Archive for category Advice & Counsel

Life Lessons From the Book of Job


Stuckenbruck Gift

During my life as a Christian I have read through the bible several times. God has always drawn me to His word and I’ve read it cover to cover on average of every 18 months ever since I became a believer during the summer of 1976.
As I recently read through the book of Job I made four general observations that are important life lessons for the believer:
1) When we are tested, we shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)
2) Have compassion on fools and those that wrongfully accuse you and pray for them. (Job 42:8)
3) If we are not absolutely sure how to respond to another’s adversity, it is best to wait for the Lord’s direction and to pray prayers of intercession. It is best to keep silent until we have been given an answer by God and only speaking on God’s behalf if and only if God directs us to be his messenger. Elihu waited to speak until Job’s three other friends had finished speaking. He spoke to the best of his knowledge about God’s righteousness, justice, and goodness. Elihu’s mistake was that although he was not nearly the fool Job’s other three friends were, he still did not fully get it right either. Although he was patient enough to let his elders speak first, he did not get God’s permission to speak for Him. However Elihu did not judge Job and therefore was not rebuked by God as his other three friends were. We need to learn to be patient and wait for the Lord’s timing. (Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.) Job’s situation was dire, to say the least, however, we must remember that God always has things in His control.
4) Some of our suffering is a direct result of persecution and has nothing to do with whether we have sinned or not sinned. However, God allows us to be tested by persecution in order to further His kingdom and fulfill His purposes. (Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. James 1:2-5 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.)

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The 5 Wisest Words


“One day at a time.” These words have got to be the 5 wisest words ever spoken. If you learn to heed them you’ll be well on your way to inner peace.

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Alcoholics Are Drunken Fools


Let’s be honest. For those of us that are sober, the drunk is a fool. If we know and love someone who has become an alcoholic, we need to love them enough to treat them as such and not accept them as anything less than a fool. Unless the drunk sees himself for the fool that he is, he will not see the need for change, because a fool seems wise in his own eyes. Do not let yourself succumb to the fool’s foolishness and don’t give ear to his so-called wisdom. Instead let the drunk see himself for what he has become and get him the help he so desperately needs when he finally comes to his senses. A drunk only feels normal when he is drunk, but his behavior is by no means normal. Whatever the underlying issues are for his behavior needs to be dealt with. Although these issues, however painful they might be, need to dealt with while he is sober and while being counseled by someone who loves him enough to love him with tough love. The alcoholic needs to become accountable to a person of strong character and sobriety needs to become his new normal of choice and learn to deal with life’s difficulties by making people his friends rather than drink.

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Who Is Your Intercessor?


Job sought an intercessor and regrettably his friends never interceded on his behalf.  Job stated in Job 9,  33 “If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together”.  He yearned for intercession, yet received nothing but accusations and judgement from his friends.  After a lengthy debate with his so-called friends, he finally receives intercession from his Maker.  God the Father intercedes for Himself (since He was misrepresented by both Job and his friends) as well as for Job.  God then encourages Job to be an intercessor for his friends since their judgemental attitude and false statements against God’s righteous servant earned them a punishment befitting their lack of compassion and misrepresentation of God.  Job is humbled and capitulates to intercede and receives a complete restoration of his former blessings.

When you’re faced with a seemingly impossible situation, do you have a friend who you can count on to intercede for you?  I do, and His name is Jesus!

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Who We Are In Christ, part III-b of III


This evening we will look at the last handful of verses that demonstrate the assurance of who we are in Christ.  To review, we can be assured that we are accepted, secure and significant.*
 
     3. I am significant.
 
    • I am God’s coworker.  "For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building." – 1 Corinthians 3:9
    • I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm.  "and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." -Ephesians 2:6
    • I am God’s workmanship.  "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." – Ephesians 2:10
    • I may approach God with freedom and confidence.  "in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him." – Ephesians 3:12
    • "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." – Phillipians 4:13

We would do good to remember these things.  Trust me, Satan will test us in hopes that we forget who we are in Christ.  When we forget, we are easily defeated.  We need to remember to put on the full armor of God, every day for the rest of our lives!

Choosing to Live Victoriously,

Your Brother in Christ,

Jim 

 
*From Victory Over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson.

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Who We Are In Christ, part III-a of III


This morning I will share with you the first 6 of 11 scriptures that demonstrate the last key assurance we have as believers; to know who we are in Christ.
 
     3.  I am significant.
 
    • I am the salt and light of the earth.  "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?  It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." – Matthew 5:13,14
    • I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life.  "I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser."  I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."
    • I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.  "You did not chose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you." – John 15:16
    • I am a personal witness of Christ.  "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." – Acts 1:8
    • I am God’s temple.  "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" -1 Corinthians 3:16
    • I am a minister of reconciliation for God.  "Therfore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; all things have become new.  Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

I would like to just comment on a word used in the 6th point mentioned above.  The word reconcile.  I am not an accountant, but I did learn a little bit from one when I was a partner in a small business for about 7 years.  One of the things I learned was that the books, the accounts, had to be reconciled from time to time.  By state and federal laws, all discrepancies in the books needed to be accounted for.  This sometimes took hours to find the mistakes in accounting that caused things to not add up.  The goal in reconciling accounts is to find and correct all mistakes so that all things are made equal and perfectly balanced.

This is what God has done for us!  We are born unreconciled and indebted to God because we are born with a debt ( we are born into original sin) that needs to be reconciled.  By His law, no one with the debt of sin may enter His kingdom and His presence.  We are unable to reconcile our own debt because God requires the debt to be paid by one who has no debts.  God chose His one and only Son, "who knew no sin" (who had no debts) to pay our debt for us!  Our account is paid in full and therefore our account is perfectly balanced on our behalf.  We only had to receive the free gift of debt reconciliation and accept the price Jesus paid on our behalf!  In Christ, we are, and always will be, debt free!  Our account has been reconciled once for all!  Hallelujah, a debt immeasurable has been paid for us!  From hearts overflowing with the gratitude and joy of being set free from all our debt, we undoubtedly can’t wait to tell everyone how they too can be set free from all debt.  This is how and why we become ministers of reconciliation!

Enjoy your free gift of reconciliation and pass on the gift to everyone you meet!

In Christ,

Brother Jim

    

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Who We Are In Christ, part II-b of III


Here are the other seven verses that pertain to the 2nd assurance of Who we are in Christ.  (From Neil T. Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness.)
 
     2.  I am secure.
 
    • I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.  "Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." – 2 Corinthians 1:21,22
    • I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected.  "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." – Philippians 1:6
    • I am a citizen of heaven.  "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." – Philippians 3:20
    • I am hidden with Christ in God.  "For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." – Colossians 3:3
    • I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.  "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." -2 Timothy 1:7
    • I can find grace and mercy in time of need.  "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." – Hebrews 4:16
    • I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.  "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. – 1 John 5:18 NIV

May you rest secure in the grace of The Almighty,

Brother Jim

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