Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 28 November 18:
1. Daniel 7:9 — “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat.” Powerful nations will rise and fall, but God reigns as Sovereign and is in complete control.
2. Daniel 7:12 — “As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.”
– God accomplishes His purposes in His ways and on His timeline, not ours. We cannot understand the mind of God or why He does what He does the way He does it. Prophecy is given to help us trust when we don’t understand.
– The fate of the beasts was determined before it was apparent.
3. Daniel 7:21, 22 — “As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.” From these verses, it would appear that God will allow the saints to suffer until Jesus returns, and then the saints will reign with Jesus.
4. Daniel 7:23 — “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces.” The fourth kingdom is global.
5. Daniel 8:25 — “By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.” God wins the final battle, not men. Jesus will destroy the destroyer. “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” (Proverbs 21:31) We are called to be faithful; victory belongs to God. This was learned by Moses when seemingly trapped by Pharaoh’s army. It was learned by Joshua when he faces the walls of Jericho. It was learned by Gideon when he faced the powerful Midianites. It was learned by king Hezekiah when he faced seemingly impossible odds against Sennacherib, king of Assyria; and it will be learned again by the whole world at the Battle of Armageddon – “And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’” (Revelation 16:16, 17) The kings will form for battle, but God will finish them before it ever begins. Victory is not the question. Will you be like Gideon’s army of 300 who were willing to remain faithful and diligent to show up for the fight? Will you be among the ranks of faithful to partake in the great victory which will be handed down by God through His Mighty Hand? Will you be one of his saints who reign with Him in victory? Many are called, but few are chosen. The test of faith – what do you do before impossible odds? Are you willing to lose everything to win EVERYTHING? Your fight might not be glamorous but it is today. What you decide to do with the small, seemingly insignificant decisions of the day defines who you really are, what you really believe, and who is Lord of your life. Trust and Obey; there is no other way….
6. Daniel 8:27 — “I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days.” The truth can be hard to handle.
7. Proverbs 28:1 – “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Perspective is everything. Knowing that God loves you beyond your understanding and is in complete control of your life changes everything.
8. Proverbs 28:13 – “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Pride causes us to hide our sins; humility enables us to confess our sins, have freedom from them, and move on.
9. Proverbs 28:20 – “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” Blessings are conditional upon faithfulness. Selfishness will not be blessed by God.
10. Proverbs 28:26 – “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” Wisdom comes only from the word of God and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (as opposed to knowledge which comes from our limited intellect). Only God can show you how to rightly apply knowledge (wisdom) because only God knows the whole truth of any situation. Many think they are smart enough to live their lives without the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is the height of arrogance and foolishness.
11. John 21:3 — “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” Trained for three years as a disciple of Jesus, charged with seeking lost souls, Peter, in fear and doubt, went back to his old business, doing what was comfortable for him, doing what he knew he could do under his own strength rather than doing what now seemed impossible to him.
12. John 21:15 – “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’”
From Henry T. Blackaby — Jesus has a wonderful way of restoring us when we fail Him! He does not humiliate us. He does not criticize us. He does not ask us to make a resolution to try harder. Rather, He takes us aside and asks us to reaffirm our love for Him. Peter miserably failed his Lord when he fled with the other disciples from the Garden of Gethsemane. Later, he publicly denied that he even knew Jesus. Peter must have wondered if he had been capable of being Jesus’ disciple when he was unfaithful to Jesus in His most crucial hour…. You may be painfully aware that you have failed your Lord in many ways. Perhaps you were not faithful. Perhaps you disobeyed His word to you. Perhaps you denied Him by the way you lived. Jesus will take you aside, as He did Peter. He will not berate you. He will not humiliate you. He will ask you to examine your love for Him. He asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” If your answer, like Peter’s, is “Yes, Lord,” He will reaffirm His will for you. If you truly love Him, you will obey Him (John 14:15). Jesus does not need your resolutions, your recommitments, or your promises to try harder this year. If your resolve to obey God last year did not help you to be faithful, it will not make you successful this year. Jesus asks for your love. If you truly love Him, your service for Him in the new year will be of the quality that He desires.
13. John 21:15-19 — Previously Peter denied Jesus three times; here Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him three times. In the original language Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him unconditionally, but Peter, now humbled by the truth of himself, can only say to Jesus that he loves Him as a brother. Jesus accepts Peter’s imperfect love and charges Peter to “follow” Him and to “feed [His] sheep.” This is Peter’s call to do more than just work for a living in order to meet his worldly needs. It is his call to accomplish his purpose in life to be Christ’s Ambassador. This is your call too.
– “Do you truly love me (John 21:15-17)?” We can all agree that we don’t love Jesus perfectly, and every day we fail in our attempts to follow Jesus and to remain obedient in love. So, what do we do in the face of our failures? Don’t accept sin or make light of it (God doesn’t), but rejoice in your state of grace and keep trying. Seek to enjoy God and glorify Him better each day. Keep pressing forward, not looking backwards but keeping your eyes on the prize, Jesus, one day at a time. “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day (Proverbs 4:18).”
– “He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.'” When you love someone, you care about what they care about. You earnestly desire to please them. Jesus said that the proof of our love for Him was revealed in our love for others. What could be more loving than to lead someone to Jesus, to disciple them in the Lord?
14. John 21:20-21 – “Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following…. Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’” From Henry T. Blackaby — The first thing you do after God speaks to you is critical. Jesus was telling Peter what type of ministry he would have and what type of death he would suffer (vv. 18-19). It was a sacred moment in Peter’s life, as his Lord pulled back the curtain to his future. His was not to be an easy life but a life ordained and blessed by his Lord and Master. Rather than responding to what Jesus told him, Peter looked around at his fellow disciples. His glance fell upon John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. “But Lord, what about this man?” Peter asked. Peter had just been given the somber news of his future death. How natural to compare his assignment with that of the others! This is the great temptation of God’s servants: to compare our situation with that of others. Did God give my friend a larger house? Did God heal my friend’s loved one and not mine? Did God allow my friend to receive appreciation and praise for his work while I remain anonymous? Did God allow another Christian to remain close to her family while I am far removed from mine? Jesus assigned Peter and John to walk two different paths, but both Peter and John have enriched our lives. Jesus knew how dangerous it is when a servant takes his eyes off the master to focus on a fellow servant. Where is your focus? Have you become more concerned with how God is treating someone else than you are with how He is relating to you?
15. John 21:22 — “Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’” Jesus does not want you to compare yourself with other Christians or to worry about what God is doing in their lives. Jesus wants you to follow Him one day and a time and to be faith with the resources, opportunities, and relationships that you have been given.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 28 Nov 18: Today, don’t worry about your circumstances, simply trust God, obey Him, follow Him, and bring the people God has placed in your life closer to Jesus. (John 21:22)