June 24, 2018
(Teacher: Lisa Samra)
No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. Job 2:13
“I read about a mom who was surprised to see her daughter I read about a mom who was surprised to see her daughter muddy from the waist down when she walked in the door after school. Her daughter explained that a friend had slipped and fallen into a mud puddle. While another classmate ran to get help, the little girl felt sorry for her friend sitting by herself and holding her hurt leg. So, the daughter went over and sat in the mud puddle with her friend until a teacher arrived.
When Job experienced the devastating loss of his children and became afflicted with painful sores on his entire body, his suffering was overwhelming. The Bible tells us that three of his friends wanted to comfort him. When they found Job, “they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was” (Job 2:12–13).
Job’s friends initially showed remarkable understanding. They sensed that Job simply needed someone to sit and mourn with him. The three men will begin to speak in the next few chapters. The irony is that when the friends do begin to speak, they end up giving Job poor advice (16:1–4).
Job’s wife’s suffering (except for the painful sores) was just as keen as Job’s. She had lost just as much, and her angry advice to Job is completely understandable: “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). Yet even in Job’s response, he “did not sin in what he said” (v. 10). He merely noted that she spoke “like a foolish woman,” implying that he knew her character to be noble. The text also highlights the fact that Job’s friends truly did sympathize with his situation and were there to provide genuine comfort (v. 11). But Job’s wife and his friends couldn’t fathom that he was part of a cosmic battle they didn’t comprehend.
In this life, certain things will remain beyond our understanding. Perhaps someone close to you faces some unanswerable questions. Who might need your quiet presence today?
Often the best thing we can do when comforting a hurting friend is to sit with them in their suffering.
Heavenly Father, help me to be a good friend to those who are hurting. Thank You that You promise to be near to those who are suffering and provide encouragement through Your Holy Spirit.”
June 17, 2018
(Teacher: Chris Tiegreen)
“It was a day of grief and repentance, that day the scribe Ezra read “the Book of the Law of God” in the hearing of the assembly. A generation of Israelites suddenly realized what many previous generations had forsaken—a covenant of love with the great and mighty God. And, according to Nehemiah, they wept.
Have you ever wept over your failures? It’s a humbling experience, pouring out your heart over grievous sins that can’t be undone. The human heart never feels weaker than when it is faced with its undeniable shortcomings. Our humanity is shot through with sin, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re weak and helpless.
Believe it or not, that’s a great place to be. God meets us in our weakness and He exalts the humble. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). It is a blessed frailty to have no claim before God, no words with which to justify ourselves, no bargaining power whatsoever. When we can accept that, we can accept His provision; and there is no greater joy than His provision. It is all we need. It takes us from weakness to strength because God’s power—His very presence—is greatest when we are most visible vulnerable. We can lay down our stressful, painful attempts at self-sufficiency instead. What greater joy is there than to realize it all falls on His shoulders and not ours?
Do you know God’s joy? Have you ever heard Him speak into your grief and say, with Nehemiah, “This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength”? The joyless Christian is bearing burdens no human is capable of bearing. The joyful Christian has come to grips with his weakness and accepted God’s strength by casting all burdens on Him. Learn the art of casting those burdens; be joyful and be strong.
June 9, 2018
Teacher: Chris Tiegreen
“If words are as powerful as a raging fire, able to both warm the heart well and to burn it to a crisp, it might be important to consider their source. Words are not random utterances from absent minds; they are the fruit of the soul. They indicate what’s growing within us, whether the Spirit of God or the spirit of corruption. They are a true measure of the spiritual life. They tell us what’s inside.
Jesus said all the evils of sin “come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’ “ (Mark 7:23). His assessment of human corruption is startling, but experience and wisdom bear Him out. The human heart comes up with all sorts of mischief, and though we often keep it secret, it inevitably flavors our speech. We cannot disguise the condition of a sinful soul. Corrupt words are the fruit of that rotting tree.
But when we have been raised to life by the Spirit of God, our words become the fruit of a living, thriving tree planted by streams of water. Our conversation can be full of grace because we are full of grace. We can speak with the flavor of salt because we have been seasoned with salt. We can bear eternal fruit because we are eternal fruit. The Word of Life fills a faithful heart with words of life. He makes fertile what once was barren.
Analyze your speech. Are you frequently making negative comments? Do you seethe with anger and bitterness? Do you spread discouragement and criticism when you open your mouth? If so, it’s a reflection of what’s inside. It indicates a lack of fellowship with the Spirit of life and hope and grace.
Do not make the mistake of thinking your speech and your spiritual condition are distinct. One reflects the other. If the reflection is negative, don’t just clean up your mouth. Bask in the fellowship of the Spirit. God doesn’t want to change your tongue, He wants to change your heart. When He does, your words become His.”
May 26, 2018
“No one would allow garbage at his table, but many allow it served into our minds.” (Fulton John Sheen)
Today’s technology offers many choices…what are you watching and listening to? “You are what you eat” applies not only in the physical world, but also in the spiritual.
November 28, 2017
Todays Teacher: Pastor Charles Stanley
Read Ephesians 1:9-14
“Did you know that you are an heir to unimaginable wealth that will never fade away? If you’re a believer, then God has an inheritance reserved for you in Heaven. In fact, He says you have already obtained it. (See Eph. 1:11.) Your right to this treasure is not based on anything that you’ve done, but on the one to whom you belong. If you are a child of God, then the inheritance is yours and will be “revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:4-5).
No one can take our inheritance from us, because God has guaranteed it by sealing us with His Holy Spirit of promise. The transaction is complete and merely awaits the ultimate consummation when everything will be brought under the headship of Christ. This seal shows His ownership and authority over us, and one day our full redemption will come.
Naturally, we all want to know what we’re going to inherit. Much of that is beyond our earthly comprehension, but Scripture gives us a few hints. It will involve the transformation of both our body and soul. The goal for which God predestined us will be completed as we stand before Him, conformed to the likeness of His Son (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2). And these weak, perishable bodies will be changed into strong, glorious ones that are free from sin and death (Phil. 3:20-21).
Why has God done all of this for us? Amazingly, He says it’s so that throughout eternity He can show us “the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). In love and gratitude for such amazing goodness, let’s devote each day of our life to living for Him.”