Calvary Baptist Church
September 5th Sunday Morning Service
- Bible Trivia
- COME NOW IS THE TIME TO WORSHIP
- Days of Elijah
- Even If
- Praying with IntentionOften my prayers include the many thanks for who God is and what He has done for me in my life. However I often forget to ask Him what He wants for me. It is easy to develop a vision so focused on what you believe is necessary for you that you forget to listen for the opportunities right in front of your life.Fortunately, God is able to listen to each one of the simplest requests to the grand requests.This past week during our prayer meeting, I brought up a concern that there are many grieving people right now. Many of us know someone personally affected by this pandemic.I requested that we pray for an opportunity to discover a group that would help with those who are grieving. Later that same week a letter arrived on my desk from the local funeral home. They are fulfilling that prayer by having a grief share group.It is amazing to me how God places the fulfillment of prayer through others.Looking for GodWhere in our lives do we look for answered prayers? Do you only have a one sided conversation with God during the times of trouble without listening for a response?Do we expect a large miracle to appear in front of us to confirm our needs have been fulfilled. Often we do need this confirmation to build our faith in God. Just as Thomas needed to touch the sides of Jesus, we too need to have a physical presence in our lives.When we are in need of someone to listen to our hurts, do we solely rely on God to perform a miracle in our lives in only the manner we want it to happen or do we listen for Him to respond in various ways.Just as the letter was delivered through the thoughtfulness of a group wanting to share their abilities to help, others are out there working alongside God to fulfill those prayer requests.Friends who don’t listenWhere God does listen to our needs and responds in a manner that is always perfect, always at His time, we may feel that we are not being heard. However, God may be responding in a different way than we want Him to respond.How many of us have had a friend that places all the blame for our situation on us. They are looking for the easy way to put us in our place or allow us to feel inferior to others because of our situation.When we reach out to those friends for comfort, they do not respond as God does. They seek for their own wisdom to be taught instead of the fulfillment of God’s wisdom.Job’s “Friends”Job had both the ear of God and those of his friends. But some of those friends listened with the attitude of trying to fix the situation by placing the blame on Job.Instead of being comforted, Job felt attacked and even more isolated than before. In chapter 12 of Job, Job is responding to the accusations of his friends who are placing the blame of Job’s loss upon something in Job’s life.Job is distraught. His entire family except his wife has been taken from him. Job’s wealth has been taken from him. Job’s reputation has been taken from him. He now sits in mourning with his friends.Then Job responded,“Truly then you are the people, And with you wisdom will die!“But I have intelligence as well as you; I am not inferior to you. And who does not know such things as these?“I am a joke to my friends, The one who called on God and He answered him; The just and blameless man is a joke.“He who is at ease holds calamity in contempt, As prepared for those whose feet slip.“The tents of the destroyers prosper, And those who provoke God are secure, Whom God brings into their power.“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.“Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare to you.“Who among all these does not know That the hand of the Lord has done this,In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?“Does not the ear test words, As the palate tastes its food?“Wisdom is with aged men, With long life is understanding.Job had listened to his friends accuse him up to this point. When something happens in our lives that we are responsible for then there is an easier way for us to accept the consequences of what occurs. It is easier for us to gain insight into what is happening to us.God’s WisdomJob acknowledges that if his friends are correct in their accusations then the wisdom they have shared will certainly die with them. Job is saying that in our humanity, we all will face death. If we rely on our own answers then the wisdom we carry will cease to exist when we die.God is eternal, though, and His wisdom is passed on to each generation if they are prepared to listen.Job’s proclamation is that there is intelligence within each of us as we are created in God’s image. We all have the ability to listen to God’s creation for God’s wisdom.In our calamity we often ask why we are in a situation. Look around the world right now and there are plenty of hurting people asking why, God?Anytime we have trials struggles and unanswered situations, we are just like Job wondering how people who follow God are just as likely to experience hurt and suffering as others.Just as Job was not exempt from this, neither are we. Job encourages others to look to the natural world to witness the cycle of life surrounding them.Walk a Mile in Job’s ShoesJob professes that those who have had an easy life hold calamity in contempt. Where they have not themselves experienced what he is going through it is easy for them to try and fix the situation or place blame on Job for where he is.How often do we project our experiences upon others who are hurting? Have we allowed ourselves to truly listen to others in order to understand their perspective or are we attempting to teach them what only has worked for us?Frustrating RulesThere is no recipe that says if you follow a certain set of rules that you will be exempt from trials and suffering. Just as Job experienced loss, pain and suffering, we too may experience that as well. However, in the end, knowing God and knowing that eternal life rests solely in Him is what we truly need to know.Getting to that place often requires a change of heart instead of a change of rules.Train Your EarsJob lashes out at his friends for not listening to him. How often have you sat with someone who was hurting and instead of listening to them accused them of bringing about their own disaster.Job encourages people in verses 11-12 to understand that we must test the things we hear as the palate tastes food.Critical Thinking is not something to take lightly. The wisdom of God must be sought throughout all parts of life. Job’s words are to seek God’s wisdom throughout all the earth, throughout all that you hear and see.How much have we learned throughout the industrial revolution, science, astronomy, and many other studies about the design of God’s creation?When we continue to listen for the truth and ask for it to be revealed to us, there comes a greater understanding in our lives.You can Become a Better Friend“Truth shows up in strange places. A novelty store placard says, “Sometimes people do not want the answer, they want a friend.””One of the easiest ways to become a better friend, partner, teacher, coach, or any other person who is involved in a relationship is to become a better listener.Job’s frustrations with his friends are easily witnessed among us as well.How often have we been on both sides of those conversations?Petersen, Dr. James C. (Jim). Why Don't We Listen Better?: Communicating & Connecting in Relationships . Petersen Publications. Kindle Edition.Out of the most common communication issues is the one where we attempt to fix another person’s issue instead of listening to them, according to Dr. Petersen.“I’ve saved the most common communication trap people use on each other for near the end of the list — the desire to help others by fixing their problems or at least giving advice. So, how do we shake loose from this communication killer?”Listen and Look for God in our CommunityGod continues to listen to our prayers and responds to them today. If you are hurting, know that He listens. He is the best listener. He may not answer you in the way you expect but sometimes He does.In the instance of needing a support group for grief, our prayer was immediately answered.In our asking why we are suffering through a pandemic without an end in sight we may not receive an immediate answer.But we continue to have faith in God who is sovereign and who holds eternity and life.The church maintains a balance between helping those who are hurting. We gather together to encourage one another, listen to one another’s burdens and alleviate one another’s troubles.We also gather to learn more about the wisdom of God and how He works all things for good (Rom. 8:28).
- DRAW ME CLOSE
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