September 16

Job 2:4-5, 10 (NIV) 4"Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. 5But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face."

10He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

After Job lost everything but his wife and yet retained his integrity, God asked Satan if he was now convinced of Job's love for God. Satan told God that any man would curse God if his health were taken from him. God gave permission to take his health but not his life. Job was afflicted with boils head to foot. He used a piece of broken pot to scrape the boils.

Then his wife told him it was not worth it to try to remain right with God, "just curse Him and die". Sometimes we get poor advice from a spouse because they don't want to see us suffer. Eternity is of much greater value than temporal relief from pain. Job answered her with an expression that we would do well to consider, "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" Is God only allowed to be Santa Claus? Can He never bring difficulty? Will we be so brazen as to say that we know better than God what is needed in our life? We thank Him for the things we perceive to be good, but should we not thank Him for trouble, knowing He has allowed it for a purpose?

Job did not sin with his mouth. His heart may have been beginning to question, but his testimony remained solid. Here too, we can take a tip from Job. Be most careful of what you express to others during difficult times. We can teach them to have faith in God, or to doubt God. Our response is a witness that can encourage faith or doubt. It is at these times that we are most tempted to let the wrong expressions slip from our lips as we seek sympathy from those around us. We want them to feel our pain.

Remember: No one feels our pain like our Great High Priest, Jesus. Take your expressions of pain to Him in prayer. His Holy Spirit is the Comforter.

September 16

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NIV) 13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Paul had an intense passion for the churches he founded. By this time in church history, false teachers were making their rounds trying to push certain false doctrines. From the passage we can learn several things about them. They carried an air of authority. They were demanding, abusive and took great pride in their Jewish lineage and education. They were trained speakers that demanded support, but their teaching was a lie.

The Corinthian church had not hung onto the teaching of their founder, Paul. These false teachers were probably the Judaizers, insisting that the Gentiles converts keep the rigid demands of the Law. It can apply to any false teaching that emphasizes anything other than what Christ has done for us. We are so easily swayed by powerful preaching and teaching, and so readily let go of the fundamental truths we have learned from Scripture.

Paul gives us a powerful warning. It does not matter how the speaker appears. Appearances are deceiving. Satan masquerades as an angel of light. Of course the counterfeit looks powerfully spiritual. See with your spiritual eyes and not the physical ones. Look past the dazzle to the substance and see if it lines up with the redemptive work of Jesus through the cross, resurrection and ascension.

Peter also warned of these false teachers. He said their motivation was greed and lust. (2 Peter 2) Paul and Peter agreed that they were soon to receive the judgment they deserve. How can we spot them? Listen carefully to the substance. Watch the fruit of their lives. It will not be the fruit of the Spirit. Anyone can claim to be called to preach and teach, but only a transformed life will have the obvious fruits of the Spirit.

Remember: Ask yourself if the speaker is in line with the Word and demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit.