Life After This Life

And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before…. And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters.
Job 42:10, 12-13

Job had lost it all.

His vast fortune wiped out overnight.

His seven sons and three daughters all killed on the same night.

He had been struck with some affliction that reduced his skin to festering and itching boils.

The only thing Job is left with is his wife and his life. And his wife told him to “curse God and die.”

And yes, I realize this is exactly how I started the last devotion!

We’ve come to the end of the Book of Job and the story it tells.

Job receives back double of all that he lost. Twice as many sheep, twice as many camels, twice as many oxen, and twice as many female donkeys.

Job is restored to the position he had before as “the greatest of all the people of the east.”

I presume his health is also restored.

Remember, this was never really about how wealthy Job was or how blessed by God Job was.

That was Satan’s accusation. That Job only believed in God because God had blessed him with tremendous wealth.

Satan was shown to be wrong when Job continues to believe in God and look to him as his Redeemer who lives even though Job lost everything but his life and his wife!

Job ultimately shows his belief and reverent awe (fear) of God by praying for and sacrificing on behalf of his friends.

God once again blesses Job with incredible wealth.

But wait a minute! Not everything God blesses Job with is doubled.

In Job 1:2 it says, “There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.” In Job 1:19 we’re told that all ten of them were killed at once when a great wind destroyed the house they were in.

In Job 42:10,12 it says that God restored the fortunes of Job two-fold.

Except for his children.

Job 42:13 says that Job and his wife are blessed with ten more children. Not twenty more!

But think of this: Job’s first ten children have been killed in this life. But as believers in God they would still be living! They are living forever in heaven!

When Job and his wife are blessed with ten more children, they have two-fold children! Ten on earth and ten in heaven!

This is a subtle yet powerful way of telling us that there is life after this life!

And that life is ours because our Redeemer lives!

Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and he lives! He had died on the cross, paying the penalty for all our sin. His sacrifice on Calvary was the redemption price that purchased and won us from all sin, from death itself, and from the devil.

You and I – as believers in Christ – will live forever in heaven! Even if we die on this earth, we will live forever!

This is the ultimate lesson of the Book of Job!

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries to help keep this devotional going here.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

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Special Announcement

Starting this weekend, “In My Father’s Footsteps” will be released only Monday through Friday at about 6:00 a.m. Central Standard Time (-5 UTC).

Also, the True Man Podcast is back! The latest episode is “Come and See Now Go and Tell” and you can hear it here.

Finally, the Job Devotions will be available in print this May! There is an announcement about that here.

Special Announcement

Starting this weekend, “In My Father’s Footsteps” will be released only Monday through Friday at about 6:00 a.m. Central Standard Time (-5 UTC).

Also, the True Man Podcast is back! The latest episode is “Come and See Now Go and Tell” and you can hear it here.

Finally, the Job Devotions will be available in print this May! There is an announcement about that here.

Hearing AND Seeing

“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in the dust and ashes.”
Job 42:5-6

Job had heard of God from Elihu. Before that he had heard of God via “oral tradition.” His father told him of God. His grandfather had told his father. His father told him and his father’s father’s father had told him.

This was how knowledge of God was told, through families and friends telling others about what God had done in the past.

On occasion God intervened and interacted directly with people. Noah, for instance. Abraham is another example. Jacob yet another one.

But less and less, apparently, by the time Job comes along (a couple of generations after Jacob).

Job was a special case, though. If anyone ever needed to hear directly from the Lord, it was Job! And this is exactly what Job had been seeking.

But be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!

Fast forward 1800 years. It is just after sunset of a very momentous day.

The women in the group came banging on the door very early in the morning.

“Angels!” they said. “Tomb empty!” they exclaimed. “He’s alive!” they shouted!

Then two other disciples rushed up the stairs and into the room – the dust of the road to Emmaus still clinging to them.

“He spoke to us!” they announced! “He broke bread for us!” they further explained, in awe.

Then Jesus was suddenly there with them. Even though the door was locked, there he stood.

“Peace be to you.”

But Thomas was elsewhere. He came back later and they all told him, mostly all at once!

“Angels!” “Tomb empty!” “He’s alive!” “He spoke to us!” “He broke bread for us!”

He gave us his peace!

“I hear you speak of him with my ears, but I won’t believe until I see with my eyes and hands!”

Once week later, Jesus shows up again.

“Peace be to you.”

This time Thomas is there. He hears. He sees. He touches. He believes.

“My Lord and my God!”

Like Job, Thomas repents of his unbelief. Like Job, Thomas is forgiven and restored.

Like Thomas, Job will also intercede for others. Thomas will take the Gospel of the resurrected Lord to the world.

Job will pray for his three friends.

What will we do with our belief in God?

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries to help keep this devotional going here.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

He Lives!

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
Job 19:25

“I Know That My Redeemer Lives” has been a hymn that has been sung at the past 22 Easter Sunday worship services of which I have been presiding or preaching minister.

It also is used at the vast majority of funerals that I have presided or preached at for the last 22 years.

This hymn by Samuel Medley is very popular because of the amazing message that he put in it – the Easter message.

The phrase “He lives” is repeated thirty times over eight stanzas.

Anything repeated that often in a song or poem must be important. And so it is!

That Jesus is alive is incredibly good news. It is the best news of all.

After Jesus died a gruesome death on the cross – and there was no doubt he was dead, no one could survive what Jesus went through – three days later he was alive.

He lives!

But why?

That is the question this hymn answers.

Jesus lives to: save, rule his Church, grant me rich supply, guide me, comfort me, hear my soul’s complaint, silence my fears, wipe away my tears, calm my troubled heart, impart blessings, bless me, plead for me, feed my soul, love me, grant me daily breath, my mansion to prepare, to bring me safely there (to my mansion).

That’s quite a list!

And yet, that’s only part of the Easter message!

Jesus bled and died to save you and I from our sins, from death, and from the power of the devil.

As we learn from the Book of Job, the devil has some pretty powerful weapons in his arsenal. He’s able to destroy Job’s wealth, his family, and very nearly his health.

But God is more powerful than the devil – no surprise there. The creator is always more powerful than his creation.

But what makes God most powerful is not strength, or weapons, or tactics.

It is something that Satan doesn’t have. Something that we desperately need.

What makes God powerful is love.

God loves us. Even amid death and despair, God’s love is more powerful than anything else.

That’s why Job can say, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

That’s why Jesus goes to the cross to die.

God’s love for us!

And now it’s our turn.

It is Easter Sunday and it is time to celebrate God’s love. Sing a hymn of praise, shout that Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Spend time with your church family. Spend time with your blood family.

But come Easter Monday, it is time to respond to God’s love.

Tell someone else that you know that your Redeemer lives!

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries to help keep this devotional going here.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

My Redeemer Lives

“I know that my Redeemer lives….”
Job 19: 25a

Here in the middle of Lent we get to the most “Easter” sounding phrase in the entire Book of Job. We will revisit this Easter phrase on … well, you guessed it … Easter!

But it comes practically in the middle of the Book of Job and gives us the first glimpse into the hope of Job.

Amidst all the black despair and death Job has dealt with, he never, ever, loses his hope in his ever-living Redeemer, God Almighty!

Powerful lesson in this for us. Never, ever, give up hope. No matter how bad things get, you have a Redeemer who lives!

Samuel Medley went through some pretty rough times himself.

He was the son of a teacher but his early education was by his grandfather. Samuel was born in a time when English boys who were not royalty or aristocracy would be “apprenticed” to gain education and a career.

Being an “apprentice” was little better than being an indentured servant or even a slave. Samuel was apprenticed to an oil-man in London who sold lamp oil and paraffin.

Samuel was never interested in this for a career and finally figured out how to get out of this situation after three years. He gained his freedom by enlisting in the Royal Navy.

Four years into his enlistment, he was severely wounded at the battle of Annus Mirabilis of 1759. (Ironically, a young slave named Olaudah Equiano also participated in the battle on the side of England. He would go on to win his freedom and, along with John Newton, would influence William Wilberforce in ending slavery in England.)

Severely wounded, with no prospects for a career, life was as bleak as could be for Samuel.

He was sent back to England to recover. He didn’t know what his future held, or even if he had a future. Then, he happened to pick up one of Isaac Watts’ published sermons.

The great hymn writer and preacher led to Samuel hearing about Jesus Christ and this forever changed Samuel’s life.

It would also touch our lives as well, for Samuel went on to become a preacher and hymn writer himself, eventually penning the words to the hymn “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”

This hymn contains the phrase from the Book of Job. The rest is all pure Easter Gospel!

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high….

When your Redeemer lives, you will live! There is a plan and purpose for your life in this world and, of course, eternal life awaits you in heaven.

This life may get dark, bleak, downright awful.

But when your Redeemer lives, there is always hope, always purpose, and always light at the end!

©2017 True Men Ministries

______________________________________

Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries to help keep this devotional going here.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

Easter Change

Several years ago, I called a radio morning show because they asked the question on the Monday after Easter, “Now that Easter is over when will you take down your Easter decorations?”

I called in to tell the host that Easter was, in fact, not over! Easter Sunday is past, but Easter is a season that lasts 40 days! After Easter Sunday we remember what Jesus said and did with His disciples between His resurrection and His ascension 40 days later.

Many people are tempted to believe that come Monday morning Easter will be over and we can get on with their rest of our lives. It may even be inadvertent, but they equate Easter Sunday with the Easter Season.

Easter continues. And thankfully so. Jesus rose from the dead on that first Easter Sunday. But He remains risen from the dead. He is active in our lives. He is sustaining His Church, His people. He is alive and He is giving life.

John wrote His Gospel with this very thought in mind.

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. – John 20:30-31

What do we know about the post-resurrection Jesus and how we know it?

What We Know

What we do know is that Jesus died. No one survives crucifixion. We also know that Jesus Rose from the dead three days later. If this didn’t happen then our faith, as St. Paul says, is in vain. And we know that Jesus’ resurrection was for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

How We Know It

How do we know these things? As the song says, “For the Bible tells me so.”

There are some things you need to know about the Bible because of certain movies you may see. Or someone you know will see a movie and ask you about it (or worse, tell you what the “truth” is about the Bible)

The truth is that God the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Bible to write what they did.

The truth is that the Key to understanding the Bible is Jesus Christ Himself.

How It Changes Our Lives

Up to this point, this is – while interesting to me and maybe to you – really only “facts” and “history.” But it can be more than that because what we are talking about is something that is alive. The Holy Word of God is inspired by the Holy Spirit and He uses it to change lives. He wants to change your life. Will you respond?

It has changed my life. No matter what happens to me, I can handle it, usually well although at times not so well, as some of you may know.

That God is in control of my life, I am positive. He works everything out for good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8). The circumstances are sometimes a bit mysterious, sometimes painful, but always work out for good, of that I am sure.

This application of Easter – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and how we know about it – can change your life if only you will let it. I urge you not to resist the work of the Holy Spirit. Give yourself to it. Trust in the Lord. Trust in Christ’s resurrection. Trust in the Bible – all of the Bible. Don’t let others tell you it isn’t true. It is.

And it can change your life – in ways not even dreamt or imagined.