A Love Letter From Jesus

 

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I asked Jesus, “How much do you love me?” He said, “This much” and stretched out His hands and died. Died for me, a fallen sinner! He died for you too.

***

The night before My death, you were on my mind. How I desired to have a relationship with you, to spend eternity with you in heaven. Yet, sin separated you from Me and My Father. A sacrifice of innocent blood was needed for the payment of your sins.

The hour had come when I was to lay down my life for you. With heaviness of heart I went out to the garden to pray. In agony of soul I sweat, as it were, drops of blood as I cried out to God… “…O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” ~ Matthew 26:39

While I was in the garden the soldiers came to arrest Me even though I was innocent of any crime. They brought Me before Pilate’s hall. I stood before My accusers. Then Pilate took Me and scourged Me. Lacerations cut deeply into My back as I took the beating for you. Then the soldiers stripped me, and put a scarlet robe on Me. They platted a crown of thorns upon My head. Blood flowed down My face… there was no beauty that you should desire Me.

Then the soldiers mocked Me, saying, ” Hail, King of the Jews! They brought Me before the cheering crowd, shouting, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” I stood there silently, bloody, bruised and beaten. Wounded for your transgressions, bruised for your iniquities. Despised and rejected of men.

Pilate sought to release Me but gave in to the pressure of the crowd. “Take ye Him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.” he said to them. Then he delivered Me to be crucified.

You were on my mind when I carried My cross up the lonesome hill to Golgotha. I fell beneath its weight. It was my love for you, and to do My Father’s will that gave Me the strength to bear beneath its heavy load. There, I bore your griefs and I carried your sorrows laying down My life for the sin of mankind.

The soldiers sneered giving heavy blows of the hammer driving the nails deeply into My hands and feet. Love nailed your sins to the cross, never to be dealt with again. They hoisted Me up and left Me to die. Yet, they did not take My life. I willingly gave it.

The sky grew black. Even the sun stopped shining. My body wracked with excruciating pain took the weight of your sin and bore it’s punishment so that the wrath of God could be satisfied.

When all things were accomplished. I committed My spirit into My Father’s hands, and breathed out My final words,”It is finished.” I bowed my head and gave up the ghost.

I Love you… Jesus.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13

Dear Soul,

The Lord loves you! What more could He do to prove His love to you having given every ounce of His blood for the payment of your sins? He desires to forgive you for every sin that you have ever committed. He longs to have a personal relationship with you and spend eternity with you in heaven.

Yet, if you don’t believe in the Lord you’re going to hell. There’s no pleasant way to say it.

The Scripture says,  “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  ~ Romans 3:23

Soul, that includes you and me.

Only when we realize the awfulness of our sin against God  and feel its deep sorrow in our hearts  can we turn from the sin we once loved and accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9

Don’t fall asleep without Jesus until you are assured of a place in heaven.

Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life, first you must believe in the Lord. You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven and put your trust in the Lord. To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life. There’s only one way to heaven, and that’s through the Lord Jesus. That’s God’s wonderful plan of salvation.

You can begin a personal relationship with Him by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:

 “Oh God, I’m a sinner. I’ve been a sinner all of my life. Forgive me, Lord. I receive Jesus as my Savior. I trust Him as my Lord. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

If you have never received the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, but have received Him today after reading this invitation, please let us know. We would love to hear from you. Your first name is sufficient.

Today, I made peace with God...

How To Begin Your New Life With God...

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discipleship

How Can I Get Closer to God?
The Word of God says, “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).  In order to have any relationship with God a person must come to God by faith through His Son, Jesus Christ.  We must believe in Jesus as our Savior, Whom God sent to die, to pay the punishment for our sins.  We are all sinners (Romans 3:23).  Both I John 2:2 and 4:10 talk about Jesus being the propitiation (which means just payment) for our sins.  I John 4:10 says, “He (God) loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by Me.”  I Corinthians 15:3&4 tells us the good news…”Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was buried and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”  This is the Gospel which we must believe and we must receive.  John 1:12 says, “As many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”  John 10:28 says, “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.”

So our relationship to God can only begin by faith, by becoming a child of God through Jesus Christ.  Not only do we become His child, but He sends His Holy Spirit to dwell within us (John 14:16&17).  Colossians 1:27 says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Jesus also refers to us as His brothers.  He certainly wants us to know that our relationship with Him is family, but He wants us to be a close family, not just a family in name, but a family of close fellowship.  Revelation 3:20 describes our becoming a Christian as entering a relationship of fellowship.  It says, “I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in, and dine with him, and he with Me.”

John chapter 3:1-16 says that when we become a Christian we are “born again” as newborn babies into His family.  As His new child, and just as when a human is born, we as Christian babies must grow in our relationship with Him.  As a baby grows, he learns more and more about his parent and becomes closer to his parent.

This is how it is for Christians, in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  As we learn about Him and grow our relationship becomes closer.  Scripture speaks a lot about growing and maturity, and it teaches us how to do this.  It is a process, not a one-time event, thus the term growing.  It is also called abiding.

1). First, I think, we do need to start with a decision.  We must decide to submit to God, to commit to following Him.  It is an act of our will to submit to God’s will if we want to be close to Him, but it is not just one-time, it is an abiding (continuous) commitment.  James 4:7 says, “submit yourselves to God.”  Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you, therefore, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”  This must start with a one-time choice but it is also a moment by moment choice just as it is in any relationship.

2). Secondly, and I think of utmost importance, is that we need to read and study the Word of God.  I Peter 2:2 says, “As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby.”  Joshua 1:8 says, “Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night…”  (Read also Psalm 1:2.)  Hebrews 5:11-14 (NIV) tells us that we must get beyond babyhood and become mature by “constant use” of the Word of God.

This does not mean reading some book about the Word, which is usually someone’s opinion, no matter how smart they are reported to be, but reading and studying the Bible itself.  Acts 17:11 speaks about the Bereans saying, “they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  We need to test everything anyone says by the Word of God not just take someone’s word for it because of their “credentials.”  We need to trust the Holy Spirit in us to teach us and really search the Word.  2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (NIV correctly handling) the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 3:16&17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete (mature)…”

This study and growing is daily and never ends till we are with Him in heaven, because our knowledge of “Him” leads to being more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).  Being close to God requires a daily walk of faith.  It is not a feeling.  There is no “quick fix” which we experience which gives us close fellowship with God.  Scripture teaches that we walk with God by faith, not by sight.  However, I believe that when we consistently walk by faith God makes Himself known to us in unexpected and precious ways.

Read 2 Peter 1:1-5.  It tells us that we grow in character as we spend time in the Word of God.  It says here that we are to add to faith goodness, then knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.  By spending time in study of the Word and in obedience to it we add to or build character in our lives.  Isaiah 28:10&13 tells us we learn precept upon precept, line upon line.  We do not know it all at once.  John 1:16 says “grace upon grace.”  We do not learn all at once as Christians in our spiritual life anymore than babies grow up all at once.  Just remember this is a process, growing, a walk of faith, not an event.  As I mentioned it is also called abiding in John chapter 15, abiding in Him and in His Word. John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

3). The Book of I John talks about a relationship, our fellowship with God.  Fellowship with another person can be broken or interrupted by sinning against them and this is true of our relationship with God also.  I John 1:3 says, “Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”  Verse 6 says, “If we claim to have fellowship with Him, yet walk in darkness (sin), we lie and do not live by the truth.”  Verse 7 says, “If we walk in the light…we have fellowship with one another…”  In verse 9 we see that if sin disrupts our fellowship we need only to confess our sin to Him.  It says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  Please read this entire chapter.

We do not lose our relationship as His child, but we must maintain our fellowship with God by confessing any and all sins whenever we fail, as often as necessary.  We must also allow the Holy Spirit to give us victory over sins we tend to repeat; any sin.

4). We must not only read and study God’s Word but we must obey it, which I mentioned.  James 1:22-24 (NIV) states, “Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the Word, but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”  Verse 25 says, “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.”  This is so similar to Joshua 1:7-9 and Psalm 1:1-3.  Read also Luke 6:46-49.

5). Another part of this is that we need to become part of a local church, where we can hear and learn God’s Word and have fellowship with other believers.  This is a way in which we are helped to grow.  This is because each believer is given a special gift from the Holy Spirit, as a part of the church, also called “the body of Christ.”  These gifts are listed in various passages in Scripture such as Ephesians 4:7-12, I Corinthians 12:6-11, 28 and Romans 12:1-8.  The purpose for these gifts is to “build up the body (the church) for the work of the ministry(Ephesians 4:12).  The church will help us to grow and we in turn can help other believers to grow up and become mature and minister in God’s kingdom and lead other people to Christ.  Hebrews 10:25 says we should not forsake our assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another.

6). Another thing we should do is pray – pray for our needs and the needs of other believers and for the unsaved.  Read Matthew 6:1-10.  Philippians 4:6 says, “let your requests be made known unto God.”

7). Add to this that we should, as part of obedience, love one another (Read I Corinthians 13 and I John) and do good works. Good works cannot save us, but one cannot read Scripture without determining that we are to do good works and be kind to others.  Galatians 5:13 says, “by love serve one another.”  God says we are created to do good works.  Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

All of these things work together, to draw us closer to God and make us more like Christ. We become more mature ourselves and so do other believers.  They help us to grow.  Read 2 Peter 1 again.  The end of being closer to God is being trained and mature and loving one another.  In doing these things we are His disciples and disciples when mature are like their Master (Luke 6:40).

How Do I Hear From God?
One of the most perplexing questions for new Christians and even many who have been Christians for a long time is, “How do I hear from God?” To put it another way, how do I know if the thoughts that enter my mind are from God, from the devil, from myself or just something I have heard somewhere that just sticks in my mind? There are many examples of God speaking to people in the Bible, but there are also lots of warnings about following false prophets who claim God spoke to them when God says definitely that He did not. So how are we to know?

The first and most basic issue is that God is the ultimate Author of Scripture and He never contradicts Himself. 2 Timothy 3:16&17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” So any thought that enters your mind must first be examined on the basis of its agreement with Scripture. A soldier who had written orders from his commander and disobeyed them because he thought he heard someone tell him something different would be in serious trouble. So the first step in hearing from God is to study the Scriptures to see what they say on any given issue. It is amazing how many issues are dealt with in the Bible, and reading the Bible on a daily basis and studying what it says when an issue comes up is the obvious first step in knowing what God is saying.

Probably the second thing to look at is: “What is my conscience telling me?” Romans 2:14&15 says, “(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)” Now that does not mean that our conscience is always right. Paul talks about a weak conscience in Romans 14 and a seared conscience in I Timothy 4:2. But he says in I Timothy 1:5, “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” He says in Acts 23:16, “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” He wrote to Timothy in I Timothy 1:18&19 “Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.” If your conscience is telling you something is wrong, then it is probably wrong, at least for you. Feelings of guilt, coming from our conscience, is one of the ways God speaks to us and ignoring our conscience is, in the vast majority of cases, choosing to not listen to God. (For more information on this topic read all of Romans 14 and I Corinthians 8 and I Corinthians 10:14-33.)

The third thing to be considered is: “What am I asking God to tell me?” As a teenager I was frequently encouraged to ask God to show me His will for my life. I was rather surprised later to find out that God never tells us to pray that He would show us His will. What we are encouraged to pray for is wisdom. James 1:5 promises, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” God promises to give us wisdom if we ask, and if we do the wise thing, we are doing the Lord’s will.

Proverbs 1:1-7 says, “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young – let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance – for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The purpose of the Book of Proverbs is to give us wisdom. It is one of the best places to go when you are asking God what the wise thing to do is in any situation.

The one other thing that helped me the most in learning to hear what God was saying to me was learning the difference between guilt and condemnation. When we sin, God, usually speaking through our conscience, makes us feel guilty. When we confess our sin to God, God removes the feelings of guilt, helps us change and restores fellowship. I John 1:5-10 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” To hear from God, we must be honest with God and confess our sin when it happens. If we have sinned and not confessed our sin, we are not in fellowship with God, and hearing Him will be difficult if not impossible. To rephrase: guilt is specific and when we confess it to God, God forgives us and our fellowship with God is restored.

Condemnation is something else entirely. Paul asks and answers a question in Romans 8:34, “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” He began chapter 8, after talking about his miserable failure when he tried to please God by keeping the law, by saying, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Guilt is specific, condemnation is vague and general. It says things like, “You always mess up,” or, “You’ll never amount to anything,” or, “You’re so messed up God will never be able to use you.” When we confess the sin that makes us feel guilty to God, the guilt disappears and we feel the joy of forgiveness. When we “confess” our feelings of condemnation to God they only get stronger. “Confessing” our feelings of condemnation to God is actually just agreeing with what the devil is saying to us about us. Guilt needs to be confessed. Condemnation must be rejected if we are going to discern what God is truly saying to us.

Of course, the first thing God is saying to us is what Jesus said to Nicodemus: “You must be born again”(John 3:7). Until we have acknowledged that we have sinned against God, told God we believe Jesus paid for our sins when He died on the cross, and was buried and then rose again, and have asked God to come into our life as our Savior, God is under no obligation to speak to us about anything other than our need to be saved, and most probably He will not. If we have received Jesus as our Savior, then we need to examine everything we think God is telling us with Scripture, listen to our conscience, ask for wisdom in all situations and confess sin and reject condemnation. Knowing what God is saying to us may still be difficult at times, but doing these four things will certainly help make hearing His voice easier.

How Do I Know That God Is With Me?
In answer to this question, the Bible clearly teaches that God is everywhere present, so He is always with us.  He is omnipresent.  He sees all and hears all.  Psalm 139 says that we cannot escape His presence.  I suggest reading this whole Psalm which says in verse 7, “where can I go from Your presence?”   The answer is nowhere, for He is everywhere.

2 Chronicles 6:18 and I Kings 8:27 and Acts 17:24-28 show us that Solomon, who built the temple for God Who promised to dwell in it, realized that God could not be contained in a specific place.  Paul put it this way in Acts when he said, “The Lord of heaven and earth does not dwell in temples made with hands.”  Jeremiah 23:23&24 says “He fills heaven and earth.”  Ephesians 1:23 says He fills “all in all.”

Yet for the believer, those who have chosen to receive and believe in His Son (see John 3:16 and John 1:12), He promises to be with us in an even more special way as our Father, our Friend, our Protector and Provider.  Matthew 28:20 says, “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the ages.”

This is an unconditional promise, we cannot or do not cause it to happen.  This is a fact because God said it.

It also says that where two or three (believers) are gathered together, “there am I in the midst of them.”  (Matthew 18:20 KJV)  We do not call down, beg or otherwise invoke His Presence.  He says He is with us, so He is.  It is a promise, a truth, a fact.  We just have to believe it and count on it.  Though God is not restricted to a building, He is with us in a very special way, whether we sense it or not.  What a wonderful promise.

For believers He is with us in another very special way.  John chapter one says that God would give us the gift of His Spirit.  In Acts chapters 1&2 and John 14:17, God tells us that when Jesus died, rose from the dead and ascended to the Father, He would send the Holy Spirit to dwell within our hearts.  In John 14:17 He said, “the Spirit of truth…who abides with you, and will be in you.”  I Corinthians 6:19 says, “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, whom you have from God…”  So for believers God the Spirit dwells within us.

We see that God said to Joshua in Joshua 1:5, and it is repeated in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  Count on it.  Romans 8:38&39 tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ.

Though God is always with us, that does not mean He will always listen to us.  Isaiah 59:2 says that sin will separate us from God in the sense that He will not hear (listen) to us, but because He is always with us, He will always hear us if we acknowledge (confess) our sin, and will forgive us of that sin.  That is a promise.  (I John 1:9; 2 Chronicles 7:14)

Also if you are not a believer, God’s presence is important because He sees everyone and because He “is not willing that any should perish.” (2 Peter 3:9)  He will always hear the cry of those who believe and call upon Him to be their Savior, believing the Gospel.  (I Corinthians 15:1-3)  “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)  John 6:37 says that He will not turn anyone away, and whosoever will may come.  (Revelation 22:17; John 1:12)

Who Is God?
After reading your questions and comments it appears that you have some belief in God and His Son, Jesus, but also have many misunderstandings.  You seem to see God through only human opinions and experiences and see Him as Someone Who should do what you want, as if He were a servant or on demand, and so you judge His nature, and say it is “at stake.”

Let me first say my answers will be Bible based because it is the only reliable source to truly understand Who God is and what He is like.

We cannot ‘create” our own god to suit our own dictations, according to our own desires.  We can’t rely on books or religious groups or any other opinions, we must accept the true God from the only source He has given us, the Scripture.  If people question all or part of Scripture we are left with only human opinions, which never agree.  We just have a god created by humans, a fictional god.  He is only our creation and is not God at all.  We might as well make a god of word or stone or a golden image as Israel did.

We want to have a god who does what we want.  But we can’t even change God by our demands.  We are just acting like children, having a temper tantrum to get our own way.  Nothing we do or judge determines Who He is and all our arguments have no effect on His “nature.”  His “nature” is not “at stake” because we say so.  He is Who He is: Almighty God, our Creator.

So Who is the real God.  There are so many characteristics and attributes that I will only mention some and I will not “proof text” all of them.  If you want to you can go to a reliable source such as “Bible Hub” or “Bible Gateway” online and do some research.

Here are some of His attributes.  God is Creator, Sovereign, Almighty.  He is holy, He is just and fair and a righteous Judge.  He is our Father.  He is light and truth.  He is eternal.  He cannot lie.  Titus 1:2 tells us, “In the hope of eternal life, which God, WHO CANNOT LIE, promised long ages ago.  Malachi 3:6 says He is unchangeable, “I am the LORD, I change not.”

NOTHING we do, no action, opinion, knowledge, circumstances, or judgment can change or affect His “nature.”  If we blame or accuse Him, He does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Here are a few more attributes: He is everywhere present; He knows everything (omniscient) past, present and future.  He is perfect and HE IS LOVE (I John 4:15-16).  God is loving, kind and merciful to all.

We should note here that all the bad stuff, disasters and tragedies which occur, occur because of sin which entered the world when Adam sinned (Romans 5:12).  So what should our attitude be toward our God?

God is our Creator.  He created the world and everything in it.  (See Genesis 1-3.)  Read Romans 1:20&21.  It certainly implies that because He is our Creator and because He is, well, God, that He deserves our honor and praise and glory.  It says, “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God, nor gave thanks to God, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

We are to honor and thank God because He is God and because He is our Creator.  Read also Romans 1:28&31.  I noticed something very interesting here: that when we do not honor our God and Creator we become “without understanding.”

Honoring God is our responsibility.  Matthew 6:9 says, “Our Father Who art in heaven hallowed be Thy Name.”  Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Thou shalt love the LORD with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”  In Matthew 4:10 where Jesus says to Satan, “Away from me, Satan!  For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”

Psalm 100 reminds us of this when it says, “serve the Lord with gladness,” “know that the Lord Himself is God,” and verse 3, “It is He that made us and not we ourselves.”  Verse 3 also says, “We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.”  Verse 4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.”  Verse 5 says, “For the Lord is good, His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”

Like Romans it instructs us to give Him thanks, praise, honor and blessing! Psalm 103:1 says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name.”  Psalm 148:5 is clear in saying, “Let them praise the Lord for He commanded and they were created,” and in verse 11 it tells us who should praise Him, “All kings of the earth and all peoples,” and verse 13 adds, “For His name alone is exalted.”

To make things more emphatic Colossians 1:16 says, “all things were created by Him and for Him” and “He is before all things” and Revelation 4:11 adds, “for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”  We were created for God, He was not created for us, for our pleasure or for us to get what we want.  He is not here to serve us, but we to serve Him.  As Revelation 4:11 says, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and praise, for you created all things, for by your will they were created and have their being.”  We are to worship Him.  Psalm 2:11 says to, “Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling.”  See also Deuteronomy 6:13 and 2 Chronicles 29:8.

You said you were like Job, that “God formerly loved him.”  Let’s take a look at the nature of God’s love so you can see that He does not stop loving us, no matter what we do.

The idea that God stops loving us for “whatever” reason is common among many religions.  A doctrine book I have, “Great Doctrines of the Bible by William Evans” in talking about God’s love says, “Christianity is really the only religion that sets forth the Supreme Being as ‘Love.’ It sets forth the gods of other religions as angry beings who require our good deeds to appease them or earn their blessing.”

We only have two points of reference with regard to love: 1) human love and 2) God’s love as revealed to us in Scripture.  Our love is flawed by sin.  It fluctuates or can even cease while God’s love is eternal.  We can’t even fathom or comprehend God’s love.  God is love (I John 4:8).

The book, “Elemental Theology” by Bancroft, on page 61 in speaking about love says, “the character of the one loving  gives character to the love.”  That means that God’s love is perfect because God is perfect.  (See Matthew 5:48.)  God is holy, so His love is pure.  God is just, so His love is fair.  God never changes, so His love never fluctuates, fails or ceases.  I Corinthians 13:11 describes perfect love by saying this, “Love never fails.”  God alone possesses this kind of love.  Read Psalm 136.  Every verse talks about God’s lovingkindness saying His lovingkindness endures forever.  Read Romans 8:35-39 which says, “who can separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation or distresses or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?”

Verse 38 continues, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God.”  God is love, so He can’t help but love us.

God loves everyone.  Matthew 5:45 says, “He causes His sun to rise and fall on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”  He blesses everyone because He loves every one.  James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights with Whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning.”  Psalm 145:9 says, “The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

What about bad things.  God promises the believer that, “All things work together for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28)”.  God may allow things to come into our life, but be assured that God has allowed them only for a very good reason, not because God has in some way or for some reason chosen to change His mind and stop loving us.

God may choose to allow us to suffer the consequences of sin but He may also choose to keep us from them, but always His reasons are coming from love and the purpose is for our good.

LOVE’S PROVISION OF SALVATION

Scripture does say God hates sin.  For a partial list, see Proverbs 6:16-19.  But God does not hate sinners (I Timothy 2:3&4).  2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord…is patient toward you, not wishing for you to perish, but for all to come to repentance.”

So God prepared a way for our redemption.  When we sin or stray from God He never leaves us and is always waiting for us to return, He does not cease to love us.  God gives us the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 to illustrate His love for us, that of the loving father rejoicing in his wayward son’s return.  Not all human fathers are like this but our Heavenly Father always welcomes us.  Jesus says in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will not cast out.”  John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world.”  I Timothy 2:4 says God “desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.”  Ephesians 2:4&5 says, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”

The greatest demonstration of love in all the world is God’s provision for our salvation and forgiveness.  You need to read Romans chapters 4&5 where much of God’s plan is explained.  Romans 5:8&9 says, “God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”  I John 4:9&10 says,”This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His One and Only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  I John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us…”  It is here in I John that it says “God is Love (chapter 4, verse 8).  That is Who He is.  This is the ultimate proof of His love.

We need to believe what God says – He loves us.  No matter what happens to us or how things seem at the moment God asks us to believe in Him and His love.  David, who is called a “man after God’s own heart,” says in Psalm 52:8, “I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.”  I John 4:16 should be our goal.  “And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.  God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him.”

God’s Basic Plan

Here is God’s plan to save us. 1) We have all sinned.  Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Romans 6:23 says “The wages of sin is death.”  Isaiah 59:2 says, “Our sins have separated us from God.”

2) God has provided a way.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son…”  In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.”

I Corinthians 15:1&2 “This is God’s free gift of Salvation, the gospel which I presented by which you are saved.”  Verse 3 says, “That Christ died for our sins,” and verse 4 continues, “that He was buried and that He was raised on the third day.”  Matthew 26:28 (KJV) says, “This is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sin.”  I peter 2:24 (NASB) says, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross.”

3) We cannot earn our salvation by doing good works.  Ephesians 2:8&9 says, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”  Titus 3:5 says, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us…”  2 Timothy 2:9 says, “who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.”

4) How God’s salvation and forgiveness is made your own:  John 3:16 says, “that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  John uses the word believe 50 times in the book of John alone to explain how to receive God’s free gift of eternal life and forgiveness.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 10:13 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Assurance of Forgiveness

Here is why we have assurance that our sins are forgiven.  Eternal life is a promise to “everyone who believes” and “God cannot lie.”  John 10:28 says, “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”  Remember John 1:12 says, “As many as received Him to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to them that believe on His Name.”   It is a trust based on His “nature” of love, truth and justice.

If you have come to Him and received Christ you are saved.  John 6:37 says, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out.”  If you haven’t asked Him to forgive you and accepted Christ, you can do that this very moment.

If you believe in some other version of Who Jesus is and some other version of what He has done for you than the one given in Scripture, you need to “change your mind” and accept Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world.  Remember, He is the only way to God (John 14:6).

Forgiveness

Our forgiveness is a precious part of our salvation.  The meaning of forgiveness is that our sins are sent away and God does not remember them anymore.  Isaiah 38:17 says, “You have cast all my sins behind Your back.”  Psalm 86:5 says, “For You Lord are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.”  See Romans 10:13.  Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  Jeremiah 31:39 says, “I will forgive their iniquity and their sin will I remember no more.”

Romans 4:7&8 says, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven and whose sins have been covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”  This is forgiveness.  If your forgiveness is not a promise of God then where do you find it, for as we have already seen, you can’t earn it.

Colossians 1:14 says, “In Whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins.”  See Acts 5:30&31; 13:38 and 26:18.  All of these verses speak of forgiveness as part of our salvation.  Acts 10:43 says, “Everyone that believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His Name.”  Ephesians 1:7 states this also, “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

It is impossible for God to lie.  He is incapable of it.  It is not arbitrary.  Forgiveness is based on a promise.  If we accept Christ we are forgiven.  Acts 10:34 says, “God is not a respecter of persons.”  The NIV translation says, “God does not show favoritism.”

I want you to go to 1 John 1 to show how it applies to believers who fail and sin.  We are His children and as our human fathers, or the father of the prodigal son, forgives, so our Heavenly Father forgives us and will receive us yet again, and again.

We know that sin separates us from God, so sin separates us from God even when we are His children.  It does not separate us from His love, nor mean we are no longer His children, but it breaks our fellowship with Him.  You can’t rely on feelings here.  Just believe His word that if you do the right thing, confess, He has forgiven you.

We Are Like Children

Let’s use a human example.  When a little child disobeys and is confronted, he may cover it up, or lie or hide from his parent because of his guilt.  He may refuse to admit his wrongdoing.   He has thus separated himself from his parents because he is afraid they will discover what he has done, and afraid they will be angry with him or punish him when they find out.  The closeness and comfort of the child with his parents is broken.  He cannot experience the safety, the acceptance and the love they have for him.  The child has become like Adam and Eve hiding in the Garden of Eden.

We do the same thing with our heavenly Father.  When we sin, we feel guilty.  We are afraid He will punish us, or He may stop loving us or cast us away.  We don’t want to admit we are wrong.  Our fellowship with God is broken.

God doesn’t leave us, He has promised never to leave us.  See Matthew 28:20, which says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  We are hiding from Him.  We can’t really hide because He knows and sees everything.  Psalm 139:7 says, “Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?”  We are like Adam when we are hiding from God.  He is seeking us, waiting for us to come to Him for forgiveness, just as a parent just wants the child to recognize and admit his disobedience.  This is what our Heavenly Father wants.  He is waiting to forgive us.  He will always take us back.

Human fathers may cease to love a child, although that seldom happens.  With God, as we have seen, His love for us never fails, never ceases.  He loves us with everlasting love.  Remember Romans 8:38&39. Remember nothing can separate us from the love of God, we do not cease to be His children.

Yes, God hates sin and as Isaiah 59:2 says,” your sins have separated between you and your God, your sins have hidden His face from you.”  It says in verse 1, “the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear,” but Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”

I John 2:1&2 tells the believer, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”   Believers can and do sin.  In fact I John 1:8&10 say, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” and “if we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”  When we do sin God shows us the way back in verse 9 which says, “If we confess (acknowledge) our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We must choose to confess our sin to God so if we don’t experience forgiveness it is our fault, not God’s.  It is our choice to obey God.  His promise is sure.  He will forgive us.  He cannot lie.

Job Verses God’s Character

Let’s look at Job since you brought him up and see what it really teaches us about God and our relationship to Him.  Many people misunderstand the book of Job, its narrative and concepts.  It may be one of the most misunderstood books of the Bible.

One of the first misconceptions is to assume that suffering is always or mostly a sign of God’s anger at a sin or sins we have committed.  Obviously that is what Job’s three friends were sure of, for which God eventually rebuked them.  (We’ll get back to that later.)  Another is to assume that prosperity or blessings are always or usually a sign of God being pleased with us.  Wrong.  This is man’s notion, a thinking which assumes we earn God’s kindness.  I asked someone what stood out to them from the book of Job and their reply was, “We don’t know anything.”  No one seems sure who wrote Job.  We don’t know that Job ever understood all of what was going on.  He also did not have Scripture, as we do.

One cannot understand this account unless one understands what is occurring between God and Satan and the warfare between the forces or followers of righteousness and those of evil.  Satan is the defeated foe because of the cross of Christ, but you could say that he has not been taken into custody yet.  There is a battle still raging in this world over people’s souls.  God has given us the book of Job and many other Scriptures to help us understand.

First, as I stated earlier, all evil, pain, sickness and disasters result from the entrance of sin into the world.  God doesn’t do or create evil, but He may allow disasters to test us.  Nothing comes into our lives without His permission, even correction or allowing us to suffer the consequences from a sin we committed.  This is to make us stronger.

God does not arbitrarily decide not to love us.  Love is His very Being, but He is also holy and just.  Let’s look at the setting.  In chapter 1:6, the “sons of God” presented themselves to God and Satan came among them.  The “sons of God” are probably angels, maybe a mixed company of those who followed God and those who followed Satan.  Satan had come from roaming around on earth.  This makes me think of I Peter 5:8 which says, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  God points out his “servant Job,” and here is a very important point.  He says Job is His righteous servant, and is blameless, upright, fears God and turns from evil.  Note that God is nowhere here accusing Job of any sin.  Satan basically says that the only reason Job follows God is because God has blessed him and that if God took those blessings away Job would curse God.  Here lies the conflict.  So God then allows Satan to afflict Job to test his love and faithfulness to Himself.  Read chapter 1:21&22.  Job passed this test.  It says, “In all this Job did not sin, nor blame God.”  In chapter 2 Satan again challenges God to test Job.  Again God allows Satan to afflict Job.  Job responds in 2:10, “shall we accept good from God and not adversity.”  It says in 2:10, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

Note that Satan could do nothing without God’s permission, and He sets the limits.  The New Testament indicates this in Luke 22:31 which says, “Simon, Satan has desired to have you.”  The NASB puts it this way saying, Satan “demanded permission to sift you as wheat.”  Read Ephesians 6:11&12.  It tells us to, “Put on the whole armor or God” and to “stand against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Be clear.  In all this Job had not sinned.  We are in a battle.

Now go back to I Peter 5:8 and read on.  It basically explains the book of Job.  It says, “but resist him (the devil), firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”  This is a strong reason for suffering, plus the fact that suffering is a part of any battle.  If we were never tried we would just be spoon fed babies and never become mature.  In testing we become stronger and we see our knowledge of God increase, we see Who God is in new ways and our relationship with Him becomes stronger.

In Romans 1:17 it says, “the just shall live by faith.”  Hebrews 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”  2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”  We may not understand this, but it is a fact.  We must trust God in all this, in any suffering He allows.

Since the fall of Satan (Read Ezekiel 28:11-19; Isaiah 14:12-14; Revelation 12:10.) this conflict has existed and Satan desires to turn every one of us from God.  Satan even tried to tempt Jesus to mistrust His Father (Matthew 4:1-11).  It started with Eve in the garden.  Note, Satan tempted her by getting her to question God’s character, His love and care for her.  Satan implied that God was keeping something  good from her and He was unloving and unfair.  Satan is always trying to take over God’s kingdom and turn His people against Him.

We must see Job’s suffering and ours in light of this “war” in which Satan is constantly trying to tempt us to change sides and separate us from God.  Remember God declared Job to be righteous and blameless.  There is no sign of an indictment of sin against Job thus far in the account.  God did not allow this suffering because of anything Job had done.  He was not judging him, angry with him nor had He stopped loving him.

Now the friends of Job, who obviously believe suffering is because of sin, enter the picture.  I can only refer to what God says of them, and say be careful not to judge others, as they judged Job.  God rebuked them.  Job 42:7&8 says, “After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right as my servant Job has.  So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves.  My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly.  You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.’”  God was angry with them for what they had done, telling them to offer up a sacrifice to God.  Note that God made them go to Job and ask Job to pray for them, because they had not spoken the truth about Him as Job had.

In all their dialog (3:1-31:40), God was silent. You asked about God being silent to you.  It really doesn’t say why God was so silent.  Sometimes He may be just waiting for us to trust Him, walk by faith, or really search for an answer, possibly in Scripture, or just be quiet and think about things.

Let’s look back to see what’s become of Job.  Job has been struggling with criticism from his “so called” friends who are determined to prove that adversity results from sin (Job 4:7&8).  We do know that in the final chapters God rebukes Job.  Why?  What does Job do wrong?  Why does God do this?  It seems as if Job’s faith had not been tested.  Now it is severely tested, probably more than most of us will ever be.  I believe that a part of this testing is the condemnation of his “friends.”  In my experience and observation, I think that judgment and condemnation form other believers is a great trial and discouragement.  Remember the word of God says not to judge (Romans 14:10).  Rather it teaches us to “encourage one another” (Hebrews 3:13).

While God will judge our sin and it is one possible reason for suffering, it is not always the reason, as the “friends” implied.  Seeing an evident sin is one thing, assuming it is another.  The goal is restoration, not tearing down and condemnation.  Job becomes angry with God and His silence and begins to question God and demand answers.  He begins to justify his anger.

In chapter 27:6 Job says, “I will maintain my righteousness.”  Later God says Job did this by accusing God (Job 40:8).  In chapter 29 Job is doubting, referring to God’s blessing him in the past tense and saying God is no longer with him.  It’s almost as if he is saying God formerly loved him.  Remember Matthew 28:20 says this is not true for God gives this promise, “And I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Hebrews 13:5 says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  God never left Job and eventually spoke to him just as He did with Adam and Eve.

We need to learn to continue to walk by faith – not by sight (or feelings) and to trust in His promises, even when we can’t “feel” His presence and haven’t received an answer to our prayers yet.  In Job 30:20 Job says, “O God, you do not answer me.”  Now he is beginning to complain.  In chapter 31 Job is accusing God of not listening to him and saying he would argue and defend his righteousness before God if only God would listen (Job 31:35).  Read Job 31:6.  In chapter 23:1-5 Job is also complaining to God, because He is not answering.  God is silent – he says God is not giving him a reason for what He has done.  God does not have to answer to Job or us.  We really can’t demand anything from God.  See what God says to Job when God speaks.  Job 38:1 says, “Who is this who speaks without knowledge?”  Job 40:2 (NASB) says, “Wii the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?”  In Job 40:1&2 (NIV) God says that Job “contends,” “corrects” and “accuses” Him.  God reverses what Job says, by demanding that Job answer His questions.  Verse 3 says, “I will question you and you will answer me.”  In chapter 40:8 God says, “Would you discredit my justice?  Would you condemn me to justify yourself?”  Who demands what and of whom?

Then God again challenges Job with His power as his Creator, for which there is no answer.  God essentially says, “I am God, I am Creator, don’t discredit Who I am.  Don’t question My love, My justice, for I AM GOD, the Creator.”

God does not say Job was punished for a past sin but He does say, “Don’t question Me, for I alone am God.”  We are not in any position to make demands of God.  He alone is Sovereign.  Remember God wants us to believe Him.  It is faith that pleases Him. When God tells us He is just and loving, He wants us to believe Him.  God’s response left Job with no answer or recourse but to repent and worship.

In Job 42:3 Job is quoted as saying, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things to wonderful for me to know.”  In Job 40:4 (NIV) Job says, “I am unworthy.”  The NASB says, “I am insignificant.”  In Job 40:5 Job says, “I have no answer,” and in Job 42:5 he says, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.”  He then says, “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”  He now has a much greater understanding of God, the correct one.

God is always willing to forgive our transgressions.  We all fail and don’t trust God sometimes.  Think of some people in Scripture who failed at some point in their walk with God, such as Moses, Abraham, Elijah or Jonah or who misunderstood what God was doing as Naomi who became bitter and how about Peter, who denied Christ.  Did God stop loving them?  No! He was patient, longsuffering and merciful and forgiving.

Discipline

It is true that God hates sin, and just like our human fathers He will discipline and correct us if we continue to sin.  He may use circumstances to judge us, but His purpose is, as a parent, and out of His love for us, to restore us to fellowship with Himself.  He is patient and longsuffering and merciful and ready to forgive.  Like a human father He wants us to “grow up” and be righteous and mature.  If He didn’t discipline us we would be spoiled, immature children.

He might also let us suffer the consequences of our sin, but He does not disown us or stop loving us.  If we respond correctly and confess our sin and ask Him to help us change we will become more like our Father.  Hebrews 12:5 says, “My son, do not make light of (despise) the Lord’s discipline and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and punishes everyone He accepts as a son.”  In verse 7 it says, “for whom the Lord loves He disciplines.  For what son is not disciplined” and verse 9 says, “Moreover we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.  How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live.”  Verse 10 says, “God disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness.”

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful, however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

God disciplines us to make us stronger.  Though Job never denied God, he did distrust and discredit God and say God was unfair, but when God rebuked him, he repented and acknowledged his fault and God restored him.  Job responded correctly.  Others like David and Peter failed too but God restored them also.

Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, for He will have mercy upon him and He will abundantly (NIV says freely) pardon.”

If you ever fall or fail, just apply 1 John 1:9 and acknowledge your sin as David and Peter did and as Job did.  He will forgive, He promises.  Human fathers correct their children but they can make mistakes.  God does not.  He is all knowing.  He is perfect.  He is fair and just and He loves you.

Why God Is Silent

You raised the question of why God was silent when you pray.  God was silent when testing Job too.  There is no reason given, but we can only give conjectures.  Maybe He just needed the whole thing to play out to show Satan the truth or maybe His work in Job’s heart wasn’t finished yet.  Maybe we aren’t ready for the answer yet either.  God is the only One Who knows, we must just trust Him.

Psalm 66:18 gives another answer, in a passage about prayer, it says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me.”  Job was doing this.  He stopped trusting and began questioning.  This can be true of us also.

There can be other reasons also.  He may just be trying to get you to trust, to walk by faith, not by sight, experiences or feelings.  His silence forces us to trust and seek Him.  It also forces us to be persistent in prayer.  Then we learn that it is truly God Who gives us our answers, and teaches us to be thankful and appreciate all He does for us.  It teaches us that He is the source of all blessings.  Remember James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ”  As with Job we may never know why.  We may, as with Job, just recognize Who God is, that He is our Creator, not we His.  He is not our servant that we can come to and demand our needs and wants be met.  He does not even have to give us reasons for His actions, though many times He does.  We are to honor and worship Him, for He is God.

God does want us to come to Him, freely and boldly but respectfully and humbly.  He sees and hears every need and request before we ask, so people ask, “Why ask, why pray?”  I think we ask and pray so we realize He is there and He is real and He does hear and answer us because He does love us.  He is so good.  As Romans 8:28 says, He always does what is best for us.

Another reason we don’t get our request is that we don’t ask for His will to be done, or we don’t ask according to His written will as revealed in the Word of God.  I John 5:14 says, “And if we ask anything according to His will we know He hears us…we know that we have the request we have asked of Him.”  Remember Jesus prayed, “not my will but Yours be done.”  See also Matthew 6:10, the Lord’s Prayer.  It teaches us to pray, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Look at James 4:2 for more reasons for unanswered prayer.  It says, “You do not have because you do not ask.”  We simply don’t bother to pray and ask.  It goes on in verse three, “You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives (KJV says ask amiss) so you can consume it on your own lusts.”  This means we are being selfish.  Someone said we are using God as our personal vending machine.

Maybe you should study the topic of prayer from Scripture alone, not some book or series of human ideas on prayer.  We can’t earn or demand anything from God.  We live in a world that puts self first and we regard God as we do other people, we demand they put us first and give us what we want. We want God to serve us.  God wants us to come to Him with requests, not demands.

Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”  I Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”  Micah 6:8 says, “He has showed you O man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Conclusion

There is much to learn from Job.  Job’s first response to testing was one of faith (Job 1:21).  Scripture says we should “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Trust God’s justice, fairness and love.  If we question God, we are putting ourselves above God, making ourselves God.  We are making ourselves the judge of the Judge of all the earth.  We all have questions but we need to honor God as God and when we fail as Job later did we need to repent which means to “change our minds” as Job did, get a new perspective of Who God is – the Almighty Creator, and worship Him as Job did.  We need to recognize that it is wrong to judge God.  God’s “nature” is never at stake.  You cannot decide Who God is or what He should do.  You can in no way change God.

James 1:23&24 says God’s Word is like a mirror.  It says, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”  You have said God stopped loving Job and you.  It is evident that He did not and God’s Word says His love is everlasting and does not fail.  However, you have been exactly like Job in that you have “darkened His counsel.”  I think this means you have “discredited” Him, His wisdom, purpose, justice, judgments and His love.  You, like Job, are “finding fault” with God.

Look at yourself clearly in the mirror of “Job.”  Are you the one “at fault” as Job was?  As with Job, God always stands ready to forgive if we confess our fault (I John 1:9).  He knows we are human.  Pleasing God is about faith.  A god you make up in your mind isn’t real, only the God in Scripture is real.

Remember in the beginning of the story, Satan appeared with a great group of angels.  The Bible teaches that the angels learn about God from us (Ephesians 3:10&11).  Remember too, that there is a great conflict going on.

When we “discredit God,” when we call God unfair and unjust and unloving, we are discrediting Him before all the angels.  We are calling God a liar.  Remember Satan, in the Garden of Eden discredited God to Eve, implying He was unjust and unfair and unloving.  Job eventually did the same and so do we.  We dishonor God before the world and before the angels.  Instead we must honor Him.  Whose side are we on?  The choice is ours alone.

Job made his choice, he repented, that is, changed his mind about Who God was, he developed a greater understanding of God and who he was in relation to God.  He said in chapter 42, verses 3 and 5: “surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…but now my eyes have seen you.  Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”  Job recognized he had “contended” with the Almighty and that was not his place.

Look at the end of the story.  God accepted his confession and restored him and doubly blessed him.  Job 42:10&12 says, “The Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before…The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.”

If we are demanding of God and contending and “thinking without knowledge,” we too must ask God to forgive us and “walk humbly before God” (Micah 6:8).  This starts with our recognizing Who He is in relationship to ourselves, and believing the truth as Job did.  A popular chorus based on Romans 8:28 says, “He does all things for our good.”  Scripture says that suffering has a Divine purpose and if it is to discipline us, it is for our good.  I John 1:7 says to “walk in the light,” which is His revealed Word, the Word of God.

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