Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 31 December 2022:
1 Chronicles 26:5-14 — … for God blessed him. … for they were men of great ability. … whose brothers were able men. … able men qualified for the service. … a shrewd counselor….
God blesses His faithful servants with great abilities and wisdom for the service of others. God expects His servants to be excellent in what He has enabled and called them to do, to be fruitful and dominate their profession. Christians should never be satisfied with anything other than personal and professional excellence for God’s glory and for the benefit of others.
Today’s readings also point out that “In the fortieth year of David’s reign search was made and men of great ability among them…. to have the oversight… for everything pertaining to God and for the affairs of the king.” (1 Chronicles 26:31-32) Not only are Christians to be trustworthy and excellent in their responsibilities, they are to seek out excellence from others. Contrary to some popular teachings, God’s standards are exceptionally high because, no matter what you are doing, He has called you to do it for God Himself – “for everything pertaining to God.”
Personal and professional excellence is first and foremost about your true character (what God sees in you no one else can see in you; who you really are, and what you think, feel, and do when no one is looking); and then, it is about your relationships and reputation and competency (the quality of your relationships, how you are viewed by others, and what you are actually contributing to the world around you). Character, reputation, and competency (skill) all matter to God. Consider what the Bible says about Jesus: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) You can’t deceive God about who you are, and as the old adage says, “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Over time, the roots of our relationship with Christ will bear fruit (good or bad) in your relationships with others in you labors. David directed a search be conducted throughout the land for people of great ability to oversee the affairs of the nation in accordance with God’s will. If a similar search were conducted today, would you be discovered and selected? Why? What would your family, pastor, employer, neighbor, doctor, followers, and acquaintances say about you? More importantly, what does God know about you? “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called….” (Ephesians 4:1)
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 — So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
- Matthew 5:16 — In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
- 1 Corinthians 6:20 — For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
- 1 Peter 1:14-15 — As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct….
- Colossians 3:17 — And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
- 1 Peter 4:11 — Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
- Colossians 3:23 — Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…
- Revelation 1:6 — And made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
- Philippians 4:13 — I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Psalm 149:1 — Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands….
Today is a wonderful day for us to praise the LORD and Sing to the LORD a new song –
- Revelation 5:9, 10 — And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
Once a year we celebrate Christmas, but every day is a wonderful day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, or LORD and Savior. Every day, as if it were your first time (a new song), praise the Lord loudly and proudly and celebrate the Good News that God demonstrated His unimaginable love for us by sending His One and Only Son into our broken world in the humblest conditions, despite our utter sinfulness and depravity, to live the righteous life we could not live to give His very life to pay for the sins of those who would accept His gracious gift of salvation through faith in Him, enabling us to now live as New Creations being conformed increasingly every day to the character, likeness, and image of Jesus Christ.
- John 3:16-18 — “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
- Romans 5:8-11 — …but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Psalm 149:4 – For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.
The humble are saved. God’s people are humble.
Psalm 149:6 – Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands.
Both Hebrews 4:12 and Revelation 1:16 teach that the two-edged sword is the word of God: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) “…from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword.” (Revelation 1:16) Bible study, memorization, and application are essential to your relationship with God and your relationships with others. You cannot study and apply God’s word enough. Note from Hebrews 4:12 that the first place God’s word is applied is within your own heart.
Proverbs 31:1 — An oracle that his mother taught him…
A wise mother desperately wants her son to find a wise, godly wife. A wise mother carefully instructs her children on God’s plan for marriage.
Proverbs 31:6-7 – Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.
Various forms of escapism are for the weak and not appropriate for a Christian who faces the responsibilities and opportunities God has set before them with courage and strength. Some turn to drink, others turn to food, still others turn to entertainment, and there are many other ways people seek to avoid responsibility. Christians seek wholehearted devotion, practicing the disciplines of discipleship.
Proverbs 31:8, 9 – Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Leaders stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Christians must be leaders; it isn’t an option.
Proverbs 31:11 – The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
All relationships are based on trust which is earned through love and faithfulness.
Proverbs 31:13-19 — People of noble character are hard workers, not people of leisure who live for pleasure.
Proverbs 31:20 – She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
People of character give to the needy.
Proverbs 31:23 – Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
A loving, godly couple make each other look good.
Proverbs 31:30 — Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Character is not the way you look, or what you say, or what you accomplish, or even how you act; character is what is in your heart, how much you walk in love for the LORD and for others.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 31 December 2022: Praise the Lord today and every day! Be truly amazed by His grace! Stand in awe of God and let your words and deeds reveal Him to others.