Good Things and Bad People

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Job 22; Psalm 73

Have you ever struggled with why “bad things happen to good people”? I believe the simple answer to that question is, “Truly there are no good people. We’re all downright bad. None of us deserve anything that the Lord so kindly gives to us.

But, today when reading Job 22, I found myself thinking about this question, “Why do good things happen to bad people?”

They said to God, “Depart from us,” and
“What can the Almighty do to us?”
Yet He filled their houses with good things…

Job 22:17-18a ESV

Why does God allow the sun to shine and the rain to fall on both the evil and the good, like we read in Matthew 5:45? Why is the LORD is good to all and have mercy on all that he has made? (Psalm 145:9)

Why do the wicked prosper like we considered in yesterday’s reading of Job 21?

In Psalm 73, Asaph wrestled with these same questions. He found himself envious of the wicked, but as he pondered his life on earth and his life in eternity compared to theirs, he realized how much better off he is.

"Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works." - Psalm 73:23-28 ESV

When we’re wrestling with all these why’s, let’s speak truth to ourselves and remind ourselves of what we know is true.

Will you pray with me?

Heavenly Father,

You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. I would rather have one day with You than a thousand apart from You. For me, truly, it is good to be near You. You are my refuge and strength and guide.

Truly, You are good to both the evil and the good. You are good and gracious. And I am not.

Make me more like You. Conform me into Your likeness. May Your glory and goodness shine brightly out of my life. Use me as Your mouthpiece. I want to tell of all Your works for You are so, so good. Your steadfast love is better than life.

In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Good and Gracious King by City Alight

Remember not…

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Job 21; Psalm 25

In the 21st chapter of Job, Job wrestles with God as he watches the wicked prosper. Why were their animals multiplying and their flocks of children running and playing and singing, while his own house and fields had been wiped out.

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever prayed for God to give you a running vehicle so you can get to work while your annoying co-worker keeps bragging about her new minivan? Have you ever pleaded with God to give you a friend while your gossipy neighbor has a house full of companions? Have you ever begged God for a child while you watch a story on the news about a woman who threw her own baby in the dumpster?

I remember how hard it was to go to baby showers for my friends after losing my baby boy. I remember how hard it was to hear about others whose children were so quiet and obedient while mine were outspoken and headstrong.

Frankly, there is no 3-step solution to answer all your questions, no quick pill to take away all your pain, but there is hope and wisdom to be found in drawing near to God and His Word. We must remind ourselves of the simple truth that none of us are good, no not one. All of us are wicked. Our wickedness may look different from that co-worker or neighbor or woman on the news, but none of us deserve God’s great blessings of food and friendship and family.

We must also remind ourselves that this world is not our destination, we are all just passing through. One day judgement will come. One day all things will be made right. Ultimately, the greatest blessings in this life are not found in expensive cars or rich food or abundant friends or even in a house full of children and a happy marriage. Rather, the greatest blessings in life are found at the feet of Jesus. The blessings of joy and peace and purpose are abundant, eternal blessings both in this life and the life to come.

If I had to choose between a mansion with a Lamborghini in the driveway or a life focused on Christ, I’d choose Christ every time.

Remember your mercy, O LORD,
and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love Remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!”

Psalm 25:6-7 ESV

Let’s pray,

Oh Lord God, Remember your mercy and steadfast love – for they have been from of old.

Remember not the sins of my youth nor the sins of my old age. My transgressions are many, but Your mercy is indeed more. Rather, O Lord, remember me according to Your steadfast love — for the sake of Your Name and Your goodness.

Your Name is indeed great and Your Goodness is without end. I know that You are good. I know that You are just. I know that You are faithful and true. Help me to remind myself of what I know to be true about You, about me, and about my neighbor.

I pray that You will bless others – my family, my friends, my neighbors, my enemies – with a knowledge of the truth – that You are full of justice and grace. I pray that You would save them today, Lord, that they might turn away from their sin and receive forgiveness, that they might know Your love which is better than life.

I pray, also, for my own sinful heart. Please, Father, encourage me. Remind me of how greatly I have been forgiven. Let me not be like that unmerciful servant who pointed a condemning finger, focusing on the speck in his brother’s eyes, while forgetting how greatly he had sinned against You, our holy and merciful king.

It is in the name of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, that I pray. Amen.

Clean Hands and a Pure Heart

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Job 20, Psalm 24

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands
and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.

Psalm 24:3-4 ESV

Oh Lord, Apart from Your grace, none of us can stand before You. None of us deserve to climb Your holy hill. Cleanse my heart and cleanse my hands in Your blood. We need You every hour and every day. Thank You for Your mercy towards me. May it motivate me to live for you and to love others.

In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen

My Redeemer Lives

Read through the Bible: Job 18-19

Though Job’s friends are miserable comforters, though Job’s family and friends have turned against him, though he feels abandoned and attacked by God, Job reminds himself of this one piece of truth: his redeemer lives.

What a treasure it is to know that I have a redeemer and that my redeemer lives.

Consider what it means to be redeemed – not merely forgiven, but redeemed. “The debt against us is not viewed as simply cancelled, but is fully paid. Christ’s blood or life, which he surrendered for [our sin], is the “ransom” by which the deliverance of his people from the servitude of sin and from its penal consequences is secured.” (Easton Bible Dictionary – Redemption)

God does not merely overlook our sin, having mercy on us. But God has sent His only Son to die in our place, that His righteous justice can be upheld, that we are redeemed by the perfect substitutionary sacrifice, God-in-flesh, Jesus Christ.

Christ is my redeemer, my living redeemer. He died and He rose again to live forever, interceding for me before the Father. He is my all-powerful, immortal redeemer. Like Hebrews 7:23-25 says, “The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

I say with Job, My Redeemer Lives!

Let’s praise His name together.

Heavenly Father,

I’m overwhelmed by Your grace, that You would send Your only Son to save a wretch like me. You have redeemed me, rescued me, delivered me, ransomed me. All I can say is thank You. You are good and worthy.

Now I pray that You would take my life and let it be consecrated to thee, Lord. Jesus died and lives for me. I pray that I would die to myself and live for You.

In the eternal redeeming name of Jesus I pray, Amen

The Lord is my Comforter

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Job 16-17; Psalm 23

After Job’s friend, Eliphaz, shares his human wisdom with his grieving friend (Job 15), it comes Job’s turn to reply. Job’s first words to his friends are, “I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all.”

Ain’t that the truth? Miserable counselors they have been. When you’ve lost all ten of your children, all of your possessions, and even your health, do you really want to hear words like, “Why does your heart carry you away, and why do your eyes flash, that you turn your spirit against God and bring such words out of your mouth?” (Job 15:12)

Remember, friends, there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. I pray that we learn to speak those words that fit the occasion, to ask the Holy Spirit, our great counselor, to guide us in what to say to a grieving friend.

So, how amazing it was to then read Psalm 23 right on the heels of the words of Job’s heartache.

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
- Psalm 23:1-4 ESV

Job’s friends truly were miserable comforters, but God’s rod and staff bring comfort to His sheep.

According to, the shepherd’s rod was a “sturdy wooden stick used as a weapon to fight off wild animals” while the shepherd’s staff was “a long, slender stick, often hooked at the tip, used primarily to direct the sheep…. The shepherd used his staff to keep his sheep out of danger and close to himself…. Together the rod and the staff of Psalm 23 paint a picture of the divine Shepherd who wields them. He is strong, competent, and trustworthy; He is present with His sheep, able to defend them and watch over them through all the dangers they face.”

Jesus truly is our very good shepherd who comforts us in all our affliction. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself,
and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV

Let’s pray,

Heavenly Father,

Please help us to be patient with our friends when they say stupid things because they just don’t know what to say. I’m sure it hurts them to see us hurting. Help us to have grace toward them when they are terrible comforters and say things that make our pain even worse.

I pray that we will trust You all the more as we see what miserable counselors even our dearest friends are. You, Father, are our greatest comforter. Apply Your Word like a balm to our hurting soul. Speak to us through Your Words, healing our brokenness for Your glory, comforting us that we can comfort others.

Lord, I want to thank You in all circumstances and trust that You have purpose in my pain. As I walk through the dark valley, will you please grow my faith muscles? Help me to see Your light glowing at the end of the tunnel, guiding me with your merciful staff and fending away my enemies with Your righteous, rugged rod.

I pray that You will someday use my pain to comfort others who find themselves in pain. Teach me how to speak fit words for hurting hearts. Lead me with Your wisdom to when to speak and when to be silent, when to exhort and when to encourage. I want to be an instrument of Your peace, to be my brother’s keeper, to love my neighbor as myself, and to comfort others with the comfort that we have received from You.

In the Name of our Perfect Comforter, Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.

Feeling Forsaken

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Psalm 22, Job 15

There is so much prophecy about Christ in Psalm 22. The Roman soldiers divided up Jesus’s clothes and cast lots for his garments like David wrote a thousand years earlier in Psalm 22:18. Jesus spoke the very words of Psalm 22:1 as He hung on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

Psalm 22:1 ESV

Have you ever felt like God has forgotten you, abandoned you, deserted you?

Sisters, when we find ourselves in that pit of despair, we must speak truth into our hearts, like David did in this psalm.

For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

Psalm 22:24 ESV

Here is the truth:

Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV — “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Psalm 9:10 ESV — “And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV — “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Let’s encourage one another with these words and pray to the Father together. Will you join me in praying?

In Christ, we are the recipient of God’s grace, hidden behind the cross where Jesus absorbed the Father’s wrath that we so deeply deserved. Jesus took the Father’s scorn in our place. Jesus paid the death price, so we don’t have to.

Heavenly Father,

You are worthy of our full trust. Thank You for the sacrifice of Christ who has paid the price for my sin so that I don’t have to. My debt has been paid in full by my Savior, Christ Jesus, my Lord.

Thank You for Your faithful, steadfast love. I can trust without doubting that You will never leave me or forsake me. You are true, though every man be a liar. My own parents might even abandon me, turn away from me in shame, forsake me, but You never will.

In Jesus, You have made me Your child and put Your seal upon me, filling me with Your Holy Spirit, making me Your temple. What purpose and hope and peace there is in that!

In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Though He Slay Me

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Job 13-14

You can feel Job wrestling between how he feels in his heart and what he knows is true in his mind. On the one hand, Job wishes that God would go far away from him and leave him alone, yet he knows that God is good and his only hope for salvation.

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever wrestled between your mind and your emotions?

And in the middle of that wrestling Job says these nine profound words.

Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.

Job 13:15a

Can we say that with Job?

No matter what God puts us through, He is still our only hope. What is this life without hope? How can we get through the tragedies of daily life without trusting in a good and Sovereign God?

Truly He is our only hope in life and death.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the hope that we have in this life, that even our pain has purpose. Thank You for the hope that we have in eternity, that You will wipe every tear from our eyes and we will behold your glory face to face. We lift up our grieving sisters to you and ask you to encourage them. Please do not take your hand from them, even when they ask you to. Hold them close in your hand even when they’re in the fire. We love you and worship you and thank you for giving us the book of Job to know that we are never alone. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Though You Slay Me – Shane and Shane, featuring John Piper

Consider the Lilies

Read through the Bible in 2 Years: Job 12

Spring has arrived! The birds are singing. The trees are budding. The daffodils yellow heads are filling the landscape. The world seems alive after a long sleep. Revival! I love how the creation sings of its creator.

Has winter lasted too long in your heart and home? Have you lost your desire to bloom. Job understands and so does God. I pray that you will turn your face toward the Almighty and His face will shine on you as you wait for Him.

But ask the beasts,
and they will teach you;
the birds of the heavens,
and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth,
and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea
will declare to you.

Job 12:7-8

Jesus’s words in Matthew 6:26, 28-30 echo Job’s loud and clear — “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. … Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father,

You are the creator and sustainer of life. You send rain and sun and snow. Thank You for the beauty of spring after a long winter. Help us to learn what You’re teaching us – to be patient, to trust You, that everything has a season and time.

You take care of the birds and the flowers and you would take care of us.

We pray for those sisters who have suffered through a long winter full of storms and cold. Please let Your face shine upon them and be gracious to them and give them Your peace. Sustain them and strengthen them for the road ahead. Let them not grow weary. Help them to trust that in due time they will reap a harvest if they do not give up.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Do Not Worry – Rain for Roots

Better than I Deserve.

Read Through the Bible in 2 Years: Job 11

Before going any further in our study in the book of Job, I want you to know that I’m actually finding it really weird to invest time reading through Job verse by verse and sharing my thoughts with you, because many of the ideas contained here simply aren’t good theology. No one should base their ideas about God and man on the grief-stricken meditations of Job, like “Why did you bring me out from the womb? Would that I had died before any eye had seen me and were as though I had not been, carried from the womb to the grave.” (Job 10:18-19) But on the other hand, it’s actually really cool to mine for truth in this book. Like you can find truth in secular books and movies, you can find truth in the words of Job and his friends, though I still caution you from using them as the foundation for your theological beliefs.

With that out of the way, let me ask you a question – Have you ever greeted someone with the very standard question, “How are you today?” and received the unexpected reply, “Better than I deserve”? There’s TRUTH in those words. All of us are better than we deserve. Like Romans 6:23a says, “The wages of sin is death.”

So, today, let’s ponder these words spoken to Job by his friend, Zophar,

Know then that God exacts of you
less than your guilt deserves.

Job 11:6

Dear friends, I don’t know about you, but I know that I have broken God’s law more times than I can count. I have used His name in vain. I have blasphemed the Almighty Creator of the Universe. I have mocked and criticized His Son and His children. I have hated and dishonored God and His creation.

God would be totally just to spit in my face, call me unspeakable names, slap me across both my cheeks, and apply two-dozen lashings across my back. I deserve to be hung and shot and burned. I deserve it. God has exacted from me much less than my guilt deserves.

Truly, God has had mercy on me, a sinner. God pours out His grace on me and calls me His child. God sent His Own Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for my sins – making a way for me to not only NOT be punished, but to receive EVERLASTING LIFE!

I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy. But He has made me worthy. That is indeed Amazing GRACE.

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father,

Oh the Grace of our Lord God! The matchless, unfathomable GRACE of God! Not only have You not given us what we deserve, but You have given us that which we do not deserve – boundless, eternal abundant life, the riches of glory with You.

Thank You!

Lord, please help us to understand how great is Your goodness, that we will shout from the mountaintops, “Christ the Lord is Risen! Hallelujah! Come to Him! Come to Him!” We have found a goldmine with limitless gold. We have found the living water that never ceases. We have found the bread that is indeed new every morning. May Your love compel us to share this good news with others. Let us not keep these wonders to ourselves. Your love is boundless – it grows as it is shared. Let us share it! Give us ears to hear and eyes to see and mouths to proclaim Your mercy and grace and power and might and goodness!

In the Name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

My Worth is Not in What I Own – Fernando Ortega, Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty

There is a Fountain Filled with Blood

Read Through the Bible in 2 Years: Job 9-10

“If I wash myself with snow
and cleanse my hands with lye, yet you will plunge me into a pit, and my own clothes will abhor me.”

Job 9:30-31 ESV

I feel Job’s pain. Job wants to be right with God. Job desperately wants the Lord to bless him and look well on him, and he can’t understand why He won’t. It reminds me of when Esau cried out bitterly to his father, Isaac, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!”” – Genesis 27:34 ESV

When I first heard and believed the gospel, I went from trying my hardest to obey my own made-up rules in my own strength, to trying my hardest to obey my own made-up rules PLUS God’s rules … still in my own strength. All that did was leave me exhausted and more depressed than ever. I could never keep my own rules, not to mention God’s rules, on my own. Like the Lord spoke through His prophet Jeremiah, “Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me.” (Jeremiah 2:22 ESV)

Let me encourage you, friends, this is not the incredible good news of the gospel. Jesus Christ didn’t die on the cross so you could keep more rules. Jesus died to cleanse you fully of every sin you have ever committed and will ever commit and to give you the power by His Holy Spirit and through faith in Him to go and sin no more. As born again followers of Jesus Christ, we can now work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:12-13 ESV

I hope you will take some time today to ponder the finished work of Jesus Christ, what He has done for you, that you can be fully cleansed by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony (Revelation 12:11).

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.”

Isaiah 1:18 ESV

Will you please pray with me?

Heavenly Father,

You alone are holy, holy, holy. You dwell in unapproachable light. You are perfect in thought and word and deed. All Your ways are right. You are the very definition of perfect purity.

Thank You, thank You, thank You for the almighty cleansing power of the blood of Jesus, the only blood that can wash us clean, once and for all. Like Your Word says, it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins, but when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He took His place, sitting at Your right hand, for His work was finished.

I pray for each person reading this who is still trying to make themselves clean by their own works. Teach them, Father, that their own good deeds are nothing but filthy rags in Your sight, that even the most righteous man is nowhere near the level of perfection that You demand. I pray that they will be washed in the blood of Jesus today, that You will plunge them in that fountain full of scarlet red blood, that they may come out spotless and pure, that they will have the power of the Holy Spirit coursing through their veins, giving them new desires and new power to walk in the righteousness of faith, turning away day after day from their sin, and turning toward Your perfect light.

In the good and gracious name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

For more: Read Romans 6-8 and Hebrews 9-10

There is a Fountain – Reawaken Hymns