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12:00 PM   [24 Nov 2019 | Sunday]

Was Job's Fear the Cause?

 There is an erroneous teaching that says Job’s fear came upon him. In essence, it conveys the idea his fear was the cause of all his loss and suffering. It insinuates that Job moved out of fear when he made sacrifices for his sons just in case they sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Basically speaking, he was afraid. What this teaching is trying to underscore with Job is fear works like faith, only in a negative direction. Question: what is the opposite of fear? We’ll address this shortly. Can a person honestly use Job as an example of said principle? At some point, read Job for yourself in order to get the full context; or at least, read the first couple chapters, along with chapters 38-42. So, was Job’s fear the cause of all his troubles?

   The phrase, “Job’s fear came upon him” is not even in the Bible. Even if it was, it would not be a good idea to create an entire doctrine on one verse. There should be at least two or three more verses at the very minimum -preferably a whole lot more. Job did fear God, as we all should; but, there is no indication he was a fearful man. If a person takes precautions to protect loved ones, does that make him or her a fearful person in itself? How many of you pray for protection over your family? When you read Job, you will find it does not say, “He made sacrifices because he was afraid he might lose his sons.” Job was a man who feared God, and sought to spiritually cover his children for their benefit. Parents do the same thing today, as they teach theirs about God and pray for them. How many of you stand on Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” If so, does that make you a coward? Hardly! Is that an act of fear or faith; or better still, an act of love?

   Okay, so what did happen? In Job 1:6-12 and 2:1-6, God has as two different discussions with Satan about Job. First, we find God was bragging about Job: “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:8)? This is important, because it expresses God’s opinion about Job. Nowhere does He say, “Job is full of fear.” In fact, you will not find Him saying any such thing. What was Satan’s response? The short answer is, “Job only fears you because You protect and bless him” (read Job 1:10-11 for the exact rendering). He goes on to say, “But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to Thy face” (Job 1:11). In turn, God said to Satan, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand” (Job 1:12). In verses 12-19, Satan kills his sons and wipes out his possessions. And yet, verse 22 says, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Take note here, God did not wipe out Job’s sons and possessions; Satan did it. It’s just as Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10).

   In the second discussion (Job 2:1-6), God says to Satan: “Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst Me against him, to destroy him without cause” (verse 3). Satan tells God if he were to directly attack Job, he would curse Him (read verses 4-5). Job 2:6 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. At this point, Satan attacks Job’s body. Even still, “In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:9).

   Based on these discussions, can you honestly conclude it was Job’s fear that caused him all his suffering? Nowhere in those conversations is any mention made of Job acting out of fear, much less, fear causing the mess. Again, it’s important to pay attention to what God says about a person. In Ezekiel 14:14 and 20, Job is placed on the level of Noah and Daniel in terms of righteousness. James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. In this passage, Job is not used as an example of one who was fearful; rather, he is an example of patience and enduring to the end. Furthermore, it reveals God is compassionate and merciful. On a side note, God healed Job and restored to him twice as much as he lost (Job 42:10).

   So, what is the opposite of fear? Some might say, “faith.” Not a bad answer; but perhaps, a better one would be love. 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. Galatians 5:6 tells us that “Faith works by love.” If you walk in love, fear will have no place in you. Fear is a sign of immaturity.

   Finally, is God’s grace sufficient for you? Is He merciful? Why these questions? Simply this: God is not going to whack you every time you move out of fear. Many people fear things that never come to pass. God’s grace, indeed! To be sure, people have made poor decisions based on fear, and suffered consequences as a result. But, it was not God punishing them. He may have used those circumstances to discipline and train them, but He didn’t go out of His way to wreck their lives. No, on the contrary, He moves in such a way to save and heal people. By the way, if God really wanted you to suffer, it would be far worse than you could ever imagine. All the suffering that ever existed or will exist on earth combined, would pale compared to that! But that’s not His nature. Instead, God made provision for our fear and suffering: His Love through Jesus Christ!   

www.perfectfaith.org

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12:00 PM   [17 Nov 2019 | Sunday]

Overcoming Pride

 How many struggle with pride? Clearly, everyone does to various degrees. Pride can be deceptive, and thus, not always recognizable to the one its deceiving. Especially, if that someone embraces self-deception, and refuses to take an honest self-assessment. Pride will even mimic humility in order to gain prominence. It will use it as a mask to hide behind. For instance, “I’m not worthy” sounds pious when someone is complimented, but pride may very well be basking in the attention. When a person comes to understand our worthiness is found in Jesus, which means His worthiness makes us worthy, he or she will cease from using that statement. But, I digress. There is much that could be said about the workings of pride and how it deceives people; but for now, let’s delve into how to deal with it. So, how do we deal with pride?

   One simple, but powerful word: love. The word that probably comes to most people’s mind is humility; but in reality, it’s part of the whole. Just as faith works by love (see Galatians 5:6), so does humility.

   1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Charity (love) suffereth long (is patient), and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself (does not brag), is not puffed up (arrogant), Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil (read entire chapter).

   When a person begins to operate in pride, he departs from love. Pride is self-centered, counterfeits true confidence which is being confident in the One Who lives in us. Pride seeks to glorify the self, even though most don’t think in those terms. How many say, “glory onto me?” If you stop and consider that phrase, should you be tempted to become prideful, you may find humility far more appealing. Some people resort to pride when they feel inferior to others. Those who freely criticize others, tend to have much reserved criticism for themselves. It’s obvious when a people criticizes or insult others, they are not walking in love toward them. What might be less obvious, is the self-loathing they are experiencing. There is much discussion available as to how they come to such a state, but for now, the short of it is they either haven’t experienced the unconditional love of God, or they’ve lost sight of it. God’s love cannot be earned, so stop trying to earn it if you fall into that camp. In Jesus Christ, you are enough, in fact, you are more than enough. With that in mind, tell the person in the mirror, “You are enough. God absolutely loves you!” Grant yourself permission to love yourself as He loves you. This serves as an antidote to narcissism and arrogance. Even Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). By receiving God’s affirmation and loving yourself the way He intended, you vacate pride, ego and arrogance.  

   1 John 4:16,19 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him. We love Him, because He first loved us.

   If pride should try to rear its ugly head, this one phrase may be of service to you: “Is this love?” Should you be tempted to elevate yourself above others in whatever form that might take, again ask yourself: “Is this love?” Take it another step: “Does this glorify God?” Sometimes it’s a matter of perspective. As a friend remarked: “I remember my past sin, and humility shows up fast.” Obviously, he doesn’t live in his past nor does it dictate his present. Remembering where you came from, can reconnect you to God’s love and forgiveness, and aid you in helping others by sharing your testimony with them. His mercy and grace are very humbling. It’s always been about Him!    

www.perfectfaith.org

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12:00 PM   [10 Nov 2019 | Sunday]

Frustration

 How many are living a frustrated life? Are you of that number? What is causing so many to feel unfulfilled, or have the impression something is holding them back from achieving their dreams. Even those who have achieved much of their ambition, still lag in feeling complete. In spite of the fact that peace in found in Jesus Christ, it still eludes a number of believers. Even with having Jesus, they feel frustrated and unfulfilled. What gives?

   Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

   By now, most have read, “No Jesus, no peace; know Jesus, know peace. This statement is absolutely true. He is our Hope and without Him the heart is sick. So in short, the quick pat answer for frustrated non-believers is come to know Jesus. But what about the believer who still lacks peace? Here some questions to deeply consider, because the answers play a key role to finding the answer to the original one: what does your relationship with God look like? What does it consist of? Sure, you prayed the prayer and asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. So, what does that mean to you, and how does He fit into your life? If you’re looking to fit Him in, you already have things backwards. More on that in a minute.

   Second series of questions: do you believe the Bible is true? To what extent? Have you really pressed into it in order to find what God has to say to you through its pages? Do you read your Bible consistently, or are you consistently inconsistent? If you do read it, do you allow it to change the way you think -does it lead to repentance where needed? How can you completely embrace Jesus as Lord, if you ignore His Word to you? What is more meaningful to you, what the Bible says or man’s opinion? If you value man’s opinion more than God’s, you’re already in trouble. How much sense does it make to put a created being above the Creator, or to take your cue from those who might know some things, versus the One Who truly knows everything? Whose report do you really believe? Sure, sometimes the Bible can be hard to understand; and yet, much of it is very straight forward. It doesn’t take a scholar to decipher what Scripture means when it says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength” (see Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30). “Love your neighbor as yourself” needs no interpretation (see also Matthew 22:39). The Bible is not a textbook to be studied with your mind; it is relational and requires interaction with Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 2:9-16). Ask Him to reveal His Word to you.

   Third series of questions: do you believe God, and do you trust Him? Do you believe what He says? Are you skeptical and find yourself looking for reasons to disbelieve? If so, where does that come from? Does God have to live up to your expectations before you will serve Him?  Are you disappointed with Him, or even perhaps, angry with Him? Are you of the number who love to put God in a box, and then wonder why you never see miracles? Some complain that they never see any. Have you truly surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ?

   As long as people make themselves the center of the universe, they will ever remain unfulfilled, pure and simple! If you fail to find out from God where you fit into His purposes, and insist on Him conforming to your plans, you will never be satisfied in life -ever! The most satisfying or fulfilling place you can be is the center of His will. The reason some areas of the world don’t see the healings and miracles is believers don’t really believe, and have not completely surrendered to the Lord. They merely want a Savior. They want fire insurance, so they can go on living the way they desire without consequences. They are committed to Him so long as it’s convenient. By the way, there are areas that do see many healings and miracles. Do you love God? Here’s what Jesus has to say about that:

   “If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

   “As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:9-14).

   If you truly want to follow Jesus, consider His Word: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25).     

www.perfectfaith.org

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12:00 PM   [03 Nov 2019 | Sunday]

Limitless

 Wrap your mind around this one, if you can: the universe in all its vastness cannot contain God. His greatness is immeasurable, and that makes Him limitless! And yet, so many limit Him in their lives; even though, He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 4:20). God’s abilities are far superior to anything we could collectively think or image. As big as our imaginations are, He is bigger. And perhaps, the problem lies in our imaginations. At times, they are misused by the way we think. They are designed for vision and creativity. We are implored to think on things above (see Philippians 4:6-9), but how many of us actually do? On what do you meditate?

   Consider the following: Jesus said, “Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:22-24).

   Jesus did not say, “Have faith in God, say unto this mountain, ‘be thou removed;’ and then, try to figure out how He was going to do it.” Therein lies a problem for several people. They pray, asking God for whatever is in their heart, and then get stuck in their head trying to figure out how He’s going to do it. Or worse, try to figure out how He could even pull it off. These are self-imposed limitations that lead to doubt. In other words, God is most definitely not the problem here, it’s their thinking. They’re in their head, not their heart.

   Mark 10:15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. Some need to get back to childlike trust. Typically, young children believe anything you tell them, without question. They haven’t been lied to yet (or at least unaware), so everything is true to them. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world where deception and lies live. At some point, trust gets broken, or even decimated when it happens repeatedly. This is especially true if the lies come from parents who are supposed to be guardians of their children’s hearts. “How could I possibly trust God Whom I can’t see, when I can’t even trust my own parents whom I do see?” What a dilemma. Fortunately, because God is such an awesome Father, He made provision for our trust and belief. He gave us Jesus and Holy Spirit Who lives in us, and enables us to have faith by His grace. Remember this one simple truth: it’s impossible for God to lie (see Hebrews 6:18)!

   Here is a major key to childlike trust and answered prayer: forgiveness. That is one thing Jesus adds to Mark 11:22-24 in terms of mountain moving faith (His faith) and receiving affirmative answered prayer. Mark 11:25-26 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Forgiveness actually helps usher us into to childlike trust. Moreover, it was God’s forgiveness that enabled us to have a new beginning. Forgiving others, ourselves and even God for some, clears the past from holding us from our future. There is so much freedom in letting go!

   Of course, there are parameters when it comes to answered prayer. One we’ve already covered: faith. Another one is His will. 1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him. By studying Scripture, seeking His will in everything and with that, listening to what He has to say, we can know His will and pray accordingly. Listening is paramount to a limitless life!

   Trust God with the things, and don’t try to figure how He’s going to accomplish them. Change your focus. Again, Jesus said to look to the things above, not beneath. Meditate on God’s greatness. Declare, “no limitations!” Look in the mirror and tell the person looking back at you, “You are who God says you are, you can do what He says you can do, and He is limitless!”  

   1 Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded?   

www.perfectfaith.org 

 

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