Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 13 August 18:
1. Job 15:1 – “But you are doing away with the fear of God and hindering meditation before God.” Sin hinders your ability to relate with God.
2. Job 15:6 – “Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you.” Christians should not condemn others but should expose bad behavior to the light of God’s word.
3. Job 15:14 – “What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?” Job and his friends are in agreement concerning the sinfulness of man and the Holiness of God.
4. Job 15:15 – “Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in his sight.” We have no hope of meeting God’s standard of righteousness without the righteousness of Jesus being imputed to us. Even 1/3 of the angels were cast out of Heaven. What hope does a mortal have of obtaining righteousness on his own, and even if (s)he could, a debt for previous sins would still be owed.
5. Job 15:14-16; Job 16:19-21 — “What is man, that he could be pure, or one born of woman, that he could be righteous? If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, how much less man, who is vile and corrupt, who drinks up evil like water!… Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.” Job knew that in himself he had no righteousness and of his own merit could never stand before God. But his hope was in a Holy Intercessor whose name he did not yet know. Not so with the Pharisees though. They trusted in their own righteousness and built kingdoms for themselves on earth to provide for their own comfort and security and to glorify themselves – all this instead of using the resources God had provided them to serve God and others in need. Jesus said this to them: “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money…. You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” What does my bank statement reveal about the condition of my heart?
6. Job 16:1-6 – “…miserable comforters are you all. Shall windy words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? I also could speak as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you and shake my head at you. I could strengthen you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.” In his suffering, Job needed comfort, not a condemning sermon. Condemning other people seldom helps them.
7. Job 16:10 – “Men have gaped at me with their mouth; they have struck me insolently on the cheek; they mass themselves together against me.” Insecurity causes people to attack others who remind them of their own vulnerabilities.
8. Proverbs 13:4 – “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” Good things come to those who work for them.
9. Proverbs 13:3 – “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Rash words can ruin you
10. Proverbs 13:11 – “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” There are no shortcuts with the things that really matter in life like relationships, health, financial security, and spiritual development. It must be developed every day, little by little over time to produce results over time. Successful people are willing to do today what unsuccessful people aren’t in order to have tomorrow what unsuccessful people won’t.
11. Proverbs 13:13 – “Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.” Why not read and heed the word God has given you that you might be blessed?
12. Proverbs 13:22 – “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.” Godly parents don’t just plan for their children’s future but also their children’s children. Godly parents think generationally.
13. Luke 16:1-9 – Christians should be experts in forgiveness. Our hope of salvation is based upon forgiveness through Jesus. We must therefore live out forgiveness day-by-day.
14. Luke 16:8, 9 — “The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are shrewder in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.” Jesus’ parable of the dishonest manager is directed primarily at the listening Pharisees who were both lovers of money and were “those who justify [them]selves before men, but God knows [their] hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15) This parable was a real attention getter particularly because the manager (who is commended for his shrewdness) is an unsavory sort, the type that was particularly loathed by the poor crowd also listening who had regularly been victimized by such unscrupulous middlemen. Though this parable seems to be about money and generosity, I think it is really about humility, forgiveness, and mercy. Sin is a debt that cannot be repaid. “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) The dishonest manager was shrewd because, recognizing his guilt and his doomed position before his master, he showed mercy to those indebted to him, though their debt wasn’t even really to him but rather to the master he served. Not so with the Pharisees. In their “unrighteous wealth” (self-righteousness), as dishonest managers (pretending to be right with God themselves), they demanded every “penny” from those in debt (sinners), as if that debt were due to them rather than to God. Jesus is essentially saying that the Pharisees are worse than the highly unscrupulous manager described in the parable. This parable reminds us that we have no righteousness of ourselves, but righteousness is imputed to us through Jesus Christ. Self-righteousness is “an abomination in the sight of God.” In our position of owning nothing (having no righteousness but only that which is Christ’s), no one can really be in debt to us, only to God. In our position of relying totally on God’s grace, all we can possibly do is forgive. With our “unrighteous wealth” (self-righteousness) we would be wise to “make friends for ourselves,” by forgiving or cancelling debts (again, not that it is even possible to be owed debt) before we meet our Master. Forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity. We are totally dependent on forgiveness which came through the sacrifice of Jesus. How then can we claim to be Christian without giving total forgiveness to all? Jesus died on the cross for our forgiveness. How far are you willing to go to forgive others?
15. Luke 16:9 – “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.” God expects us to “manage” his resources in a way that spreads His love to others.
16. Luke 16:10 — “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” God tests you each day with small decisions to see if He can trust you with bigger decisions. How you respond to the person who cuts you off in the parking lot reveals whether or not you are ready to handle bigger challenges.
17. Luke 16:10-12 — How we manage worldly wealth has eternal implications.
18. Luke 16:13 – “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” You will either serve Jesus or earthly pursuits – you can’t serve both, and everyone chooses to serve something. Anything that is a higher priority than Jesus is an idol.
19. Luke 16:15 – “And he said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.’” God knows the truth of you while others only see your outward appearance. God generally abhors what the world praises because people seek to honor themselves rather than glorify God. Even Christian leaders tend to seek personal recognition. We should seek to point to Jesus always and to ourselves never.
20. Luke 16:15 – “And he said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.’” A Christian’s goals and measures of success will be 180-out from the world’s goals and measures of success.
21. Luke 16:18 — “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” In what year did the American church reject this teaching? The slippery slope continues to get steeper.
22. Luke 16:22 – “The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried….” God cares for those the world ignores. Do you?
23. Luke 16:31 – “He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” Disbelief is not from a lack of evidence, it is a heart problem. No amount of evidence can convince someone to repent and follow Jesus if they are not convicted by the Holy Spirit. We cannot do the work of the Holy Spirit. Our job is simply to proclaim Jesus to all in word and deed and to be ready to respond where the Holy Spirit leads.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 13 Aug 18: Today, seek no credit for yourself, but give all glory to Jesus. How many times will you tell others about Jesus today?