Tuesday, April 29, 2014

40 Day Challenge - Draw Closer to God & Your Hubby (Day 2: Stop & Consider the Wondrous Works of God)

Before today's task you must keep going back to the one thing that draws us to God: the salvation through Christ alone. There is nothing more powerful to get you through the darkest hours. Because of the hope we have in Christ we can and will make it through whatever trials we are going through right now, because we have hope in the fact that this life IS NOT OUR END! Our beautiful end is the day we breath our last and are forever resting in the glory of God, in the arms of Jesus Christ. Until that day, we joyfully persevere and endure whatever comes our way.

Day 1's task was to display that powerful gift somewhere were you could see it and read it daily. In fact, I encourage you to read it first thing so your thoughts are directed towards the only thing that matters: Jesus Christ. Here's what I did:
My picture frame turned dry erase board displaying my daily chore chart. I go to this every day so there was no better place to put it. This is what I wrote, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (3:23) Because of this sin we deserve to die (6:23) BUT He shows his love for us in that while we were STILL sinners Christ died for us! (5:8) SO if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, WE WILL BE SAVED. (10:9) There is NOTHING that can separate us from His LOVE." (verses taken from Romans, nicknamed the "Romans Road")
How did you choose to display the gospel message so you could see it every day for 40 days? Please share!

Day 2: Stop & Consider the Wondrous Works of God

Here's the thing about us girls.... we can't shut up. We struggle to shut up our brains, we struggle to stop talking when we shouldn't, we struggle to direct our thoughts on one thing because we are born multitaskers.
This can be a good thing! But today your one and only goal is to stop and praise God. Here's why:

Consider the story of Job. He lost everything! All of his children, his riches, his property, his worth, you name it, it was all gone in a very short period of time. Can you imagine? Put yourself in his shoes: you lose all of your children in a mind numbing accident. Your home is burned to the ground along with everything you own. You lose your vehicles, your boss fires you, and you have absolutely nothing left. Then you receive a phone call from your doctor stating you have cancer and must endure months of agonizing chemo therapy. What would you do?

Would you have the courage to say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21)

OR would you be like Job in the later days of his sickness:
  • lamenting the day you were born (3:1-26), 
  • would you complain (6:1-30; 10:1-2; 23:2), 
  • ask God to simply kill you too (6:8-9), 
  • would you too believe that God was not listening to you (9:16), 
  • would you think God left you (29:5), 
  • would you too lose hope (17:15), 
  • would you beg for mercy (19:21), 
  • would you praise God (chapter 12) and then turn around and want to justify your actions, thoughts and words: "But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God." (13:3) "Though he slay me I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face..."(13:15), 
  • would you have the audacity to argue your case to God as well? (23:3-4; 31:35-37) To be so arrogant to think that you deserve to speak before Him? 
  • Would you question the purpose of praising this God who allowed all this to happen to you? "What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him?" (21:15) 
  • Would you be like Job who says over and over again, "I am not silenced because of the darkness..."? (23:17)
Yes, that is what we'd do! We use Facebook to complain and post our drama, we call our friends to justify our actions and words, we bash our husbands and friends with other women on a daily basis, when bitterness rises to our throat we vomit the words despite the knowledge that they'd hurt the person who received them. In the midst of pain and anguish, we do not simply shut up and listen. 

The book of Job forces us to consider that trials and tribulations are not new! What are we supposed to do when trials and tribulations come our way? Use the book of Job as an example:

When Job's friend Elihu comes into the picture he not only rebukes Job's 3 friends but he also rebukes Job quite severely, "Why do you contend against him, saying 'He will answer none of man's words'?" (33:13). He tells Job to simply shut up and listen, "Pay attention, O Job, listen to me; be silent, and I will speak." Elihu goes on to teach Job and his 3 friends about the sovereignty of God in chapter 34, but the most remarkable piece of rebuke Elihu gives is this, "Job opens his mouth in empty talk; he multiplies words without knowledge." (35:16) This one statement should shut us all up, but Elihu's point in all of this is what I believe to be the entire purpose of the book of Job: "...stop and consider the wondrous works of God." (37:14) When God finally begins to speak in chapters 38-41 it is absolutely clear that He is powerful, He is sovereign and He is mighty. The climax of the story is Job's answer to God's question, "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God let him answer it." (40:2) It's the climax because it's when Job finally learns to shut up and listen, "Behold I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further." (40:4-5) That is what we're going to do today. Shut up and listen. Shut up and praise God. Shut up and consider the wondrous works of God!

As my friend Brandi so perfectly put it, "God gets the glory no matter what we're going through!"

So today marks day 1 of this journey in that we are not going to complain, gossip, justify, post our drama all over social media, we will not let the bitterness overspill - covering all who lie in our path.

Today we are going to stop asking "WHY?" and simply praise God for the tribulations and what He's teaching us as we endure.

Today we are going to praise God for the salvation given to us through Jesus Christ.

Today we are simply going to stop and praise God for all He has done, is doing, and will do.

Here's how we're going to work on this:
  1. Read how God answers Job in Job 38-41 and note Job's repentance in chapter 42. Recognize the greatness of God and fall on your knees in repentance and praise. If it helps you, list all of God's amazing attributes He speaks of in these chapters.
  2. Every time you feel like complaining or gossiping or justifying, or posting your drama, or when you feel the bitterness rising to your throat and threatening to spill over, take your journal, notebook or piece of paper and praise God. This will take a conscience effort and it will take time, so no matter how crazy life gets today, I challenge you to do it. 
Join me again tomorrow? Because tomorrow's goal is recognizing God's Sovereignty. If you just joined us, I encourage you to start with...

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