Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 20 June 18:
1. Chronicles 3:2, 3 — The Bible does not give details about the lives of many people like Daniel, Shephatiah, or Ithream. The Bible does not tell us everything, only what we need to know. Everything that is revealed in the Bible is there for a reason. What isn’t in the Bible is not there for a reason.
2. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 — Prayer is important in every stage in the life of a family, especially at the birth of children and as children enter adulthood and seek to establish their own careers.
3. 2 Chronicles 4:9 – “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’” Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. The Bible breaks in the list of lineages to praise Jabez. What was significant about his life was his relationship with God. We only exist to glorify God.
4. 1 Chronicles 4:28-33 — Land ownership and homestead are an important part of family identity.
5. Proverbs 20:3 — “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.” Avoid strife and quarrels, and remain honorable.
6. Proverbs 20:5 — “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” It takes great discernment to understand people.
7. Proverbs 20:6 — “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?” Your faithfulness is your most valuable asset. The proof of love is faithfulness. The mark of character is faithfulness. Faithfulness is the anticipated response to grace – “When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.” (Acts 11:23) Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit, not a natural human endowment — “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness….” (Galatians 5:22) The New Testament says that faithfulness is best expressed by those who not only remain obedient to God’s word but also teach God’s word to others — “…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able t)o teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) After all, this is our Great Commission. Faithfulness is a requirement of God’s people – “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2) How God uses us and grows us in life depends on our faithfulness – “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’” (Luke 19:17) But our infidelity never nullifies God’s fidelity – “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?” (Romans 3:3) As Ambassadors for Christ, we should never let the infidelity of others affect our fidelity to God or to them.
– Exodus 34:6 — The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness….
– 2 Samuel 2:6 — Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you.
– Deuteronomy 7:9 — Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations….
– Psalm 25:10 — All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
– Psalm 26:3 — For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.
– Psalm 85:10 — Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
– Psalm 89:14 — Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
– Proverbs 3:3 — Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
– Proverbs 14:22 — Do they not go astray who devise evil? Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness.
– Proverbs 16:6 — By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
– Proverbs 20:28 — Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.
8. Proverbs 20:11 — “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.” How you act reveals what you really believe.
9. Proverbs 20:24 — “A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?” Those who think they have control over their own lives are deceived. God is in control. Security is in God’s hands.
10. Proverbs 20:27 — “The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts.” The Spirit will convict you of your sin. How will you respond?
11. Proverbs 20:29 — “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” Strength is fleeting, but wisdom is developed over a lifetime.
12. Proverbs 20:30 — “Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.” If you will not respond to the conviction of the Spirit, God may have to get your attention the hard way.
13. Galatians 6:1 – “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” God wants us to work to restore sinners in gentleness.
14. Galatians 6:1-4 — “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.” Many Christians quote “Bear one another’s burdens” out of context, referring to ministering to a person’s physical needs, but it is really about responding to offenses or the sins of others. It involves bearing the burden of the offense without responding in personal defense, not countering boastfully but forgiving and “taking up your cross” in the situation, remembering that you too are a mere sinner and not subsequently sinning in your anger by failing to be soft, knowledgeable, gentle, timely, gracious, thoughtful, refreshing, instructional, yet humble.
15. Galatians 6:7 — “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
– The Principle of the Farm: A man reaps what he sows. You cannot rush a crop. You cannot wake up one morning and say, “I need to grow corn in a week.” It takes time, daily discipline, hard work, and perseverance to grow a crop as it does to achieve all the things that matter most in life. Spiritual maturity, wisdom, knowledge, physical fitness, strong relationships, financial security, talents, etc, all take time and daily, consistent discipline ( as in disciple) to develop. After the seeds are planted, you have to be willing to water dirt with no apparent results for some time until eventually you start to see a small sprout; but even then, it is hard to tell what you are growing — you have to keep working. Also, if you love flowers, you have to hate weeds. You must protect what you are growing from that which corrupts — this too takes effort; it is not a passive defense but an active one. One thing is certain, at harvest time, the product of your labors, good or bad, will be revealed. What are you cultivating? What disciplines to you practice consistently well in order to produce a harvest in your life that will glorify and honor God?
– The Chinese have a saying, “The best time to grow a tree was twenty years ago; the second best time to grow a tree is today.” Every day is a fresh start. Make the most of every opportunity. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Do not be motivated by pride or fear but rather love. Do not compare yourself with others or judge others compared to you — keep your eyes affixed on Jesus, guided by the Holy Spirit. Seek first the Kingdom, and be joyful in all things, even the trials which are strengthening your character. Also, take the time to help the farmer next to you. Having lived two years in Nebraska, I learned something about the farm culture — people are not only patient, but they are also very friendly and cooperative, having learned to depend on each other during hard times. We need each other’s support.
16. Galatians 6:9-10 — “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Doing good can be wearisome. Don’t give up. People in the church can be some of the hardest people to love and be patient with.
17. Galatians 6:10 – “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” To whom does God command us to do good?
18. Galatians 6:12 – “It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.” People often make great religious sacrifices and place great demands on others for all the wrong reasons.
19. Galatians 6:14, 17 — “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…. From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” The reality of the cross should kill worldly pressures in your life. Who can stress you out when Christ has declared you worthy, victorious, righteous, and unconditionally loved?
20. Galatians 6:15 – “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” Religious activity is nothing, a heart for God and others is everything.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 20 June 18: Endeavor to do good to EVERYONE today, particularly to those who clearly don’t deserve it – that is called grace, a reflection of the grace that you have receive through Jesus. The grace you give others reveals your level of appreciation for the grace you have received. What could someone possibly do to you that would come close to being comparable to the offenses from which we have all been forgiven by our perfectly Holy God? (Galatians 6:10-17)