YEAR 2, WEEK 20, Day 6, Saturday, 20 May 2023

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 20 May 2023:

Isaiah 12:3-6 — With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

Genuine worship starts with confession and repentance, then joyous gratitude for salvation and total reliance on God. Those who know God naturally worship Him and eagerly proclaim His Name to all. Those who are challenged proclaiming Jesus have a relationship problem.

Isaiah 13:11 — I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.

God will judge the world at a time when people remain arrogant, prideful, and blind. Like Sodom and Gomorrah (v19), the world won’t see it coming. Even those who claim to be religious will be surprised in judgment.

Isaiah 13:6-20 – Their infants will be dashed in pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished (v. 16).

God expresses His anger in concrete ways to punish sin. Many churches have stopped preaching this message for a much more popular god that is only love, mercy, and peace, not justice, a god that accepts anything and everything. God is a God of mercy and grace but also justice, which is required of a truly loving God. Imagine just one day on earth where there was absolutely no justice – it would be hell on earth. Growing closer to God results in becoming more, not less, passionate about justice and righteousness, while also growing more passionate about grace and mercy through Jesus. Good leaders struggle with how to administer justice combined with appropriate levels of mercy and grace. Justice is giving people what they deserve. Mercy is not giving people what they deserve, and grace is giving people good they don’t deserve. Only God can rightly administer justice, mercy, and grace.

  • Zephaniah 3:5 — The Lord within her is righteous; he does no injustice; every morning he shows forth his justice; each dawn he does not fail; but the unjust knows no shame.
  • Matthew 5:43-45 — “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
  • 1 Peter 2:19 — For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.

Isaiah 13:17 – Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them, who have no regard for silver and do not delight in gold.

A people who are motivated by materialism and earthly gain are no match for those who are inspired by purpose and vision. Napoleon said, “There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.”

Gold and silver are meaningless on the day of Judgment.

Psalm 58:3-6, 10 — Even from birth the wicked go astray, from the womb they are wayward and speak lies. Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be…. Break the teeth in their mouths, O God…. The righteous will be glad when they are avenged.”

The Bible says that we are all born sinners, trapped in sin; in fact, dead in sin, powerless to escape sin and to have spiritual life. There is no human remedy to sin, and no amount of education or social engineering can solve our sin problem. Will power can’t overcome sin, nor can laws. Only God can free us from sin and give us spiritual life and salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. We can only be saved by faith in Jesus Christ, not by any human action and not through any other religion. None of us deserved salvation, but God gave it freely, while we were still sinners. So, isn’t it ironic that while living in a state of grace, totally reliant on God’s mercy, we demand justice be imparted on those who have offended us or hurt us? We proclaim mercy while demanding personal justice – how can this be? When we start to mistake righteous through Christ for self-righteousness, we have a serious problem. Key to love, faithfulness, forgiveness and compassion is having a right perspective on the condition from which we have been saved and the love we have received from the God who saves us.

- Luke 7:47 -- I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

- Proverbs 17:13, 14 - If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.  The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.

Proverbs 20:3 – It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.

Quarreling is an activity of fools.

Proverbs 20:4 – The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.

You don’t get something for nothing, and you are investing in twenty years from now right now – what will you have to show later for what you do today, not just in resources but in character and sanctification?

Proverbs 20:6 – Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?

There is nothing more valuable than a faithful person. Fidelity is a requirement to be loving.

Proverbs 20:7 – The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

Righteousness has a positive effect on the next generation. Your integrity affects your children more than you know.

Proverbs 20:9 — Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?

All have sinned, and no one can make their heart pure. Only Jesus can fix our impurity.

Proverbs 20:11 — Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.

How you act reveals the truth of your faith and your character. No one can truly know another person’s heart, but actions reveal much.

Proverbs 20:12 — “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.”

How foolish is it to trust your own perceptions rather than God who created and controls everything and sees all that you cannot see or understand?

Proverbs 20:16 – Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger, and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners.

God wants the wise to protect the foolish from their own actions. We all need someone in our lives who will be strong when we are weak and who will protect us from ourselves when we need it.

Proverbs 20:22 – “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.”

Never try to get even with those who offend you. Only God sees the whole picture to include motives, intent, mitigating circumstances, etc. Only God can respond justly, and God can respond far better than you can.

Proverbs 20:30 – Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.

If you lack self-control or self-discipline in an area of your life, God, your Loving Father, will apply external discipline. Ouch!

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 20 May 2023: Today, demonstrate your wisdom and faith by avoiding all quarrels. Worship and glorify your God who died for sinners by paying the price of forgiveness for those who mistreat you, trusting God to restore any losses you incur tenfold. Be at peace in persecution knowing your perfectly loving Almighty Father will reward your faithfulness eternally.

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