Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 27 December 18:
1. Zechariah 11:4-6 — “Become shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter. Those who buy them slaughter them and go unpunished, and those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, I have become rich,’ and their own shepherds have no pity on them. For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of this land, declares the Lord. Behold, I will cause each of them to fall into the hand of his neighbor, and each into the hand of his king, and they shall crush the land, and I will deliver none from their hand.” God judges nations by allowing them to drift into corruption, injustice, and lawlessness. Leaders will exploit the people, and neighbors will not be able to trust neighbors. Everyone (including God’s people) suffers when God removes His favor, and injustice and unethical behavior becomes the norm. Understand that these things are the consequence of the infidelity of God’s people first. The problem with the nation is not bad politicians, it is a compromised church which ceased to be salt and light to preserve and to expose darkness. Individual and corporate repentance and revival is the key to national prosperity.
2. Zechariah 11:7-9 – “So I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep traders. And I took two staffs, one I named Favor, the other I named Union. And I tended the sheep. In one month I destroyed the three shepherds. But I became impatient with them, and they also detested me. So I said, ‘I will not be your shepherd. What is to die, let it die. What is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. And let those who are left devour the flesh of one another.’”
– Evil leaders think they are good and still practice religion.
– God and only God rightly shepherds His people.
– “In one month I destroyed the three shepherds.” God judges unfaithful leaders. God overcomes human leaders to lead His faithful people.
– Through Christ we have favor and unity with God, along with blessings and protection. When we reject God, He turns us over to our own devices and their naturally destructive consequences. God is The God of justice and peace. Apart from God there can be no justice or peace.
3. Zechariah 11:11-14 – “So it was annulled on that day, and the sheep traders, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. Then I said to them, ‘If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.’ And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter. Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.” Jesus was betrayed by Judas for thirty pieces and silver, given him by the chief priests, the church, that Jesus might be executed by the state, the Roman government. Judas was filled with remorse and returned the money to the chief priests before hanging himself. The chief priests decided that they could not put it into the temple treasury as it was considered blood money, and so with it they bought the Potter’s Field. (Matthew 27) The church had been so compromised that it did the work of Satan, in partnership with the ungodly government, all in the name of religion. The religious leaders were willing to crucify Christ but not allow blood money into the Temple, which was considered holy. Consider these things in context with the condition of the church and state in America today.
4. Zechariah 12:1 – “The oracle of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him….” God continually reminds us that He is the Creator and our source of life and spirit.
5. Zechariah 12:10 — “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” There are some great verses for us to consider during the Christmas season and a new year. This morning, Zechariah is given the prophecy of the First Coming of Jesus, the ‘Only Child’ and his Grace and Mercy for those who ‘plea’ for Grace and Mercy from a truly mournful, repentance spirit. Powerful! And Revelation gives us the prophecy of the Second Coming of Jesus: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” We are in the time between the prophecies with every reason to have joy today in faith (complete trust in God), hope (complete confidence in God’s promised future), and love (oneness with God today). This is “Good News”! This is a time where God’s Spirit brings humility and grace required for repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior. Celebrate it today; proclaim it today; live it today! Prepare for Christ’s return.
— Matthew 25:46 — And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
— Mark 10:28-31 — Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
— John 3:15, 16 — Whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
— John 4:14 — But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
— John 4:36 — Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.
— John 6:27 — Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.
— John 6:68 — Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,
— John 10:28 — I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
— John 12:25 — Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
— John 12:50 — And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
— John 17:2 — since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
— John 17:3 — And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
— Romans 5:21 — so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
— Romans 6:22 — But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
— Romans 6:23 — For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Galatians 6:8 — For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
— 1 Timothy 1:16 — But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
— 1 Timothy 6:12 — Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
— Titus 1:2 — in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began
— Titus 3:7 — so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
— 1 John 1:2 — the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—
— 1 John 5:13 — I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
— 1 John 5:20 — And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
— Jude 1:21 — keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
— 1 John 1:4 — And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
– Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:14)” as opposed to the wicked and worthless shepherds described in Zechariah 11. But in Zechariah, the Good Shepherd is rejected and the people send him off with the payment of “thirty pieces of silver.” God responds: “‘Throw it to the potter’—the handsome price at which they priced me (Zechariah 11:13)!” This foretells what would happen in Matthew 27:8-10: 8: “That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: ‘They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.’” This is an amazing prophecy of Jesus that is missed by most since few will read the Book of Zechariah. Congratulations to you for your commitment to remain in God’s Word.
6. Proverbs 27:1 – “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Do not be complacent with today. Serve God today as if today were your last.
7. Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” God’s will for your life is that you are in close relationship with other committed.
8. Proverbs 27:5 – “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” If you don’t tell others about Jesus, you either don’t really care about them, or you are a coward.
9. Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” If you only tell people what they want to hear, you are their enemy. In a loving way, though at times firm, Jesus held people accountable for their sin. He wanted them to be uncomfortable in their sin because He loved them too much to let them continue in sin. Kisses are more pleasant than wounds, but they can be devastating if they give people a false sense of comfort. Even in love, the truth hurts, but you can’t fix what you aren’t willing to be honest about. To be silent before sin is unloving, hateful, though we don’t want to see it that way. If you don’t warn your friends about the penalty for sin, you will be held accountable by God. (see Ezekiel 33:6). True love is willing to do the hard thing for another and sometimes nothing seems harder than confronting someone with the truth.
10. Proverbs 27:12 – “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Only the wise can see what is going on around them.
11. Revelation 27:17 – “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” The Christian life is a hard road. Sometimes we all need someone else to help carry our load, so God calls us to encouraging, mutually supportive friendships in Christ – this is not a suggestion, it is a requirement. There is no such thing as a Christian loaner, and God did not intend for your relationships to be merely superficial. A godly friend challenges you to be all that God intended you to be, helping to draw you closer to Christ day by day. Often they must “sharpen” you with the truth, and sharpening requires friction, heat, and resistance (see Proverbs 27:6). Be careful how you choose your friends. Jesus chose his closest friends very wisely, and He walked day by day with them. He did not look for perfect friends but friends truly committed to following God. As a friend, you are called to put their needs ahead of yours (Proverbs 17:17), and they are called to do the same. There is real power in this kind of relationship.
12. Proverbs 27:23-27 – “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? When the grass is gone and the new growth appears and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field. There will be enough goats’ milk for your food, for the food of your household and maintenance for your girls.” Spend your productive years building production capacity so that you possesses to ability to be financially self-sufficient.
13. Revelation 21:6 – “And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.’” God’s provision is free and unending for those who accept it.
14. Revelation 21:7 – “The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” Eternal life is enjoying a childlike love relationship with God.
15. Revelation 21:8 – “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
– Fear and disbelief prevent you from sharing in God’s inheritance.
– Second death is death after resurrection for judgment and is shared by all unbelievers. If you are born twice (physical birth and spiritual birth through salvation in Jesus) you will die once (the physical death). If you are born once (physical birth) you will die twice (physical death, and permanently dead in spirit, as you are born).
16. Revelation 21:10-21 – “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” You are part of the holy new Jerusalem with all its glory and beauty.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 27 Dec 18: Make relationship with Jesus your ultimate goal today and every day. (Revelation 21:7)