessed Job materialistically, but financial blessings do not always indicate that God is with a person or that He is pleased with one’s behavior or actions. Financial blessings do not indicate one’s spiritual depth.
Challenge: You may not be as wealthy as Job or Bill Gates, but you have been blessed by God and He deserves your praise. Make a list of your many blessings and then thank Him for all He has provided for you. If you are a follower of Christ, you have eternal wealth beyond measure.
Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey, so that they will lack nothing. And our people must also learn to devote themselves to good works for cases of urgent need, so that they will not be unfruitful. Titus 3:13-14 HCSB
The devastation in Oklahoma due to the monster tornado is unparalleled in history. NBC News broadcast a special on the tornado and the comment was made, “If you’re waiting for the government it will be a while, but the Baptist men will be here tomorrow.” I am a member of the Disaster Relief team for Kentucky Baptist. We are required to be prepared to respond to an emergency in a moment’s notice. I have a bag that is packed and ready to go whenever I am needed. Currently, Kentucky Baptists have volunteers working in the flooded areas of Illinois and the rebuild efforts after the hurricane in New York. Tornado and hurricane seasons are the busiest times for Disaster Relief volunteers. It is encouraging that Baptists set a good role model in Disaster Relief that others can follow.
Paul encouraged Titus to set an example to others by doing the good work of taking care of the needs of Zenas and Apollos. The people were to follow Titus’ example and devote themselves to good works and helping those in need. We should constantly be looking for ways we can minister to and help those who are need around us.
Challenge: If you are physically able, volunteer to be a member of a Disaster Relief team. Develop a first response team in your church to respond to disasters in your community. Be a good model to others by taking care of the needs of your neighbors, family, and friends. Pray for those affected by the tornados in Oklahoma. Pray for those who are able to go help with the relief efforts. Give money to help. Go and help. More help will be needed in the coming months as people rebuild.
But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person is perverted and sins, being self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11 HCSB
I attended a conference recently where a denominational leader had to leave the conference to moderate a business meeting at a church in his association. There was a very divisive issue that had caused people in the church to take sides. When the denominational leader returned to the conference he informed us that he had asked one gentleman to sit down, to which the man responded that he was not going to sit down and the mediator was not big enough to make him.
Paul was encouraging those in the church to avoid foolish debates, quarrels and disputes. Arguing and fighting never serves a positive purpose and usually causes division within the church. If someone is being divisive, he should be warned.
Challenge: There is nothing wrong with sharing your opinion and thoughts, but always strive for unity within the church. Arguing is worthless and unprofitable. Stop fighting and spend your time on positive activities such as evangelism, discipleship, missions, and ministry. Try to avoid divisive people.
Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2 HCSB
As a parent I have had to give instruction and correction to all four of my children over the years. At the same time all of my children also needed to hear encouraging words and praise. We all want to hear our parents say, “Good Job”. The same is true in the work force. As I have conducted annual reviews for employees, I have always tried to provide some positive words while also giving words of guidance if needed.
Paul encouraged Timothy to fulfill his ministry, to be persistent in proclaiming the message even when it was not easy. Timothy was to rebuke, correct, and teach the people with a spirit of patience and encouragement. There must be a balance between rebuking and and encouraging people who need direction. It is sometimes difficult to be patient when we understand what people should be doing and it appears they aren’t making the necessary effort to succeed. Paul admonishes that we are to have great patience.
Challenge – As a believer you should proclaim the Good News to those with whom you have contact every day. It should be done with gentleness and patience. If you must rebuke and correct, be sure to include a word of encouragement.
But when the goodness of God and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:4-5 HCSB
My father baptized me at Shawnee Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky when I was 10 years old. I have had the privilege of baptizing all four of my children. It is always a joy for me when I have the honor to baptize people, and especially those whom I have had a part in leading to the Lord.
We are saved because God is good and He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place so our sins could be forgiven and we could gain eternal life. There is nothing we can do to deserve God’s love and mercy. We cannot be good enough to earn salvation. When we become believers, God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and guide us in living a life that is pleasing to Him. The washing refers to baptism, which is a symbolic expression of what has taken place in our lives. We have died to our old selves (our sins have been washed away) and we have been resurrected to a new lives in Jesus. Baptism does not save us. Such an interpretation would violate Paul’s emphasis on salvation through faith alone.
Challenge: Do you sometimes take God’s love for granted? Stop and think about how unworthy you are and that you do not deserve God’s grace and mercy. Praise Him for sending His Son to die for your sins and then sending the Holy Spirit to dwell within you to provide a constant renewing of your mind and thoughts.
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people. Titus 3:1-2 HCSB
In America, there is a great divide among the political parties. We have Democrats, Republicans, Tea Party, and Independents. All have different beliefs and principles. We may not agree with some of the actions and decisions of those in authority if they are from a different party than our own political party, but God calls for all of us to be submissive to rulers and authorities.
Paul’s call to submission is based on the Greek military word “hupotasso” which literally means, “to place under.” This term is used by Paul in some of his other letters to represent the relationship among believers, a wife to a husband, and a slave or employee to a master or employer. Being submissive to government does not mean we agree with everything done by the government. The only time to disobey the government is when asked to do something that is in direct conflict with God’s Word.
Challenge: Evidently some had fought with the government and slandered officials. Paul called on the people to be kind and show gentleness to all people (including government officials). It is easy for us to talk negatively about government officials when we do not agree with decisions they are making. As believers we should set a good example by obeying government officials even when we don’t agree with what is being done.