Offer Them Christ
The Weblog Of J.F. Howard

Dec
21

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

–Jesus (John 10:27)

Each day read the assigned portion from one of the New Testament Gospels.

Then based on what you read in the passage ask yourself these three questions:

1) What does Jesus want me to know in this passage?

2) What does Jesus want me to believe in this passage?

3) What does Jesus want me to do in this passage?

 

Think through each day’s reading by focusing on asking yourself about the reading:

What does it say?

What does it mean?

What does it mean to me?

The best way to get the most out of the daily reading is to jot down your insights in a notebook or journal.

July

  • July 1: Luke 3:1-10
  • July 2: Luke 3:10-22
  • July 3: Luke 3:23-38
  • July 4: Luke 4:1-13
  • July 5: Luke 4:14-21
  • July 6: Luke 4:22-30
  • July 7: Luke 4:31-37
  • July 8: Luke 4:38-44
  • July 9: Luke 5:1-11
  • July 10: Luke 5:12-16
  • July 11: Luke 5:17-32
  • July 12: Luke 5:33-39
  • July 13: Luke 6:1-11
  • July 14: Luke 6:12-19
  • July 15: Luke 6:20-26
  • July 16: Luke 6:27-36
  • July 17: Luke 6:37-45
  • July 18: Luke 6:46-7:10
  • July 19: Luke 7:11-17
  • July 20: Luke 7:18-35
  • July 21: Luke 7:36-50
  • July 22: Luke 8:1-8
  • July 23: Luke 8:9-15
  • July 24: Luke 8:16-25
  • July 25: Luke 8:26-39
  • July 26: Luke 8:40-48
  • July 27: Luke 8:49-56
  • July 28: Luke 9:1-9
  • July 29: Luke 9:10-17
  • July 30: Luke 9:18-27
  • July 31: Luke 9:28-36
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Dec
21

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

–Jesus (John 10:27)

Each day read the assigned portion from one of the New Testament Gospels.

Then based on what you read in the passage ask yourself these three questions:

1) What does Jesus want me to know in this passage?

2) What does Jesus want me to believe in this passage?

3) What does Jesus want me to do in this passage?

 

Think through each day’s reading by focusing on asking yourself about the reading:

What does it say?

What does it mean?

What does it mean to me?

The best way to get the most out of the daily reading is to jot down your insights in a notebook or journal.

August

  • August 1: Luke 9:37-48
  • August 2: Luke 9:49-62
  • August 3: Luke 10:1-12
  • August 4: Luke 10:13-24
  • August 5: Luke 10:25-37
  • August 6: Luke 10:38-42
  • August 7: Luke 11:1-13
  • August 8: Luke 11:14-23
  • August 9: Luke 11:24-32
  • August 10: Luke 11:33-36
  • August 11: Luke 11:37-54
  • August 12: Luke 12:1-12
  • August 13: Luke 12:13-21
  • August 14: Luke 12:22-34
  • August 15: Luke 12:35-48
  • August 16: Luke 12:49-53
  • August 17: Luke 12:54-59
  • August 18: Luke 13:1-9
  • August 19: Luke 13:10-21
  • August 20: Luke 13:22-30
  • August 21: Luke 13:31-35
  • August 22: Luke 14:1-11
  • August 23: Luke 14:12-24
  • August 24: Luke 14:25-35
  • August 25: Luke 15:1-10
  • August 26: Luke 15:11-20
  • August 27: Luke 15: 25-32
  • August 28: Luke 16:1-13
  • August 29: Luke 16:14-18
  • August 30: Luke 16:19-31
  • August 31: Luke 17:1-10
Dec
21

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

–Jesus (John 10:27)

Each day read the assigned portion from one of the New Testament Gospels.

Then based on what you read in the passage ask yourself these three questions:

1) What does Jesus want me to know in this passage?

2) What does Jesus want me to believe in this passage?

3) What does Jesus want me to do in this passage?

 

Think through each day’s reading by focusing on asking yourself about the reading:

What does it say?

What does it mean?

What does it mean to me?

The best way to get the most out of the daily reading is to jot down your insights in a notebook or journal.

September

  • September 1: Luke 17:11-19
  • September 2: Luke 17:20-37
  • September 3: Luke 18:1-8
  • September 4: Luke 18:9-17
  • September 5: Luke 18:18-30
  • September 6: Luke 18:31-43
  • September 7: Luke 19:1-10
  • September 8: Luke 19:11-27
  • September 9: Luke 19:28-40
  • September 10: Luke 19:41-44
  • September 11: Luke 19:45-48
  • September 12: Luke 20:1-8
  • September 13: Luke 20:9-18
  • September 14: Luke 20:19-26
  • September 15: Luke 20:27-40
  • September 16: Luke 20:41-47
  • September 17: Luke 21:1-9
  • September 18: Luke 21:10-19
  • September 19: Luke 21:20-28
  • September 20: Luke 21:29-38
  • September 21: Luke 22:1-13
  • September 22: Luke 22:14-23
  • September 23: Luke 22:24-34
  • September 24: Luke 22:35-46
  • September 25: Luke 22:47-53
  • September 26: Luke 22:54-65
  • September 27: Luke 22:66-23:5
  • September 28: Luke 23:6-16
  • September 29: Luke 23:18-25
  • September 30: Luke 23:26-31
Dec
21

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

–Jesus (John 10:27)

Each day read the assigned portion from one of the New Testament Gospels.

Then based on what you read in the passage ask yourself these three questions:

1) What does Jesus want me to know in this passage?

2) What does Jesus want me to believe in this passage?

3) What does Jesus want me to do in this passage?

 

Think through each day’s reading by focusing on asking yourself about the reading:

What does it say?

What does it mean?

What does it mean to me?

The best way to get the most out of the daily reading is to jot down your insights in a notebook or journal.

October

  • October 1: Luke 23:32-43
  • October 2: Luke 23:44-49
  • October 3: Luke 23:50-56
  • October 4: Luke 24:1-12
  • October 5: Luke 24:13-24
  • October 6: Luke 24:25-35
  • October 7: Luke 24:36-53
  • October 8: John 1:1-8
  • October 9: John 1:9-18
  • October 10: John 1:19-28
  • October 11: John 1:29-42
  • October 12: John 1:43-51
  • October 13: John 2:1-12
  • October 14: John 2:13-22
  • October 15: John 2:23-25
  • October 16: John 3:1-15
  • October 17: John 3:16-21
  • October 18: John 3:22-36
  • October 19: John 4:1-11
  • October 20: John 4:12-26
  • October 21: John 4:27-36
  • October 22: John 4:39-45
  • October 23: John 4:46-54
  • October 24: John 5:1-18
  • October 25: John 5:19-29
  • October 26: John 5:30-38
  • October 27: John 5:39-47
  • October 28: John 6:1-15
  • October 29: John 6:16-21
  • October 30: John 6:22-27
  • October 31: John 6:28-34
Dec
21

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

–Jesus (John 10:27)

Each day read the assigned portion from one of the New Testament Gospels.

Then based on what you read in the passage ask yourself these three questions:

1) What does Jesus want me to know in this passage?

2) What does Jesus want me to believe in this passage?

3) What does Jesus want me to do in this passage?

 

Think through each day’s reading by focusing on asking yourself about the reading:

What does it say?

What does it mean?

What does it mean to me?

The best way to get the most out of the daily reading is to jot down your insights in a notebook or journal.

 

November

  • November 1: John 6:35-44
  • November 2: John 6:45-59
  • November 3: John 6:60-71
  • November 4: John 7:1-11
  • November 5: John 7:14-24
  • November 6: John 7:25-31
  • November 7: John 7:32-39
  • November 8: John 7:40-52
  • November 9: John 7:53-8:11
  • November 10: John 8:12-20
  • November 11: John 8:21-30
  • November 12: John 8:31-38
  • November 13: John 8:39-47
  • November 14: John 8:48-59
  • November 15: John 9:1-12
  • November 16: John 9:13-23
  • November 17: John 9:24-34
  • November 18: John 9:35-41
  • November 19: John 10:1-6
  • November 20: John 10:7-21
  • November 21: John 10:22-30
  • November 22: John 10:31-42
  • November 23: John 11:1-10
  • November 24: John 11:11-22
  • November 25: John 11:23-27
  • November 26: John 11:28-37
  • November 27: John 11:38-44
  • November 28: John 11:45-57
  • November 29: John 12:1-11
  • November 30: John 12:12-26
Dec
21

 

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

–Jesus (John 10:27)

Each day read the assigned portion from one of the New Testament Gospels.

Then based on what you read in the passage ask yourself these three questions:

1) What does Jesus want me to know in this passage?

2) What does Jesus want me to believe in this passage?

3) What does Jesus want me to do in this passage?

 

Think through each day’s reading by focusing on asking yourself about the reading:

What does it say?

What does it mean?

What does it mean to me?

The best way to get the most out of the daily reading is to jot down your insights in a notebook or journal.

 

  • December 1: John 12:27-36
  • December 2: John 12:37-50
  • December 3: John 13:1-11
  • December 4: John 13:12-20
  • December 5: John 13:21-30
  • December 6: John 13:31-38
  • December 7: John 14:1-14
  • December 8: John 14:15-24
  • December 9: John 14:25-31
  • December 10: John 15:1-11
  • December 11: John 15:12-17
  • December 12: John 15:18-27
  • December 13: John 16:1-4
  • December 14: John 16:5-15
  • December 15: John 16:16-24
  • December 16: John 16:25-33
  • December 17: John 17:1-11
  • December 18: John 17:12-26
  • December 19: John 18:1-11
  • December 20: John 18:12-18
  • December 21: John 18:19-27
  • December 22: John 18:28-40
  • December 23: John 19:1-16a
  • December 24: John 19:16b-27
  • December 25: John 19:28-42
  • December 26: John 20:1-10
  • December 27: John 20:11-18
  • December 28: John 20:19-31
  • December 29: John 21:1-14
  • December 30: John 21:15-19
  • December 31: John 21:20-25
Nov
13

I think it was Max de Pree who is credited as stating, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.”

Perhaps reality needs not only to be defined but also redefined regularly. Life has a way of distracting and diverting us away from our top priorities and purposes.

When I think of the top priority of the local church, I know that Jesus has clearly defined reality for the Body of Christ.

Jesus communicated His plan for His followers in the 28th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

{Matthew 28:18-20}

Jesus clearly instructed His disciples that our primary mission is to make disciples.

Each week in our church staff meeting we begin our time together by reading the church mission statement which states: “We believe that God’s primary purpose for Mount Pleasant UMC is to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to represent His good and perfect will in our community and beyond, through our efforts to nurture, to reach out, and to witness to others.”

According to the church mission statement, our primary purpose is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ…”

What does it mean to make disciples of Jesus Christ?

First of all,

Making disciples is about bringing people into a personal relationship with God.

Matthew 28:19

19 …baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…

Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is not about obeying rules or fulfilling rituals. It is about knowing in a personal way, the God of the Universe, the God who created you. It is about knowing the Person, the purpose and the plan of God, revealed to us in Jesus Christ.

Being a disciple of Jesus is about a living, personal, relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord.

A disciple of Jesus is someone who is devoted to developing that relationship with Jesus on a daily basis: time spent with Jesus, time listening to His teachings, time spent talking to Him in prayer, time spent growing in relationship with Him, time spent following His leading through:

daily devotions,

regular worship,

service, and

inviting others to become a disciple of Jesus along with you.

We are most clearly aligned with our purpose as disciples, and as a church, when we are bringing people into right relationship with Jesus.

Secondly,

Making disciples is about teaching people to follow the teachings of Jesus.

Matthew 28:20a

20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…

Jesus said a disciple is not just someone who believes in God, or knows God; but someone who knows and follows God.

The combination of hearing the word of Jesus and doing it is vital to being a devoted disciple of Jesus.

The goal of disciple-making is not merely information or inspiration; it is transformation.

We preach and teach the message and commands of Jesus so that people will not only know Jesus better, but so that they will follow and obey Jesus with full devotion.

Jesus said,

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

{Luke 6:46}

Finally,

Making disciples is about living daily as a follower of Jesus.

Matthew 28:20b

20 … And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 

A disciple is not a disciple once in a while. The very nature of being a disciple is to follow the master teacher continually.

The only way to become like the teacher is to follow the teacher and mold our lives after the teacher every single moment of every single day. Jesus said, 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40).

In the Great Commission, Jesus promised to always be with His disciple-making disciples.

Disciple making is a 24/7/365 days a year, way of life.

We are called by Jesus to be disciples…who make disciples…people who realign our faith, our lives, and our church in sync with the Great Commission of Jesus.

 

 

Jesus clearly defines reality for us by His Great Commission, and He still calls us to make disciples by

  1. a) connecting people into right relationship with Jesus,
  2. b) teaching for life transformation (them to follow His teachings), and
  3. c) guiding them to live daily, as a Jesus follower.

Now more than ever, the world needs the church—our church—to focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ—people who will be transformed by the life-giving gospel of grace.

Now is not the time for the church to fall back—now is the time for the church to move ahead, in confidence that Jesus still has more disciple-making for us to do.

Oct
13

An important teaching in the Bible is the Hebrew concept of “shalom.” A truly rich word, “shalom” comprehensibly means:

totality, completeness, fulfillment, maturity, soundness, wholeness, community, harmony, security, well-being, friendship, success, satisfaction, and prosperity.

When translated into the English “shalom” is most often rendered as “peace.” Theologically, “shalom” means so much more than just the absence of conflict. I like to define “shalom” as “God’s Best For God’s People.”

With that in mind, here is what the Bible has to say about how to experience “shalom”—God’s best for God’s people:

1) Pursue it.

Psalm 34:14

14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

2) Experience it by faith.

Psalm 37:8-11

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;

do not fret—it leads only to evil.

For those who are evil will be destroyed,

but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;

though you look for them, they will not be found.

11 But the meek will inherit the land

and enjoy peace and prosperity.

3) Love God’s Word

Psalm 119:165

165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

4) Resist envy

Proverbs 14:30

30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

5) Live for God’s pleasure

Proverbs 16:7

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

6) Do the right thing

Isaiah 32:17

17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.

7) Believe God’s promises

Isaiah 54:10

10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

8) Find it in Jesus Christ

John 16:33

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Ephesians 2:14

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.

9) Let peace rule within

Colossians 3:15

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

10) Be a peacemaker

Hebrews 12:14

14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

11) Sow peace daily

James 3:17-18

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Nov
18

One of the most influential leaders in my life and ministry has been John Wesley. His desire to speak “plain truth for plain people” caught my attention in my college years and has inspired and encouraged me ever since.

Here are five of my favorite examples of Wesley’s “plain truth for plain people.”

1) “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America: but I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit and discipline with which they first set out.”

2) “I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that in whatever part of it I am I judge it meet, right and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are wiling to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.”

3) “You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work.”

4) “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven on earth.”

5) “By salvation I mean…a present deliverance from sin; a restoration of the soul to its primitive health, its original purity; a recovery of the divine nature; the renewal of our souls after the image of God.”

Oct
07

Job 1:1, 2:1-10

1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

(Job 1:1)

1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?”

Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”

4 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

6 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.”

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.

9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

(Job 2:1-10)

{NKJV}

The Old Testament book of Job asks one of life’s toughest questions: “Why would a good God allow so much bad to happen in the world?

The British theologian John R.W. Stott once said, “the fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith.”

For a number of people, the problem of suffering and evil leads to the conclusion that there is no God, or at the very least, the God who exists and allows such pain and suffering to happen, is not a good God.

The argument goes something like this:

If a good God existed, evil would not exist.

If an all-powerful God existed, evil would not exist.

The reality is that evil exists.

So therefore, a good and powerful God cannot possibly exist.

David Hume (1711-1776), the Scottish philosopher, stated the logical problem of evil when he inquired about God, “Is [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is impotent. Is [God] able [to prevent evil], but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing [to prevent evil]? [Why] then is [there] evil?” (David Hume. “Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion”. Project Gutenberg. Accessed: July 19, 2012)

The book of Job hinges on the question, “Will people’s faith in God endure if it appears that trusting God offers no positive benefit?”

Will your faith in God hold out if it seems that your life is not working out like you had planned?

Can the pain of life become so overwhelmingly intense that it causes you to lose your faith in God?

Have you ever been at that place in your life? Have you ever been in the midst of a storm in your life, or under the weight of a threatening situation that you seriously began to wonder what was God trying to do, or if God was even there at all?

Have you ever hurt so bad that you questioned if there was a God at all, or if God did exist and was willing to allow you to go through this, that you didn’t care for a God like that?

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a painful situation and thought to yourself, “How could a good God allow something bad like this to happen in my life?”

When Satan, the Adversary, presented his case against Job, before the court of heaven, he raised this exact issue. He said to God, “Skin for skin!”… “A man will give all he has for his own life” (2:4). Satan challenges Job’s faith. He says it is only skin deep. He taunts God by saying that human beings will give up their faith in God completely if the experience life’s hurts deeply enough. In fact, the Adversary presents the charge before God that pain and sickness was enough to cause Job to “curse God” to God’s face (2:5).

Satan comes before God with an accusation at God and at humanity. The accusation is that God is only worshiped, followed, and loved by humanity, because of the good things that God does for humanity. Satan’s challenge is that if Job were to experience physical pain in his life, he would give up on his spiritual life of faith. If Job were to experience bad things physically, Satan challenged, Job would no longer believe in a good God. Instead, he would curse God.

Satan devises a plan to afflict Job with a series of boils that covered his body from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet (Job 2:7). Job has no idea what is going on behind the sides. In fact, he will never know.

This is the place of tension for those who read about the life of Job. In fact, it is this place of tension that leads to the key principle in understanding the life of Job, and the life of all humanity in a fallen and broken world.

KEY PRINCIPLE: Not everything that happens to you in your life is necessarily even about you.

Some events happen in this world “without cause” (2:3, NKJV… “without any reason”).

When we ask God “Why?” we are looking for a cause, for reasons, rationales, some kind of sense as to why the bad things that happen in our world. In this verse God reminds Satan that Job had experienced great suffering and loss that had occurred in his life “without any cause” (2:3).

Things happened in the life of Job that were not caused by Job. It was not his fault. He was not to blame. In fact, in the eyes of God, Job was “blameless” (Job 2:3).

Job would have to decide if he could trust a God, and even worship a God, in the midst of things that had come into his life “without cause” (2:3). Job would have to decide if he could in fact believe in a God, and trust in the goodness of a God who might give him no reason for the things he was experiencing in his life.

Can you trust God even when things come your way in life “without any reason” (2:3)?

This perhaps becomes the very heart of faith. Can a God whose ways may not be completely known, truly be trusted?

In a moment of joyous praise, the Apostle Paul declared:

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

{Romans 11:33, NKJV}

In Isaiah, chapter 40, the prophet asserts:

28 Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

The everlasting God, the Lord,

The Creator of the ends of the earth,

Neither faints nor is weary.

His understanding is unsearchable.

{Isaiah 40:28, NKJV}

Perhaps the challenge that Job will have to come to terms with, as will all human beings, is will you trust a God that you do not fully understand?

What we learn out the outset of the story, but what Job would never learn, is that not everything that happens to you in life is necessarily even about you. Job did not cause the troubles he experienced. In fact, God says there is “no cause” (Job 2:3) for them. They are the result of living in a fallen world where sin and evil are present.

The challenge for Job, and for each of us is can we trust that God knows what we may never know, this side of heaven? And can we trust that God understands what we may never understand this side of heaven? And most importantly, can we trust that a good God is at work for good, even in the midst of the bad things that happen to us in our lives?

Can we trust that there is more going on in us, and around us, than we can see, know, and understand? Can we have faith to believe that not everything that happens to us, is necessarily even about us?

This is the challenge before Job…and all of humanity. Yet, in the midst of the uncertainty of Job’s life, we find some truths of which we can be certain.

1) Whatever happens to you in life, God is for you.

Job 2:3

3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” {NKJV}

When Satan comes before God, God asks him if he has considered His “servant Job?” He tells the Accuser that there is no one like Job on the earth. In the eyes of God, Job is blameless, upright, one who reverences and follows God, one who turns away from evil.

While we see that Satan has comes to accuse Job, God affirms Job. In an instant we see into both the nature of God and the nature of Satan. God is for Job. Satan is against Job. The same is true for all humanity. Still today, God is for us. Satan is against us.  He’s the one who accuses us.

The Apostle Paul declared:

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?   {Romans 8:31-32 NKJV}

No matter what it is that you are going through, know that God is for you. And if God is for you, who can be against you?

The challenges of life are in the area of “integrity” (Job 2:3):

Will we maintain solid faith in God even in the midst of trials and troubles? Can we believe that God is for us when we things in life are going against us?

2) Whatever happens to you in life, you will face resistance.

Job 2:4-5

4 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”   {NKJV}

The Book of Job declares that we live in a world where evil exists (Job 2:1-2).

“Satan” literally means the “accuser” or the “adversary.” There is an adversary to good in our world. There exists opposition to the plans of God.

When we make the decision to follow God we now begin to swim upstream against the current. The enemy of God now becomes our enemy.

The central test of life’s difficulties is a matter of faith (Job 2:4-5):

“Will people turn away from faith in God if they encounter personal suffering and painful situations?”

Satan taunts God that Job’s faith is merely “skin deep” (see Job 2:4). The Accuser proclaims that Job does not have a deep faith that will sustain him in a time of physical pain and difficulty. Satan wagers that once bad things come upon Job, Job will stop believing in a good God. The enemy tips his hand to the difficulty he plans when he says, “Skin for skin” (Job 2:4). For soon He was strike Job with painful boils that will cover his skin from head to toe (Job 2:7).

Satan will then wait for Job to prove his faith goes no deeper than his first layer of skin.

3) Whatever happens to you in life, God is with you.

Job 2:6

6 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.”

When Satan describes the plan of attack that he has for Job, we find that God is right there in the midst, already at work to bring good out of the bad that is intended for Job. Even before Satan strikes the next blow at Job, God has begun to redeem and rescue Job.

Through much of the Book of Job, the pain Job feels will make him doubt and question the presence of God. The reader is able to see what Job cannot: God is right there with Job, through all the pain and difficulty. God is with His people. God always has been, and God always will be.

To an uncertain Joshua, called to lead the people of Israel, after the passing of Moses, God declares:

9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”   {Joshua 1:9, NKJV}

Through the prophet Isaiah, God makes His people this promise:

10 “Fear not, for I am with you;

Be not dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you,

Yes, I will help you,

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”   {Isaiah 41:10, NKJV}

If you find yourself in the midst of a dark season of difficulty and you feel all alone, remember the promises of God.

I have heard that the following words were found scrawled on a cellar wall in Cologne, Germany where Jews were hidden during the Holocaust in World War II:

I believe in the sun

even when it isn’t shining.

I believe in love

even when I am alone.

I believe in God

even when He is silent.

4) Whatever happens to you in life, God is enough.

Job 2:9-10

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

Job’s wife offers her husband a way out of his suffering and misery. She tells him to give up, to let go, and to find release and relief from his pain.

In his book If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, author Randy Alcorn recalls when his friend, writer Ethel Herr, had a double mastectomy. Two months later doctors discovered that the cancer had spread. One of Herr’s friends, shocked and fumbling for words, asked her, “And how do you feel about God now?” Reflecting on the moment the question was posed to her, Herr says:

As I sought to explain what has happened in my spirit, it all became clearer to me. God has been preparing me for this moment. He has undergirded me in ways I’ve never known before. He has made himself increasingly real and precious to me. He has given to me [cause to rejoice] such as I’ve never known before—and I’ve no need to work at it, it just comes, even amidst the tears. He has taught me that no matter how good my genes are or how well I take care of my diet and myself, he will lead me on whatever journey he chooses and will never leave me for a moment of that journey. And he planned it all in such a way that step by step, he prepared me for the moment when the doctor dropped the last shoe … God is good, no matter what the diagnosis or the prognosis, or the fearfulness of the uncertainty of having neither. The key to knowing God is good is simply knowing him.”

–Ethel Herr

{Randy Alcorn, If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil (Multnomah, 2009), p. 399}

That is what Job meant when he said to his wife, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10b, NKJV). Whether life brings good or bad, blessing or adversity, God is with us, and God is enough.

Job knew that should he lose everything he had on earth, he would still have God, and that was all he needed to get through whatever it was that he would face.

I do not know what you are going through, but I know that with God you can get through it.

Can you say today in faith, “Whatever happens, God is enough?”