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Suffering and Sovereignty

Day: 1

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Praise in the Wake of Suffering

Leah DiPascal

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ - Job 1

As we begin our study of Job, we're faced with two hard questions that just might follow us throughout all 42 chapters of this daunting book: Why do godly people suffer? Why does God allow undeserved suffering?

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Day: 2

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Behind the Curtain

Glynnis Whitwer

‘Skin for skin!’ Satan replied. ‘A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.' - Job 2

Just when it seems life can’t get any worse for Job, it does.

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Day: 3

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Wrestling with Suffering

Wendy Blight

Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? - Job 3

Have you experienced a physical or emotional wound so deep it seems nothing can soothe the hurt? Have crushing circumstances shattered your heart and your faith? Have you cried out to God and heard nothing? My friend, you are not alone.

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Day: 4

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Mess of Suffering

Whitney Capps

Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it. - Job 4

It’s dangerous to pull Scripture verses out of context and present them as the Truth of God. And the book of Job is a perfect example of this.

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Day: 5

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Right Statement, Wrong Context

Camilla Griffith

Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. - Job 5

We’ve all been near those who are hurting and felt the strain of wondering what to say or do. Deciding whether you’ve said or done too much or too little can feel weighty.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

God of All Power and Authority

Job 1-5 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 6

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

I Don’t Have to Justify My Grief

Glynnis Whitwer

If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—no wonder my words have been impetuous. - Job 6

In times of grief, the last thing we expect to hear is correction. When hope dims and worry grows, we are in the weakest emotional position to handle criticism. And yet that’s exactly when some people feel compelled to voice their opinions. Like Job’s friends.

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Day: 7

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Job Cries Out To God

Krista Williams

Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. - Job 7

The raw humanity of Job is revealed in Job 7. Up until now we’ve seen Job esteemed as a man of great faith and integrity, but his words here seem contrary to what we would expect from a person of such strong character

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Day: 8

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

How To Find the Best Advice

Leah DiPascal

But if you will seek God earnestly and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state. - Job 8

Have you ever received unsolicited advice from a friend or family member? Did their comments and suggestions create more questions and conflict, instead of encouragement and real solutions?

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Day: 9

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Job’s Expanding View of God

Camilla Griffith

He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. - Job 9

Have you ever found yourself in a place where you thought you knew someone well and then they did something that caught you totally off guard?

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Day: 10

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Can We Know the Mind of God?

Glynnis Whitwer

Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see as a mortal sees? - Job 10

It’s tempting to believe we can understand how God’s mind works. We are created in His image. Surely that must mean God thinks like we do. Yet how can the natural think like the supernatural? How can the created think like the Creator?

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Perfect Mediator

Job 6-10 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 11

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Truth About Suffering

Wendy Blight

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above – what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below – what can you know?” - Job 11

If you’re like me, you might be wondering whether the next friend we meet will be the one to support and encourage Job during this devastating time in his life. But sadly, Job’s next friend also fails to fulfill that role.

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Day: 12

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Affirming God’s Greatness

Krista Williams

To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.” - Job 12

Ridicule. Scorn. Reproach. Contempt. Have you ever been wounded by the false accusations or an unfounded allegation of a friend? Or mocked and misunderstood by someone you love and trust?

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Day: 13

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Process is Part of the Point

Whitney Capps

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance, for no godless person would dare come before him! - Job 13

A number of years ago my husband and I watched dear friends deal with soul-crushing suffering.

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Day: 14

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

From Impure to Pure

Camilla Griffith

Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one! - Job 14

It’s hard to imagine how frustrated Job must be with his situation. He is destitute and in pain and without any worldly support.

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Day: 15

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Arguments of Eliphaz

Wendy Pope

Your own mouth condemns you, not mine; your own lips testify against you. - Job 15

The "friendly" dialogue between Job and his companions enters round two.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

God's Perfect Timing

Job 11-15 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 16

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Job Changes His Position

Wendy Blight

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. - Job 16

In elementary school, I had the skinniest legs. It’s a wonder they even kept me standing! I remember one person in particular who took great joy in making fun of my legs. She nicknamed me Spinderella. To her it was funny. To me, it hurt each time she spoke that name.

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Day: 17

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

A Living Hope

Leah DiPascal

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 to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’ where then is my hope—who can see any hope for me? - Job 17

As I read the verses of Job 17, my heart aches for Job. I wish I could step back in time for a day or two – just to sit with Job, tend to his wounds, fix him some home cooked meals and tell him about Jesus.

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Day: 18

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Half-Truths Hurt

Whitney Capps

Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man; such is the place of one who does not know God. - Job 18

It’s hard to read the book of Job and not get frustrated with Job’s friends. Job himself seems irritated by their vain accusations. His situation is desperate and his friends don’t really offer much comfort.

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Day: 19

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

A Confident Hope

Krista Williams

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. - Job 19

Let’s recap for just a moment what has happened in Job’s life. Job lost his possessions, livelihood and income. Immediately after that, Job loses his family and his health. Then his friends come to bring him comfort, but judge him and blame him for the calamity he’s endured.

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Day: 20

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Benefits of Righteous Living

Wendy Pope

Surely you know how it has been from 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. - Job 20

Have you ever had a friend or close acquaintance talk excessively in an effort to convince you that she was right and you were wrong? The words continue to flow and frustrate, but neither of you waver.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The One Who Rights the Wrong

Job 16-20 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 21

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The View from Underneath

Whitney Capps

Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. - Job 21

One of my favorite memories as a little girl was watching my grandmother cross-stitch. I remember the first time I watched her nimble fingers stitch a mess of x’s into a masterpiece.

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Day: 22

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Grace Under Fire

Krista Williams

Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored. - Job 22

We are now into round three of the great debate between Job and his friends, and the gloves are off. What should have been a comforting and encouraging discussion among friends has turned to an angry, painful debate. The more the debate rages, the more obstinate and prideful his friends get.

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Day: 23

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Finding Faith Over Feeling

Camilla Griffith

When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. - Job 23

Distress has a way of sending us on a frantic search for God. Where we might before have been apathetic, we become desperate for a sign that God is working in our midst. Job knows this feeling all too well.

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Day: 24

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Where are You in this Suffering, God?

Wendy Blight

Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? - Job 24

In Job 24, Job gives us one of the most heart-wrenching depictions of the plight of the poor and defenseless in Scripture. He witnessed the cruel and covetous ways the rich and the wicked exploited and oppressed the weak and poor.

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Day: 25

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Dominion and Order of God

Leah DiPascal

Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven. - Job 25

After so much back and forth between Job and his three friends we're almost to the end of this long, tangled string of tense discussions. It's been quite a debate between these four men — almost like a boxing match of words without a clear winner.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Lord, do I know You?

Job 21-25 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 26

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

What Unanswered Questions Teach Us

Whitney Capps

And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power? - Job 26

Suffering has a way of dredging up all kinds of questions. What is God doing? Why did He let this happen? What will tomorrow be like? Is this the worst of it? What should I do? What are people thinking? Can God really use this for my good?

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Day: 27

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Job: A Man of Integrity

Wendy Blight

I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. - Job 27

Trials and suffering often shift our thinking and turn our hearts inward. This is where we meet Job today. After hours of speeches, defending himself and wrestling with God, Job still struggled reconciling his circumstances with his faith.

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Day: 28

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Wisdom Hunter

Krista Williams

But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? - Job 28

If I told you there is a rare, useful and valuable treasure hidden in this room, would you run out the door and frantically begin searching at the end of the street for it? Of course not. You would begin your hunt right where you knew the treasure could be found.

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Day: 29

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Portrait of a Good Man

Wendy Pope

How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone on my head and by his light I walked through darkness! - Job 29

When we are facing possible death, we tend to open the pages of our past. This is where we find our suffering friend.

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Day: 30

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Can Anything Good Come from Suffering?

Leah DiPascal

Terrors overwhelm me; my dignity is driven away as by the wind, my safety vanishes like a cloud. And now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest. - Job 30

Can anything good come from suffering? Is it possible that our hardships and heartbreaks can create something worth keeping? If so, what is it?

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Where Wisdom is Found

Job 26-30 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 31

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

God in the Dock

Krista Williams

Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing. - Job 31

During criminal trials in the United Kingdom, the accused is placed “in the dock” during the court proceedings. Unfortunately, our culture has slipped into the mindset of putting God on trial.

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Day: 32

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Divinely Inspired Words

Wendy Blight

For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me … I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply. - Job 32

In Job 32, we hear a bold claim. Elihu professed that the words he was about to speak … the words we are about to read … came directly from God. The question that comes into play, both in Job’s day and for us today, is when a person makes such a claim, how can we know their words truly are from God?

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Day: 33

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

God Is Speaking

Leah DiPascal

But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than any mortal. Why do you complain to him that he responds to no one’s words? For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it. - Job 33

Have you ever gone to God with hard questions and walked away feeling like you didn't get a clear answer? Have you ever spilled out what seemed like a thousand words in your prayer time and wondered why you didn't receive one word back from God?

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Day: 34

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Getting What We Don't Deserve

Whitney Capps

So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong. He repays everyone for what they have done; he brings on them what their conduct deserves. - Job 34

So far in the book of Job, we’ve seen “checkbook theology” taught by Job’s friends.

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Day: 35

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Our Far Away Yet Near God

Wendy Pope

If you sin, how does that affect him? If your sins are many, what does that do to him? If you are righteous, what do you give to him, or what does he receive from your hand? Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself, and your righteousness only other people. - Job 35

Do you know a know-it-all? She’s the one who has all right answers. He’s the one who confidently pours out one fact after another to prove your wrongness and his rightness.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Praise in the Pain

Job 31-35 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 36

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

For Freedom and Peace

Camilla Griffith

But those who sufferhe delivers in their suffering; he speaksto them in their affliction. He is wooingyou from the jaws of distress to a spacious placefree from restriction, to the comfort of your tableladen with choice food. - Job 36

There is something so exquisitely sweet and precious about suffering that honestly doesn’t seem to make any earthly sense.

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Day: 37

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Consider God's Wonders

Leah DiPascal

Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. - Job 37

Years ago, when our family moved to Florida, we discovered summertime brought unique weather challenges: dramatic afternoon thunderstorms.

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Day: 38

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

There is a God, and I’m not Him

Krista Williams

Then the Lord spoke … - Job 38

In the 1993 hit movie Rudy, Rudy Ruettiger was counseled by a local priest regarding his attempts to gain admittance to Notre Dame. The priest advised, “Son, in 35 years of religious studies, I’ve come up with only two hard incontrovertible facts. There is a God, and I’m not him.”

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Day: 39

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Consider My Creatures

Wendy Blight

Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread its wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high? - Job 39

Sit back and enjoy as Elohim, God our Creator, parades a handful of his most amazing creatures before Job.

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Day: 40

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

An Audience with The Almighty

Wendy Pope

Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more.’ - Job 40

When I get to have an audience with the Almighty I have some questions I want to ask. Why didn’t You heal John from cancer? Why didn’t You answer my pleas to remove the chronic disease from my mother?

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

God's Perfect Orchestration

Job 36-40 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 41

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The God Who Enters In

Whitney Capps

Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. - Job 41

Throughout this book, Job and his friends have been speculating about God’s character and purpose in Job’s suffering.

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Day: 42

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Don’t Give Up Too Soon

Glynnis Whitwer

After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years. - Job 42

Years ago, I read a bestselling novel. It was over 1,000 pages, epic in size and story, and consumed me for weeks.

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Day: 43

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

A God Who Does What He Says He Will

Glynnis Whitwer

The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against his command. Listen, all you peoples; look on my suffering. My young men and young women have gone into exile. - Lamentations 1

No parent ever wants to voice the words, "I told you so."

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Day: 44

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Deafening Silence of Rubble

Leah DiPascal

The Lord has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago. He has overthrown you without pity, he has let the enemy gloat over you, he has exalted the horn of your foes. - Lamentations 2

If your heart feels a little heavy after reading Lamentations 1 yesterday, I want you to know mine is too.

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Day: 45

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Marriage of Suffering and Hope

Camilla Griffith

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. - Lamentations 3:1-39

There’s something about grief that feels wrong – improper. Often, we are uncomfortable with it in ourselves and certainly within other people. But it is a real part of our human experience.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Privilege of Suffering

Job 41 - Lamentations 3:1-39 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 46

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Examine and Test

Camilla Griffith

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: ‘We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven. - Lamentations 3:40-66

There are a lot of ways we can respond to punishment and correction. If you have ever watched a child being punished, you’ve probably seen every response under the sun.

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Day: 47

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Discipline: God’s Corrective Love

Wendy Pope

Your punishment will end, Daughter Zion; he will not prolong your exile. But he will punish your sin, Daughter Edom, and expose your wickedness. - Lamentations 4

"This is gonna hurt me more than it will hurt you." This is what my daddy and momma said before they would punish me. I never really understood what they meant until I had children of my own.

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Day: 48

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Turning Your Heart Toward God

Leah DiPascal

Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure. - Lamentations 5

I love happy endings, don't you? But as we all know, not everything in life gets wrapped up in a nice, neat bow.

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Day: 49

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Life Is Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Wendy Blight

The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’ - Ecclesiastes 1

The teacher, who many believe to be Solomon, opens with the most distressing words: "Meaningless, meaningless!"

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Day: 50

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

What is the Meaning of Life?

Glynnis Whitwer

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. - Ecclesiastes 2

What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose?

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Right Hope

Lamentations 3:40-66 - Ecclesiastes 2 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 51

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Questions of Time

Nicki Koziarz

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. - Ecclesiastes 3

A common thread runs between you and me despite circumstances, life situations or daily demands. And no one escapes it.

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Day: 52

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Stronger Together

Nicki Koziarz

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. - Ecclesiastes 4

I don’t think there’s anyone on this planet who hasn’t struggled with loneliness. Me included. In this overly-connected, virtually-driven world, somehow technology has convinced us we’re connected. But it’s crazy how disconnected I actually feel a lot of days.

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Day: 53

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

It’s Never Enough

Camilla Griffith

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. - Ecclesiastes 5

King Solomon was a wealthy man. Let me restate that. King Solomon was arguably the wealthiest man – ever.

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Day: 54

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Roving Appetite Recovery

Wendy Pope

Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. - Ecclesiastes 6

When I was growing up, it was always more fun to go over to my best friend’s house to play because her toys were so much better than mine. She even had a horse!

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Day: 55

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

What’s in a Name?

Wendy Blight

A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. - Ecclesiastes 7

I have never been a fan of reality shows. While the rest of America watches The Bachelorette, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Big Brother, I’m watching reruns of Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver. I like the simplicity of that life and how nearly every show ends with a great lesson about character.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Encountering God at Church

Ecclesiastes 3-7 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 56

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

What About Injustice?

Leah DiPascal

Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow. - Ecclesiastes 8

I used to watch the news all the time. Nowadays, I find myself avoiding it. It's not that I don't want to know what's going on in the world. But so much of the reporting seems to be about hatred, destruction and death. It's disturbing.

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Day: 57

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

God Wins

Whitney Capps

All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. - Ecclesiastes 9

It’s an appealing idea to think that love is all that matters and that in the end, God will ultimately be gracious and forgiving toward all people granting them eternity in heaven.

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Day: 58

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

No Folly for Me

Wendy Pope

The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. - Ecclesiastes 10

Since God gave the instruction and I asked, I thought I’d wake up one day and be wise … well that didn’t happen. Wisdom isn’t something you wake up to; wisdom begins when you recognize and fear God. Wisdom comes from God.

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Day: 59

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Take the First Step

Wendy Blight

Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return. Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. - Ecclesiastes 11

If presented with two choices, one low risk with a good return and the other high risk with a great return, which would you choose? It’s an easy answer for me. I don’t like to take risks; I choose safe every time.

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Day: 60

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

The Conclusion of the Matter

Krista Williams

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. - Ecclesiastes 12

Solomon (the Teacher) brings us to his wise conclusion in the last chapter of Ecclesiastes. He sums up this entire book in two weighty sentences, reminding us that amid the quest for meaning, purpose and significance our duty remains clear and unchanging: We are to fear God and keep His commands.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

God is Our Soul Satisfaction

Ecclesiastes 8-12 - Weekend Teaching

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