WEEK 29, Day 1, Monday, 18 July 2022

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 18 July 2022:

Joshua 10:6 — “And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, ‘Do not relax your hand from your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the hill country are gathered against us.’”

Getting entangled with the world will cause you many unneeded conflicts.

Joshua 10:8 — “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands.”

God will honor your willingness to honor even your misguided commitments.

“No greater confidence will ever come to you or to any other Christian than the confidence of knowing you are doing God’s will. God will not commission you to do anything without ensuring your success. God assured Joshua that there was no reason to fear as he prepared to battle the Canaanites. God would allow the Israelites to fight the battle, but the outcome was settled before they ever picked up their weapons. What confidence this gave them as they fought! Even though their enemies fought relentlessly, Joshua’s army was certain of eventual victory.

God does not promise you victory in every task you devise, but He does promise that you will be successful whenever you follow His will (Deut. 28:7, 25).

Does it appear that people are keeping you from obeying God’s will? Rest assured that God will not allow anyone or anything to prevent His children from accomplishing His purposes.

Be careful to evaluate success in the way that God does. Perhaps He is working to produce His peace in your heart as you face troubling times. Perhaps He is working to develop a forgiving spirit in you when others mistreat you. Perhaps He is working to eliminate a particular sin in your life. If you accept the world’s understanding of victory, you may feel defeated. If you look to see what God is accomplishing through your situation, you will find that He is succeeding. When you face opposition but know you are doing what God has asked, have confidence that He will accomplish everything that He desires.” (Henry T. Blackaby)

Joshua 10:14 — “There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.”

God will work through you in a way that reveals Himself — it’s not about you.

Joshua 10:19 — “Pursue your enemies; attack their rear guard. Do not let them enter their cities, for the LORD your God has given them into your hand.”

God’s plan involves thoroughly defeating enemies of the Kingdom.

Joshua 10:27 — “But at the time of the going down of the sun, Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, and they set large stones against the mouth of the cave, which remain to this very day.”

Joshua made a public example of God’s enemies but did not desecrate their bodies, remaining faithful to God’s commands. (see Deut 21:22, 23)

1 Thessalonians 4:1 — “…you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.”

God expects you to strive more and more to walk with Jesus. Sanctification is a life-long process.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 — “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”

Sanctification is God’s will for your life. What does God want you to do with your life? Become closer and more like Jesus every day, more holy. God has called you to purity and holiness – strive daily for it. Holiness requires self-control.

Self-control is key to sanctification, and sexual sin is not only a sign of a lack of self-control and sanctification, it defies the Great Commandment of loving God and others. It is unthinkable that a Christian would engage in any form of sexual immorality considering that the Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and sexual immorality would be an utter desecration of God’s temple, the abomination of desolation! “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20) Also, sexual sins use and degrade others, selfishly treating them as something to be used purely for personal desire. Though sinners call lust love, lust is self-centered, and love is Christ-centered. A Christ follower can have nothing to do with sexual morality, and today’s readings warn us not to wrong others in this matter and disregard God.

“When I pray, ‘Lord, show me what sanctification means for me,’ He will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus puts in me— it is Himself in me (see 1 Corinthians 1:30).’”

Sanctification is not a question of whether God is willing to sanctify me— is it my will? Am I willing to let God do in me everything that has been made possible through the atonement of the Cross of Christ? Am I willing to let Jesus become sanctification to me, and to let His life be exhibited in my human flesh? (see 1 Corinthians 1:30). Beware of saying, ‘Oh, I am longing to be sanctified.’ No, you are not. Recognize your need, but stop longing and make it a matter of action. Receive Jesus Christ to become sanctification for you by absolute, unquestioning faith, and the great miracle of the atonement of Jesus will become real in you.

All that Jesus made possible becomes mine through the free and loving gift of God on the basis of what Christ accomplished on the cross. And my attitude as a saved and sanctified soul is that of profound, humble holiness (there is no such thing as proud holiness). It is a holiness based on agonizing repentance, a sense of inexpressible shame and degradation, and also on the amazing realization that the love of God demonstrated itself to me while I cared nothing about Him (see Romans 5:8). He completed everything for my salvation and sanctification. No wonder Paul said that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

Sanctification makes me one with Jesus Christ, and in Him one with God, and it is accomplished only through the magnificent atonement of Christ. Never confuse the effect with the cause. The effect in me is obedience, service, and prayer, and is the outcome of inexpressible thanks and adoration for the miraculous sanctification that has been brought about in me because of the atonement through the Cross of Christ.” (Oswald Chambers)

1 Thessalonians 4:8 — “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

God has called you to holiness instead of impurity. In urging us to “live in order to please God” and to “do this more and more,” Paul reminds us that the Bible’s instructions are given to us “by the authority of the Lord Jesus.” We are called by God to live “holy” lives, and we have been empowered by God through the Holy Spirit to live holy lives. When we sin, we cannot use the old excuse, “The Devil made me do it.” God has given us the power to obey, but we choose not to when, even for a brief moment, something has become more important to us than God. Paul wants us to face the fact that when we sin, we are deliberately denying the Lordship of God and His authority over our lives! He also warns that God will hold us accountable (1 Thessalonians 4:6), though we remain in His love and grace. Furthermore, Paul points out that sin and disobedience have nothing to do with love, and it is impossible to grow in love without growing in holiness and obedience. Sin is not only and offense to God, it also always hurts others (1 Thessalonians 4:6). Sin hurts, destroys, kills. True love absolutely requires obedience to the God who is Love, and our ability to love others is dependent on our love for God.

1 John 3:6, 9, 14-15, 17, 25 — No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him…. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God…. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him…. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?… Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 — “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another…. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”

God wants you to strive to grow in love daily, and to live and inoffensive and unencumbered life, not being dependent upon the sinful world which would influence you to compromise your purity and holiness. God calls us to live quiet lives, working hard to be self-sufficient and to love others. Often people will ask, “What does God want me to do with my life?” However, their focus is usually on profession, and they are usually really asking, “How can I be successful in life (by the world’s standards)?” However, Thessalonians’ answer to the question focuses on character rather than competence – “live a holy life.” Thessalonians seems to minimize “professional” success (though we are called to be excellent in all things) – “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands.” Who you are matters far more than what you do. Find something to do, and do it to the glory of God, not to your own glory. “This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes…. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 7:29; 12:13, 14).”

1 Thessalonians 4:13 — “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

God does not want you to get wrapped up in the worries of the world or to grieve about things like the world does. Be at peace in the hope which has been given you through the promise of Jesus.

“Christians do not grieve as the world grieves. The world experiences sorrow without hope. The Christian also has sorrow, but the Christian’s sorrow is accompanied by hope.

In Jesus’ day, a funeral was a time for an impassioned demonstration of grief. It was a sign of respect for the deceased to wail loudly at a funeral. A person grieving the loss of a loved one had no power to change what had happened. There was probably no time in human experience where people felt more helpless or vulnerable than at a funeral.

Jesus, too, wept at the funeral of a close friend, but His sorrow did not come from a lack of hope (John 11:35). Jesus knew that soon Lazarus would be alive again. He also knew that at His second coming, Lazarus and all of Jesus’ followers would be resurrected from death to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Jesus wept because He saw the hopelessness felt by the people He loved. His friends had the Resurrection and the Life right in their midst, yet they were grieving! (John 11:25). When Jesus conquered death, He forever changed the way Christians view death. Christians still experience the sorrow of losing someone we love, but we have hope because we know that God can bring good out of any situation (Rom. 8:28). We have hope in the knowledge that nothing, not even death, can separate us from God’s love (Rom. 8:38-39). We have hope because Jesus will bring us to join Him in heaven so that we might enjoy eternity in unhindered fellowship with Him (John 14:3).

Even though you are a Christian, you cannot escape life’s sorrows. But you can temper your grief with the hope that Christ is risen, for He is your hope and your comfort.” (Henry T. Blackaby)

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 18 July 22: Today, pursue sanctification as your life goal. Walk today side-by-side with Jesus, seeking to know Him more fully, seeking to grow closer to Him through every experience. Don’t just do good, know Him more and more. Don’t follow anyone else, only Him. Partner with those who have the same goal for life as you — to know Jesus more and more.

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