I’ve been listening and reading the Bible through my church’s app. It had broken up the reading so that you can read the Bible in a year. Lately, my reading has taken me into the Book of Job.
If you’re a Christian, you’ve likely heard plenty of sermons on the Book of Job. Basically, Job is a righteous man (in a good way) who has a ton of luxuries in life. He has a big family, a ton of land, riches, and cattle. You name it, Job had it.
It was a devastating loss, but Job still praised God. Seeing this, the devil went back to God and told Him that nothing had happened to Job himself (physically), and that’s why he didn’t curse God. God said to the devil that Job was righteous and wouldn’t curse Him, but allowed the devil to bring harm to his body only for Job to still praise God, despite what his wife and friends said of him.
After all of these trials, Job was blessed much more than he was blessed in the beginning. The story is often used as a way to tell Christians to keep the faith in hard times because God will bless them later.
There are so many reasons why this message needs to fall on the ears of millennials and younger people today. I want to share some of those reasons.
1: TIMES ARE TOUGH
I was blessed to have a job right out of college. It paid $11/hr. It was a job in my field of study as a journalist. I went in as a staff reporter. When I left, I had been named a features editor. The entire time I was there, I was never given a raise. I was simply handed more responsibility.
Management refused to clean it up and simply pointed fans at it in hopes of “drying it up.” This caused mold infestation which, I believe, led to illness that sent me to the hospital.
But now, I truly appreciate the circumstances I live in now. Our lights might not work in one room, and one of our toilets might not be working. But it is so much better than it was, and I can only thank God for that.
2: THERE IS MORE OPPOSITION NOW THAN EVER
A new wave of atheism struck the U.S. and around the world. It is fierce. It wants others not to trust it because of the actions and opinions of a few hateful people who I believe shouldn’t call themselves Christians.
In times of hardship, we are always the first people questioned. “Where is your God, now?” “Why isn’t your God helping us through this?” It is the faith of Job that will get us through hard times. God always has a purpose for everything, but that doesn’t mean He caused everything. We are told explicitly in the scriptures that the devil is like a roaring lion, walking about seeking out who he can destroy.
3: TO HELP US SEE OUR SMALL BLESSINGS AS BIG
But I and pretty much everyone in developed countries around the world take it for granted.
Job’s story helps us realize that we should be thankful, even if all we have is life. At least we are breathing. At least we can see the beauty around us. That’s something.
4: TO SHOW US THAT BAD THINGS DON'T ALWAYS COME FROM EDIFICATION
One school of thought is that bad things happen to bad people or people who have done bad. That every bad thing that happens is a punishment from the hand of God. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
That poses the threat of taking their souls from him and directing them toward God. I can’t tell you how many times, at my old church, pastors or leaders would try to insinuate that something happening in our lives was because we weren’t able to come to church on Wednesdays. Yet, some of the most faithful church members would have serious medical conditions fall on them.
No one knows, but it is important that you, the reader, know that your trials may or may not be due to your deeds. It is up to you to use discernment and prayer to find that out!
5: IT HELPS YOU PREPARE FOR THE REST OF LIFE
You now have a full-time job, you may have an apartment or home, you might be married or having children. Either way, you’re just starting life’s journey on your own as an adult.
Reading Job at this age is so important. We comprehend it more when we experience it. While some of us may have lived in the grips of near or full poverty, most of us likely had parents who did their best to make life as good as possible. But now that it is our turn to do that for ourselves or for our own children, we may need some guidance.
Not only can we now understand a bit of what was going on with Job, we can also prepare for life’s future hardships (as they will always come) while we are young. Job was older when he experienced this. He didn’t learn this lesson as a young man. But we can!
At a point in my life, I wasn't really sure what I believed. I've always had a strong sense that we were created and placed on the Earth for a reason by a higher being. For most of my life, that higher being was the Christian God. That was, until college happened.
All of my questions were logical. They weren't "why don't I feel God" or anything like that. They were questions that had answers in the Bible. But I wanted to ground those answers outside of the Bible, too. I wanted to know both spiritually and mentally that God existed. I still have a hunger to be able to answer other questions that are similar, both for myself and for others.
So today, I want to share with you three particularly helpful sources outside of the Bible that helped me ground my spirituality in my intellect.
1: "COLD CASE CHRISTIANITY" BY J. WARNER WALLACE
I was fighting this particular battle. I always believed that God existed and Jesus had come down to save us from sin. But, I wasn't so sure I had (at least at the moment) believed in God and had faith in Him.
In the book, Wallace addresses a common complaint from non-Christians: the disciples accounts don't always match up exactly. The former cold case detective and hard-core atheist decided to examine the gospels as he would a cold case that would have little to no physical evidence.
He found that he would never expect witness testimony to line up exactly. If it did, it would point to some sort of conspiring that would mean the witnesses "got their story straight."
I love this book. You can get it online on Amazon for between $5.69 and $17.58.
2: GIVE ME AN ANSWER - YOUTUBE
I like this because it becomes sort of a debate. You get to not only hear from the educated pastor, but also from others with differing opinions. The others are usually students and sometimes faculty or staff at the University. This series not only helps you to identify some ways of approaching certain question that you or others may have, but it also teaches you about what non-Christians may believe and their reasons for it.
I am a huge advocate for healthy, friendly, and cordial debate. I think it is important to never stop thinking. Cliffe and his son, who is a licensed psychologist, are great at what they do. There are tons of videos for you to binge-watch, but I linked one of the more recent ones below.
3: "THE CASE FOR CHRIST" BY LEE STROBEL
Strobel is extremely relatable as he delves into asking some pretty tough questions that most people have doubts about. I love the narrative style, which makes for great listening in audiobook form!
You can purchase the book from $3.99 to $15 on Amazon!
4: CROSS-EXAMINED - YOUTUBE
WORSHIP WEDNESDAY: REOCCURRING THEMES IN ANN MARIE RUBY'S BOOK, "SPIRITUAL SONGS II: BLESSINGS FROM A SACRED SOUL"Read Now
For today's Worship Wednesday post, I partnered with author Ann Marie Ruby to read and review her book, "Spiritual Songs II: Blessings From a Sacred Soul."
I wanted to approach this book review from a different perspective and offer up a sort of analysis of some of the major reoccurring themes I picked up from this book. Let's get into it:
MY LORD, MY CREATOR
Lord (lôrd): Someone or something having power, authority, or influence; a master or ruler.
Dev·o·tee (devəˈtē,ˌdevəˈtā): A person who is very interested in and enthusiastic about someone or something.
Devotee also has a certain implication that perhaps there is some sort of desperation to this devotion. It invokes a question: "Could the devotee live without the person they're devoted to?" It seems obvious that Ruby is very devoted to Christ, perhaps from lessons she has learned in life.
When I read this, it reminded me of the song Sandy sings about Danny Zuko in Grease, called "Hopelessly Devoted to You."
Ob·sta·cle (ˈäbstək(ə)l): A thing that blocks one's way or prevents or hinders progress.
She regularly refers to the obstacles metaphorically as oceans or mountains. One of my most favorite lines from the book is from the song, "The Lord, The Creator," in which she says she "walks upon the sinful ocean," referring not only to sin as an obstacle, but also referring to Jesus' miracle of walking on the sea in the gospels.
When reading this, and understanding some of the deeper biblical roots, it gave me a sense of calm, much like the time when Jesus calmed the waters to ease the fear of his disciples. It also reminded me of one of my favorite Christian songs. See the video below to listen!
Om·nip·o·tent (ämˈnipəd(ə)nt): (of a deity) Having unlimited power; able to do anything.
In her song, "The Blessed Children of the Omnipotent," you really get a feel at how powerful these words are. Particularly, there is a section of this song that reads, "For we only ask, for we only seek, for we only knock, upon The Omnipotent's door." While you have the wisdom of knowing that omnipotent means all powerful, you get this beautiful image of knocking on God's door like a child or an old friend. While God is all powerful, He is also personal. This song in particular gives a special glimpse into God's character.
Overall, I enjoyed Ruby's book. She gives special attention to literary devices while alluding to the goodness and grace of God. While I don't think I have the heart to call this book the brother to David's Psalms, I would say it is a close second-cousin to them.
FOLLOW ANN MARIE RUBY ON HER SOCIALS:
Legal: I was gifted this book for free, but I was in no other way compensated for my review. All photos are my own or taken from Pixabay, a Creative Commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
There is a common misconception that there are several ways to get to Heaven when you die. This isn't true. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do: