Branch News

January 2018

13
Jan

Reading Job

Our Bible reading plan is in Job right now and I must confess that I didn’t enjoy this book in the past like I do now. Here are some tips to remember as you read Job:

  1. Read with an awareness that Job has suffered terribly and is trying to make sense of what has happened to him.
  2. Read with an eye on who is speaking. Job’s three friends (Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz) mock him and put him down. They condemn him and assume that he has done something to deserve all the bad that has happened to him. As you read their comments keep their point of view in mind.
  3. Listen for the way Job interacts with these men (12:2 – “No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you.” Or 16:1 – “I have heard many things like these. You are all miserable comforters. Is there no end to your empty words?”). What we find is sarcasm and realism and honesty. Something you won’t see much of on Face Book (ok maybe the sarcasm).
  4. Remember that Satan is “the accuser of the brethren” still and there may be times that we are in his crosshairs.
  5. Watch for how Job talks about his desire for someone who would mediate between he and God (9:32-33 – “For He is not a man like me, that I can answer Him, that we can take each other to court. There is no one to judge between us, to lay his hand on both of us.” Also in 16:21 – “I wish that someone might arbitrate between a man and God just as a man pleads for his friend.”). Job is longing for someone (Jesus!) to come and be our Advocate with the Father – 1 Timothy 2:5-6:  “For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human, who gave Himself – a ransom for all.” Also 1 John 2:1:  “My little children, I am writing you these things, so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ the Righteous One.”
  6. At the end of the book God speaks (beginning in Ch. 38). Until then we see these men grappling with the questions of evil and suffering and punishment from their perspective.

Hopefully this will help you to read Job with greater understanding. Keep reading! God’s Word is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword!

God’s blessings as you read to grow and deepen your faith in Christ!

Bro. Tim Hobbs

 

13
Jan

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

A new year stretches out before us. 2018 presents a long and winding road into the future. It brings a lot of unknowns. But it also brings some certainties.

Certainty #1:  God. No matter what comes or doesn’t come this year the one thing we can absolutely count on is the presence of our God. He is all powerful, all knowing, and all present. He is holy, just, right, and merciful. He is the One who has been and who is and who will always be. He is unchanging – Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever!

Certainty #2:  Salvation. There is a human element in coming to know Jesus – we receive Him. Basically that means that we repent of our sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet it is God who saves us. And it is He who keeps us saved. If we could save ourselves then we absolutely would lose our salvation but God does such a complete and powerful work when He saves us that it cannot be undone.

Certainty #3:  Opportunity. As surely as there are 365 days in this coming year there will be opportunity to grow in your walk with God. There will be opportunity to serve Him. There will be opportunity to tell others about Him. Before we begin to list off the reasons why our opportunity isn’t as good as someone else’s then let’s remind ourselves that we get the same number of days and hours and seconds as they. In my experience it is some of the busiest people who are the absolute most dedicated and faithful servants to Christ. It isn’t about not having time. It’s about setting the priority for what matters in your life.

There is urgency in those opportunities. There are lost people who will not live through this year. Are we urgently praying, urgently giving, urgently serving, urgently witnessing for Christ? It isn’t enough to nod our head and acknowledge the need. We must act on the opportunities that God places before us. Yes, you may say that God can do His work without us but why would we even want to go there? Why would we purposely choose to sit on the bench when there is prime playing time available?

Those same opportunities bring testing. We are going to succeed at some and fail at others. There will be high points and low points in this coming year. But every opportunity to obey God is not about what we accomplish. It’s about what God can do as we obey Him and trust in His Spirit to bring about the needed result.

So what should our priorities look like? One person said if you want to have JOY in your life then put:

  1. Jesus first. With Him at the center every other area of your life will be blessed.
  2. Others second – Your family and friends will benefit the most from your walk with Jesus.
  3. Yourself last – Does it really need to be said? Deny yourself. Die to self. Allow Jesus to live His life in you and through you. It isn’t so much that you are focused on putting yourself last. It is that you are living for Jesus first. Everything else will fall into place.

Certainty #4:  Uncertainty. Here is the final certainty that I can see for this year. Our lives are filled with uncertainty. Jobs, homes, cars, relationships, and a hundred other things can change tomorrow. That is why we need the truth of who God is and what He is doing.

“What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare his own Son but offered him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: Because of you we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31–39, CSB)

I am so glad that we as a church family get to do life together but most of all I am thankful for the presence of Jesus. I pray that you and your family will come to know Him better in this coming year.

Your Pastor,

Bro. Tim Hobbs