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Post  Admin on Thu 05 Jan 2012, 8:53 pm

January 5, 2012
Incapable of Comprehending
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 42:1--11

God's plans are beyond our understanding and too deep to explain. Perhaps God doesn't explain Himself because knowing and understanding His way may not help us all that much. Stop and ask yourself: Does knowing why really help? Is the pain removed by knowing the cause? Ours is a world filled with devastating catastrophes, random shootings by hidden snipers, jets crashing into tall buildings, deliberate poisoning of elderly people at rest homes, serial rapists and murderers, mothers who kill all of their own children, droughts and famines, wives in automobiles who run over their husbands, preachers who are fraudulent and phony, CEOs who take unfair advantage of their employees. The list doesn't end. How could God permit such things? Would it really help to know why? In a fallen world full of depraved people who act out their worst thoughts, would it change the wrong?

I'll go a step further. Maybe God doesn't explain Himself because we're incapable of comprehending His answers. Since He lives in an existence that is completely unlike ours and in a realm far beyond our comprehension, ours being tactile and limited by space and time, within the rigid boundaries of all the physical laws, how could we possibly understand? None of our limitations apply to Him, so what would enable us to grasp His plan?

What bothers us is that He doesn't act as we think He ought to act. He doesn't do what our earthly dads would have done in similar circumstances. While I'm at it, where was He when His own Son was crucified? To the surprise of many, He was there all the time working out His divine plan for our salvation. As the process was running its course, Jesus' own disciples didn't get it---they were the most disillusioned people on the planet. Do you remember what they were thinking? They were wondering how in the world they could have believed in a hoax. From their perspective, their Master's death didn't make any sense.

Do you know what Job finally sees? Job sees God, and that is enough. He doesn't see answers. He is to the place where he doesn't need answers. He has gotten a glimpse of the Almighty, and that is sufficient. Have you had glimpses of His glory?

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 04 Jan 2012, 4:38 pm

January 4, 2012
Set Free
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 42:1--11

Did you miss something? If you take the time to read the biblical account, you'll see that God gives Job the same title four times: "My servant" (Job 42:7--8). What an honorable title. He had it before the suffering began (Job 1:8), and he has it still. Job's heroic endurance resulted in his keeping the same title in God's estimation. Talk about justice rolling down. Job must have been deeply gratified to hear these words spoken in the ears of those who had spent so many days putting him down: "My servant Job has spoken what is right."

Here are these men who earlier stood over Job as judges, now getting the required animals and bowing before the Lord with their offerings, waiting for Job to pray for them. Isn't this a great scene? We've been waiting so long to see it! And how healthy it was for those three to make it right, not only before God, but with Job! It is good for us to confess our wrongdoing to those we have offended. It is right for us to say by our actions that we have done what is wrong as we seek forgiveness.

Job obeys the Lord once these men have done their part. Eliphaz and Bildad and Zophar "went and did as the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job" (Job 42:9). They did it rather quickly. There was no arguing, no wrestling, no reluctance. Furthermore, they did exactly as the Lord required. And so did Job. Graciously, he prayed for each one. There's no bitterness on his part. He doesn't say, "Okay, kneel down. You guys have put me through hell. I'm gonna see what you look like when you're humbled. Kneel down there---get on your faces!" There's none of that. Remember? A contrite heart makes no demands of others.

Yes, it's a grand scene! You know why it's happening? Sins are being forgiven. Guilt is being removed. That's what happens when justice and mercy are blended.

How beautifully this portrays what happened at the cross. That's why the death of Christ is called "efficacious." It is effective, because God's justice against sin was once and for all satisfied in the death of the Lamb. And as a result, God's mercy is released in the forgiveness of those who trust in the Lamb. And we are then set free. Free at last!

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

January 3, 2012

A Profound Plan
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 42:1--6

That's what makes the climax of Job's life so satisfying. This dear man, who never deserved the suffering he endured, is dealt with justly. And those who made his life so miserable weren't overlooked either. The God of justice finally steps up, bringing great rewards and restoration to the righteous, and strong discipline on the unrighteous.

Job finally realized that God's plan is profound, that His reasoning is right, and that His ways are higher than he could ever understand. With that, Job waves the white flag of surrender and says in complete sincerity, "I retract and I repent. I've said things I shouldn't have been saying, I talked about things I knew nothing about, I became self-righteous in my own defense. Lord, please know that my heart is Yours. I humble myself before You. I place myself at Your disposal. Your purpose is right; Your plan is incredible; Your reproofs are reliable; Your way is best."

That did it. When the Lord heard the deepest feelings of Job's contrite heart, when the Lord witnessed the humility of his broken spirit and the openness and teachability of Job's soul, mercy kicked in, and justice rolled down. There is even poetic justice as the Lord decides to use Job in the process of bringing the other men to justice. This is a good place to insert an insight worth remembering.

You will be amazed at how the Lord will use you in others' lives once you adjust your life to His ways. You will be many things for them: a reproof, a refuge, a point of hope, a reason to go on, a source of strength, a calming influence, and so much more. It's wonderful to realize (to your surprise) how He chooses to use you as a vehicle to help restore those who've strayed so far. This often includes those who hurt you in their straying.

I'm reminded of the distraught father in Les Misérables whose only plea comes in a powerful song about his son as he cries, "Bring him home!" Our Father, too, pleads with us to help guide His straying children back home to Him: "Bring them home!"

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 02 Jan 2012, 10:15 pm

January 2, 2012
Turn Around
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 42:1--6

"I've come to the end of my understanding, and I leave it at that. My very existence is Yours, O God. It's Yours to unravel the mystery, to track the labyrinthine ways, to handle the profound, to know the reasons behind the inexplicable events of my life." In full surrender Job backs off and bows down.

This is Job's way of acknowledging his inability to understand why, with no further argument, harboring no bitterness. There is no thought of How dare you do this to me? What do we see in Job instead? A broken and contrite spirit. Do you know what Job finally realized? It's all about God, not me. Job got it! And what does that mean?

God's purpose is unfolding, and I cannot hinder it.
God's plan is incredible, and I will not comprehend it.
God's reproof is reliable, and I dare not ignore it.
God's way is best, and I must not resist it.

Have you learned those things yet? Have you come to realize that your business is about your God? Your family is about your God. Everything you claim to possess, He owns. Every privilege you enjoy is granted by His grace. None of it is deserved. Job got all that. The question is, have you? Tragically, many don't get it until faced with impossible moments. God has ways of leveling His own.

How satisfying a submissive life can be. The blend is beautiful: a strong-hearted person, surrendered and humbled with a "broken and contrite spirit"---entertaining no grudges, making no demands, having no expectations, offering no conditions, anticipating no favors, fully repentant before the Lord God. And the marvelous result? The Lord begins to use us in amazing ways. Why? Because the world doesn't see that unique combination very often.

Job finally sees God for who He really is, and he fully repents. The result is one blessing after another. In fact, double blessing upon double blessing comes his way. Once God placed His mighty hands on the man's shoulders, Job finally got it. Have you?

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 31 Dec 2011, 2:58 pm

December 31, 2011
I Am Insignificant
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 40:1--5

If you take the time to analyze those words, you'll see that Job has three responses. The first is a response of humility. The second is a response of relief. And the third is a response of surrender. That's all God wanted to hear. And what an important change for Job! Without realizing it, he had become this independent, determined, self-assured apologist defending himself. Without saying so, he'd begun to appear as if he had his arms around the providence of God.

His first response is verse 4, "I am insignificant." Many of those who have been schooled in the fine points of psychology will reject this response. They will say we should be encouraged to realize how important we are, how valuable we are to God, what a significant place we fill in this world. They would counsel, "Don't think or say, 'I am insignificant.' " Before we're tempted to go there, take note that God doesn't reprove Job for saying he is insignificant or unworthy.

We'd put it this way: "I'm a lightweight." Frankly, it's true. It is an appropriate term for Job to use after being asked so many things he couldn't answer and shown so much he didn't understand. In unguarded humility the man admits, "I'm insignificant."

His second statement is, "What can I reply to You?" I see that as an expression of relief. God didn't want answers, He knew the answers. He knows all of them! He wanted Job to acknowledge, "I don't know any of the answers. And if I don't know about those things, as objective as they are, how could I ever fully understand the profound mysteries surrounding my world?" By acknowledging that, quiet relief replaced troubling resistance.

My point here---and this is terribly important: When we are broken and brought to the end of ourselves, it is not for the purpose of gaining more answers to spout off to others. It's to help us acknowledge that the Lord is God, and His plans and reasons are deeper and higher and broader than we can comprehend. Therefore, we are relieved from having to give answers or defend them.

Job's third response is a statement of surrender: "I lay my hand on my mouth," verse 4 concludes. "I dare not say more. I've said enough---actually too much---already."

Can you make these three admissions to God? If not, work on it!

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 30 Dec 2011, 11:00 pm

December 30, 2011
How Big Is Your God?
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 38:1--41

When God finally does speak, He answers Job out of a whirlwind. Suddenly, there He is! Wouldn't it have been great for us to have been there? Whoosh! Lightning, loud thunder, mighty winds blowing dark clouds across the heavens, and out of nowhere God bursts on the scene. It must have taken Job's breath away when the Lord "answered Job out of the whirlwind" (Job 38:1).

Many years ago (I was no more than ten years old) on a still and silent morning, long before dawn, I was fishing with my father. Our little fourteen-foot fishing boat was sitting on a slick, in a small body of water just this side of Matagorda Bay. We both had our lines in the water, and neither of us was saying a word. My dad was at the stern by the old twenty-five-horsepower Evinrude, and I was up near the bow of the boat. It was one of those mornings you could flip a penny onto the surface of the water and then count the ripples. It was silent as a tomb---almost eerie.

Suddenly, from the depths of the bay near the hull of our boat, comes this huge tarpon in full strength, bursting out of the water. He does a big-time flip in the air, then plunges with an enormous crash back into the bay. I must have jumped a foot off my wooden seat, shaking with fear. My dad didn't even turn around. Still watching his line, he said quietly, "I told you the big ones were down there."

That's Elihu's message. He is here, Job! Our awesome God---all glorious above. "Job, listen. He's here. He isn't always silent. When He speaks there is no voice like His." Job's view of God may have been enlarged, thanks to his friend's final remarks.

When your God is too small, your problems are too big and you retreat in fear and insecurity. But when your God is great, your problems pale into insignificance and you stand in awe as you worship the King.

How big is your God? Big enough to intervene? Big enough to be trusted? Big enough to be held in awe and ultimate respect? Big enough to erase your worries and replace them with peace?

Remember: the more you know God, the bigger He becomes.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Dec 2011, 5:23 pm

December 29, 2011

Nothing Compares
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 38:1--41

God is prominent and preeminent. He is majestic in His power, magnificent in His person, and marvelous in His purposes. How refreshing to step back into the shadows of our own insignificance and give full attention to the greatness of our God! It's all about Him!

How unlike the little girl walking beside her mother in a pouring rain and loud thunderstorm. Every time the lightning flashed, her mother noticed she turned and smiled. They'd walk a little further, then lightning, and she'd turn and smile. The mother finally said, "Sweetheart, what's going on? Why do you always turn and smile after the flash of lightning?"

"Well," she said, "Since God is taking my picture, I want to be sure and smile for Him."

We take a major step toward maturity when we finally realize it's not about us and our significance. It is all about God's magnificence. His holiness. His greatness. His glory.

In whirlwind and storm is His way,
And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.

The LORD is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble,
And He knows those who take refuge in Him. (Nahum 1:3, 7)

God is transcendent. He is magnificent. He is mighty. He alone is awesome! He is all around us, above us, and within us. Without Him there is no righteousness. Without Him there is no holiness. Without Him there is no promise of forgiveness, no source of absolute truth, no reason to endure, no hope beyond the grave. Nothing compares to Him. As in that grand hymn:

O worship the King, all glorious above,
And gratefully sing His wonderful love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.¹

1. "O Worship the King," Robert Grant, 1833. Public Domain.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

December 28, 2011


Learn from Suffering
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 28:1--28

There is a man in our congregation who recently underwent brain surgery. The tumor in the frontal section within his cranium was pushing his brain back and slowly eroding his memory. Each week the growth of the tumor became more pronounced and debilitating for him. Brain surgery was the only option.

I visited him in the hospital following successful surgery. A scar on his scalp stretched from his left ear across the top of his head down to his right ear. Stainless steel staples held the incision closed. He was lying there on the bed smiling when I walked in. It wasn't long before I realized that my visiting him was for a different reason than I had planned. In going I received a fresh load of wisdom. He didn't get any from me; I got it from him.

He spoke of the Lord from the moment we started our conversation until I left. He mentioned insights the Lord had given him. He talked about lessons he'd begun to learn. He spoke of an overwhelming sense of peace he had enjoyed from the git-go. I mean, if ever a man was fully focused on the Lord, this man was. His words flowed with a gentle tone. There was a calm pace in our conversation as he responded. He was saying, in effect, "Please don't feel sorry for me. This brain surgery has become my opportunity to trust in the Lord with my whole heart, to have Him show me some things I would have otherwise missed." He was, literally, rejoicing, as was his wife. Wisdom and understanding had completely eclipsed pain and panic.

How true! My friend in the hospital didn't need pity, he needed respect, and he got it from me that day! He has a head start on wisdom beyond many of us. So when he speaks, it is with new insight about life. He is still responding to life's challenges with joy. Both have come to him from God through the experience of suffering. The major benefit has been the rearrangement of his priorities.

Job teaches us a valuable lesson: the greater the suffering, the better we determine what really matters. Now we come back to where we started: suffering helps us clarify our priorities and focus on right objectives.

What wisdom have you gained through suffering?

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 28 Dec 2011, 8:53 am

December 27, 2011
God and God Alone
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 28:1--28

Allow me to offer a simple definition of wisdom. Wisdom is looking at life from God's point of view. When we employ wisdom we are viewing life as God sees it. That's why it's so valuable to think God's thoughts. You look at difficulties and tests as God looks at them. You look at family life and child rearing as God looks at them. You interpret current events as God would interpret them. You focus on the long view. You see the truth even though all around you are deception and lies.

Let's go a step further and define another scriptural term: understanding. What does it mean? Understanding is responding to life's struggles and challenges as God would have us respond. Not in panic and confusion. Not by forfeiting those things that are valuable to us, and not by compromising our integrity. Instead, when we have understanding, we respond to life's challenges as God would have us respond. We trust Him. We believe in Him. We refuse to be afraid. We don't operate our lives according to human impulses or in step with today's politically correct culture.

How terribly important it is that we stand firm in wisdom, responding in understanding. Neither can be found by our own effort or as a result of our searching. God graciously provides both. Verse 20 asks two great questions:

Where then does wisdom come from?
And where is the hiding place of understanding?

Not, where can we get advice? Not, where does opinion come from? I could name a dozen sources, but most of them aren't worth listening to. Then where does this wisdom come from? Where can we find true understanding?

You can earn four Ph.D. degrees and never gain wisdom or understanding. You'll certainly not get a grasp of the fear of the Lord from higher learning. Even in the finest of universities, there's no course offered on the fear of the Lord. The source? God and God alone. By "fear of the Lord" I'm referring to an awesome respect for God accompanied by a personal hatred for sin. Now we can see why Solomon wrote, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10).

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 26 Dec 2011, 8:28 pm

December 26, 2011
True Convictions
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 27:1--23

Reflecting on past blessings gives us reasons to rejoice. Let me urge you who are parents still rearing young children to teach them how to do this by practicing it often. Suppertime is a great opportunity to reflect. It's an ideal time to look back over the day and to count the blessings.

Rehearsing present trials forces us to swallow our pride. I suggest that we rehearse the present trials we're going through and allow them appropriately to cut us down to size. Being "leveled" has its benefits.

Reaffirming our commitment to integrity strengthens us with confidence and courage. This is what I love most about Job: even when he is discouraged and disappointed, he is not defeated.

Cynthia and I recently returned from a life-changing tour of the sites made famous by a small group of strong-hearted, straight-thinking men. We know them today as Reformers. They were the leaders of the Great Reformation that swept across Central Europe in the sixteenth century.

Jon Huss of Czechoslovakia, Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon of Germany, Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin of Switzerland, and John Knox of Scotland (to name only a few) were not supermen in stature or strength. Nor were they anywhere near perfect. But they were men of integrity, which included character qualities that kept them faithful. It also resulted in their being unintimidated in the face of opposition that was not only vocal but life-threatening. To borrow from Luther's now-famous line, each one said, in effect, "Here I stand, I can do no other," as they refused to weaken or recant. Like Job, they were misunderstood, maligned, falsely accused, and openly insulted by their critics. They represented lonely voices of truth while standing true to their convictions.

While on our tour, I often lingered at a bronze statue or stood in the pulpit where one of them once preached, wondering if, perhaps, they were strengthened to stand alone by the example left by Job in the Scriptures. Long before they lived, he testified, "Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go" (Job 27:5--6).

I also asked myself, "Would I have the courage to do what they did?" Would you?

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sun 25 Dec 2011, 10:40 am

December 24, 2011
Four Seasonal Dangers and Strategies
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Colossians 3:1--2; Romans 12:2


In this season of extreme busyness, we Christians need to stay alert to any potential dangers. I'll mention only four of them . . . along with some strategies that will allow us to combat each risk.

First is the doctrinal danger of substituting the temporal for the eternal. A couple of scriptures give needed counsel here:

Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. . . . Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is---his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Colossians 3:1--2; Romans 12:2 NIV)

It's important that we rivet into our heads exactly what we're celebrating. It is our Savior's arrival, not Santa's. The significance of giving presents is to be directly related to God's presenting us the gift of His Son---and our kiddos need that reminder year in and year out.

Second is the personal danger of impressing but not imparting. We represent the King. We are His chosen ambassadors, doing His business "in season and out of season." Then let's do it this season! People are wide open to the gospel these days. Forget about trying to impress others by what you buy. Spend more time imparting what you already possess.

Third is the economic danger of spending more than you have. Before every purchase, think. Ask yourself some direct, penetrating questions: Is this within my budget? Is it appropriate? Is it really saying what I want it to say? Gifts you make are often much more appreciated and much less expensive than those you buy. Stretching the dollar usually involves planning ahead. A safe rule to follow is this: if you don't have the cash---don't buy it. For example, my wife and I decided years ago that Christmas cards had to go. No offense, now. That's just an illustration of something God spoke to us about. We found it saved us many dollars and gobs of time.

Finally, there's the psychological danger of getting built up for a letdown. One of the most effective maneuvers of the world system is to create a false sense of excitement. The Christian can get "high" very easily on the crest of Christmas. But the cold that sweeps in on the tail of a fading afterglow can be a dangerous, depressing experience. Guard yourself. Keep a firm hand on the controls. Don't be deceived. Enjoy the 25th . . . but not at the expense of the 26th.

If you stay occupied with the Person, you'll seldom have to fight off the plague. Make Hebrews 12:3 your aim---consider Him. Fill your thoughts and desires and expectations with your unfailing Lord.

When the wrappings and ribbons are in the trashcan and the manger scene is back in the attic and the friends and family have said goodbye and the house feels empty and so do you . . . there is One who waits to fill your heart and renew your hope. He was there on December 24.

He'll be there on the 26th.

Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 23 Dec 2011, 10:24 pm

December 23, 2011

A Plea for Balance
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Proverbs 25:16


Dr. Seuss wasn't thinking of me when he wrote How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Charles Dickens would not have asked me to play Scrooge in his A Christmas Carol. In spite of what you may read . . . remember that I'm not anti-Christmas, nor do I brandish the overused bumper sticker, "Put Christ Back into Christmas." Our family has a tree every year. We exchange presents, play Christmas CDs, sing carols, enjoy the festivities, and even wish a few people "Merry Christmas." Believe me---I have no bone to pick with the yuletide season, unless it's off the turkey.

But you'll have to agree, the season is not without its unique problems and temptations. Our lovely land of plenty drifts dangerously near insanity three or four weeks every year, and it is to that issue I'd like to address myself.

There is a "cosmic lure" to Christmas in contemporary America---a compelling something that draws many like a magnet. Emotions, unpredictable and undisciplined, begin to run wild. Nostalgia mixed with eleven months of guilt can prompt purchases that are illogical and extravagant.

Neighborhood pressure can cause houses to be strung with hundreds of lights. Television advertising, Christmas bank accounts, and special "wish books" only increase the pull of the magnet that inevitably ends with the sound of the cash register or the hollow snap of the credit card.

I remind you . . . I'm not against the basic idea of Christmas nor the beauty of the scenery. My plea is for common sense and balance; that's all. Tomorrow, I'll mention how we Christians can be alert to the dangers of the season . . . and then think through a strategy that allows us to combat each one.

Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Dec 2011, 2:49 pm

December 22, 2011
Biblically Correct
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 27:1--23

Isn't that closing comment a great line? The wicked man may have more clothes in his closet, but he'll wind up leaving them to us. Remember the materialistic line that is framed around license plates? "He who dies with the most toys wins." The truth is, he who dies with the most toys passes them off to the righteous, and the righteous get to enjoy them! Job has come to realize this priority: wrong will occur, but it will not ultimately triumph. That brings a sense of justice.

There go those great riches! How often have we witnessed or heard about individuals who are loaded financially, but it isn't too many years before it is gone. Those riches were like an eagle---they made themselves wings. Rest assured, God keeps accurate records. He knows what He's about. Furthermore, He knows who is righteous and who is wicked.

It's easy to become confused if you watch too much of the evening news on television. Be very discerning about what you watch and what you read. If the source is not reliable, the information will be skewed. Thankfully, there are still some in our day who think straight and aren't afraid to say so. Their words remind us that evil is evil, that wrong actions will be judged, that even though the wicked may seem to be winning, they will ultimately lose! The nineteenth century American poet and essayist, James Russell Lowell, put it well:

Truth forever on the scaffold
Wrong forever on the throne---
Yet that scaffold sways the future
And, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above His own.

Stay on the scaffold. Keep thinking straight. Refuse to tolerate wrong! Like Job, keep forming your priorities from the Word of God. Spend less time in the papers or watching TV and more time in the Scriptures. Let God dictate your agenda and help you interpret the events of our times. Become biblically correct rather than politically correct.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

December 21, 2011
Things That Matter
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 27:1--23

Thinking God's thoughts is our highest goal. That's one of the reasons I'm such a proponent of the discipline of Scripture memorization. You cannot think God's thoughts more acutely than when you quote God's very words back to life's situations.

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. So what comes to mind when you think about God? I remember as a little boy thinking of God as a very old man with a long white beard, cheeks puffed out, blowing strong winds from the north. I had seen His face portrayed this way at school on an old map of the world.

What comes to your mind when you think about God? Do you see Him as the One who gives you breath and keeps your heart beating? Do you see Him as the One who will call everyone into judgment someday? Do you see Him as the One who watches over your children and your business? Do you acknowledge His power as greater than any power you could ever witness on this earth? Or, honestly now, is He a little remote, sort of out of touch with today's hi-tech society to you? Your view of God makes all the difference in how you view life.

Think of Job's situation---he is now bankrupt, childless, friendless, and diseased. Covered with boils, he is living with a high fever and constant pain. On top of that he is misunderstood, being blamed for secret sins, and is now rejected by those who once respected him. How in the world does he go on? There's only one answer: his view of God keeps him going, not what others are saying. And in light of that, he recommits himself to things that matter. In a swirl of humanistic thinking, coming from Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, whom Job has mentally turned off, he is now focused fully on the things of God.

What thoughts are distracting you from mentally dwelling on the glory of God? You can overcome them by spending more time in God's Word on the things that really matter.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 21 Dec 2011, 7:53 am

December 20, 2011


Who Can Understand?
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 26:1--14

What a thrilling thought! "Bildad, as magnificent as all of these things are, what I've mentioned represents only the fringes of His ways." Isn't "fringes" a great word? The fringes, the outer edges of His ways; only the quiet whispers of His mighty voice, the hushed tones of omnipotence. Bildad, listen to me! Who can fully understand? And to think that this Creator-God pierces through all the millions of galaxies of "the heavens" and gives His attention to this tiny green-pea planet called Earth, reaching down to folks like us, knowing even the number of hairs on our heads.

Perspective like that is needed when the sores on my body are running with pus and the fever won't go down. Job ends where Bildad should have begun. "Who can understand?"

Indeed, how unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable are His ways. Now, be careful here. That does not mean He's not in touch, out of control, and He doesn't have a plan. It just means He isn't obligated to explain Himself. And because He doesn't reveal everything, we're left with three very honest words, which are helpful coming from the lips of otherwise proud people. And what are those three words? I don't know.

In the final analysis, God knows, and He does all things well. He is in charge. I am the clay; He is the Potter. I am the disciple; He is the Lord. I am the sheep; He is the Shepherd. I am the servant; He is the Master. That means I am to submit myself. I am to humble myself under His mighty hand. I must be willing to adjust my life to His choices for me, to listen, to learn, to adapt to His leading wherever it may go whether I'm comfortable, happy, or healthy. That is obedience. Job, by now, is beginning to see it, and when he reaches the end of his brief explanation, he wisely asks, "Who can understand?"

Train yourself to think theologically. Make it your determined purpose to think God's thoughts after Him, acknowledging His lofty magnificence. Teach yourself to be at ease saying the words, "I don't know." Because Job thought correctly about God, he was able to endure, even while not understanding why. May his tribe increase. And may it include you.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 20 Dec 2011, 12:05 am

December 19, 2011

No Surprise
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 26:1--14

What Job lacked here in tact, he made up for in total honesty. Frankly, this was no time for tact. Bildad has been brutal. It's doubtful he would even hear if Job had been soft and diplomatic. Job gets tough!

Sores will do that to you. Any nurse will tell you, especially those who work at the bedside of patients in great pain, that tact fades as pain progresses. There's something about the continuation of anguish that finally wears a soul down to raw, red reality.

Many years ago I came across this statement: "Pain plants the flag of reality in the fortress of a rebel heart." Even among those who have been stubborn and rebellious, when pain hits and persists, reality comes in full measure. So it was with Job. He took off the gloves, looked into Bildad's eyes, and said it straight. The man needed that kind of response.

There's a little prayer I'd suggest you repeat each morning.

Lord, help me today not to add to anybody's burden. Help me to bring encouragement to others. Where I can, enable me to comfort. And when I don't know, help me to admit it. When I feel sorrow and sympathy for someone, help me to say that. Help me to lift the load of the hurting, not to add to their burden.

If others are going through an agonizing experience, they need us to be supportive and strong. Bildad never learned that principle; he never prayed that prayer. Too bad.

An intriguing change of roles now occurs. Instead of Bildad teaching Job, Job becomes the teacher. It's almost as if he decides, "Since you don't have any answers, let me tell you about the infinite, incomprehensible God, who hasn't revealed all the whys and wherefores of His activities."

From verse 5 through verse 13 of chapter 26, Job takes Bildad through the paces. He communicates what we would call a fascinating, cosmological explanation. Amazingly, Job starts with the departed spirits of the dead then goes all the way to the top of the universe. In a simple, straightforward manner, Job is saying, "God is in control of every bit of it. He knows about it, He understands it, He is in the midst of it, and He takes full responsibility for all of it. None of it is a surprise to the living God."

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 17 Dec 2011, 6:43 pm

December 17, 2011

Grace Under Pressure
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 24:1--25

We could go all the way through this list to the end. There are wrongs, there are failures, and there are injustices. There were robberies and sexual sins and hidden wrongs done in the dark. And where is God? He is permitting it. Why? "I don't know," says Job. "I think His point here is that these things are allowed for purposes unknown to us. God has permitted it all!" Those who do wrong often get away with it. Those who take advantage of others get away with that too. Unexplainable suffering falls into the same category.

You and I could mention events in our lifetime that the Lord could have stopped, but He didn't. This isn't just about the Jewish Holocaust. This isn't simply about the wrongs of the Crusade Era. This isn't only about the priests in the Roman Catholic Church who have molested young boys. This is also about all kinds of things that we could name, and God could have stopped each one---but He didn't. It's a mystery! That's the point. "I can't justify the permissions of God, but I trust Him."

Refuse to believe that life is based on blind fate or random chance. Everything that happens, including the things you cannot explain or justify, is being woven together like an enormous, beautiful piece of tapestry. From this earthly side it seems blurred and knotted, strange and twisted. But from heaven's perspective it forms an incredible picture. Best of all, it is for His greater glory. Right now, it seems so confusing, but someday the details will come together and make good sense.

There it is---part of God's perfect plan unfolding. You can't explain it. You couldn't piece it all together if you tried. You aren't able to understand it, and there will be times you won't like it. But, as we're learning from Job, God's not going to ask your permission. And so? We trust Him anyway. I'll write it once more: Those who do that discover without trying to make it happen that they have begun to demonstrate grace under pressure. To settle for less is a miserable existence.

Do you trust God anyway?

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 16 Dec 2011, 5:32 pm

December 16, 2011
God Will Reward
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 23:1--17

Back when Job's body was covered with sores, when his friends were still against him, when he was bankrupt and sitting in a garbage dump at the outskirts of the city, Job had the temerity to say, "But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10).

Job makes three statements based on faith in the midst of his suffering. All three are about his God.

First: I know that God knows my situation. "He knows the way I take."
Second: I believe it is God who is testing me. "When He has tried me."
Third: I believe that after the trials have ended, He will bless me in a unique way. He doesn't deny the trials, but there's hope beyond them. God knows. God will reward. That's what we find when we get to the last chapter of Job's life.

Wouldn't it be great if we could be in Job's position at the end of the book without going through what he did through the book? How good would it be to gain his knowledge without all the suffering? Impossible! Stay realistic and realize that cannot happen. It takes fire to refine gold.

Just as we are different in our appearance, our background, and our levels of maturity and chronological age, so we experience different tests. For all you know, someone living in your neighborhood is going through one of the deepest times of her or his life.

I hope these two words will not seem hollow or pious when I write them: take hope. Take hope that this is not going on without God's awareness. The Lord God knows the way you take, and it's not without purpose. After the fiery trial you, too, will come forth as gold. You're being refined by the test He's allowed, and you're being reshaped in the process---purified and humbled. Better times are coming. If not soon, and if not later on this earth, they will surely come when you stand before Him and He distributes the "gold, silver, and precious stones" [1 Corinthians 3:12]. It will then be worth it all. Many of Job's rewards came while he was still alive on planet Earth. Yours may await you in glory. Either way, God knows. God always remembers. God will reward.



Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 15 Dec 2011, 7:11 pm

December 15, 2011


His Purpose
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 23:1--17

Job struggles, finally admitting his frustration: he cannot find God. Ever been there? Of course. All of us have! There are days we search in vain for some visible evidence of the living God. I'm thinking, Wouldn't it be great to wake up in the middle of a full-moon sky tonight, peek out my bedroom window, and see some skywriting, "Dear Chuck, I hear you. I'm right here. I'm in charge. Love, God." I would love for that to happen! I'd love to get into my pickup after a tough day at the church, turn the radio on, and have God interrupt, saying, "Before you listen to this station, Chuck, I want to talk to you for a few minutes." Let face it, all of us would love to hear an audible voice or read a visible message from God. But that's not the way it works. Our walk with Him is a walk of faith, not sight.

Job is a great and godly man. He is a mature saint, no doubt about it. Nevertheless, he longs to witness God's presence. "Oh, that I could know where He is. But I cannot see Him, behold Him, or perceive Him."

Though unable to locate the presence of God, Job states his trust in Him: "Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, you can say whatever you wish against me. God knows which way I go. He knows the truth. He is my Justifier. He and I are on speaking terms. I trust Him. I believe in Him. Furthermore, after the trial is over, and He has accomplished His purpose within me, 'I shall come forth as gold.' "

You can count on that, my friend. When the trial has passed, you will be deeper and richer for it. Gold will replace alloy. I want you to allow those words to burn their way into your brain so deeply that they become like a divine filter for everything that happens in your life from this day forward. God knows which way you're going. And His Word will be a lamp for your path (Psalm 119:105).

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 14 Dec 2011, 5:42 pm

December 14, 2011

Demonstrating Class
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 23:1--17

As we get to chapters 23 and 24 of Job, we observe three calm, vulnerable responses from him. Take the time to read through these two chapters---they're magnificent! Job's first theme seems to be, "I am unable to locate the presence of God, but I trust You, Lord." I find that coming through loud and clear in the first twelve verses of chapter 23.

It seems that Job has a courtroom in mind. "I wish I knew the bench on which Almighty God sits. I wish I knew where I could locate Him. Some place---anyplace---on this earth that I could get to Him."

Hidden within these passionate words is found one of the great things about our God. When we come to Him as we are, we never hear Him shout, "Shame on you!" God hears our pleading, our feelings of need, and He is quick to respond, "I forgive you. I love you. I understand you. I'm here; I commend you for facing the truth."

Notice how Job refers to the Lord's response:

Would He contend with me by the greatness of His power?
No, surely He would pay attention to me.
There the upright would reason with Him;
And I would be delivered forever from my Judge. (Job 23:6--7)

All of God's people find here a valuable truth we can learn from our God. When people come, open and vulnerable with their confession, there is one appropriate three-word response: I forgive you. They don't need to be put on the spot or shamed because they failed. They need the assurance of forgiveness.

Job asks, "Would He contend with me?"

Then he answers himself, "He would not contend with me, even though He's much more powerful. He would pay attention to me. I could reason with Him, and I would be delivered forever from my Judge."

How wonderful is that?

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 13 Dec 2011, 8:30 pm

Harsh but Realistic
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 21:23--34

While speaking the truth Job left the defense of his own character in the Lord's hands. He was firm and deliberate, but he remained in control. I repeat, I understand what it's like to be unjustly maligned. I have been accused of things, and that rumor has kept me awake. It has made my stomach churn. It has taken away my appetite. I have determined not to pay any attention to it, yet found that I was unable to turn it off in my mind. Not until I decided to leave things in the Lord's hands and rest in His sovereign control did I find inner peace. Without exception (please hear this!), not until I deliberately stepped back and leaned hard on my God did my mind begin to relax, my emotions settle down, and my inner peace return. I say again, the truth will win out. And God will be glorified.

Refuse to let the accusations discourage and derail you, remembering they are nonsense and lies. Get tough! Returning to that one-liner from the Revolutionary War, "Trust in God but keep your powder dry," is essential to keeping your balance. You may be trusting the Lord for safety, but you still lock your doors every night, hopefully, and turn on your alarm. When you get in your car, you lock your doors, don't you? You roll up your windows, don't you? If you don't, you are playing with fire. Trusting God is not naive presumption. Wisdom must be applied to a life of faith. Going through hard times requires a get-tough mind-set. Go there. That may seem harsh, but it's realistic. And realism is a powerful message.

To you who are going through a time of false accusation, may God strengthen you in it. May He hold you close through it. May He give you wisdom and grace in responding to it. May He become real and personal to you, even giving you songs in the night and quiet rest with the assurance that He is defending your integrity. And may He toughen your hide so you don't cave in while awaiting vindication.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 12 Dec 2011, 7:36 pm

December 12, 2011

Stay with the Truth
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 21:1--34

Chances are good that many of you who are reading these lines are currently the target of someone's lying accusations. That can be an anguishing cross to bear. I've been there, so I speak from painful experience. Since this is an ongoing issue for many of us, it should be helpful to draw a few guidelines to follow based on the way Job handled his accuser.

Listen to what is being said, considering the character of the critic. Stay calm! You will be tempted to jump in and rashly react in the flesh, saying things you will later regret. Do your best to listen to what is being said. While doing so, keep in mind the character of the person who is the source of the accusation. Calmly take it all in. Job did that, which prepared him for his further response.

Respond with true facts and accurate information, knowing the nature of your accuser. Speak truth! Stay on the side of accuracy, regardless. The other person may be a former husband or former wife. He or she could be your previous or current boss, an employee, a neighbor, a pastor, or a friend. It doesn't matter who the individual is. If you are being accused, you need to focus only on facts. Don't react or ponder ways to retaliate. If you yield to either temptation, you'll come off sounding like the accuser. God honors integrity. Maybe not immediately, but ultimately you'll be vindicated. Remember David's prayer: "Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity" (Psalm 26:1). Truth will prevail among people who traffic in it and make their decisions based on it.

Abraham Lincoln was told that he needed to fire his postmaster general. All kinds of accusations were being leveled against the man. Lincoln weighed rumor against hard evidence, and on July 18, 1864, he wrote Secretary Stanton a letter saying he was not going to do that because the information was based on hearsay, not accurate facts. In that letter he correctly concluded, "Truth is generally the best vindication against slander." Wise response.

Stay with the truth. Don't exaggerate it, don't deny it, and don't hesitate to say it.



Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 10 Dec 2011, 1:39 pm

December 10, 2011

A Context of Pain
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 19:1--29

There is nothing like hope in the truth to clarify perspective and keep you going. Enduring a painful journey can be done a lot more easily if you embrace truth as your traveling companion. Not only will it give you hope, it will clarify your perspective. Truth reminds us that God is alive and just and good. I say again, wrong will ultimately be judged. Today may seem dark and terribly long, but there will be a bright tomorrow.

There is nothing like a lack of assurance to haunt your steps and make you afraid. Let me put it to you straight: If you are without the Lord Jesus Christ in your life, your steps are marked by uncertainty. And deep into the night when the lights are out and your head is sunk into the pillow, thoughts of your ultimate future will haunt you. Few thoughts are more frightening than not knowing where you will be when you die. If you die without Christ, you're facing a fearful judgment. "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). To have inner peace you need to know without a doubt where you're going.

My wife and I have a commitment regarding giving our money while we're alive. I like the old saying, "Do your givin' while you're livin', then you're knowin' where it's goin'." With that in mind, be sure you're believing right while you're living, then you'll be knowing where you're going. It's scary not knowing where you're going.

Do you really know where you're going? Is your eternal destination guaranteed? Amazingly, Bildad talked to the wrong man and with the wrong motive. He had a strong message, but it was for some other person. Could that person be you? If so, there is reason to be concerned.



Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


December 9, 2011


Job's Longing
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 19:1--29

Job longed for his words of woe to be etched into granite so that people through time could enter into all the things he was enduring. He thought his words would be forgotten. He had no idea that his words would survive him. Yet, think of it, God chose to include them in His eternal Word! Along with Scriptures like Genesis 1, Psalm 23, Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 13, and Revelation 22, we call to mind Job 19:25--27 to this day!

As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25--27)

Thanks to Handel's Magnum Opus, every Christmas season we hear that message over and over again. Little did Job realize in his dreadful anguish that his Lord would honor his name by preserving his words for all the world to hear and sing!

I need to pause right here and speak to you whose God is distant and silent. And, perhaps (like Job), your friends have begun to turn against you. There is a future that is brighter than your wildest dreams! As Job will one day experience, justice will win out, God will replace evil, and right will eclipse wrong. In the end, God wins. And so will we. Job will be vindicated and remembered and respected. And all the Zophars, Bildads, and Eliphazes will be judged, silenced, and forgotten. "Then be afraid of the sword for yourselves, for wrath brings the punishment of the sword, so that you may know there is judgment" (Job 19:29).

In all his misery, Job had not lost sight of who was right and who was wrong. He reminded all three men that "judgment and punishment are not coming my way; they're coming yours."

Focus on the future!
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 09 Dec 2011, 1:21 pm

December 8, 2011

A Lot of Grace
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 17:1--16

You know why I love the Bible? Because it's so real. There's a lot of fog rolling into Job's life, just as in our lives. On this earth nobody "lives happily ever after." That line is a huge fairy tale. You're living in a dream world if you're waiting for things to be "happy ever after." That's why we need grace. Marriage doesn't get easier, it gets harder. So we need grace to keep it together. Work doesn't get easier, it gets more complicated, so we need grace to stay on the job. Childrearing doesn't get easier. You who have babies one, two, three years old---you think you've got it tough. Wait until they're fourteen. Or eighteen. Talk about needing grace!

I'll be painfully honest here. If I called the shots, I would have relieved Job five minutes after he lost everything. I'd have brought all his kids back to life the very next day. I would have immediately re-created everything he lost, and I would really deal with those sorry comforters! I'd have cut the lips off of Eliphaz after about three sentences. And if that didn't stop him, I'd take the neck. I mean, who needs that clod? But you know what? You would never mature under my kind of treatment. You'd just enjoy the comfort. We'd all go to picnics then on a motorcycle ride and have tons of fun. That's my style. Which explains why Cynthia says to me, "Honey, if everybody handled things like you wanted, all we'd bring to the party is balloons. Nobody would think to bring the food." As usual, she's right.

So, the fog's rolled in. As all hell breaks loose, grace takes a hike. Welcome to the human race, Job. But the wonderful old song says,

Thru many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.¹

That's the ticket. Even in the fog, grace will lead us home.

1. "Amazing Grace," John Newton. Public Domain.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

December 7, 2011
Needed Grace
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 15:1--35

"That's it, Job! It's your arrogance!" Eliphaz backs away and stares at him with that glare, saying, again, "You are getting exactly what you deserve!" The style of communication Eliphaz employs is not that unusual to those who lack grace. It may not always be this brutal, but haven't you noticed this tone when you're around people who evidence no grace? When you're down, they kick you. When you're drowning, they pull you under. When you're confused, they complicate your life. And when you're almost finished, they write you off. Other than that, they're pretty good folks.

It is easy to forget the grief Job was trying to get past---the shocking loss of his adult children. Releasing the vise grip of grief that comes from a sudden death takes an enormous toll.

I can't help but think of that when I see Job, as he sits there enduring this, awash in his grief, trying his best to believe his ears---that this man who was once a friend is saying such graceless words. I'm left with one thought: "Lord, if you are teaching us anything through Job's endurance, teach us the value of grace. Teach us about demonstrating grace. Show us again that grace is always appropriate. Always needed.

The person sitting near you in church next Sunday, the lady pushing that cart in the grocery store, the one who's putting gas in his car at the next pump, the man behind you at the movies, waiting to buy his ticket, the student across from you at school. You have no idea what that person is going through. If you did, chances are you'd be prompted to show grace or to say a few encouraging words even quicker. Remember this please: grace is always appropriate, always needed!

"Amazing grace---how sweet the sound!"

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 07 Dec 2011, 10:33 am

December 6, 2011

A Disappointing Discovery
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 14:1--22

Will it be well when God examines your life, or will it be a disappointing discovery? I can't speak for you because I have no idea. But I do know "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10). Is that going to be a disappointing discovery, or will it be well with you? Probing thought, which is why I've urged you to give these questions such serious consideration.

Look at Job 14:14: "If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait until my change comes."

Here's what I'd like you to think about: When you die, where will you live again? Will it be with the Lord or away from His presence forever? The choices are heaven or hell. Will it be eternal bliss filled with joy and relief and the rewards awaiting God's people? Or eternal judgment, away from God and all those things you hold dear? Only you can determine which.

C. S. Lewis wrote this:

There's no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than the doctrine of hell, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and especially of our Lord's own words; it has always been held by Christendom and it has the support of reason.¹

C. S. Lewis was no intellectual pushover. His words deserve serious consideration. Problems have a way of multiplying. The good news is---that's true only in this life---"How frail . . . how few our years . . . how full of trouble." But once we're in our Lord's presence, all that changes.

However, should you choose to ignore this opportunity to secure such hope, the alternative results will be dreadful beyond imagination. Come to think of it, that kind of future would make Job's trials seem like a piece of cake. Who wants a destiny like that? Don't go there!

1. C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (New York: Harper & Row, 1961), 17-18. C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. 1961. Extract reprinted by permission.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 05 Dec 2011, 9:31 pm

December 5, 2011
God Is in Control
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 12:1--25

Frankly, I admire Job's guts. I'm pleased he doesn't cave in and say, "Well, maybe you're right, Zophar. You sound like those other two guys, so I'm not going to disagree and fight you on this." No way! The strong rebuke of Zophar is met by an even stronger resistance from Job. This, by the way, is the only way to deal with a legalist. They, too, are like roaches! You leave them alone and let them have their way, they proliferate. They attract others. And before you know it, the legalists take over. Bullying their way into leadership is their favorite approach. And if they can't bully, they take their ball and bat and go elsewhere (thank the Lord). They leave.

There was a time in my life when I allowed legalists to take more control of me than they should have been allowed. I'm making up for lost time now. Age has its benefits. I've learned the hard way, you need to fight fire with fire when bullies are determined to take charge. Job would have nothing to do with that! He put the stop to Zophar like Paul resisted the legalistic Judaizers and "did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour" (Galatians 2:5).

When Job finally does speak, he says, in effect, "Okay. That's enough." He stood up to them. I, for one, greatly admire Job for not sitting there any longer taking it on the chin.

Job declares, "It is all about our God! It is the inscrutable, Almighty God who is in charge of all things. Don't you think I know that?" And what a creative way to say it! "The God I serve takes delight in undoing human activities and in dismantling human enterprises, and in the process, executing His miraculous undertakings. He alone is in full control."

Job is making it clear that God alone is the One before whom he bows, and in doing so he implies, "I'm not sure you've ever met Him. Don't bully me. While I don't know why I'm suffering like this, I can tell you that somehow and in some way the God of heaven, the silent God, the One who seems to be absent from my perspective, is still in control."

Would you be able to say the same thing if you were in Job's situation?

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 03 Dec 2011, 4:22 pm

December 3, 2011
Futile Searches
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 10:1--22

Job is still struggling. Eliphaz left him cold. He has received neither comfort nor insight from Bildad. He has no mediator to present his case; therefore, he is very candid. Matter of fact, he's returning to questions he asked earlier. He has every right to ask them. He's confused. He still doesn't get it. So, understandably, he asks:

Why then have You brought me out of the womb?
Would that I had died and no eye had seen me!
I should have been as though I had not been,
Carried from womb to tomb.
Would he not let my few days alone?
Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer. (Job 10:18--20)

"Why didn't He just take me from the womb and carry me to the tomb?" Oh, Job, you're back where you started. In fact, as he ends his response, he is back in the doldrums. He writes of his own "gloom" and "deep shadow" and "darkness." Out of respect for Job's private struggle, I suggest we draw all this to a close. This ends sadly, but so it is with Job as Bildad frowns, then walks away. And God stays silent. We end sadly, but not without lessons to remember.

First, when misery breaks our spirit, philosophical words don't help us cope. All Job's so-called comforting companions had to offer were hollow words in the form of philosophical meanderings and theoretical concepts. That brought him no relief, no break in his misery. Philosophical words fall flat when they're mouthed to those in misery.

Second, when a mediator can't be found, futile searches won't give us hope. We're surrounded by people today on a search for hope to go on . . . to make it through the maze of their misery. Many of them long for a mediator, someone who can represent their cause and plead their case. You may be that person. If so, you can know what Job didn't know. The mediator he longed for is not only alive, He is available and ready to hear your story. Unlike Job's friends, He's no philosopher. He's the Redeemer. His name is Jesus. Anyone who comes to Him for comfort will find it. He has more mercy than you have misery.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 02 Dec 2011, 8:06 pm

December 2, 2011
An Arbitrator
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 9:1--35

Job longs for an arbitrator who could serve as his go-between, communicating with this mighty and holy God. He's wishing for one who could argue his case. Job would love to present his case in God's court, but he doesn't have a mediator. He is saying, in effect, "I would love to come and stand before the holy Judge, this God of mine, but I can't do it. He's not a man to come to me, and I don't have in myself what it takes to come before Him. I need a mediator, a go-between. Is there an arbitrator available?"

Would that Job had lived many centuries later! "There is one mediator," Paul writes to his younger friend Timothy, referring to Him who represents us before God the Father. He is none other than Christ Jesus the Lord.

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:3--6)

Paul writes of our mediator, our arbitrator, "there is one mediator between God and men," and He is specifically identified as "the man Christ Jesus." When it comes to eternal life, there are not many mediators. There is only one, Christ Jesus. Don't be afraid to be that specific. Jesus wasn't. During His earthly ministry, Jesus spoke of Himself as "the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6).

When it comes to the Person of Christ, He is the one and only mediator between God and humanity. He is the one and only Savior! We find ourselves responding, "Oh, Job, there is a mediator. You just haven't met Him, but someday, Job, the world will hear of Him."

And what about you, friend? Have you met my Savior?

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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