WEEK 20, Day 7, Sunday, 21 May 2022

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 21 May 2022:

Numbers 23:5 – “And the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth.”

Balaam’s job was to proclaim God’s word, not his own thoughts or opinions. The same applies to us today.

Numbers 23:9, 24 – “Behold him; behold, a people dwelling alone, and not counting itself among the nations…! Behold, a people! As a lioness it rises up and as a lion it lifts itself; it does not lie down until it has devoured the prey and drunk the blood of the slain.” (Numbers 23:9, 24)

God’s people are a nation among the nations. We are to be “One nation, under God, indivisible.” The mark of God’s people is holy obedience to God in love and perfect unity in Christ which is the visible evidence to the world that Jesus is Lord, and we are truly His people. Jesus’ prayer to the Father on our behalf before enduring the Cross was this – “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:22-23) When people see your life in relationship with your church body, do they see the unmistakable power of God at work?

No nation can overcome the Kingdom of God. “And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion (Genesis 1:28).”

Numbers 23:11, 12 – “And Balak said to Balaam, ‘What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.’ And he answered and said, “Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

Balak wanted Balaam to work for him, but Balaam could only work for God. As am ambassador or Christ, for whom are you working?

Numbers 23:27 – “And Balak said to Balaam, ‘Come now, I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.’”

Changing your environment or your approach does not change God’s will for you. God’s plan stands. Denying God’s will is futile.

Psalm 59:7 — “…for ‘Who,’ they think, ‘will hear us?’”

Sinners think they are getting away with something. Sometimes we think they are too. Check your perspective.

Psalm 59:9 — “…you, O God, are my fortress.”

When God is your fortress, what worries should you have? Who can threaten you?

Psalm 59:11 — “Kill them not, lest my people forget; make them totter by your power and bring them down, O Lord, our shield!”

David’s sins deserved death, and God could have delivered it, but God made an example of David that His people would never forget; and God used David to reveal the greater truth of His grace.

Psalm 60:11 — “Vain is the salvation of man!”

There is no strength, no peace, no success, no hope apart from God. Many people are striving today to create their own heaven on earth and to achieve their own salvation from sorrow, pain and death. They come to no lower point in life than when they eventually realize that they hoped in nothing. Salvation is only found in Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Bible offers many practical steps to better living, but we must be very careful not to turn the Bible into a supernatural self-help book or to preach good advice to others rather than Jesus. The goal of the Bible is found in John 17 – knowing Him and being one with Him. The goal is not comfort but rather Christ Himself.

Psalm 60:12 — “With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.”

Victory is in the hands of The Lord.

Proverbs 22:1 – “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”

When someone mentions your name, what comes to mind for others? Remember, as a Christian, you bear the name of Christ. What do people think about Jesus when they think about His impact on your life?

Proverbs 22:3 — “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”

We have all heard the adage, “You’d have to be blind not to see what is going on.” Well, that is right. Society is blind to the reality of the inevitable consequences of their sin. Why? Because society chooses to be blind, preferring darkness over light. Proverbs explains, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.” (Proverbs 21:4) The prideful direct their attention to (or shine their light on) sin, ignoring the will of God, regardless of God’s warnings to them (wisdom cries out in the streets). “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:19-21) Our Bible readings give stern warnings concerning things like abortion, sexual sin, and mysticism which today are celebrated; the consequences of this abandonment of God’s will are more than evident, yet society largely ignores them. The danger for the church is that we become influenced society rather than an influence. We must not lose our humility, holiness, purity, and fear of the LORD. Warriors know that a defense that is not offensive in nature is doomed. We cannot just circle the wagons. We must boldly and confidently speak truth and resist evil. We must remind the earthly powers that “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1) We must command the powers that would resist God, Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah (Psalm 24:7-10) “Fret not yourself because of evildoers.” (Psalm 37:1; Proverbs 24:19) “Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” (Psalm 37:8) Stop worrying so much about the obvious evil we see around us and the earthly powers that work against us. They are nothing at all compared to the power of our God. Allow God’s will to be done in your life and spread that to others, advancing the Kingdom one heart at a time. The Bible says that we have been given “power” by the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:49) The Greek word for power is dunamis (doo’-nam-is), from which we get the word “dynamite.” It means mighty, forceful, destructive, power that is obviously miraculous. Destructive? Yes! “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4) If the strongholds remain, it is only because we have not applied dynamite. Don’t focus on what the world is doing, focus on what God is doing. Be holy, pure, obedient, confident, love, bold, and powerful.

Proverbs 22:9 – “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.”

You will receive what you dish out. If you are giving, God will be giving to you.

Proverbs 22:10 – “Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.”

A scoffer is someone who refuses to listen and learn, a person who is only interested in their own opinion and self-interest. Strife and quarreling come from scoffing. Christians should never cause strife or quarrel.

Proverbs 22:11 – “He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.”

Christians should be known for gracious speech which comes from their pure hearts. Grace is giving people forgiveness and freedom that they don’t deserve. Grace does not seek to give them the just punishment they do deserve. Gracious speech responds to insults and harsh speech with love and blessings. See why Christians cannot quarrel? Rather than quarreling, Christians deny self, take up their cross, and follow Jesus.

Proverbs 22:15 – “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”

Children naturally lack internal discipline (self-control) and require external discipline from loving parents. Parental discipline is God’s plan for maturity. Likewise, adults lack adequate discipline (self-control) and require the counsel of the Holy Spirit and the discipline of the Father in order to grow to maturity.

Proverbs 22:17-22 – God’s word is provided to help you to trust in the Lord and to keep you on track as you grow in your love for and trust in the Lord. God knows you are not perfected in love and gives you clear instructions until you are so united with God in love that you no longer need rules and regulations to do what is right.

Proverbs 22:24 – “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man.”

Do you have a friend with a hot temper? Not good.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 May 22: “God has spoken in his holiness….” Pray to God with your ears open. Prayer is a two-way conversation. Listen patiently for God’s response to your prayers. Listening requires attentive silence. (Psalm 60:6-8).

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