Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 5 September 18:
1. Song of Solomon 8:8, 9 — “We have a little sister, and she has no breasts. What shall we do for our sister on the day when she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build on her a battlement of silver, but if she is a door, we will enclose her with boards of cedar.” Purity should be guarded by the whole family, even by the whole community. How much needless pain is caused by acceptance of promiscuity and infidelity? It destroys people and society, but most importantly, it takes people out of fellowship with God.
2. Proverbs 5:3-6 – “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.” Sin is selfishly choosing pleasure and self-gratification over love, faithfulness, and obedience, with no consideration of the consequences or the inevitable destruction to follow. Most egregious, sin is an afront to the Sovereign LORD. The sinful are blind to the reality of sin because their eyes are not on God. Even ‘private’ sins have a ripple effect that eventually hurts others.
3. Proverbs 5:7, 8 – “And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house.” Laws and social moral codes ultimately can’t keep you from sin, only faith can. Faith gives more value to the unseen reality of God revealed in His word than the apparent physical reality in front of us. Do you believe God and His Majesty is more real and more wonderful than the ‘shiny apples’ at your fingertips?
4. Proverbs 5:11, 12, 14 — “At the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, ‘How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!’” You will reap what you have sown in life, and at harvest time, you can’t do anything about what you planted (or failed to plant), and what you planted will be clearly visible for all to see. Choices always have predictable consequences.
5. Proverbs 5:15 — “Drink water from your own cistern.” Be content and thankful for what, and who, God has given you. Your contentment is like rays of sunlight on flowers, causing them to blossom.
6. Proverbs 5:17 – “Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you.” Protect what God has given you.
7. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 — “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
– What is most striking about these verses is that they are describing the churched — those who appear to others to be godly. However, because of their hearts, these religious people don’t have the power of God in their lives. Though they might have Biblical knowledge, their hearts prevent them from actually obtaining the truth. Therefore, their lives are powerless. That is why “in the last days there will come times of difficulty.” Without light, darkness grows. If the salt loses its saltiness, there is no preservative for society. When we see society growing dark, we need to consider the condition of the church.
– Ungodliness causes difficulty and strife. At the heart of all sin is selfish self-centeredness. Many lovers of self call themselves godly or righteous. Do you see the product of godlessness in our society today? How about within the church? Christians, as priests and ambassadors, must model Christ-like character to a world in “difficulty.” If you see darkness growing, it is because the light of God’s people is growing dim through infidelity.
8. 2 Timothy 3:12 — “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” If you are not being persecuted for your faith, what does that mean?
– From Henry T. Blackaby — Living a godly life will not insulate you from hardship. Paul said that the more blameless your life, the more likely you will be persecuted. According to Paul, “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse” (2 Tim. 3:13). As the world increasingly embraces sin, worldly people are becoming increasingly intolerant of godliness. Darkness cannot tolerate light; the more your life illuminates the presence of Christ, the more you should expect opposition from the forces of darkness. Your Christlike nature will be offensive to those in rebellion against Christ’s Lordship. You may have recently repented of your sin and taken a new step of obedience to God. Perhaps you expected to experience God’s blessing immediately as He demonstrated His approval of your obedience. Instead, you were met with opposition. The persecution may have come even from other Christians who misunderstood your motives. Perhaps you obeyed God, and still your actions were met with criticism instead of praise. If you are sincerely following the Lord’s direction, don’t be discouraged. Paul warned that those who seek to live godly lives will suffer persecution. Do not be surprised when this happens to you. If the world crucified the Son of God, surely the world will be hostile to anyone who lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. Persecution may be the best evidence that your life is like that of Christ. Jesus warned that the world hated Him, the Savior, and so it would certainly misunderstand and mistreat His disciples (John 15:18).
9. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” From Henry T. Blackaby — All Scripture is profitable! Knowing this, we cheat ourselves when we do not access every book, every truth, every verse, and every page of our Bibles for the promises and commands God has for us. Because every verse of Scripture is inspired by God and gainful to us, we should not pick and choose which verses we will read and study. We should not claim verses we like and ignore those that convict us! If we are to become mature disciples of Jesus, we must allow every Scripture to speak to us and teach us what God desires us to learn. Scripture enables us to evaluate the soundness of doctrines that are being taught. Scripture ought to be the basis for any reproof or correction we bring to another. If you are not firmly grounded in God’s Word, you will be bombarded with an assortment of doctrines, lifestyles, and behaviors, and you will have no means to evaluate whether or not they are of God. You cannot develop a righteous life apart from God’s Word. Righteousness must be cultivated. As you fill your mind with the words of God, and as you obey His instructions, He will guide you in the ways of righteousness. Scripture will equip you for any good work God calls you to do. If you feel inadequate for a task God has given you, search the Scriptures, for within them you will find the wisdom you need to carry out His assignment. Allow the Word of God to permeate, guide, and enrich your life.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 Sep 18: Don’t fret over what you see happening around you today. Continue to serve your purpose as a witness, a reconciler, an ambassador, a disciple-maker, an example of Christ-like character. Be faithful to God, knowing that He is in control and is with you every step of the way. Don’t lose hope or give up on your calling. Your job is to know Christ more and more with each day and make Him known more and more to those around you. In Christ there is peace, joy, rest, and hope. If you begin to lose your peace, joy, rest, and hope, check your heart and your position with Jesus. The problem is never the circumstances around you, the problem is your perspective based upon your relationship with Jesus.