Monday, March 31, 2008

Labor Not in Vain

To say that I am one who is quick to wonder and doubt and question and wonder and fret and wonder some more would be an understatement. The second I am thrown a curveball or a question is raised in regard to a plan I thought was set in motion, I kind of tailspin.

I found out last week that I officially have just three classes left to complete my masters degree at Southern - THREE! The number was originally four, but because I switched degree tracks last semester, I was able to get one waived. One might think I immediately partied with streamers and cake, and I definitely wanted to the day I found out! But, instead, my mind fastforwarded to the next two school semesters, and I started going through a long list of questions: is December graduation possible? should I wait and complete my counseling internship by itself next spring even though that means taking an entire year to finish just three classes? should I I see if the counseling internship can be taken as independent study? would I even want to take the internship class as independent study? Once I felt as though I successfully went through the full laundry list of school-related questions, I then dove headfirst into questions pertaining to work and career: am I doing the right thing in sticking with my current job? do I want to start getting my resume out to other places more related to my field? should I wait until I am closer to actually graduating and then start sending out my resume? is my resume even good enough? do I really have the experience, though I am almost done with the masters degree, to pursue employment related to counseling? --Oh wait! I am not professionally licensed to qualify for any of the positions that would peak my interest. Then began the run-down of questions pertaining to whether or not I should pursue further education in order to receive licensure in either professional counseling or marriage and family therapy - I'll spare you that list of questions....

With all of that said, I am at a very strange place in life. I am employed with a company that has been more than flexible, and has been extremely gracious in providing both good pay and unmatched benefits. This has given me the opportunity to gain experience in a field I would have never imagined working in (and one in which I am still learning all of the many ins and outs of the energy industry). Not only has this been a stable position while completing my masters degree, but I have also been fortunate to work with other seminary students. However, due to the daily list of endless questions, I struggled everyday at work last week. All the wondering and feelings of being antsy about whatever lies ahead affected the enjoyment I had in sitting at my desk (well, I actually work at a glorified card table, but that's a non-issue). I went home every evening frustrated, venting to my husband the one new thing I discovered about my individual work or the company overall that I claimed was the cause of my utter dissatisfaction.

My husband sat down with me this weekend and we went to 1 Corinthians 15:3, 58 : "For I [Paul] delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures...Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." Think for a moment of all the innumerable things that are true in lives of believers because of Christ's death and resurrection. Think of all the many aspects of life (career, education, family, friends, trials), and then meditate on what is true in our many unique contexts. The truth is that because Christ died and was raised, we have steadfast hope; because He died, we have life that we did not claim for ourselves, but was given when He paid our ransom. We persevere in even the most mundane of daily activities, and we have purpose when those around us are striving after wind. Because He died for His beloved, His beloved do not labor in vain. Whatever work has been afforded to us has been given by the Lord.

If anything was going to pierce my heart, getting to the very core of the real issue, that was it. Not only was I shown and reminded of the Lord's sovereignty, but I was also reminded of the overwhelming (and it really is overwhelming if you stop for a second to ponder the magnitude!) hope and truth we have because of Christ. Because of Christ I am called to certain tasks for this season, and I am told to engage in those tasks with joy. Because of Christ I can interact with managers and co-workers with a purpose much greater than merely getting a work-related task accomplished. Because of Christ I can complete an Excel spreadsheet to the glory and praise of the One who has redeemed me! Though we are called to walk wisely, we also have no clue ultimately as to what's in store for our future. Therefore, with both confidence and utter dependence, we cling to Him who does know. And for now, in the moment, in the middle of the day, we rest in knowing that our labor is not in vain.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Positively "Enchanted"!


Robert: Would you like me to call someone for you?
Giselle: I don't think they would hear you from here.



Prince Edward: [threatening with sword] Have you any last words before I dispatch you?
Robert: You have got to be kidding me!
Prince Edward: Strange words!

~

Prince Edward: Thank you for taking care of my bride, peasants.


Prince Edward: Nathaniel likes the way I leap?
Prince Edward: I'm handsome even when I sleep?

[Giselle and the other people at Central Park all start singing]
Robert: How do you all know this song? I've never heard this song before!

~

Giselle: Why are you staring at me?
Robert: I don't know. It's just that... it's like you escaped from a Hallmark card or something.
Giselle: Is that a bad thing?

~

Giselle: Now if only I can find a place to rest my head for the night.
Robert Philip: What kind of place?
Giselle: I don't know. Maybe a nearby meadow or a hollow tree.
Robert Philip: A hollow tree?
Giselle: Or a house full of dwarves. I hear they're very hospitable.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Sweet Easter Celebration

We were invited to join in an Easter celebration following the church service this morning. Dr. P, one of the New Testament and Greek professors at Southern, is an elder at the church where we have been visiting, and he also leads the small group we have attended twice now. His family invited tons of people over for lunch, and we ended up staying at the "Party Palace" until the early evening. This is a picture of Dr. P and his family (they also took a silly picture, but I wasn't able to get a shot fast enough).
There is apparently a tradition every Easter at the "Party Palace" that Dr. P requests butter in the shape of a lamb. Here is the lamb on its way to slaughter~


Never a dull moment at the "Party Palace"! This is S, the second to oldest, showing off his mad skills at the bow and arrow~


N approached me saying, "Do you know what happens when my light saber touches you??"


Swoosh! "It cuts you!" which is my cue to flail and fall to the ground~


M is the oldest, and she provided the nice background music as we anxiously waited for the lunch feast~



Boys talking about stuff (no idea, I was just snapping random shots) ~








Mrs. P was working hard in the kitchen. We were welcome to bring side dishes and desserts, but she provided the majority of the delicious food. This truly is a woman with the gift of hospitality!





This is only part of the gigantic table (actually three tables put together!) that we congregated around. Following dinner, we were each instructed to open up one of the plastic eggs that served as the centerpiece display. Each egg contained two questions that we went around the table and answered~



The kids constantly want to sit in Dr. P's lap! As we were going around answering the questions from our eggs, the kids one by one walked over and requested to sit with him~







As we waited for coffee and dessert, Dr. P read to us from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He read my favorite part of the book, when Susan and Lucy go to find Aslan after he has been killed. They discover that he is no longer there, and suddenly appears to them in glorious splendor. What an breathtaking illustration of Christ's resurrection and our new life which was only possible through Him.



Dr. P reading to us from Benjamin's Box, a wonderful children's story that comes with visual aids in order to tell the story of Jesus' death and resurrection.






Yes, this is the number of people who gathered together at the "Party Palace"! We have been extremely encouraged and welcomed thus far, not just at the church, but by this small group as well. Today was a sweet time of simply spending time with one another, and celebration Christ through our fellowship together. By His wounds we were healed, and by His blood we have fellowship with one another~


Friday, March 21, 2008

"The Power of the Cross"

Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

CHORUS:
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought, ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees; now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.

Oh, to see my name written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death; life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

FINAL CHORUS:
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

(Words and Music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Good Girl!

video

It was raining outside, so we had to entertain ourselves somehow! And no, there is no water in the bathtub.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"In Sickness and In Health"

Earlier in the week, I came across an article via Carolyn McCulley's blog. In her post, Carolyn referred to an article about a married couple that appeared in Washington Post Magazine, and similar to her, I was encouraged by how the magazine presented this particular story without glossing over the foundational reasons why the Kendall's have remained steadfast and committed to one another for over 35 years of marriage. The Kendall's have been faced with the painful reality of Diana Kendall's struggle with Huntington's disease, and the Post highlighted Dave Kendall's commitment, sacrifice and love even as this disease increasingly robs his wife of any ability to express her love in return. When the Ephesians 5 passage came up in this interview, Dave's response was encouraging for any believer, and mind-boggling to those for whom the hope of the Gospel, the love of Christ, is not where their strength is founded. As Carolyn so eloquently mentions in her review of this article, titled "The Vow" in the magazine, this a "grace-laced portrait" of a marriage tested by illness.

I read Carolyn's blog and this article on Monday, and little did I know that this week would be marked by a deep, inner struggle with some issues this article brought to light. My husband and I have had open conversations about the reality of my medical condition, and we entered into the lifelong covenant of marriage knowing that we have some potentially painful questions and decisions to face. I will never forget the moment in our wedding ceremony, that glorious afternoon on January 5, when we promised to love and keep one another in sickness and in health. What I thought would be somewhat remedied as a personal struggle upon entering marriage has proven more difficult than I was expecting or that I have admitted until now. It was not until this past week that I was able to honestly admit to myself and to my husband that I compare myself to others in a very specific manner. At first, I claimed that it was due to the fact that I am a newly-married woman in seminary who has to work full-time, and that I am torn between career and home life as a minister's wife. But honestly, the problem is something much deeper and painful than merely struggling between career and tending to my home.

Every morning, I go through the same routine to start my day. I wake up before the sun comes up, tending to the coffeepot first, and then leaving the last step of the morning process to applying my makeup. And every morning this past week, I observed and reminded myself that the issues with my skin are never going to be cleared. They may actually worsen as I age and as the manifestations of Tuberous Sclerosis continue to take effect, as they already have to some degree. Rather than just dealing with and complaining about the common breakouts that other women face, my issues with my own skin are compounded by something I cannot control. The difficulty I had with looking in the mirror this week then drove me to remembering the much more painful reality I am faced with, and one that directly affects my husband. Aside from not even knowing if we will be able to have children in regard to issues of infertility, I am faced with knowing that my condition is going to affect any child I may ever carry. If we ever do choose to try and have children biologically, our child will have an incredibly high chance of inheriting Tuberous Sclerosis. The chances of my offspring having a less severe case similar to mine is extremely slim, and therefore, we have to decide whether or not I am going to attempt carrying a child at all. We discussed all of this at length prior to marriage, but I guess I was not expecting for it to bother me more following our wedding day. Rather than trusting that my husband loves me regardless of what we decide in regard to family planning, I am quickly prone to doubt. I applied my makeup every morning this week, looking at my reflection, wondering how in the world he could love someone such as me. My husband married me, a woman who has a condition no one we know has ever heard of previously or been given themselves, and with that has come the temptation to fall into despair.

I broke down on Thursday night, admitting to him how difficult the week had been and how alone I feel in my struggles. I also admitted that I sometimes feel bad for him as he has married someone who has issues uncommon to everyone we have ever known. I was always the weird one in my family growing up because of all of this (and before my condition was officially diagnosed), and because of that, family members either avoided the issue or tried to make light of whatever this is that the Lord has afforded me. This is something I thought would go away as I entered into marriage, but in some ways my struggles worsened. My husband sat down on the bed with me, first giving me the space to vent and cry. He then graciously told me the very things I needed to hear, the TRUTH about all the things with which I battle. He reminded me of the reasons he wanted to marry me, things much deeper and beautiful than mere skin problems. His decision to marry me was also not contingent upon my ability or inability to have biological children, and then he reminded me of the most important aspect of all: the Lord created me and has called me His own. For reasons unknown and greater than we can imagine, He saw fit that my life be marked by this condition. Ordaining such things does not mean that He loves me less, and does not mean that He sees me as I see myself in that mirror each day. "...a thorn was given me in the flesh...Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content..." (2 Corin. 12:7-10) Regardless of what the "thorn" was in Paul's life, he came to point wherein he was able to acknowledge that it was given to him by the Lord, and for no one's sake but Christ was he able to accept it and be content. I take great encouragement and hope from this knowing that I cannot despair over something the Lord Himself has given. As my husband so graciously pointed out, this is my daily thorn given by the Lord, and neither of us knows why exactly He has chosen me to receive such a confusing, uncertain condition. That is not for us know. I do know the Lord has given me Tuberous Sclerosis in order that I may depend on and trust in Him rather than man. Rather than comparing myself to others, especially other Christian women who seem to have their lives in order, I am called to receive this thorn and be content because His ways are higher than I could ever hope or imagine.

This also serves as a reminder of how easy it is for us to compare ourselves to others. We spend so much time making lists and trying to live up to the ideal we have in our head that we often fail to acknowledge the fact that the person to whom we are comparing ourselves also has his or her own shortcomings and "thorns." How quickly we can lose the right perspective on who we are, unique individuals created with different bents toward particular sins. Because we differ in circumstances, whether external or internal, the context in which His redemption takes place is going to be different. Trusting in His provision and grace is not some abstract concept, but something manifested in our everyday lives including the most mundane of tasks. In Philippians 4, Paul states that he learned to be content. Even Paul had to learn trust and contentment. May I neither think I have ever arrived nor think that I have been left out of the great and wonderful plan He has for His beloved, but rather may my life be a testament of His grace lavished upon one of His own in whatever unique way He deems is best.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Couldn't Resist!

You would never believe we had 14 inches of snow here just a few days ago! The girls spent a few hours out on the patio this afternoon, so I snapped a couple of pictures of them from our upstairs bedroom window. As is common, one of them was completely relaxed as she basked in the warm sun, and the other one paced around in circles the whole time. As far as the video below is concerned...I was playing around with the video on my camera, and this is one of the "moments" I captured featuring Nali, the self-conscious dog.
video

Sunday, March 09, 2008

I always wondered what 14 INCHES of snow looked like...


Well, I no longer have to wonder!


The snow began on Friday morning around 7:00am, just as I was getting ready to leave for work. By the time I left to come home that evening, there were about 4 inches of snow on the ground.





Keep in mind that Nali's legs measure about 20 inches...






Maia was struggling to move around to say the least!






The little elf was ready to come in much sooner than the big one,



who would be happy to stay out in her winter wonderland all day if we let her!



Nali stayed at the window all day, mesmerized by the snow. The snow didn't stop until around noon on Saturday. We made sure to go out and play in it before the sun went down, especially since we weren't sure how long it would stick. I'm glad we did because today the temperature was back up to 45 degrees, so half the pretty turned into icky. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of me and my husband, but I don't know that I would trust the safety of the camera around his silly antics! We enjoyed the weekend so much, and were sad to see everything start to melt away today. I also wish I would have gotten pictures of all the numerous snowmen we saw everywhere, but I am pleased with the pictures I did get since we are so easily entertained by the dogs!



Thursday, March 06, 2008

Tagged!

Well, if you still have not read my previous post, please do so. However, my sweet friend Anna tagged me, so I thought I would participate since I haven't done one of these in a long time!

10 Years Ago:
Others may be able to answer this one better than me since they actually put up with me back then! Simple answer - I was kind of a mess. A spastic, Dr Pepper-addicted mess. I was loud (well, I still am but it's at least manageable now), and pretty much sang and danced everywhere I went. I don't say it lightly that I am VERY thankful for the friends who put up with me and whom I can still call friends! But, the mess that was me aside, at this time ten years ago, I was preparing for my trip to Israel. Those same friends of mine know that trip was an incredibly life-changing experience regarding both what I saw in the Holy Land as well as how the Lord was working in my heart.

Things on My To Do List Today:
*Meet my husband on campus for lunch in between his two classes
*Attend (and volunteer to help at) the seminar being hosted on campus by the Center for Biblical Counseling. The speaker is Elyse Fitzpatrick, author of Idols of the Heart, Women Helping Women, and Love to Eat - Hate to Eat. The seminar is for women only, and then there is a Q&A time at the end for counseling majors only. I can't wait! ***If you want copies of the notes, please let me know!! The theme is "Because He Loves Me: How God's Love Transforms our Identity and Life."
*Kick back and relax at home this evening with my husband and puppy dogs, enjoying the fact that tomorrow is FRIDAY!
*Watching the results show for American Idol
*Reading and writing in my journal before going to bed

What Would I Do If I Suddenly Became a Billionaire?
Uhh, now there's a question! How can I even begin to answer something I can't fathom nor will I ever attain??? Even if I did the things I wanted to do, how much of that billion would still be still unaccounted for?

3 of My Bad Habits:
1. Driving with one knee when I'm busy doing something else with my hands -- yes, I know it's terrible, but it's true! I'll be opening up something to drink, or plugging in my phone charger, and without thinking about it I'll start using my right knee to control the steering wheel.
2. Starting three or four books at a time, and taking forever to finish them because I've started three or four books at a time, rather than focusing on just one or two.
3. My husband has to ask me almost every night if I remembered to wash my face and brush my teeth before getting into bed. I'll get in to bed to read before falling asleep and then forget since that's what you do when you fall asleep. He has to come wake me up and then I can throw a rather amusing fit that I have to get back out of bed after being so cozy and asleep.

5 Jobs I've Had:
1. Student assistant for the one of my professors in college. My GPA was the highest this year since there weren't all the many tasks I could complete for the professor when I was just a junior. So when I wasn't working on a random project or some sort, I was working on my schoolwork! The professor I worked for was actually a senior professor, one who was well beyond the age of retirement but loved teaching that much to stick with it. Once a week, we would split an A&W Root Beer from the stash he kept in his office.
2. Admissions Rep. at a hospital in Abilene during my senior year of college. I absolutely loved that job, and I know it had a lot to do with my love for the elderly. Many older adults would have to come in through our department, and I had the opportunity of escorting them to their hospital rooms. It's amazing the kind of conversations I would engage in with some of the patients I met, and I learned that serving in such a position really can make or break someone's experience while in the hospital. I also loved the ladies I worked with, as they were always so encouraging and excited along with me about almost being finished with college.
3. A resident assistant at the Abilene State School immediately following college graduation. This is a facility that houses adults with mental and/or physical disabilities. I worked in a cottage with some of the more high-functioning ladies, and even though the job was one of the most emotionally taxing things I have ever experienced, I still miss those ladies. My names among the ladies at the cottage were either "Miss Lady" or "Jee-Fee." I think of them often, and miss the mean ones just as much as the sweet ones. I don't think I'll ever forget the nights I got to help the ladies to bed, take them to the little chapel services, and I know I will never forget my absolute favorite one who decided to throw a full can of soda at me one night when I wouldn't let her take it to her room.
4. Substitute teaching in the school district where I grew up. My how times have changed...that's all I have to say about that!
5. I currently work for an energy management company, one of the last fields I would have ever thought of working in. I've been here for over 2 years and I really could not ask for a better job while finishing my seminary education. I am also beyond blessed to daily work alongside some very godly, encouraging believers.

5 Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I am left-handed, but I can comfortably use my right hand for many other tasks like using scissors and alternating which hand has the knife or the fork at a meal.
2. I enter an office supply store like a child entering a candy store...and I'm kind of a pen snob. If I don't like the way it writes, I won't use it.
3. Right before we got my youngest dog, Maia, I started looking around for breeders and adoption shelters for what kind to buy. I got all the way through the application process for adopting a blind Australian Shepherd before telling my husband (then boyfriend) about it. When I told him it would work out great "because Nali could help it around the house", he gently informed me that it would be very unwise...and that Nali's not a person.
4. I like a good dill pickle and peanut butter every once in awhile.
5. And yes, last but not least, I once was a Spice Girl.

Now I'm Tagging: Anyone who is reading this and has not seen this same survey already, well, it's your turn! (PandaMom, Amber, etc.) So I'll be looking out for it on your blogs :)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Encouragement from Job

I have been thinking extensively in recent days about the numerous friends I have who seem to be in the midst of a difficult season. They may not appear to be extremely difficult initially, but the content of the different struggles shed light on the weight of their circumstances. This is a season of great change for some, and for others this time is one of tested patience and trust in the Lord's wisdom and provision. Changes are being considered, financial matters are being discussed, and a combination of discouragement, anxiety, and perhaps even impatience is discerned during conversations with them. While some may not see these kinds of situations as ones wherein faith is difficult, I can understand the struggle... You know the Lord provides, but experience seems to be telling you otherwise. You want to trust, but doubt is never further away than a mere thought or question regarding His plan for your life...

I have been waiting for a couple of days to post the following, and decided that now would hopefully be an appropriate and encouraging time to do so. One of my classes this semester is Introduction to the Old Testament II, and the course covers Psalms-Malachi. We spent this past Monday discussing the Book of Job, and I was reminded of just how thankful I am for the opportunity to learn under men who are not merely scholars. They are pastors. My professor for this particular class is truly a compassionate pastor, and I was particularly moved by our discussion of Job. I sincerely hope the notes below will be of encouragement and further meditation for anyone reading this who may be in a particular season of struggle. Sometimes the little, hidden thoughts of doubt and anxiety can be a greater test of faith than those events we normally refer to as great calamities or disasters.

Themes in Job (the professor's lecture notes are underlined)
1. The book demonstrates that God is worthy of love apart from the blessings He provides.
Satan’s premise is that Job only worships the Lord because he has been richly blessed. This is the question and the issue that springs forth. Is He worthy of praise apart from what we receive from His hand? Will His people worship Him apart from material blessing? Job does remain faithful, and He does so in the midst of God’s silence. (There is no word from God until the dialogue we see in chapter 38.) We can see the maturing of his faith, growth during this time of great suffering.
2. Suffering can happen as a means of God’s purifying and strengthening His children in godliness.
“Allow” is not a good word to use in regarding to suffering. The Lord God is the One who brings Job into His confrontation with Satan. How often do we blame Satan rather than acknowledging that the Lord ordains suffering? Job was humbled and brought down to as low as a person can go. Anything the Lord uses to reveal Himself is good (even when the circumstance in and of itself does not seem good).
3. Man is unable to view life from God’s vast perspective.
Job’s friends are an example of this in being convinced that they had God completely figured out. When are we most susceptible to this? It is during those times when “knowledge puffs up.” It is a sign of maturity to humbly acknowledge that God has brought us to where we are, and were it not for His grace, we would be lost. Job’s friends show a true lack of knowledge by beating him over the head with what they claim to know. Rather than encourage and walk alongside him, they attack him out of their pride.
4. Faith in God does not inoculate us from suffering in this world.
The common question is this -“If God is loving, how can He allow good things to happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people?” The real question is this – “How can I stand when all the navigating points of my life seem to disappear, when all the indicators of security have been removed?” The most important thing we can do is affirm what we do know.
Job 19:1-29 --> “I know that my Redeemer lives and I will see Him.”
Do not doubt in the darkness what God has shown you to be true in the light
. This is what we see in Job; He is tempted to doubt God, but he continues to hold fast to what he has already known to be true. God teaches through suffering. We trust Him in calamity because He is sovereign. We can trust that His wisdom is at the heart of suffering, knowing that He is doing what He deems best for us.
5. God’s practice of blessing the righteous is not a hindrance to the development of true righteousness.
Pride is not a problem for just the rich or just the poor. It can come in all forms, even in poverty. Righteousness does not necessitate poverty, though righteousness in riches does come as a challenge. (Examples: Joseph of Arimathea, Lydia, Abraham) There are some God chooses to bless with little, and some He blesses with much. Both are for His glory, and what it comes down to is one’s relationship with Christ (not what one possesses).
6. The book addresses mankind’s wrestling with affliction that defies human explanation.
We so often ask “Why?” when things just don’t seem to make sense. Though we understand that this is a fallen world, we still ask the question. Job did not know why, but God is in control and is not taken aback by anything. Nothing falls outside the umbrella of God’s sovereignty. God responds to Job’s question with questions. He emphasizes that He is sovereign Creator and can do whatever He pleases with those whom He has created. We don’t understand God completely, though there are times when He does reveal Himself.
7. The only kind of faith that will stand up under the problems of life is the faith that is based upon the person of God, not just His actions.
He is faithful even when we fail to see His faithfulness. He is still sovereign even when things seem to be out of control. The greatest evidence of God’s work in our lives may be our faith in Him when we are suffering and do not see Him at work. Some of the greatest opportunities we may have to testify may be during those times when we are pressed.
8. Faith should be based more on knowing God than experiencing God.
If we base our faith on experience, our spiritual life is a mess. What God wants to develop is a faith strong and steady regardless of the mountains and valleys in our lives. Our faith should be grounded in knowing who He is. (see Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer, and The Attributes of God, A. W. Pink) When are we most prone to take credit for the work which is not ours? Our validation is only found in faithful obedience to the One who has redeemed us.
9. The Book of Job teaches us about spiritual warfare and what we need to remember:
a. Remember God’s sovereignty.
Do we think God did not know the answers Satan would give? Satan has no ultimate power in this situation; Satan is under God’s authority. We need to recognize that there are times when we are the battlefield, and God is in control. Satan may have power, but it is limited and still under God’s rule.
What are the tools Satan uses? Financial loss (Job 1:13-17), loss of loved ones, loss of one's own health, and loss of support from others (Job 19). All of these tools still come under God’s authority and control, and we must recognize this. Job continued to have hope in the Lord, rather than those things which were lost.
b. Remember God’s wisdom.
“God is sovereign, but does He really know what He is doing?” (Genesis 50:20; 1 Corinthians 1:24—wisdom of God to bring about salvation)
c. Remember God's love.
“God is sovereign and wise, but does He really care about me?”
The greatest display of God’s goodness -> Job 42:1ff God reveals Himself to Job
How has God shown that love to us? By revealing Himself to us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.