YEAR 2, WEEK 15, Day 2, Tuesday, 11 April 2023

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 11 April 2023:

Job 31:1 — I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?

You must decide and a to avoid temptation and sin. For example, reject TV shows and social media sites that glamorize or make light of what God abhors. If you allow yourself to be entertained by evil, you will have a hard time ever taking sin seriously enough again.

Job 31:4-40 – Does not he see my ways and number all my steps?

Job understood, in order to call Himself a follower of God, he had to actually follow God in obedience. Many call themselves Christians but don’t obey Jesus and grow as a disciple, a true follower of Jesus. Job sought with all of his heart and effort to walk with God on earth, and he viewed how he treated others as the evidence of his love for God. No doubt, something will keep you busy today. You will do what everyone else is doing, what you want to do, or what God wants you to do. The world will say, “Don’t just stand there, do something!” Perhaps God is saying, “Don’t just do something, stand there!” Prayerfully wait for God’s lead. Keep your eyes open to see where He is at work around you and be apart of His business. This was Jesus’s approach — “So Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I am working…. Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise’…. ‘I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me’…. So Jesus said to them, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me’…. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.’” (John 5:19, 30; 8:28; 12:49)

How do you know where God is at work and how you should invest your time, energy, and effort? Daily study of God’s word will help you filter what matters from what doesn’t matter; what is profitable for the Kingdom from what is unprofitable; what is right to do from what is wrong to do; and what is God’s priority versus everyone else’s priorities. The Holy Spirit will convict you from God’s word at the moment; be faithful with the moment. There is just enough time today to do exactly what God wants you to do. There is not enough time today to do what everyone else wants you to do.

Job 31:7-10 — …If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door, then let my wife grind for another….

Job expected God to treat him the way he treated others – “For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38) We see this pattern in God’s response to people throughout the Bible. For example, Pharaoh commanded the midwives to kill the Israelite baby boys, and God responded with a similar plague. There are only two recorded stoning incidents recorded in the New Testament, the stoning of Stephen and the stoning of Paul who incited the stoning of Stephen. There are many, many other examples.

Job 31:16-34 — If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail….

Again, Job gives us a model for how we should live our lives.

Job 31:29, 30 — If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook him (I have not let my mouth sin by asking for his life with a curse)….

God has always expected His people to love their enemies.

Job 31:32 – …the sojourner has not lodged in the street; I have opened my doors to the traveler….

God expects your door to be open to traveling strangers.

Mark 16:1 — When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.

The twelve disciples played lead, visible roles in Jesus’ ministry, but it was others behind the scenes, unlikely protagonists, who stayed faithful to the end, remaining with Jesus. It was Joseph of Arimathea (unmentioned prior to Jesus’ death) who “went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body,” no doubt at great personal risk and definitely at great personal cost. Also, John records that Nicodemus claimed Jesus’ body with Joseph, again at great personal risk. While many watched Jesus’ trial from a distance (spectator believers), the Bible says that the two named Mary, as well as Salome, “cared for [Jesus’] needs in Galilee.” These same three chose to anoint Jesus’ body while the disciples remained in hiding (John 20:19), and because of their quiet faithfulness, these women were the first to be given the Good News – “He has risen!” Because of their faith, they saw the power of God in ways others didn’t, and they could proclaim what others couldn’t. On the frontlines of faith, they became leaders in the faith.

Someone once said, “Leaders know the way and show the way.” Jesus said, I am the Way.” So, the real leader is the one closest to Jesus who can lead others to Jesus. At one point the twelve disciples were very enthusiastic about their leadership roles within the Kingdom, even arguing about which among them would be the greatest, but now they remained in fear behind closed doors. Of course, we know that this isn’t the end of the story for them, and after a personal encounter with the Risen Christ (and a rebuke by Him for their unbelief), they will be transformed into men of valor.

Often those most enthusiastic and vocal about leading are not ready for the reality of the cross and the personal costs of worshipful, sacrificial leadership. It takes faith to lead at all costs, trusting that the real victory, eternal life, and immeasurable riches are gained in Christ alone. You must be ready to deny self, take up your cross daily, and follow Jesus unconditionally. Many pursue leadership from a position of pride, but Jesus said true leadership is lowly, costing everything for the sake of the Gospel. The two women named Mary, Salome, Joseph and Nicodemus were focused on one thing – humbly serving Jesus despite the personal cost. They served quietly, behind the scenes and modeled the humble, servant leadership which Jesus taught — something for aspiring leaders to consider carefully today. Are you a leader? Where exactly are you leading those who might be following? “Whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Luke 11:23)

  • Mark 16:15, 16 — “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”

Leader, Jesus has given you your marching orders and shown you what leadership looks like. Are you the one so close to Jesus that you can’t help but proclaim, “He has risen!” Jesus commanded His disciples to proclaim the Gospel, not just to a select few or to those who were likely to accept it, but to the “whole creation.” The Christian’s responsibility is to boldly proclaim the Gospel to everyone as an ambassador of Christ in a hostile land; how others respond to the Gospel is their responsibility. So, as a leader, from whom have you elected to withhold the Gospel, and why? Where is your leadership on the other side of the cross?

Mark 16:7 – But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.

“Does God give second chances to those who have failed Him? He certainly did so for Peter. Peter had proudly announced that he was Jesus’ most reliable disciple (Matt. 26:33). Yet Peter not only fled with the other disciples in the moment of crisis, but also blatantly denied he even knew Jesus (Matt. 26:69-75). Peter failed so miserably that he went out into the night and wept bitterly (Luke 22:62).

How compassionate the risen Christ was to Peter! The angel gave the women at the tomb special instructions to let Peter know that He was risen. Jesus took Peter aside to allow him the opportunity to reaffirm his love and commitment (John 21:15-17). The risen Lord also chose Peter as His primary spokesman on the day of Pentecost, when three thousand people were added to the church.

God’s desire is to take you from where you are and bring you to where He wants you to be. When He found His defeated followers hiding together in an upper room, Jesus’ first word was “peace” (John 20:19). Jesus’ first words to you after you fail may also be “peace.” Jesus will find you in despair and bring you peace. Then, He will reorient you to Himself so that you can believe Him and follow Him. Don’t give up if you have failed your Lord. Remember what happened to Peter. God has not yet finished developing you as a disciple.” (Henry T. Blackaby)

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 April 2023: “You will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16) Consider the fruitfulness of your leadership today as an ambassador for Christ entrusted with the message and ministry of reconciliation. Are you being used by God to reconcile others to Him?

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