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Sermon 3/21/10
Job 12:10 - He Gives Life

Audio Sermon

He Gives Life

"In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10)

In a recent “Daily Guideposts” article, Brian Doyle spoke about his visit to a grade school. He was talking to the class about “Miracles” and commented that, “a girl – it’s always girls who ask the piercing questions, she raised her hand and said, ‘Yes sir, but have you personally experienced miracles? Or is this just a lecture?’

Mr. Doyle, the editor of Portland Magazine, continued, “There was a long pause, and I said with dawning wonder, ‘Oh child, yes, oh, dear Lord, yes, yes, yes. I have seen bears the size of cars. I have heard whales moaning in dark oceans. I have had a child say, ‘I love you more than I could ever figure out words for my love, Dad.’ I have been graced by burly brothers. I have had sicknesses that looked to be the cause of gravestone engravings, but here I am, cheerfully mumbling in your classroom. Here I am and that is a miracle beyond accounting, and here you are and that is an even cooler miracle because you are young and strong and possible in ways that I am not anymore. Yes, my young friend, I have seen miracles. Every moment of every day. Every breath! Yes. Any other questions?

And he concluded with a prayer: “Dear Lord, it’s an utterly confusing gift You have given us, crammed with pain and joy; but what a gift! The greatest that ever was! We are alive!

What is it about the word “gift” that most of us don’t understand? In relation to the Lord, we haven’t EARNED anything, but He has given us – everything! Your eyes! Have you thought about your eyes? They are among the most complex structures ever encountered and yet, we take them for granted, unless, of course, we are about to lose them or they are already gone. And when we have eyes, most don’t thank God for them; we just use them without thought.

But they are His gift to most who live within humanity, and most of us have feet that walk and legs that can run. The human brain has about 100 billion nerve cells and when those nerves fire, the impulse travels at about 170 miles per hour. The human heart beats 3,000 million times in a lifetime, pumping 48 million gallons of blood, which travels 60,000 miles on its journey through the body every day. In the last 24 hours, you’ve breathed almost 24,000 times.

Not everybody can see, walk or run. I was unable to walk for a number of years as a child. My life was hospital beds and wheelchairs. The gift of walking and running was returned to me years later and I thank God for this wondrous unmerited favor He gave to me. We are alive! We typically have a few years or decades on this planet and then we will be gone. Have you thanked God today for the gift of life? What will you do with the time remaining to you?

Your physical body, including your mind, belongs to God. It’s like you are driving a rental car. It’s not yours but you are in it and at some point it will revert to its true Owner. What you do with it, if you mistreat it and others through it in the meantime, will cause you to have to give an explanation to the Owner, the One who created it and entrusted it to you.

And the question is posed: What is “life” anyway? We think that if we can smile, see, hear, blink our eyes, breathe, speak and walk, we’re alive! But when Jesus said in John 3:3 and Verse 7 that “You must be born again," His words carried the interesting implication that real life is something more than what we call “animation” – the ability to move and speak. And His statements also suggested that real LIFE is much more than just what we experience on this planet, for He said, “…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” He continued, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5-6). Life is more than these bodies we walk around in, and from that perspective, our bodies are indeed like those rental cars that are given to us for a time, but are really just on loan to us for a few years or decades.  What comes next?

As Jesus said, you “must be born again.” You were designed to be fundamentally CHANGED at some point, inside, in a place too deep to even be understood by humanity. Just like we have the need to eat when we are hungry and must breathe to prolong life, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. And when you are, you’ll know it, for to have God inside your very being is what LIFE is really all about!

Have you ever thought about Matthew, the former tax collector who left everything to follow Jesus? Shortly after Jesus spoke to a paralyzed man and not only healed him from paralysis but also forgave the man’s sins, He encountered Matthew, sitting at “a tax office.” He merely spoke to Matthew and “said to him, ‘Follow Me,'” and Matthew “arose and followed Him,” as you can see in Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 9, Verse 9. Isn’t that interesting? Here was Matthew, a successful man financially, sitting at a table covered with money, and he simply got up and walked away from it all. Did He see real LIFE in Jesus? I think he did!

Was Matthew burned-out from years of cheating his countrymen, the Jews, by taking excessive taxes from them? Was his guilt getting the best of him? Was he at that point READY to take the plunge and walk away? – from money, from power, from it all. Certainly he recognized something deeply wonderful and alive about Jesus; so much so that he simply got up and followed this Man from Galilee. Are you ready to follow Him?

Jesus KNEW in advance that Matthew was READY to trust in the Lord. He knew that all He had to do was say “Follow Me” and the man would do it. Two things were happening here, as it always does in our lives. Almighty God prepares the speaker to speak God’s Word, as God’s Holy Spirit did with Jesus Christ right at that moment, and God prepares the listener to respond through that same Holy Spirit; just as He is preparing you right now.

At the time of today’s Scripture verse in the Book of Job, the man had lost his children; all ten of them were dead. His wealth was gone. His wife, in the grief of her own loss shouted at him, “Curse God and die!” And his three “friends” showed up and started questioning him and accusing him of being a sinner. Surely, they thought, if all this sorrow had come upon the man, he must have committed some terrible sin or this would not have happened!

Can you imagine? His children, all of them were dead. He had nothing left. His wife practically spat in his face and his “friends” were following him around and telling him that it was all his fault! To lose a child is terrible. To lose ten is unthinkable. For your spouse to turn against you is awful; and to have that spouse blame you for everything that has gone wrong is worse. And then your friends show up, but instead of giving comfort like you expect, they turn on you and blame you for all that has happened. How would you respond in all of this? Job, a real historical person who personally experienced these things, said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). He replied to his wife, “Shall we receive goods from God and shall we not receive evil?(Job 2:10).

Jesus continued speaking in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” By trusting in the Son of God, you’ll find out what LIFE really means. You’ll receive new, better, more wonderful life, right now and forever. It’s time to entrust the lives we have been given - to Him.

Dear Lord, I confess my sins and my need of You. I trust in You now. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

Write to: Letters@FridayStudy.org

"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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