2:18 PM

   It's Friday, and I'm thinking about starting a series of sorts on my blog.  TGIF (Thank God it's Friday) will also stand for (The God Inspired Forum).  Not that I am saying that my blogging is inspired of God, but rather, the things I will be rambling about on Fridays will be about/pertaining to/having something to do with God, His Word, or a God-moment that happened that week.  And the forum part stands for hopefully what it will become.  More of a chat and discussion than just rambling from me. That way, hopefully, no matter how the week has gone, we can end it on a good note.  Or a God-note.  O.k. now it's just getting cheesy.

   I am attempting to going to read through the Bible this year.  I haven't ever done that, and this will be the year.  I must say, the reading plan on my iPhone is making it ridiculously easy.  No matter where I am, I can just open it up and read it anywhere, and it's right where I left off.  Very nice.  But when I have time to sit down and jot down notes with it, it's even better. 

   Today we will be talking about Job.  I am reading a chronological plan, which means reading through the Bible in the order the events actually occurred, not necessarily the order in which they were written.  And that is the reason that I'm in Job, even though its only January 13. 

   Talk about a fascinating book!  Not one I've paid a lot of attention to in the past, but it is so interesting.  Scene one, you meet Job.  "There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil."(vs.1)  He's wealthy.  He's got lots of stuff. Life is good.

   Scene 2, we meet the devil.  He's talking with God and God is talking about how blameless Job is.  You know the story.  The devil thinks he only loves God because of all his blessings, so God allows him to test him, and in one day, he loses everything except his health. But then he loses that too.   And so in the following chapters there is a lot of "Why me?" going on.  He never loses faith in God, but there is some bitter complaining. But cut the guy some slack, he just lost everything.  

   But his so-called friends and their response is what amazes me in this story.   They are 100% convinced that what has happened to him has happened to him because of his sin and he is completely deserving of his "punishment" and more.  And when Job tries to tell them he has done no wrong, they shout accusations like, "How can a mortal be innocent before God?"  "Can anyone born of a woman be pure?" "My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same." "If you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty and if you are pure and live with integrity, He will surely rise up and restore your happy home."

   I think they meant well.  I think they honestly believed they were right, and poor Job was wrong.  I think they felt very wise,  knowledgeable, righteous, justified, and very...well...right.  But they weren't.  They were wrong. 

   Job tried to stick up for himself.  Saying "I will never concede that you are right; I will defend my integrity until I die."  "Even now my witness is in Heaven.  My advocate is there on high."  "You must defend my innocence, O God, since no one else will stand up for me." And he isn't saying these things out of line. I mean, Job is blameless.  He doesn't just think he is, or pretend he is, he is.  God said he is.

   And then, when Job has already had more than he can take from his "friends", a new character comes on the scene named Elihu, and boy does Elihu think pretty highly of himself.  He talks about how wise and all-knowing he is and then basically preaches to Job for several chapters about who God is, and all that he is saying is technically true and right about God, but He couldn't be more off-track.  That is scary to me.  That sometimes there can be Elihus in our lives, and they sound so smart, and know their Bible, and condemn us, and all we have left is a feeble reply, "I am blameless in God's sight".  But Elihus, they proceed to tell you how wrong you are to say that, and how deceived you are to even THINK that, and they always sound pretty convincing. 

  Anyway, I know from peeking ahead that things get even more intense when God shows up in a whirlwind and leaves everyone speechless.  I am looking forward to reading the rest of it.  But that's enough for today so I will leave you with this:  From this timeless story, we learn that hard times do not always = punishment.  So when life gets rough, maybe instead of wondering where we went wrong, we should trust that the Holy Spirit will reveal the area in our life that we need to change, if there is one,  and just keep pressing on.  Just keep on trusting in the promises God has given you, and know that He will guide you into truth. 

And just maybe, sometimes that means ignoring some very dear 'friends'.
On that note, I will sign off. I hope your weekend is a great one!

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