Pastor Tim Pianta 65 Main Street, Tolga, Phone 0418882605 Email tolgacommunitychurch@gmail.com ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Monday, July 2, 2012

Soul Care: Part 1 Wearying People...

Job 5:1-27

Do you know people you find wearying?  They incessantly 'share' stories of the personal wrongs done to them with anyone who will listen, and frankly, they become a burden. These people weary you, so you avoid them. Yes, I know that's not what Jesus would do. However, if we are truthful, it is what we do. 

We all know others in far worse circumstances than these people - yet they who endure such circumstances are often the ones we delight to be around. Why?  Their lives exude joy! They encourage you, and you come away with a renewed sense of purpose, an uplifted spirit, and a smile.  Certainly, they're wounded, and they know it. But those who are a delight to be around even in the midst of their difficulties, don't bathe in that woundedness and others are drawn to them because of their joy. We cringe from the attitude of those who weary us and we're attracted to the attitude of those whom even in the trials of their own lives, encourage us.

In the first chapter of Job, Satan tried to dismantle Job's relationship with God (Job 1:9) by afflicting him with a series of 'hit and run' problems—serious and sudden troubles with devastating results. The devil used natural disasters, violent attacks, and illness to try to turn Job against his Maker (1:13-19, 2:3-7).  Job didn't submit to Satan's tactics, although he did struggle to stay close to God. During the time of testing, his friend, Eliphaz advised: "I would go to God and present my case to Him" (5:8). Eliphaz was earnestly urging Job to hash things out with his Creator—to express the fear, anger, and confusion.  Eliphaz reminded Job that God "protects those who suffer" (5:11). This truth can prevent us from blaming God and turning away from Him when we need Him the most. While God sometimes allows peril to plague us, He never abandons us in our distress (Psalm 23:4,NIV) -  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,  for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
 
Eliphaz ended up being one of those who weary the already distressed.  While he thought he was ‘helping’, he focused on what he thought.  He had the answer to the “problem”.   And although Eliphaz was a fairly good encourager, but he wrongly suggested that Job's problems stemmed from God's judgement. Although Job was innocent, it's worth noting that sometimes sin does bring trouble to our lives. (Think of David, Bathsheba, and Uriah.) In that case, we can stay near to God by repenting and accepting His correction (Job 5:17).  But as we read in the Chapter 1, Job was an honest and innocent man; he honored God and stayed away from evil.

Be aware that Satan wants the shock and bewilderment of hit and run problems to jar your faith and stop you turning to God. Turn the tables on him. Keep praying; don't play the blame game (Reference:  James 1:22 (NLT)  But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Repent when necessary. When trouble strikes, "Come close to God, and God will come close to you" (James 4:8).  Read 1 Peter 1:6-7 to see the outcome of tested faith.  [In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.]

Now read Jeremiah 17:7-8 to see how God blesses people who trust in Him
even during hardships. { "But the person who trusts in the Lord will be blessed.    The Lord will show him that he can be trusted.   He will be strong, like a tree planted near water  that sends its roots by a stream. It is not afraid when the days are hot; its leaves are always green. It does not worry in a year when no rain comes; it always produces fruit.}

Two Questions to reflect on:

1.  Why are Christian friends especially important during difficult days?
Hebrews 10:25   (NIV)  do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

During the times when we undergo testing and trials we need to remain in fellowship.  Church should be the place where we can be encouraged.  A safe place where our fellow brothers and sisters pray for us.  When our Christian Brothers and sisters go through testing and trials we too should be encouraging them and praying for them.
2.  How does your relationship with God change when life doesn't go your way?

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