A weird war

One side asks permission to attack? How absurd. What kind of warfare is this? I’m not sure if you can even call this warfare.

This is exactly the situation with Satan in God’s presence. In the life if God’s servant, Satan can do nothing without permission from God.

In fact, God is the one who initiated this contention in the first place by asking “Have you considered my servant job…?” (Job 1:8; 2:3)

It seems that God is trying to prove a point. He brags on Job to a point that Satan “must” attack. But that attack was only possible with prior permission from God.

So Job is caught in the midst of this verbal tussle. Satan tries to disprove God’s portrayal of Job as a man of integrity. With permission, Satan sets out to disprove God.

The problems we face as believers are part of a test. They are a test to prove our integrity and faithfulness to God. We don’t need to fear or think of it as warfare. Otherwise it would have been a weird war. It’s just a test. Stay faithful. Keep your integrity.

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If God said so, why are you asking me?

Through the years I’ve had many such situations where people come to me for advice. They clearly ask the question “What do you think about this?” But they also say that God told them to do this. My reply – I try to be as gracious and kind – “If God said so, why are you asking me?”

Maybe they are looking for validation of what they think they should do. Or validation of what they think is God’s will. Or, they’re just letting me know what they are about to do. But they feel obligated to “ask” my opinion. Thank you.

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Yes, but…

Ancient wisdom is valuable and comes from generations of experiences. Those experiences have been collected and processed by many. What a legacy with great value.

But God’s ways are beyond our understanding. When we think we have figured out God and his ways, he will surely surprise us. He acts from the perspective of eternity, not from our limited view of a few years on earth.

Yes, the principle is true that we will reap what we sow. The reality is that we are all sinners saved by God’s grace. Although we are forgiven of our sins, the natural effects of our sins may continue to haunt us.

But still, God reserves the right to do things his way. He is sovereign and takes each step on his own accord without our permission or consent. He doesn’t need it. He is beyond it.

Even if you don’t understand all that is happening, will you be silent before him and submit yourself to him? Let him take the lead. In spite of your suffering, he knows what is best.

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Don’t mess with the weeds

It is a natural reaction to pull out weeds as soon as they come up. They suck up nutrients, and take up space that the crops need for growth. The only reasonable thing to do is to get rid of them.

After a few years in leadership, you begin to observe patterns in the lives of people around you. Unfortunately, some are toxic and totally unwilling to heed correction. Their presence among you won’t help them and simply harms others in the group. But Jesus warned us about being too quick to pull out weeds.

In the story, the servants asked the master if the weeds should be pulled out. “But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Thus Jesus said, Don’t mess with the weeds.

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6th Love Language

    You’ve heard of the five love languages and now, here is the sixth one: Obedience (to Jesus).

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).”

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21).

“Jesus answered him, if anyone loves me, he will keep my words, and my father will love him, an we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the words that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me” (John 14:23-24).

    Express your love to Jesus through obedience. That will be the best investment into your relationship with Him.

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Therefore my words have been rash

    Regrets about the past. Frustration over unexpected turn of events. Worry about the unrealized future. All of these cause annoyance at just about everything that goes on around us. Sometimes, due to our annoyance, we speak words we wish we hadn’t spoken.

    Troublesome situations in life are a sure recipe for such emotional upheaval. Words are almost uncontrollable during these times. Here’s what Job said about struggling with his words:

“Oh that my vexation were weighed, and all my camity laid in the banances! For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea; therefore my words have been rash.” (Job 6:2-3)

    When you hear rash, uncontrolled words from others, be patient and forgiving. God is not finished with them. Then, when uncontrolled words come from your mouth, don’t be alarmed. God is still working on you. You are a work in progress. He is not done with you yet.

    Continue to trust God and give yourself over to God’s plan for you. Rash words don’t indicate a hopeless situation. They indicate a work in progress.

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Wounded by your Savior

     Wounded by your Savior? Now, that’s hard to imagine. It’s difficult to digest the idea that God would be the cause of any type of pain or suffering. Children also face this dilemma as their parents discipline them.

    God has a clear purpose for the discipline he brings. His plan is to change us for the better. He is altering our behavior, attitudes, and inner resolve. He had a better plan for us.

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal” (Job 5:17-18).

    We are to see the hand of God that heals and binds up our wounds. We’ve got to trust that what we are experiencing will be used for our Good.

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Happy New Year

On this first day of the new year (or whenever you are reading this), I want to thank you for reading my posts. Those of you who have subscribed to barnabas.in have given me the privilege to step into your lives a few times each week. I don’t take this for granted, it is surely my delight. If you haven’t subscribed, you can do so by clicking here.

I’ve never imagined that I would be writing several times each week. I was hoping I could publish something on a weekly basis. Yet, here I am doing what I thought was impossible. It all began with a miraculous healing. Yes, we know that God is able to lead us forward to accomplish all that he has set in store for us.

What is it that seems like an impossibility to you? Maybe God has promised something but nothing has transpired. Or, your hopes have been crushed by life just happening all around you, and you feel like it’s totally out of control. In this new year, let’s take the step to tackle this one thing with God on your side.

Write down that impossibility in the comments below (or send me a message by clicking here). Writing this out is the first bold step in the right direction for you. Let’s explore how you can take on this challenge with the Lord’s help.

Again, thank you for reading.

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A glance at my Master’s face

Just to see if he is pleased. All others have less priority. Did the visitors enjoy the worship service? First, we need to ask if God is pleased with our worship. Did the young people enjoy it? First, did our Master enjoy?

But what about the prominent people? They certainly are important. They hold positions, serve on the board, and tithe consistently. But first, is Jesus pleased? Others are important, but Jesus.

Maybe the questions we ask need to be re-worked. Re-examine our priorities. Check the leanings of our hearts. Then always glance at the Master’s face. Make sure he is pleased.

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The struggle of intercession

There was an intercessor in our church whose husband was not a believer. One day he observed her sitting on a mat and praying for our city, state, and country. He began making fun of her by asking: “What are you doing? Did you take out a contract for the whole country?”

Some people have a deep burden for those in distress and pain. How do you handle those who are walking a dangerous path? Surely they know the dangerous situation they’re in. They don’t need to be reminded of that. In fact, they hate being warned or corrected.

Job made it a priority to intercede for his children (Job 1:4-5). His children had the habit of feasting with all the siblings together. Potentially not a dangerous practice as that was sort of a family gathering.

But Job wanted to intercede for them as a measure of safety. He said: “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts” (Job 1:5b). This was a constant practice for Job.

Intercessors are a peculiar type who make it their business to intercede for others in whatever situation they are in. It’s a calling, and a burden in their hearts for others. Would you be bold and step up to intercede for those around you?

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