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                  Welcome to Bytes of Bread
 

 
                             Bytes of Bread has a list of coming events
                             & a short bible study for you to enjoy!
 


Who's in Charge of My Suffering?

 

Like the frustration of a recorded voice presenting a menu of useless options when you’re trying to call customer service, not being able to identify who’s in charge can make a person feel helpless and hopeless. Today the experience of Job addresses our desperate question: Who’s in Charge of My Suffering?

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            Who’s in charge of your acne, your back spasms, your cancer, your recipe of undiagnosed symptoms and test results which befuddle a huddle of doctors? Who’s in charge of the millisecond that makes a difference between a near miss and a tragic accident? Like the frustration of a recorded voice presenting a menu of useless options when you’re trying to call customer service, not being able to identify who’s in charge can make a person feel helpless and hopeless. Today the experience of Job addresses our desperate question: Who’s in Charge of My Suffering?

            The book of Job begins with a behind-the-scenes look into the command center of Job’s suffering. Satan appears with the good angels before the Lord, who asks him, “Where have you come from?” He replies, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” Translation: “Ha! You claim such control over your created world, but I can go where I want, when I want, how I want!” Even in front of God, the father of lies defiantly spins his half-truths. The Bible does mention that “the devil prowls around” (1 Peter 5:8) wielding a supernatural influence over even the strongest of believers. “We wanted to come to you,” Paul informed the Thessalonians, “but Satan stopped us” (1 Thessalonians 2:18). Truth be told, sometimes cars, computers, or companies do crash because Satan, whom Jesus once called “the prince of this world” (John 14:30), says so. But the serpent of Eden who deceived our first parents can slither unsolicited into the heart, mind, and will of believers no more. His head has been crushed by the bruised heel of the second Adam, Jesus Christ! The tempter who could not entice Jesus Christ to sin cannot force followers of Jesus Christ to sin. “Away from me, Satan” (Matthew 4:10) our Savior commanded him, sparing himself and us from Satan’s control.

            You can, if you’d like, give Satan control of your suffering as much as you can pet a snarling pit bull chained to a post. Here’s how it happens according to Jesus, “Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them” (Mark 4:15). Forget the one thing needed – the saving Word of God – and you leave the gate open for Satan to step in and take charge. If you are suffering but not cultivating the seed of God’s Word by reading, learning, memorizing, better understanding, and applying what God says, you are in danger. Listen to the Word of God like what he said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Not an inquisitive question. An authoritative demand! Translation: “Satan, you do not belong here with these good angels. Explain yourself now!” God then goes on to prescribe for Satan exactly where, when, and how he can inflict suffering on Job. Satan is not in charge of this operation, and he is not in charge of your suffering. He plays a role, but only as a servant of the Lord.

            Still, his hissing accusations heckle our consciences. “She doesn’t fear God for nothing … Take away his earthly blessings and he’ll turn away from God.” Satan knows the human spirit as much as he knows the blessings we enjoy from God. “Their faithfulness is a product of their prosperity,” he claims about us. “Surely not,” we argue, like Peter who insisted he’d die with Christ – then denied him. When difficulty, loss. or pain strikes, isn’t one of our first questions, “Why me?” As if somebody else, somebody less noble, less obedient, less loyal to church and family, deserves such trouble but certainly not us. In rapid succession messengers report to Job that enemy attack and “fire of God from the sky” (perhaps lightning, but probably falling fireballs like those that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) and “a mighty wind” either carried off his livestock, murdered his friends who worked for him, or killed all his children. You might figure a successful man like Job would get up, strategize a recovery plan, and take charge of his suffering. Instead, “Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship.”

Job humbly admits he is hurting in a display of grief, and then continues with a display of submitting to the Lord. Job believes that the Lord is in charge of his suffering. No wonder the Lord had described Job as his “blameless and upright … servant.” Job’s faith, consistently active, didn’t persevere only on warm, sunny days but also cold, cloudy days. Job’s worship, genuinely sincere, didn’t praise God in church once a week but was a way of living no matter what blessings the Lord gave or took away. Job saw himself and his suffering as servants of the Lord, whom he trusted to be in charge of his suffering.

In God’s design of nature, certain animals are in charge. Animals live in groups and within each group one member is dominant, given priority when it comes to food, resting places, and mates. Subordinate animals express submissive behaviors by looking away and lowering head, body or tail. One study suggests that every time people open our mouths we announce our dominance or submissiveness. Scholars from Kent State University taped 25 interviews of Larry King Live, focusing on vocal frequencies. They noticed that Larry King submissively modulated his voice toward a high-ranking person, such as the President, while in most cases, his guests submissively modulated their voices toward him. Like when you’re listening to a friend on the phone and the tone of your friend’s voice tells you whether your friend is talking to boss, employee, friend, or mother.

Do you hear Job’s tone of voice as dominant or submissive? After losing his job and business, hearing that his employees were murdered by his competition, and learning that a storm killed all his children, does Job curse God or praise God? “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 perseveres by trusting the Lord to be in charge of his suffering. The New Testament agrees, “You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about” (James 5:11). The Lord gave Job his first breath of earth’s air and will take that breath from Job when it is time for him to die. The Lord gave Job his livelihood, his employees and his children and he holds the right to take them away at the right time. Not to curse Job, but to bless him. Like the Lord blesses us whether giving or taking away, and giving or taking away, and giving or taking away. He promises it is always good for us because our Savior came to be our curse in his suffering and death, then came forth from the grave to pronounce the curse finished. Done. Our suffering now serves only a good purpose. The Lord makes sure of it.

Satan is not in charge of your suffering. The Bible doesn’t say, “Satan gave and Satan has taken away.” Luck is not in charge of your suffering. The Bible doesn’t say, “Good luck gave and bad luck has taken away. Blind fate is not in charge of your suffering. The Bible doesn’t say, “Blind fate gave and blind fate has taken away.” You are not in charge of your suffering. The Bible doesn’t say, “Job gave and Job has taken away.” The Lord is in charge of your and Job’s suffering. Job banked on that truth, so that “in all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

With faith and perseverance like Job, our suffering is not Satan’s playground but God’s workshop. When we feel alone, unsure of what God wants us to do, or life doesn’t turn out the way we expect it to, it is then that God is drawing us closer. The hope he provides is meant not to answer the “why” questions of suffering, “Why? … Why me? … Why now? … Why this way?” but to answer the “who” questions. “Who am I? … Who is God? … Who’s in Charge of My Suffering?”

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Amen.
Sunday Bible Classes
Sundays 9:00 AM
Our Study will focus on Old Testament Themes & Words.
Each Sunday is a stand alone Bible Study.
Themes & Words Study on February 25th is SABBATH

James Bible Study
Every Tuesday morning at 6:30 AM at Lamb of God.
Want a great way to start your day? What's better than the
good news in the book of
James?
 
Wednesday Lent Services
Join us 6:00 pm at church each Wednesday for an evening meal and then 7:00 worship service as we prepare for Easter.

District Lenten Devotions
To assist you during this season, our district has again compiled a series of devotions. You can read it electronically.
There will be printed copies available as well at church.
God bless you during this Lenten season.
 

Church Directory Pictures
Plan to have your picture taken one of the Sundays in February for our directory. There will be an app you can also use for the directory information! Step one is taking a moment to allow a picture to be snapped of you!

Sound Board Help Requested

We are looking for people willing to serve running the sound board on Sundays. If you might be interested in this opportunity to serve contact Tim Howard. We would love the help and it really is fun to do.
 
Missions Sunday
Sunday March 11 will be our Mission Sunday. The district LWMS selects a mission for the year and then assigns each congregation a month in which to have a special event to support the mission. The mission assigned this year is Mexico and Central America and Lamb of God was given the month of March. We will have a special pot-luck with a Mexican theme. Look for the sign up sheet in the welcome area. We will also be having a jolly jumble jar fund raiser. Fill any size jar with goodies (such as candy, tea, toys, garden seeds etc..) Use your imagination! It is for men and women of all ages. Jars will be sold for $5.00 each. There will also be 2 piñatas. One for adults and one for children. Cost will be $1.00 a hit for adults and $.50 a hit for children. Come and enjoy the events and help support our missions in Mexico!


Prison Ministry
Male & female volunteers needed for jail ministry.
See Larry Peterson for more information.
God does not exclude prisoners!


2018 WELS YOUTH RALLY
The 2018 International Youth Rally is coming up fast. It is open to all WELS confirmed youth, finishing 8th grade through 12th grade this spring. If you are interested in attending, or interested in chaperoning, please speak to pastor as soon as possible.
2018 WELS International Youth Rally June 26-29, 2018 Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, Ohio
Meet WELS teens from across the country and around the world. Listen to speakers with a biblical perspective on timely teen topics. Gather information on colleges, ministries, and service opportunities. Experience lifting your voices in worship with 2,000 people.
Registration: Mar. 1 – May 31
$345 early-bird rate until April 30
$370 May 1-May 31


Church Library
You can search online anytime to see what is in our library collection! Here's
the link or you can click on the Church Library link from this LOG Website. About to buy that book from amazon.com or make a trip to the public library? Wait...check our church library first! We might have it! We now have 157 titles in our collection. If you have a special birthday or anniversary coming up and you would like to donate a book to the church library in honor of a special event or person, please see Gwen Smith at church or you can e-mail me at gwen_yarbrough@yahoo.com or call me at 256-506-1024. 
To God be the Glory!

 
Free Items for College Students--
While you sign up for classes and possibly attend orientation on campus, also think about signing up for your course material in spiritual education. The perk: no homework, tests, or papers! Sign up to get both Forward in Christ magazine and Meditations, a book of daily devotions, mailed to you free. When you sign up, you will also be able to get other free, helpful information from WELS Campus Ministry.

SIMPLY FRIENDS
The Lamb of God Simply Friends group was established to help members and non-members who are in need. To date, with the assistance of numerous volunteers, we have assisted several members of the church who are dealing with health or personal problems. I would like to thank those individuals who have donated their time and assistance the past year with helping these members. Just remember, The Simply Friends Group is always available, so if a situation arises, don't be hesitant in asking for assistance, we are more than willing to help you. If you would like to join one of these teams or if you have any questions regarding the Simply Friends Group, just give us a call. Larry Harbaugh 256-464-5977, or church phone 256-464-3900


Men's Breakfast ~February 24th
The last Saturday morning at 7:30 of each month is the men's breakfast. Great food & fellowship make for a wonderful way to start your day!
Sunny Street Café 7143 Hwy 72 W  256-213-7120  Sunnystreetcafe.com across from the Kroger on 72 & Slaughter.


CRAFT CIRCLE
Anyone can come to the fellowship room on Fridays (10 AM to noon) and join with others working on their own arts and crafts projects. The Craft Circle is the place to come to relax and work on any sort of project you want to!! Our ladies have worked on cross stitch, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, scrapbooking, quilts, beading and jewelry, or just come and relax~! Come and join the ladies~feel free to bring a friend.  She works with her hands in delight...Proverbs 31:13

There is power in the simple story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Don't complicate it. Don't add to it. Don't take away from it. Don't apologize for it. Just proclaim it, and watch what God will do.


Bible Reading on the Go!
Would you like a free app for your iphone or ipad for bible reading? The Bible Gateway Bible App offers many wonderful ways to experience Bible reading and Bible study, including:
More than 90 different Bible translations, including NIV. Easy-to-use and reliable Bible search, both online and offline. Daily Bible verse in the translation of your choice Daily Bible reading plans Bible audio in a number of different translations and styles.
Here is the link to
get it at itunes


~~~~~ Just for Fun!~~~~~
When I run into something I hope you'll enjoy I drop it here!

Fun Stuff 

Missed a Sunday? ... Want to Hear it Again? 
We are so blessed at Lamb of God to have a Pastor who preaches theology without apology! Enjoy God's Word preached! 
Want to reinforce what you heard?  You will absorb even more the second listen. Guaranteed. 
Give Attention with Intention! 
Recent Sermons
Send this to a friend! You may find their heart open to visiting sometime after they have had a taste of what we hear on Sundays!
Here is the February WELS Connection that is played once a month after service if you would like to rewatch it or share with a friend!


Lamb of God Coming Events

Friday 2/23 Craft Circle 10 AM

Saturday 2/24 Men’s Breakfast 7:30 AM
Mary-Martha 9 AM

Sunday 2/25 Adult Bible Class & Sunday School 9 AM
Worship Service 10:30 AM
 

Monday 2/26  Elders Meeting 5:30 PM

Tuesday 2/27 Election~Office Closed    James Bible Study 6:30 AM @IHOP

Wednesday 2/28 Fellowship Meal 6 PM    Lent Worship 7 PM

Friday 3/2  Craft Circle 10 AM

Sunday 3/4  Adult Bible Class & Sunday School 9 AM    Worship Service w/Communion 10:30 AM

3/7 Fellowship Dinner 6 PM    Lent Worship 7 PM

3/14 Fellowship Dinner 6 PM    Lent Worship 7 PM

3/17 Easter For Kids 9 AM-1 PM


3/21 Fellowship Dinner 6 PM    Lent Worship 7 PM