Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 9 February 2023:
Ezra 2:2 – They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.
Joshua, the high priest, was the religious leader of the return from exile. However, God also required and prepared a large number of priests to serve His people. (Ezra 2:36-39) You never know what God might be preparing for you to do, but it will likely not be what you planned. (see Hag 1:1; Zech 3)
Ezra 2:64-67 – The whole assembly together was 42,360, besides their male and female servants, of whom there were 7,337, and they had 200 male and female singers. Their horses were 736, their mules were 245, 67 their camels were 435, and their donkeys were 6,720.
God’s congregants kept full accountability of their people and property. Does your church? Ezra records the travelers down to the individual. Does your church keep track of every individual and care for them equally? Will they know who does and doesn’t show up for church on Sunday? This sort of accountability is not easy; it must be intentional.
Acts 1:2 — …until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.
Christians received commands from Jesus daily through the Holy Spirit. Can you hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to you today?
Acts 1:4 — And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father….
One of the hardest things to do is wait on the Lord and on His promises. Abram couldn’t wait for God to provide the son He promised, and we are still feeling the pain of Abraham’s sin. Jacob couldn’t wait for the inheritance promised by God, and we are still feeling the pain of his sin today. Be very careful not to get ahead of God. Wait on Him to provide in His timing. Until then, focus on being faithful with what God has provided.
Acts 1:7 — He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.”
How many times on a long car ride will the little kids say, “Are we there yet? When will we be there?” When they get more mature, they learn to wait patiently and make the most of the time. We spend too much time worrying about when God is going to do what He is going to do. The Bible is clear, the past is gone, and there is no sense mourning what could have been; the future is not in our control, and though we can plan to be prepared, we should not worry about it. The only thing we can influence is today. Today is where we must be faithful and make the most of every opportunity. Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow but make the most of today. Constantly speculating about the future can be a form of escapism, distracting you from the thing right in front of you. Faith is trusting God enough to obey Him today. Hope is trusting Him with the future. Walk in faith and hope. Obey today, and trust God with the future.
Acts 1:8 — …you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses….
Do you want more Holy Spirit? Then be a witness and understand that power is not about you or for you — it is about God, empowering you to make disciples.
Acts 1:11 — Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.
What are you staring at? Start serving God. Jesus will return on God’s timing. Be ready today, and be faithful with today.
Acts 1:16 — Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David.
The Bible is God’s word provided through Spirit-filled men.
Acts 1:24, 25 — And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”
Only God knows the true heart of a person. Knowing a person’s heart is beyond our capability, but certainly not beyond God’s capability. God can reveal another person’s heart to us. How often do we ask God to do only what God can do when we are dealing with others? And what do we do when God doesn’t reveal? For example, suppose we are choosing between two options. Which to choose? First, you must obey the moral will of God as it is revealed in Scripture. If Scripture prohibits one option, the decision is easy. Similarly, if one of the options in your choice causes you to neglect something God specifically commands you to do, you are required to make the choice that will allow you to fulfill your biblical obligation. We must also immediately go to the Lord in prayer. If there is no clear answer and there is time to wait, then wait – don’t rush an important decision. What if still no answer? Then, using God’s word (revelation we already have), we should dig deeper to determine which option best conforms to God’s commands and direction. If the options are equally Biblically supportable, we should then go with our wisdom or preference, seeking guidance from other wise counsellors. (Proverbs 15:22) If still undecided, then use any method, flip a coin – God will honor your efforts to conform to His will and to choose with discretion. And if you still choose poorly, God will instruct you and guide you through the error.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 February 2023: Resolve not to worry about the past or the future but rather to simply be faithful with every decision and action today, making the most of every opportunity to draw others closer to Jesus in some way.