Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 11 October 18:
1. Jeremiah 10:13-14 — “Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion.” The secular humanist’s knowledge of the world and men’s efforts to create their own kingdoms and security systems on earth are a delusion, based on false perception that they are in control and God isn’t. If God isn’t the author of what you are doing, it is more than a waste of time, it is a major setback, regardless any apparent near-term success.
2. Jeremiah 10:21 — “For the shepherds are stupid and do not inquire of the Lord; therefore they have not prospered, and all their flock is scattered.” Nations are destroyed when the political and religious leaders stop really listening to and following God. If a person isn’t following Jesus, they are leading everyone behind them astray.
3. Jeremiah 10:23 — “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” The Christian understands that God is in complete control of His life and determines His steps.
4. Jeremiah 11:3, 4 — “Cursed be the man who does not hear the words of this covenant that I commanded…. Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God.” God’s people cherish and follow His word. How you approach Bible study says a great deal about your actual relationship with God. If you can’t seem to find time for God’s word, what does that say about your actual life priorities and about in what you are actually placing your trust?
5. Jeremiah 11:14 — “I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.” If you don’t listen to and obey God, don’t expect Him to listen to your prayers.
6. Jeremiah 11:18 — “The Lord made it known to me and I knew; then you showed me their deeds.” God gives you His word and then reveals His truth in your life. You have to choose to what you pay attention.
7. Proverbs 11:3 – “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” A set of rules won’t help the person who doesn’t have the character to follow them.
8. Proverbs 18:9 – “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.” Likely we all spend too much of our time trying to fix what someone else messed up or broke due to pure negligence, complacency, or laziness. Small, seemingly insignificant, decisions to cut corners or disregard fundamentals have a huge ripple effect that affects many and can become catastrophic. Truth be told, too much of our time is also wasted fixing what we messed up or broke because of our bad habits: we don’t put something away where it goes, then later spend hours looking for it — hours which could have been used doing something productive, hours we will never get back. When we are not disciplined and diligent in our basic habits and practices, we suffer a huge opportunity cost and destroy our productivity; this is a sin that we must work on daily. God is very interested in our attention to detail in all that we do. Our professionalism ultimately glorifies Him. Lack of discipline, diligence, attention to detail, and professionalism dishonors Him.
9. Proverbs 11:18b – “…but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.” From Henry T. Blackaby — There are many ways to invest our lives, but none offers greater reward than devoting ourselves to the pursuit of righteousness. Every area of our lives should reflect the holiness of God that is ours by salvation: our thoughts, so that nothing we think about would be inappropriate for a child of God; our actions, so that our lives demonstrate that we serve a holy God; our integrity, so that we are above reproach in all our relationships. Are you taking God’s righteousness in your life for granted? Righteousness is something you must allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. Instead of sowing holy thoughts, are you allowing evil and sinful thoughts to grow in your mind? Are you allowing lust to grow unchecked within you? Does enmity, bitterness, jealousy, or unforgiveness remain in your life? Jesus said if we seek first God and His righteousness, everything else will follow (Matt. 6:33). There is great reward in sowing righteousness. What are you presently doing to plant holiness in your life? (1 Pet. 1:15). How are you putting righteousness in your mind so that your thoughts are holy? How are you cultivating righteousness in your relationships so that you maintain your integrity? Are you instilling righteousness in your activities so that your life is above reproach? If you want to harvest righteousness in your life tomorrow, you must plant seeds of righteousness today.
10. 1 Peter 3:2-4 — “…they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external… but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” Character is far more important than personality, popularity, and image. God judges character and the heart, not presentation.
11. 1 Peter 3:4 — “…a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
A gentle and quiet spirit is “very precious” in God’s sight, but is not the way of culture today. At one time not long, men of respect were called “gentlemen,” and women of noble character were referred to as “ladies.” Now these words are virtually meaningless. Who today prides themselves on a “quit spirit?” Note in 1 Peter that even when we are defending the faith, we are called to do it “with gentleness and respect.” You might recall that in Proverbs, Folly is described as “loud.” Proverbs also says, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit (Proverbs 15:4).” Of Himself, Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29).” Do you want to be like Jesus? You must be gentle with a quiet spirit.
— Galatians 5:22-24 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
— 1 Timothy 4:11 — Aspire to live quietly….
12. 1 Peter 3:8 — “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” The Christian promotes unity, not disunity. However, unity must be unity in Jesus. Read John 17 again.
13. 1 Peter 3:9 — “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” You are called and commanded to bless those who curse you, to return grace for abuse. This is a test of your faith.
14. 1 Peter 3:10-12 — “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” The Bible is so very clear, but we tend to create complex philosophy to explain away God’s clear commands and to justify or excuse our disobedience. Do you desire to see good days?
15. 1 Pet 3:13-17 — “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”
– No one likes a zealot, except God. Always stand for the truth, but do it respectfully, not to be liked but to reflect the character of Jesus.
– We are saved by faith, not by works. Obedience is the product of our faith, is how we show reverence for God, and is a testimony before the world. Our obedience is an act of love toward God and toward man; obedience is an instrument through which to build our character. Someone once said, “Pain is God’s chisel.” When I consider the pain I have had in my life, I realize that most of it was self-induced. My own sin has caused most (not all) of my pain. Even when I was the victim of others’ sin, my inappropriate response to their actions caused most of my suffering. Why suffer needlessly by walking outside of God’s Word? “Better… to suffer for doing good that for doing evil.”
16. 1 Peter 3:20 — “…when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.” God’s patience endured until only eight godly people remained. God displayed similar patience in Sodom and Gomorrah. We now live in a time of God’s patience. Will you be one of the few who remain faithful when everyone around you turns away from God? Remember, during the time of Noah, plenty of people were going to church, but their religiosity was empty.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 Oct 18: Today, focus on how you treat those who frustrate you. Make it your aim to show them mercy, grace, peace, and love. Seek to be a reconciler. (1 Peter 3:9)