Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 4 July 18:
1. 2 Chronicles 3:1 — “Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David his father.” Mount Moriah’s history begins in Genesis 22 when God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son, and when God intervenes and provides the ram, foreshadowing the future, ultimate sacrifice of His Son. Just outside the Temple walls, Jesus would later be crucified. Today, the Islam Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque also sit on Mount Moriah, possibly fulfilling the prophecy of Revelation 11:1-2 — “I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, ‘Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles.”
2. 2 Chronicles 3:4 – Solomon built God’s Temple using the old standards — things had changed over time. Commentaries suggest that the “old” cubit was a longer cubit (Ezekiel 43:13) which would have meant a bigger building requiring more resources. Solomon did not use lower standards that might have been acceptable to people of the day.
3. 2 Chronicles 4:11-22 – The small parts of God’s worship center deserve as much care and quality as the more obvious parts. The Bible says that we, the body of believers, are now God’s temple. In your church, does everyone, regardless of their age, talent, position, maturity, or wealth receive the same amount of care and attention?
4. Proverbs 4:1-4 — God wants children to have wise fathers and mothers who will teach them God’s word personally. It is the parents ultimate responsibility to disciple their children, not a pastor’s, a Sunday school teacher’s, or a school teacher’s.
5. Proverbs 4:4-13 — “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth…. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly… Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many…. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.” Key to a successful and fulfilling life is remaining in God’s word. To have wisdom, you have to get it from God’s word. This is a lifelong, disciplined effort.
6. Proverbs 4:14, 15 – “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.” Following God requires turning from evil and will cause you to walk away from the crowd. The Christian life involves choosing a path in life that is 180-out from the path most everyone else is taking. Often you will walk with no one else but God. You cannot follow Jesus and the world. You cannot go two opposite directions at once; if you try to, you will go nowhere.
7. Proverbs 4:16, 17 – “For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.” Ungodly people can’t help but cause problems and pain for other people; they can’t control themselves.
8. Proverbs 4:18, 19 – “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” Godly people grow in spiritual maturity little by little for their whole lives. The Christian path gets brighter and brighter everyday as you get closer and closer to God, but those who walk the way of the world, further and further from Jesus, walk deeper and deeper into darkness.
9. Proverbs 4:23-27 – “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” Guarding your heart is critically important, and it requires great effort (vigilance). You guard your heart by choosing carefully what you think about, what you focus on, where you go, what you do, and what you say. Daily decisions, which start with your choice of attitudes and thoughts, slowly shape your character over time. To grow in Christ-like character, seek the mind of Christ.
10. Philippians 4:1 – “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” A loving church unites behind God’s truth, desires true companionship with one another, works diligently together, and takes care of one another. They are a community within the community; they are family. Does this describe your church? Question: How many people in your church are going to have children soon? Who is sick? Who is having car trouble? You get the point.
11. Philippians 4:3 — “Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel.” Women play prominent roles throughout the Bible.
12. Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Are you rejoicing today? Would everyone today describe you as joyful?
13. Philippians 4:4-7 — “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
– Christians should be known for their joy, reasonableness, confidence, wisdom, steadiness, and peacefulness. Are you know by everyone to be very reasonable?
– Whenever I lose sight of the fact that my God is LORD, that He is in complete control of all circumstances, and that He only allows His perfect will to occur in my life, whenever I lose sight of that, I become “anxious” and “unreasonable.” However, when I obey Proverbs and “Trust in the Lord with all [my] heart, and do not lean on [my] own understanding,” and when I surrender my concerns to God, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” guards my heart, mind, and actions. Proverbs reminds us that with love comes faithfulness (Proverbs 3:3). The more my love for God grows, the more faithful I desire to be; and the more faithful I am, the more attuned I become to the love of God, and the more my faith grows, which in turn makes me less anxious and unreasonable. With all this comes great peace that transcends circumstances.
— Matthew 11:28 — Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
— James 4:8 — Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
14. Philippians 4:6, 7 — Our understanding is so incredibly small. It is absolutely impossible for us to understand God’s perfect will in any situation apart from the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Nothing is more critical for us today than to be united with the Holy Spirit, to be in tune with the Holy Spirit, receptive to the Holy Spirit, guided by the Holy Spirit, and in step with the Holy Spirit. We must walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh, not in our own understanding.
15. Philippians 4:8 — “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” The transformation of our minds includes the choice to think godly thoughts and eliminate negative, ungodly thinking. Christians must practice the discipline of thought control. You must endeavor to only think about what is honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Your attitude will be infectious. In the presence of God, what is there to think about but “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, whatever is excellent or worthy of praise”? When you are with the love of your life, shouldn’t every minute be a celebration? Shouldn’t your overflowing joy be evident to everyone around you? Shouldn’t that in itself be an incredible testimony to the wonderfulness of the One you love? When you awake in the morning to begin another day with Jesus, shouldn’t you genuinely feel the uncontrollable urge to say, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”? (Psalm 118:24) The secret is truly “knowing” Jesus and resting in his “riches of glory.” It’s time to celebrate!
16. Philippians 4:11-13 — “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
– What was Paul’s “secret” for always being content and cheerful regardless of the situation? How did he maintain an inner peace beyond anyone’s understanding, worrying about nothing? Paul’s peace reflects the peace displayed by Jesus who rested peacefully in the stern of a small boat in the middle of a great storm while the apostles exclaimed, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” (Luke 8:24) Paul’s secret was that he remained in the presence of Jesus, relied not on his own strength but in the strength and understanding of Jesus. Paul trusted not in his environment or abilities but rather in Jesus alone. He kept the faith of a child who does not doubt Daddy’s provision and protection. In the arms of the Creator, the Master, the LORD, what circumstances matter? The secret of contentment through any circumstance is trusting that God is not only bigger than all circumstances but will use ALL circumstances to create goodness beyond your imagination. (see Romans 8:28) Through Him, you are already victorious, though you might not always tangibly see it; and you can do ALL things – all things God intends for you to do. If you lack contentment, you lack right perspective on the reality of Jesus. Are you content in all situations because you have placed your complete trust in Jesus?
17. Philippians 4:14-20 — Christians share in each other’s troubles and provide for each other’s needs as Christ’s servants, empowered for ministry by Him.
18. Philippians 4:19 — “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Jesus will provide all the inner strength you need if you surrender to Him wholeheartedly, trust Him, and obey Him.
19. Philippians 4:21 — “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus.” Do you greet every Christian in Christ Jesus?
20. Philippians 4:23 — “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Your peace and joy today depend on your willingness to walk in the confidence of God’s grace.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 4 July 18: Decide today that, through today’s political controversy, you will not get wrapped up in the emotions of those with a worldly view. Use this as an opportunity to communicate the truth of Jesus and the will of God. Judge everything in accordance with the word of God, and while everyone is pointing to politicians and political parties as their hope, point to Jesus Christ as the only hope. Do not get entangled in pointless arguments or unworthy conversations, but communicate the Gospel. Do not get anxious or lose your peace. Stand out with your higher viewpoint and message. Seek revival in America as an Ambassador for Jesus and a citizen of the Kingdom of God. (Today’s readings)