Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 6 August 18:
Note: See this video summary on Job: https://youtu.be/GswSg2ohqmA
1. Job 1:1 – “Job… was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.”
– The one who fears God turns away from evil.
– Job glorified God with his life. His obedience and integrity were the product and evidence of his love for the Lord. However, Satan challenged his motives: was he obedient because he genuinely loved the Lord, or was he obedient merely because he wanted blessings from the Lord? Did Job love God, or what God did for him? If God took everything away from Job, would Job love God just the same?
– In Luke, Jesus explains that his followers are obedient: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” But then he chastises the Pharisees for their false “obedience” that came from wrong motives – pride, self-centeredness, and self-righteousness.
– Why do we do what we do? What motivates our behavior – fear, pride, jealousy, anger, greed, or is it love? Men see our outward actions, but the Bible says that the Lord “tests the heart.” (Proverbs 17:3, 1 Thes 2:4) When I look at myself, I know that I have all the character traits of a child – it’s a growth process, and Dad teaches us along the way. I have to listen intently to my Father and work to obey Him as best as I can today. My love is growing stronger every day and the fear is diminishing, but it has not vanished. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) None of us are perfected in love and free of fear and pride, but we should strive for increased love and confidence in Jesus.
2. Job 1:5 – “…he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all.” Godly people are characterized by prayerfulness. Job never stopped praying for his family. To describe the holiness of Job, the Bible comments on his obedience and his prayer life.
3. Job 1:9, 10 – “Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” Satan questioned whether Job truly loved God or merely the blessings of God. If God took all the blessings away, would you still love Him the same?
4. Job 1:13-19 — Many died tragically at the hands of Satan, ultimately to fulfill God’s purposes. From our perspective, we tend to place man’s desires and lives supreme over God’s purposes, but God has a higher plan in which we all play a part; this is almost impossible to understand.
5. Job 1:20-22 – “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” In terrible, unexplainable calamity, Job worshipped God and did not blame Him.
6. Job 2:1-6 — Integrity chooses what is right over selfishness. You cannot have integrity and also be selfish. Job held on to his integrity, but Satan believed that with enough discomfort, Job would start being selfish. How much discomfort does it take for you to start being self-centered?
7. Job 2:10 – “But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” What we say can be as sinful as what we do.
8. Job 2:13 — During a time of pain and sorrow, sometimes the best thing a friend can do is just be there. At a time like this, words may not be helpful. Just share to load of the sorrow, and comfort with solidarity.
9. Proverbs 6:6-8 — “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer.” God expects you to have self-discipline and a strong work ethic. You were created as a worker. Diligence is a godly virtue.
10. Proverbs 6:6-11 – “…Without having any chief, officer, or ruler….” God expects you to be self-disciplined and self-driven. You should require no one or nothing other than the Holy Spirit to motivate and control you.
11. Proverbs 6:20 – “My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.” God’s plan has a critical role for both a mother and a father in the life of a child.
12. Proverbs 6:24 – “…to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.” Married men and women who parent well teach their kids how to remain faithful in their future marriages.
13. Luke 11:2 – “And he said to them, ‘When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.’” Genuine prayer honors God as LORD and honors Him as Holy. Genuine prayer starts by placing God at the center and not self. Are your prayers focused on what God wants and on bringing Him glory, or are they focused on what you want?
14. Luke 11:4 – “…and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.” When Jesus taught The Lord’s Prayer, He was making a point about self-examination, self-centeredness and forgiveness. He was saying, put God first, be content with what God gives you, and forgive others in the same way you want God to forgive you.
15. Luke 11:11-13 — “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
– I love these verses in Luke because, as a father, I can relate. There is no way to describe the love I have for my kids even though my heart is hard. How much more love does the perfect Father who IS love give to us? God’s love for us is truly indescribable and unfathomable, and nothing can separate us from His love, not even us. Everything that happens to us in our lives is filtered through His love, though at times it may not seem that way. We cannot understand why God sometimes allows bad things to happen to us, but we can trust that God is Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) in His love for us. He will never leave you or forsake you.
16. Luke 11:13 – “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Jesus says that what we should be begging God for is the Holy Spirit, unity with Him.
17. Luke 11:24-26 — “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” How much worse off are you when you return to the sins for which you have already asked God for forgiveness through the Holy blood of Jesus?
18. Luke 11:28 – “But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’ Hearing the word is not enough. Bible study is very important but not enough. We must be both hearers and doers of the word.
19. Luke 11:29 – “When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, ‘This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.’” God is not obliged to prove Himself to wicked men, and even if He did, they would still reject Him. Asking for a sign reveals a hardened heart. When Jesus sent His disciples out two-by-two, He told them not to waste time with the hard hearted but to focus on the receptive.
20. Luke 11:33-36 — “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore, be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”
– The light has no fellowship with the darkness, they are opposite in purpose. Likewise, we can have no fellowship with the ungodly.
– Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) He said, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness…. believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” (John 12:46; 12:36) To his disciples, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14) With Christ (the Light of Life) within us, we will see the world COMPLETELY differently than those who do not have Christ in their hearts. We will see things the way God does rather than the way man does, completely opposite. As a result, our responses to others and to circumstances will be 180-out from what others would say or do. Our good deeds will “shine before others,” bringing glory to God. (Matthew 5:16) However, today’s readings give us a warning: “be careful lest the light in you be darkness.” The key is to “guard” our
hearts by “having no part” of the darkness. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) Therefore, in pursuit of unity with God, we strive to have no darkness within us either. Isn’t this what God meant when He said, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”? (1 Peter 1:16) Paul said, “Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12) Ephesians 5:8 explains that “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” Then it challenges us to, “walk as children of light.” The truth of our light is revealed in our behavior. For example, 1 John 2:9, 10 says, “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” The person who is unsaved remains in darkness with no hope of producing light. The Christian has light but can put that light under a basket, preferring darkness, abiding in darkness rather than abiding in Christ. It is our daily endeavor to remove any darkness from our light. Over time, our light gets brighter; as Proverbs describes, “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” (Proverbs 4:18) To love Light is to hate darkness. Have nothing to do with darkness, and let your light shine before others. “Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:5)
21. Luke 11:37-51 — Even more important than what you do is why you do what you do. You can do all the “right” things with the wrong heart. Love must be the motivation, from a genuine heart. Why do you do what you do? Is it selfless or selfish?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 6 Aug 18: Consider your prayers: what takes priority in your prayer requests and why? Are your prayers focused on what God wants or on what you want? Are your prayers Christ-centered or self-centered? Do you want comfort in life or the joy of fulfilling God’s will in your life, regardless the personal cost? Do you want comfort or Christ-like character? Do you want to receive true fellowship with Christ or just tangible blessings from God? In what do you really place your joy, comfort and good fortune or serving Jesus wholeheartedly? Your prayers reveal much about your heart. (Luke 11:2-13)