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Mercy--not getting what you do deserve / withheld punishment

Grace--getting what you don't deserve / unmerited favor
Paul realizes that he has been shown God's mercy. Since he is divinely called, will he also not be divinely enabled? Thus Paul can have confidence in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul preached boldly (with no fear), humbly (message of the cross/it is not about mankind), truthfully, and with integrity.

[NOTE: Paul did not complain of what he did not have, but rejoiced in what he was given. Can we say the same?]
2Cor4:4a "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers..."

Age or world can be interchanged. But - Who is the "god of this age"? Satan, the concept of false idols, or something we concentrate (and hence worship) more than God? Or "all of the above". Realize that Satan uses idols and outside interests to detract and diminish God - anything to keep people from seeking God.

Satan has no power to blind peoples minds. God does, but Satan does not. So how does he do this "blinding" of Gentiles? Through "lies and deceit".

John 8:44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." NIV

It is all a big "con" job with satan. Think about how a "con man" operates. A con man does not steal your money - he gets you to give it to him. How? By creating a scenario that is very believable (but not true), in that scenario the "con man" appeals to the "victim's" pride, intelligence, greed,etc. The victim falls for the story, and hands over some money. In the end - the victim is separated from his money, and left with nothing.

satan works the same way. A scenario is created that comes close to God's plan, but does not include Jesus or concept of grace. The victim has his ego stroked. Your a smart guy. You can figure this out. Doesn't this make sense to you? In the end, one is left not separated from money - but from God.

How many people do you know that have it all figured out? Have something that works for them. Makes sense to them. Gives them a participatory role in their going to heaven. The problem is they are self-centered - focusing on what they know, what they can figure out. As long as they are looking inward for the solution, they will always be blinded. Until they turn to God and quit looking inward - they will never find the "truth".

In essence, Satan convinces one to blind himself from the truth. That is the ultimate "con job".
I like in verse 6 that Paul references Genesis:

"Let light shine out of darkness"

to give us the idea that we are a new creation".

Not ming dynasty valuable vases, but jars of clay. The treasure is not the jar - it is common everyday vessel - but in what is inside the jar. So that it would be evident to anyone who had eyes to see that the work was being done by the power of God, not the power of the vessel.

Paul keeps refering to the death of and life in Christ. If we did not have Christ's death we would not be able to have the "life in Him". The two are intertwined.

I need to keep an eye on this next year in readings, but a commentator mentioned - whenever Christ talked about his coming death in the Gospels - he also always refered to the resurrection. The two go hand in hand.

Job 34:1-36:33

"Therefore, listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do wickedness, from the Almighty to do evil.
(Job 34:10 NET.)

Elihu is absolutely correct in his assessment; however, he like Job and his friends assume that it was God that brought this turn of events upon Job. Like all tests given to people the test maker devises the test to measure how well the person has learned the lessons. However, in Job’s case, in our case, God is not the one who creates the tests, the devil and our own sins create the trials and temptations we encounter; however, God uses those trials as tests. He, God doesn’t have to tests us because he knows everything about us, the one who needs the information the test scores brings is US and possibly the devil.

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small, (Proverbs 24:10 AMP) so the writer of Proverbs states. Crises do not come to take us out; they come to reveal the cracks. Growth comes by way of crises, plans come by way of crises and truth, the truth about ourselves come by way of crises. All truth is confrontational especially the truth about ourselves.

Now why did I go off on that tangent?

ELIHU PROCEEDED and said, Bear with me and wait a little longer, and I will show you, for I have something still to say on God's behalf. (Job 36:1-2 AMP)

Are Elihu’s words presumptuous here, not forgetting that he is sort of a Blow-Hard, but does God really need us to speak, work on His behalf? Has God become senile, has He become weak? What we “do” for God I believe God alowss us to do, He always us to be Co-laborers with Him and in that we should be blessed and in awe of His graciousness and His mercy.

Hmmm, the process of evaporation was known back in the 10th century B.C., Just a little side note.

Behold, God is great, and we know Him not! The number of His years is unsearchable. [I Cor. 13:12.] For He draws up the drops of water, which distil as rain from His vapor, Which the skies pour down and drop abundantly upon [the multitudes of] mankind. (Job 36:26-28 AMP)

II Corinthians 4:1-12

I like this,

Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we're not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don't maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don't twist God's Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2 MSG)

I love Paul’s integrity, his faith in God and His Word, his faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross can be clearly seen in the first two verses of this chapter. Jesus said, “And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me." (John 12:32 MSG). Paul preached, “…nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2 NET.)

Today, we have chicken dinners, great singers, bands, flash, lights, smoke and mirrors to attract folks to church. Where is the “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” message?
Do many fall away because we present a Christ that is not true, do we subvert the message because we don’t really believe in it and its power to change the lives of people? As the Newsweek article that Mike linked stated, American’s are looking for the spiritual, they want an experience with God. But is the experience we Believers are giving them is it God? No every sprit is of God.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1 NET.)

Psalm 44:1-8

In the vernacular of the masses, this Psalm can be summed up in one sentence,

It Ain’t about you, or us, it’s all about God!

Proverbs 22:10-12

Hmmm, 10 Throw out the mocker, and fighting, quarrels, and insults will disappear. Sooo does that mean if you have fighting, quarreling and insulting behavior in the midst, which is an effect then there must be a mocker as the cause. What’s going on on your job, in your home?

Does this verse go along with what is written in the Book of James?

For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices. (James 3:16 AMP)

2 Corinthians 4 (NKJV)
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

Psalm 44 (NKJV)
You are my King, O God; command [or, Who commands] victories for Jacob.
Through You we will push down our enemies; through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us.

Psalm 44 (NIV)
You are my King and my God, Who decrees victories for Jacob. [or, King, O God; / command victories for Jacob]
Through you we push back our enemies; through Your Name we trample our foes.

May we pray, wait on the Lord, fast, do whatever the Spirit of God is prompting us to do so “the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body”.

It is true that Christ is in all believers—but are the Presence, Authority, and Love Christ being seen through us?

We may not always see or know how the Lord Jesus is using us.

If we are totally surrendered and consecrated to the Lord, we will "see and follow" the Holy Spirit very closely as did the Perfect Man, the Lord Jesus, and as did the apostles in the NT.

Galatians 2 (KJV)
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

God has decreed victories for Jacob, i.e., has commanded victories for Jacob.

May we truly enter into the GLORY of Christ so we are a living letter, a living doorway to the Glorious Presence of Christ. May we always pray for the peace of Jacob (i.e., Israel) as a nation. Israel’s enemies, no matter who, will fail.

Psalm 44 (NKJV)
But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us.
In God we boast all day long, and praise Your name forever. Selah

May we pray for the spiritual Israel as well.

Galatians 6 (NKJV)
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

May we pray for many Arabs, as well as other Gentiles, to come to truly know the Prince of Peace.



What about Elihu?

After Job gives his last speech (ch. 31) which is basically self-vidication, he rests. Not only does Job recount the sins he did not commit, but in the last few verses claims to be environmetally and ecologically correct :)

Who is this guy? He gets six chapters, so he must be important???? Is he the mediator Job wishes for in earlier chapters? Is he the false prophet as some claim? Or is Elihu analogous to John the Baptist in that he prepares the way for the Lord in this story?

Elihu means "My God is He" or another translation "in God's stead". Reading ahead Elihu is not mentioned by God, but the other four are addressed. Some feel he is loving and gentle - yet very critical of Job. It is also said Elihu does not reason (like the three friends) - but reveals.

Who is Elihu?

Some think Elihu is a bit of a braggart. but consider the times, and he may be just laying the platform for a "right to speak".

Elihu says the friends are wrong by saying suffering is in correlation to unrighteousness. They offer no remedy to Job's condition - yet they condemn Job. This condemning (judgment - "krinos") is the kind Jesus later said we are not to do.

Job is wrong - the root problem with Job is there's a sediment of pride in the bottom of the beaker of his life and when he's upset by the 3....the sediment stirs up with his life of righteousness......and thats a problem - john Piper

In Job's self-vindication - Job has gone too far.

God is not accountable to man, but it is the other way around. How often when disasters happen do we hear people want to know "Why did God allow this?" Interesting, that when good things happen in life - I am not so sure the same people are there to thank God.

God is not his enemy. There is another reason that God punishes. Elihu feels there is a residue of pride in the righteous. Chastisement is the correction.

'Like a surgeons knife causes pain, but the purpose is to cure.' (John Piper)
Some revealing statements:

God is just
Job34:12 "It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,
that the Almighty would pervert justice."

Should there be forgiveness with no repentance?
Job34:33 Should God then reward you on your terms,
when you refuse to repent?

Elihu believes Job has added rebellion to his sin of pride.

Man brings nothing to the table.
Job 35:7-8 If you are righteous, what do you give to him,
or what does he receive from your hand?
Your wickedness affects only a man like yourself,
and your righteousness only the sons of men.
[NOTE: We can do good or bad in this world. Good or bad can be recognized by mankind. But what has this to do with standing before God? We are not perfect - thus we have no standing before God on our own merit.]

God does not answer the cries (prayers) of the wicked.
Job 35:12 He does not answer when men cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked.
[Note: I believe this is also mentioned in Proverbs. It may sound harsh, but I believe the first prayer God will heed from man is - "I am lost - save me". Think about it - Why should God heed (he hears, but will not heed) a request from one who rejects Him? And later rejects His Son and plan of salvation?]

Again repentance is the key to forgiveness.

Job 36:10-11 He makes them listen to correction
and commands them to repent of their evil.
If they obey and serve him,
they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity
and their years in contentment.

Man rejects or accepts.
Job 36:13,15 "The godless in heart harbor resentment;
even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help....But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;
he speaks to them in their affliction."

God is calling you Job. He is trying to get your attention. God is not a bellhop - who is at our beck and call. Quit trying to deal with God. Treat God with the respect He deserves. Know that His wonders are beyond our comprehension. Be in awe and revere God.

thanks for the encouragement. or thank God rather, about not giving up.

my friend and i are going to green pastures and we found so much encouragement relevant to our own personal situations.may godbless you with a double portion so that you can continue to feed others.

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