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Thursday, January 24, 2013

In the Know

Job 19:1-21:34
We read a very famous verse of scripture today, but before I get to that I really want to encourage you as we continue to read through the book of Job.
We have 7 more days to spend with Job and his friends.  So hang in there because we are heading somewhere very rewarding with this man who lived always to honor God.
And God is getting ready to honor him back.
One reason God could do what He’s going to do next week in chapter 42 is due to the knowledge Job had of who God really is.
He said in chapter 19:25, For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand on this earth.
The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew so to get a better understanding of what the text means we need to go to the original translation.
The word redeemer is the Hebrew noun go’el and it is the same word used frequently throughout the Old Testament to refer to a kinsman-redeemer; a person, a relative, who had both the rights and the responsibility for saving and vindicating a family member.
kinsman-redeemer is a typology of Christ.  (We learned about typologies here last week)  And when we read the book of Ruth in April we will see this lived out in the most romantic of ways.
But there is nothing romantic about Job’s immense suffering physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  And yet he exclaims, For I know that my Redeemer (the one who has the ability to save me from my heartache, pain and disappointment) lives.
Job did not know why he was experiencing all this death.
But what he did know was God was alive.
Job did not know how he would be saved from his situation.
But what he did know was God was the one who would redeem him.
We don’t always need to know everything; we just need to know the One who does.  There is a peace in that, and it passes all our understanding (Philippians 4:7).
If you were to ask Job today, How do you know your Redeemer lives?  Oh the stories he would share with you.  Stories of redemption.  Stories we are going to read next week.
If someone asked you today, How do you know your Redeemer lives? What stories would you share?  They are your testimony.
Here is a definition of the word testimony- evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something. Or in our case, Someone.
We most likely will never experience or know pain as Job did, but we can experience just as he did, the redemption of our Savior who not only lives, but lives to redeem us.
I pray that our lives will always be testimonies of Him.
For I know my Redeemer lives!
Therefore I will live for Him.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

No Ordinary Love

Geneis 42:1-45:15
LOVE a good love story.  And our reading today definitely qualifies as a love story.
Not the kind of love story you may be thinking about though; the one between a man and a woman. No, I am talking about the one between a sinner and a savior.
If you are new to reading the Bible one thing you will learn as you study it is that the Old Testament is a shadow or typology of the New Testament.
A typology is where things in the Old Testament represent things in the New.
Maggie explained this with Isaac and Rebekah in her post last week here.  And we are going to learn TONS of typologies as we journey through the wilderness with Jacob’s descendants (aka, the children of Israel).  But we have about another 400 years to read through before we get there.
Every time I read Genesis 45 I always try and imagine standing there watching the scene unfold as Joseph (the savior), with love, mercy, grace and forgiveness, reveals who he is to his brothers (the sinners).
Joseph freely forgave his brothers of hating him, resenting him, hurting him, selling him and lying about him.
That is a picture, a typology, of what Christ has done, and continues to do with us.
Joseph had every right to turn his brothers away; they were unworthy of his grace and mercy.  But he chose to embrace them instead.
Jesus has every right to turn us away; we too are unworthy of His grace and mercy.  But He choses to embrace us instead.
But Joseph’s brothers had a choice to make too, and that was the choice to accept the forgiveness their brother was offering.
Thankfully they did, because we are going to see how the salvation and future of a nation is built upon the bedrock of their forgiveness and letting go of the past.
Over the weekend I read a book titled Beyond Ordinary- When a good marriage just isn’t good enough. It is a book that chronicles the journey of a couple who beat the odds after years of hurt, disillusionment and finally an infidelity in their marriage.
Sunday night I tweeted a quote from Trisha Davis, the wife and co-author.  She said, When you forgive, the person who hurt you doesn't win- Christ wins. 
It can be so hard to offer forgiveness, but do you know what else I have found to be true, it can be just as hard to accept forgiveness.  You know you don’t deserve it.  You are not worthy of it.  But when we accept it, just like Joseph’s brothers, our salvation and future is built upon it.
So my prayer for us today is that we will be able to offer our forgiveness... or maybe ask for forgiveness... and then accept forgiveness.  In the end, you will be writing your own love story.
And I LOVE a good love story,

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Moves Like Jaggar

Genesis 25:1-26, 1 Chronicles 1:32-33, 28-31 ,34
In 2004 Rolling Stone magazine published their list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Number 2 on that list was the band The Rolling Stones’ “(I cant get no), Satisfaction.”
I know, your probably singing the next line already… Cause I try, and I try, and I try, and I try.  I can’t get no...
(I apologize in advance if this is stuck in your head for the rest of the day.)
So what does the Rolling Stones have to do with our reading today?  Glad you asked.
Genesis 25:7-8 told us, Abraham lived for 175 years, and he died at a ripe old age, having lived a long and satisfying life.  He figured out what Mick Jaggar had not.
Abraham’s life was far from perfect- but he was satisfied.
Abraham dealt with extreme difficulties- but he was satisfied.
Abraham had family problems- but he was satisfied.
I want to know what his secret was, don't you?  Because we all want to live a fulfilled life too but more often than not, like Mick, we’re dissatisfied.
I recently read a moving story that David Jeremiah wrote about Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, the international Christian relief agency. Bob had advanced leukemia, but he went to visit a colleague in Indonesia before he died.
As they were walking through a small village, they came upon a young girl lying on a bamboo mat next to a river. She was dying of cancer and had only a short time to live.
 Bob was indignant. He demanded to know why she wasn’t in a clinic.
But his friend explained that she was from the jungle and wished to spend her last days next to the river, where it was cool and familiar.
 As Bob gazed at her, he felt such compassion that he got down on his knees in the mud, took her hand, and began stroking it.
Although she didn’t understand him, he prayed for her. Afterward she looked up and said something. "What did she say?" Bob asked his friend. 
His friend relied, "She said, 'If I could only sleep again, if I could only sleep again.'" It seemed that her pain was too great to allow her the relief of rest.
Bob began to weep. Then he reached into his pocket and took out his own sleeping pills, the ones his doctor had given him because the pain from his leukemia was too great for him to sleep at night.
 He handed the bottle to his friend. “You make sure this young lady gets a good night’s sleep," he said, "as long as these pills last."
Bob was ten days away from where he could get his prescription refilled. That meant ten painful and restless nights. That day his servanthood cost him greatly. But even in the midst of his suffering, God had infused a supernatural sense of satisfaction that he had done the right thing.
To have a satisfied life does not mean that you will have a trouble free life.
What truly satisfies is doing what is right, even when it leaves you in pain.
Abraham knew this truth.
Sacrificing his son would be painful, but it was right.
Allowing Lot to choose the choicest land wasn’t easy, but it was right.
Believing at 100 he could become a daddy wasn’t easy, but it was right.
He was not perfect but he did learn that doing the right thing, at the right time, would make him right with God.
And satisfied with life.
John Piper notes, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."
So, what right thing is God calling you to do at the beginning of this year, because if you do it, at the end of 2013 you will be… satisfied and God will be glorified.
Moving like Jaggar today,