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Lord, What is Your View of Suffering?

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Job 40:6-42:17

Heavenly Father, I read this commentary in the margin of my Bible that shared four views of suffering…

Satan’s view: People believe in God only when they are prospering and not suffering. This is wrong.

The view of Job’s friends: Suffering is God’s judgment for sin. This is not always true.

Elihu’s view: Suffering is God’s way to teach, discipline, and refine. This is true, but an incomplete explanation.

God’s View: Suffering causes us to trust God for who He is, not what He does.  —Chronological Life Application Bible

Lord, I don’t want to be like a spoiled child, only sweet, kind and nice when I’m getting MY WAY. No one wants to suffer but I trust You to never leave me. I trust You to help me to get through life’s tough times. I trust You to have a plan for the pain. I trust You to use my suffering for Your Glory and my good!

Lord, thank You for Job. Thank You for giving us the back-story of his suffering.

We trust you.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Exodus 1:1-2:25, 1 Chronicles 6:1-3a, Exodus 3:1-4:17 

Lord, Forgive Me for Being Your Critic—Job 39:2

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Job 38:1-40:5

Heavenly Father, as I read the Words You spoke to Job, I felt as though You were speaking them to me. How many times have I boldly come to You and demanded, whether consciously or unconsciously, that You answer MY prayer, MY way, in MY timeframe. Forgive me, Lord for arguing with You. Forgive me for being Your critic (Job 39:2).

Father God, in our western world, with our entitlement mind-set, we are 100 times worse than Job at expecting and demanding our rights and constantly questioning anything that doesn’t go “our” way. When something goes wrong our first thought is “whose fault is it?” Never thinking WE could be to blame or YOU Lord, could be working out something that is ultimately for Your Glory and our good. I really think this blame-game mindset is blessed by the enemy of our soul–if we don’t have any one to blame we might have to acknowledge there is a God who is overseeing it all. There is a God who is THE KING OF THIS WORLD!

Jesus, we don’t really understand that we live in YOUR Kingdom. You can do ANYTHING You want. You don’t need anyone’s approval. You brought us into to this world and You can take us out anytime You want, but the good news is You are a kind and merciful king and we are Your children, Your princes and princesses…

You’ve given us authority as royalty

but

we are still under Your authority.

The great news is, we aren’t just under Your authority, we are also under Your protection and You can be trusted!

Lord, I say with Job…

“I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers?
    I will cover my mouth with my hand.
I have said too much already.
    I have nothing more to say.” —Job 40:4-5

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Job 40:6-42:17

Lord, Why Aren’t You Answering Me? –Job 30:20


Today’s Scripture Reading: Job 30:1-31:40

Heavenly Father, I felt so sorry for Job as I read today’s passage. As I put myself in His place, it is unimaginable to survive that much loss, but in today’s reading, the losses that had him in the depths of despair seemed to be pushing him over the edge:

  • The “seemingly” loss of communication with his God
  • The feeling of failing to please his God

I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer. I stand before you,

but you don’t even look.

Job 30:20

Father, just like Job when we’re going through the greatest trials of our lives we sometimes feel like You’ve abandoned us. We may not say the words out loud but the thought, “how could You be watching and allowing this to happen,” definitely crosses our minds.  And right behind that question is what did I do or what didn’t I do?   We start going through a checklist of good behaviors, “Haven’t I been faithful in ________?

Jesus, sometimes our life just doesn’t make sense.  Yes, most of us know the end of Job’s story and we know why he’s gone through so much, but we don’t know the end our own stories and we sure don’t know the ‘why’s’.

But we have hope that Job didn’t have:

  • We have Your written Word that gives us insight into Your nature
  • Our lives have been redeemed by Jesus Christ
  • We are no longer slaves to the evil one

Holy Spirit, remind us of the hope we have in You, through Your Word remind us of the promises You’e made.  Help us to trust You more.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Job 32:1-34:37

Lord, Tell Me What I Have Done Wrong–Job13:23

Today’s Scripture Reading: Job 12:1-14:22

Heavenly Father, when I read Job’s words, “Tell me what I have done wrong,” I realize that just like Job that’s the first thing we think when tough times come our way.  Help us to learn from the story of Job.  Thanks to Your Word, we know Job didn’t do anything wrong.  We know You had complete confidence in Job.  Yet, he still had to walk through his trials.

Jesus, thank you for coming, dying and going back to heaven.  Thank you for taking on our sins so that we can be assured of eternal life.  Thank you for forgiveness.

Lord, thank you for the hope we have in You!  Help us to remember we live in a sinful world and because of that there will be hard places, but when trials come, help us to look to You, our rescuer!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Job 15:1-18:21

Lord, Teach Me How to Comfort the Hurting–Job 6:14

Today’s Scripture Reading: Job 5:1-7:21

Heavenly Father, as I read Eliphaz’ words and tone as he instructed, rebuked, and accused Job of sinning to bring on the wrath of God, I began to play back tapes of times in my life when I had been comforted in the same manner as Job. Yes, just like Job they were well-meaning family and friends, yet their words were like daggers from an enemy.

But I also remember times when I’ve been the one to throw the knife of cutting words to someone I was trying to comfort.  I’ve been the one to say, “If I were you, I would ______.

Lord help us to realize–

  • You need no defense
  • Life on this earth doesn’t make sense sometimes
  • We aren’t supposed to have the answers
  • “I’m sorry” and “What can I do to help you during this difficult time?” are all most people need to hear

Holy Spirit, anoint us to comfort others in their pain and sorrow. Help us to be Your representative to the hurting. Show us someone who is in need of Your comfort today. Use us to bring honor to You, Jesus.

In Your Holy Name.  Amen and Amen!


©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Job 8:1-11:20

“Lord, Do We Have to Read the Book of Job?”


Today’s Scripture Reading:  Job 1:1-4:21

Heavenly Father, most Christians who have been around preaching, teaching and Bible study for any length of time have heard of Job.  We’ve heard of him. We don’t want his kind of life, and we sure don’t want to read about him; after all, his problems could be contagious!  

Of course I’m joking,  Job is a critical book in understanding the life of a Christian.  Lord, give us the desire to stick with our study of Job.

Lord, help us as we begin our study of Job to learn three things:

  1. More about Your nature
  2. More about Satan’s nature
  3. How to overcome our fears

Jesus, help us to want to be like Job, blameless–a man or woman of complete integrity, who fears God and stays away from evil.

Holy Spirit, help us to realize there’s a spirit world that’s functioning simultaneously with our earthly world.  Help us to understand that we have a real enemy, Satan, who’s greatest desire is to keep us from having a relationship with You, Lord.

Father, help us to realize the part our fears can play in our spiritual destruction.  Teach us to bring our fears to You and leave them.

Lord, speak to us through Your Word today.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Job 5:1-7:21

God, Did You Send Me Here?–Genesis 45:5


Today’s Scripture Reading:  Genesis 42:1-45:15

But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. —Genesis 45:5

Heavenly Father, surely You didn’t send me here?

This can’t be Your best for me.

My current situation just couldn’t be in Your plan for my life.

God, would you really allow this to happen to me?

Father, if we’re honest we all ask these questions from time to time. Jesus, use the story of Joseph to give us hope in our difficult places.  He went through thirteen years of being in a place he would have never chosen to be.  Lord, You orchestrated every detail of those thirteen years so that at the exact time and place You would use Joseph, one person, to save the whole Jewish race.  Help us to see this as more than a Bible story, help us to really believe that You did this for Joseph and You will rescue us as well.

Lord, there are folks reading this prayer who are fighting for their lives. I have friends and family who have children and grandchildren who are chronically ill; waiting for a miracle.  Everywhere we go, people are stressed and overwhelmed.  Some haven’t had a job in months. Many are wondering if You have forgotten them…wondering if You really love them.

Lord, let us grab on to Joseph’s story and realize that if You had a plan for Joseph’s pain, You have a plan for ours as well.  Help us to really believe that You see every tear and understand the depth of our pain.  Let us grasp the fact that You are all-powerful and are a miracle-working God.

Holy Spirit, send supernatural hope to everyone who reads this prayer.  Help them to be refreshed and renewed in their hard place. Fill them with belief and trust in You.

Jesus, squeeze every bit of good You can get out of our hard times. If we have to be in this place, use it for Your Glory, use it to cause others to know You more.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen an Amen!


 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Genesis 45:16-47:27

Lord, It’s Beyond My Power to Do This–Genesis 41:16


Today’s Scripture Reading: Genesis 40:1-23; Genesis 35:28-29; Genesis 41:1-57

Heavenly Father, help us realize there are many things in our life that are beyond our power to control.  But Father, help us to know even more, You are all-powerful and nothing is too difficult for You.

Holy Spirit, help us to see that coming to the end of ourselves is not a bad thing, it’s a great thing.  As we can see from today’s reading Joseph had to get to a point where His only hope was God to be able to be used greatly by God.

“It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.” Genesis 41:16

Heavenly Father, Your plan + our desperate situation = the makings of a miracle!

Lord, help us to focus on Your power, Your strength, and Your sovereignty!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Genesis 42:1-45:15

It’s the Most “Difficult” Time of the Year –2 Timothy 3:1-5

Today’s Scripture Reading:  2 Timothy 2:1-4:18

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” How many times have you heard this song in the last month?

I love this time of year, but as I talk to people this Christmas season and look into their eyes their song sounds more like “it’s the most difficult time of the year!”

What do difficult times look like in 2013?

…people out of work, rising costs of food and health care, foreclosures every where we look, life-threatening health issues, stress, exhaustion, addictions, rage, suicide, crazy people shooting people because they didn’t get their way…the list could go on and on.

In today’s reading Paul warns Timothy of difficult times in the last days.

In the last days there will be very difficult times.

People will…

  • love only themselves and their money
  • be boastful, proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents and ungrateful
  • consider nothing sacred
  • unloving and unforgiving
  • slander others and have no self-control
  • be cruel and hate what is good
  • betray their friends, be reckless, puffed up with pride and love pleasure  rather than God
  • act religious but reject the power that could make them godly

Friends, Paul was talking to Timothy, a young leader of the church of Jesus Christ.  These were problems with religious people, not atheists.

Do any of these “signs of the times” look familiar in those around you?

Do you see any of these signs in your heart?

Heavenly Father, help us to be on the lookout for “heart changes” in these difficult times. This is our finest hour to reach out to the lost and hurting. If Paul’s description is a description of us, we will be no value to Your Kingdom. Help us to see ourselves as you see us.  Jesus, break our heart for the things that break Yours.  Send us into the hurting world this Christmas season to show Your love in these difficult times.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Timothy 4:19-22, Hebrews 1:1-4:13

Are You Willing to Serve Others During Your Tough Times? –Acts 28

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Acts 28:1-32, Ephesians 1:1-2:22

When times are tough my first choice is to go to bed, cover my head and not get up until the storm has passed.   The last thing I want to do is serve others.  I tend to close the windows, pull down the shades and get very selfish and self-centered during seasons of hardship.

What if…

the reason God  allowed seasons of hardship in our lives was for the spreading of the gospel?

The Apostle Paul was an expert at continuing to serve God in the midst of tough times.  In today’s reading we see three instances of Paul ministering to others during his “tough times.”

  • Paul prayed for Publius’s father who was ill with fever and dysentery and he was healed
  • When the news spread of Paul’s healing power, all the other sick people on the island came for prayer and Paul prayed and they were healed
  • Paul gathered the local Jewish leaders to share the gospel of Jesus Christ

Paul was in chains or on house arrest and guarded by a soldier during these times of serving others.

How did Paul do that?

  • He was focused on God’s calling on his life more than his personal desires or comfort.  But the Lord said (to Ananias), “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.  And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” Acts 9:15-16 (explanation mine)
  • He knew that God uses our dependence on Him in the tough times to bring people to Jesus
  • He knew that God uses different ways to get His will accomplished (what better way to get a meeting with a king than to be arrested and brought before him)
  • He believed Romans 8:28:  And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
  • He saw EVERYTHING as a divine appointment

What are you going through today?

How does God want to use your “tough times” to spread the love of Christ to others?

Are you willing to serve God and others during your tough times?

Heavenly Father, in our humanness we want to be served in life’s tough times rather than serve others.  Holy Spirit, help us to see the opportunities to serve others in our tough times as God’s calling and plan for our life.  Lord, we want to be like Paul and put others’ needs ahead of our own.  Use our lives for Your Kingdom and Your Glory.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:   Ephesians 3:1-5:14

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