Natasha’s Daily Scripture, Prayer, and Reflection for 3.21.18

Scripture

Job 1:20-22 HCSB

Prayer

Father I am so humbly grateful for every blessing that You have chosen to share with me. Thank You for breathing life into me. Thank you for every part of my body that moves as it should, for every organ that functions properly, for every sense that works as it should, for my health, and for my life. Father I thank You for the parts of me that don’t work  at 100% because You have blessed me with the ability to adapt and overcome what many would consider a limitation.

I thank You for the ability to feel the sun, wind, rain, and snow. I thank You for every bite of food that I eat and every drop of liquid that I drink. I thank You for the strength to persevere each day. I thank You for the smile that rises on my face even when I didn’t plan to feel it. It feels amazing Father and I thank You. I thank You for the ability to feel emotions, mine and others. Thank You for blessing me with the ability to connect, even with strangers, when in pain, that we might share a moment of connectedness. 

Thank You for keeping me rooted in my childlikeness so that I never forget the pureness and innocence that You poured in me from even before I took my first breath outside of my mother’s womb. This blessing that I have clung to has allowed me to connect with children in a way that only another child could—because of You Father, I am never too grown to remember the simplicities of childhood. Thank You Father.

Thank You for my family, for those still living here surrounding me on Earth, and for those who have transitioned yet still maintain a connection with me. Thank You Father. Thank You for that bond, for second to You, nothing else takes priority. 

Thank You for my friends, the truest ones and even the ones who have let me down because they simply don’t know what else to do. I appreciate their love and friendship. I appreciate the associates and colleagues that You have placed in my life and allowed me to play a part in theirs. Thank You for this village Father.

I am and will forever be eternally grateful for these priceless gifts that You have blessed me with. In Jesus’ name I praise You as the only Source capable of creating and providing these blessings and more. I love You!

Love Your servant-in-training.

Reflection

Yesterday we looked at our material possessions and the blessings that we could see around our home. Let’s go deeper and wider shall we?

Today I share an excerpt from the book of Job.

With God’s permission, satan was able to test Job. God knew that Job was a man of integrity, free of sin, and loved Him unconditionally. God made clear that satan could do whatever to Job but Job’s life had to be spared. Well, satan took that allowance and as they say nowadays, “he went in on” Job.

Job lost so much in his life but continued to pray and praise God. He was still grateful for God’s love and for his life.

Job lost his 10 children, wife, cattle, home, land, servants, all of his money, his body was covered with boils and he was made sick and weak. Satan kept pushing Job until eventually Job cursed aloud in agony and dreaded the day he was born. It was the day that his friends came to check on him. Job was a shell of a man and his friends could barely recognize him.

One friend, Eliphaz, pleaded to Job to speak to God and ask God to consider his “case” as Job had proven that even through adversity he had been faithful and free of sin. Job’s response was clear, he had lost hope, strength, and a will to live. He believed that God was punishing him, yes, the man who had never sinned, the man who was the epitome of integrity and honor. If God could do that to him, then Job figured that God might as well finish the job and end his life.

Then Job’s friend Bildad spoke up and put Job in his place, enough for Job to admit that Bildad was correct in his assertions, but even still Job thought the idea of pleading to God was not realistic because in his mind he was merely being punished just for the sake of it and how could he possibly speak up to a power and presence greater than anything conceivable or not. Then his friend Zophar basically told Job to shut up, stop babbling, and go pray to God; because as Zophar made clear, if all four men were in agreement as to God’s power and presence, and that God sees and hears all, then God has made possible the opportunity for Job to surrender all of his grievances and turn them over to God in prayer. Job once again resists. The four men go round and round, argument and counter-argument.

Job’s pride and self-righteousness was drowning out all hope for progress. Job already knew-it-all so there was no changing his mind. He was right and they were all wrong. He knew more about God and God’s intentions than anyone else, because Job believed that he was faultless and flawless.

Finally, Elihu, became angry. He had enough of this round-and-round. The Bible says that Elihu was angry at Job for “justifying himself rather than God” (that he had sinned and that God was right in punishing him) and he was mad at Job’s three friends because their inability to answer Job’s arguments made God appear to be wrong and somehow made Job appear to be right. Elihu was the youngest of the five men, so he let his elders speak before he had his say. Elihu “went off” on the three friends and then gave Job a “piece of his mind”, flat out calling Job arrogant. He then reminds Job of God’s justice and he continued defending God and reinforcing the beauty and gift of God’s power, and all of the blessings that we take for granted.

Before Job or anyone else could respond to Elihu, God spoke out and challenged Job for questioning Him and His wisdom and love. God called Job out and demanded that he answer His questions, since Job believed that he was so wise–much wiser than his three friends and others in the town. God asked Job so many questions that Job admitted that he couldn’t answer them and that he had already made a fool of himself, so he felt it best to remain silent. But God didn’t stop there. He continued to challenge Job. He asked Job more questions. Job’s response was bold because I can’t say that I would have spoken up as he did, but even after admitting that he spoke about things he clearly knew nothing about, Job then decided to ask God some questions. WHAT?!? Yes. Job asked God questions and basically demanded that God answer them. Who does this? Job, obviously.

Job had only heard about God but never actually had a relationship with Him, and until that day had never seen Him. Job took back everything he had said that day and before that was against God in any way. That day Job repented for his sins. God forgave and blessed Job, restoring what Job had but blessing him even beyond what he once had. The Bible says that God blessed Job with even more than he had before. Job had thousands of sheep, camels, donkeys, oxen, and other cattle. He had 10 children, lived well past age 140, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren.

Watch this quick 1:32 minute snippet of “Stay Positive” Week 2- Pretend Like You Just Lost It” message from Life Church’s senior pastor, Craig Groeschel, and see if it moves you as it moved me. Get the tissue ready. I cried. And cried.

What did Pastor Craig just teach you in 1:32 minutes about gratitude? It inspired and motivated me to type today’s message.

Join me in furthering this discussion.

Questions of the Day

  1. What blessings do you take for granted?
  2. What things in your life do you take for granted?
  3. What people in your life do you take for granted?
  4. Do you make taking care of your mental and physical health a priority, or do they take back seat to a list of other things?
  5. How much of a priority are your family members in your life? How often do you speak to them and spend time with them, and let them know how much you love and cherish them?
  6. How often do you thank God for blessing you with your health, life, family, and friends?
  7. How often do you thank God for the small things in your life? For even whispering the answer to a question that you have, or reminding you where it was you were going—do you stop for a moment and thank Him?
  8. Do you thank God and show gratitude for your pets?
  9. What would you do if you lost everything today?

These are some things to think about. I apologize that today’s message is so long. But I was moved to share these words and to share the message from Pastor Craig, because today even I had to stop and take inventory of the things and people that I just may be taking for granted–expecting to be around a lot longer. I had to stop and hug my dog Bishop because the reality is, he won’t be running around here wagging his tail and trying to get me to play with him and rub his belly forever. At least not here in this present life. I am so grateful that God blessed me with such an amazing dog. I love you Bishop Milo Bryant!

I love all of you and I’m so grateful for those of you who subscribe to this blog, and for those of you who pop your head in every now and then. Thank you for your support, thank you for sharing scriptures, prayers, and reflections. Thank you for inspiring and motivating me. I am grateful for each and every one of you!

Love your sister in Christ,

Natasha

Copyright 2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant/Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved. The video of Pastor Craig Groeschel is protected by copyright by Life Church and Craig Groeschel.

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