Let this message encourage your faith in receiving the blessings God has already provided for you in Jesus.
This interview with Pastor Joseph Prince from Singapore gives wonderful insight into God’s way of believing Him for complete salvation and victory through Jesus’ totally finished work. The truths he shares here are not new at all, but, unfortunately, they are often misunderstood or even totally left out of the Gospel that is being preached in many churches in the world today. But those who have learned to take God at His Word and rely on the work that has already been accomplished by Jesus on our behalf have found that victory over sin and the evil influences of this world is a whole lot easier than the enemy wants us to believe. I pray that this short interview will increase your faith and your joy in your own salvation.
There are a lot of religions in this world, and I’ve studied most of them. To my knowledge there is no religion — other than Christianity — that guarantees us an eternity of constant joy, freedom, and peace with our Creator unless we work at it and expend ourselves to earn it. All other religions require man to DO something to acquire the state of eternal bliss that we’d all like to look forward to. Some require more than others, but not one — other than Christianity — offers us that blessed eternity free.
Of course, in actual fact, Christianity is not really a “religion.” It’s simply a Father and His family. And since the eldest Brother of that family (Jesus) was willing to step down from His throne, come to earth and live a perfect life for every one of us, then go to the cross and pay the price for our rebellion and sin, all of the earning of salvation has been completed and is done. We are free to simply accept the finished work of Jesus on our behalf and receive Him as Lord of our lives. We don’t “work” for our salvation. We “accept” it as the free gift that it is. And once Jesus is truly Lord of our lives, suddenly doing the things that please the Father becomes a joy and delight — not an enforced duty.
And when we finally get to know the real God and our hearts yearn to make His heart happy, we find that there is very little on His list of what He’d like to have from us.
Here’s God’s list. Here are the 3 most important things that He wants from us.
1. Love Him.
2. Trust Him.
3. Spend time with Him in conversation and fellowship.
No pain; no strain; just loving our Father and hangin’ out with Him.
Have a happy day making God happy today!
Many people do not realize that the ability to pray in tongues is also a very valuable tool when seeking healing from the Lord. Of course, this gift comes with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, because so many in the Body of Christ have been taught that the baptism in the Holy Spirit and tongues are not for today, those Christians do not have the opportunity to take advantage of this avenue to health.
It is not the purpose of this book to teach a lesson on tongues, so we will limit the explanation to the following: There are two different categories of tongues spoken of in the Word of God. One is the gift described in 1 Corinthians 12, which includes both tongues for personal prayer and for giving messages from the Lord in public meetings.
When used for giving public messages, the tongues must be accompanied by interpretation, and scripture explains that tongues used in that category are not necessarily available to everyone all the time. The gift of tongues for messages, along with the gift of interpretation are operated, like all the other nine gifts of the Spirit, and they are manifested only as the Spirit wills. The entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 14 gives detailed explanations of how these gifts should be used in public meetings.
However, the second category – tongues for personal use – is given to all believers and, whether or not those believers make use of this gift is entirely up to each person. We must be careful to understand that even if we do not find ourselves used to give public messages in tongues, we have Jesus’ word of promise that we will have access to tongues for personal prayer equally with every other believer. Mark 16:15-17 tells us clearly,
Now, the word translated in English as “tongues” is actually the Greek word which means “languages not learned through natural means.” So, in other words, a totally supernatural gift from the Lord that bypasses our intellect.
The Lord explains, through the words of St. Paul, in Romans 8:2-27, that often “we do not know how to pray as we should.” And, of course, many people, when they are suffering physically, find it hard to pray as effectively as they need to pray. But God has a solution to this problem, and verse 26 tells us that His Holy Spirit helps us pray through utterances too deep for words. (The literal Greek here says “groanings or utterances too deep for articulate speech.”)
St. Paul, through the Holy Spirit, goes on to tell us in 1 Corinthians 14:5 that he wishes we would all pray much in tongues. And he makes clear in verse 14 of that chapter that when we pray in tongues, our minds are not involved – only our spirits. It is true that our minds must make the decision to allow our spirit to be in charge of our prayer, so that we release our tongue to speak the utterances the Holy Spirit gives us, but other than making that decision of the will, the mind has no part to play. As a result of that fact, our own mind, our own lack of understanding of medical conditions, and our own fears are shut out, and our spirit – helped by the Holy Spirit – takes over our prayers.
But possibly one of the most exciting truths in this passage of Scripture is what we learn in verses 2 and 4 of chapter 14. Verse 2 tells us that when we pray in tongues, we speak mysteries to God. He can also speak mysteries back to us because He’s in charge of the language. We must do the actual physical speaking, but He provides what’s being said in the sounds we make. But since we’re speaking mysteries, not only does our un-renewed mind stay out of the picture, but so does the enemy of our souls, because he can’t understand what we’re saying either.
But wait: It still gets better. Verse 4 tells us that the one who prays in tongues edifies himself. Now, most people consider that verse to mean that we build ourselves up spiritually. And, of course, we do, but that’s not the total benefit. The word translated “edify” means “to build or repair the house.” Now, let that sink in: your spirit is praying (with the language provided by the Holy Spirit), and that prayer is building/repairing your spirit’s house. And what is that house? That’s right – it’s your physical body. A number of Christians have learned that healing – especially for seriously troubling or obstinate maladies – can come successfully through praying in tongues. I know of situations where nothing else seemed to bring the desired manifestation, but praying at length in the language given by the Holy Spirit accomplished the work and brought forth the miracle.
As we’ve said each time we’ve discussed one of the means of healing that God prescribes in His Word, these means and these practices are not formulas. They do not work because we follow a list of ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s. They are each an avenue that God has provided to get His healing power into us, and they work successfully when we dig into the Word and prayer and let God lead us to the specific means that is right for each of our situations at that particular time.
Graphic: © Jim Sutton @ gospelgifs.com
For the Introduction and Chapter 1 of the book, click on “The Lord Giveth; The Devil Taketh Away” in the menu.
THE LORD GIVETH; THE DEVIL TAKETH AWAY: Looking at Job Through Jesus
© 2010 by Sandra Conner
CHAPTER TWO: WHAT’S IN A WORD?
What’s in a word? A lot, apparently. Words have the ability to identify things, relate facts and feelings, affect ideas and emotions, quiet a troubled child, or stir up a revolution. In fact, according to the scripture, words are so important and powerful that Jesus said people will be “justified” or “condemned” by their words. (Matthew 12:37). He also said that the words He spoke while on earth were “spirit and life.” (John 6:63). And Proverbs 18:21 says clearly that the very “power of life and death is in the tongue” (the words people speak). Wow! It seems that choosing the “right” word each time one speaks or writes is indeed crucial.
So what happens – with an ancient book like Job – as with many other ancient manuscripts — if a truth revealed centuries ago must be translated into another language, and new words have to be found that will relate that truth correctly? Well, if there is only one definition of a word, that task is relatively easy. But if a word in one language has multiple definitions, the translators have to be very careful to select the definition that abides by the original author’s intent and purpose.
Bible readers frequently wonder why, once in a while, they come across a verse or passage that sounds as though God has acted out of character or as though the writer of one book is directly contradicting the writer of another. The Book of Job abounds with those kinds of problems, but a few other scriptures frequently cause concern as well. However, the original Author of the book has the answer to that question. His answer is to point the reader to the person of Jesus Christ. How wonderful to realize that all of the answers human beings need are still in Jesus – always have been – always will be.
Now, it’s a simple fact that in order to reach the highest level of faith in God’s Word, people need to understand it. God Himself gave the key to doing that, but unfortunately, so much of the world – even a large portion of the church – has lost sight of the simple technique prescribed by the Author Himself.
If Christians want to fully comprehend God’s Word to them – including the book of Job — so that they can put it to work effectively in their lives and in the world around them, the first principle that they need to know and understand is this: all scripture — all scripture — must be interpreted and understood through Jesus Christ. There is no other way. Every word in the book must be understood through Jesus Christ. This formula for interpreting all scripture sets people free from nagging doubts and fears that they can’t understand God’s Word for themselves — or that someone else can lead them astray by false teaching.
Anointed Bible teachers can help people understand meanings of words and phrases by taking them back to the original languages and correctly defining words for them. But even without ever looking at a word or passage of Greek or Hebrew, the Bible reader can tell for himself if the point made or the picture portrayed in a passage of scripture matches Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament, of course, must be interpreted and understood through The New. But even the New must be interpreted and understood through Jesus and what He showed mankind while He was on the earth. It makes understanding God very simple, and it helps the Bible student clear up some things that may have seemed like discrepancies or disagreements between scriptures.
There are multiple scriptures that will verify this foundational point. John, chapter one, verses 1-3, (NAS): “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Verse 9: “There was the true light, which coming into the world enlightens every man.”
There’s a part of a verse in the Christmas carol “O Holy Night” that says, “Long lay the world in sin and error, pining, till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.” That’s so very true. When Jesus came, the soul of the human race finally recognized its value and its worth. They had fallen into sin and its curse, and had lost the correct perception of God and themselves. Their awareness was of their own sinful, fallen state, and they were in misery. Jesus brought light and revelation because He came to show just how far God would go to restore mankind.
The fallen human race had had a covenant with their Creator, but until Jesus came, bringing that covenant to fullness and bringing that light, humanity did not truly realize what they were worth — not until they saw Him and the sacrifice He was making for them.
“Long lay the world in sin and error … pining” … until Jesus came … and then God’s creation realized what they were all about and how valuable they were.
But go on to verse 14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” V. 16: “For of His fullness, we have all received, and grace upon grace, For the law was given through Moses. Grace and Truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time. The only-begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. “
The Amplified Bible says in verse 18 of this passage: “No man has ever seen God at any time. The only unique Son, the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. He has revealed Him, brought Him out where He can be seen. He has interpreted Him, and He has made Him known.”
Now, if a person wants to know what God’s like, and wants to know what the Godhead is like, there’s only one person to look at to find out: The One who brought God out; the one who interpreted Him. The Only-begotten Son has brought Him out where He may be seen.
The gospels are full of confirmation of this fact. Jesus Himself kept saying throughout His earthly ministry that it was not He who was working, but the Father. He said whoever had seen Him had seen the Father.
Then in Hebrews 1:1-3 (Amp.) the Lord gives another confirmation: “In many separate revelations, each of which set forth a portion of the truth, and in different ways, God spoke of old to our forefathers in and by the prophets. But in the last days, He has spoken to us in the person of His Son, whom He appointed heir and lawful owner of all things. …He is the sole expression of the glory of God; the lightbeing; the outraying of the Divine, and He is the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature.” New American Standard says, He is “the express image of God.”
So Jesus alone is the total perfect imprint — the very image of God’s nature. To know what God is like, one must look at Jesus Christ.
Now in John, where it says the law was given through Moses and “grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ,” that statement represents a huge leap forward for man’s understanding of his supernatural God. The word truth that is used here is from the Greek and it’s precise definition is “reality.”
So what John is saying, as well as Hebrews, is that through all of the Old Covenant, God was always trying to give His people some idea of what He was like and what he had in store for them. He tried to give them an idea of what His plan was to work out their salvation so that they could be brought back into the bosom of the Father. So that they could start over as the family that God originally wanted. So He spoke to them in what the Bible refers to as types and shadows, and that’s what they had in the Old Testament. Here in Hebrews it says He spoke to them in many separate revelations, which set forth a portion of the truth, and spoke to them through symbols and types of Jesus Christ and shadows of what was going to come to pass.
God set up the Old Covenant so that they could understand sin and understand the sacrifice that was necessary to pay for sin. They saw that a lamb had to be given to take away the sin and atone for what they had done. And God continued trying to help them understand. He set up the tabernacle in the wilderness so that He could explain through various parts of that tabernacle what the relationship was between God and His people, and what He wanted that relationship to be.
But when Jesus Christ came – in the fullness of time as Galatians describes it — when Jesus came on the scene, mankind no longer needed types and shadows. The human race no longer needed symbols. They didn’t need somebody to draw them a picture anymore, because here He was! WILL THE REAL GOD PLEASE STAND UP?
He has. The real God stood up and made a spectacle of Himself for all of the world to see and understand. The real God stood up in Jesus Christ. There is no other picture. There’s no need for any other picture. The real God stood up in Jesus Christ, and said, “Now, beloved, you don’t need symbols , or animal sacrifices, or the tabernacle, or any of this other stuff. Now you can get to know the “real” Me, because now I’m able to get up close and personal.”
And that’s what Jesus came to do. He was “reality.” Grace and reality came with Jesus Christ. The world didn’t have to wonder anymore what God was like. Jesus said when you’ve seen me you’ve see the Father. In other words: “What you see is what you get.”
Why elaborate so much on that point? Because the church at large accepts that idea mentally, but not in actual fact. So often, when people get to where the rubber meets the road – actually applying God’s Word to specific circumstances; knowing what they have faith for; knowing what they can stand against; knowing how long they can stand and fight the battle and not give up; knowing for sure what God’s will is and what it isn’t — in the hard places — the church, for the most part, fails to stick with what they see in Jesus.
They let go of the fact that Jesus is the “real” God and that what we see in Him is the final word. And even though they say they believe – and do believe at the level of their minds — they don’t really believe deeply enough to live their lives according to that fact. In the times of serious trouble, they tend to revert to the traditional teachings based on well-worn scriptures – poorly translated scriptures – that seemingly don’t line up with what Jesus demonstrates in His life. And because most of those scriptures have been accepted by the majority of Christians and handed down for generations, they somehow seem true and even holy. So most Christians base their faith on those passages rather than choosing to hold tight to what they see in Jesus.
So what does one do about those passages that seem to portray a God unlike Jesus? How does the average Bible reader get to the real truth in those scriptures? There is a simple method. In fact, it’s the method used in this study of Job, but it applies throughout the Word:
Step 1: Recognize that every passage of scripture must be understood through Jesus Christ, who is the only true picture of God.
Step 2: Recognize that any scripture that appears to be contrary to something Jesus exemplified in His life on this earth, has a problem, either with the translation or the interpretation of that scripture.
Does that mean the Bible’s wrong in certain places? No. The Bible is not “wrong.” However, some passages have been incorrectly translated to say something that the original Bible manuscripts did not say.
When the reader comes across passages that seem to show God saying something, doing something, or handling things in a way that doesn’t line up with exactly what Jesus did or refrained from doing in His life, a closer look at the words of that passage in the original language will bring the solution to light. Sometimes the problem lies in the fact that punctuation was not included in so much of the original work, and each translator’s own choice of usage can easily alter meanings. However, most of the time the problem lies in the definitions of words.
In the vast majority of cases involving those questionable passages, the reader will come across at least a word or two that, in the original language, has two or three different definitions. In other words, that word – and therefore that passage – could have been translated several different ways.
When the translators changed those passages to English, they chose one of those several definitions. Sometimes that method can work out just fine. But occasionally there’s enough difference in those definitions that it changes the picture completely. And when that happens, the reader has to look at those definitions and ask himself which one of them lines up with what Jesus showed the world in His life. It should go without saying that the definition that matches Jesus is the only one that can be correct.
Why were alternate definitions chosen at times? Often it was because certain words actually meant something different hundreds of years ago, when so many of the translations were being written. The meanings, especially the connotative meanings, have changed considerably. Other times, there was a space problem to be dealt with. One definition may have been available in a single English word, while the others would have required three or four words to render the meaning clearly.
One classic example of such a need to use multiple English words when translating from Hebrew is with Psalm 23. In the original Hebrew, that psalm contains only 55 words, whereas, the English translation, in order to be completely accurate, contains 115.
There may have been other reasons for choosing one definition over another, but discovering all of them is not the purpose of this teaching. It will suffice to say that Jesus Himself made it clear that unless what people believe lines up with Him, they are not believing the truth about God.
So, returning to the story of Job, the Bible student must ask himself if the picture he sees of God looks like the picture Jesus exemplified when He was here in the flesh. If it does not match Jesus, then it is time to look deeply into the original language and find the true meaning of the words – the meaning that does match Jesus Christ. The correct words are there – within the original language. The reader just has to want the truth enough to find them.
This fact is worth repeating: the correct words are there. That’s the beautiful thing about God’s desire to reveal Himself. He always provides the right words to do so.
In the following chapters, two specific examples of this problem in the book of Job will come under scrutiny, along with some other seriously misunderstood aspects of the life and experiences of this ancient believer.
Look for Chapter 3 on Friday
It’s been years since I focused an article on my book about the Biblical book of JOB. My original book was only 53 pages, with an online appendix of more detailed explanations about some points. However, I’m now in the process of moving that online appendix into the printed book (in preparation of a new edition that the publisher will offer on Amazon later this year), and I thought it might me a good time to offer some of the material again as a regular post on here. So today I’m posting the “Introduction” and “Chapter One” of the book.
Now, let me begin with this word of warning:
The following book is radical. It will force the reader to take a long, hard look at what he genuinely KNOWS about God, as compared to what long-held traditional doctrines and translations have TOLD him about God. If you let yourself become offended or frightened by what you read in the first several pages and quit reading, you’ll lose out. Only by reading to the end can you fully understand the powerful truth that’s related here.
I’m not the only Bible teacher who knows these truths or who shares them. However, in the whole scheme of things, there are very few of us, and as a result, there are millions of people the world over — both Christians and non-Christians — who have a sadly impaired understanding of this book.
So as you begin, be prepared to think and pray — and to be set free to move up to a new level of relationship with the Creator and Lord of the universe. (If you’d rather not have to think and pray right now, you should read something else.)
THE LORD GIVETH – THE DEVIL TAKETH AWAY: Looking at Job Through Jesus
(Copyright © 2010 Sandra Conner)
Years ago, a seasoned Bible scholar stood before a class of eager young men and women who were training for ministry in the Kingdom of God. He asked a simple question, which shocked some, challenged others, but held the attention of all. The question: “How Christlike is your God?”
I never knew this man personally, and I learned of his challenge to this group of budding ministers only a few years ago. But it touched a very deep chord inside of me, because during my 40 years of ministry, the one over-riding desire in my heart has been to teach in such a way that I could help people see the truth about who God is and what He feels, thinks, and desires. I learned at the beginning of my ministry that there is only one way to understand God as He really is, and that is to understand Him through Jesus Christ — not through my own thoughts and experiences — not through the doctrines of various denominations or cultures — only through Jesus Himself.
St. Paul, in writing to the church, expressed his deep concern — to the point of fear — that the young Christians were being drawn away from looking to Jesus Christ as the only clear and true representation of God and His will in their lives. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve, through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:3).
I experience the same fear for people today. There are so many teachings, translations, traditions, and doctrines (inspired by that same serpent) that have taken scriptures out of their context as part of the entire Word of God and twisted them in order to explain God according to man’s limited understanding and experience. Man has tried to make God like man — rather than looking at Jesus Christ and staying focused on Him until man becomes like God.
The Lord has had me teaching these truths for decades now, and with respect to the book of Job, I have seen these truths set hundreds of people free from their false ideas of God as some ogre who can’t be understood, and who is just waiting to slap them down with some horrible problem or torment. The Lord dealt with me for years to get these truths into book form, and I lagged in my obedience. Finally, He managed to convince me that I was overdue in that obedience and that He was sorely disappointed. Needless to say, I got this book together in record time.
An editing friend of mine, after reading it, said to me, “You sound rather combative in several parts of the text.” My answer: “Yes, I am combative, because this is a war. I’m fed up — and God’s fed up — with people believing things about Him that are not true. I’m at war against the lies of the enemy that have become embedded in the Body of Christ over generations. This is no time to be tentative or wimpy about what’s being said here.” I’m grateful beyond words for all the people who have realized a new, fear-free relationship with God through these truths, and I offer the book here on this site in an effort to help even more.
Now back to the question I mentioned at the beginning of this introduction: “How Christlike is your God?” It is my prayer that this simple question will serve as the standard of measure for every sincere Bible teacher when evaluating any and all subject matter relating to God and His Word. And to that end, I have dedicated this book.
CHAPTER ONE: REALITY OR MYTH?
It’s a well-known, well-worn story. In fact, it’s safe to say that most people in the world have heard it at least once, and often repeatedly:
In the early days of human history, there lived a man by the name of Job, who was “perfect” and “upright,” and who served the great Superbeing of the universe faithfully. The devil went before this Superbeing one day, and Superbeing decided He’d like to prove to the devil just how much greater He was than His adversary, so He picked on Job and decided to use him to prove His point. He taunted the devil with these words, “Have you considered my servant Job — how good he is and how faithfully he serves me?”
The devil knew Job was faithful, and he could see how much Superbeing loved Job, so he did a little taunting of his own. He challenged the Superbeing with the accusation that Job served Him only because he was blessed. The devil dared the Superbeing to take away Job’s blessings and inflict him with pain and grave loss – just to see if he would still be faithful.
Superbeing took up the challenge and, insisting that he would be proven the winner in this contest, he gave the devil free rein to do anything he wanted to do that would hurt Job — except to take his life. In effect, He said, “No matter what you do to him, he will still serve me. You’re free to do anything you want except kill him, and I’ll prove to you that he will still be faithful to me.”And in the end of the story, Job is proven faithful and receives multiplied blessings for proving the Superbeing right and the devil wrong.
Wow! What a story! The superpowers of the spirit realm seeking to glorify themselves – taunting each other over which one had the most faithful followers. And subjecting those followers to severe, heart-rending trials in order to prove their boasting true.
Yes, it’s an amazing story, but it’s not a unique story at all. It is exactly like the ribald stories told of gods and goddesses throughout Greek and Roman mythology: You know Zeus, Jupiter, Poseidon, etc. — the powers of the heavens vying with each other for glory and using their subjects like pawns on a game board to prove one deity more powerful or more glorious than the others.
These religions are replete with tales of how their “gods” treated their subjects in exactly this demeaning way. They made sport of them in order to manipulate each other and feed their own pride.
Wait a minute: Was Job dealing with a god just like those of the Greeks and Romans?
If Bible readers believe the story of Job as it has been incorrectly translated and handed down traditionally through several generations, they would have to answer “Yes.” They would have to believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Jehovah – Jesus Christ – is just as selfish and capricious as the deities of the Greeks and Romans.
That being the case, students of the Bible are then faced with a very unwelcome question: Is this traditional story of Job and the kind of God it portrays a true story, historically accurate and trustworthy — or is it just another myth?
The answer is simple, yet complicated. The “true” story of Job is indeed a “true story.”
But this story that has been incorrectly translated from the original language and then handed down for generations is another entity altogether. Made up of one part fact, one part mythology, and one part man’s endless effort to make his God out to be just like himself, it is nothing but a myth.
Are you afraid to read further? Don’t be. You’ll be glad you kept going.
At this point, many readers will close this book and never look back. Those readers will relegate the author to the long historical list of heretics and continue to walk in the fantasy of the Job story they have always been taught. It’s the story they are comfortable with. As long as they hold to that story, they don’t have to study the Word of God more closely or think deeply and seriously for themselves about what kind of God they have.
But, more importantly, those readers who fail to give themselves a chance to learn the truth will continue to suffer the loss and destruction that are inevitable when people believe lies about God. Because in their failure to understand the truth about this story, they fail to understand their God.
He is a God who has victory for them over the evil in this world. But they also fail to understand that the same devil whose lies were accepted by man at creation is also the one who has added the lies to this story. He is the same devil who inflicts evils on human kind; and it is of paramount importance to him to keep men believing that these evils come at the will of their own God.
And herein lies the crux of the matter. The majority of people who consider themselves Christians on the earth today don’t actually know their own God very well. They know what other Christians have told them. And many of them believe what their own imagination tells them. So they frame God with their own understanding rather than with the revelation of the Spirit of God Himself or with the mind of Christ.
But somewhere deep down inside many of those Christians is a nagging little question that keeps coming back to ask of the traditional Job story, “What’s wrong with this picture?” Or if the spirit is really brave, it will sometimes even ask, “Is this really the kind of God I want?” Or braver yet: “Why is my God an inflicter of pain and suffering when I would never do that to the people I love?”
HERESY! The cry goes up immediately when such questions are given their rightful place. It’s the cry of so many who consider themselves “watchmen” of God’s reputation. As soon as anyone asks a question – or offers some answers – that might cause them to have to reevaluate what they have been accepting for generations, these “watchmen” cry out against it, instead of giving the Lord a chance to renew their minds.
So only the spiritually brave Christian will continue into the deeper channels of this book. Only those who want to know in their own hearts that they have asked those necessary questions and found the answers for themselves. But for those few who are brave enough to continue past this point, the rewards will be worth it.
As much as the church likes to sweep such questions under the rug, the truth is that they do exist. Many Christians manage to beat these questions down until they convince themselves that they really do accept this kind of God. They convince themselves that a Father who deliberately inflicts hurt and pain on them can actually coexist with the loving, merciful, healing Jesus they met in the New Testament. But the naked truth is that those questions still exist — and rightly so.
Because rather than those questions being the result of heretical thinking and rebellion against God and His Word, they are actually the promptings of His own Holy Spirit inside of us, trying to get us to put forth the effort to find out for ourselves what kind of God we have.
And it doesn’t really take all that much effort. It requires no superior intellect to see that there’s nothing holy about the kind of behavior attributed to God in this story. The very word holy carries in its meaning the essence of being “perfect in goodness and righteousness.” Such capricious, self-centered behavior as that portrayed by the traditional teaching of God in the story of Job cannot fit that definition. Furthermore, there is no faithfulness in that kind of behavior. And the Word of God makes it quite clear that, second to holiness, God’s primary nature is best described in the attribute of faithfulness.
Even those people in the world who desire no relationship with Jesus Christ generally accept the fact that a god of any religion is expected to be better in character than his subjects. And, particularly where Christianity is concerned, a poll of thousands of people who do not even attend church regularly, will show that the vast majority of those people, when they hear about God or think about what He might be like, expect Him to be extraordinarily good and trustworthy.
They hear Christians talk about their God as a loving father, so they expect that He would act in accordance with that identity. They expect that He would never be guilty of any acts of molestation or abuse. And, in truth, those people, who have no God of their own, when they consider whether they need a personal God, are positive they would want one who is kind, compassionate, honorable and dependable.
But then they hear the church tell the story of Job — in the old traditional version — and they recognize that the God in this story is not what they thought God was at all. Sometimes, they even decide that they already have enough problems in this life, and they certainly don’t need a God who will inflict more pain and suffering upon them.
More than one Christian who has tried to witness to an unbeliever has been challenged with this problem. Those Christians are asked why an unbeliever should consider that his life will be any better if he comes into relationship with a God like the one commonly depicted in the story of Job.
Reverend Kenneth Copeland, of Fort Worth, Texas, has shared the story more than once of a Japanese minister who came to the United States many years ago to attend Rhema Bible Training Institute in Broken Arrow, OK, under the ministry of Copeland’s mentor, Kenneth Hagin. Copeland says this minister told Reverend Kenneth Hagin that, after WWII, the Japanese people were open to accepting the Christian God of the United States because He was the God of the nation that had defeated them. They believed their own gods had failed, so they wanted to learn about the God of the Christians.
The Japanese minster said, “But when we studied it out and researched it a little bit, we couldn’t figure it out. All we could find out was that your God would make you sick and take everything you had away from you – and every time you tried to serve Him, He’d knock you back down on your face. So we didn’t want him. So we just kept on serving our old dead gods, knowing it wasn’t any good, but we were in the habit of it.
“But when I heard someone preach what you folks are preaching, I got over in the New Testament and read it for myself, and I found out that all that junk we had heard wasn’t in there. When I found out that God is love and that Jesus of Nazareth loved me without any reservations, even when I was a sinner, now that’s the God I was hunting for all the time.”
At that point, the man and his wife accepted the Lord, came to the United States to be trained for ministry, and went back to Japan to win the people of their own nation to the Lord.
One of the most troubling facts about erroneous stories from the Bible being told repeatedly for generations is that the world then picks up those stories and repeats them. They may not believe the Bible per se, but they believe that Christians believe the stories are true – which means that they believe their God is like the God in the erroneous stories.
The odd thing about that situation is that unbelievers seem to be able to recognize immediately that there is something seriously wrong with the picture portrayed by those stories. One excellent example of what often transpires in the minds of unbelievers was depicted quite accurately in an episode of a very worldly television cartoon series entitled South Park, produced by Comedy Central Productions.
Now, the author of this study of Job is not suggesting that the South Park cartoons are acceptable fare for recreational TV viewing. However, viewers of the series have noted and commented specifically on the fact that one particular episode accurately described their personal reaction to the traditional story of Job. And that reaction is worth noting.
In this episode (“Cartmanland,” Air Date: July 21,2001), one of the young characters, a Jewish boy named Kyle, has renounced his faith because he feels he has suffered so much pain and injustice that there cannot really be a God. While he is lying in a hospital bed because of an injury he has sustained, his parents come into the room and talk with him. When he learns they want to tell him a story from the Bible, his reply is that he has had enough of the Bible. It hasn’t gotten him anywhere, and he doesn’t want to hear anymore.
His parents insist that he will feel differently when he hears the story of Job. They relate the story this way:
“Job was a great man. He was blessed with ten lovely children, a wonderful wife, and many friends.
“He was a godly and a good man and fed the poor. He was the most upright and honorable of men and every day he praised God.
“But one day Satan went up to heaven and talked to God. … And God said to Satan, Have you seen Job? He is a great man, and he praises Me every day.
“But Satan said, ‘Oh yeah, he only praises you because you gave him so much. If you didn’t give him those things, he would curse your name.’ To which God said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll show you, Satan. I’ll take those things away from Job and he will still praise my name.’
“And so God had a bunch of barbarians come in and slaughter Job’s ox and donkeys and murder all his workers. Then God sent his fireballs from the sky and killed his sheep and the rest of his employees.
“And then, as Job’s sons and daughter were eating, God sent a mighty wind to collapse the house and crushed and killed them all.
“Job was terribly upset, but he fell to his knees and said, ‘The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away,’ and he praised God’s name.
“So then Job got painful sores all over his body. He was in terrible, miserable pain all day every day, but he still kept his faith. God said to Satan, ‘See, I told you. Job still praises me. ‘”
Kyle’s reply is, “That’s the most horrible story I’ve ever heard! Why would God do horrible things to a good person just to prove a point to Satan?”
His father answers, “Oh … uuh … I don’t know.”
To which Kyle responds, “Then I was right …. There isn’t a God.”
Now, some people’s response to this conversation will be to say that the cartoon version says that God Himself did all those things to Job, but what the Bible really says is that Satan did all of them — at God’s invitation. Which means???
If God invited Satan to attack Job so unmercifully, when He could have kept him from doing so, that makes Him just as guilty as if He had executed the blows Himself. And where the Christian mind is sometimes so set in tradition to the extent that it is willing to accept this picture of God, the unbeliever’s mind is still open and free to recognize clearly that it is God who is the real perpetrator of harm here. And why would that unbeliever ever want to submit and subject his life to such a God?
If the body of Christ is ever going to win the world to Jesus Christ, they must find a way to help that world understand that the God they see in Jesus is the one and only God, the God to whom they can turn for salvation. Which means that the church is going to have to learn the truth about the God of Job.
So, if this story as it’s traditionally told is a myth, what is the real story? In the remainder of this book the true story of Job and his God will become clear. And as it does, the reader will find that Jesus meant exactly what He said, when He promised: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
God’s Word says in Proverbs 20-22 that the Word itself is medicine and health to all of our flesh. One of the best ways to receive healing from the Lord is to read that Word aloud to our bodies (or listen to it read aloud) and absorb it as we would a physical medicine. I’ve received healing many times that way — as have hundreds of other believers. Here’s a video of healing scriptures read for you by Reverend Ted Pavloff.
To participate in today’s prompt, visit the Daily Post.
I’m currently doing a series of lessons from God’s Word in video format on YouTube. The series is entitled “Know the Word; Experience the Power!” This lesson is entitled “Building Up Our Resistance.” I posted it as an article on this site earlier this month, but I thought some of you might enjoy it in audio.
As we enter the Easter season, I thought I’d share a look at Jesus’ sacrifice from the perspective of the murderer whose life was spared because if Him.
My heart pounded
As they dragged me out.
They stood me close beside Him,
And I looked about.
The crowd was frenzied:
With rage and raw disgust.
I wasn’t sure the real cause —
Why they fumed and cussed.
I glanced beside me
To catch a glimpse of Him,
But what my eyes saw in His
Convicted me within.
When the guards shouted,
“Who’s it going to be?”
Then I understood they’d choose
To set one free.
“We want Barabbas!
Set Barabbas free!”
I could not believe my ears:
They chose, not Him, but me.
“But what of Jesus?”
Pilate asked the crowd.
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!
He is not our God.
My shackles fell off:
By law a free man.
Pilate called for water then
And there he washed his hands.
The day grew darker
As He was hanging there,
Upon a cross with thieves each side;
Then He said a prayer.
He prayed, “Forgive them.”
Did that include me?
Then He cried, “It is finished!”
I thought, how can this be?
For suddenly I knew —
He’d died to save me too —
Even me — Barabbas.
(Scripture Reference: Matthew 27)
“Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7).
These instructions are strikingly clear and to the point. They confirm another set of instructions set forth in 1 Peter 5: 6-10: “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober; be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.” The Amplified Bible translates verse 7 as follows: ” … casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”
God wants us to be humble enough to admit that we can’t fight our own battles and win our own victories in ourselves. He wants us to come to Him for the help we need. We cast the problems onto Him, and He fills us with His anointing and power to win. Not only that: He also goes to work on the situations with all the forces of Heaven working and fighting on our behalf.
The main key is for us to MAKE THE DECISION to side with God and His Word rather than with the devil and his lies. Whether those lies come to us in the form of temptation to sin, relatives who are caught up in addition or demonic activity, a doctor’s report that says we can’t get well, the loss of a job, or any other attack on our lives, our response needs to be the same. We need to run to God’s Word and find out what He says about the situation.
When we do that, we will find — every single time — that our God has a solution. Once we see that solution presented in the Word, our next move should be to turn on the devil and refuse to accept what he has done or what he says about our chances of victory over it. And we have to be very careful; most Christians fail at this point because the lies about their situations are coming at them in the form of “worldly wisdom.”
They hear the reports in the terms of the doctors, lawyers, politicians, and specialists of the world who say what the world has taught them. But God tells us in James 3:15 that the wisdom of this world is demonic. So we have to recognize that although the reports and the prognosis for failure come to us in terms that may sound “reasonable” to the world, if they do not agree with God’s Word, they are wrong.
We must make a decision to believe God INSTEAD OF the natural situations and reports. God tells us clearly that everything natural will pass away, but His Word will abide forever. It is His Word, after all, that created everything natural. (Genesis 1, John 1). And His Word has the power to change those natural things. That’s why speaking God’s Word to a mountain will force it to move. The physical mountain cannot refuse to obey the Word that created it in the first place.
We must refuse what is contrary to the Word. Actively resist it. Command it to be gone from us and from our lives. Then we speak God’s Word over the situation in faith and command it to change and line up with that Word.
But remember: resisting the enemy works ONLY when we are submitting to God first.
† † †
“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5).
In this psalm, David expresses the truth he’s learned about life on this planet. If we want anything good — if we need help, healing, deliverance, encouragement, protection, or supply of any kind — it has to come to us from God. There is no other source of good and blessing available to this sin-weary world. But God’s supply of all that is good and rich is totally inexhaustible.
The Lord makes clear promises to His people concerning His personal plans for those who will turn their lives over to Him and walk in His covenant. In Jeremiah 29:11, He says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you; … thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Many alternate translations (which give the broader meaning of some of the words in the King James version) read like this: “I know the plans I have for you; … plans for good and not for evil; plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.”
I love all of those translations, and as a Bible teacher for over 40 years, I can verify that everyone of them is accurate, according to the original language. But I was always fascinated by the King James version and that term “an expected end.” One day, during a time of prayer, I asked the Lord, “Just exactly what do you mean by that term?”
His answer was immediate and very encouraging. He spoke from deep within my spirit and said, “I mean I’m going to give you an end that you can look forward to with expectation. When you walk in agreement with Me, I plan to fulfill your dreams and the desires of your heart. And whenever you are in a battle, if you will believe My Word, you won’t have to dread or be afraid of the outcome. You can rest assured that I have victory for you, and you can look forward to it with joy and excitement.”
Well, folks, that’s good enough for me. How about you?
To participate in the challenge visit here.
The simple truth is that God loves you. The Creator of the universe – the one who created you – loves you beyond a level that words can describe. He sent Jesus the Christ – His own son – to live the perfect life that none of us could live in our own strength. And when He had fulfilled the perfect life of obedience, Jesus then took all of our disobedience onto Himself — and the curse which came on us as a result of disobedience — and died in our place.
But that’s only half the story. Because He rose from the grave with brand new life, which He had paid for by His sacrifice. And the Word of God guarantees us that when Jesus the Christ came out of the grave, we came out with Him as far as God was concerned. And if we will simply accept the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf – by accepting Him as Lord of our lives – we will step right onto that state of righteousness and eternal life that He bought and paid for. (Ephesians 2: 4-6; Colossians 1:15, 18-20).
Yes, the simple truth is that man does not need any “religion” that gives him a bunch of rules and regulations that he must obey in order to “earn” some kind of peace in the life after this short earthly sojourn. All the “religions” of the world tell man that he must somehow manage to “measure up” to some kind of mystical standard in order to have a chance at life after death. And some of those “religions” require man to accomplish major feats of warfare and brutality against others in order to have a chance at eternal bliss.
But, dear one, the great truth is that Christianity is NOT A RELIGION. It is simply a Father and His family. Father God, with His first son Jesus Christ, and all the brothers and sisters who were conceived and born into that same family by receiving Jesus Christ into their lives and making Him Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 3: 13, 26-29).
We are the desire and the delight of the God of the universe, and despite what some religious dogmas and traditions try to teach, that same God loves you more than you can possibly understand, and He wants to bless you with every conceivable blessing at His command – if you will simply believe it and receive.
To take part in the ‘Simple’ challenge, visit here.
Many years ago, a great friend of mine in ministry wrote a beautiful worship song. Well, I say he wrote it, but actually the Lord gave it to him. It blessed me when I first heard it, and it still blesses me to this day. The first line says, “I hear the Spirit saying come up higher; come up higher where the river is flowing free.”
At one point, as I was hearing these words rolling through my mind and heart, I felt the Lord spoke this to me: “Where I am, the river of My life flows completely unhindered. There is no boulder, no dam, no hindrance of any kind that holds it back or slows its progress. If you will seek Me completely and continually – if you will focus on Me fully so that you settle down and abide permanently in the depths of Me and My presence – you will find that My river will flow unhindered through you and through your life as well. There will be no barrier — no circumstance, no problem, no blockage, no sin – that can dam it up or slow down its cleansing, healing, life-giving progress through you and your life.”
I just want to share that word with all my readers, because I believe this word – like the scriptures below – is a word from our Father God’s heart for everyone of us. He who has ears to hear, let him hear and receive.
“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God ….” (Ps.46:4).
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Rev. 22:1).
“And everything shall live wherever the river goes.” (Ezekiel 47:9).
I originally wrote this article a few months ago, but it fits the prompt today so perfectly, I decided it was worth taking a second look at as we enter this new year.
Did you ever face a situation as a kid where one of your antagonists drew a line in the sand and said that line represented a boundary you were not to cross? You were required to stay on your own side of the line, and if you didn’t, there would be serious negative repercussions? “Don’t cross that line, or I’ll beat you up.”
Well, you know what? That’s still happening to the Body of Christ in this world. The devil is consistently drawing lines in the sand, and we’re afraid to cross over them. To use a more Biblical analogy, we can say that the enemy establishes his gates of authority in our lives, and we’re afraid to break through them.
During the time of Jesus’ ministry, the gates of a city represented, not only the places of entrance and exit, but also the place of legal authority. Major decisions and legal transactions were commonly made at the “gates of the city.” And certainly the gates, being part of a protective wall, were the main elements in the security of the city.
When the devil sets up his “gates” – his places of entrance into our lives — he does so in order to set up his own “seat of authority” and to try to be in control of those areas. The gates may be in the form of disease in our bodies, drug addiction in our children, pornography in a spouse, loss of a job or source of income, unsaved loved ones. Those gates may be political or legal actions that change the tenets of our cities or nations. They may be roots of strife and jealously that spring up in the midst of a congregation of believers.
But whatever form those “gates” take, the Lord has instructed us that we are to overrun those gates and demolish them in His name. His intention is very clear when He speaks in Matthew 16:18 : “Upon this rock, I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” That promise actually goes all the way back to Abraham. And just as Jesus came to fulfill all the rest of the Old Covenant – ushering in the New – so He fulfilled that part of the covenant promise as well. God told Abraham that he would “possess the gates of his enemies.” (Genesis 22:17 ). He repeated that promise to Isaac as well, because the promise is part and parcel of the Covenant as a whole.
Jesus came to provide the avenue through which all those promises would be passed down to everyone who would follow Him. And under this new Covenant, now that we have been born again into a new species and are actively members of the Kingdom of God, the power to execute those promises is far superior to what Abraham had. He was constrained to the natural world, with intermittent help from the spirit realm. We, on the other hand, have our life in the spirit Kingdom of God on a constant basis and can make use of the powers from that realm at will.
So how do we find ourselves so often in the position of standing there looking at a line drawn in the sand (disease, addiction, poverty, etc), feeling that we are imprisoned by that line and required to suffer behind it – not being able to cross over it into victory? The Word of God provides the answer. First of all, it tells us clearly that we can submit to God and resist the devil, and he will most assuredly flee from us. The Word also tells us that “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the word. It further guarantees that faith overcomes the world (and all the world throws at us.) The word “salvation” alone covers every possible need we could have, and Jesus has already done all the work of providing that complete salvation for every man, woman, and child on the earth who will believe.
But right there is the root of the problem, beloved: it’s with that word “believe.” The simple truth is that we – the Church – do not truly believe God’s Word. And one of the main reasons we don’t believe it is that we don’t know what it says – because we don’t read and study it for ourselves. We don’t spend hours reading, meditation, and praying over the Word to receive revelation. If we did, and we truly believed what it says, we would speak and act accordingly. And our first action would be to step across that line the devil has drawn at our feet.
Are you tired of living in the prison behind that line? Most of us are facing a number of those lines in our lives. It’s past time we got fed up with being in prison and, instead, got “fed-up” (filled) with God’s Word. Once we get enough Word activated in us that we are willing to pick up our feet and march over those lines, we will live our lives in victory on every level. Because after crossing one of the devil’s lines and realizing that we really are free, and he truly is defeated, we will find that crossing over the rest of those lines is much easier.
Are you ready? Here’s the battle plan:
1. Fill up on God’s Word. Toss out everything that contradicts it.
2. Concentrate on that Word until it is the most real thing in your life.
3. Then Step Over the Line into your victory through the name of Jesus Christ.