Daily Archives: May 23, 2021

Evening Prayer: May 23rd

Loving God, as the end of this day arrives, draw me again to you and your purpose for me. As I look back on this day, forgive my failures to trust you or to walk in integrity. Give me grace for the next opportunity. As I rest in your provision of sleep, O God, may I rest knowing that all that I am and all that I do are in your care. As I yield my mind and body to your care in the night, thank you for your steadfast loving-kindness, your mercy and compassion. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Daily Scripture Passage: Psalm 104

Psalm 104 (ESV)

O Lord My God, You Are Very Great

104 Bless the Lord, O my soul!
    O Lord my God, you are very great!
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
    covering yourself with light as with a garment,
    stretching out the heavens like a tent.
He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;
he makes the clouds his chariot;
    he rides on the wings of the wind;
he makes his messengers winds,
    his ministers a flaming fire.

He set the earth on its foundations,
    so that it should never be moved.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled;
    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
    to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
    so that they might not again cover the earth.

10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
    they flow between the hills;
11 they give drink to every beast of the field;
    the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
    they sing among the branches.
13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
    the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
    and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
15     and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
    and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 In them the birds build their nests;
    the stork has her home in the fir trees.
18 The high mountains are for the wild goats;
    the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons;
    the sun knows its time for setting.
20 You make darkness, and it is night,
    when all the beasts of the forest creep about.
21 The young lions roar for their prey,
    seeking their food from God.
22 When the sun rises, they steal away
    and lie down in their dens.
23 Man goes out to his work
    and to his labor until the evening.

24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom have you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the sea, great and wide,
    which teems with creatures innumerable,
    living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
    and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.

27 These all look to you,
    to give them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die
    and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works,
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke!
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
    and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!

Thoughts to Ponder from Job 2:1-10


Job 2:1-10 (ESV)

Satan Attacks Job’s Health

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lordsaid to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

“Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.’ But he said to her…In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:9-10).

If there was ever a man that I feel sorry for in Scriptures, it is Job. Sometimes you cannot help but think that he was the victim of a bet between God and Satan. That is not a comment about the character and nature of God, by any means. However, when you read the story, it certainly feels like that is exactly why Job’s life took the spin that it did. However, another way to look at it is this: God had so much faith in Job’s faith that he knew that no matter what happened – Job would never renounce his faith. 

Think about how this story unfolds. Job has everything that a man could ask for. He has children. He has possessions. He has livestock, he has health. Then, suddenly, in the course of a very short timespan – Job loses everything. Not only did he lose his livestock and his children, Job was stricken with sores from the bottom of his foot to the top of his head. These sores were so bad that Job had to take a piece of broken pottery to scrape the sores just to find some sort of relief. 

Is there any wonder why Job’s wife responds in the manner that she does? After all, just seeing this from the human perspective, you can’t help but think that somehow Job is just cursed. Thus, his wife, looking at the scene, is absolutely dumbfounded. She probably asks the question that many of us would, because remember, Job’s loss was her loss as well. Basically what she says is this: “Job, why on earth are you remaining faithful to God? Look at what has just happened to us? How could the God we have served for so long allow this or cause this to happen? Just curse him and die.” In other words, I believe in a moment of pain and emotion, Job’s wife all but says, there is no way there can be a God if this is what happens to people who live faithful to him. What kind of a monstrous “god” would do such a thing? 

To Job’s credit, even while he is sitting in a pile of ashes in lament, scraping painful sores with broken pottery – he looks at his wife and says something that just goes completely beyond my comprehension. “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” Think about this statement. Basically, Job is bringing his wife back around to her senses. Job never questioned God nor God’s sovereignty. What Job is declaring in this statement is a simple and profound fact: God is the God over everything – good or bad – God is in control and God will sustain his faithful. It isn’t about the possessions, it isn’t even about the health – it’s about the relationship. Job trusted that his life was fully, good or bad, in God’s hands and his hands alone.

That is an incredible faith! In fact, it is so incredible that this passage literally ends with the statement: “In all this, Job did not sin with his lips.” In other words, even in the most horrific events of his life, Job still remained faithful and loyal to God. And in that faithfulness, we know how the story ends. God heals Job and he restores Job’s life back to him many fold from what it was before. 

There is something very important for us to see in this story. When God impressed this passage on my heart, I had to ask myself a question that was very difficult, because I already knew the answer. In the trials of my life, did I and do I sound more like Job’s wife or Job? 

Wendi and I have had a very difficult journey over the last few years. It began with an incredibly difficult deployment experience, the death of my father, and then some other difficult life events. As I  look back, I definitely did not sound like Job in my response to these events. In fact, I became very bitter and very angry. I am not proud of this. Not one time did I say, “You know what – in good and in bad, I have to trust that God is in control and that God has a reason for what is going on.” No, quite the opposite. I honestly sounded like Job’s wife. I was angry and I spoke out. And my soul has paid a price for it – not because of God, but because of myself.

It wan’t until just a little over a year ago that I realized just how angry and bitter my heart had become, because honestly, we don’t usually hear it in ourselves. It took a brother to point it out to me. And I was devastated. I was devastated because at the end of the day, my actions displayed a lack of faith that I didn’t want to admit. 

Since that time, with a lot of prayer – I have begun to reverse that in my heart – but it is still hard on the edges, and it still bothers me. I want the faith that Job has. I believe that God has been testing my faith, not out of cruelty, but because he has something bigger in store, and I have to relinquish myself and allow him to conform me as he will – trusting that he has an eternal plan for my life that I may not understand. 

The reality is: Life is hard sometimes. There are things that happen to us that don’t make sense. We may lose a marriage. We may have to deal with the death of a child. We may lose everything by a natural disaster. Life happens. In our broken, fallen world, it just happens. However, at the end of the day – do we have the strength of faith that when we face the trials – the deep trials of life – it can be said of us, “In all of these things, I did not sin with my lips or my heart.” If not, why? May God give us strength that even when the storms of life blow the absolute hardest, we can say, “God, no matter how bad this storm gets, I trust you. I trust myself into your hands, and I trust that you will work something deep in me through this.”