Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 17 July 18:
1. 2 Chronicles 29:3 — “In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them.” Worship was top priority for Hezekiah. He first directed his resources towards the house of God.
2. 2 Chronicles 29:5 — “Carry out the filth from the Holy Place.” You are the holy place. Remove from yourself what displeases God.
– 1 Corinthians 6:19 — Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
– Matthew 15:11 – “…it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
3. 2 Chronicles 29:6 — “For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God.” Repentance and sanctification often involves no longer doing what your family taught you growing up.
4. 2 Chronicles 29:11 — “My sons, do not now be negligent, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to him.” We must not take our responsibility to God lightly. We stand in the presence of God Almighty, and He has command us. To be complacent is cosmic treason against the KING of kings.
5. 2 Chronicles 29:11 — “My sons, do not now be negligent, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to him.” Don’t be negligent in your worship and service to the LORD. Be holy and bold.
6. 2 Chronicles 29:36 – “And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because God had provided for the people, for the thing came about suddenly.” God will work in your life in ways only He can work, bringing glory to Himself while increasing your faith in Him. He will do the impossible through you so you and others will know it was Him and not you.
7. 2 Chronicles 30:9 — “For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.” Now is the time to repent.
8. 2 Chronicles 30:10-12 — “So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. However, some men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the Lord.” The word of God is divisive, separating the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats, but is always accomplishes its purpose. Preach the truth, and let the Spirit do the sifting. Our hearts should always hope for reconciliation, truly wanting none to perish. Never give up hope for anyone – we have no idea what the Lord might do in their lives.
9. 2 Chronicles 30:18, 19 — “’May the good Lord pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness. ’ And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.” God knows your heart. If you are truly seeking God from your heart with all of your ability, God will honor that.
10. 2 Chronicles 30:19, 20 — “’May the good Lord pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.’ And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.” Sound doctrine, yes! But, grace, mercy, and love over doctrine.
11. 2 Chronicles 30:23-27 – There is one Spirit and one Truth. By definition, the closer we all get to the truth, the closer to get to each other (basic spiritual geometry). The Spirit is naturally unifying. Where there is disunity, there is distance from the Spirit. Unity in Spirit brings great joy to everyone.
12. Proverbs 17:3 – “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” How could the LORD test your heart? Where do you have idols? If tested, would you pass the test?
13. Proverbs 17:4 – “An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.” Who you choose to listen to reveals the condition of your heart.
14. Proverbs 17:7 – “Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince.” Don’t cheapen the grace you have received and dishonor God through disobedience.
15. Proverbs 17:9 – “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” Your mission is reconciliation. Everything you say and do should unite.
16. Proverbs 17:10 – “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” Is the conviction of God’s word empowered by the Holy Spirit enough to bring you to obedience, or do you need to learn the hard way?
17. 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.” Humanism is ‘enlightening’ the ungodly into extinction. As in the time of Noah, few, including the religious, will see the looming destruction.
18. Compare the instruction of 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18 with Proverbs 12.
19. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 — “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” Do you know how to admonish patiently?
20. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 — “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” Rejoice, pray, and give thanks continuously in order to fulfill God’s will for your life and remain empowered by the Spirit. How often have you disobeyed this command?
21. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 –“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” This is a hard one. However, Paul is calling us to see life from God’s perspective and from the realization that God, the Almighty, who IS Love has saved us through His Son, Jesus Christ; and is now working “all things… together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) There are many reasons why a loving God allows bad things to happen. However, the key is keeping perspective on the God who allowed the suffering to occur rather than trying to understand the mind of God, which is an impossibility — “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:34) We can never truly understand what “God was thinking” when He let bad things happen to us, but today’s readings tell us that we can ALWAYS rejoice in our circumstances because God is only dealing with us from a position of Love perfected. A parental memory that is burned in my mind is that of taking my infants to get their inoculations. I will never forget the looks of pain and confusion they would give me as they received injections from a stranger while I watched willingly. Though they could not speak, their heart-breaking question was obvious: “Why, Daddy?” Of course, there was no way to explain to them what they could not possibly understand. However, the conclusion of the event was always the same: With tears in their eyes, they reached with all their ability back into my (or Mom’s) loving arms. They helped me understand what it means to trust as a child. Paul tells us today that perspective is everything, but he also tells us not to go through trials alone. We all need the encouragement and support of other Christians – “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) In fact, the Bible tells us that one of the many reasons God allows us to suffer, in part, so we can be a better minister to others who are suffering. (2 Corinthians 1:4) Another key to enduring our own hardships is by focusing on ministering to the needs of others rather than focusing on our own pain.
– Job 2:10 – “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
– Isaiah 45:7 — I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.
– Lamentations 3:37-39 — Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, Unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth? Why should any living mortal, or any man, Offer complaint in view of his sins?…
– Jeremiah 32:42 — “This is what the LORD says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them.
22. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 — “May your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Pursue blamelessness within your heart. This is a life-long endeavor that requires all of your effort.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 July 18: Today test yourself against 1 Thes 5. (See notes above).