Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 20 July 2022:
Joshua 12:6, 7 — “Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the people of Israel defeated them…. And these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the people of Israel defeated….”
God works generationally, over time. Christians are often shortsighted, wanting immediate results. However, God wants us to leave results in His hands and to focus on obedience in the moment. If we are faithful and obedient with what God has placed in front of us, we are fulfilling our purpose and living successfully, regardless of outward appearances. Part of our mission is preparing to handover fidelity to the next generation so they can continue to serve God’s eternal plan. Moses prepared Joshua, and Joshua continued in the mission. Who are you preparing to receive the torch of fidelity from you?
Note: Here is a short video overview of 2 Thessalonians 1 — https://thebibleproject.com/explore/2-thessalonians/
2 Thessalonians 1:3-5 – “Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering….”
Love is the measure of genuine faith — when faith grows, love grows. How much we love others reveals how much we really love Jesus. When we genuinely love others, we want nothing more than to see them grow closer to Jesus, and when we see it, we are compelled to give thanks to God.
The evidence of faith is love for others. The measure of increasing sanctification is increased love for others. Are you growing in your faith? Is you love growing for others?
- 1 John 3:11 — For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
- 1 John 3:14 — We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
- 1 John 3:17 — 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?
- 1 John 3:18 — Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
- 1 John 3:23 — And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.
- 1 John 4:7 — Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
- 1 John 4:8 — Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
- 1 John 4:11, 12 — Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
- 1 John 4:16 — So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
- 1 John 4:21 — And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
- Luke 6:35 — But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
God is love and the Creator of love. We don’t generate love, we radiate love from God to others. Without God, we cannot love – “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) The farther we are from God, the less His love reflects from us to others. The key is to love is to remain close to the Source.
- Psalm 101:4 — A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.
- Matthew 15:8 — This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me….
- Psalm 38:21 — Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me!
- Jeremiah 23:23 — “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away?
- Ephesians 2:13 — But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
- James 4:8 — Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
- Acts 2:39 — For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
We grow in love when we get closer to Him, and to grow in love, we must grow in obedience, purity, holiness righteousness. Faith produces faithfulness. Unfaithfulness, which is sin, is unloving. Of course, none of us are perfected in love or perfectly embody the attributes of love, but with full reliance and complete confidence in God’s grace, we must pursue these qualities with all our effort.
- John 14:15 — “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
- 1 Timothy 1:5 — The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
- 2 Timothy 2:22 — So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
- 1 John 3:10 — By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
- 1 Timothy 4:12 — Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
- Proverbs 4:18 — But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
- John 15:4, 5, 8-17 — 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…. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. 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. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-12 – The message of God which is proclaimed through His Ambassadors on earth (us) is that Christ will return and that there will be a Judgement. When was the last time you heard this preached with power?
2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 — “…since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”
Not obeying the Gospel brings judgment. God will judge people based upon their true faith in Jesus, revealed in how they treated others and whether or not they believed enough to obey. Faith without works (obedience) is dead.
2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 – “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”
Eternal life is unity with God through Jesus (John 17:3) Eternal damnation is separation from God. God will bring glory to Himself by responding to the faithful in a positive way and to the unfaithful in a negative way. End times brings glory to God.
2 Thessalonians 1:10 — “…when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”
Not everyone will marvel when Christ returns, only the believers. God uses the testimony of others to call believers. We testify to the truth, and the Holy Spirit convicts hearts with our testimony.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 — “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power.”
Not everyone demonstrates worthiness. Worthiness requires both the power of the Holy Spirit AND resolve, resulting in consistent works of faith.
2 Thessalonians 1:12 – “…so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Is the name Jesus Christ glorified in you? Do those around you automatically associate your name and life with Jesus Christ? Does your life reflect the image of Jesus?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 20 July 22: Grow in love by growing closer to Jesus. Walk with Him in obedience from a sincere heart.