Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 5 July 18:
1. 2 Chronicles 6:4-11 — God fulfills His promises generationally as he expects family to work together for His purposes for many generations. He expects mothers and fathers to build legacy for their children’s children’s children. How parents plan for many generations today?
2. 2 Chronicles 6:16 — “Now therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.’” God’s tangible promise to Israel was conditional.
3. 2 Chronicles 6:18 — “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built!” God does not live in a building and is not contained in any way. God didn’t need a temple, but the people did, a place to unite in worship, a place of remembrance, ministry, fellowship, and sanctuary.
4. 2 Chronicles 6:24 — “If your people Israel are defeated before the enemy because they have sinned against you, and they turn again and acknowledge your name and pray and plead with you in this house.” God uses defeat in battle to punish a sinful nation. Repentance and prayer is what a sinful nation requires.
5. 2 Chronicles 6:26-30 — “When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray toward this place and acknowledge your name and turn from their sin, when you afflict them, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk, and grant rain upon your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance.” God uses natural conditions and disasters to punish a sinful nation. Repentance and prayer is what a nation requires.
6. 2 Chronicles 6:30 – “…then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind….” God hears the prayers of a truly repentant nation. Also, register in your mind, once again, the fact that only God knows the true heart of a person – you cannot know or judge the heart of a person; you can only judge the actions of a person from the standard of God’s word. Be very careful not to play the role of God by judging beyond actions. You will encounter people who do the “right” things with the wrong motives, and you will encounter people who do the wrong things out of immaturity but who are under the conviction of the Holy Spirit – God is doing things in their lives you cannot perceive. Too often, “mature” Christians pridefully and ungraciously treat immature Christians too harshly as a parent who expects the eight-year-old to act like the twenty-eight-year-old. As a result, they exacerbate and discourage the young one. In so doing, these prideful, puffed-up Christians also reveal the immature condition of their own hearts. All children must be rebuked at times, but in different ways. Jesus harshly rebuked the Pharisees (who claimed to have great knowledge and righteousness), but He was gentle with others whose outward behavior was worse than that of the Pharisees but who lacked understanding and were open to the truth of God. Jesus did not excuse or accept any sin, but handled sinners differently. We are all called to be “salt and light,” but too much light is unbearable, and too much salt is distasteful; wisdom knows how to rightly apply salt and light to others in a way that is edifying.
– Romans 12:3 — For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
– 1 Corinthians 8:1 — This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.
– Romans 14:4 — Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
7. 2 Chronicles 6:34 — “If your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to you toward this city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name….” The greatest weapon in any battle or struggle is prayer. Victory in all situations rests in the hands if the LORD.
8. 2 Chronicles 6:39-36 — “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them… yet if they turn their heart… and repent and plead with you… if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart… and pray toward their land, which you gave to their fathers… then hear… and maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you.” Though all people sin, God is nonetheless angered by sin and will hold all sinners accountable. However, he responds to genuine repentance and forgives. The truly repentant would not think of continuing in known sin.
9. Proverbs 5:8 — “…do not go near the door of her house.” We must choose to stay very far from all sin. Sin is nothing to take lightly and nothing to play with. I am not sure how it is possible to maintain this principle and watch TV today.
10. Proverb 5:14 — “I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.” You reap what you sow in life. Eventually, the product of the life you have chosen will be evident to all.
[Note: See this overview of Colossians — https://youtu.be/pXTXlDxQsvc]
11. Colossians 1:1 – “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother….” You are a follower of Christ because He willed it, and He does not intend for you to go it alone. You were saved into a Spiritual family, into a body, as just one stone of a temple, intended to be united and in perfect position with the other stones of the temple.
12. Colossians 1:4 — “We heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints.” Love is an act of faith. Faithful Christians are known by their love. Word will get around if you are an effective Christian.
13. Colossians 1:5-6 — “the word of the truth, the gospel… has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.” The word of God should bear fruit in your heart, driving you to greater and greater love.
14. Colossians 1:9 – “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding….” Love comes only from the Holy Spirit; we do not create love, we can only transmit love coming from the Source through us. God is love. Without God, there is no real love. It is only our unity with the Holy Spirit that enables us to Truly love. Only as the vines are connected to the Branch can there be love. Anything that does not draw a person closer to the Way, the Truth, and the Life, is ultimately unloving.
15. Colossians 1:9-12 — “Be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Wisdom comes from the knowledge of God and is revealed by your behavior. Some of the attributes of a true Christian are endurance, patience, joy, and thankfulness. Is that how others describe you?
16. Colossians 1:10: God expects us to “walk in a manner worthy of Him” as each day we seek to please Him more and more and grow in our true knowledge “of Him”, not just “about Him.” This is a choice we make. We can only “know Him” more and more if we walk with Him day by day, closer and closer. He leads the way, not us. Do not ask God to bless you along your way. Ask to help you follow His way, The Way, and be blessed.
17. Colossians 1:11-14 – If those closest to you had to describe you in just a few words, would four of them be “patient, joyful, thankful, and forgiving”?
18. Colossians 1:19 – “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” The fullness of God dwelt in Jesus, and He has given us the Holy Spirit which now dwells in us. Have you truly considered what that means for your life?
19. 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.” Jesus’ purpose was to reconcile all things to Him through the sacrificial forgiveness of sins. He has now given us the mission on reconciliation and forgiveness, under His authority, and through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Have you truly considered what that means for your life too?
20. Colossians 1:21-23 — “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard.” Evil deeds are the outward indicator of someone who is alienated from God. Christ’s true disciples are above reproach in their obedience to Jesus. In your knowledge and power through Him, God expects you to press forward boldly in your faith, relentlessly unwavering, as a minister of the Gospel, rejoicing in sufferings, being a good steward of the word of God that Has been given to you for you to administer to those around you.
21. Colossians 1:25 — “I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known.” Christians are stewards of God’s word and the Good News, called to make it fully known to others. Are you a good steward?
22. Colossians 1:28 — “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Proclaiming Christ has always included a warning of the need for repentance and discipleship, “teaching them to obey all that I have commanded”.
23. Colossians 1:28, 29 — “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Struggle beyond your natural energy, with His energy in you, to warn others of the need to repent and to proclaim the Good News of forgiveness and grace through Jesus. Toil, work harder than you think possible because God will make your impossible possible. Don’t just make believers, make disciples who will grow to maturity in Jesus.
– Paul’s struggle was two part: to proclaim Christ and then to disciple those who would believe that they must grow in their spiritual maturity and fruitfulness. This exemplifies the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) I have heard some call the second part of this two-fold mission statement, “teaching them to obey,” the “Great Omission” because so many churches place such little emphasis on discipleship and obedience. In Colossians today, Paul expresses his continued prayer that “God [would] fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Your sins have already been forgiven, you have been rescued from the darkness, and you have already entered into eternal life. You have already been qualified as a priest and a saint to be a part of the kingdom. Now, to live out your calling requires that you grow daily in your “knowledge of God,” wisdom and understanding. This takes effort, endurance and patience. Remember Proverbs 4:7: “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs points out that wisdom starts with the “Fear of the Lord” and is cultivated through prayer, the Word, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, one day at a time.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 July 18: Make today’s priority to be a good steward of the knowledge of the Good News that has been bestowed upon you and entrusted to you. Focus on disciple-making today, and every day from this day forward. (Col 1)