Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 16 September 18:
1. Isaiah 23:9 – “The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory, to dishonor all the honored of the earth.” God will humble the nation, organization, family, or person that seeks to honor self over God. We were created to love and serve God, and our lives are meaningless apart from our relationship with Him. God cannot allow sin, which separates people from Him, go unchecked, and He will not allow man-made idols stand for long before they are destroyed. “I will destroy all your idols and sacred pillars, so you will never again worship the work of your own hands.” (Micah 5:13) “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
2. Isaiah 23:17 – “At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth.” In the of pursuit financial gain, financial security, and financial prosperity, many compromise their fidelity to God in order to maintain cooperative relationships with the ungodly. Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money.” Sooner or later you will have to choose one over the other. Many Christians don’t recognize how often they are choosing the world over Jesus every day, exchanging the Gospel for the American dream.
3. Isaiah 24:2 – “And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest….” All will face God’s judgment. Many ‘religious’ people will not be able to stand before God’s judgment, though they have convinced themselves that they are righteous.
4. Isaiah 24:16 – “From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. But I say, ‘I waste away, I waste away. Woe is me! For the traitors have betrayed, with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.’” Words without deeds are empty and dead. Praising God while continuing in sin is mocking God – God is not fooled and will not be mocked. Throughout the Bible we are warned that religious activities, acts of charity, good deeds, etc, are no substitute for obedience, which is the true product of love for God.
5. Proverbs 16:2 – “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.” From Henry T. Blackaby – “How quick we are to question the motives of others, yet we are so slow to question our own! When others harm us, we may assume the worst of intentions. When we are guilty, we often excuse our offenses, concluding that others are far too sensitive! Regardless of how we monitor our motives, God weighs them in His scales of righteousness. It is futile to try to deceive God with our pious justifications, for He sees our hearts. Is it possible to do the right thing for the wrong reason? Of course! You can attend worship services with a heart that is far from worshipful (Isa. 1:10-17). Could you show concern for the poor and yet have a heart that is opposed to God? Judas did (John 12:4-8). Could you make bold statements of love for Christ and actually be aiding the work of Satan? Peter did (Matt. 16:21-23). Could you offer sacrifices to God and be in total disobedience to Him? King Saul did (1 Sam. 13:8-9). Could you pray with the wrong motives? James said you can (James 4:3). Many things cause us to do what we do. We can be motivated by good things, such as love for God, compassion, generosity, and faith. Or our actions can come from unhealthy motives such as pride, insecurity, ambition, lust, greed, guilt, anger, fear, and hurt. It is even possible to do the best things based on the worst motives. When the Lord measures our motives He looks for one thing: love. All that we do should proceed from our love for God and for others (1 Cor. 13). Take time to look past your actions to what lies behind them. Ask God to show you what He sees when He examines your motives.
6. Proverbs 16:3, 6, 9, 20 – God’s word emphasizes the importance of your commitment to Him and your trust in Him.
7. Proverbs 16:10, 13, 21-24, 26-28, 30 – God cares greatly about how you use words. Think of your words as a very sharp knife, which can be used as a weapon or a tool, used sparingly, kept sharp, and never used carelessly. And remember the first your of a knife fight – if you get in a knife fight, you are going to get cut.
8. Proverbs 16:5, 19, 22, 25, 27-30 – The Bible warns time and time again about the dangers of following the wrong people.
9. Proverbs 16:25 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” From Henry T. Blackaby — Things are not always what they seem. Proverbs warns that we can be deceived into believing we are going down the right path and yet be heading toward death, the opposite direction from God’s will. People do not naturally seek God or pursue righteousness (Rom. 3:10-18). Only as the Spirit awakens our hearts to the Person of Christ are we able to desire God’s will. If we make decisions apart from the guidance of the Spirit of God, we will be like a ship trying to sail without a compass. We will do what makes the most sense, based on our own wisdom. But what looks attractive may actually lead to sin, ultimately destroying what is precious to us, for our most profound human thinking is mere foolishness to God (1 Cor. 1:18-20). Only God knows the way that leads to life, and He wants to lead us to walk in it (Matt. 7:13-14). Don’t assume every opportunity that arises is from God. Satan will disguise himself as an “angel of light,” and his invitations will seem to be in your best interest (2 Cor. 11:14). Yet his way leads only to death (John 8:44). The word of God will be like a light to your path, guiding you in the ways of righteousness (Ps. 119:105). It can be perilous to follow a path that seems right without first consulting the Holy Spirit for guidance (John 16:13). Take time to seek the Holy Spirit’s direction when you face decisions. He knows the full ramifications of your choices. The Holy Spirit will assist you to understand truth and to experience abundant life. Trust Him as He leads you.
10. Psalm 107:1, 2, 8 – “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!” If you have been saved by Jesus, then say so! Proclaim your salvation to as many as you can.
11. Psalm 107:9 – “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” Only Jesus can satisfy the longing of your soul. If you feel empty in any area of your life, turn to God to be filled.
12. Psalm 107:43 – “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.” Psalm 107 is a powerful testimony of God’s Love and Majesty. Be wise and meditate upon this chapter today.
13. Psalm 108:2, 3 – “I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples.” Pray for a love for God that is so powerful your first desire in the morning is to be with Him in fellowship that is so powerful it is all you want to talk about with others.
14. Psalm 108:13 – “With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.” Let God worry about your enemies and your troubles. Focus your attention on Him, and let Him do what you cannot do anyway.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 16 Sep 18: “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.” (Psalm 107:43) Psalm 107 is a powerful testimony of God’s Love and Majesty. Be wise and meditate upon this chapter today. The more you appreciate God’s love for you and His mercy and grace bestowed upon you, the more you will love others, forgive others, give to others and desire the same love in their lives. The better you know Jesus, the more you will trust Him, desire to please Him, get excited about Him, proclaim Him, and live for Him.