July 29 - (Est. 5-10) Did you notice that Esther is now acting according to what she received while praying and fasting?  Mordecai is “actively waiting on God”.  There is a time to move and a time to wait.  But waiting on the Lord is not being inactive.  It is doing what is in front of you while waiting and listening for further instructions.  How are you “waiting on the Lord”?

                (8:3-8) Why were the Jewish people still in danger after Haman’s death?  Did you notice that while they killed their enemy, the Israelites did not take any plunder?  There was a purpose even in that.

                A Jewish holiday was born!  The feast of Purim would be held on the 14th and 15th days of the month of Adar.  Anyone want to find out how that translates into our calendar?  I don’t think it would be too hard.  What does Pur mean (Est. 9:24)? 

                This passage reminds me that God is always at work in our lives both in times of trials and tribulation and in celebrations of God’s victories in our lives.  It is up to us to choose how much we involve Him in both.  Selah

July 30 – (Job 1-4) The book of Job concerns itself with the question of faith in a sovereign God.  Can God be trusted? Is He good and just in His rule of the world?  The book shows that the reasons for human suffering often remain a secret to human beings.  As we experience our own life with its experiences, we will either lean in and trust God that He is in control or working things for our good and His glory or we give up (in some measure) trusting Him and begin trusting ourselves or something else.  This will become our idol we worship and trust in. 

July 31 – (Job 5-7) How would you have handled the “help” of your friends?  It is obvious that Job was not a “people pleaser”.  Yay for him! He had a strong faith in God and trusted Him beyond measure.  Maybe it’s my personality but I probably would have second guessed myself.  I guess he has by the end of this passage but what conclusion does he come to? 

            Chapter 7 verse 17 “What is man, that you make so much of him…” reminds me of Ps. 8:4 (What is man that you are mindful of him…”).  However, where Psalm 8 marvels at how humanity has been crowned with glory by God., Job is seeing God as the “great policeman” waiting to punish him when he sins.  When you are in a very hard situation how do you see God’s involvement in your life? Let’s see what tomorrow’s reading brings. 

Aug. 1 – (Job. 8-10) Bildad told Job that his children had died because they sinned against God. He believed if Job repented God would restore his wealth.  Not all friends’ advice is worth heeding.  Be careful to choose counselors that who can listen as well as advice. 

            Have you ever disobeyed your father and expected that he would love you less only to realize his love remained the same?  That is God’s love.  What we do or don’t do, never changes His love for us! It’s not normal to love a murderer and adulterer but God did when he loved David.  It isn’t normal to love a man whose wealth and power caused Solomon to take his eyes off God, but God did. It isn’t normal to love people who love stone idols more than they love you, but God did when He refused to give up on Israel.  God will not stop loving you no matter what you choose to do.

            I heard a teaching about God’s love.  They cited “And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob” (Genesis 25:27-29).  The thought conveyed here was Esau was loved because of what he had done while Jacob was loved because of who he was.  It has caused me to ponder this from many perspectives.  Selah 

Aug. 2 – (Job. 11-13) Now another friend speaks.  Zophar tries to convince Job that his trouble stems from a hidden sin and that God is punishing him for that sin.  As I was reading, it reminds me of the Pharisee, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortion, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector” (Luke 18:10-12).  Let’s be careful in helping our “friends” that we don’t fall into this pit as well.   

Aug. 3 – (Job. 14-16) Eliphaz now gives his two cents. (Is it even worth that?)  He argues that suffering resulted from Job’s sin. Job responds with hurt and grief at his friends’ harsh words.  Suffering is never easy to understand, but because Eliphaz thought suffering resulted in sin he could not comfort his friend.  As I think about that I wonder how my distorted beliefs have sabotaged comfort I was trying to give friends who were suffering. I remember one person who got very angry at my “comfort”.  I realize now that I would have wanted to hear what I said if I were in that circumstance, but they had a totally different view.  Do I give up in trying to comfort my friends? No, but I will try harder to adjust my beliefs to more accurately show God’s love, grace and mercy the next time I open my mouth!  Selah 

Aug. 4 – (Job 17-19) Because Job rejected Bildad’s advice, Bildad grew frustrated.  He told Job of a horrible fate of sinners.  Job firmly believed that in the end God would vindicate him because of his innocence.    Job listened to his friend even though he knew Bildad was incorrect. Only when Bildad was finished speaking did Job answer.

             What is your first response to criticism?  Are you one who jumps in and “corrects” them, or do you immediately get hurt and retreat or shut down?  Ask God to help you listen with interest.  It is important to take criticism, evaluate it, and apply what God may be convicting you about and helpful.  Then discard what feels like condemnation as that is not from God and not helpful. Depend on the Holy Spirit to help you discern what is from Him and what is not!  SELAH!

            I love the title for chapter 19 in my Bible: Job Replies: My Redeemer Lives!  If we can just preface all of life’s messes with this statement!  SELAH!!