Read: Job 3
The thing I greatly feared has come upon me. - Job 3:25
Death, divorce, and disease could be called the three Ds of
misery. They slice through life like a tsunami of sorrow, raising
doubts and destroying dreams.
Recently, a friend and I agreed that the previous year was
one that we both would just as soon forget. Each of us had
suffered one of the three.
Our conversation brought Job to mind. In a short period of
time, he lost his children, his health, his wealth, and his
wife's respect. Job's distress was so great that he pleaded, "May
the day perish on which I was born" (Job 3:3). Job wanted God to
erase not just a year, but all memory of his existence! He had
enjoyed years of success and respect. Now, he questioned the
purpose of living (3:20).
Job wanted to die and be forgotten, but instead God made
sure his name and story would be remembered forever. Rather than
give Job what he asked for, God gave future generations what they
would need - an inside look at the spiritual battle between God
and Satan. The result is a God inspired document about suffering
that has comforted countless people.
When what we fear actually happens, we know, thanks to Job,
that God can use it for good. - Julie Ackerman Link
FOR FURTHER STUDY
Why does God allow us to experience the "fires of life"? Read
"Knowing God Through Job" on the Web at
OUR HIGHEST GOOD MAY COME FROM OUR DEEPEST SUFFERING.
MAKING A MASTERPIECE
Read: 2 Corinthians 5:12-21
If anyone is in christ, he is a new creation; old things have
passed away; behold, all things have become new. - 2 Corinthians
One of my earliest memories of my dad is that he loved doing
paint-by-number pictures. The canvas was large, but the numbered
segments where a predetermined color would go were very small.
Dad would sit in his chair in our basement for hours, working
meticulously with his painting in front of him and a cup of
coffee at his side.
As a boy, I would sit on the basement stairs and watch with
fascination. My interest did not stem from a misguided thought
that doing paint-by-number work made my dad a great artist.
Rather, I was amazed at how patiently he would work on each
painting. Finally, the thousands of slivers of color became an
image that Dad considered well worth the effort.
As I think of my dad's patience in bringing a painting to
life, my heart is directed to our heavenly Father. He looks on us
and sees the voids and imperfections in our lives, yet lovingly
and patiently does His work in us to make us His masterpiece - a
masterpiece that "conform[s] to the image of His Son" (Rom 8:29).
What a joy it is to have such a God, who makes us new (2 Cor.
5:17) and never tires of investing His energy and effort into our
lives! - Bill Crowder
God sees in us a masterpiece That one day will be done; His
Spirit works through all our life To make us like His Son. - Sper
ONLY GOD CAN TRANSFORM A SIN-STAINED SOUL INTO A MASTERPIECE OF
What God is planning and wanting to do with us is mind-bending.
You need to study the study on this Website called "A Christian's
THE HORSE AND HIS BOY
Read: Proverbs 16:18-25
When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is
wisdom. - Proverbs 11:2
In the "Narnia Chronicle - The Horse and His Boy," Bree is a
talking horse. He considers the boy, Shasta, a "foal" who is
badly in need of training. Often the horse's arrogant opinions
reflect an air of superiority. He thinks of himself as a brave
warhorse, possessing great skill and courage.
Yet, when he hears the roar of a great lion, he flees and
leaves the other members of his party unprotected. Later, Bree
meets Asian the lion, who is king of Namia. The horse admits that
he has been an arrogant and frightened failure. Asian praises
Bree for admitting his shortcomings.
The Bible tells us: "Pride goes before destruction, and a
haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov.16:18). Life has a way of
exposing the flaws of our own personal vanity. But learning the
hard lesson that "pride goes before destruction" can become a
turning point in which we intentionally shift our focus away from
exalting self. Then, as we adopt a humble spirit before God and
man; we can become channels of wisdom to others. "When pride
comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom" (Prov.
Promoting our own importance leads to stumbling. But
focusing on glorifying God and meeting the needs of others gives
us the perspective of the wise. - Dennis Fisher
Blessed Savior, make me humble, Take away my sinful pride; In
myself I'm sure to stumble, Help me stay close by Your side. -
D. De Haan
PRIDE BRINGS SHAME. HUMILITY BRINGS WISDOM.
Read: Psalm 98
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. - Psalm 98:4
Singing comes naturally to the four von Trapp children. They
are the great-grandchildren of Captain George von Trapp, whose
romance with his second wife Maria inspired the 1965 film "The
Sound of Music."
After their grandfather Werner von Trapp bad a stroke, the
Montana siblings recorded their first CD in order to cheer him
up. Soon the children were performing around the world. Stefan,
the children's father, says, "The music is inside them."
The writer of Psalm 98 also had a song in his heart. He
called on others to join him in singing "to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvellous things" (v.l). He praised God for His
salvation, His righteousness, His mercy, and His faithfulness
(vv.2-3). The psalmist's heart was so overflowing with praise
that he called on the earth to break forth in song, the rivers to
clap their hands, and the hills to be joyful (vv.4,8).
We have much to be thankful for as well - God's good gifts
of family, friends, and His daily supply for our needs. He
faithfully cares far us, His children.
We may not be able to sing well. But when we recall all that
God is to us and all that He has done for us, we can't help but
"break forth in song" (v.4). - Anne Cetas
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven, To His feet thy tribute
bring, Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, Evermore His praises
sing. - Lyte
PRAISE IS THE OVERFLOW OF A JOYFUL HEART.
A NEW FRIEND
Read: John 15:9-17
I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My
Father I have made known to you. - John 15:15
While flying from Europe back to the US, I found myself
sitting next to a little girl who never stopped talking from the
moment she sat down. She told me the history of her family and
all about her puppy, who was in the hold of the plane. She
pointed excitedly to everything around us, "Look at this! Look
at that!" I couldn't help but think that 8 hours of this could
make for a very long flight!
We chatted for a while until she suddenly got quiet. She
pulled her blanket up around her, so I thought maybe she was
going to doze off. I quickly took advantage of the break and
reached for the nearest magazine. But before I could open it, I
felt a little -- elbow in my side. I looked down at her, and she
threw out her little hand and said, "Hey, Joe, wanna be friends?"
My heart melted. "Sure," I said, "let's be friends:"
In the midst of the turmoil of life, when we think all we
want is to be left alone, Jesus extends His nail-scarred hand and
invites us to be His friends. He says, "I have called you
friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made
known to you" (John 15:15). We have a choice: to keep to
ourselves, or to open our heart to a friendship of unlimited love
and guidance. - Joe Stowell
What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer. - Scriven
JESUS LONGS TO BE YOUR FRIEND.
MESSAGE FROM THE SKY
Read: Psalm 19
The heavens declare the glory of God. - Psalm 19:1
The earth's population is now over 16.6 billion. And
depending on where we live, finding moments of solitude where we
can gaze at the silent night sky is increasingly difficult. Yet,
according to the writer of Psalm 19, if we were able to steal
away to a spot where the only sound was our heartbeat and the
only sight the canopy of the stars, we could hear a message from
In such a moment, we could hear with the ears of our
innermost being the noiseless testimony of God's breathtaking
We could hear from the heavens as they "declare the glory of
God" (v.). And we could watch in amazement as the sky "shows His
handiwork" (v.l). We could listen as "day unto day utters speech"
that fills our minds with the unmistakable awareness of God's
splendid creation (v.2). We could marvel through the night as the
firmament shows in unmistakable splendor the knowledge of God's
Our Creator tells us to "be still, and know that I am God"
(Ps.46:10). A great way to do this is to spend time in His
creation admiring His handiwork. Then we will certainly know that
He is God! - Dave Branon
The heavens reveal the power of God To everyone living on earth;
His handiwork speaks of His splendor and care, And makes us
consider His worth. - Sper
GOD SPEAKS OF HIS MAJESTY THROUGH HIS CREATION.
A WALK IN THE PARK
Read: Ephesians 5:1-14
Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us. - Ephesians 5:2
Our house in Boise, Idaho, backs up to a park with a walking
track. You can see most of the path from our kitchen window, and
because of that I've learned to recognize people by their walk.
There's a lawyer from down the street who's always in a hurry, an
elderly man who trudges slowly by, a woman who strides with
purposeful steps. Each has a characteristic gait.
The Bible instructs us: "Walk in love, as Christ also has
loved us" (Eph.5:2) and "Walk in wisdom" (Col.4:5). I ask myself,
"Does my walk reflect God's love and wisdom?" Am I "pure, then
peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good
fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy"? (James 3:17).
Do I have love, joy, and peace? Am I tranquil and strong? What do
others see as I walk by?
George MacDonald said, "If you who set yourselves to
[theorize about] Christianity had set yourselves instead to do
the will of the Master, the one object for which the gospel was
preached to you, how different would be the condition of that
part of the world with which you come into contact"
How different indeed!
Is your life making a difference in the lives around you? Do
others see Jesus in what you say and do? - David Roper
Help me to walk so close to Thee That those who know me best can
see I live as godly as I pray, And Christ is read from day to
day. - Ryberg
FOR A CHRISTLIKE WALK, KEEP IN STEP WITH JESUS.