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Lord, Thank You for Understanding My Anger—Jeremiah 21:5

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 24:15-25:17, Jeremiah 34:1-22, Jeremiah 21:1-14, Ezekiel 29:1-16, Ezekiel 30:20-31:18

Heavenly Father, I would never think that because You have a certain feeling, emotion, or thought it gives me permission to feel or think like You. After all, You are God and I am not. But this verse lets me know that You really understand me. You feel all the emotions Your creation feels.

 

I myself will fight against you with a strong hand and a powerful arm, for I am very angry. You have made me furious! —Jeremiah 21:5

Lord, I’ve been in an angry season for a while. I know that may surprise some of my readers but it doesn’t surprise You. Yes, I know the verse about not letting the sun go down on my anger (Ephesians 4:25-26). I don’t want to be angry, I know I shouldn’t be angry, but I’m angry. No, I’m more than angry—I’m furious!

Yes, I can pretend not to be angry but that is a lie so instead Lord, each day I’m bringing my anger to You, asking You to help me work through it. I’m asking You to use Your Word to convict me and love me at the same time. My pain in very deep and I’m asking for mercy and grace as I process the hurt.

Lord, I KNOW I will release the anger and walk in true forgiveness. It’s just a matter of time but I’m not there at this moment.

Holy Spirit, help me to let it go. I don’t just want to be free of my anger I want to be full of Your love.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 32:1033:26, Ezekiel 26:1-14

Lord, Thank You for Doing Away With Generational Curses—Ezekiel 18:19-22

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 17:1-19:14

Heavenly Father, there are Christian teachings going around that give detailed instructions in removing generational curses. Yes, at the time of the Exodus the parents’ sins affected future generations.

You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected–even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. —Exodus 20:5

But, in today’s scripture reading You moved the Israelites to a new place in their relationship with You. You taught them a new concept: Our righteousness or lack there of is a one-on-one thing between You and Your creation. It’s not my mama or daddy’s fault. It’s not the church’s fault. It’s not the government’s fault. It’s just me and You God.

“‘What?’ you ask. ‘Doesn’t the child pay for the parent’s sins?’ No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done. —Ezekiel 18:19-22

Yes, genetics and the environment determined by the parents affect their children but they aren’t doomed by a curse. I know many people whose terrible childhood propelled them to do great things. In some ways it was more of a blessing than a curse.

Father, today’s nugget of gold in Your Word is just one more reason I love reading Your Bible chronologically—I get to see the evolution of mankind’s relationship with You:

Step 1. My parents/previous generations determine my righteousness. (Exodus 20:5)

Step 2. I am responsible for my righteousness. (Ezekiel 18:19-22)

Step 3. I am failing miserably at being righteous. (The Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi)

Step 4. No one is righteous (Romans 3:10)

Step 5. Through Jesus’ sacrifice I am the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 

Jesus, my parent’s righteousness is worthless, my righteousness is worthless but I am the righteousness of God because of Your love and sacrifice for me!

I Love You!

Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 20:1-22:16

Lord, I Can’t Save Anybody—Ezekiel 14:12-14

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 14:1-16:63

Heavenly Father, I wish I could save the world. I wish I could save my neighbors. I wish I could save my family. I’ve certainly tried. I’m embarrassed to say it but I’ve made my share of attempts to be the Holy Spirit. I’ve worked hard to make sure the right book, sermon, or DVD are placed in strategic places so that my loved ones and friends would connect with You. I’ve been disappointed when they wouldn’t come to Church when I invited them, especially when the message seemed perfect for their situation.

Lord, in this passage You made it very clear—I CAN’T SAVE ANYONE!

Then this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, suppose the people of a country were to sin against me, and I lifted my fist to crush them, cutting off their food supply and sending a famine to destroy both people and animals. Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, their righteousness would save no one but themselves, says the Sovereign Lord. —Ezekiel 14:12-14

Noah, Daniel, and Job are amazing heroes of the faith. Lord, I’m so glad You mentioned them by name. I’m imagining them experiencing the same frustrations I experience when I see people willingly jumping off a cliff that will lead them to destruction. All the while I’m screaming for them to stop and they just look at me and smile and say, “I’m good.”

Lord, I’m learning what I can do is…

  • Pray for them
  • Love them
  • Let my life be an example
  • Speak Your Words of truth when You lead me
  • Trust You

BUT

The results are up to You.

Jesus, You are the only one who can save us.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. —John 14:6

Thank You for Saving me!

Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

*Unless noted all scripture references are from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 17:1-19:14

Lord, Help Me Watch What I Say–Numbers 14:28

 

UnknownToday’s Scripture Reading: Numbers 14:1-15:41

Heavenly Father, there are so many lessons to learn from the Israelites.  Many of the mistakes they made mirror my life.  In today’s reading their mouths got them in trouble…again.

As soon as they heard the news about the giants inhabiting their ‘promised land’ every fear in their mind came rolling out of their mouths.  One person’s fear fueled another person’s fear…

Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained.  “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?”  Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!” Numbers 14:1-4

Lord, Your response to the Israelites’ complaining is an important principle for Christian Living:

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “How long must I put up with this wicked community and its complaints about me? Yes, I have heard the complaints the Israelites are making against me. Now tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very things I heard you say. You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die. You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.  Numbers 14:26-30

They were ‘hung by their tongue’...

Their words became self-fulfilling prophesy.

You have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth.   –Proverbs 6:2

What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come trueJob 3:25

Jesus, how many times have I doubted, whined, and complained to the point that You said, “okay, since that’s all you can talk about and think about, I’ll make that a reality in your life.”

Holy Spirit, help me overcome my negative self-talk.  Help me to say and think life, health, and prosperity rather than death, sickness, and poverty.

Father, I pray that when You do to me the very things You heard me say, it will be good things.  I pray that my words reflect my love, trust, and confidence in You Jesus.

In Your Holy Name I pray.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Numbers 16:1-18:32

Is Ignorance Really Blissful?—2 Chronicles 36:15-16

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Jeremiah 39:11-18; Jeremiah 40:1-6; 2 Kings 25:8-21; Jeremiah 52:12-27; 2 Chronicles 36:15-21; Lamentations 1:1-22

My husband Harry has often said that he believes God instituted parenting so that we could understand His heart.  When we see our Heavenly Father through the lens of a parent, our parent; His Word and His ways are overflowing with love, mercy, and kindness.

From the first day I found out I was pregnant with my first child until this very moment my desire for my children has always been to lead them to Christ and to protect them from the tough things in life.  I want to teach them every lesson I’ve learned so they don’t have to make the same mistakes.

My love for my children pales in comparison to the way our Heavenly Father loves us.  My life experience and knowledge of the world is like looking at life through a pinhole compared to the knowledge of our God, who simultaneously sees, knows, and understands the past, present, and the future.

But in the same way my children some times go their own way and do their own thing, we ignore the warnings of our Heavenly Father and choose our own way instead of following the One who divinely knows best.

Can you hear God’s parental side coming out in 2 Chronicles 36:15-16?

The Lord, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple.  But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.

“Mocked these messengers of God and despised their words…”

Sometimes the only way we will learn is to be forced to live with the consequences.  This goes for all of the human race not just children.  I wonder if our God is saying to Himself (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and maybe even the angels…

“I have provided the people of the 21st century with my guidebook to victorious living on this earth, the Bible.  I love them so much I’ve recorded my words to warn them of the pitfalls of this earthly life and to teach them how to be Jesus to the world.  But my people insult me;  they don’t even know what my Word says.  Ignorance of my Word is no excuse for disobedience.”

In a message a year ago, Kraig Krempa, executive pastor at Niceville Assembly said, “What we read is how we’re supposed to live, but by-in-large the church doesn’t read the Bible.”

When we as Christians stand before God, we won’t be able to blame parents, teachers, authors or pastors for their misinterpretations or our lack of knowledge of God’s Word; it’s our responsibility to know Him through His Word.  But the mercy of the Lord is amazing; He sent the Holy Spirit to be our interpreter, IF we open the Bible and spend time with Him, He will teach us!

Ignorance certainly won’t be blissful the day we stand before our God!

Heavenly Father, Your Word is life to us! Being ignorant of Your Word is a tool that Satan has used since the Garden of Eden.  Help us to resist this enemy whose number one goal is to keep us from Knowing You.  Holy Spirit, draw us to your Word, teach us your ways, make us like You and use us for Your Glory!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Lamentations 2:1 through Lamentations 4:22

Help is On the Way–Isaiah 65:24

Today’s Scripture Reading: Isaiah 63:15 through Isaiah 66:24; 2 Kings 20:20-21; 2 Chronicles 32:32-33

I will answer them before the even call to me.  While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! –Isaiah 65:24

Friends, we have a Heavenly Father who already knows our needs before we ask (Matthew 6:8).  I’ve experienced this many times in my life; times when God was working on the answer to my prayer months before there was a need.

This very thing happened yesterday…I’m always reading and preparing a day ahead for our Bible study.  Yesterday morning I was reading today’s scriptures and thought, “Lord, nothing stands out.”  So I put my Bible away and did other things.  Late in the afternoon I checked my email and saw a forwarded message from my friend Carol.

Can I be candid?  Many times when I receive forwarded messages (stories, jokes, “pass this on to 10 people” things) I delete them.  I just don’t have time to read them all.

I checked my email three or four times but didn’t delete or open Carol’s message.

Finally, I opened the email and began to read the story. I couldn’t believe it—the story was about a scripture in today’s reading!  Could God have answered my prayer for today’s study before I even asked?  I know this is a bit longer than my normal posts, but someone out there needs this lesson in faith—TODAY!  There’s also a song that the Holy Spirit brought to my mind as I read this inspiring story.  Friends, I encourage you to hold fast, believe God, help is on the way!

A Lesson in Faith

By: Tina Clark

This is a story written by a doctor who worked in Africa:

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).  We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.  Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates).

And it is our last hot water bottle!’ she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

‘All right,’ I said, ‘put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.’

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. ‘Please, God’ she prayed, ‘Send us a hot water bottle today It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.’

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, ‘And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?’

As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say ‘Amen?’ I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so.

But there are limits, aren’t there?

The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home.

Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the  time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel.

I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of  eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.

From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out.

Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored.

Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas – that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the…..could it really be?

I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle.

I cried.

I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, ‘If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!’

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!

Looking up at me, she asked, ‘Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?’

‘Of course,’ I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator.

And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child – five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it ‘that afternoon.’

‘Before they call, I will answer.’ (Isaiah 65:24)

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Friends, Hold Fast! Help is on the way!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  2 Kings 21:1-9; 2 Chronicles 33:1-9; 2 Kings 21:10-17; 2 Chronicles 33:10-19; 2 Kings 21:18; 2 Chronicles 33:20; 2 Kings 21:19-26; 2 Chronicles 33:21-25; 2 Kings 22:1-2; 2 Chronicles 34:1-7; Jeremiah 1:1 through Jeremiah 2:22

What if God Said, “You Are Going to Die Tomorrow?” –Numbers 27:12-13

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 27:1 through Numbers 29:40

As we enjoy our final days with Moses I am sad for him to die.  There was no other human who had a relationship with God like Moses.   Today’s reading leaves me shaking my head in amazement.  Beginning in verse 12 of chapter 27, God shares with Moses that it is time for him to die. God reminds him why, but allows him to get a glimpse of the Promised Land before he dies.

Let’s imagine for a minute…

Tonight when you and I go to sleep we have a visit from God.  He tells us that tomorrow we will die.

What would be the first words be out of our mouth?

What were Moses first words?

O Lord, you are the God who gives breath to all creatures.  Please appoint a new man as leader for the community.  Give them someone who will

  • Guide them wherever they go
  • Lead them into the battle

so that the community of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd. –Numbers 27:16-17

Moses was a human being, just like you and I, yet the love Moses had for the Children of Israel and the vision God gave him for them was all he cared about.  He didn’t try to talk God out of anything or tell God how to do anything.  He just accepted it and wanted things to go well for his people.

Why the words “sheep without a shepherd?”

I recently listened to a  podcast from a Hebrew scholar named Ray Vanderlaan.  He explained the dynamics of sheep and shepherds.  He said that once the sheep got to know their shepherd they would not follow anyone else.  Because of this, if the shepherd died the owners would kill the all the sheep because they would literally die of dehydration and starvation because they would not follow anyone to food and water.  The only way they would follow another shepherd was if that person spent time with the sheep and the original shepherd so that the sheep could see them as a leader.

Now put that into today’s story.

Moses was their shepherd, he was dying.

As their shepherd he knew that they would die too if they didn’t have a shepherd.  Moses knew that Jehovah God who gives breath to all creatures knew who would be the best replacement.

Who did God choose?

Joshua

Who was Joshua?

  • Joshua went on the mountain with Moses when he received the 10 Commandments
  • Joshua was Moses’ apprentice (my words)
  • Joshua was one of the two spies who gave a good report

Joshua was the “shepherd’s assistant.”  Joshua was the only person the Israelites (sheep) would follow because they had seen him lead with Moses (the shepherd).  God had it all set up.  Joshua would lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.  Moses’ job was to teach Joshua how to lead the Israelites.  This is just me thinking, but maybe that was one of the reasons God was so upset with Moses about hitting the rock (Numbers 20:1-12) was He did not display his respect for God’s holiness in front of Joshua, the future leader.

Moses has more on his mind than living and dying.  He had a divine purpose.  His purpose wasn’t getting into the Promised Land; it was leading the future leader so that he could lead the Children of Israel, God’s chosen people into the Promised Land.

What if our life’s purpose isn’t about us; but about leading our children, grand-children and whoever God puts in our circle of influence to a place of service in the Kingdom of God that we will never go?

Dear Lord, use my life for something bigger than myself!

In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 30:1 through 31:54

Beware of the Ringleader–Numbers 25:4

Today’s Scripture Reading: Numbers 25:1-26:65

The Lord issued the following command to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the Lord in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel.” —Numbers 25:4

Dictionary.com defines ringleader as “a person who leads others, especially in opposition to authority, law, etc.: a ringleader of revolutionary activities.”

I guess it’s safe to say that God was displeased with the ringleaders who led the men to defile themselves by having sex with the Moabite women (Numbers 25:1-3).

What did these ringleaders say to these men to get them to go against God’s Law?

Today’s reading doesn’t say, but here are a few possibilities:

  • These Moabite women are different; they’re not that bad.
  • It’s only this one time, no one will know.
  • God made our sexual desires.
  • If God didn’t want us to be with these women He should have kept them out of our sight.
  • Moses may have just made up this law because he’s too busy to go with us.
  • They’re having an amazing feast!  Aren’t you tired of this manna?
  • We don’t want to be rude, that’s not neighborly.

Have you ever had any of these thoughts before?

Where did they come from?

Were you following a ringleader?

Whether someone was trying to lead you astray or the conversation was going on in your head, you were most likely following the master ringleader, Satan.  He is continually working to get us to go against the authority of our Heavenly Father.

The first question we should always ask ourselves when we are tempted to go against what we know is right is, “Who is talking to me?”

Am I the only person who has thoughts going through their head every waking moment and sometimes when I sleep?

Where do those thoughts originate?

Sometimes it’s God, sometimes it’s Satan, and sometimes it’s our human desires?

As a Christian trying to live a life that is pleasing to God, our goal is to listen to God, not Satan, or our own desires.

How do we know it’s God talking to us?  We must know His voice.

How do we know His voice?

  • Read God’s Word, the Bible-I believe we need to read it all to really know the nature of God; that’s why I love the One-year Chronological Bible. Because it’s written in the order that the events happened, it’s much easier to understand
  • Pray-talk to God
  • Meditate-silently wait for God to speak to you
  • Analyze your thoughts-where did that thought come from?  God, Satan, or my own desires
  • Keep a journal-everything is clearer when you write it down

Just like the ringleaders in today’s reading Satan will ultimately be put to death, but until that day our goal must be to follow hard after God (Psalm 63:8) and run from the ringleader who’s desire is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

Heavenly Father, we don’t want to be deceived.  Give us supernatural wisdom to know Your voice AND to know our enemy’s voice.  Speak loudly Lord.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Numbers 27:1-29:40

Does the Bible Require Us to Respect Our Leaders? –Numbers 16:11

Today’s Scripture Reading: Numbers 16:1-18:32

When I read the rebellious words that Korah, the Levite and his friends from the tribe of Reuben spoke to Moses and Aaron I cringed at their nerve.

They united against Moses and Aaron and said, “You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the Lord, and he is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people?” —Numbers 16:3

It’s so easy to read this story and think, “How dumb can you get?”  “Who in their right mind would question Moses and Aaron’s special anointing?”

But don’t we do the same things Sunday after Sunday. On the drive home from church or over lunch we pick apart our pastor’s…

  • Message
  • Delivery
  • Choice of clothing
  • Hair style
  • Length of sermon
  • Ability to hear from God

I know that Moses and Aaron were special men, set apart by God and it was a rare calling they had, but the Bible teaches principles through the history of God’s people.  There’s a great lesson to be learned in God’s reaction to their criticism of His chosen leaders.

Moses said to Korah: The Lord is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! —Numbers 16:11

Does God really see our criticism of spiritual leaders as rebellion against Him?

He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel. —Numbers 16:31-33

Holy Spirit, show us our areas of rebellion. Convict us when we gossip, complain, and act in ways that aren’t pleasing to You.

Lord, show us the balance between holding our spiritual leaders accountable and respecting their calling.

Lord, help us to realize respecting our spiritual leaders is respecting You and that Your leaders are accountable to You and You will deal with them.

Help us to pray for our leaders instead of criticizing.

We trust Your judgment Lord.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’ Scripture Reading: Numbers 19:1-21:35

How “Not” to Comfort Someone Who’s Grieving–Job 5:8

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

Have you ever had someone say to you, “If I were you, I would…?”

Have you ever gone through some type of tragedy, loss, or difficult time and had someone say, “I know how you feel,” when you knew they didn’t know.

It just does more harm than good doesn’t it?

“If I were you, I would” is exactly what Job’s friend Eliphaz said to him (Job 5:8). There was no “I’m sorry for your loss”, “this is such a tragedy”, “I have no idea how you must feel” or “what can I do to help you?”

Nope. There was nothing but condemnation and “If I were yous.”

Have you ever been an Eliphaz to a family member, friend, or co-worker?

Have you ever been an Eliphaz to someone in your church family?

I’m sorry to say that I certainly have. There have been times when I have kicked someone when they were down–put my foot in my mouth and swallowed it! Most of the time I didn’t do it on purpose; I just didn’t realize how my words were affecting them.  There were way to many times when I didn’t say anything but I sure had Eliphaz thoughts.

So many times we completely avoid people who are grieving because we don’t know what to say. I sort of think it would have been good for Eliphaz to have stayed home and avoided Job that day. He certainly didn’t encourage Job.

Job said it best in chapter 6, verse 26:

Do you think your words are convincing when you disregard my cry of desperation?

Job needed someone to…

  • Cry with him
  • Acknowledge his pain
  • Connect with him at the heart level
  • Grieve with him
  • Help him rebuild his life
  • Comfort him
  • Encourage him
  • Let him talk

Job did not need someone to…

  • Preach at him
  • Criticize him
  • Tell him what to say to God
  • Say silly clichés like: “your loved ones are in a better place,” “God must’ve needed them in heaven”, etc
  • Accuse Job of sin

At the church I attend, Niceville Assembly of God, our Foc[US] statement addresses our desire to NOT be an Eliphaz…

Our commitment to love, acceptance, and forgiveness allows God to bring people to wholeness through restoration and spiritual formation.

Eliphaz was trying to bring Job to wholeness. While his intentions may have been to help, he actually did more to push him down than lift him up. All Job needed was someone to grieve with him. God and God alone is the only one who can bring us to wholeness.

As I bring this post to a close, my prayer is that I never become an Eliphaz to you as we take this journey. The fear of making that mistake could have kept me from starting the journey. But with the urging of the Holy Spirit, I stepped out on faith! My desire is to encourage you and lift you up in your relationship with Jesus Christ!

Blessings!

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

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

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