Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 11 December 2022:
1 Chronicles 6:32-33 – They ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting until Solomon built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they performed their service according to their order. These are the men who served and their sons. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman the singer the son of Joel, son of Samuel….
Leadership in music is an important ministerial responsibility.
1 Chronicles 6:38, 43, 47 – Israel’s ministers, even after exile, could trace their heritage back to one of the founding fathers of the nation.
Psalm 143:5 – I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
When your faith is weak, meditate upon all the ways God has demonstrated His faithfulness to you, and pray earnestly to Him. He is always faithful.
Psalm 143:9-10 — Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Key to getting through life’s challenges is drawing closer to God, focusing on Him, His will and His promises, and obeying Him. Don’t focus on your enemy or on the problem, focus on Jesus. The Bible warns us not to be deceived, tempted, or influenced by Satans “designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11), his “cunning” (2 Corinthians 11:3), or his “schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). The Greek work for “designs” is “noēma,” which means “thoughts,” the Greek word for “cunning” is “panourgia,” which means “subtilty” and “craftiness,” and the Greek word for “schemes” is “methodeia,” which means “trickery” or “to lie in wait.” Satan deceives us by putting his thoughts, which are lies, into our heads, and from the very beginning, He has been trying to get us to shift our focus away from God’s goodness and abundance to thoughts of lack, fear, and doubt. He has been targeting are contentment and gratitude. He does it in very subtle ways and looks for any opportunity to get us to start staring and thinking about the wrong things. The Bible warns us that we must be very careful not to let Satan influence our thoughts by causing us to doubt God’s love and perfect provision for us, but causing us to become discontent, ungrateful, and unjoyful, by causing us to become fearful and anxious, and by causing us to become bitter, envious, angry, and self-centered, which is sin. So, the Bible tells us to control our thought life by putting on the full armor of God, by praying and rejoicing continually, but studying and proclaiming God’s word, by singing hymns all day, and by removing all things in our life which Satan might use to shift your focus back on negative things. Never allow yourself to think negative thoughts. Do everything the Bible commands to stay focused on godly thoughts.
- Philippians 4:4-9 — Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Psalm 144:1 — Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.
David, a simple shepherd, was an unlikely choice to be King of Israel, but God said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature…. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) God empowered David for the work He had prepared for Him, and today’s Psalms are a reminder that, like everyone else, David’s success depended on the Lord and not on his own abilities. Likewise, God has called us to spread the Gospel, make disciples, and transform our environments. Our success depends on His abilities, not ours. God doesn’t need the world to see what you can do. God wants the world to see what He can do through simple people like you and me. God is more interested in your trustworthiness than your talents, your allegiance than your age or abilities, your genuineness than your gender, your earnestness than your education, your faithfulness than your finances and fitness, your steadfastness than your social station or status, your loyalty than your location, and your willingness than your wealth. Test and see what God will do in your life for His glory when you are willing to be faithful, one day at a time, with the moment at hand.
- Isaiah 6:8-9 — 8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go….
- Jeremiah 1:7 — But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
- Romans 10:14-15 — How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Psalm 144:3, 4 — O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.
Proverbs 11:1 — A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.
Character development requires honesty – accurate measurements of what you really are compared with who God is and what God would have you be. When you truly see yourself measured against God’s standard, you will be totally humbled. Only from that position of humility can you ever hope to acquire wisdom. When you become prideful, you are showing that you are losing your perspective, and you are dishonoring your Father (Proverbs 11:1, 2). When you clearly see God as your Lord and Savior (Fear of the Lord), you seek after, listen to, and follow His commands; and His instruction guides you along the straight and narrow path. However, if your scales are “dishonest” you place too much weight in who you think you are; you begin to trust in, focus on, honor, and serve yourself. In essence, you put yourself above God (the first form of idolatry). This is wickedness and leads to destruction (Proverbs 11:3-6). When you are self-centered, all your energies are directed toward building your own kingdom on earth rather than serving the Kingdom of God – this is pure futility (Proverbs 11:4,7). When God becomes “small” in your perspective, and you put my hope and trust in yourself, you become your own protector. Therefore, everyone around you becomes a threat. Not only do they become a threat, but as your self-righteousness perspective replaces the truth of righteousness through Christ alone, everyone else becomes “wrong” and less righteous than you. From this perspective, you will tear others down rather than build them up. If everyone has this self-centered, self-righteous perspective, nations cannot stand. However, with a Christ-centered perspective, not only are you blessed, but you become a blessing to others. When more and more people surrender to the Lord, nations are blessed (Proverbs 11:9-14).
“What is in my heart?” Do I really love God with all my heart, soul, and strength? The pre-resurrection Peter answer is “Yes, absolutely!” But the honest-scale, post-resurrection Peter, answer is, “I wish I could say I am wholehearted, but I am not; Lord help me!” But righteousness (being right with God and being “clean” in His sight (2 Sam 22:25)) comes through faith in Christ and Christians (righteous — having been cleansed by the blood of Christ and covered with his righteousness in the sight of God) live by their faith and offer their bodies (as best as they can) as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13). Having been made righteous, the Christian pursues (endlessly) righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness and is blessed (1 Timothy 6:11; Matthew 5:6). The evidence (what sits on my scales) of my faith is revealed in my obedience to God and my love for others (shown in how I treat them). By honoring the Great Commandment (Love God and others unconditionally) from a genuine heart (it is impossible to love otherwise), I will grow “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” and will be further blessed (Luke 2:52; Proverbs 11:16:31). As I grow in wisdom and love, I will make disciples (Proverbs 11:30), and I will “teach them to obey everything that [God] has commanded” (Matthew 28:20).
How incredible is it that the Almighty God, Creator of everything loves each of us personally and perfectly! How can we even comprehend such a thing? How should that truth impact your outlook on life? Rejoice in the Good News, and tell everyone!
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 December 2022: Think only positive and uplifting thoughts today, and trust to Lord to fulfill His purposes for you and through you and you joyfully and boldly share the Gospel with everyone around you.