Tag Archives: perspective

Set Free

A crowd was gathered and Jesus was teaching. We are unaware of the topic; it could have been compassion or anxiety. We just don’t know. As he was talking, the door suddenly burst open and a group of men came running in pulling a slightly clothed woman behind them.

“We caught this woman in the act of adultery,” one of the men shouts. “The law says we should stone her. Jesus, what do you say?”

Jesus didn’t answer. John 8 tells us he began writing in the dust. He may have done this to illustrate the point he was getting ready to make or as an act of compassion toward the woman. For her, this could have been an embarrassing situation; she probably wasn’t wearing many clothes and there were several eyes staring directly at her. Perhaps Jesus put his finger in the dust to divert attention from her. Either way, the crowd demanded an answer, and Jesus gave them one.

In John 8:7, Jesus says, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 

Verses 9-10 continue, When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

One by one, everyone left until only Jesus and the woman were standing there. Jesus doesn’t condemn her. He doesn’t rebuke her for what has happened in the past or even for what happened that morning. Notice Jesus words in verse 11.

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Jesus set her free. In his grace he gave her a fresh start. Guilt she may have experienced was gone. Jesus set her free from her sin and the guilt it caused.

Likewise, we can be set free from guilt we may be experiencing. In his grace, Jesus can free us from the guilt of our past which may plague us.

  • Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
  • Galatians 5:1 says it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

The next time you feel guilty for something in the past, allow the Lord’s grace to replace your guilt with peace only he offers.

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Out of the Storm

It had been a painful and trying time for Job. At times, it may have seemed everyone was against him. Job may have wondered if the storm would ever let up. It was one thing right after another. Day after day, Job and his friends debated the cause of the trial and wondered about relief. That is, until God spoke to Job from the storm.

Job 42:1-6 records Job saying to God:

“I know that you can do all things;
    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.”

It would have been enough for the Lord to relieve Job’s storm. It would have been enough just to put Job in a different season of life, but the Lord doesn’t stop there. He allows Job not only to hear about him, but to see him. Out of Job’s storm, he sees the Lord and is forever changed.

Out of storms, God speaks. Out of storms, it seems the Lord reveals himself. Amid storms, the Lord can be seen vibrantly. Out of life’s storms, we can see God and be forever changed. How have you seen the Lord in the storms of your life?

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God, Why is This Happening?

“God, why is this happening?” This is a question Job asked poetically. He couldn’t understand, and he wanted to hear from God. Job’s older friends offered solutions, but they were incorrect. Job himself tried to conclude what was happening, but couldn’t find a reason. Job’s youngest friend, Elihu, offered an idea, but wasn’t completely right. As they were talking, God interrupted their conversation and began asking Job some questions.

Job 38 records God answering out of the whirlwind with a series of questions. Obviously, Job knows none of the answers, and one question may have been enough to grab Job’s attention, but God uses a long series of questions. Not to incriminate the questioner, but to help him develop a clear perspective of God’s almighty power. When God gives Job an opportunity to speak, Job does not have an answer. He fully realizes God is the one in control. In the midst of his storm, God answered Job.

Amid storms, God answers many of us. Not to incriminate us, but to give us a clear perspective. We may not always understand what is happening. Isaiah 55:8-9 says:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

While we may not fully grasp what is happening, we can rest assured God is in control.

The Lord stayed with Job through his pain and suffering, and he promises he will stay with us as we may endure pain and suffering. The Lord says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

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God’s Reflection in Nature

The sunshine, the clouds, snowflakes, rain, flowers, grass, and trees all point to the Lord. All of nature helps us see God’s hand at work. From its beauty and majesty to its complex makeup, nature reflects the glory of its Creator.

Job questioned God’s location during his pain and suffering, and his friend Elihu reminded Job looking at nature shows God at work. In Job 37, Elihu points to a variety of nature’s aspects as evidence God is in control. Sun, moon, snow, thunder, and lightning are all within his control. Man can do nothing more than study these parts of nature, but God controls them. Elihu continues in verses 14-18:

14 “Listen to this, Job;
    stop and consider God’s wonders.
15 Do you know how God controls the clouds
    and makes his lightning flash?
16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised,
    those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
17 You who swelter in your clothes
    when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
18 can you join him in spreading out the skies,
    hard as a mirror of cast bronze?”

The Lord uses nature as a reflection of his power as he reveals himself to Job. In chapters 40 and 41, God uses creation as an illustration of his power. There are animals’ man cannot tame. We cannot control them, yet God created them. There are many elements of nature which are beyond our control, yet God controls their coming and going with a single word. He is an all-powerful God, and he cares for us.

The next time you find yourself going through a hard time, take note of nature. The same God that created the world takes time to count the number of hairs on your head. The Bible guarantees the Lord will be with us and help us get through the tough seasons of life.

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Are You Afraid?

Much fear has gripped many people over the past few months, and recent events are still causing many folks to battle with fear. Scenes of recent events startle us, and headlines provoke the natural emotion of fear to enter our lives. Individuals are fearful of what is happening around them; they are fearful of the days ahead. If you are saying, “That’s me,” you are not alone. There are a lot of people finding their way through a fearful season right now, and the Bible offers a suggestion.

David had fearful seasons in his life, and he writes these words in Psalm 56:3-4.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

We can find encouragement a few times in David’s words.

  • David says, “When I am afraid….” Fear is natural and comes into life occasionally. Though he experienced fear, David was still a person after God’s own heart. Being frightened does not make us a bad person. It is how we handle the feelings of fear that make all the difference.
  • Take note of how David handles his fears. He remarks when he is afraid, he trusts in the Lord. The Lord can deliver him from his fears.
  • At the end of verse 4, David asks, “What can mere mortals do to me?” He recalls God is more powerful than the circumstances causing him to fear. The Lord says in Isaiah 41:10, “10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
        do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you;
        I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

When we are afraid, the Bible suggests we look to our trust in the Lord for strength.

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Getting to Know Wisdom

Job thinks about the source of wisdom. Where does wisdom originate? In Job’s day, much had already been discovered. Mining was commonplace, and mankind had discovered ways pull minerals from under the earth. Rivers had been explored and hidden treasures brought to light. New discoveries were being made, but no one had fully discovered all wisdom.

In chapter 28, Job comments true wisdom is found in God. He is the source of wisdom Notice the last few verses of the chapter.

23 God understands the way to it
    and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
    and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
    and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
    he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
    “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
    and to shun evil is understanding.”

While many advances in knowledge have been made since Job’s day, the source of wisdom is still the same. True wisdom is still found in the Lord, and the source for us is the Bible.

  • Psalm 119:105 teaches the Bible is a light to our path.
  • Hebrews 4:12 says, “12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

The Bible presents wisdom on all topics; society, relationships, family, marriage, finances, and everything else is found within its pages. The Bible is alive and active, and God uses his word to help us gain wisdom. Take some time to get to know wisdom by reading through the Bible.

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Age-Old Questions

What is God doing? Is God fair? These are questions that have been asked through the ages.

No one asks these questions more poetically than Job. Job experienced an extremely difficult time in life which tested his faith. He experienced a health crisis, lost his family, and his wealth was taken away. Job’s friends said it was his fault. Surely, he had done something wrong to bring about such a disaster, they thought. His wife even encouraged Job to curse God and die. As Job is going through this time, he asks the age-old question “why me?”

Perhaps we’ve all asked this question. We’ve all wondered why things happen the way they do. It is okay to ask this question. God doesn’t frown upon us for asking. As we ask, we must remember our perspective is limited, while God’s is full. The book of Job reminds us we do not always see the big picture.

Think about going through a maze. Without seeing it from above, you do not know how to get through. You just have to take twists and turns until you find your way through. If you have a map or someone guiding you, it is much easier. You may not understand why you are going a certain way, but you trust their guidance.

Life is like a maze, except God sees it from above. He offers to guide us. He offers to show us the way through life’s twists and turns. We may not understand why life is going in a certain direction, but by faith, we trust that the Lord does.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.”

God has a full view of life. He sees it from the beginning to the end, and wants to lead us through all of its seasons. Do you allow the Lord to lead? As you ponder life’s events, remember the Lord’s perspective has no limits.

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Our Redeemer Lives

Disappointing, painful, and hard to go through may easily describe Job’s situation. He went from having plenty to having nothing. His wealth, health, and family all stripped away. His friends begin to question him and conclude it is his fault, but Job remains steadfast in his faith. Job declares his redeemer lives.

He says in 19:25-26, 25 “I know that my redeemer lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I will see God…”

Disappointing, painful, or hard to go through may describe where you are in life right now. You moved across country for a big promotion that has made you miserable and left you disappointed. Your relationship ended in a painful way. It is hard to watch your loved one suffer as he or she battles a medical illness. In many ways, you can parallel your life to Job right now. What about your faith?

Disappointments, pain and suffering are unfortunately a part of life. Dreams and goals may not always work out exactly as planned. However, we can echo the words of Job, knowing that our redeemer lives. Though life may not turn out as we planned, in Christ, we can have confidence the Lord is with us and Heaven awaits.

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Don’t Jump to Conclusions

There’s an old story, as recalled by Max Lucado, about an elderly man in a small village who owned a valuable horse. It was a white horse, and it was worth much money. Many people tried to buy the horse, but the gentleman was not interested in parting with the horse. To him, the white stud was a close friend.

One morning the horse was missing. The stable was empty. The man’s neighbors mocked the man saying he should have sold the horse before it was stolen. How could someone so poor expect to secure a horse of such value. The man responded, “We don’t know the horse was stolen. All we know is the horse is not in the stable. I’m leaving it at that.”

A few days went by and the horse returned home. He was followed by twelve wild mares. The neighborhood rejoiced, telling the man he was given a fortune. The mares could be trained and sold for a great profit, but the man said, “We don’t know for sure. All we know is there are twelve mares here.”

The man’s son tried training the horses, but one of them threw him off. He broke both of his legs. The neighbors gathered around to grieve. The elderly man had no one else to help him, and now his son’s legs were injured. He would surely be desperate. “We don’t know for sure,” came the man’s response. “All we know is my son’s legs are injured.”

As the son’s legs healed, the country went to war, and all the young men had to leave the village to serve in the army. That is, except the son. He remained home because of his injuries. Again, the neighborhood returned to the old man. This time angry because their sons had to go to war and his did not. “We will never see our sons again,” they lamented. “You don’t know that,” replied the elderly man, “all you know is your sons went to war.”

He continued, “It is impossible to have a conversation with you. You always draw conclusions.”

In chapter 12, Job rebukes his friends for drawing a conclusion about his situation. They believe they know exactly why Job is going through this time of suffering, and they speak their minds without truly knowing the plan God has. Job’s friends draw conclusions like the old man’s neighbors. When someone else is going through a hard time, we may not fully know why they are having this experience in their life. Friends should always ask for wisdom before drawing conclusions about someone’s circumstances.

Proverbs 25:8 advises, “Don’t jump to conclusions—there may be
    a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.”

When you or one of your friends is going through a rough time, consider asking the Lord for wisdom to approach the situation in the best way.

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what can we learn from job’s friends?

When Job’s friends heard of his difficulties, they went to be with him. The first few chapters of Job tell us they took two actions.

Job’s friends were with him in a difficult time.

Chapter 2 records Job’s friends coming. They showed up at a difficult time. They didn’t leave Job all alone as he suffered. They were there with him as he grieved. At first, they said very little, but their presence said much.

Scripture encourages us to be there for one another. We are to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. Sometimes, we just do not have words to help our friends, and that is okay. Our presence can speak volumes. It was actually when Job’s friends started to talk, they made a mistake.

Job’s friends came across as judgmental.

Job’s friends determined it had to be his fault. They blamed him for the pain he was experiencing. They approached the problem with a judgmental attitude. In many ways, Job’s friends were trying to find the speck of dust in his eye while they may have had a plank hanging out of their own eye.

Scripture reminds us to not be judgmental. Matthew 7:1 says, “Do not judge.” It is true good friends should speak truth into one another’s lives, but this should always be done in a gracious manner.

Colossians 4:6 implores, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Job says when we are down, we should always have the loyalty of our friends to count on. He remarks in 6:14, “For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;
So that he does not abandon the fear of the Almighty.”

With Jesus as our friend, you and I can always count on this loyalty. Proverbs 18:24 says Jesus sticks closer than a brother. He will always be there to speak truth into our lives in a gracious way.

Job’s friends were not perfect, nor are we. Perhaps we can better our friendships from looking at how Job’s friends responded to his difficult season. How can you be a better friend today?

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