Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 29 October 18:
1. Jeremiah 49:1 — “Concerning the Ammonites. Thus says the LORD: ‘Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? Why then has Milcom dispossessed Gad, and his people settled in its cities?'” There is no reason why God’s people, empowered by the Holy Spirit, should be controlled by the world.
2. Jeremiah 49:4 — “Why do you boast of your valleys, O faithless daughter, who trusted in her treasures, saying, ‘Who will come against me?” God will take away what you place in the way of your relationship with Him.
3. Jeremiah 49:11 – “Leave your fatherless children; I will keep them alive; and let your widows trust in me.” God still cares about your enemies’ children. Do you?
4. Jeremiah 49:12 – “For thus says the Lord: ‘If those who did not deserve to drink the cup must drink it, will you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you must drink.’” God will not leave a nation’s sins unpunished.
5. Jeremiah 49:15, 17 – “For behold, I will make you small among the nations, despised among mankind. ‘Edom shall become a horror. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters.’” Part of God’s judgment is ruining one’s reputation.
6. Jeremiah 49:16 — “The horror you inspire has deceived you, and the pride of your heart.” Pride deceives you in thinking you are of any significance apart from God.
7. Jeremiah 49:19 – “Behold, like a lion coming up from the jungle of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly make him run away from her. And I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me?” God’s judgment can be compared to a surprise attack.
8. Jeremiah 49:20 – “Therefore hear the plan that the Lord has made against Edom and the purposes that he has formed against the inhabitants of Teman: Even the little ones of the flock shall be dragged away. Surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate.” God wants people to know His purposes.
9. Jeremiah 49:22 – “Behold, one shall mount up and fly swiftly like an eagle and spread his wings against Bozrah, and the heart of the warriors of Edom shall be in that day like the heart of a woman in her birth pains.” God’s judgment melts all human courage.
10. Jeremiah 49:31 – “Rise up, advance against a nation at ease, that dwells securely, declares the Lord,
that has no gates or bars, that dwells alone.” God condemns a people who are overconfident.
11. Jeremiah 50:4 — “In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come, and they shall seek the Lord their God.” Repentance is the beginning of revival.
12. Jeremiah 50:5 – “They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.’” Commitment to an eternal love relationship with God brings revival.
13. Jeremiah 50:6, 7 — “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold. All who found them have devoured them, and their enemies have said, ‘We are not guilty, for they have sinned against the LORD, their habitation of righteousness, the LORD, the hope of their fathers.’”
– God calls unfaithful believers lost sheep with bad shepherds who need revival and the Good Shepherd, Jesus.
– When God’s people are led astray by false teachers, the entire nation falls. The only shepherd worth following is The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Any leader that does not point to Jesus as the one to obey is an anti-Christ, though we don’t see them that way.
14. Jeremiah 50:11, 12 — “Though you rejoice, though you exult, O plunderers of my heritage, though you frolic like a heifer in the pasture, and neigh like stallions, your mother shall be utterly shamed, and she who bore you shall be disgraced.” Many messages in churches today are “Be happy” while the Nations go from bad to worse. God doesn’t expect people to rejoice and boast when they should be mourning and turning to Him.
15. Jeremiah 50:15 – Raise a shout against her all around; she has surrendered; her bulwarks have fallen; her walls are thrown down. For this is the vengeance of the Lord: take vengeance on her; do to her as she has done.” You will reap what you sow.
16. Jeremiah 50:20, 33-34 – In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant…. Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them. All who took them captive have held them fast; they refuse to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.” A remnant will experience revival, not the majority.
17. Jeremiah 50:29, 31-32 – “Summon archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow. Encamp around her; let no one escape. Repay her according to her deeds; do to her according to all that she has done. For she has proudly defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel…. Behold, I am against you, O proud one, declares the Lord GOD of hosts, for your day has come, the time when I will punish you. The proud one shall stumble and fall, with none to raise him up, and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it will devour all that is around him.” Another chapter in the Bible warns you that God opposes human pride. God will humble the proud for His name’s sake.
18. Jeremiah 50:42 – They lay hold of bow and spear; they are cruel and have no mercy. The sound of them is like the roaring of the sea; they ride on horses, arrayed as a man for battle against you, O daughter of Babylon!” God uses cruel, merciless people as agents of His judgment.
19. Proverbs 29:1 – “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.” There can come a place in a person’s life when it is too late to receive forgiveness. God’s patience has a limit.
20. Proverbs 29:5 – “A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.” When you tell people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear, you are contributing to their pain and destruction, you are being unloving, and you are sinning.
21. Proverbs 29:12 – “If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.” Christ’s Ambassadors have an obligation to speak the truth to leaders whether they want to hear it or not.
22. Proverbs 29:18 — “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” Gods people can serve as a preservative and an influential agent of peace and stability if they have the courage to defy popular opinion and to speak the truth.
23. Proverbs 29:26 – “Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.” Most don’t even treat God with as much respect as they do influential people.
24. 3 John 1:1 – “The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.” Love is an easy word to say, but true love is sacrifice.
25. 3 John 1, 3, 8, 12 — “I love in truth…. indeed you are walking in the truth…. that we may be fellow workers for the truth…. Demetrius has received a good testimony… from the truth itself…. and you know that our testimony is true.” The true church is united in truth, truth that makes man-made divisions such as race, class, culture, nationality, and denominations meaningless. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14 6) Those who ‘walk in the truth’ walk as Jesus walked. John reminds us that, toward that life ambition, we should live our lives “for the sake of the name” and treat others “in a manner worthy of God.” (3 John 6, 7) Is that your ambition? Are you united as one with the true church rather than the world?
26. 3 John 1:3, 4 – “For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
– Real Christians don’t just talk about the truth, they walk in the truth. They surrender themselves to Jesus daily and walk with Him, denying themselves, proclaiming the truth daily in love, demonstrating forgiveness, generosity, grace, mercy, peace, patience, kindness, justice, humility, etc…. Your life goal should be that as you follow Jesus closely, you will be an example to help others follow Him too, not follow you but follow Him.
– Love hopes more than anything else that others would follow Jesus.
27. 3 John 7, 8 — “For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore, we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” God expects us to work through the church to advance the Kingdom.
28. 3 John 11 – “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.”
– The Bible could not be clearer on this point: faith is revealed in attitudes, words, and actions. Jesus said, you judge the tree by the fruit the comes from it. Those who truly know and love Jesus are transformed by His love. They don’t continue in unrepentant sin, and when they do sin, they mournfully and humbly turn to God in repentance. Christians are continually claiming the promise of 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
– In the very short letter of 3 John, John contrasts the behavior of Gaius and Demetrius with that of Diotrephes. Gaius had displayed his love and “faithfulness to the truth” along with his commitment to “walk in the truth” by showing hospitality and generosity to “the brothers” who he did not know personally. Contrarily, Diotrephes who “likes to put himself first” is characterized by John as a malicious gossip who refuses to “welcome the brothers.” John then reminds us of what was taught by Jesus, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit…. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” (Matthew 12:33, 35) Of our own power, we have no ability to be “good” only through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit can we hope to do good – “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4, 5) So, how do we abide in Christ? Jesus said, “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:9-11). The verse above tells us to “imitate good” rather than evil. So, how do we imitate good? Ephesians 5 expands on this concept and would be worthy of review today. Unlike Diotrephes who lived selfishly while claiming to be Christian, we are to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” and to submit “to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5) The Holy Spirit gives us the power to abide in Christ, but we must make the decision daily to submit to God and others in true love. The completely sacrificial love lived out by Jesus is our example.
– John encourages the Church to walk in obedience to the Lord. John, The Apostle of Love, sees obedience as required to truly love God and to express genuine love towards others. Paul backs this truth up in Romans 12:9 when he says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Someone once said, “If you love flowers, you have to hate weeds.” Sin is contrary to God’s Will – it offends, hurts, and destroys. We cannot take a casual, careless position on either love or sin like the culture around us does.
– Christians who are really Christian do the work of Christ.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 29 Oct 18: If Jesus walked in your circles today, what would he be like? How would He act? What would He do? What would He say to your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers? Make every effort to imitate Jesus today. Truly seek to be His Ambassador. Keep a journal of your experience. Make a note ever hour on how the last hour went. You have somewhere around sixteen waking hours today, sixteen hours to reveal the Way, the Truth, and the Life to others. Journal sixteen hourly self-assessments today, each time praying for a closer walk with Jesus and a greater imitation of Him to others. (3 John 11)