Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 2 July 18:
1. 1 Chronicles 28:3 — “But God said to me, ‘You may not build a house for my name, for you are a man of war and have shed blood.’” Godly leaders are ready to admit where God has not allowed them to work.
2. 1 Chronicles 28:4, 5 — “Yet the Lord God of Israel chose me from all my father’s house to be king…. he has chosen Solomon my son to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel.” God chooses all kings and political leaders, sometimes to be blessings and sometimes to be curses depending upon what God is doing with the people of that nation. God holds the next political election in His hands. If we desire better leaders, we need to turn to God before politics. National repentance and revival among God’s people is crucial.
3. 1 Chronicles 28:9 — “…my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you.” David’s charge to his son should be echoed by every Christian parent to their children.
4. 1 Chronicles 28:10, 20 — Whatever the LORD has called you to do, “be strong and do it…. Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of… the Lord is finished.
5. 1 Chronicles 29:1, 2 — “Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the Lord God.”
“Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the Lord God. So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able….”
– God uses inexperienced people to do great things through His power rather than their own power.
– We must do all that we can to set our kids up for success.
6. 1 Chron 29:3-6 — For the LORD’s work, David led the way in giving, very publicly, not to gain the praise of men in pride but rather to set the example and to inspire others to give too – it worked. The tithe was given publicly and specifically (10%) – this was expected; free will offerings were also given publicly, voluntarily, above and beyond the tithe; alms or gifts to the poor and needy were given privately, also above and beyond the tithe.
7. 1 Chronicles 29:9 – “Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.” Giving from the heart brings great joy and causes you to rejoice.
8. 1 Chronicles 29:12 — “Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might.” Again, God determines the fate of nations. If we want national security, civil order, and prospertiy, we need to go to God. Pray that God will change the hearts of God’s people, then that He will change the hearts of the nation, and then that He will change the hearts of the nation’s leaders to honor and obey Him. (1 Chronicles 29:18, 19)
9. 1 Chronicles 29:14-16 — “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.” Anything you give to God is something He has already given you. Giving is an act of worship and an act of faith, acknowledging that God has graciously given us all we need, and He will replenish in abundance what we give in His Name. As they say, “You cannot out give God.”
10. 1 Chronicles 29:17 — “I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you.” God expects us to give from a position of joyful, grateful obedience.
11. Proverbs 2 — The preconditions for finding “the knowledge of God” are to treasure God’s commands more than anything else on earth and with a genuine heart to understand them and apply them. If you accept God’s word and store it in your heart (v1), and if you apply it diligently and prayerfully as your highest priority (vs3-4), then you will learn to fear the Lord. All wisdom comes from God, and He rewards those who seek Him and His wisdom wholeheartedly. You cannot know right or do right without a love for God and His commands. Your relationship with God is what gives you hope for life on earth. Walk with Him and in His ways.
12. Proverbs 2:6, 7 — For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity….” Wisdom is learned from God’s word.
13. Proverbs 2:7, 8 – “…he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.” For whom is God a shield?
14. Proverbs 2:9 – “Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path….” A person cannot understand justice and equity apart from God’s word.
15. Proverbs 2:13-17 — God’s word causes you to separate from those who have forsaken the paths of uprightness.
16. Proverbs 2:20 – “So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous.” God’s word will take you down a different path in life than the way the majority are travelling.
17. Philippians 2:1-2 — “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Those who are truly spiritual will have unity in Christ. A Spirit filled person is comforting, loving, affectionate, sympathetic, joyful, and unifying.
18. Philippians 2:3-8 — “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Moving from selfishness to selflessness is called spiritual growth. Christ-like character is selfless. Empty yourself of personal ambition and become a complete servant to God and those around you; humble yourself and give everything you have to God and others; be an imitator of Christ.
19. Philippians 2:3, 4 — “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
– “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit,” and look at everyone else as more important than you. Now there is a challenge for today. Paul goes further in this challenge by stating that to follow Christ’s example (which we are called to do), we must “empty” ourselves and become like “servants” to those around us. Have you ever said to someone “Who do you think I am, your servant?” Well if you are a Christian, you are a servant to others. These words are very easy to understand aren’t they? They sure are hard to obey though aren’t they? Why is this so hard to do?
20. Philippians 2:5 — Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus….” Attitudes do not just happen; we choose them. Paul urged believers to have the same attitude that Jesus had. Jesus is the Son of God. His place is at the right hand of His Father, ruling the universe. No position could be more glorious or honorable than the right hand of the Heavenly Father. Jesus’ relationship with the Father gave Him the right to unsurpassed honor. Jesus chose not to hold on to this right. Nothing, not even His position in heaven, was so precious to Him that He could not give it up if His Father asked Him. His love for His Father compelled Him to make any sacrifice necessary in order to be obedient to Him. When the Father required a spotless sacrifice for the redemption of humanity, Jesus did not cling to His rights, nor did He argue that He should not have to suffer for the sins of rebellious creatures of dust (Isa. 53:7). Rather, He relinquished the glory of His heavenly existence in order to become a condemned man. He was born in a cattle shed; he slept in a feeding trough. His life was spent preparing for the day when He would suffer an excruciating execution. All of this He did willingly. We are tempted to hold tightly to things God has given us. We say, “I would be willing to give up anything God asked of me, but I just don’t think He would ask me to give anything up!” The Father asked His Son to make radical adjustments in His life. Can we not expect that He will ask us to sacrifice privileges and comforts as well? If you find yourself resisting every time God seeks to adjust your life to His will, ask the Spirit to give you the same selfless attitude that Jesus demonstrated. (Comments from Henry T. Blackaby)
21. Philippians 2:5-8 — “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” We are to emulate the example of Jesus who, though perfect and righteous in every way, become nothing for complete sinners who persecuted Him. He did this in obedience to God’s will. We too must offer complete grace and mercy to those who wrong us, and we must be willing to suffer persecution in hopes of bringing others to Jesus.
22. Philippians 2:8 — “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
– Today’s OT and NT readings heavily emphasize the importance of humble obedience in a Christian’s life, not motivated by “selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility” and in love. (Philippians 2:2, 3) In the OT, David charges the Israelites to “observe and seek out all the commandments of the Lord your God, [to] know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind.” (1 Chronicles 28:8, 9) Paul says that the “mind” of Christ which we are to take on is one of humble obedience. Paul encourages Christians to “work out” their salvation through continuous obedience, “with fear and trembling”. (Philippians 2:12) We are called to obedience “without grumbling or disputing, that [we] may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom [we] shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ [we] may be proud that [we] did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16) Jesus said, “this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) So what does it mean to “know” him? 1 John 4:7, 8 says, “Whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments…. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:15, 21) John adds, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:3-6) “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:2-5) The mark of genuine love for God is humble obedience without grumbling but rather with thanksgiving and rejoicing.
23. Philippians 2:12 — “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” If you are a Christian, your salvation is eternally secure through the work of Christ alone. However, we are called to “work out” our salvation by dedicating our life to obeying God for His glory on earth, growing up in Christ-like spiritual maturity as an enfant grows over time into adulthood. Knowing Christ more and more in maturity and making Him known to others is the goal — nothing else on earth matters. Growing in Christ is called sanctification. Salvation is a gift. Sanctification is a process that requires our continually yielding to the Holy Spirit. God chose us for salvation, but we must choose to surrender our lives completely to Him. In salvation, we are new creations, but it is possible for us to be unfruitful Christians, to never grow up, to be of little value to the Kingdom. We must choose to abide in Him as true disciples. Abiding is a command we must choose to obey. In our abiding is where we glorify God, experience true fellowship with God, find life fulfillment, and find complete joy. Evidence of abiding is a divine nature within us and genuine, unconditional love for those around us.
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
– John 15:1-17 — “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.
– 2 Peter 1:3-9 — His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
24. Philippians 2:14-16 — “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” The Bible doesn’t say do ‘some’ things without grumbling or disputing, it says do ‘all things’ so that the world will see the difference that is in you, the Spirit of God.
25. Philippians 2:14 – “Do all things without grumbling or disputing….” Complaining is a sign of spiritual immaturity, is ungodly, and ruins your witness.
26. Philippians 2:15-18 — In the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, hold fast to God’s word. Remain joyfully obedient.
27. Philippians 2:17 — “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.” Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the work of another believer—to pour out your life sacrificially for the ministry and faith of others? Or do you say, “I am not willing to be poured out right now, and I don’t want God to tell me how to serve Him. I want to choose the place of my own sacrifice. And I want to have certain people watching me and saying, ‘Well done.’ ” It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a “doormat” under other people’s feet. God’s purpose may be to teach you to say, “I know how to be abased…” (Philippians 4:12). Are you ready to be sacrificed like that? Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket— to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served? Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted— not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work while maintaining a saintly attitude, because they feel such service is beneath their dignity. (Comments from Oswald Chambers)
28. Philippians 2:17-18 — “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.” Paul rejoiced in suffering for the Gospel and expected others to rejoice with him in the knowledge that they were serving the purpose of Jesus wholeheartedly.
29. Philippians 2:20, 21 — “For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” Timothy stood out within the church as someone to emulate because, while everyone was seeking their own interests, Timothy was solely focused on the welfare of others.
30. Philippians 2:21 — You cannot seek your own interests and Jesus’ interests at the same time.
31. Philippians 2:22 — “But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.” Timothy had proven himself by his track record of selfless service. Timothy had earned the right to lead in Christ. How about you?
32. Philippians 2:25 – “I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need….” Some people know just what to say and do to encourage others who are going through difficult times. Their words give strength to those who are discouraged and comfort to those who are grieving. These people are sensitive to God’s voice. They are not self-centered or unaware of the struggles of those around them. They are the ones we immediately seek when we enter a crisis. They are welcome visitors when we are in distress, for their presence sustains us. Scripture testifies of many whom God enabled to encourage others. When Moses was overwhelmed by his work, Jethro went to him and encouraged him. Jethro gave Moses wise counsel that eased his strain (Exod. 18:1-27). When Paul was imprisoned far from those who loved him, Epaphroditus risked his health and safety in order to go to Paul and minister to him (Phil. 2:25-30). Later, Paul urged Timothy to come and visit him, for Paul found strength and encouragement in Timothy (2 Tim. 4:9; Phil. 2:19-20). Paul asked Timothy to bring Mark also. Mark was the kind of friend Paul needed when he was enduring hardship (2 Tim. 4:11; Philem. 24). Paul also relied on Luke for encouragement. When everyone else was absent or preoccupied, Luke could be found with Paul (2 Tim. 4:11). Paul experienced trials throughout his life, but God sustained him by placing godly friends around him who provided support in practical and sacrificial ways. God wants to develop you into the kind of friend who can strengthen others. The words you share and the things you do can bring comfort and encouragement to your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your coworkers. (Notes from Henry T. Blackaby)
33. Philippians 2:29, 30 — “So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.” Those who have truly surrendered their life for the Lord’s service are those who truly deserve honor.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 2 July 18: Today, endeavor to truly empty yourself and give your life to serving those around you, particularly those who would persecute you. Do this without hope for any reward but merely to show your love for God and to bring Him glory before others. (Philippians 2)