Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 14 August 18:
1. Job 17:11 – “My days are past; my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart.” Would you remain loving and faithful to God if all you cared about on this earth was gone?
2. Job 18:4 – “You who tear yourself in your anger, shall the earth be forsaken for you, or the rock be removed out of its place?” Again, though Job’s friends misapply truth, their words have great value if rightly applied. Your anger usually harms you. Your anger won’t change the world, just make you feel worse about it. Your anger usually causes you to focus on the perceived problems rather than the possible solutions. Your anger usually results in greater divisions rather than greater unity. Even if you are fundamentally right on the matter at hand, your anger often makes you wrong in your response. It is far easier to complain than to do the good works God would have you do. “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” (“The Supreme Conquest and Other Sermons Preached in America.” New York, F. H. Revell company, 1907) There is such a thing as righteous anger, but it is extremely rare among people, if ever really pure.
– Acts 26:14 — It is hard for you to kick against the goads.
– Ecclesiastes 7:9 — Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
– Colossians 3:8 — But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
– James 1:19-20 — Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
– Proverbs 16:32 — Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
– Romans 12:14 — Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
– Ephesians 4:26 — Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger
3. Job 18:5-18 – It is one thing to warn people of the consequences awaiting the wicked, but it is another thing to decide in your own mind who is wicked and who isn’t, and who deserves God’s punishment and who doesn’t – we are all wicked and deserve God’s wrath apart from salvation through Jesus and apart from His righteousness imputed to us. Don’t act as if you are any better than anyone else because you have received mercy and grace through Jesus – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Do not be prideful, rather desire for other worthless sinners like you that they receive the free gift of forgiveness too. And remember, God is the judge others, not you. God knows the heart of another person; you cannot. God knows how He is moving in the heart of another person; you don’t. You never know what God is doing in someone’s life. No matter how bad a person may seem to you, as if you are any better, remain faithful as God’s minister of reconciliation and seek to help that person know Jesus more and more. Do not be an obstacle between that person and Jesus by misrepresenting Him and His grace in your pride.
4. Job 18 — God alone determines who He will punish, when, and how; and God’s judgment of people will be different than yours. We must be careful not to make Bildad’s mistake of deciding who deserves God’s punishment.
5. Proverbs 14:1 – “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” In any environment, you are either adding value or taking away. You are either building up or tearing down. You are either reconciling or causing divisions. You are never having no impact. God has made you in physical form on purpose to translate His spiritual truths into physical reality on earth, that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Every word that comes out of your mouth and every action you take will change your environment in either a creative way (as a representative of the Creator) or a destructive way (as an agent of the Destroyer). Who will your represent in your environment today?
– John 8:42-46 – “Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me…. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires….”
6. Proverb 14:4 – “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” More important than how much you have is how much ability you have to make more. Having wealth is not as important as having the ability to produce wealth in the future. Seek production capacity.
7. Proverbs 14:8 – “The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.” Based on what you are doing now, where will your life be many years from now? Will you have spiritual maturity, wisdom, wealth, health, quality relationships, etc? Are you doing everything you need to do today to achieve the quality of life and quality of character you want in the future? Wisdom involves considering carefully where you are headed and making the changes required to get to where you really need to go in fidelity to God’s will.
8. Proverbs 14:11 – “The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.” Godliness may not make you rich on this earth, but it will protect you from the calamity that comes from ungodly gain. Those who build their mansions on unrighteousness are building upon a foundation of sand. Outward appearances can be deceiving too. You can build a mansion on a bad foundation, but when the foundation gives way, the house is worthless.
9. Proverbs 14:12 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Sinful people often think they are doing right.
10. Proverbs 14:13 – “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief.” Superficial relationships are deceiving. People hide their emotions from others.
11. Proverbs 14:17, 18 – “A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated. The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.” It is foolish and destructive to make emotional decisions.
12. Proverbs 14:30 – “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” Your emotions affect your physical health.
13. Proverbs 14:34 – “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” How are we doing in the US?
14. Luke 17:1 – “And he said to his disciples, ‘Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!’” It is one thing to be tempted, but it is quite another thing to contribute to sin by tempting others. Everyone influences others around them. When you sin, you add to the collective sin which increases the influence of evil in the world. You cannot help being tempted, but you can prevent giving in to sin and negatively influencing others.
15. Luke 17:3, 4 – “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” This is pretty clear – first, watch your own behavior, but still rebuke those who are sinning, ready to forgive them every time they ask for it with a genuine heart. Don’t act as if someone is a worse sinner than you. Don’t act as if you are not totally dependent on grace too. In your total dependence on grace, you have no right to without grace from others, nor do you have the right to withhold the truth which is often a healing medicine bitter to the taste. God expects you to both rebuke and forgive. Love calls for both.
16. Luke 17:5-10 – “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ And the Lord said, ‘If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” Jesus softly rebukes the disciples by saying that they already have enough faith to follow Jesus with power, but they lack the will to obey because they are selfishly motivated. The first step to following Jesus is to deny self. You won’t follow Jesus very far if your motivation is self-centered.
17. Luke 17:7-10 — Anything we do for God is only what should be expected. We should not think that we have done anything deserving some kind of special reward. If your heart is seeking some sort of payment for doing what ought to be expected from someone who loves someone else, you are not operating from a heart of love. Love is a gift, not something you give at a price.
18. Luke 17:14 – “When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed.” Jesus sought to influence the priests so they would repent and fulfill their purpose in leadership, but few did.
19. Luke 17:18 – “Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Faith is a personal decision that has nothing to do with family background. Everyone chooses for themselves.
20. Luke 17:20, 21 — “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” The Kingdom of God is, in part, the spiritual realm that exists wherever God’s people are. Jesus will return to establish a physical Kingdom in the future. In the meantime, we are ambassadors, priests, and kings, representing the spiritual kingdom. The Kingdom of God is within you.
21. Luke 17:26-30 – “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” In both the time of Noah and Lot, the societies were oblivious to their sins and impending judgment and destruction. The Bible says that the same will be true for society when Jesus returns – many will think they are spiritual and godly when God’s judgment falls upon them. Only the spiritually discerning will be able to see the signs of the times. Few in churches will be able to face God’s judgment. Jesus’ warning should be sobering to those paying attention.
22. Luke 17:33 – “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” Following Jesus will require that you do things that seem contrary to your own survival, such as giving when you have nothing left to give, and obeying God when government or popular opinion say you can’t or shouldn’t.
23. Luke 17:34, 35 – “I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” Jesus’ return occurs instantly at both nighttime and daytime because it occurs simultaneously across the globe.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 Aug 18: Today, obey God and follow Jesus without using a self-proclaimed lack of God-given ability as an excuse for your disobedience. Don’t tell yourself that you haven’t been given enough power from God to be faithful because you have. Take personal responsibility for your sin and search your heart to understand why you choose sin over fidelity to Jesus. Learn to love Jesus by working diligently to obey Him today while searching your heart for those places where you still lack love. (Luke 17:5-10) As you continue to humbly study God’s word, the Holy Spirit will use it to convict you of where you are yet to be perfected in love – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)