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Mission Freedom

Freedom from Debt. Freedom through Christ

Mission for Freedom

What was once considered a curse is considered a blessing and is now a mission for freedom.

The mission is simple. Destroy debt! Twenty three years of being a slave has educated me on the horror that is personal debt. Eighteen years in the financial industry woke me up to how we are all slaves to debt whether we have personal debt of not. Those with personal debt know all too well how debt has enslaved them. The challenge is for people without personal debt to understand that they are slaves to debt as well.

Understanding how personal debt enslaves the people that are in debt is easy. Just ask anyone that has student loans or credit card debt and no idea how they will ever get out.  Understanding how debt threatens the freedom of all of us is difficult but simple.

My wife and I have dealt with personal debt for over 23 years from a failed business. Some of you have been paying on student loans that could be with you until you are in the grave unless something changes. Others are slaves to debt simply because of their own personal desires and now find themselves in a living hell. Thirty year mortgages and seven year car loans haunt others. What if all of us decided to fight each others’ debt together rather than alone? How fast could we free one another? What if every church in America joined us? Mission number one is a debt free body of Christ!

Debt is the greatest threat to freedom ever created by man!

The challenge for many to understand this is because we have allowed ourselves to be divided by politics and our own ignorance. Understanding our financial system will change how one views politics and until you do, you will argue in ignorance.

My hope and prayer is that millions will join in this fight against debt. We will be creating a fund where 100% of the money given to the fund will be used to help free individuals and families from their prison. Even if you are in debt yourself, could you give $10,$20, or $30 a month to free someone else? Selfish ambition got each of us in this mess. Selfless ambition can get us out.

Freeing one another is the first step toward freedom. Understanding debt can free us all!

We are starting this mission with nothing more than a Facebook page and prayers that some of you support this mission financially and invite us to speak. You can reach us by commenting on this post or on our Facebook page, Mission Freedom. Or by email, mickeyellison71@gmail.com

God Bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stand Firm

What is the purpose of Armour? Obviously it is for protection, but let’s be honest. Most of us will never need the knight’s helmet or sword. We’re probably never going to need a shield to protect us from real arrows being shot at us from an enemy.. But, everyone that is seeking to earnestly serve God does need the Full Armour of God.

This life can be brutal and if we aren’t protected by His armour we subject to powers that we can’t even see. The most potent force we will ever face can’t even be seen. Think about what Paul wrote in Ephesians 6, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Those spiritual forces will use anything and everything against us to keep us away from God.

The first thing Paul mentions for our protection is the belt of truth. What is truth? Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” As a believer in Christ, we should know the Truth. Jesus himself told us what the truth is. A non-believer will think we are crazy, but Paul also told us about that in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Next is the breastplate of righteousness. Got Questions.org gives a much better description of the breastplate than I can. We are made righteous through the blood of Jesus. Paul writes about this in Chapter 3 of Philippians, “More than that, I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having my own righteousness from law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God on the basis of faith.” Christ makes us righteous, and our works are evidence of our belief.

From there, Paul writes about our feet being fitted with the readiness that comes through the gospel of peace. Having the belt of truth, Christ, and being made righteous through him, having proper shoes allow us to move in battle. Those powers of darkness mentioned earlier will attack and we must be able to move or stand firm. Got questions explains the purpose of our feet being fitted with readiness both as offensive and defensive. Those shoes will help us stand firm in the gospel when we are in battle against the enemy but they also help us move to share the gospel of peace with others.

Paul then goes on to take up the shield of faith. We have our belt of truth on, wearing the breastplate of righteousness, with shoes to move. Now we have a shield to protect us. We are constantly being attacked by scientists, professors, teachers, and others that do not believe. Remember what Paul said about the message of the cross being foolishness to those who are perishing. Knowing this protects you from those that willfully want to attack such as some scientists and some professors. And, when sharing the gospel, you will be attacked by those that don’t believe and are unwilling to believe. In some parts of the world, you will even be persecuted or killed. That, I believe, is how those martyred could go to their death in peace.

Then there is the helmet of salvation. What a beautiful thing, the helmet of salvation. This is the assurance that no matter what happens in the battle, in life or in death, our salvation is secure. Nothing on this earth can take that away from us unless we allow ourselves to be led astray. This cannot happen if we have the final piece of Armour which is the sword of the Spirit. The Word of God.

Today, unlike any other day, scripture is at our fingertips in most parts of the world. Unfortunately not all. Paul, Peter, John, and Jesus warned us that there would be false teachers. False teachers are in great supply. Paul in one of his letters to Timothy went as far as to say that people would gather around them teachers that will teach what itching ears want to hear. So not only are there false teachers. There are those that seek them out because these teachers will teach what they want to hear versus what they need to hear.

Maybe the early believers had an excuse. Unlike us because they didn’t have the Bible accessible to them through apps on a phone or a computer. Today, in an instant, we can look up scripture to verify what the teacher is teaching or see if they are misleading by taking the words out of context. Whether they were intentionally taken out of context is between the teacher and God. But, we should always be on guard, realizing that there will be those that “peddle the gospel for profit.” And, the sword of the Spirit is our defense.

Stand Firm in God’s Armour!

 

 

 

Christians, We Must Become the Light of the World

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11-12

“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” 1 Peter 2:16

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:8-11

We can spend our days worrying about what is wrong with the world. Fighting over what we think our politicians should do. Complaining about the cost of college and complaining about what is taught to our children in college. We fight with people on Facebook about politicians, sports, and anything else we can imagine. And worse yet, many of those complaining and fighting are Christians. We act as though we are powerless to do anything, yet we claim to follow the Creator of everything.

Do we believe there is only one God? Do we believe he is all powerful? Do we believe that He is the answer? If so, it’s time we start serving him and understand that simply believing He exists is not enough for James wrote, “You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” James 2:19

For so long we have sat back living scared and acting powerless when God gave us all the answers through the pages of scripture. So many will pound the pulpits telling us what we should not do. Not that they are wrong, but what is so often not taught is what we should do, and it starts with loving God with all your heart mind and soul, then loving your neighbor as yourself.

Together, if it is God’s will, there is nothing that we can’t do. It’s time that we believers be the “light of the world….” (Matthew 5:14) And, live “doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility, VALUE OTHERS ABOVE YOURSELVES.” (Philippians 2:3)

There has never been a time in history when His light through us can shine brighter. A time when the whole world can see!

You Have to Love the Game

Years ago I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. We were reminiscing about high school baseball. He grew up in Kansas and I grew up in South Carolina. In that conversation he said some things that didn’t make sense to me. Let me tell you what he said.

He told me that he didn’t play his senior year of high school and his reasoning was, “he couldn’t stand the coach.” The thought of not playing the game I love because some coach was a jerk was and still is not something that I can comprehend.

Last summer, I had the privilege of coaching a group of young men in a season that I will never forget, and I hope they feel the same. But, it didn’t start that way. In our very first weekend, we lost a game 1-0 and I noticed something. The kids looked as if someone had died.

That night, I couldn’t stop thinking about my boys. Suddenly it hit me. They were putting so much pressure on themselves and what was supposed to be fun looked more like work. My question to them the next day was, “Do we play baseball or do we work baseball?” The obvious answer to that question is we play baseball, and the word “work” was eliminated from our vocabulary and it actually cost a quarter every time we said the word.

Why do I tell that story? Because I believe we are failing these kids at early ages. Not just in baseball, but probably in all sports. We don’t teach them to love the game. How can they love the game when they see coaches of 10 year olds cutting players? Anybody can cut their 2-3 worst players, and steal the best 2-3 players from another team and win. That’s not coaching, it’s recruiting and anyone that is cutting and recruiting 10 year olds is a disgrace to the game.

How is a kid supposed to learn to love the game when there is a possibility of him getting cut at 9? If you want to recruit, coach in college, otherwise teach the game.

Parents, let your kids play! Does it really matter if they went 0-4 with four strike outs when they are 7? Keep that in perspective. Is your relationship with your kid dependent on how they perform on an athletic field?

Play catch with your kids. Pitch to them. Teach them to love the game. If they love the game, they will not quit because of a coach. Every player that has made it beyond high school has played for someone that they didn’t like.

As a player gets older, the most successful learn to control what they can and not get caught up in what they can’t control. Most importantly they learn to enjoy the process. When you enjoy the process, it doesn’t feel like work. A great player learns to compete with him or herself. If it’s lifting weights, they learn to push and they are never forced to lift. The thrill of getting stronger outweighs the pain.

Getting in the best possible shape that you can be in can never be about impressing a coach or it will eventually feel like work. If you wait to start hitting when the high school practice begins, you’ve waited too long. Every day you have to push yourself to get better.

One of the worst things I have said and I’ve heard it said thousands of times. “You should hustle because you never know who’s watching you.” That sounds good on the surface, but I will not say this again, rather, “If you hustle all the time, then it doesn’t matter who is watching you because your effort is a habit.”

If you’ve learned to love playing the game, the process becomes enjoyable. If don’t love the process, you are not a player, you are a fan.

If you’ve done all that you can do to become stronger, faster, a better hitter, a better fielder, and in great shape, that’s all that you have control of. If you haven’t, only you can change that.

World More Like Jesus? Greatness

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:1-5

“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28

Greatness? What does that look like today? Athletes are the first people that come to my mind. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Walter Payton, and Babe Ruth are all legends from sports. People enjoy debating on who the greatest of all time is in their particular sport. Then there’s Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffet who represent some of the greatest business people in the world. Actors and actresses are heroes to many people.

Then there are the popular slogans that lead us to the greatness that is inside of us. One soccer t-shirt says “Greatness has been found.” Another shirt says, “Dream big, Play hard, live strong.” Other slogans that I found are: “Girl Almighty”, “Eat Sleep Yoga Repeat”, “Skilled in Every Position”, “Just Do It, “The One and Only.”

All over the place is how you can be the best you can be, and most of it is focusing on self. Christ came to serve, not to be served. Paul wrote often about placing the interests of others above yourself. Jesus and others said to love your neighbor as yourself. He also told us to be like little children in our faith.

How does that compare to the popular slogans of our day? Think of little children. Think of yourself when you were a child. For most boys, their dad is their hero. If not their dad, it was someone else. When we were small, we trusted these people. What they said was always right at least before we became teenagers. That’s the trust and faith that Jesus is saying that we should have in God. The same faith that a young child has in their hero.

Today’s slogans, especially in sports and fitness, typically focus on self. How to get 6-pack abs. How to get those biceps you’ve always wanted. Billions of dollars are spent every year on gym memberships, DVDs for home workouts, fitness equipment, supplements, and many other things that are designed to make us look better. Am I saying that you shouldn’t workout? Absolutely not! I have been exercising consistently for over 13 years, and Lord willing, I will continue, (James 4:15). But I also know that my health and fitness can disappear in the blink of an eye. Despite that one day I will be completely fit.

Jesus came to serve and he is our example. He didn’t have to because he is God’s to Son. He could have struck those Roman soldiers down at any moment, but he chose not to because he loves us so much that his sacrifice gave us hope and the Way to salvation.

Are you blessed financially? Is that so you can “get what you deserve” or can that be used to help others?

Are you blessed with health? Is that so you can like what you see in the mirror, or can you use your health to help others who aren’t healthy?

We are all blessed with something. We can use that blessing to serve others or we can serve ourselves. Christ chose to serve others. So, does the world need more Jesus?

World Need More Jesus? Adultery

“You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28

I’m just looking at the menu, I’m not ordering. I’ve never cheated on my wife or my husband, but Jesus says I can cheat by what I think? I can’t speak for women, but I can speak as a married man, by Jesus’ standard, I am guilty. For most married men, following this definition of adultery will be a challenge for the rest of their lives.

Thoughts are the unseen if no action is ever taken. The problem with thoughts is if we think those same thoughts for too long, they may very well lead to action. Imagine if your husband, wife, or best friend knew your every thought. What about your mom or dad? Or, the attractive man or woman that you just walked by on the street? They can’t, but there is one that can, God!

In our world, it is increasingly more difficult to have pure thoughts when it comes to the opposite sex. You can’t watch a sporting event on television without seeing at least one commercial about erectile dysfunction, usually with an attractive woman talking in a seductive tone. Click onto almost any website, and somewhere on that site is an advertisement about something sexual. “Sex sells” is not just a slogan.

How is it possible to go through the rest of our lives without having an impure thought? It probably isn’t possible which is why we need a savior, but there are steps that each of us can take. Jesus went on to say Matthew 5:29-30, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body do go to hell.”

Jesus is saying, whatever causes you to have those thoughts, get rid of it or don’t do it. If you can’t control yourself on the internet, get rid of it. What about Facebook or other social media websites? Unfortunately, through Facebook, I almost made the worst mistake of my life. By the Grace of God I didn’t. I’m still on Facebook, no longer do I entertain anything close to what almost happened.

Some will say that Jesus really didn’t mean to cut your hand off of gouge your eye out. I personally believe he meant it. He was saying whatever it is that causes you to stumble, get rid of it.

If going to a bar tempts you, don’t go! If your customer wants to go to a strip club, refuse. Even if it means losing the account or even your job. Is the sale or your job worth your soul? Try to never go somewhere alone with someone of the opposite sex that isn’t your spouse. If you are tempted by someone via social media, unfriend them. If that isn’t enough, get rid of it.

We all know where and who brings temptation. Avoid those places and those people if possible. Pray constantly for God to purify everything in your life, especially your thoughts. While everyone can see your actions, God can see your thoughts. People think they know you because of what they can see, whether what they see is real or not. You may be able to fool those around you, but you can never fool God. He know who you really are and here’s the most awesome thing. He loves you anyway! He knows we are going to struggle. Turn your thoughts towards him because he promises, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” Matthew 7:7

Really One Spark! You Have to Raffle a Gun?

Where do I begin? At first I was mad, but the truth is I’m sad. One reason I’m sad is because the people that need to read this probably will not.

About a year ago, I was introduced to someone that today is one of my best friends. He is the most selfless person that I have ever met. He has made it his mission to change the world through kindness. This guy doesn’t discriminate against anyone, especially if they need help. And frankly, he is right. The world can be changed with kindness and people living selflessly and not operating as the judgment police. I am truly honored to call David Hill my friend.

As many of you that follow One Spark on Facebook are aware, the foundation is raffling off a rifle, Sig 516 AR to be exact. Some people have let us know that they are offended, and let me tell you that I am as well, but probably not for the same reason. The sad thing is that One Spark has to raffle anything off to help pay for the Sparks that they give. You name me one other charity that has no paid employees? There are over 568,000 people that like the page, and if just half of those would give $1 a month, One Spark would not need to do a raffle. The fact is, it takes money to feed the homeless, help sick children, to educate about human trafficking,  and help families that have fallen on hard times.

Please understand, if you are following One Spark on Facebook and not complaining, this is not directed at you and we hope and pray that you continue to follow and share your spark stories because you are improving the lives of those you Spark.

For those who have chosen to judge, let me tell you a little about the founder and my friend, David Hill, and see if you stack up. I sure as heck know I don’t. Two weeks ago, I was with him in the emergency room as he was having chest pains and numbness in his left arm. As I’m writing this, we still do not know exactly why except for stress. Before he was released, the doctor told him to rest. Three days later, David receives a call from the mom of a child who had been battling cancer, and he is told that the child isn’t expected to make it through the night, and the child wanted to see David. Despite what the doctor told him to do, David gets in his truck after 11:00 PM and drives straight to the kid. The location was about 3 hours drive away. He made it to see the kid before he passed away.

I can’t tell you how many mornings I’ve gone to see David, and he hasn’t been to bed or has had very little sleep. He takes very little credit for all that One Spark does to help, but what little I’ve shared isn’t the most impressive part. If there ever was a person that could have been bitter and complained, it was David. Imagine being sold by your mother to have sex with men as a child 751 times. Heck, I can’t imagine that being done once. Imagine being left on the side of the road on purpose by a parent, hours from home as a young child, and it taking weeks to make it home. Being told by your mother that she wished she would have aborted you. If that isn’t enough, what if your father beat you mercilessly more times than you can count? You can read more of his story here, Dave’s Story and One Sparks Mission here, Mission.

Through all of this and more, most of us would be bitter, and with good reason. David says he is blessed because his story has helped many people turn their anchors into a keys. Personally, he has done that for me, and has helped my family in ways that I may never be able to repay.

We are so easily offended today by things I don’t even understand. The solution to every social issue could be solved if we simply open our eyes and love our neighbors as we want to be loved ourselves. They aren’t solved by electing a politician and they aren’t solved by simply complaining on social media. They are solved by love in action. One Spark and David Hill are doing that. We hope and pray that millions will join us. If you do not want to buy a raffle ticket, you can simply donate to One Spark here: Donate.

 

 

 

Prized Possession

“So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” James 1:16-18

What a statement! Out of all creation we are His prized possession.

It’s appropriate that I’m writing this on the day that I am. I had just texted co-author David Hill that I needed an attitude adjustment today. Some days, for whatever reason, are more of a challenge than others, and from day to day my mood can go from high one day to low the next. I still have food, a home, income, my health, and my family, yet I struggle to stay off of the roller coaster. Then I read in James that God never changes which is more proof as to why I need Him!

It’s frustrating! I don’t want to be in this mood! And, I have no reason to be in it. I/you are His “most prized possession.” God is our rock! He doesn’t shift with our moods. It’s us that change, and I pray that we all can learn from the Apostle Paul, “I know that I can live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”(Philippians 4:12-13)

We are God’s prized possession and our ultimate reward isn’t here on this earth. It’s in eternity with Him. He is perfect. Everything that is good comes from Him. Let James 1:16-18 be a passage of scripture to fall back on. No matter what you are going through, you are His prized possession and through His son, Jesus Christ, you will get through anything, even death.

Job and His Friends (Part 3)

“Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:

Would a wise person answer with empty notions or fill their belly with the hot east wind? Would they argue with useless words, with speeches that have no value? But you even undermine piety and hinder devotion to God. Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, not mine; your own lips testify against you. Are you the first man ever born? Were you brought forth before the hills? Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? What do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that we do not have? The gray-haired and the aged are on our side, men even older than your father. Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you? Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash, so that you vent your rage against God and pour out such words from your mouth? What are mortals, that they could be pure, or those born of woman, that they could be righteous? If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water! Listen to me and I will explain to you; let me tell you what I have seen, what the wise have declared, hiding nothing received from their ancestors (to whom alone the land was given when no foreigners moved among them): All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him. Terrifying sounds fill his ears; when all seems well, marauders attack him. He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness; he is marked for the sword. He wanders about for food like a vulture; he knows the day of darkness is at hand. Distress and anguish fill him with terror; troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack, because he shakes his fist at
God and vaunts himself against the Almighty, defiantly charging against him with a thick, strong shield. Though his face is covered with fat and his waist bulges with flesh, he will inhabit ruined towns and houses crumbling to rubble. He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure, nor will his possessions spread over the land. He will not escape the darkness; a flame will wither his shoots, and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away. Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return. Before his time he will wither, and his branches will not flourish. He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes, like an olive tree shedding its blossoms. For the company of the godless will be barren, and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes. They conceive trouble and give birth to evil; their womb fashions deceit.” Job 15

The “expert” says, “listen to me and I will explain to you, let me tell you what I have seen.” Eliphaz thinks he knows, yet knows nothing.

“Then Job replied:

I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you! Will your long-winded speeches ever end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring relief. Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away. Surely, God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household. You have shriveled me up – and it has become a witness; my gauntness rises up and testifies against me. God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me; my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes. People open their mouths to jeer at me; they strike my cheek in scorn and unite together against me. God has turned me over to the ungodly and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked. All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me. He has made me his target; his archers surround me. Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground. Again and again he bursts upon me; he rushes at me like a warrior. I have sewed sackcloth over my skin and buried my brow in the dust. My face is red with weeping, dark shadows ring my eyes; yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure. Earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest! Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend. Only a few years will pass before I take the path of no return.” Job 16

Job continues:

“My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me. Surely mockers surround me; my eyes must dwell on their hostility. Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me? You have closed their minds to understanding; therefore you will not let them triumph. If anyone denounces their friends for reward, the eyes of their children will fail. God has made me a byword to everyone, a man in whose face people spit. My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow. The upright are appalled at this; the innocent are aroused against the ungodly. Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger. But come on, all of you, try again! I will not find a wise man among you. My days have passed, my plans are shattered. Yet the desires of my heart turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near. If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness, if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’ and the worm, “My mother’ or ‘My sister,’ where then is my hope – who can see any hope for me? Will it go down to the gates of death? Will we descend together into the dust? Job 17

Are we Job’s friends? Do we assume to know why someone is going through something? God only knows and when we assume, we act as if we are God!

Job’s friends are finished with him yet!

“Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

When will you end these speeches? Be sensible, and then we can talk. Why are we regarded as cattle and considered stupid in you sight? You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger, is the earth to be abandoned for your sake? Or must rocks be removed from their place? The lamp of a wicked man is snuffed out; the flame of his fire stops burning. The light in his tent becomes dark; the lamp beside him goes out. The vigor of his step is weakened; his own schemes throw him down. His feet thrust him into a net; he wanders into its mesh. A trap seizes him by the heel; a snare holds him fast. A noose is hidden for him on the ground; a trap lies in his path. Terrors startle him on every side and a dog his every step. Calamity is hungry for him; disaster is ready for him when he falls. It eats away parts of his skin; death’s firstborn devours his limbs. He is torn from the security of his tent and marched off to the king of terrors. Fire resides in his tent: burning sulfur is scattered over his dwelling. His roots dry up below and his branches wither above. The memory of him perishes from the earth; he has no name in the land. He is driven from light into the realm of darkness and is banished from the world. He has no offspring or descendants among his people, no survivor where once he lived. People of the west are appalled at his fate; those of the east are seized with horror. Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man; such is the place of one who does not know God.” Job 18

Did Bildad just say Job doesn’t know God? The same man God said is blameless? There is no one like him?

“Then Job replied:

How long will you torment me and crush me with your words? Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me. If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone. If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me and use my humiliation against me, then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice. He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree. His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies. His troops advance in force; they build a siege ramp against me and encamp around my tent. He has alienated my family from me; my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. My relatives have gone away; my closest friends have forgotten me. My guests and my female servants count me a foreigner; they look on me as on a stranger. I summon my servant, but he does not answer, though I beg him with my mouth. My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own family. Even the little boys scorn me; when I appear, they ridicule me. All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me. I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth. Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me. Why do you pursue me as God does? Will you never get enough of my flesh? Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! If you say, “How we will hound him, since the root of the trouble lies in him, you should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment.” Job 19

More from Zophar:

“Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer because I am greatly disturbed. I hear a rebuke that dishonors me, and my understanding inspires me to reply. Surely you know how it has been of old, ever since mankind was placed on the earth, that the mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment. Though the pride of the godless person reaches to the heavens and his head touches the clouds, he will perish forever, like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’ Like a dream he flies away, no more to be found, banished like a vision of the night. The eye that saw him will not see him again; his place will look on him no more. His children must make amends to the poor; his own hands must give back his wealth. The youthful vigor that fills his bones will lie with him in the dust. Though evil is sweet in his mouth, and he hides it under his tongue, though he cannot bear to let it go and lets it linger in his mouth, yet his food will turn sour in his stomach; it will become like venom of serpents within him. He will spit out the riches he swallowed; God will make his stomach vomit them up. He will suck the poison of serpents; the fangs of an adder will kill him. He will not enjoy the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream. What he toiled for he must give back uneaten; he will not enjoy the profit from his trading. For he has oppressed the poor and left them destitute; he has seized houses he did not build. Surely he will have no respite from his craving; he cannot save himself by his treasure. Nothing is left for him to devour; his prosperity will not endure. In the midst of his plenty, distress will overtake him; the full force of misery will come upon him. When he has filled his belly, God will vent his burning anger against him and rain down his blows on him. Though he flees from an iron weapon, a bronze-tipped arrow pierces him. He pulls it out of his back, the gleaming point out of his liver. Terrors will come over him; total darkness lies in wait for his treasures. A fire unfanned will consume him and devour what is left in his tent. The heavens will expose his guilt; the earth will rise up against him. A flood will carry off his house, rushing waters on the day of God’s wrath. Such is the fate God allots the wicked, the heritage appointed for them by God.” Job 20

Will they ever stop?!

“Then Job replied:

Listen carefully to my words; let this be the consolation you give me. Bear with me while I speak, and after I have spoken, mock on. Is my complaint directed to a human being? Why should I not be impatient? Look at me and be appalled; clap your hand over your mouth. When I think about this, I am terrified; trembling seizes my body. Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not on them. Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry. They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about. They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre; they make merry to the sound of the pipe. They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace. Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?’ But their prosperity is not in their hands, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked. Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? How often does calamity come upon them, the fate of God allots in his anger? How often are they like straw before the wind, like chaff swept away by a gale? It is said, ‘God stores up the punishment of the wicked for their children.’ Let him repay the wicked, so that they themselves will experience it! Let their eyes see their destruction; let them drink the cup of the wrath of the Almighty. For what do they care about the families they leave behind when their allotted months come to an end? Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest? One person dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, well nourished in body, bones rich with marrow. Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good. Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both. I know full well what you are thinking, the schemes by which you would wrong me. You say, ‘Where now is the house of the great, the tents where the wicked lived? Have you never questioned those who travel? Have you paid no regard to their accounts – that the wicked are spared from the day of calamity, that they are delivered from the day of wrath? Who repays their conduct to their face? Who repays them for what they have done? They are carried to the grave, and watch is kept over their tombs. The soil in the valley is sweet to them; everyone follows after them, and a countless throng goes before them. So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!” Job 21

The patience of Job!

The World Needs More Jesus? Judging

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

What would happen in your church if a known murderer walked in? Would you want to be seen with a man who had an affair with the wife of one of his best friends? Would you let a prostitute into your church? Would people stare at someone covered in tattoos? You are hosting a party for the wealthiest people in your town, what would be your reaction when if homeless person wants to come in?

Would the murderer who also committed adultery be allowed to lead your church? Probably not! Yet, I’m describing David, who was described by the author of Acts in chapter 13 verse 22 like this, “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.”

The Apostle Paul wrote much of the New Testament, yet at one time he was one of the most zealous persecutors of Christians. Rahab from the Old Testament was a prostitute that protected the Israelite spies in Jericho.

Would we have recognized Jesus? Would we today? Jesus is the homeless person that I asked about earlier. Matthew 8:20 shows this when Jesus replied to a teacher of the law, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

We are all guilty of judging others. Many like to justify their judgment based on the severity of sin according to men.  Are there people who live lifestyles that I disagree with, and are their actions sinful? Yes, but then I’m reminded of this, “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

God gave Moses 10 Commandments, and my pride puffs up that I have broken all of them. Ask yourself these questions:

Have I ever put anything before God?

Have I ever misused His name?

Do I keep the Sabbath?

Have I ever dishonored my parents?

Have I committed murder? Some of you say absolutely not, but have you according to Jesus in Matthew 5 starting with verse 21?

Have I ever committed adultery? Again, I defer to the words of Jesus in Matthew 5 verse 27

Have I ever stolen anything or told a lie?

Have I ever coveted anything that anyone else has?

It is not our place to judge. Jesus said to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Jesus didn’t say love your neighbor unless. He did say, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured against you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

The only people that Jesus scolded were the pious religious teachers. When we judge others we risk being those same pious people that Jesus scolded. I’m humbled when I think about his love for me despite all that I have done wrong and all that I will do wrong in the future.

“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgement on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor.” James 4:11-12