Options for Daily Study

Updated 7/23/2011

So far Experiencing God is in the lead for the most votes. Keep it coming! Voting ends tomorrow at 8pm! Monday will be the big announcement and then the first devotional post.

 

I would like to hear from my readers. Since this Blog is going under construction in the days and maybe weeks to come, I am still working things out.

I have a few ideas on Daily Devotionals:

1. The Mind of Christ by T W Hunt and Claude N. King

2. Spending Time Alone with God, from the moving toward maturity series, by Barry St. Clair

3. Experiencing God, by Henry Blackaby

Comment on which of these you would like to see every morning. My understanding is that you could sign up for email updates and get the post sent directly to your email.

Also I can get permission to recreate any worksheet items so you too can follow along.

What do you think??

Who Are You?

“Our identity in Jesus Christ is a fundamental truth that we believers need to understand, if we are to experience this promised freedom and grow to Christian maturity.” Neil Anderson

I was watching one of my favorite movies, The Bourne Identity, and in the opening sequence and to set the plot the main character, Jason Bourne, was asked by his rescuers “Who are you?” How did he try to identify himself? By his name? By his language? Perhaps it was his knowledge in his trade?

Neil Anderson writes that the search for meaning and hope is based on the Christian’s understanding of who you are in Christ. I have heard this terminology before. The infamous “IN CHRIST” statement. I never understood until this first chapter. It is the critical foundation “for your belief structure and your behavior pattens as a Christian.

First, I want to stop right here for a moment. If you are reading this blog with a skeptical heart then let me assure you that I was always skeptical. But let me first ask you a question. Have you come to a place in your life where you know for sure that if you were to die today you would go to heaven, or is that something you would say that you are still working on?
In another post I will share how I came to know for certain that I have eternal life and how you can know also but for now permit me to ask another question.
“Suppose you were to die today and you were standing before God and He were to say to you, ‘Why should I let you into My Heaven?’ what would you say?”

If you are just flabbergasted that I would even ask such a question then you need to read on. You see Heaven is a FREE gift! (Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death but the GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”)
A gift is not earned or deserved. Suppose your best friend were to surprise you with an expensive gift like a car, you would almost immediately start feeling like you should give them some money for it. Right? At least something for compensation. Actually that would be an insult to the gift giver. Besides if you did give compensation to the friend, it would no longer be a gift. I kills me to see the Krishna’s at the airports and malls when they give a gift and then expect a donation. (great lead in to the gospel by the way). My response has always been “How can the gift be a gift if I just paid for it?” It is the same with eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
This can be clearly seen when we study what the Bible says about man.
Man is a sinner. In Romans 3:23 it says that “we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” When we think of sin many times we think of robbery, murder, adultery, etc. The Bible tells us that sin is anything that doesn’t please God or is a transgression of His law. Anything we do that we shouldn’t, like losing our temper or stealing- these are sins of commission. Anything we should do but don’t, like failing to pray or read the Bible or to truly love our neighbor- these are sins of omission. There are not only sins in deed, but also sins in word and thought like lying, cursing, lust, pride, and hatred. The Bible says that these are all sins. Lets put into perspective to see the seriousness of this.
Let’s say that I only sin maybe ten times a day, or even five, or just three. Why, I would be practically a walking angel! Imagine if no more than three times a day did I think unkind thoughts, or lose my temper, or fail to do what I ought towards God and man- I would be a pretty fine person, would I not? Think about this for a moment, even if I were this good, I would still have over 1000 transgressions a year! If I lived to be the age of 70, I would have 70000 violations of the law of God on my record. Think what would happen to an habitual offender in a criminal court with 70000 transgressions on his record.
So we see by this that man CANNOT save himself. In the book of Matthew it says that we are to “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”(Matt. 5:48) If I were to have you over for breakfast one morning and I were to prepare an omelet with five good eggs and one rotten egg, I could not serve it to company and expect it to be acceptable.
Even less can we serve up our lives to God, which may have many things in them that men would call good, and yet are filled with deeds and thoughts that are rotten, and expect them to be acceptable to God.
If we want to get into heaven by our good works, then all we have to do is to be perfect “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”. God’s standard is complete obedience to Him in all things and at all times. We ALL fall short of this.
Do you see now why it is impossible for anyone to get in to heaven by their good works? This really comes in to sharper focus when we look at what the Bible says about God.
God is merciful and therefore does not want to punish us. 1 John 4:8 say that “God is love”. God is also just and therefore MUST punish sin. In Exodus 34:7 God says that “He does not leave the guilty unpunished.”
This seems to be a problem for us as we just said that man is a sinner and cannot save himself but God solved this “problem” in the person of Jesus Christ.
Who is Jesus? According to John 1:1, 14 He is the infinite God-Man.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
What did Jesus do? He died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and to purchase a place in heaven for us.
Let’s imagine that I have a book in my right hand. It minutely details every account in my life. Each page details the sin of a particular day- every word I have spoken, every thought that ever crossed my mind, every deed I’ve ever done. Here then is the problem- my sin. God loves me but hates my sin and must punish it. To solve this problem, He sent His Son in to the world. The Scripture says “We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6. Picture me taking that book that contains all my sins and it is transferred to my right hand because this passages say that God laid on Jesus ALL of my sins. All of my sins which God hates has been placed on Jesus Christ.
When the last sin had been paid for, Jesus said, “It is finished!” This is an interesting word in the original text. It is TETELESTAI, a commercial word which means, “It is paid; the debt is paid.” When He died, He was buried in a grave for three days but He rose from the dead and went to heaven to prepare a place for you and me. Now He offers heaven – eternal life – To you and me as a gift. And this gift is received by faith.
Faith is the key that opens the door to heaven. On my ring ring there are many keys. Some even look somewhat alike. Yet, when I go to unlock my front door tonight, I could try all these keys except the right one and I could not unlock the door . It does not matter how sincere I am in exercising my belief that a different key will open the door. The fact is that only one key will open the door.
The right key to heaven is saving faith. Before we talk about saving faith – the only key that will open heaven’s door- I want to talk about two other keys that people think will open the door to heaven. These keys are head knowledge and temporal faith.
Many people know certain historical facts about Jesus. They believe in Jesus the same way they believe Napoleon or George Washington. They believe He actually existed. They believe that He was a real person in history, but they are not trusting Him to do anything for them now. The Bible says the devil believes in God “The demons also believe–and they shudder.” James 2:19
So believing in God’s existence is not what the Bible means by saving faith.
Temporal faith is another thing that people often mistake for saving faith. When a person trusts in the Lord for finances, you could call that financial- faith. A person may pray and trust the Lord to take care of his family. You could call this family-faith. There is one thing that all of these have in common. They are temporary. For instance, once you reach your destination, you don’t need to trust the Lord for travelling- faith.
All the tings of this world will pass away. They are temporary. But saving faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. Acts 16:31 says that “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved”. If we were talking in person right now you would notice that there is an empty chair next to me. You believe that the chair exists, right? Do you believe that the chair would support me if I were to sit on it? But you see, it’s not holding me up for one simple reason: I’m not sitting on it.
For the sake of making my point, let the chair I’m sitting in right now represent me and the empty chair represent Christ. For a long time I believed He existed and He could help me. However, I did not have eternal life because I was trusting in my own good works to get me into heaven. Years ago I repented of my sins and transferred my trust from myself to Jesus Christ- from what I had been doing for God to what He has done for me on the cross. Now I sit in the empty chair. By a simple act of faith I transferred my trust from what I had done to what Christ has done for me.
When I asked you earlier what would you say to God if He were to ask you , “Why should I let you into My heaven?” you said, “I try to be good. I try to live a good life. I have been a pretty good person. “Who is the only person referred to in your answer?
To receive eternal life you MUST transfer your trust from yourself to Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.
Faith is the hand of a beggar reaching out to accept the gift of a king. 13 years ago this beggar reached out an unworthy hand and received the gift of eternal life. I didn’t deserve it then and I don’t deserve it now. But I have it- by grace!!!
Why, then, should I try to live a good life? The reason for living a godly life is gratitude for this gift of eternal life. I’m not trying to gain something I don’t have by my efforts to be good. Rather, I’m saying, “Thank you, Lord.” The motive for Christian living is gratitude for the gift of eternal life.
If this makes sense to you then keep reading!!!
If you would like to receive this gift of eternal life the let me clarify what this involves:
1. Transfer of trust
2. Receive the resurrected and living Christ as Savior
Revelation 3:20- “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in eat with him, and he with Me.”
3. Receive Christ as Lord.
4. Repent

If this is really what you want, I can lead us in a prayer and we can tell God what you just told me. Email me or comment to this post and I will respond.

Next week I will pick up where we left off in the book. It is imperative that we know who we are in Christ and that we are a child of the King.

Ciao!!!

D. Shannon Rainwater <
Ezra 7:9-10

Who Are You?

“Our identity in Jesus Christ is a fundamental truth that we believers need to understand, if we are to experience this promised freedom and grow to Christian maturity.” Neil Anderson



I was watching one of my favorite movies, The Bourne Identity, and in the opening sequence and to set the plot the main character, Jason Bourne, was asked by his rescuers “Who are you?” How did he try to identify himself? By his name? By his language? Perhaps it was his knowledge in his trade?


Neil Anderson writes that the search for meaning and hope is based on the Christian’s understanding of who you are in Christ. I have heard this terminology before. The infamous “IN CHRIST” statement. I never understood until this first chapter. It is the critical foundation “for your belief structure and your behavior pattens as a Christian.


First, I want to stop right here for a moment. If you are reading this blog with a skeptical heart then let me assure you that I was always skeptical. But let me first ask you a question. Have you come to a place in your life where you know for sure that if you were to die today you would go to heaven, or is that something you would say that you are still working on?
In another post I will share how I came to know for certain that I have eternal life and how you can know also but for now permit me to ask another question.
“Suppose you were to die today and you were standing before God and He were to say to you, ‘Why should I let you into My Heaven?’ what would you say?”


If you are just flabbergasted that I would even ask such a question then you need to read on. You see Heaven is a FREE gift! (Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death but the GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”)
A gift is not earned or deserved. Suppose your best friend were to surprise you with an expensive gift like a car, you would almost immediately start feeling like you should give them some money for it. Right? At least something for compensation. Actually that would be an insult to the gift giver. Besides if you did give compensation to the friend, it would no longer be a gift. I kills me to see the Krishna’s at the airports and malls when they give a gift and then expect a donation. (great lead in to the gospel by the way). My response has always been “How can the gift be a gift if I just paid for it?” It is the same with eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
This can be clearly seen when we study what the Bible says about man.
Man is a sinner. In Romans 3:23 it says that “we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” When we think of sin many times we think of robbery, murder, adultery, etc. The Bible tells us that sin is anything that doesn’t please God or is a transgression of His law. Anything we do that we shouldn’t, like losing our temper or stealing- these are sins of commission. Anything we should do but don’t, like failing to pray or read the Bible or to truly love our neighbor- these are sins of omission. There are not only sins in deed, but also sins in word and thought like lying, cursing, lust, pride, and hatred. The Bible says that these are all sins. Lets put into perspective to see the seriousness of this.
Let’s say that I only sin maybe ten times a day, or even five, or just three. Why, I would be practically a walking angel! Imagine if no more than three times a day did I think unkind thoughts, or lose my temper, or fail to do what I ought towards God and man- I would be a pretty fine person, would I not? Think about this for a moment, even if I were this good, I would still have over 1000 transgressions a year! If I lived to be the age of 70, I would have 70000 violations of the law of God on my record. Think what would happen to an habitual offender in a criminal court with 70000 transgressions on his record.
So we see by this that man CANNOT save himself. In the book of Matthew it says that we are to “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”(Matt. 5:48) If I were to have you over for breakfast one morning and I were to prepare an omelet with five good eggs and one rotten egg, I could not serve it to company and expect it to be acceptable.
Even less can we serve up our lives to God, which may have many things in them that men would call good, and yet are filled with deeds and thoughts that are rotten, and expect them to be acceptable to God.
If we want to get into heaven by our good works, then all we have to do is to be perfect “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”. God’s standard is complete obedience to Him in all things and at all times. We ALL fall short of this.
Do you see now why it is impossible for anyone to get in to heaven by their good works? This really comes in to sharper focus when we look at what the Bible says about God.
God is merciful and therefore does not want to punish us. 1 John 4:8 say that “God is love”. God is also just and therefore MUST punish sin. In Exodus 34:7 God says that “He does not leave the guilty unpunished.”
This seems to be a problem for us as we just said that man is a sinner and cannot save himself but God solved this “problem” in the person of Jesus Christ.
Who is Jesus? According to John 1:1, 14 He is the infinite God-Man.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
What did Jesus do? He died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and to purchase a place in heaven for us.
Let’s imagine that I have a book in my right hand. It minutely details every account in my life. Each page details the sin of a particular day- every word I have spoken, every thought that ever crossed my mind, every deed I’ve ever done. Here then is the problem- my sin. God loves me but hates my sin and must punish it. To solve this problem, He sent His Son in to the world. The Scripture says “We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6. Picture me taking that book that contains all my sins and it is transferred to my right hand because this passages say that God laid on Jesus ALL of my sins. All of my sins which God hates has been placed on Jesus Christ.
When the last sin had been paid for, Jesus said, “It is finished!” This is an interesting word in the original text. It is TETELESTAI, a commercial word which means, “It is paid; the debt is paid.” When He died, He was buried in a grave for three days but He rose from the dead and went to heaven to prepare a place for you and me. Now He offers heaven – eternal life – To you and me as a gift. And this gift is received by faith.
Faith is the key that opens the door to heaven. On my ring ring there are many keys. Some even look somewhat alike. Yet, when I go to unlock my front door tonight, I could try all these keys except the right one and I could not unlock the door . It does not matter how sincere I am in exercising my belief that a different key will open the door. The fact is that only one key will open the door.
The right key to heaven is saving faith. Before we talk about saving faith – the only key that will open heaven’s door- I want to talk about two other keys that people think will open the door to heaven. These keys are head knowledge and temporal faith.
Many people know certain historical facts about Jesus. They believe in Jesus the same way they believe Napoleon or George Washington. They believe He actually existed. They believe that He was a real person in history, but they are not trusting Him to do anything for them now. The Bible says the devil believes in God “The demons also believe–and they shudder.” James 2:19
So believing in God’s existence is not what the Bible means by saving faith.
Temporal faith is another thing that people often mistake for saving faith. When a person trusts in the Lord for finances, you could call that financial- faith. A person may pray and trust the Lord to take care of his family. You could call this family-faith. There is one thing that all of these have in common. They are temporary. For instance, once you reach your destination, you don’t need to trust the Lord for travelling- faith.
All the tings of this world will pass away. They are temporary. But saving faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. Acts 16:31 says that “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved”. If we were talking in person right now you would notice that there is an empty chair next to me. You believe that the chair exists, right? Do you believe that the chair would support me if I were to sit on it? But you see, it’s not holding me up for one simple reason: I’m not sitting on it.
For the sake of making my point, let the chair I’m sitting in right now represent me and the empty chair represent Christ. For a long time I believed He existed and He could help me. However, I did not have eternal life because I was trusting in my own good works to get me into heaven. Years ago I repented of my sins and transferred my trust from myself to Jesus Christ- from what I had been doing for God to what He has done for me on the cross. Now I sit in the empty chair. By a simple act of faith I transferred my trust from what I had done to what Christ has done for me.
When I asked you earlier what would you say to God if He were to ask you , “Why should I let you into My heaven?” you said, “I try to be good. I try to live a good life. I have been a pretty good person. “Who is the only person referred to in your answer?
To receive eternal life you MUST transfer your trust from yourself to Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.
Faith is the hand of a beggar reaching out to accept the gift of a king. 13 years ago this beggar reached out an unworthy hand and received the gift of eternal life. I didn’t deserve it then and I don’t deserve it now. But I have it- by grace!!!
Why, then, should I try to live a good life? The reason for living a godly life is gratitude for this gift of eternal life. I’m not trying to gain something I don’t have by my efforts to be good. Rather, I’m saying, “Thank you, Lord.” The motive for Christian living is gratitude for the gift of eternal life.
If this makes sense to you then keep reading!!!
If you would like to receive this gift of eternal life the let me clarify what this involves:
1. Transfer of trust
2. Receive the resurrected and living Christ as Savior
Revelation 3:20- “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in eat with him, and he with Me.”
3. Receive Christ as Lord.
4. Repent


If this is really what you want, I can lead us in a prayer and we can tell God what you just told me. Email me or comment to this post and I will respond.


Next week I will pick up where we left off in the book. It is imperative that we know who we are in Christ and that we are a child of the King.


Ciao!!!


D. Shannon Rainwater <
Ezra 7:9-10


Ranting

OK so I had a conversation just a little while ago with a person who is having a tough time. I noticed that the person used a word that is not normal in the English language. It was the “F-” word. So, I said watch your mouth. The response was that they didn’t believe that it was a bad word only that it was an emphatic adjective.

What!?! An emphatic? Please! If it was indeed an emphatic word used to describe disgust then it would be widely accepted as just that!
How many times have I seen (and I’m just as guilty of this as anyone) someone trying to justify their sin. How many times can we say that times are changing and God will understand? Why is it that when things are going bad we blame God then we forget Him when things are going well? Why do think we have to rely on our own strength when we have access to all power?
Sorry for jumping around there.
I remember when I was growing up that I had to play like I was a Christian just so that people at church wouldn’t find out. I found out that I was a pretty good actor. Did you know that our English word “actor” come from the Greek word hypocrite? Funny huh? I was basically a hypocrite but would not admit it. But one day I did, when I became a Christian.
I just wished that it was easier to witness to someone who realizes they need Jesus. BUT the world doesn’t think that way.
By the way…
If you were to die today after reading this post and you are standing before God and He were to ask you “Why should I let you into my Heaven?” What would be your answer?
Think about it? And if you Know that He is going to let you in then what is stopping you from informing your neighbors/relatives/friends? What is the worst that could happen? You send them to Hell #2? NO!!!
And if you don’t know that you are going then please email me. I want to show you how you can know for sure.
Comments? Questions?

Retribution Principle in the Book of Job

The retribution principle is a principle that is common throughout the world. It is a principle that states that the good person will receive blessings and the evil person will receive evil. Its origins cannot be traced to any one single event or practice but it can be placed in the realm of ancient religion. [1] Since the beginning of recorded history man has been trying to answer the question of ‘Why is there suffering in the world?’ It just does not seem that in our nature, a just person should be allowed to suffer but it seems right that an evil person should and deserves evil in retribution.[2] However, if one observes the animals this principle is somewhat none existent. The lion that hunts and kills an innocent deer is considered just a part of nature. The deer did not do anything evil nor did the lion but if the lion were to maim the deer merely for its enjoyment then what of it? Neither the lion nor the deer did evil and yet the deer suffers. The book of Job offers three views of the retribution principle and why is there suffering in the world. First, the satan’s view in which he tries to disprove by a technicality. Second, Job and his four companions offer the traditional view of the retribution principle however, they vary. Lastly, God offers insight to His view with a series of questions. Other religions have this idea of receiving grace for good deeds and evil for evil. For instance, in the Hindu religion the retribution principle is illustrated by what is known as karma. If one did some kind of evil whether it was observed or not one would receive evil in the same context as you gave it.[3] If one were to perform good, then good would come back to the same. This seems as though it is an easy equation to someone who wants good to happen to them. However, there are exceptions and the retribution principle is unexplained. For instance, when a person who is known for their good deeds and message receive a grief stricken blow to their lives and lose everything, it appears to be unjust. The biblical account of Job describes the debated retribution principle in a poetic narrative. The satan challenges God in a contest to see how valid this retribution principle really is. His claims are that of blessing because of the worship or that Job is only worshiping Him because God has blessed him with wealth and good health.[4] Job who is an ‘upright man in all the land’ receives bad news in three series on the same day. He has lost everything he has even his health. Job knows his own heart and searches for the reason God is punishing him and finds that he is innocent. He acknowledges that God is the “just” God and that he deserves His judgments. Job knows and believes the retribution principle but finds himself questioning the validity of it. Job’s wife and his three friends try to put his suffering in perspective by providing their take on the retribution principle. Thus, there are three contrasting yet intertwining views of the retribution principle through the eyes of the satan, Job, his wife and his three friends, and finally the implication of the retribution principle from God. The idea of the retribution principle may very well have started long before Moses but it was with Moses that the idea made sense with the Jews.[5] God promised the Israelites in Deuteronomy 28 that if they were to obey His commandments then He would bless them and place them above every nation and lists privileges that would be bestowed upon them. However, if they disobeyed His commandments then He would curse them and Deuteronomy lists a number of curses.[6] It seemed as a simple equation and yet they would not listen and still disobeyed. This principle illustrated in Deuteronomy was put in place for the people as a nation to follow. If they as a people obeyed God’s commands then they would prosper, but what about the individuals themselves? If a person, apart from the nation were to obey God, would this retribution principle still apply? Satan is mentioned in the book of Job and is consistent to the characteristics and teachings of the adversary of God. He is only mentioned as correctly translated “the satan” and is not given the title of having a proper name.[7] Therefore, shall this be in this paper referred to as the satan. The satan challenged this individual retribution principle in the court of God. He claims that Job only loves God because of the material blessings God has given him. Therefore his charge is that Job’s godliness is self-centered and therefore evil. In other words, Job only loves God because he receives material things from God as a result. He is only righteous because it pays. The satan knew the retribution principle and tries to distort and devalue it at the expense of Job. He is only allowed a few words here and is shown the true meaning of the retribution principle in the following events in the book of Job. This serves as the first criticism against the common belief that God only reacts to goodness with blessings and evil with curses.[8] On the satan’s first challenge to God was to show that Job only loves God because He has blessed him with material possessions, but the second challenge was toward Job’s person or his health. He figured that if God would take away the protection He has on Job’s health, then surely he would curse him. Since the satan was not satisfied enough with the answer of the first challenge this would be how he would prove his point. The retribution principle here was that the satan knew that since Job didn’t worship God because he was blessed then it must be because his integrity has not yet been tested. Blackwood states that the satan believes that “Job is still serving God for the reward of physical health.”[9] God allowed the satan to take away his health and yet Job did not curse God. The satan’s view of the retribution principle is that even the upright and righteous only serve God because they are blessed. He falsely thought that if God were to remove or discontinue the blessings then His very own creation would turn against Him and not worship Him. In a series of debates, Job’s three friends plus one tag along that later interjects present their treatise and offer advice to him. Each taking their turn comforting Job with advice. Eliphaz and Bildad are the first to speak. Their view on the retribution principle coincides with what they have been taught and they agree on the cause but not the method of rectifying the cause of the retribution.[10] After they sit with Job for a time, they take their turn giving their perspective on the possibilities of their friend’s suffering. Only Zophar does not add to the discussion and perhaps this is because either he is interrupted by the youngest of the friends, Elihu, or he feels that the discussion needs no more dialogue.[11] He is there to comfort his friend and may even feel the need to remain silent and this is his way of offering comfort. Zophar’s silence lends nothing to the determination of his view of the retribution principle. It does offer an allusion as to that he does not disagree to what is already stated.[12] Eliphaz and Bildad agree on the cause of Job’s suffering but differ in sympathy. Eliphaz is the older one and offers more sympathy and “milder rebukes.” [13] He is the first to speak probably because he is the oldest and has earned that right. His interpretation of the retribution principle is evident when he explained his theory that Job’s suffering was the result of some type of wickedness. During his second speech, Eliphaz lists all of Job’s possible sins as if he knew or observed Job committing them. The speech progressively gets harsher and even accuses Job’s devotion to God as impaired due to his stubbornness to adhere to his innocence. Kitto describes Eliphaz as “…one of class of men not infrequently met with: naturally mild, gentle, considerate, and right-minded, but dragged almost against their will into harness and injustice by an unwarranted theory or system of belief. The most vehement moral persecutors in all ages have been men of this class and character.”[14] Bildad was not only harsher to Job than Eliphaz but he was also sharper with his words.[15] His insight to the situation regarding Job’s children was a clue as to what his view was concerning the retribution principle. He says that his children were the one who sinned and that they received their just punishment in accordance with the retribution principle. Both Bildad and Eliphaz were pointing out that if a person is undergoing suffering then that person must have offended God or disobeyed Him in some form. Likewise, that anyone who is enduring adversity is being punished for disobeying God’s law. They do not hesitate away from their belief that God just and will not let sin go unpunished. In an effort to resolve Job’s suffering they criticize him for refusing to confess his sins and plea with him to repent. His three friends assert that repentance calls for Job to identify and renounce his sins that seems to be the root of his suffering. Elihu, who is the fourth character in this scene, contrasts his retribution principle view sharply with Eliphaz and Bildad by stressing that repentance involves renouncing any moral authority or cosmological perspective, which is God’s alone.[16] He contrasts them by also taking the peacekeeper’s path by maintaining the sovereignty and mercy of God. He criticizes the approach taken by the three friends and “argues that Job is misrepresenting God’s righteousness and discrediting His loving character.”[17] Elihu is telling Job that what ever the reason these events are happening God is justified in doing so and that God continues to be the loving God that he has always known. “He argues for God’s power, redemptive salvation, and absolute righteousness in all his conduct.” [18] This is why Elihu underscores the inherent arrogance in Job’s desire to ‘make his case’ before God and he takes on the prophetic role preparing the next scene in the book as to which God appears. The retribution principle through the eyes of Job is represented when he stated, “The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Praise the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21) He still holds true the same principle ideas that his friends have but after he debates them, he is unsure of what position to take. Job maintains his innocence intensely and claims that he has done no wrong. He curses the day that he was born and yet he still does not turn from God. He knows that his God is just and good and would not have done this to him without purpose. Nevertheless, Job like any other human wants to know the reason why. He cries out to God for an answer but only receives rebuke from his friends. It is interesting to note that Job, when he is pleading his case, cries out for a ‘Redeemer.’ After the speech from Elihu, Job is confronted by a voice from the whirlwind. God has come to speak. He asks Job a series of questions that dumbfounds him and leaves him helpless and utterly dependant of Him. God never answers Job’s question of why do bad things happen to good people. In the book of Job, God’s view and use of the retribution principle has other purposes than punishment. It is used to bring glory to himself by using the example of Jobs suffering as a picture of our need of a Redeemer, Jesus. The picture of the retribution principle by Job’s suffering is a complex view of the salvation of God. Man does not get what he deserves. Man is considered sinful and deserving of curses. Only God can make a person righteous. Man can obtain mercy, which means man will not receive the punishment that he deserves. In addition, man can obtain grace from which is the positive benefit man does not deserve. [19] God’s view of the retribution principle can also be seen by the use of Job’s example to illustrate to others how just God really is. Job was blessed with many sons and daughters and a wealth that was significant. He then was the brunt of a demonstration of the justice of God. God did not take anything away from Job, but He did allow the satan to interfere. When Job was proven that he was not going to curse God but instead still love Him all the same, God restored Job. God’s view of the retribution principle is not necessarily written as clearly as Job and his friends but the implication is that He ultimately blesses those whom He chooses and curses those whom he chooses. In conclusion, the book of Job is a poetic narrative that illustrates the problem of the retribution principle. The book never specifically answers the question ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ but it alludes to the fact the endgame is as promised. The finiteness of human intellect can only fathom as far as God will allow. Only He is sovereign and knows the outcome. The knowledge of the retribution principle is only limited by our knowledge of God. The book of Job presents various views of the retribution principle. First, the satan views suffering as a tool with which he can force anyone to renounce God. (Job 1:11, 2:4-5). Second, Job’s three friends view suffering as always a punishment for sin. Elihu views suffering as a tool used by God to correct or discipline. Third, Job views suffering as for the wicked at first then realizes suffering is also a refining process. Lastly, God views suffering as a privilege. He gives His people to help Him fulfill His great purpose, such as refuting the satan. God also views suffering as a test to see if we will remain loyal to God for who he is, not for what He does. He also views sufferings as a call to trust Him when we do not understand, because we have confidence that God’s purpose is always best for us. (Job 13:15) During the course of the narrative, it seemed everyone was against Job. This includes the God whom he had served faithfully. Job’s wife suggested that he curse God and die. She reasons, “something is wrong and your faith is a failure. Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9) His friends condemn him rather than console him. They reason, ‘God is just, He never makes a mistake. What have you done to bring this on yourself? Confess your sin.'[20] God seemed to be ignoring Job, refusing for a long time to answer him. Job cries out from the ashes, ‘I cannot understand. What God is doing doesn’t seem right.’ God finally declares, ‘I am God. You cannot understand my ways because I am infinitely greater than you.'[21] In His two lengthy speeches to Job, God makes no mention of Job’s suffering. God never gives Job an answer about why he suffered so much. Job catches a glimpse of God’s perspective, however and acknowledges God’s sovereignty over his life. At the end of the book of Job, the satan is silenced. Job’s friends are silenced. However, God is not silenced. BIBLIOGRAPHY Alexander, Pat. Handbook to the Bible. Oxford: Lion, 1983. Blackwood, Andrew W. Jr. Devotional Introduction to the Book of Job. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1970. Breakstone, Raymond. Job A Case Study. Edited by Raymond Breakstone. New York: Bookman Associates, 1964. Buis, H. The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. Edited by Merrill C. Tenney. Q-Z. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976. Dell, Katherine J. “The Book of Job as Skeptical Literature.” PhD diss., Oxford University, Oxford, 1988. Dillard, Raymond B, Tremper Longman. An Introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994. Gerber, Israel J. The Psychology of the Suffering Mind. New York: The Johnathan David Company, 1951. Guillaume, A. Studies in the Book of Job. Translated by John Macdonald. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1968. Hill, Andrew, John H Walton. A Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000. Ivanski, Dariusz. “The Dynamics of Job’s Intercession.” PhD diss., Pope Gregory University, Roma, 2006. Kitto, J. Bible Illustrations. New York: Carter and Bros, 1870. Macleod, W. B. The Afflictions of the Righteous. New York: Hodder and Stoughton, 1958. Mueller, J.T. “The Paramount Lesson of Job, God’s Glory Magnified by Faith Triumphant over Tribulation.” Theological Monthly 1, no. no.6 (June 1921). Schokel, Alonso. “Toward a Dramatic Reading of the Book of Job.” The Pontifical Bible Institute. Villiers, Henry Montagu. Perfect Through Suffering. Oxford: Oxford University, 2007. ———————– [1] Buis, H, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Merrill C. Tenney, Q-Z (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), 84. [2] Katherine J. Dell, “The Book of Job as Skeptical Literature” (PhD diss., Oxford University, Oxford, 1988), 35. [3] Buis, H, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Merrill [4] Pat Alexander, Handbook to the Bible (Oxford: Lion, 1983), 319. [5] Raymond B. Dillard, Tremper Longman, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 202. [6] Andrew Hill, John H Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 324. [7] Alonso Schokel, “Toward a Dramatic Reading of the Book of Job,” The Pontifical Bible Institute, 50. [8] W. B. Macleod, The Afflictions of the Righteous (New York: Hodder and Stoughton, 1958), 20. [9] Andrew W. Jr Blackwood, Devotional Introduction to the Book of Job (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1970), 40. [10] Raymond Dillard, Tremper Longman, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 203. [11] Breakstone, Raymond, Job A Case Study, ed. Raymond Breakstone (New York: Bookman Associates, 1964), 10. [12] Israel J. Gerber, The Psychology of the Suffering Mind (New York: The Johnathan David Company, 1951), 79. [13] Macleod, The Afflictions of the Righteous (New York: Hodder and Stoughton, 1958), 110. [14] J. Kitto, Bible Illustrations (New York: Carter and Bros, 1870), 104. [15] Andrew Blackwood, Devotional Introduction to Job (Grand Rapids: Baker House, 1970), 69. [16] J. T. Mueller, “The Paramount Lesson of Job, God’s Glory Magnified by Faith,” Theological Monthly 1, no. 6 (June 1921): 171. [17] J.T Mueller, “The Paramount Lesson of Job, God’s Glory Magnified by Faith Triumphant over Tribulation,” Theological Monthly 1, no. no.6 (June 1921): 171. [18] Henry Montagu Villiers, Perfect Through Suffering (Oxford: Oxford University, 2007), 155. [19] Andrew w. Jr Blackwood, Devotional Introduction to the Book of Job (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1970), 152. [20] W.B Macleod, The Afflictions of the Righteous (New York: Hodder and Stoughton, 1958), 80. [21] Ibid. pg. 246.
Turnitin

Operation Andrew

Yesterday, I had the privilege of bringing Alex Aguilar to the saving knowledge of Christ. It was a wonderful experience as he was the first person that the Lord allowed me to share the Gospel with by myself.
Tonight I saw him in the service with his mother and his two younger brothers. How good God is!!!
I am too excited to write anything about it at this moment but I promise I’ll give details later.
For now, I am asking that everyone please pray for Alex. Pray that God would put a hedge of protection around him so that satan could not discourage him. Pray that he would have inner strength.
Praise God!!!
Galatians 2:20 <