[forthright] When He Prayed For His Friends/Worthless?

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 13:30:24 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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When He Prayed For His Friends by Tim Hall
Worthless? by Paul Goddard
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COLUMN: Heavenly Connection

When He Prayed For His Friends
by Tim Hall

Even the casual Bible reader knows that Job is an
exemplary figure in the Bible. A lengthy book is
devoted to his trials, and James pointed to him as
an example of perseverance (James 5:11).
Throughout unbelievable adversity, this man did
not abandon his trust in God. True, his
understanding of God was not always accurate, but
he continued to hold his ground when others cast
doubts about his relationship with the Almighty.
Job deserves careful study.

One of Job's most admirable traits was his
dedication to prayer. This is stated early in the
book. After noting that his sons and daughters
would sometimes gather for feasts, Job's concern
for their spiritual purity is noted: "So it was,
when the days of feasting had run their course,
that Job would send and sanctify them, and he
would rise early in the morning and offer burnt
offerings according to the number of them all. For
Job said, 'It may be that my sons have sinned and
cursed God in their hearts.' Thus Job did
regularly" (Job 1:5, NKJV).

Did Job's intercessions on behalf of others
accomplish anything? We assume so, but the text
doesn't say it explicitly. But that's a valid
question. Why should we spend time praying for
others? Does it really bring good results?

The answer is found at the end of the book. After
Job's three "friends" have chided and derided him
for not being honest about his sinfulness, God
appears. After dealing with Job, God turned to
Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar: "My wrath is aroused
against you and your two friends, for you have not
spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has"
(Job 42:7). How fearful to know that the wrath of
God is looming over you! Was there any hope?

The hope was immediately announced by God: "Now
therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and
seven rams, go to my servant Job, and offer up for
yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job
shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I
deal with you according to your folly; because you
have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant
Job has" (Job 42:8).

A great principle is then stated in verse 10: "And
the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for
his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as
much as he had before." When we first hear that
verse, we think a mistake has been made. We
expected it to say that the friends' losses were
restored when Job prayed for them. But the point
God makes is that Job was blessed when he prayed
for his friends. Until he intervened for those who
had unjustly charged him, he was still a poor man.

Why should we pray for others? James sums it up
powerfully: "The effective, fervent prayer of a
righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). Part of
what is availed is the improvement of conditions
for those for whom we pray. But, as we have seen
through Job, we improve our own standing with God
when we pray for others.
 
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COLUMN: Up for the Task

Worthless?
by Paul Goddard

"All that I am I owe to Jesus Christ, revealed to
me in His divine Book." - David Livingstone

Before the Civil War, the United States of America
had no national currency. Each state printed and
regulated its own money. With little supervision
from the federal government, these banknotes
varied in size, value, and design. This changed in
1861, when the agrarian South seceded from the
industrial North, forming the Confederate States
of America./1

Due to the scarcity of gold and silver in the
South, the Confederate States issued paper
currency as their medium of exchange. Over two
billion dollars were issued. Worth 95 cents on the
dollar and backed by cotton, these new "Blue
Backs" were widely accepted throughout the
Confederacy./2

As the South started losing the war, inflation
soared, and the currency depreciated in value. In
1863, one dollar was worth 33 cents, and by the
termination of the war it had dropped to 1.6
cents. After the war, many of these worthless
banknotes were destroyed; however, a few were
preserved for sentimental reasons.

Today the hobby of collecting old American
banknotes is popular in the United States. A
serious collector will try to amass as many
varieties, issues, and specimens as possible. This
has caused many of the old banknotes to rise in
value. For example, twenty years ago, a friend
gave me a Confederate two dollar bill. Today that
bill has been appraised at $64.

Do you feel worthless? Perhaps you have stumbled
in your walk with God and are consumed with sin
(Acts 14:15; Romans 3:10-12). If this is the
problem, Jesus Christ is the solution (John 3:16-
21; Romans 6:1-14). Surrender your life to God's
worthy sacrifice, and allow Jesus' blood to redeem
you from your worthless past. Christian, are you
up for the task?
 
"What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus." -Robert Lowry
 
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1/ There were 1,562 state banks in the United
States at the outbreak of war. In 1863, Congress
passed the National Banking Act to assert federal
control over the banking system. This act created
uniformed currency in the United States.

2/ The United States blockaded Confederate ports
and prevented cotton sales to Britain and France.
 
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