Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 24 Apr 18:
1. Judges 15:6 — “Then the Philistines said, ‘Who has done this?’ And they said, ‘Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.’ And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire.'” Samson’s revenge resulted in the death of his wife. Had he handled it differently, she would have lived.
2. Judges 16:1 — “Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her.” Samson, though called by God to serve Him mightily, completely defied God’s commands, something for which God will certainly hold him accountable. Likewise, God will not tolerate any unrepentant sin in your life.
3. Judges 16:5 — “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies….” Samson’s relationships were not godly or loving; therefore, he was not treated with love and faithfulness by those to whom he made himself vulnerable.
4. Judges 16:15 — “And she said to him, ‘How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me?'” The ungodly talk about love, but they have no idea what love really is. Love can only emanate from the Source, which is God Himself. We don’t create love, we only share the love that flows from God through us. He is the Vine, we are but branches.
5. Proverbs 24:27 — Do the hard things first.
6. Proverbs 24:32 — “Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction.” Wisdom is revealed all around you if you will consider what is going on around you from the perspective of God’s word. God’s truths have predictable and visible consequences. You can learn much by watching how others apply or ignore God’s commands to their lives.
7. Romans 10:1-4 — “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” I suspect most Christians would not say that their heart’s desire (their truly earnest desire), their impassioned prayer is for the salvation of those who have hurt them or are hurting them. Paul’s example is convicting.
8. Romans 10:3 — “For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” There is absolutely nothing we can do to make ourselves righteous or “right” with God, though many, even many who claim Christianity, seek to establish their righteousness by virtue of their good deeds. Many become prideful in their behavior and look down on others who appear, in their eyes, to be more sinful than they are. However, righteousness can only come through faith in Jesus Christ and the free gift of salvation that comes through Him and Him alone as He imparts his righteousness upon us. It is by faith that we are saved and not by anything we do. None of our efforts contribute to our salvation. Will you “submit to God’s righteousness” rather than attempting to “establish [your] own?”
9. Romans 10:2 — “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” Sincerity and conviction is not enough. Being devout is not enough either. Many people are devout in many religions, but there is no way to salvation but through faith in Jesus Christ.
10. Romans 10:9 — “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” How is one saved? “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (v13) Calling upon His name is not merely a verbal act, it is a matter of the heart.
11. Romans 10:14, 15 — “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” Do you have beautiful feet? Does your love for God and your love for others (the Great Commandment) compel you uncontrollably to preach the Good News?
12. Romans 10:17 — “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Does your love for God and others arouse in you a passion to study God’s word so that you will be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15)?”
– Mathew 28:19, 20 — Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
– Proverbs 24:11-12 — Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?
13. Romans 10:21 — “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” The sceptic will often ask, “What about those in foreign lands who have never heard of Jesus?” This question is often an attempt by the sceptic to shift attention away from their own burden of responsibility to deal with the Truth presented to them. There is not enough evidence or logic in the world to convince someone to believe what they really don’t want to accept – it is not an issue of intellect; it is an issue of the heart, the spirit.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 24 April: Today, earnestly pray for the salvation of those who you find most offensive. If this is hard for you, pray that God will change your heart. (Romans 10:1-4)