Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 19 June 18:
1. 1 Chronicles 1:1 – “Adam, Seth, Enosh….” Your family history begins with Adam and creation. Your family includes members of all the tribes and nations of the world. So, God wants you involved in his world mission of redemption. God’s purpose for you goes back to His purpose in creation.
2. 1 Chronicles 1:28 – “The sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael.” How many lives have been lost throughout history due to strife between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael? The Bible says that Christians are descendants of Abraham, but this is not a blood relationship, but rather a spiritual one – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29) “…for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” (Galatians 3:26) “Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:7) “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” (Romans 9:6-8) Ultimately, what divides the world is not race, ethnicity, genetics, nationality, political philosophy, or culture but faith. Many are seeking some sort of unity under man-made social stratifications, but this is foolish and hopeless. Many have sought unity by marginalizing faith, but this too is foolish and hopeless. There will be no peace between God and man and no peace on earth apart from Jesus.
– Acts 10:36 — As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all).
– Romans 3:17 — and the way of peace they have not known.
– Romans 5:1 — Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
– Romans 15:13 — May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
– Romans 15:33 — May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
– Romans 16:20 — The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
– 2 Corinthians 1:2 — Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
– Ephesians 2:14 — For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.
– Colossians 1:20 — and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
– Colossians 3:15 — And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:3 — While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
– 2 Thessalonians 3:16 — Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.
– 1 Timothy 1:2 — To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Titus 1:4 — To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
– 2 John 1:3 — Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.
3. 1 Chronicles 1:50; 1 Chronicles 2:3, 4, 1-17, 18 — The Bible places women in critical roles for His purposes. Women have always played in important role in history. But while the world tends to focus on differences of race, ethnicity, and gender, God focuses on fidelity and unity. Race and gender are not virtues.
4. 1 Chronicles 2:3, 7 — Your family history includes people God has had to discipline; no one is exempt from God’s discipline. And in Jesus, our sinful past is not our identity, nor are we trapped in sin or condemned in sin.
5. 1 Chronicles 2:24-35 — Foreigners are well integrated into Israel’s family. God is focused on the spiritual family, while people are focused on natural, temporary relationships. Christianity should not be concerned with issues of race or national origin, only the issue of faith in Christ.
6. 1 Chronicles 1, 2 — Genealogies reveal both the vertical and horizontal relationships that have shaped a family’s history. Most important is the vertical relationship which defines the horizontal relationships. What has been your family’s legacy of love for God? How will you write the next chapter? What legacy will you leave your children’s children?
7. Proverbs 19:3 – “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.” Don’t blame God or others for the consequences of your own bad decision-making.
8. Proverbs 19:4, 6, 7 — Are you the sort of friend who is always there for support no matter what?
9. Proverbs 19:17 – “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” Giving to the poor is a true act of worship acceptable to the LORD.
10. Proverbs 19:22 – “What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar.” Your integrity is most valuable, and it is the foundation for trusting, loving relationships. Relationships require trust which comes from integrity. “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” (Titus 2:7, 8) Interestingly, integrity has two definitions: 1) truthfulness; 2) wholeness. The integrity of wholeness is one of dependable strength. For example, if a chair has integrity, it is put together in such a complete way that you can confidently sit in it, knowing that it will bear up under the pressure of your weight. For a person to have integrity, they must be truthful, but (s)he must also be whole, complete. Without Christ, a person is not whole, not complete, not strong, not reliable, unable to handle the pressure or weight of the burdens of life – without Christ, a person lacks essential integrity. Neither can that person be truthful. The strength and value of our integrity is found in Christ.
11. Galatians 5:1 — “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Grace should compel you to obedience, purity, and holiness. It would be terrible to take for granted the freedom Christ gave us from sin by continuing in the very sin Christ died from which to save us.
12. Galatians 5:6 — “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” It is the truth of your heart that matters, not your religious activity.
13. Galatians 5:13-15 — Your freedom and salvation is for a purpose – love. If you do not love as Christ loved, you are denying your purpose.
14. Galatians 5:16 — “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Only through the Spirit can you overcome human nature and its sinful desires.
15. Galatians 5:16-18 — You will either walk in the Spirit or in the flesh.
16. Galatians 5:18 — “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Issues of the law are not issues at all for those who are controlled by the Spirit. Obedience is the proof of our genuine love rather than the proof of our personal will power.
17. Galatians 5:19-24 — “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Your actions over time reveal the truth of your salvation. The proof is in the pudding. Many attempt to obey out of duty, but duty will never be a powerful enough motivator. Only love and genuine spiritual power can overcome selfish sin. What do your actions reveal about your love for Jesus? Is it hard for you to obey Jesus? Why? Is it hard to do what you love?
18. Galatians 5:22-26 — “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
– If you are in the Spirit and crucified with Christ, you have no need for the law because you are controlled by love, a force much, much greater than will power. You will obey the law without even considering it, without need to be reminded of it. Just like you don’t need a rule to tell you to eat each day, love will compel you to feast on the Bread of Life. What causes you to do what you do? Is it fear, duty, or love?
– If you want fruit from a tree, you don’t focus on trying to make a piece of fruit. You focus on growing a healthy tree. You think about what is required to make a tree healthy – quality soil, sunlight, water, etc. You also realize that fruit doesn’t grow tomorrow. As I consider the above list of attributes, I realize that if I step out today saying, “Today I resolve to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled,” I will surely be disappointed. Not that I shouldn’t make the effort, and I certainly will, but the quality of these attributes are the natural product of the condition of my heart. My focus must be on my heart, and the condition of my heart depends on the quality of my relationship with Jesus Christ. If I am walking in love and surrender to Jesus, my “fruit” will reveal it. If I am “out of step” with the Spirit, my “fruit” will reveal it. How do I walk with Jesus? Humbly obey his commandments out of love. His greatest commandment is love. Jesus said this:
– John 15 — I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
19. Galatians 5:25, 26 — “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
– The Spirit is uniting, not dividing. You must keep in step with the Spirit by loving others with the love flowing through you from the Source of Love, Jesus. Love is the command of the Spirit. If you are saved through faith in Jesus, you have as much access to the Spirit as anyone else, but in sin, you may be out of step with the Spirit; you may be quenching and grieving the Spirit; and you may be missing the power of the Spirit in your life. Do not deny the power that is yours in Christ due to infidelity and compromise.
– In the military, we talk about a threat as someone having both the capability and the intent to do harm. Someone who has the capability with no intent to harm is not a threat. Those who have the intent to harm but no capability is not a threat until they have a real capability. Unless we are born again, we have neither the capability nor intent to please God (John 3, 1 Cor 2:14). Apart from Christ, a person is a slave to sin (Romans 6:20) and controlled by human passions. We are dead to sin, and like a dead body, we cannot resuscitate ourselves (Galatians 3:3) In Christ we have been raised from the dead and set free from sin, becoming slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18). God has poured his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, a love only God can provide (Rom 5, Rom 2). We now have the capability to love, but we must also be intent on loving. The only thing that counts is faith “expressed” in love. We must make the effort to “live by the Spirit.” As Paul says in Eph 4 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace…. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. ” As a Christian you have capability to threaten the “forces of evil” (2 Cor 10; Eph 6:12); do you have intent?
— Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 19 June 18: Consider what your thoughts, attitudes, words and actions say about the condition of your heart and your love for Jesus. (Galatians 5)