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DBRP – WEEK 51, Day 2, Tuesday, 18 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=nahum+1-3%3B+proverbs+18%3B+Revelation+14

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 18 December 18:

Note: Here is a short video overview of Nahum: https://youtu.be/Y30DanA5EhU

1. Nahum 1:2 — “The Lord is a jealous and avenging God.” Many act as if this statement only applies to the “Old Testament God.” However, James says, “Do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’”? (James 4:5) God does not change. It is important to understand that God’s jealousy is not the same as human jealousy which is condemned in Galatians 5:20. In human jealousy, people desire to selfishly protect what isn’t rightfully theirs at the expense of another. But God perfectly protects what is rightfully His to the benefit of all. God knows He is our life, and He intends for nothing to get between us and Him. Most people are sinfully jealous, but not always. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:2, “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” Note that Paul’s motive was the same as God’s, to let nothing get between others and God, rather than himself. In His righteous jealousy, God hates our idols, those things we allow to distract us from Him. God will tear down our idols, often in painful ways, for our good and His glory – “When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him (Psalm 39:11).

2. Nahum 1:3 — “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.” God is patient but will also hold all accountable. Through grace, we have forgiveness of our sins, but grace is not an excuse to continue in sin. With His children, God punishes but does not condemn. God’s discipline is intended to draw us closer to Him, not further away, that we would truly know Him in unity and have the abundance of life. Be thankful for God’s discipline.

– Psalm 118:18 — The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.

– Proverbs 3:11 — My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof,

– Proverbs 6:23 — For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,

– Proverbs 12:1 — Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

– Proverbs 13:24 — Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

– Proverbs 19:18 — Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.

– Proverbs 22:15 — Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

– 1 Corinthians 11:32 — But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

– Hebrews 12:6-11 — For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

3. Nahum 1:7, 8 – “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness.”

– Jesus is no better friend but no worse enemy.

– The subject of Nahum’s prophecy is the approaching complete and final destruction of Nineveh, the capital of the great and at that time flourishing Assyrian empire. Nineveh was a city of vast extent, and was then the center of the civilization and commerce of the world, a “bloody city all full of lies and robbery” (Nahum 3:1), for it had robbed and plundered all the neighboring nations. It was strongly fortified on every side, bidding defiance to every enemy. Massive walls were eight miles in circumference. It had a water aqueduct, palaces and a library with 20,000 clay tablets, including accounts of a creation in Enuma Elish and a flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

– We just read about Nineveh in Jonah when God, in His mercy and grace, offers Nineveh a chance to repent and spares Nineveh from His wrath, much to the dismay of Jonah who had witnessed first-hand the evils of the Assyrian Empire. In Jonah we see that God is “slow to anger.” (Nahum 1:3). Yet, after their repentance and God’s forgiveness, Nineveh returns to its wicked ways, defying the mercy, grace, sovereignty, and holiness of God. Spiritually, they become adulterous, and now in Nahum God will reveal His wrath, something that isn’t talked much about anymore. (Nahum 3:4) Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Nineveh is about to learn this the hard way. In our forgiveness, we must be very cautious not to mock God and denigrate Jesus’s sacrifice for our sins by continuing in the sins for which we have been forgiven.

4. Nahum 1:15 — “Fulfill your vows.” God expects Christians to walk in complete integrity. Jesus said, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’. Most importantly, we must fulfill our vow to Him as His bride and walk in faithfulness and purity as His and His alone.

5. Nahum 2:3 – “The shield of his mighty men is red; his soldiers are clothed in scarlet. The chariots come with flashing metal on the day he musters them; the cypress spears are brandished.” Nineveh had great pride in their riches and military might, and Nineveh put their trust in their own abilities. All fell before God’s anger. You have faith in whatever you trust, depend, and rely. Where is your faith really?

6. Nahum 2:13 — “Behold, I am against you, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke….” The wicked may appear very powerful before God utterly destroys them. We cannot possibly comprehend how small mankind’s strength is before God. ‎

7. Nahum 3:18 — “Your shepherds are asleep, O king of Assyria; your nobles slumber.” Wicked nations have leaders who are oblivious to God’s looming wrath, judgment, and destruction. The Assyrians did not believe in The One True God, but they were held accountable by Him nonetheless. God is still God whether one believes in Him or not, and God will act according to His will, not according to the way others think He should act.

8. Proverbs 18:1 – “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” You were created for relationships, to love God and others. This is your purpose. Isolation is a product of selfishness, fear, and pride. It is a sign of spiritual immaturity. Life is about relationships, and we have been given the mission of reconciliation. One way people deal with disagreeable people is to avoid them; Christians cannot do that.

9. Proverbs 18:2 – “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” One of the most important habits of a reconciler is to seek first to understand before being understood. Whether the other person is right or wrong, the reconciler must truly understand what is behind their position. Why are they doing what they are doing? Only then is there hope to address the heart of the matter at hand. All relational problems are, at their core, spiritual problems, disunity with Jesus. The world hates those who are hateful. Christians see beyond the issues and seek to draw the hateful to Jesus in love.

10. Proverbs 18:10-12 — “The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale. Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”

– Nahum’s prophesy of Nineveh’s is particularly brutal, which is somewhat ironic since Nahum’s name means “The Lord comforts” or “comfort of the Lord.” However, God’s wrath would mean comfort to the victims of Nineveh – one of the reasons God hates sin is because it victimizes others. As you recall, Jonah warned Nineveh of God’s impending judgment, and they repented for a time. However, they soon returned to their evil ways. Jesus used Nineveh as an example to describe the destructiveness of returning to previously forgiven sin: “And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation (Matthew 12:45).” In fact, Nineveh had reached a place of no return: “Nothing can heal you; your wound is fatal (Nahum 3:19).” Nahum’s prophesy mirrors the verses from Proverbs above concerning the Lord’s mercy and judgment: “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness (Nahum 1:7, 8).” Nineveh rejected the Lord and placed its trust in its own power and great riches. Nineveh became a victimizing city (Nahum 3:1), destroying lives through its wickedness; God would tolerate it no longer: “’I am against you,’ declares the Lord Almighty (Nahum 2:13).” Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, is an example of how God preserves a nation through the influence of His people (Jonah in this case) and judges a nation after patient warnings. What can we learn from the story of Nineveh?

11. Proverbs 18 – Notice how much the Bible has to say about the words that come out of your mouth. Do your words project the character of Jesus? Your words will reveal whether you are selfish or selfless.

12. Revelation 14:1 — “Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.” God’s people are marked with the Father’s name. They are the property of the Father, and God does not surrender His property.

13. Revelation 14:4 — “It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” God’s people follow Jesus wherever He goes. Look and see — everyone in the Bible who was used mightily by God had to leave their planned course to go where God led them, an unplanned path with a destination that had not yet been revealed to them. This is the walk of faith. Without faith to walk into the unknown because God told you to, it is impossible to please God.

14. Revelation 14:4, 7, 12 — “It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes…. Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water…. Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” God’s sheep follow their Shepherd, Jesus, ‘wherever he goes,’ and glorify God, not simply by believing in Jesus but rather by believing AND keeping “the commandments of God” with saintly endurance, even unto death. This is genuine worship. True faith is obedient faith. We cannot obey both the Truth and unrighteousness. We are called to obey Christ “with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart,” and to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling.” Even our thought-life must be obedient. The fact that we fall down doesn’t give us an excuse not to get up.

– John 3:36 — Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

– Acts 5:29 — But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

– Acts 5:32 — And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

– Romans 2:8 — but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

– Romans 6:12 — Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.

– Romans 6:16 — Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

– 2 Corinthians 10:5 — We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

– Galatians 5:7 — You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

– Ephesians 6:1 — Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

– Ephesians 6:5 — Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,

– Philippians 2:12 — Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

– Colossians 3:20 — Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

– Colossians 3:22 — Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

– 2 Thessalonians 1:8 — in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

– 2 Thessalonians 3:14 — If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.

– Hebrews 5:9 — And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

– Hebrews 11:8 — By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

– 1 Peter 4:17 — For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

– 1 John 5:2 — By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.

15. Revelation 14:5 — “Their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.” Again, notice how much the Bible has to say about the words that come out of your mouth.

16. Revelation 14:6 — “Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.” All people will have a chance to hear the Gospel.

17. Revelation 14:7, 8 — “And he said with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.’ Another angel, a second, followed, saying, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.’”

– It is never too late to Fear the Lord and worship Him.

– Fearing God and giving Him glory involves controlling your passions and urges to sin and obeying Him rather than submitting to temptation.

18. Revelation 14:9, 10 — “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath.” Every person is either marked by the beast or by the Father. There is no middle ground. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Luke 11:23) “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16)

19. Revelation 14:12, 13 — “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!’” The Christian life requires endurance in obedience through suffering. Life is not about temporary comforts; it is about fidelity to Jesus. The lovingly obedient are blessed and find rest.

20. Revelation 14:12, 13 – “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!’” God’s people will patiently obey God’s commands and remain faithful to Jesus while the whole world turns to evil and persecutes them. Many will die for the Lord and will be called blessed.

21. Revelation 14:19 — “So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” In God’s time, He will separate His true followers from the wicked, including those who pretend to be Christians but really are not.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 18 Dec 18: Follow Jesus today wherever He goes. (Revelation 14:4)

DBRP – WEEK 51, Day 1, Monday, 17 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=Micah+6%2C+7%3B+proverbs+17%3B+Revelation+13

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 17 December 18:

1. Micah 6:6-8 – “’With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’ He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

– The Israelites were continually ignoring God’s commands, ceremonially asking for forgives without real repentance, and then expecting that God their religiosity would make up for their unloving hearts and disobedience. However, Micah points out what is reiterated in Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” – “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil (Micah 6:7)?” Religious ceremony has no value apart from a humble heart, genuine surrender, genuine commitment, and the fruit of repentance – “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23).” Jesus said “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks (John 4:23).” Worship and loving service go hand-in-hand — “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only (Luke 4:8).’” Paul said it this way: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1).” And James said it this way: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).” Our word “worship” comes from the Old English word “weorthscipe” which means worth + ship or worthiness. Our behavior reflects to the world what sort of honor we believe the Lord is “worth” in our eyes — “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).”

– From Henry T. Blackaby — God never conceals His expectations from us. We never have to guess how we should live. In response to the misguided ways in which people sought to please God, the prophet Micah clearly explained what God does and does not expect. The people asked: Should we come to God with many offerings? Should we bring a thousand rams and ten thousand rivers of oil? Would God be pleased if we gave our firstborn child to Him to express our devotion? (Mic. 6:6-7). Micah’s response was straightforward: “He has shown you, O man, what is good.” Micah listed three things God desires. First, He wants us to show justice. The desire to receive justice is not enough. We must also be absolutely just in the way we treat others. If we have given our word, we should keep it with complete integrity. If we have people working for us, we should treat them as fairly as Jesus would. We should act justly in every relationship. Second, we are to love mercy. The knowledge that we have received undeserved mercy from God should motivate us to show mercy to others. We must resist the temptation to retaliate against those who have wronged us, choosing to show them mercy instead. Finally, God requires us to walk humbly with Him. God does not ask us for spectacular acts of service—He asks for humility. At times we try to make the Christian life far more complicated than it is. We may hide behind questions about the Bible or uncertainty about the second coming of Christ. We can allow ourselves to become distracted in order to avoid confronting what God has clearly told us to do today. If we strive to be completely obedient in the basics, the more complex assignments will become clear.

2. Micah 6:14 — “You shall eat, but not be satisfied.” Sinners are never satisfied.

3. Micah 7:1, 3, 5, 7 — “Woe is me…! Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend. But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Micah laments over the conditions of a society that says, “Where is the Lord your God?” (Micah 7:10) The rich and powerful collude together to take advantage of the weak for their own personal gain, and neighbor cannot trust neighbor. Micah is overcome by woe as he considers God’s judgment on His people – “I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him.” (Micah 7:9) The psalmist once asked, “if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3) Micah’s response is to remain steadfast, obedient, and to trust in the Lord who “does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.” (Micah 7:18) “In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain.’” (Psalm 11:1) “The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29)

4. Micah 7:2 — “The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind.” God’s people are salt and light. Salt preserves and light prevents stumbling in the darkness. When there are not godly people around, the communities fall apart.

5. Micah 7:4 — “The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge.” The best of the ungodly are hurtful, despite their claims of goodness.

6. Micah 7:5 — “Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend.” The ungodly cannot be trusted no matter how close they are to you. Selfishness will eventually prevail where God isn’t honored as Lord.

7. Micah 7:9 — “I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.” Though overcome with woe, Micah maintains hope in God’s forgiveness and restoration. Only Jesus can give you mercy and grace from a position of complete righteousness and justice.

8. Micah 7:18-20 — “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.”

– We are passed over in judgment because we are marked with the blood of Jesus.

– God’s love, compassion, and forgiveness are models for us to follow. How are you doing?

9. Proverbs 17:3 – “The Lord tests hearts.” How has the Lord tested your heart?

10. Revelation 13:7-10 — “Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.” Popular interpretations of revelation say that the saints won’t suffer persecution. For a time, the saints are conquered by the beast and will require patient endurance. Revelation warns the saints to grow in endurance through persecution in order to be ready for greater persecutions and greater opportunities to glorify Him.

11. Revelation 13:8 – “…and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” Only God’s people oppose satanic systems. Are you opposing the satanic system or relying on it?

12. Revelation 13:16, 17 – “Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.” Satan’s ungodly system involves control of commerce. To trade, people will have to endorse sin. Most people will tell themselves they are still godly.

13. Revelation 13:18 — “This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” There are many theories about what the number 666 really means. Don’t worry too much about it.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 Dec 18: Give thanks to God for the grace that you have received through Jesus, and show your gratitude and love for Him by obeying Him regardless the personal cost. (see today’s readings)

DBRP – WEEK 50, Day 7, Sunday, 16 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=micah+4%2C+5%3B+pro+16%3B+psalm+146

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 16 December 18:

1. Micah 4:1-5 — “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide disputes for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever. For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.” In the latter days, God governs the world but still gives people a choice as to whether or not they will follow Him. God’s people are those who are committed to serving and obeying only Him while everyone else chases after self-interest.

2. Micah 4:13 – “Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hoofs bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples; and shall devote their gain to the Lord, their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.” Our strength does not relay on military, economic, or political might. Our strength is in God and the power of the Gospel – “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

3. Micah 5:7, 8 – “Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the children of man. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver. Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off.” God has spread His people amongst the nations to infiltrate their worldly systems, subverting the powers of evil, and tearing down spiritual strongholds with spiritual weapons. Christians operate “behind enemy lines” to seize territory in the Name of the Lord, not by military might but by the power of God through the Gospel and transformed lives committed to living for Him as King. “Be fruitful, multiply and subdue the earth.” God has called His priests and Ambassadors to be united in purpose, across the globe as a Kingdom among the kingdoms of men, conducting ‘distributed operations’ with unity of effort and unity of action, making disciples from among the nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey God, all under the authority and power of Jesus Christ. All of Christianity should see themselves as a ‘people’ on a mission for the King, working in unison to prepare the way for the return of the King and His physical reign on earth. Of course, His people will never be fully united and the Kingdom will not be fully established on earth until, “then…. In that day” when Jesus returns, but blessed are those who the King finds doing His will when He does return, those diligently working towards “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” So why don’t Christians today feel connected to a powerful, global Kingdom that is advancing God’s Kingdom, one heart at a time across the planet, tearing down evil strongholds, usurping evil empires, and defeating their adversaries? Perhaps, in part because the church has trusted in the strength and protection of the earthly kingdoms in which they live (confused Ambassadors); because the ‘priests’ of God’s Kingdom have ‘bowed down to the works of their own hands’ and have been consumed by the ‘worries of the world.’ We don’t see ourselves as, first and foremost, Kingdom People. We do not see ourselves as truly ‘on mission’ day-by-day to “be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth.” We are not united as a Kingdom as ‘stones of the Temple.’ Too often we see our faith as a means to achieve the ‘American dream’ rather than a call to serve the Master at all costs. God is at work, accomplishing His plan, with or without you. Are you part of our generation’s Gideon’s army, or did you skip the fight to go back to the comfort of your house? “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17; spoken by Jesus not to the ‘unchurched,’ but to those who claimed to be God’s people).

4. Micah 5 — In Micah the Lord challenges His people who are being punished and exiled: “Why do you now cry aloud— have you no king? Has your counselor perished, that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor?” (Micah 4:9) As the Magi understood, the King of kings is Jesus, born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6). “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord (Micah 5:4).” Until Christ’s return, His ambassadors, His kingdom of priests, will be “in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for man or linger for mankind (Micah 5:7).” The Kingdom People “will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue (Micah 5:8).” This is not a passive, weak, compromised church that has lost its saltiness and hides the light under a bowl – this is a bold church that powerfully proclaims the Gospel throughout the entire world, making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey ALL that the King commands (Matthew 28:19). This is not a church that surrenders to the enemy the institutions of influence such as media, schools, arts, government, etc. but rather dominates them in order to “tear down all your strongholds (Micah 5:11).” Again, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds (stated in 2 Corinthians 10:4).” God’s people are a Kingdom among kingdoms, and they serve the King of kings. They “do not put [their] trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save (Psalm 146:3).” God’s people “seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness.” Kingdom People: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28).” Your King is king – “The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations Praise the Lord (Psalm 146:10).” It is time for the Church to come out from the caves and face the enemy.

— “Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few (1 Samuel 14:6).’”

5. Proverbs 16:1, 2 — “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.”

– When you humbly study God’s word. The Holy Spirit will challenge you by revealing to you the difference between what you are doing and what He wants you to do and by revealing the truth of your heart, showing to you the difference between how He sees you and how you have seen yourself.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — How quick we are to question the motives of others, yet we are so slow to question our own! When others harm us, we may assume the worst of intentions. When we are guilty, we often excuse our offenses, concluding that others are far too sensitive! Regardless of how we monitor our motives, God weighs them in His scales of righteousness. It is futile to try to deceive God with our pious justifications, for He sees our hearts. Is it possible to do the right thing for the wrong reason? Of course! You can attend worship services with a heart that is far from worshipful (Isa. 1:10-17). Could you show concern for the poor and yet have a heart that is opposed to God? Judas did (John 12:4-8). Could you make bold statements of love for Christ and actually be aiding the work of Satan? Peter did (Matt. 16:21-23). Could you offer sacrifices to God and be in total disobedience to Him? King Saul did (1 Sam. 13:8-9). Could you pray with the wrong motives? James said you can (James 4:3). Many things cause us to do what we do. We can be motivated by good things, such as love for God, compassion, generosity, and faith. Or our actions can come from unhealthy motives such as pride, insecurity, ambition, lust, greed, guilt, anger, fear, and hurt. It is even possible to do the best things based on the worst motives. When the Lord measures our motives He looks for one thing: love. All that we do should proceed from our love for God and for others (1 Cor. 13). Take time to look past your actions to what lies behind them. Ask God to show you what He sees when He examines your motives.

6. Proverbs 16:3 — “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” God’s plan accounts for human nature and free choice. No one’s choices or actions can change God’s plan. God brings all things together for His ultimate good. Even evil people who attempt to rebel against God are a part of His plan.

7. Proverbs 16:9 — “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Though people may choose to reject God and go their own way, God is still in control of their lives.

8. Proverbs 16:20 — “Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” When you are willing to study God’s word and walk in it in trust to God, you will be blessed.

9. Proverbs 16:25 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” From Henry T. Blackaby — Things are not always what they seem. Proverbs warns that we can be deceived into believing we are going down the right path and yet be heading toward death, the opposite direction from God’s will. People do not naturally seek God or pursue righteousness (Rom. 3:10-18). Only as the Spirit awakens our hearts to the Person of Christ are we able to desire God’s will. If we make decisions apart from the guidance of the Spirit of God, we will be like a ship trying to sail without a compass. We will do what makes the most sense, based on our own wisdom. But what looks attractive may actually lead to sin, ultimately destroying what is precious to us, for our most profound human thinking is mere foolishness to God (1 Cor. 1:18-20). Only God knows the way that leads to life, and He wants to lead us to walk in it (Matt. 7:13-14). Don’t assume every opportunity that arises is from God. Satan will disguise himself as an “angel of light,” and his invitations will seem to be in your best interest (2 Cor. 11:14). Yet his way leads only to death (John 8:44). The word of God will be like a light to your path, guiding you in the ways of righteousness (Ps. 119:105). It can be perilous to follow a path that seems right without first consulting the Holy Spirit for guidance (John 16:13). Take time to seek the Holy Spirit’s direction when you face decisions. He knows the full ramifications of your choices. The Holy Spirit will assist you to understand truth and to experience abundant life. Trust Him as He leads you.

10. Psalm 146:3 – “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.”

– There is no hope in the world’s political systems and politicians. While everyone else is lifting up politicians and political platforms, lift up only Jesus Christ and the Gospel.

– Micah 4 proclaims that there shall not be peace and security on earth until the nations submit to the Lord and “walk in his paths.” Though “all the peoples walk each in the name of its god,” Christians proclaim that salvation comes only through Christ in accordance with God’s will, mercy, and grace. Until the world accepts that truth, the world will “assemble” against God’s people because, “they do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan.” (Micah 4:12) Until Christ returns to reign on earth, “the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord…. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples (Micah 5:7, 8).” God’s loyal subjects currently serve as “ambassadors” of God’s Kingdom to the kingdoms of the world where God’s people live as foreigners or strangers. Are you a loyal subject in the Kingdom of God?

11. Psalm 146:5 – “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” Let’s campaign for Jesus during the next election cycle.

12. Psalm 146:7-9 — “[God] who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.”

– Only God can rightly balance justice and mercy to defend victims and no how/when to forgive victimizers. God’s ways always protect the weak and defenseless.

– This is a theme in today’s readings. Jesus said we must worship both in spirit and in truth. True worship is living righteously. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” You don’t love and worship Jesus in truth if you are not obeying Him.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 16 Dec 18: Worship the Lord on this Sunday by living righteously, obeying Him, and proclaiming Him as the only Way, Truth, and Life. Reveal the character of Jesus to others today by your actions, but don’t let people praise you for your good works but rather your Father in Heaven and His One and Only Son, Jesus. (See today’s readings)

DBRP – WEEK 50, Day 6, Saturday, 15 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=micah+1-3%3B+pro+15%3B+psalm+145

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 15 December 18:

Note: Here is a short video overview of the book of Micah: https://youtu.be/MFEUEcylwLc

1. Micah 1:2 – “Pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it, and let the Lord God be a witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.” God is calling out to the whole world, to anyone who will pay attention.

2. Micah 1:8 – “For this I will lament and wail.” Neither God nor God’s people want to see anyone condemned. However, God gives everyone freedom to choose.

3. Micah 2:1, 2 – “Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil on their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them away; they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.” Powerful money handlers place the poor in debt to them and then foreclose on their properties, leaving them with nothing. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

4. Micah 2:6-7, 11; 3:5 – “’Do not preach,—thus they preach— ‘one should not preach of such things;
disgrace will not overtake us.’ Should this be said, O house of Jacob? Has the Lord grown impatient? Are these his deeds?… If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, ‘I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,’
he would be the preacher for this people!… Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry ‘Peace’ when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths.”

– Most people don’t want to hear the truth, and they surround themselves with people who will tell them what they want to hear.

– The congregation tried to pick the sermon topics in order to only hear what interested them rather than what they needed to hear from God. False preachers provide false security.

– “Thus says the Lord the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry ‘Peace’ when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths.” Many people turn the Gospel into a money-making venture, preaching what is profitable to them rather than what is profitable for the soul. Too many preachers are talented motivational speakers who turn the Bible into a self-help book that promises a better life on earth.

5. Micah 2:8 – “But lately my people have risen up as an enemy; you strip the rich robe from those who pass by trustingly.”

– When we don’t treat people the way God wants us to, we become God’s enemies.

– Micah had a message that God’s people didn’t want to hear – the Lord was preparing to punish his people because of their sin – disaster was coming! They had compromised their holiness to the world around them and were now part of the problem in God’s eyes. They had been infected by society, and now there was no cure (Micah 1:9). Meanwhile, the “preachers” and “pastors” were failing to address the sin but were rather preaching a “positive, more uplifting message.” But in the face of criticism from the “church” Micah responds: “Do not my words do good to the one whose ways are upright…. Should you not embrace justice, you who hate good and love evil; (Micah 2:7; 3:2)?” More importantly, God responds: “As for the prophets who lead my people astray, they proclaim ‘peace’ if they have something to eat…. Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness…. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them…. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God (Micah 3:5-7).” Micah, however, stood out as holy among the “preachers” because he was “filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin (Micah 3:8).” Today’s readings from Psalms talk about exalting and praising the Lord before the world. An important part of that proclamation is God’s demand for righteousness, justice and obedience to His commands as Lord of all – this call to obedience reveals the need for God’s mercy, grace, and salvation through Jesus. However, we don’t talk much of sin anymore – let me know if you hear the word in church today. More and more the church is failing to serve as the conscience of the nation, and it shows. As the Bible says, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Tim 4:3).” Perhaps this is a good time to “weep and wail,” to “go about barefoot and naked,” to “howl like a jackal,” and to “moan like an owl (Micah 1:8).”

6. Micah 3:4 – “Then they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil.” A person’s sins can cause their prayers to be rejected.

7. Micah 3:7 – “There is no answer from God.” Sin prevents you from hearing God.

8. Micah 3:8 – “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.” The powerful one is the one filled with the Holy Spirit because of their fidelity to God. Micah’s message was not his own but came from the Holy Spirit which had filled Him.

9. Micah 3:11, 12 — “Its heads give judgment for a bribe; its priests teach for a price; its prophets practice divination for money; yet they lean on the Lord and say, ‘Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.’ Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.’”

– Today we have career politicians and career preachers who make tremendous amounts of money and who are worth tens of millions of dollars.

– God says that national destruction is precipitated by BOTH corrupt political leaders and corrupt spiritual leaders. Concerning corrupt politicians, God says they are driven by personal gain. Question: At the national level, are you familiar with any poor politicians? But politicians today are an easy target. So, what about our Nation’s spiritual leaders? In Micah, God condemns spiritual leaders who “teach for a price” and who “lead my people astray” by declaring ‘Peace’ (with God) when there is really enmity between God and the people due to their sin. Of these religious leaders, God says, “Therefore it shall be night for you, without vision…. for there is no answer from God.” They might be popular, but they are powerless, void of true spiritual vision and revelation or the Power of the Holy Spirit. In contrast, Micah could boldly proclaim, “But as for me, I am filled with the power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. Faithful Old Testament religious leaders, preachers, and prophets delivered the same ‘message’ as John the Baptist and Jesus – “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance…. repent and believe in the gospel…. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance…. unless you repent, you will all likewise perish…. there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance…. go, and from now on sin no more.” Sermons on sin, humility, repentance, submission, surrender, selflessness, sacrifice, and suffering don’t sell well. Therefore, you won’t hear many sermons on the ‘s’-word (sin) or repentance. Most sermons in the popular churches today preach some form of self-actualization, self-help, or personal success model using Bible verses as validation. For example, looking at the website of one of our Nation’s most popular preachers what first popped up was a pre-selected opportunity to receive his latest sermon series and to “invest in his ministry” for $125.00 – “Are you ready to enjoy your life more? Let this motivating message give you the spiritual tools to know exactly what you should let go of and how to let it go so you can walk in joy and reach your full potential in a relaxed way….” How much did Jesus charge people to hear the word of God? Jesus warned, “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark.” (Matthew 24:37, 38) The ‘church’ had lost all sensitivity to the spiritual reality around them, were completely blind to the truth of God’s pending judgment, and preached ‘Peace’ when there was no peace. But Noah stood out as different – “He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness.” (2 Peter 2:5) Noah, one of eight to get on the ark, was a ‘herald of righteousness’ who ‘walked with God’ and dedicated his whole life to serving God. Who are our heralds of righteousness today who are walking with God and proclaiming the Truth of the Gospel? Are you one of them?

10. Proverbs 15:1 – “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Emotional intelligence is popular topic today which many believe is the primary predictor of a person’s success. Emotional intelligence is basically a person’s ability to control their emotions and the emotions of others. The Bible tells you what you need to know on the matter.

11. Proverbs 15:1, 18 — “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Do your words bring peace or escalate strife?

12. Proverbs 15:4 — “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Do your words bring healing or pain?

13. Proverbs 15:7 — “The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.” Do your words instruct or distract?

14. Proverbs 15:8 — “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.” Don’t ask for things from God while you knowingly continue to disrespect Him in sin.

15. Proverbs 15:10 – “There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.” Discipline is pain delivered in love designed to protect you from destruction.

16. Proverbs 15:13 — “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.” Do your words lift people up or tear them down?

17. Proverbs 15:14 — “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.” Do you talk when you should be listening and learning?

18. Proverbs 15:23 — “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” Do you know when to speak and when to be silent? Do you have a good, constructive sense of timing when providing advice to others?

19. Proverbs 15:24, 29 – “The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath…. The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” Sanctification is a life journey that will naturally make your worldly friendships grow distant.

20. Proverbs 15:26 — “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure.” Are your words gracious, always seeking the best for the other person rather than your own personal interests?

21. Proverbs 15:28 — “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Do you think before you speak?

22. Proverbs 15:31 — “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.” Do you receive correction well?

23. Psalm 145:4 – “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” We are called to pass our faith on to the next generation.

24. Psalm 145:18, 20 – “The Lord is near to all who call on him…. The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.”

– This is a conditional statement. The Lord is not near to everyone, not even to everyone who calls on Him, only to those who call on Him in truth.

– You cannot approach God in falsehood and half-heartedness. God knows the difference between love and flattery.

25. Psalm 145:20 – “The Lord preserves all who love him.” Who does God save?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 Dec 18: Love God today in truth by loving all around you, walking in holiness, and declaring His mighty works. (See today’s readings)

DBRP – WEEK 50, Day 5, Friday, 14 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=jonah+3%2C+4%3B+proverbs+14%3B+Rev+12

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 14 December 18:

1. Jonah 3:1 – “Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time….” From Henry T. Blackaby — Jonah didn’t like the assignment God gave him. God directed him to leave his homeland and go to the enemy city of Nineveh, a hostile and evil center of idol worship. There Jonah was to warn the people of God’s impending judgment and urge them to repent. The Hebrews hated the people of Nineveh, so the rebellious prophet fled in the opposite direction, hoping for a different word from God that was more to his liking. Instead, God was determined that his word to Jonah would be obeyed (Isa. 55:11). He spoke to Jonah again. His second message was the same as the first. However, during the interval, Jonah had been buffeted by storms and had traveled in the stomach of a fish for three days. This time, he was prepared to hear God again and do His bidding. God also spoke to the prophet Jeremiah two times (Jer. 33:1-3). But Jeremiah accepted God’s word to him the first time. The second time God spoke to him was to give him a fuller revelation of what He had first told him. What God says to us next will depend on how we responded to His previous word to us. If, like Jonah, we disobeyed His earlier instructions, God will give them a second time. If we obeyed His first directive, as Jeremiah did, He will give us a fresh and deeper expression of His will (Matt. 25:23). If you have not received a fresh word from God, return to the last thing God told you and examine your obedience. Is the Lord still waiting for your obedience? Seek to be like Jeremiah, and properly respond to your Lord’s instructions the first time.

2. Jonah 3:5-9 — “And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.’”

– God wants all to come to repentance and wants none to perish. God is ready to forgive any who will humble themselves, repent, and have faith in His Son, Jesus.

– Leaders should lead the way in humility, repentance, and submission to God. The strongest and greatest leaders are the humblest before the Lord.

– Religious awakening stirred Nineveh when they believed God’s word, expressed sorrow openly, prayed, and changed their way of life. Jesus said it: “Repent, and sin no more.” Notice that Nineveh did not presumptuously take God’s mercy and grace for granted.

3. Jonah 3:10 – “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.” God changed His announced plans when Nineveh repented.

4. Jonah 4:1-4 — “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ And the Lord said, ‘Do you do well to be angry?’”

– We often want God to give mercy and grace to us but justice and judgment to those who offend us. Our unforgiveness and resentment hinder our relationship with God and puts our desires at odds with His desires. Unforgiveness and resentment are very powerful and self-destructive emotions that hurt us more than the object of our hate. We have no right to stand in the way of God’s mercy and grace for others. On the contrary, we are called by God to be His instruments of mercy and grace to those who might terribly hurt us.

– Jonah was so bitter he wanted to die because God had blessed Jonah’s enemies though they didn’t deserve His mercy and grace. Here again we see the pattern of how God works in our lives – while He is using His relationship with us to impact others for His glory, He is simultaneously working on us too. Jonah was being used by God to reach Nineveh, but God was also using Nineveh to address the anger, bitterness, and un-forgiveness in Jonah’s heart. Jonah’s resentment of Nineveh was standing in the way of Jonah’s relationship with God and robbing Jonah of his joy. Sure, from a worldly point of view, Jonah had a “right” to hate Nineveh, but from a spiritual point of view, Jonah depended on the grace of God just as much as anyone else, and Jonah, above all else, had been commanded by God to love and to be on the mission of reconciliation. Jonah should have been compelled by appreciation for the grace that he had received from God and by love to desire that same grace for others and to display that grace to others. However contrarily, it was Jonah’s personal knowledge and faith in God’s mercy and grace that inspired him to run from God – He knew that his enemies might receive from God the forgiveness he himself was not willing to give Nineveh. He was add odds with God, and it was tearing him apart. Who is God using today to test your heart and to reveal the ungodly attitudes you are holding on to, attitudes that are standing in the way of your relationship with God and robbing you of complete joy? “Do you do well to be angry?”

BTW: Notice in Jonah’s self-induced misery, God only intentionally increased his misery in order to drive Jonah to surrender. God did this not simply to “win” but to bring Jonah back to a right relationship with Him and to ultimately restore Jonah’s joy.

— Matthew 5:23-24 — So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

– Knowing God’s nature, we should become like Him.

5. Jonah 4:1-11 – Doing God’s work should not displease God’s people.

6. Jonah 4:10, 11 — “And the Lord said, ‘You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?’”

– Our human nature inclines us to care about all the wrong things and to be self-centered rather than selfless. We must strive to have the mind of Christ, to see all of our circumstances and relationships from God’s perspective rather than our own. Remember, we are ambassadors for Jesus, not for ourselves. We must never represent our own interests but only the interests of Jesus. Strive to remove yourself from the situations you are involved in — die unto self and live for Christ alone. Learn to love as Jesus loves. Again, we have no right to stand in the way of God’s mercy and grace for others. On the contrary, we are called by God to be His instruments of mercy and grace to those who might terribly hurt us.

– In review, It can be hard to show mercy and compassion for sinners, particularly those who have sinned directly against us and have caused us pain and suffering. Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrians who had continually warred against the Israelites. It is impossible for us to understand the pain and suffering the Assyrians caused the Israelites and perhaps Jonah directly. What we do know is that Jonah preferred death over seeing the Ninevites forgiven by God (Jonah 4:3). Even after receiving God’s mercy (admittedly undeservingly) in a miraculous way, Jonah wanted God’s justice, not mercy, for his enemies. God had a mission for Jonah, and I think God’s target for that mission was not only Nineveh but also Jonah. God was working through Jonah but also, simultaneously, on Jonah because Jonah had a forgiveness problem. This forgiveness problem was contrary to God’s character and will and unacceptable for one of God’s ambassadors. At the heart of our faith is forgiveness. It is “the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7) in which we place our faith and hope. In fact, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” Forgiveness of the undeserving is how God showed His love, and this is how we show our love and reflect the character of Christ before the world. Of course, Jesus had much to say about the requirement for forgiveness, but to me some of his most powerful statements are those that tell us that we should forgive to the same degree we desire to be forgiven by God: “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25).” I cannot count how many times in church I have recited these words from the Lord’s Prayer: “forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.” Not only did Jesus teach on unconditional forgiveness, He lived out the ultimate example – “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” Who do you need to forgive today?

– God’s love and mercy may make Him appear unreliable as He gives mercy, grace, and forgiveness to people we do not accept.

– God loves your enemies. Do you? What kind of love does God expect from us?

— Matthew 5:43, 44 — 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,

— Luke 6:27 — But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

— Luke 6:35 — But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

7. Proverbs 14:1 – “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” Our words and deeds will either build up or destroy.

8. Proverbs 14:2 – “Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises him.” Your actions reveal what you really think about God.

9. Proverbs 14:12 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Man’s version of righteousness is doomed.

10. Revelation 12:11 – “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” God uses your faithful testimony to defeat Satan.

11. Revelation 12:17 — “Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” You are in a spiritual battle in a war that has already been won by Jesus. You will remain in a struggle with evil as long as you live, unless Jesus returns in your lifetime. Do not be surprised by the enemy’s actions in your life. You are on a mission and must stand as a mighty spiritual warrior for Jesus. Semper Fidelis Coram Deo — Always Faithful Before the Face of God!

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 Dec 18: Who do you need to forgive? From whom do you need forgiveness? Where have you failed to seek reconciliation as commanded by God? Today, forgive those who are hard to forgive because you love Jesus and because He has called you to pour out His love to the unloving and hard to love. Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus in all of your relationships and circumstances. (Jonah 3, 4)

DBRP – WEEK 50, Day 3, Wednesday, 12 December 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 12 December 18:

1. Amos 7:2-6 – “O Lord God, please forgive!” God hears your intercession and forgives His truly repentant people.

2. Amos 7:7-9 — “This is what he showed me: behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘A plumb line.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass by them; the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.’” Here God’s Spiritual Laws are compared with natural laws – in this case, the law of gravity. God’s Spiritual Laws have consequences as predictable as God’s natural laws, even more predictable. God’s Spiritual Laws not only reflect His perfect truth, character, and wisdom, they also align to His perfect order and justice which is unchanging. There are inevitable consequences for drifting away from God’s will and order – the walls come tumbling down. Yes, you can build on disobedience for a while, but it’s a house of cards. What do you do when you realize that your walls have drifted from the plumb line? You must tear them down and start over, this time using the plumb line the whole time you build. As Jesus told the adulterous woman – “Repent, and sin no more.”

3. Amos 7:7, 8 – “Amos, what do you see?” God’s people are called to be priests on earth, experts on God’s word and messengers of God’s word to others, within the context of current situations. God’s word is the plumb line from which everyone is measured and held accountable. The prophet is given God’s word to proclaim to others in order to hold them accountable. With God’s word as the measure, the prophet reveals sin to others, not as their judge, but as a messenger of God who is the Judge. As ambassadors for Jesus, we are called to loving proclaim God’s truth to all people, whether they desire to hear it or not, that some would repent and turn to the Savior.

4. Amos 7:10 – “Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words.” Because Amos spoke God’s truth about the nation, he was deemed a traitor. The religious leaders were the first to condemn Amos. Amos became the king’s enemy because the king was God’s enemy. Amaziah sided with his employer rather than God and Amos. To whom are you most loyal? By whom or by what are you most influenced? Will you obey God at all costs, when it doesn’t seem at all practical, and if no one else is willing to stand with you?

5. Amos 7:14, 15 — “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’”

– Amos did not intend to be a prophet, but God called him from his profession, his livelihood. He hadn’t gone to seminary and had established no credibility within the church. He was chosen by God, and that was all the credibility and validation he needed. You are an ambassador for Jesus. You don’t need the approval of anyone else to do what God has called you to do.

– An interesting trend throughout the Bible is that God takes people away from their plans, goals, careers, and aspirations to accomplish His purposes. We have our plans, but God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. I wonder how many people have walked away from a calling because it did not make sense from a worldly perspective, because it was too risky, or because friends and family did not support it. Another trend is that God’s faithful servants often appear to be unsuccessful as the world measures success. Amos was called to prophesize to the Israelites, but their response was, “Do not prophesy against Israel, and stop preaching….” He left his job to be a preacher, but no one wanted to hear him preach – I wonder how many preachers have left the pulpit discouraged under similar circumstances. Amos’ measure of success was fidelity to the Lord while others thought his primary motivation was to earn a living – “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there.” Amos sought first the Kingdom. What motivates you to do what you do? What are you seeking first, above all else? How have you failed due to fear or pride to accomplish what God would have had you do? These are questions I ask myself.

6. Amos 8:4-8 – “Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end…. and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?” The nation became more concerned about making money than obeying God and His law of love. The political/economic scene has not changed much over the centuries. Jesus warned that a person has to choose between God and money. Many people say that they have chosen God but, in reality, still prioritize self-interest. In a sinful nation, economics (prosperity and security) becomes god, the top priority for decisions, and the poor get poorer while the rich get richer. A godless society is doomed – destruction is inevitable, quick, and unexpected.

7. Amos 8:10, 14; 9:1 – I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day…. Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria, and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’ and, ‘As the Way of Beersheba lives,’ they shall fall, and never rise again. I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said: ‘Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake, and shatter them on the heads of all the people; and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword; not one of them shall flee away; not one of them shall escape.’” Israel continued in extravagant worship even though God had announced judgment – the priests and the people were completely oblivious to what God was doing though they had convinced themselves otherwise. The proof of their relationship with God was revealed in their behavior. The true prophet and worshipper displays the character of Jesus and selfless, loving obedience. God had to go to shepherds to find such a person in Amos.

8. Amos 8:11 – “’Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.’”

– The religious leaders within the land continued to preach, but they heard nothing really from God. The nation was spiritually starved because there was no nourishment from the true word of God. The religious leaders merely told people what they wanted to hear, words that accommodated and validated their sin. The body relies on food to survive. The spirit relies on God’s word to survive. A famine is a terrible thing. Are you hungry for God’s word today? Have you been missing meals? Man does not live on bread alone….

– From Henry T. Blackaby — One way God communicates is through silence. The Israelites blatantly ignored and rejected God’s word to them, and God responded by sending a famine. This famine was far more severe than a shortage of food and water. Instead, they were deprived of His words of life. God’s silence may be hardly noticeable at first. You may still remember times when God spoke to you, but you gradually realize you’ve not heard His voice for a long time. If you realize you are in a “drought,” immediately seek God and ask Him what adjustments your life requires so you can once again enjoy fellowship with Him. It may be that you disobeyed His last instructions to you and that He is waiting on your obedience before giving you a new direction. It may be that there is unconfessed sin in your life or that you have a damaged relationship (Isa. 1:15; 1 Pet. 3:7). It is possible that you have done too much talking in your prayer times and that He wants you to listen. God’s silences can be powerful times for Him to communicate with you. God is God! Because He is God, when He speaks He expects a listening ear and an eager response. He will not be mocked! (Gal. 6:7). When we ignore Him, He may withhold His voice until we repent and get right with Him. The prophet Isaiah assured King Asa, “The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”

9. Amos 9:7 – “’Are you not like the Cushites to me, O people of Israel?’ declares the Lord. ‘Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Syrians from Kir?’” What defines a nation is it’s level of fidelity to God. God judges and will judge all nations, including ours.

10. Amos 9:10 – “All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, ‘Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.’” Note that God is talking about the judgment of ‘His people,’ or what we might call the church. The concept of “cheap grace,” believing that God is somehow ok with sin, has always been around, and today, many churchy people continue in sin as if God won’t judge. Prideful sin makes you think God will judge someone else and not you.

11. Proverbs 12:2 — “A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of evil devices he condemns.” The important points of the Bible are really not hard to understand. Many debate over complicated doctrines but aren’t willing to simply obey what is plainly clear. Walk in what you understand, and then God will show you the deeper things.

12. Proverbs 12:5 — “The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.” Don’t waste your time seeking advice from those who do not walk in the word.

13. Proverbs 12:23 – “A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly.” Wise people possess a humility that allows them to question their own wisdom, while fools always believe they are right.

14. Revelation 10:4 — “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” God has not revealed everything to us about End Times. Be very warry of those who say they have it all figured out.

15. Revelation 10:10, 11 — “And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, ‘You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.’” God’s prophecy is usually hard for the prophet to stomach, and prophesying judgment to people you genuinely care about is very difficult. The prophet rejoices in God’s righteousness and hungers for God’s sweet word, but finds no joy in seeing the sinner reject God’s word and face condemnation. So, God’s word is bitter sweet. It proclaims grace and eternal life for some but also eternal damnation for others. Christians should mourn deeply over those who will reject God, and we should do everything within our power to reach the lost. A loving heart has a passion for evangelism.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 12 Dec 18: Today, lovingly proclaim God’s truth through His word to all people, whether they profess faith or not, that they might draw closer to Jesus through repentance and faith in Jesus, a faith that surrenders and obeys. All the while keep a humble repentant heart as you measure your own life against the plumb line of God’s word. God is the judge, you are the messenger. (See today’s readings)

DBRP – WEEK 50, Day 2, Tuesday, 11 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=amos+5%2C+6%3B+proverbs+11%3B+rev+9

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 11 December 18:

1. Amos 5:1 — “Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel.” Amos delivered a “fire and brimstone” message from a genuine heart of compassion and concern. How would such a message be received today?

2. Amos 5:6 — “Seek the Lord and live.” Life is a continual seeking of the Lord.

3. Amos 5:10 — “They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks the truth.”

– Are you willing to be the hated one because you love others so much you are willing to tell the truth?

– A wicked nation refuses to listen to dissenting views and seeks to silence opposing voices.

4. Amos 5:11 – “Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.” A wicked nation unfairly taxes the people.

5. Amos 5:13 – “Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time.” There is a time to remain silent.

6. Amos 5:14, 15, 18, 21, 23 — “Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good…. I take no delight in your solemn assemblies…. Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light…. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.”

– This is a warning to those who claim to be Christians but live worldly lives. A trend we see throughout the Bible is that often those who feel most religious are those most abhorrent to God. Today’s readings describe ‘churchy’ people eagerly awaiting God’s judgment on earth, as if they would escape it. God’s answer to these disobedient, self-righteous sinners is “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!” Why? Because they did not “hate evil and love good.” Jesus said it this way, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7, 8) “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” (1 John 5:2) Is this hard to understand? Meditate upon the below verses:

— John 3:36 — Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

— Acts 5:29 — But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

— Acts 5:32 — And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

— Romans 2:8 — but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

— Hebrews 5:9 — And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

— Hebrews 11:8 — By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

7. Amos 5:14 – “Seek good, and not evil, that you may live.” Seeking the Lord involves seeking good and not evil. God is Good. Goodness starts and ends with God. We draw closer to Him when we seek to do His will from a right heart – “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

8. Amos 5:18 — “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light.”

– Many outwardly religious people are hoping for End Times, wishing God’s punishment on those they would like to see get punished, rather than desperately hoping to save those sinners from eternal separation from God. God delays that we might have a chance to reach the lost, those that naturally hurt the righteous in their destructive sinfulness. Jesus said that one of the marks of a true believer is a love that far surpasses love the world shows – a love that loves the unloving, that truly loves enemies. God has placed hateful people in your life for a reason, that you might show them the love of Christ and grow closer to Christ in the process. If you can’t stand the smell of sheep, you can’t be a good shepherd. If you have trouble truly loving your enemy, you have a perspective problem.

– These are powerful words to a people who claimed to be righteous in the Lord, but who had no evidence of righteousness in their lives. The sort of righteousness (a word used in today’s readings 16 times) God expects from His people is described in today’s readings. Righteousness comes by faith (Romans 4:13) but we are to live out our righteousness as evidence and fruit of our faith — “that is in keeping with faith (Hebrews 11:7, 1 Peter 2:24).” Amos addressed a people who proclaimed the name of the Lord but who lived in contempt of the Lord and misrepresented His character before a watching world. God says to them, “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me…. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream (Amos 5:21-24)!” God warns these church-goers: “Seek the Lord and live…. Seek good, not evil…. Hate evil, love good.” Proverbs says that the Lord delights in righteousness and abhors unrighteousness. If you are a Christian, you have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Now that you have been saved, honor God and truly worship Him by seeking to live righteously in your life.

9. Amos 5:21 — “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.” God rejects the worship of the pridefully unrighteous.

10. Amos 5:23, 24 – “Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Great church services don’t make up for unrighteous living – God is not impressed for deceived. True and acceptable worship is loving obedience.

11. Amos 6:1,6 — “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion…. but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!” God will hold Christians accountable who live in luxury without concern for other Christians who are being martyred.

12. Amos 6:3 — “O you who put far away the day of disaster and bring near the seat of violence.” Will you live today as if Jesus’ return is to occur any second?

13. Amos 6:4, 5 — “Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp.” Life is not about being comfortable — it is about being faithful.

14. Amos 6:12 — “Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow there with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood.” Don’t be fooled: God doesn’t run with the unrighteous. God will not bless unfaithfulness. Everyone reaps what they sow.

15. Proverbs 11:4 — “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, righteousness delivers from death.” Security is found in fidelity.

16. Proverbs 11:11 – “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” God’s judgment will destroy the economic system, and money will be worthless. You cannot eat dollars or gold when the economic systems collapse under God’s judgment of nations, and these things have absolutely no value in the after-life. In what do you place your security?

17. Proverbs 11:18 – “The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.” From Henry T. Blackaby — There are many ways to invest our lives, but none offers greater reward than devoting ourselves to the pursuit of righteousness. Every area of our lives should reflect the holiness of God that is ours by salvation: our thoughts, so that nothing we think about would be inappropriate for a child of God; our actions, so that our lives demonstrate that we serve a holy God; our integrity, so that we are above reproach in all our relationships. Are you taking God’s righteousness in your life for granted? Righteousness is something you must allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. Instead of sowing holy thoughts, are you allowing evil and sinful thoughts to grow in your mind? Are you allowing lust to grow unchecked within you? Does enmity, bitterness, jealousy, or unforgiveness remain in your life? Jesus said if we seek first God and His righteousness, everything else will follow (Matt. 6:33). There is great reward in sowing righteousness. What are you presently doing to plant holiness in your life? (1 Pet. 1:15). How are you putting righteousness in your mind so that your thoughts are holy? How are you cultivating righteousness in your relationships so that you maintain your integrity? Are you instilling righteousness in your activities so that your life is above reproach? If you want to harvest righteousness in your life tomorrow, you must plant seeds of righteousness today.

18. Proverbs 11 – The word righteous is used 13 times in Proverbs 11 to drive home the point that God’s people, though covered over in the righteousness of Jesus, are to live righteous lives on earth as evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit. God honors righteousness and punishes the unrighteousness. Grace is not a license to live un-righteously without fear of discipline. Grace gives us the freedom and power to live righteously, growing more and more righteous each day.

19. Revelation 9:4, 5 – “They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.”

– Only God’s seal protects a person during the final tribulation.

– God places limits on the satanic tormentors.

20. Revelation 9:11 — “Abaddon” and “Apollyn” mean “Destruction” or “Destroyer.”

21. Revelation 9:21 –“… nor did they repent of their murders… or their sexual immorality.” The Bible considers sexual immorality to be as destructive as murder. Do you?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 Dec 18: Run with God today and worship Him through loving, faithful obedience, regardless the personal cost. (Amos 6:12)

DBRP – WEEK 50, Day 1, Monday, 10 December 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 10 December 18:

1. `Amos 3:2-8 — “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. ‘Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet…? Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it? “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?” A father is more concerned, not less, about the behavior of his own children than he is someone else’s. God punishes His family when they choose to disobey Him, and that should not be surprising. Walking with God is an opportunity freely given by grace. We have been given access to the “inner place” through Jesus, and can call the Father ‘Abba.’ (Hebrews 11:13-19) We should take comfort in the Father’s love and protection. However, we must be very concerned not to get out of step with Him. What is to be said of the child who blatantly disregards the words and rebuke of the Father? In the Old Testament, a child that could not be controlled by his/her parents was stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21) Many today point to this command as evidence of a merciless God. However, God’s punishment was intended that “all Israel shall hear, and fear.” Israel chose to ignore God’s commands which seemed ‘unjust’ or ‘unmerciful’ to them. The rest is history. Today, we also make light of God’s commands. What do we think God is going to do? For generations, the prayers of those victimized by sin have reached heaven; yet, God in His mercy has patiently withheld His just judgment that sinners might repent. Today’s readings in Revelation speak to when God ultimately answers the prayers of those persecuted by the actions of the disobedient: “And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.” (Revelation 8:3-5) “The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?”

– Deuteronomy 21:18-21 — “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

2. Amos 3:3-6 – There are consequences for sin which are predictable and preventable.

3. Amos 3:6 — “When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?”

– There are two paths a person can travel, the way of life, and the way of death; the way of blessings and the way of curses. The lighthouse of truth does not move. You are either directed by its light or you crash into the rocks from which it intends to protect you. There are consequences for behavior that are as predictable as natural laws (such as the law of gravity); the wise understand this from Scripture and are perceptive to the signs of destruction. Someone once said that wisdom is understanding what you haven’t experienced. The Bible guides you in wisdom. Proverbs points out “The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil.” (Proverbs 10:29) In today’s readings, Amos points out to the Israelites that God had given them plenty of warning prior to the total destruction that he was bringing, but despite the many warnings the Lord says, “you have not returned to me…. prepare to meet your God, O Israel.” The people were living lives dishonoring to God while faithfully continuing in their “religious” practices as if all were good with the Lord (Amos 4:4,5), yet they could not see the signs of the times. Amos says, “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).” Jesus said, that only a wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign.” (Matthew 16:4) I believe part of the point here is that only the spiritually blind and deaf would not see what is going on around them and would require a miraculous sign. Even when signs are given, the spiritually dead ignore them. Today’s Revelation readings interestingly talk of the angels sounding trumpets of destruction which caused me to question: “What are the signs of our times?” Are we paying attention to what is going on around us? Should God’s people be surprised by circumstances as they unfold? Something to consider…..

– Revelation 8:6 — “Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.”

4. Amos 3:7 — “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.”

– God has made it clear what He will do.

– The Bible says that God provides revelation to His servants the prophets. However, when God’s people turn from Him, revelation ceases, and when revelation ceases, lawlessness only grows – it becomes a downward spiral of destruction. Proverbs 29:18 points out, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” How important is it to live obediently before the Lord? Jumping ahead to Amos chapter 8 (I can’t help it), God warns His rebellious people, “’Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.’” Remember Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Are you feasting on God’s word? Are you being guided by the revelation of The Holy Spirit?

– From Henry T. Blackaby — Christians spend much time talking about “seeking God’s will,” as though it were hidden and difficult to find. God does not hide His will. His will is not difficult to discover. We do not have to plead with God to reveal His will to us. He is more eager to reveal His will than we are willing to receive it. We sometimes ask God to do things He has already done! The people in Amos’s day became disoriented to God and to His desires. God had revealed His will; the problem was that they had not recognized it or obeyed it. Amos declared that God does nothing in the affairs of humanity without seeking one of His servants to whom He will reveal His activity. Tragically, there are times when no one is walking closely enough with Him to be receptive to His word (Isa. 59:16; 63:5; Ezek. 22:30-31). Jesus walked so intimately with His Father that He was always aware of what the Father was doing around Him (John 5:19-20). Jesus said that if our eyes are pure, they will see God and recognize His activity (Matt. 6:22). If we are not seeing God’s activity, the problem is not a lack of revelation. The problem is that our sin prevents us from noticing it. When God is working in your child’s life or when He is convicting your coworker, He may reveal His activity to you. His revelation is His invitation for you to join Him in His redemptive work. Be alert to God’s activity around you. He will reveal His activity to His servants. If your spiritual eyes are pure, you will be overwhelmed by all that you see God doing around you!

5. Amos 4:6, 8, 9, 11 — “Yet you did not return to me.” God disciplines in hopes that sinners will return to Him, but in His sovereignty, He makes room for free will. Love must be a choice. Our response to discipline should be to draw closer to God.

6. Amos 4:12 — “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” Every person will either meet God in peace through Jesus or in judgment.

7. Proverbs 10:21 – “The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.” Those who are faithful to God are the real leaders.

8. Revelation 8:13 — “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!” There are only two words repeated three times in the New Testament for emphasis: “Holy, holy, holy”, and “Woe, woe, woe.” Unfortunately, both words are under-emphasized from the pulpits today. God’s wrath will be unimaginably horrible to those who don’t honor His holiness. This reality should excite all Christians to spread the Gospel to as many as possible. Christians too should not lose sight of the truth that if you do not honor God as Holy, you will experience woe. Grace is not given that a person can safely dishonor God. Grace is given that we can glorify God as Holy.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 10 Dec 18: Honor God as Holy today by being holy — (1 Peter 1:15, 16). (Rev 8:13)

DBRP – WEEK 49, Day 7, Sunday, 9 December 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 9 December 18:

1. Amos 1:1 – “The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa.” God did not speak through the priests and prophets; He spoke through a faithful shepherd. God does not honor position; He honors fidelity. Amos was a shepherd called to preach a message to the nations.

2. Amos 1:1-15 – God holds all nations accountable to justice and mercy.

3. Amos 1:2 — “The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem.” God worked His plan through Jerusalem, though the people who were called to be his “kingdom of priests” there were full of iniquity. He would discipline them before a watching world, but His plan remains unhindered by their infidelity. Remember what Mordecai said to Esther: “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Remember, Lot, a righteous man, did little to influence society while Sodom and Gomorrah went from bad to worse before destruction. Are you doing all that God has called you to do to warn others in our time?

4. Amos 1:6 – “I will not revoke the punishment, because they carried into exile a whole people to deliver them up to Edom.” God does not provoke sin, but He allows sin for His purposes. God often uses sinful people to discipline His disobedient people, but He still holds the sinful instruments of discipline accountable for their sins. While God disciplines, it may appear, for a time, that sinners prevail.

5. Amos 1:11 – “I will not revoke the punishment, because he pursued his brother with the sword and cast off all pity, and his anger tore perpetually, and he kept his wrath forever.” Don’t confuse God’s patience with apathy or cheap grace. For the unrepentant sinner, I time will come where God “will not revoke the punishment.”

6. Amos 2:4 – “… they have rejected the law of the Lord, and have not kept his statutes, but their lies have led them astray, those after which their fathers walked.”

– Israel’s neighbors were punished for how they treated others, but God’s people were first judged by how they treated God in their unique relationship with Him. They were meant to be in a loving relationship with God and to serve as priests and ambassadors for Him to the world, but they rejected Him, disobeyed Him, and led others astray. The people of Judah had been taught to sin by their parents, but that was no excuse for continuing in sin. Those who know Him have a unique responsibility to make Him known to others, to glorify Him, in word and deed. If the world becomes darker, it can only be that the light of God’s people (reflecting from their proximity to God) has grown dim.

– Disobedience to God is a rejection of Him and His Sovereignty. Regardless of how we try to make light of sin and justify it, it is cosmic treason against to Almighty. Pray that God will help you see sin the way He sees it.

7. Amos 2:6-8 – “Thus says the Lord: ‘For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals— those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and turn aside the way of the afflicted; a man and his father go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge, and in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined.” Israel was judged not just for sexual immorality and idolatry but also because the people made themselves rich by putting other people into financial bondage or debt. Through financial manipulation, they made others poor so that they could live in luxury. God does not want us to get rich on the backs of others.

8. Amos 2:12 — “But you made the Nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.’” A sinful land will not tolerate faithful preachers, and the unfaithful preachers will conform to the current demands of society with watered down, comfortable sermons that tell people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.

9. Amos 2:15 – “…he who handles the bow shall not stand….” Sinful nations trust in their man-made might rather than in God. God will knock down that house of cards.

10. Amos 2 – Prosperity achieved in ungodliness will be destroyed by God Himself. Human strength is an illusion.

11. Amos 3:2 — “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.” Parents discipline their own kids more than they punish others’ kids. Christians have greater responsibility than others, not less, and God holds them especially accountable. Don’t you expect those who truly love you to respect you more than those who don’t? Shouldn’t our love for God result in heartfelt purity, obedience, and holiness? And don’t parents expect their children to grow in maturity? Don’t expect God to allow His grown children to act like babies who are not part of His family and who don’t bear His name.

12. Amos 3:3 — “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” Decisions produce natural consequences. A decision for Christ is logically followed by a walk with Christ. If you are not walking with Christ, the decision is in question. Jesus said that you are either with Him or against Him; you are either gathering with Him or scattering; you cannot serve two masters; and He spits out the lukewarm. Among those who left Egypt during the great exodus, only Joshua and Caleb made it into the Promised Land because only they were “wholehearted.” What have you truly decided? Are you truly walking with Jesus or are you more like Peter after he denied Christ and observed His suffering from a distance.

13. Amos 3:7 — “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” A nation without faithful servants of God have no real prophets and have no clue what God is doing. Still many will claim to speak for God. Does the church know what God is doing now? Do you have the revelation of God as a natural product of your close relationship with Him? In his day, the shepherd Amos was the one God found ready to proclaim truth in a deceived land full of unfaithful government officials and religious leaders.

14. Amos 3:8 – “The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?” Faithful followers of Jesus cannot help but proclaim His word.

15. Proverbs 9:4-6 — “’Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!’ To him who lacks sense she says, ‘Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.’” The invitation is out there for anyone willing to repent and to humble themselves before the Lord.

16. Proverbs 9:7-8 – “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” Jesus told His disciples to invest their time and energy on those who would accept their message and to ‘shake the dust off their feet and walk away’ from those who were clearly not willing to listen — “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.” (Matthew 10:14) We are called to proclaim the Gospel to all but most importantly to make disciples of those who would follow Jesus. Pay close attention to Jesus’ Great Commission to us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mathew 28:19, 20) Again, God did not call us to just make believers, He called us, you and I, to make disciples, teaching them “to obey all,” to be priests on this earth. (1 Peter 2:5-9) That means the you must first be a good example of a priest, knowing how to rightly divine and to teach God’s word, and you must lead others in walking in the word. It is much, much more than simply sitting in church and in small group Bible studies, it is hitting the streets with fellow believers as the Spirit leads, like Jesus did with His twelve. It means getting dirty and stepping out in faith into the unknown. It means learning how to discern who is already being convicted by the Holy Spirit and then ministering to them. Are you ready to accept the Great Commission? Do you have mentees who are equally committed to following Jesus? As you lead others, remember to lead them as a mere follower of Jesus – it is always about Jesus and not about you. Never, ever point to yourself, always to Jesus.

17. Proverbs 9:10 – “The knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” We are only as wise and spiritual as how well we know Jesus. Jesus explains this in John 17. It is not moralism that saves us. It is Jesus. Jesus doesn’t just want us to live ‘good’ lives and do works of charity so that life might be more comfortable on earth for the lost. Jesus wants us to know Him and lead others to knowing Him.

18. Proverbs 9:12 – “If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.” The choice is ours. Will we obey God’s word in total, or will we get wrapped up in the worries of the world? Some “scoff” in obvious ways by denying Jesus, but others “scoff” in less obvious ways by ignoring God’s Great Commandment and Great Commission, the call to live solely as an ambassador for Jesus. Even the demons believe and Jesus, and many church goers scoff – the lukewarm who have lost their light and saltiness.

19. Proverbs 9:15-16 – “The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way.” Folly’s message competes with Wisdom’s (Jesus’) message, inviting all to live for self-interest and pleasure. In the competition of ideas, you are called to proclaim Jesus, not moralism or a message the merely promises better living on earth.

20. Psalm 144 — “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. 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….. rescue me and deliver me… from the hand of foreigners…. I will sing a new song to you, O God…. Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners…. May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace…. Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!” There is an old adage, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Combat has an incredible way of putting things in perspective. Many promises are made to God before the advance into harm’s way, and national calls for repentance, fasting, and prayer are often proclaimed. What happens after receiving God’s grace, mercy, and blessings? How easy is it to forget and for our gratitude to fade? Are you still amazed by grace?

— Luke 17:15-19 — Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

21. 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.”

– Humility recognizes that all of your abilities were given to you by God and were intended for you to use them to serve Him, not yourself.

– In love, God trains His people to fight when required. After all of your readings this year, is that still hard for you to understand?

22. 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.” 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?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 Dec 18: Make a list of all the things you are good at, all the talents and abilities God has given you. Now make a list of all the ways you have used those abilities for God’s service rather than your own and how many times you have publicly given God all the credit for who you are. Do you use your gifts mostly for yourself or for God? (Psalm 144:1)

 

DBRP – WEEK 49, Day 6, Saturday, 8 December 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 8 December 18:

1. Obadiah 1:3 — “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” Pride is most deceptive.

2. Obadiah 1:8 — “Will I not on that day, declares the LORD, destroy the wise men out of Edom,‎” Man’s wisdom is foolishness in God’s eyes and will be destroyed. True wisdom comes only from God.

3. Obadiah 1:12 — “But do not gloat over the day of your brother in the day of his misfortune; do not rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their ruin; do not boast in the day of distress.‎” If you gloat over the misfortune of your enemies, your heart is not right, and you are not being faithful to your mission of reconciliation.

4. Obadiah 1:15 — “As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.‎” God will treat you the way you treat others. Do you forgive others the way you want God to forgive you?

5. Proverbs 8:8 – “All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.” All the teachings of men are twisted and crooked in some way. Only God’s word can be trusted completely. God is the Creator of Ethics (unchanging truths and justice), while mankind creates “morals” (from the word mores, which means the commonly accepted ways of the populace, not what is right in God’s eyes but what is accepted. Morals are always changing like shifting sands as fickle people drift in a sea of social influences. Likewise, God is the Creator of Principles (unchanging truth about how the Created order works, wisdom), while mankind creates “values” (distorted perceptions of how things work based upon our extremely limited human perceptions and ideas passed along from one imperfect mortal to another. Time and time again, God warns us not to lean on our own understanding but to trust His word, even if it doesn’t seem to agree with our current understanding, our values and morals.

6. Proverbs 8:13 – “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.” If you are comfortable with or tolerant of evil, you are distant from God.

7. Proverbs 8:17 – “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”

– You cannot approach God casually or complacently. Love requires diligent effort.

– All relationships are two-way. Your character will be revealed in your closest relationships, first and foremost by your relationship with God.

8. Proverbs 8:33-36 – “Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.” Again, wisdom comes only from God, received through obedience to God’s word. Life and blessings are found in obedience; death and destruction come from disobedience.

9. 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.

10. 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 and obeying Him. Don’t focus on your enemy or on the problem, focus on Jesus.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 Dec 18: Show your love for Jesus today by your faithful obedience.

DBRP – WEEK 49, Day 5, Friday, 7 December 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 7 December 18:

1. Joel 1:5, 11, 13, 14 — “Awake, you drunkards, and weep…. Be ashamed, O tillers of the soil…. Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests; wail, O ministers of the altar…. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.” The prophet was calling a nation to repentance that didn’t realize they needed to repent. A humble people are in constant repentance. For Christians, the heart of continual repentance isn’t an uncertainty of saving forgiveness, which we have assured through faith in Jesus; this continual repentance is a deeply heartfelt desire to remove from our lives those parts of us that remain unloving, hurtful, destructive, and unworthy of the glory of God. This daily repentance is our striving for ever-increasing purity, holiness, and unity with Christ. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) You cannot fix what you aren’t willing to be honest about. It starts with daily confession (humble honesty) before God and to others. Repentance involves a godly sorrow, which is different than worldly sorrow – “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2Cor 7:10) We must be honest about the past, learn from it, but not wallow in it. The past is history, the future is a mystery (from our perspective), but the present is your opportunity. As Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Go, and sin no more.”

2. Joel 2:12 — “’Yet even now,’ declares the Lord,’ return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;’” God sees past actions in context with the truth of your heart. Repentance must be from a genuine heart to be accepted, not just a superficial change in behavior. Again, superficial repentance is self-centered regret over getting hurt by the consequences of sin and seeking to avoid future self-inflicted pain and punishment. True repentance focuses on God and others, a heartfelt regret for dishonoring God and causing pain to others. True repentance drives you to humility, unconditional forgiveness, graciousness, and obedience. True repentance is empowered by the Holy Spirit and is a reflection of love.

3. Joel 2:12-13 — “’Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”

– God responds to the truly repentant and can replace what has been lost due to sin.

– God sees beyond our actions to examine our hearts. Genuine repentance, love, and faith comes from the heart. In fact, the Great Commandment says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart….” (Matthew 22:37). This is why in Matthew 5 Jesus says that if you have anger and lust in your heart, you are already guilty of great sin before the Lord despite having not committed murder or adultery. It is not enough to simply obey the letter of the Law; you must have a heart of obedience the comes from a heart of genuine love. The angry, lustful heart has broken the Greatest Commandment of loving God wholeheartedly. Today’s Proverbs tell us that “the Lord hates a heart that devises wicked plans.” (Proverbs 6:17) Yes, the God who IS love also hates. How do we fix our sinful hearts? We can’t. Only Jesus Christ can give you a new heart. Pray to the Lord that He will purify your heart.
Ezekiel 11:19, 20 — And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

— Psalm 51:10 — Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
— Psalm 86:11 — Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
— Psalm 119:32 — I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!
— Psalm 119:36 — Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!

4. Joel 2:28, 29 — “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” The Spirit is poured out to all Christians without distinction of age, sex, occupation, social status, or race. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13) All people have equal potential access to the Holy Spirit in salvation and obedience. God’s Spirit does not discriminate. Christians should have nothing to do with any distinctions related to the flesh; we should not accept them as legitimate in any way; we should only acknowledge the truth of the Spirit. “But avoid foolish controversies.” (Titus 3:9) “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” (2 Timothy 2:23)

5. Joel 2 — God used Locust to destroy the land. God uses natural and forces, people, and circumstances to discipline. Most people don’t see God’s hand in unfolding situations, but God is in complete control and brings all things about for His purposes.

6. Joel 3:17 — “So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it.” God’s plan is to glorify Himself and to purify His people to worship Him wholeheartedly.

7. Proverbs 7:6-9 – “For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.”

– Truth is self-evident and can be observed in life’s circumstances.

– God’s people come from all nations and places. Again, Christians don’t deal in man-made divisive notions of race, color, or national origin. These concepts are meaningless in the Spiritual realm.

8. Revelation 7:13 — “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” A great multitude of believers, “more than can be numbered, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” do not escape the great tribulation.

9. Revelation 7:14 — “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.” God’s people come out of the great tribulation because they were in the great tribulation.

10. Revelation 7:15 — “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.” In a sense, Heaven on earth is experienced being in the presence of God now, serving God in His presence day and night (see John 17). Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) Eternal life begins the day you accept Jesus as your Savior and grow to know Him more and more each day for eternity.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 7 Dec 18: Search your heart to find where you have grown complacent with certain sins. Repent and remove what is unacceptable from your life.

DBRP – WEEK 49, Day 4, Thursday, 6 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=hosea+12-14%3B+pro+6%3B+rev+6

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 6 December 18:

1. Hosea 12:1 — “…they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried to Egypt.”

– Falsehoods don’t add up, they multiply.

– Nations and people who pursue prosperity over fidelity are doomed. They partner with others who only seek gains only speeds up their destruction.

2. Hosea 12:6 – “But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.”

– Love and justice go together. If you defend justice, you don’t love as you should.

– Upon return to God there should be clear indication of repentance. We are saved by faith alone but not by a faith that is alone. Note the conclusion of Hosea: “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” God’s people walk in God’s ways because we love God. Love and righteousness go together. Note in Proverbs today what our God hates: “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” Proverbs reminds us that God’s commands should be bound in our hearts, we should guide our steps like a lamp when we walk in a dark world. Walk in the light, not in darkness.

– You need God’s help to turn to Him and walk with Him. If He is your desire, He will help you.

– Because we live by the mercy and grace of God, we sometimes act as if God does not care about justice and doesn’t hold us accountable for our behavior. We rejoice that or God is Love, but we often lose sight of the fact that “the Lord is a God of justice.” (Isaiah 30:18) We depend on God’s mercy and grace, but we also live by His justice. Can you imagine just one day on earth where there was absolutely no justice? Wouldn’t that be hellish? By the power of the Holy Spirit we are empowered to pursue justice and righteousness and are commanded to do so. Though we are forgiven of our sins once and for all, Jesus commands us to “repent” and “sin no more.” We are not only to hold fast to love, we are to hold fast to justice; in fact, love and justice are inseparable, though the world does not understand this. When Christians neglect obedience, justice, and righteousness, they are demonstrating their unlovingness and are grieving the Spirit of God.

— Psalm 33:5 — He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
— Psalm 37:28 — For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
— Psalm 89:14 — Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
— Psalm 99:4 — The King in his might loves justice. You have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
— Psalm 101:1 — I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music.
— Psalm 119:149 — Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
— Isaiah 16:5 – then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness.
— Isaiah 61:8 — For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
— Jeremiah 9:24 — but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.
— Hosea 2:19 — And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.
— Amos 5:15 — Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
— Micah 6:8 — He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
— Luke 11:42 — But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

3. Hosea 13:1 — “Besides me there is no savior.” No one can save you but Jesus. Faith in anyone else or anything else is an illusion.

4. Hosea 13:6 — “But when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me.” Sometimes people wonder why God doesn’t give them more. Sometimes it is because God knows they will not be faithful with more. The life of ease can ruin a person. Sometimes God has to keep you a bit hungry to keep you faithful. If you desire more, learn to be faithful under any conditions.

5. Hosea 13:10 — “Where now is your king, to save you in all your cities? Where are all your rulers—those of whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’”? Many have placed their hope in politicians. Christians don’t do that. While everyone else is talking politics, we are spreading the Gospel.

6. Hosea 13:11 — “I gave you a king in my anger, and I took him away in my wrath.”

– God controls politics for His purposes.

– Bad rulers are from God, an act of judgment on a sinful people.

7. Hosea 14:9 – “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.”

– How many times and in how many ways does the Bible say this? This is wisdom. Know the ways of God and walk in the ways of God.

– Wisdom is found in obedience, not in academics.

8. Proverbs 6:6-8 — “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” Self-discipline is key to the life of the Christian. No one is going to make you do what God wants you to do, and sometimes it isn’t going to be easy. You must be willing to make daily sacrifices for that future harvest.

9. Proverbs 6:23 – “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.” God’s commands, in part, are intended to protect you from your own behavior. It takes internal discipline or self-control to follow God’s commands. A person who lacks internal discipline requires external discipline to stay on the right path. You are doing the sinner a favor when you rebuke them where they lack self-control and self-discipline.

10. Proverbs 6:30, 31 – “People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house.” Everyone paid the same penalty for crimes regardless their circumstances. There was no favoritism.

11. Revelation 6:9-11 — “’O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”

– Final Judgment will occur when martyrdom is complete, confirming that some Christians will go through the tribulation. Only the Father knows when their mission will be complete. These martyrs are further spoken of in the next chapter – “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14)

– God does not always protect His faithful servants from persecution, but He holds a special place of honor for them in the Kingdom. Persecution will continue until the End.

12. Revelation 6:15-17 – “Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” On the Day of Judgment, No one escapes the wrath of God except those who have been covered over by the Blood of Jesus and His righteousness, through faith in Him and salvation.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 6 Dec 18: Listen carefully to the Holy Spirit’s counsel today. The Holy Spirit convicts you of your sins (where you are missing the mark, doing things other than what God would have you do). Ask for forgiveness for the shortcomings the Holy Spirit reveals to you, repent of your sins (turn 180-out; 1 John 1:9), receive and accept God’s forgiveness, and move forward, walking closer to Jesus with your eyes affixed on Him, never looking backwards. (Proverbs 1:23-25) “Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 9:62)

DBRP – WEEK 49, Day 3, Wednesday, 5 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=hosea+10%2C+11%3B+pro+5%3B+rev+5

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 5 December 18:

1. Hosea 10:1, 2 – “Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; as his country improved, he improved his pillars. Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars and destroy their pillars.”

– People turn God’s blessings into curses through self-centered disobedience. God will not continue to resource sin in a person’s life or in a nation’s affairs.

– God measures your success by what is in your heart, not by what you produce.

2. Hosea 10:4 — “They utter mere words; with empty oaths they make covenants.”

– Talk is cheap. Christian character keeps its promises, regardless the cost.

– Teams, organizations, communities, and nations are built on trust. But when integrity is no longer honored, institutions collapse. Consider what dishonesty in institutions has cost you? Consider what we value in politicians today. We value competency over character as did the Israelites in Hosea’s time. The counsel Israel received applies to us today: “It is time to seek the Lord (Hosea 10:12).”

3. Hosea 10:10 – “When I please, I will discipline them.” God will discipline. In His own time, God will hold everyone accountable.

4. Hosea 10:12 — “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.” We are made righteous through Jesus, but having been made righteous, we have been called to grow up, or grow into, righteousness. Righteousness is something you develop in your life over time. You don’t get a harvest of anything overnight. You must plant the seeds of righteousness and then toil day by day to cultivate it. Break your fallow ground by earnestly seeking the Lord, and then He will make your righteousness grow. Much like crops grow naturally when cared for, the Spirit will grow your righteousness if you maintain the conditions for growth by remaining humble and obedient. Now is the time to pursue righteousness and to seek the Lord. Don’t be complacent with a single day.

5. Hosea 10:13 – “You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way.”

– A just nation cannot be built or sustained by sinful people. Organizations and nations are nothing more than a collection of people in agreement who join together to realize a collective goal. Culture is merely the collective character of those people. When a nation wanders from God it is because the people wandered from God. Today, Christians lament over the condition of things without taking responsibility for it. Darkness is a lack of light. If our nation appears to be getting darker, consider what is happening to the light of God’s people.

– What you plant grows. Your daily actions are like seeds planted into your character, good or bad, they shape who you are becoming. Your little daily decisions grow to big character traits later. What you do today matters more than you realize. You will make an innumerable number of decisions today. Choose to honor the Lord with every thought, decisions, word, and deed that you might grow in Christ-like character.

6. Hosea 10:13, 14 — “Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors, therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,” When you trust or favor something over God (which is idolatry), God may leave you to your idols for a time that you might discover the falsehood of your idols and the reality of His glory and Sovereignty. When your idols fail you, you might be tempted to pray that God will protect your idols – He won’t. When your idols fail you, you will suffer until you run back into the arms of your Heavenly Father.

7. Hosea 10:13, 15; Hosea 11:5, 6 — “Because….” One of the most important questions people ask in life is, “Why?” So, when God answers with the indicative relative adverb “becasuse,” it is important for us to pay close attention. So, why did the nation’s fall? They fell “because [they] trusted in [their] own way” and their own strength…. because of their “own evil”…. because they… “refused to return” to God…. because of their “own counsels” (or reasoning). (Hosea 10:13-15; Hosea 11:5-7) Proverbs warns, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7) To the wise, willing to learn from the mistakes of past generations that God has recorded for us in His word, God says, “it is the time to seek the Lord.” (Hosea 10:12) So how do we seek God? The Bible says, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground.” (Hosea 10:12) “Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you.” (Amos 5:14) “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1) “But as for you, O man of God…. pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11) “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22) “Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:11) Make no mistake, seeking the Lord and abiding in the Lord takes our full, daily effort, often doing what doesn’t make sense in our human understanding but requires faith to do what is foolishness in the eyes of man. This is a battle against self, empowered by the Holy Spirit but executed by us. Are you walking with God in obedience day by day?

8. Hosea 11:3 — “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk.” God teaches us to walk, and then our proud hearts encourage us to walk away from Him. The Bible says that both Noah and Enoch “walked with God.” (Gen 5:22; Gen 6:9) What does the Bible say God desires of us? “To fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” (Deut 10:12, 13) Who are really God’s people, not the “CHINOs” (Christians in name only), but those who walk in God’s ways and obey Him. (Jeremiah 7:13) “For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.'” Your goal today is to walk with God and to not go your own way or the be led astray. You will walk today one step at a time, one decision at a time. Instead of worrying about what God is going to do with the sum of your life, focus on being faithful to Him right now. If your steps are grounded in loving obedience, you need not worry about where God is taking you.

9. Hosea 11:7 — “My people are bent on turning away from me.” Humbly admit and recognize that you are easily tempted. Pray for the strength of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation, careful guard your heart, and, relying on God’s grace, maintain a repentant and persistent heart.

10. Hosea 11:10 — “They shall go after the Lord; he will roar like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west.” Faced with God’s judgment, many move further away from God, but God’s people humbly draw closer to Him. Draw closer to God through your circumstances.

11. Proverbs 5:6 — “She does not ponder the path of life.” Sinners do not stop to truly consider the seriousness of their sin or what they are doing.

12. Proverb 5:11, 12 — “And at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!” You will reap what you sow, and when you do, you cannot change what you planted and cultivated in the past.

13. Revelation 5:9, 10 — “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.”

– Jesus has saved people all over the globe to be a Kingdom of priests on earth who will ultimately reign upon His return. Do you have wholehearted allegiance to your Kingdom, the Kingdom of God? Are you united with the citizens of the Kingdom of God across the globe? Are you living as a priest on earth and an Ambassador of Jesus and His Kingdom? Don’t lose sight of who you are, why you are here, and what God is calling you to be and to do.

– We are called to work as a kingdom on earth, and we are called to be priests. Do you have that perspective?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 Dec 18: Walk with God today (Hosea 11:3).

DBRP – WEEK 49, Day 2, Tuesday, 4 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=hosea+8%2C+9%3B+pro+4%3B+rev+4

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 4 December 18:

1. Hosea 8:2-4 – “To me they cry, ‘My God, we—Israel—know you.’ Israel has spurned the good…. They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but I knew it not.” Those who truly know God obey God. Those who disobey God don’t really know Him. To know Him is to love Him; to love Him is to trust and obey Him.

2. Hosea 9:1 – “Rejoice not… for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.” God calls sin spiritual whoredom while we tend to make light of sin. Sin is direct defiance to the Holiness and Sovereignty of God, and to sin after salvation is to trample upon the blood of Christ.

3. Hosea 9:7 — “The days of punishment have come; the days of recompense have come; Israel shall know it. The prophet is a fool; the man of the spirit is mad, because of your great iniquity and great hatred.” One of the common themes in the Bible is that when a people or nations turn away from God in sin, they eventually lose the spiritual sense to even understand their condition. God’s faithful prophets are considered fools while the prophets of the people truly are fools. The godless reject God’s messengers and surround themselves with false prophets who will tell them what they want to hear. False prophets proclaim ‘peace’ (with God) when there isn’t peace; they claim sin isn’t sin; they make rules that are not from God with the intent of transferring righteousness, glory, honor, and authority from God to men; they muddy the waters of God’s word in order to make room for sin and/or to promote their own agendas. They are disobedient and do not display the ‘fruit of the spirit.’ (See Galatians 5) False prophets and false congregations consider themselves ‘spiritual’ and have influence over the unfaithful but lack any real spiritual power. I wonder what messages were being delivered by talented preachers during Noah’s day right before God flooded the earth. What do you suppose was going on in the ‘churches’ of Sodom and Gomorrah prior to the destruction of those cities? When Jesus was born, most places of worship felt no impact, remaining completely unaware. Concerning his Second Coming Jesus warned, “as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” The vast majority of the very ‘religious’ will be completely unaware of the reality of the Great Judgment Day when it arrives. Now is a good time to be a ‘fool’ for Christ. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

4. Proverbs 4:7 – “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.” If you want to be wise, you have to choose to seek wisdom from God’s word. Many say they want to be wise but hardly crack that Bible. You cannot have true wisdom apart from God’s word.

5. Proverbs 4:14 – “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.” To be wise, you must also choose to reject all that is unwise, all that is sinful, all that God rejects. Have nothing to do with worthless, ungodly things.

6. Proverbs 4:18, 19 – “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” Everyone is either growing closer to Jesus, the Way, the Truth, the Life, or farther away. No one stays where they are. If you are not getter brighter by reflecting the Light of Jesus as you get closer to Him, you are getting darker as you move farther away from Him. How will your light shine today?

7. Proverbs 4:23-27 – “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”

– The Bible warns, above all else, to guard your heart, and it tells you how to do it: Watch your mouth; don’t gaze upon or ponder sinful things; consider very carefully what you are doing and why, scrutinizing your motives; and walk far away from evil and temptations, keeping your path straight towards Jesus.

– Daily choices impact your heart and your character. How do you guard your heart? Proverbs 4 gives you sound guidance.

8. Revelation 4:8 — “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty.” The only attribute ascribed to God in the Bible that is emphasized in repetition three times is the attribute of holiness. What does this tell you about how you should approach God? What does this tell you about how you should feel about sin?

9. Revelation 4:10 – “They cast their crowns before the throne.” True worshippers surrender all glory to God. As an ambassador for Christ, never, never be caught claiming the glory.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 4 Dec 18: Today, let your behavior honor and glorify the holiness of God. Your every action should be a reflection of His holiness and the power of the Holy Spirit upon your life. (Revelation 4:8)

DBRP – WEEK 49, Day 1, Monday, 3 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=hosea+6%2C+7%3B+pro+3%3B+rev+3

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 3 December 18:

1. Hosea 6:3 – “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord.” Don’t just know ‘about’ Him. Press on with all your being to know Him personally.

2. Hosea 6:6 – “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

– God wants you to truly know Him and love Him, not merely to practice religion and morality.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — No amount of activity for God will ever take the place of a heart that is right with Him. Through the ages God’s people have been persuaded that they could please Him through their service and their offerings, regardless of their heart condition. King Saul offered generous sacrifices, hoping God would overlook his disobedience (1 Sam. 15:22-23). David may have assumed that after all he had done on God’s behalf, God would overlook his sin (2 Sam. 12:7-15). Ananias and Sapphira thought that their generous gift to the church would compensate for their deceitfulness (Acts 5:1-11). Paul was certainly one who had thought his zealousness would please God. After his conversion, however, he concluded that even if he had faith to remove mountains, gave all he had to feed the poor, and offered his body to be burned for the sake of God, and yet had a heart that was not right, it would all be for nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3). We are susceptible to the same misunderstanding as all of these people were. We can be deceived into assuming God is more interested in our activity for Him than He is in the condition of our heart. God has consistently made it clear that He will not be pacified by even the most generous offerings and zealous service if our hearts are not right with Him (Mic. 6:6-8). No matter how much we do in God’s service, regardless of how active we are in our church, no matter how honorable our reputation in the Christian community, He will not overlook a sinful heart. His desire is that we devote ourselves to knowing Him and loving Him with all of our hearts.

3. Hosea 7:3 – “By their evil they make the king glad, and the princes by their treachery.” Sin might please human leaders, but it will not be tolerated by God.

4. Hosea 7:8, 9 – “Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not.”

– Sin ruins people without them realizing it.

– Today also, the church has partnered with the world at the expense of its strength and power. Many Christians and churches have muddied the waters of the Gospel by mixing it with modern philosophy. Many churches have put their faith in business practices and marketing schemes rather than the power of the Gospel. Many Christians and churches have become too busy for the disciplines and relationships of discipleship. Many Christians and churches have turned to talented leaders rather than Spirit-filled leaders who visibly display all the fruits of the spirit. Many Christians and churches have drifted into materialism in pursuit of the American dream. For example, most Christians as well as most churches are in significant financial debt to ungodly worldly institutions to the point where individuals don’t tithe, and churches don’t maintain storehouses to support the congregation and missionaries as they should. Christian families suffer from the same problems as ungodly families, and the Christian community doesn’t stand out as very bright or salty. Too many Christians have lost their peace, joy, courage, purity, and love. Within the church, we need a movement of repentance and revival.

5. Hosea 7:11-13 – “Ephraim is like a dove, silly and without sense, calling to Egypt, going to Assyria…. Woe to them, for they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me!” Some go to the Lord and trust in the Lord for their security and provision; most go to the world and its systems of government and economy. Those that go to the world will compromise their loyalty and fidelity to God.

6. Hosea 7:14 – “They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds; for grain and wine they gash themselves; they rebel against me.” There is a big difference between being sorry for having to face the consequences of sin (regretting sin because of the pain it causes you) and being truly repentant, regretting sin because of its offensive to God and because of its impact on your relationship with Him. The truly repentant reject sin regardless the earthly consequences because they love the Lord. There is also a big difference between seeking God for His blessings and seeking Him for Him alone. Do you want to know God or just have what He might give you.

7. Proverbs 1:3 — “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.‎” Love and faithfulness go together. How much you obey Jesus is evidence of how much you really love Him.

8. Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Trusting in God is a heart issue, not an intellect issue. Trust is formed in relationship.

9. Proverbs 3:5-7 — “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.‎” Again, we cannot trust in our own feelings or intellect, and wisdom comes only from God. God gives us His word to guide us in His wisdom, and we must dig into it. Without God’s word, we naturally turn back to our own misguided feelings and beliefs. Obey God’s word, and walk with Jesus.

10. Proverbs 3:7, 8 – “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Sin affects you physically, not just spiritually.

11. Proverbs 3:11-12 — “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.‎” In addition to His word, God uses His discipline to teach us and to grow us. Be thankful for His discipline and grow.

12. Proverbs 3:19 – “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens.” God’s moral law and God’s natural law go hand-in-hand.

13. Proverbs 3:27, 28 – “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’—when you have it with you.” See a need, meet the need.

14. Revelation 3:1 — “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” The most popular and active church was spiritually dead though the population knew it not.

15. Revelation 3:2 – “I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.” Partial obedience is disobedience.

16. Revelation 3:7-12 – [And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.]

– The church that was viewed as weak by people received praise without rebuke from God. The powerful church remains faithful to God with perseverance in a world of infidelity — “I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

– Some believe this verse means that the faithful will be protected from tribulation, while others believe this verse says Christians will be kept from final judgment, not worldly tribulations.

17. Revelation 3:15-20 — “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” The richest church in the earthly sense was the poorest church in God’s eyes. In partnership with the world, they were half-hearted followers of Christ, which really isn’t following at all. You are either walking with Christ or walking somewhere else. Jesus has no part-time employees; you are either working for Him or against Him. He is either your goal today or you are in pursuit of idols. It’s really that simple.

18. Revelation 3:16 – “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” God does not accept the half-hearted ‘Christian.’ Either Jesus is both your Lord and Savior, or He is neither. There is no partial marriage with Jesus.

19. Revelation 3:17 — “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot…” These are particularly haunting words because the church was blind to its own spiritual condition, believing it was spiritually on fire when, in fact, it was lukewarm and unacceptable to the Lord. Perhaps they wrongly interpreted their financial prosperity as blessings of approval from God. In reality, their comfort only made them complacent. Of note, the only churches that aren’t rebuked by God are the poor and persecuted. It is so very critical that we humbly and continually measure our lives from the plumb line of God’s word while also remaining receptive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the rebukes of other Christians who reveal the truth of our personal ‘blind spots’ – what we can’t or refuse to see in ourselves. To God we should pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” (Psalm 139:23) We should also have the attitude of the Psalmist from our readings this weekend – “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.” (Psalm 141:5) The foundation of your integrity is your ability to be honest with yourself about your fidelity to God — humility. Can you handle the truth?

20. Revelation 3:19 – “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Be thankful for God’s discipline as it shows He loves you. Your response should be repentance, surrender, and wholehearted obedience.

21. Revelation 3:22 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Can you hear the Spirit? Only through the counsel of the Spirit can you know what to do in life. Only through the Spirit can you have wisdom. Knowing how to hear the Spirit is critical to your life. To hear the Spirit, you have to truly listen from your heart, desiring God’s will and not your own; you have to walk if faithfulness to what you already know from God’s word, you have to pray without ceasing, and you have to remove the noise of selfishness and sin that keep you from hearing. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – “Do not quench the Spirit.” Ephesians 4:30 – “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:3 – “Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Galatians 5:25 – “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 Dec 18: Be guided by the Spirit today. (Revelation 3:22)

DBRP – WEEK 48, Day 7, Sunday, 2 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=hosea+4%2C+5%3B+pro+2%3B+psalm+141%2C+142

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 2 December 18:

1. Hosea 4:1-3 — “There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish.”

– Love demands faithfulness. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command (John 14:15).” The evidence of faith is faithfulness in love and obedience. Faithful obedience is an act of love and a testimony before a watching world. In love, obedience is not a chore – when you love someone, you care about what they care about. Jesus also commanded us to make disciples throughout the world and teach them to obey all that God commands. Again, our love for God should compel us to make disciples because in His love, He pursues the lost. We take obedience, evangelism, and disciple-making too lightly:

— Psalm 85:10 — Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
— Galatians 5:22-23 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
— Proverbs 3:3-4 — Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
— Proverbs 16:6 — By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
— Proverbs 20:6 — Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?
— Proverbs 20:28 — Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.
— Matthew 24:45-47 — Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.
— Revelation 2:10 — Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

– What does it mean when God’s description of abhorrent godlessness sums up most of the popular TV shows enjoyed by Christians today? How can we be entertained by what God hates? What does that say about the condition of our hearts? What is most shocking is what no longer shocks us. Media entertainment (audio, visual, print) is an idol for God’s people. Even in its most benign forms, ‘educational’ programs preach a secular, humanist message; ‘news’ programs are biased, not only in what they select to cover but also in how they cover it; ‘family friendly’ shows are like a gateway drug to more ignoble programming and still manage to slip in ungodly values; and commercials are designed to entice us and inflame feelings of lust, pride, envy, jealousy, and greed. At the very least (perhaps the most critical point), the entertainment industry distracts us and wastes our precious time. Many Christians tell themselves that if they disconnect from the medias, they will lose touch with what is going on around them. Well, you won’t. Most of what you get from media is irrelevant, and big issues will be what everyone is talking about anyway (relationships provide information). Hearing over and over again about every gruesome sex crime, murder, scandal, or tragedy that has occurred across the planet (through global networks) serves to only depress you over things you cannot even influence. Turn off the TV, radio, and blogs for 30 days and invest that time and focus on your relationship with God, your family, your church, your friends, your neighborhood, and your community and see what happens. When you get in your car, instead of allowing the radio to be the second thing you turn on after the engine, turn on your spiritual receiver and just listen for the Counsel of the Spirit. Meditate upon these verses:

— Ephesians 5:1-21 — Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
— Psalm 101:3 — I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.
— Philippians 4:8 — 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.
— 1 Corinthians 15:33 — Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
— Matthew 5:29 — If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.
— Galatians 6:8 — For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
— 1 Timothy 4:7 — Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;
— Galatians 5:19-21 — Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
— James 4:4 — You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
— Galatians 5:13 — For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
— Matthew 6:22 — “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,
— Romans 12:2 — Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
— 1 John 2:15 — Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
— 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 — Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
— 2 Timothy 4:4 — And will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
— Matthew 5:28 — But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
— Psalm 119:1-176 — Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
— John 4:23-24 — But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
— Revelation 3:16 — So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
— Romans 1:32 — Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
— Psalm 1:1-6 — Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
— Exodus 20:7 — “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
— Matthew 10:16 — “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
— Proverbs 21:4 — Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
— Job 31:1 — “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
— Exodus 20:17 — “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

– “…and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery.” The Bible lists swearing and lying, along with murder and adultery, as all being signs of godlessness. Do you see harsh language lying the same way, as nothing but godlessness? Throughout the Bible, we are reminded and warned that what comes out of your mouth reveals what is truly in your heart and will either glorify God our dishonor Him. Be a light of faithfulness, steadfast love, holiness, and purity.

– “Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away.” Sin actually affects the environment, not just figuratively, but physically. Try to explain that to a scientist.

2. Hosea 4:4 — “Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest.” The religious tend to point their fingers at unbelievers and blame them for societal problems, but God holds the church accountable for not being a light in the darkness. Christians (God’s priests on earth) can be tempted to look at the world’s problems as if they have nothing to do with them, pointing the finger at the ‘sinful world.’ However, God points first at the salt and light that is no longer salty and bright. Repentance must start with the church that has comprised itself and remained largely silent before sin.

3. Hosea 4:6 – “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge.” Bad religious leaders will destroy the land. Who are the great Christian voices in America today? Do an internet search of the most popular, highest paid preachers in America, and consider what impact they are having in America for the Kingdom of God.

4. Hosea 5:4 – “Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they know not the Lord.” You cannot continue in sin and return to the Lord at the same time. If you want to be close to God, repent of your known sins and continue to pray that God will reveal to you your unknown sins.

5. Hosea 5:6, 7 – “With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them. They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord.” All of the religious activity and sacrifice in the world doesn’t make up for continued faithlessness. God seeks a wholehearted worshipper who worships from a heart of love and relies upon God’s grace, while obeying Him day by day out of love this as opposed to a ‘religious’ person who makes religious sacrifices while continuing in sin.

6. Proverbs 2:1-5 — “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” The word “if” is used three times in these verses to describe the conditions required to learn how to fear the Lord and to understand His ways, to truly know Jesus — receive and truly treasure God’s commands, exploring God’s word daily like a hunt for an invaluable treasure, praying earnestly for understanding, and striving to apply them more and more daily, not just to be a better person but to become more and more united with Jesus. Is that what you are doing every day?

— Proverbs 3:11 — My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof,
— Proverbs 10:13 — On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.
— Proverbs 13:1 — A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
— Proverbs 15:10 — There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.
— Proverbs 22:15 — Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
— Proverbs 26:3 — A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools.
— Hebrews 12:3-17 — Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
— Revelation 3:19 — Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

7. Proverbs 2:6-12 – “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity…. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil.” Again, Proverbs explains the process of sanctification: You study God’s word through the power of the Holy Spirit; then you apply God’s word, and through the process of being a doer of God’s word, you begin to understand through application, and wisdom moves from your head to your heart, helping you to truly desire to obey more and more rather than just obeying out of a sense of duty. The more you desire to obey, the better you obey, and a cycle of excellence continues over time. Daily, Bible reading and application, covered in prayer, changes your heart over time. These are essential daily Christian habits that are more important than eating and drinking.

8. Psalm 141:3, 4 – “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!” Pray to God that He will guard you and give you strength where you are weak and easily tempted by sin. If you can’t seem to control your mouth, pray to God for help. If you are tempted in a certain area of your life, pray that God will guard your heart. If you are easily influenced by others, pray for a greater influencing of the Spirit in your life.

9. Psalm 141:5 — “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.” Strong rebukes against sin are a gift often under appreciated.

10. Psalm 142:2 – “I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.” If you are going to complain, complain to God and to no one else.

11. Psalm 142:3 — “When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!” No matter what you are going through, God knows your situation and will take care of you.

12. Psalm 142:4 – “…there is none who takes notice of me.” When you feel completely alone, God is there for you, the only One who can truly love you unconditionally, the only One who will never abandon you, the only one you can really count on, the only One you really need. Walk with Him through trials, growing closer to Him every day. Trust Him completely.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 2 Dec 18: Today, as you worship the Lord and seek to get closer to Him, consider carefully how you might be falling short in sin, and though you walk in grace, repent of your sins that they might not quench the Spirit in your life – 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – “Do not quench the Spirit.” Ephesians 4:30 – “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:3 – “Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Galatians 5:25 – “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Hosea 5:4)

DBRP – WEEK 48, Day 6, Saturday, 1 December 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=hosea+1%2C+2%2C+3%3B+pro+1%3B+psalm+140

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 1 December 18:

Note: Here is a short video overview of Hosea: https://youtu.be/kE6SZ1ogOVU

The story of Hosea (and his marriage to Gomer) is absolutely shocking but not nearly as shocking to us to read as it no doubt was to the Israelites who witnessed this minor prophet’s verbal and visual testimony and indictment. Hosea’s life was a living object lesson to publicly proclaim the awfulness of the infidelity of the adulterous northern kingdom and to proclaim the incredible mercy and fidelity of the Lord God. Imagine the very real pain, shame, and anger that Hosea must have felt. Yet, consider his response to his spouse who deserved death according to the Law. Like a marriage, God established, and has established, a covenant relationship with His people before a watching world, that His people would be faithful and loyal to Him and Him alone. The metaphor of the Church as the Bride of Christ is used several times by Jesus and throughout the New Testament. Does our infidelity to Jesus shock us as much as Gomer’s infidelity to Hosea? Do we fully appreciate the grace that we have received as adulterers? If so, what is our response to that grace? I appreciate RC Sproul’s comments below that smack in the face of the world’s message today:

“That there is a deep and profound chasm that separates believing in the total depravity of man and our own understanding of the depth and scope of our own sin is a potent sign of the depth and scope of our own sin. ‘Total depravity’ is a true and sound biblical doctrine about how the fall has impacted mankind. We are sinful in every part of our being and utterly unable, precisely because we are unwilling, to embrace the work of Christ on our behalf unless He changes us first. Because we are totally depraved, however, we see this as a doctrine about man, rather than an actual self-description. We distinguish between the problems of ‘man’ and our own problems. It is safe to speak ill of man, but dangerous and sad business to look too closely into our own hearts of darkness. So instead we think ourselves as partaking in a general sense of this depravity thing, but see it manifest in our own lives in nice, clean ways. We have a high view of God’s holiness, of His law, and so confess with all due piety that we are sinners indeed, rebels against the living God, in a nice, clean, abstract sort of way. The living God, however, has a far more accurate and potent picture of what we are. We are whores. We are shameless, self-degrading, crass and crude. We throw ourselves at strangers, selling our dignity for cash. Worse still, after He has redeemed us, washed us, even married us, we go back for more. We turn tricks before the all-seeing eyes of a Husband who suffered hell for us. Again He comes and washes us. He holds us. He confesses His love for us. He promises He will never leave us. He makes us new again.

But because we are still proud, we parade around in the beautiful gown with which He has covered us, suggesting that it surely had a few spots, a wrinkle or two on it before He found us. But they were nice, respectable spots and wrinkles. What we should be confessing is that it was once stained through with our whoredom. The joy of the Lord is not that He took we who were mostly clean and made us wholly clean. The joy of the Lord isn’t that because He worked in us no one needs to know our former shame. The joy of the Lord is that while we were out walking the streets He came for us. While others paid to pollute us, He paid to redeem us.

Our Father told us a story so that we would know what we are. He gave us a prophet, Hosea. And we, sinners that we are, instead of confessing to being Gomer, thought He was telling us to be more like Hosea. ‘Oh,’ we humbly confess, ‘we should be so much more compassionate towards the really bad people. Please forgive us for not being more loving toward the unseemly ones of this world.’ The truth is He is confessing that we are the unseemly ones. That’s what we are, the people Jesus died for and married, the people adopted and loved of the Father, the people indwelt and being cleansed by the Spirit — God in three persons, consorting with such as we.

1. Hosea 1:2 – “When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.’” Throughout the Bible, God calls sin spiritual whoredom. God will use the lives of Hosea and Gomer as a living metaphor to show the people the truth of their sin. Hosea marrying Gomer would have been a shock to the people because Gomer was a prostitute, likely a temple prostitute, but the people who were shocked by Gomer were unmoved by their own sin against God.

2. Hosea 1:9 – “And the Lord said, ‘Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.’” God’s people had sinned to the point where they essentially were no longer God’s people. They were still religious, but their religion had no power.

3. Hosea 1:10 – “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.’” God did not abandon the unfaithful people and had an ultimate plan of revival and renewal after discipline and repentance.

4. Hosea 2:6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 — “I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her…. I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness… I will uncover her lewdness…. I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees…. I will punish her…. Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her…. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.” In His perfect love and fidelity, God deals with us BOTH positively and negatively. We like to praise God’s grace and mercy when He does not give us what our sins deserve but rather ‘allures’ us by ‘speaking tenderly.’ However, we are usually not as joyous when God painfully removes from our lives those things we have allowed to become idols and substitutes for Him; we don’t usually display an attitude of thankfulness when He punishes us for our infidelities. We sometimes forget that God’s discipline is also an act of love, bringing us back to His loving arms. With mercy, God deals with us from His character of righteousness, justice, and faithfulness. He calls us to reflect His righteousness, justice, mercy, steadfast love, and faithfulness in all of our actions, not strictly out of a sense of duty but because we are one with Him, perfectly united in spirit. God who is perfect Love and our Life, cannot respond to you in perfect love while allowing you to chase destructive substitutes for Him that entice you away from perfect love. Hosea 2 starts with a ‘plea’ to those ‘who have received mercy.’ Then there is a transition from a plea to great punishment because some will not listen until there is no other choice, until they hit rock bottom. What does it take for God to get your attention? Is there something getting in the way of your love relationship with God? Will you listen to God’s plea, or do you need more than that?

5. Hosea 2:7 – “She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she shall say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.’” Returning to the Lord merely to receive blessings when you need them is not enough.

6. Hosea 2:14 – “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” Though they have sinned terribly against Him, God does everything He can to allure the people back to Him. He desires reconciliation. He sent His Son for the purpose or reconciliation, and we have been given the message of reconciliation.

7. Hosea 2:16, 17 — “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.” God wants the sinner to have a change of heart and then to forget the past.

8. Hosea 2:18 – “I will make you lie down in safety.” There is security in fidelity.

9. Hosea 2:19, 20 – “And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.” In our relationship with God, He demands righteousness and justice and will discipline us while showing love and mercy (He won’t give us all that we deserve). In our relationship with God, He is always faithful.

10. Hosea 3:1 – “And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” From Henry T. Blackaby — No human can comprehend God’s love for His children! Our limited experience of human love hinders us from understanding God’s unconditional love for us. We can see a picture of this love in the life of Hosea. Hosea was a righteous man, but God told him to marry a sinful woman. Hosea obeyed and took Gomer as his wife. He cherished her and treated her with dignity and respect. Never before had Gomer experienced this kind of love, but she soon grew dissatisfied. She began giving her affections to other men. She became so involved in adulterous pursuits that finally she abandoned Hosea altogether. Other men used her until she had nothing left to give. Then they sold her into slavery. After this, God gave Hosea an amazing command: “Go and buy her back.” Despite the intense pain and hurt that Gomer had inflicted on him, God told Hosea to forgive her and to pay any price to bring her back into his home. God’s message is clear: When we reject Him and turn our devotion elsewhere, our rejection carries the same pain as an adulterous betrayal. After all God has done for us, it is incomprehensible that we should reject Him. It is even harder to fathom that God could love us even after we have rejected, ignored, and disobeyed Him. Yet God’s love is completely different from ours. His love follows us to the depths of our sinfulness until He has reclaimed us. His love is undaunted when we run from Him, and He continues to pursue us. What incredible love He has demonstrated to us!

11. Proverbs 1:7 — “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” If your education is not grounded in faith in Jesus, you are like the astronomers of old, trying to make the earth the center of the universe.

12. Proverbs 1:19 –“Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.” Jesus said that he who seeks his own life will lose it. Self-centeredness will destroy you. Jesus said that the first step for those who would follow Him is to deny self.

13. Proverbs 1:23-25 — “If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel.” Spiritual growth involves continual humility and repentance. To grow in spirit, we must be willing and eager to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit.

14. Proverbs 1:28 — “Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.” There can come a time when it is too late. Don’t take God’s warnings and discipline lightly.

15. Proverbs 1:31 — “Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices.” Often God’s discipline is giving you what you want so you can experience the consequences and hopefully return to Him.

16. Psalm 140:1, 2 – “Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their heart and stir up wars continually.” Compare these verses with Proverbs 26:17-28. God wants us to call on Him to protect us from the ungodly.

17. Psalm 140:11 – “Let not the slanderer be established in the land; let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!” Eventually evil catches up to the sinner.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 1 Dec 18: Be a peacemaker. Avoid conflict and avoid adding to conflict. Avoid all gossip and flattery, speaking only the words of God. (Proverbs 26:17-28)

DBRP – WEEK 48, Day 5, Friday, 30 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=dan+11%2C+12%3B+pro+30%3B+Rev+2

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 30 November 18:

1. Daniel 11 — The kingdom’s of men will not bring peace to earth and will always be driven by selfishness.

2. Daniel 11:2 – “And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece.” Some of Daniel’s prophecies have already occurred, so accurately described by Daniel that many sceptics have tried to suggest that Daniel was written after the events – it wasn’t. Daniel 11:2 speaks of Xerxes, the Persian king who invaded Greece and reigned from 485-464 B.C.

3. Daniel 11:3, 4 – “Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills. And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these.” These verses are believed to prophecy about Alexander the Great. Below is an amazing account by Josephus of Alexander the Great’s actual entry into Jerusalem and the temple:

– “Now Alexander, when he had taken Gaza, made haste to go up to Jerusalem; and Jaddua the high-priest, when he heard that, was in agony, and under terror, as not knowing how he should meet the Macedonians, since the king was displeased at his foregoing disobedience. He therefore ordained that the people should make supplications, and should join with him in offering sacrifices to God, whom he besought to protect that nation, and to deliver them from the perils that were coming upon them; whereupon God warned him in a dream, which came upon him after he had offered sacrifice, that he should take courage, adorn the city, and open the gates; that the rest appear in white garments, but that he and the priests should meet the king in habits proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences, which the providence of God would prevent. Upon which, when he rose from his sleep, he greatly rejoiced; and declared to all the warning he had received from God. According to the dream he acted entirely, and so waited for the coming of the king. And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha; which name, translated in Greek, signifies a prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple; and when the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans that followed him, thought they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high-priest to death, which the king’s displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened; for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high-priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his mitre on his head having the golden plate on which the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the high-priest. The Jews also did all together, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about: whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him to be disordered in his mind. However, Parmenio [Alexander’s second-in-command] alone went up to him, and asked him how it came to pass, that when all others adored him, he should adore the high-priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, “I did not adore him, but that God who has honored him with that high-priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios, in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me dominion over the Persians; whence it is, that having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering my vision and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind.” And when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high-priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city; and when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high-priest’s direction, and magnificently treated both the high-priest and the priests. And when the book of Daniel was showed him, wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended; and as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present, but the next day he called them to him, and bade them ask what favors they pleased of him: whereupon the high-priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired: and when they entreated him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired: and when he said to the multitude, that if any of them would enlist themselves in his army on this condition, that they should continue under the laws of their forefathers, and live according to them, he was willing to take them with him, many were ready to accompany him in his wars.” (Antiquities 11.8.4-5)

4. Daniel 11:5 – “Then the king of the south shall be strong, but one of his princes shall be stronger than he and shall rule, and his authority shall be a great authority.” Ptolemy I of Egypt exerted his control over the Holy Land. Soon after the division of Alexander’s Empire, the Ptolemies dominated this region. Ptolemy I had a prince named Seleucus, who rose to power and took dominion over the region of Syria. He became more powerful than his former Egyptian ruler. The Seleucids are identified with the Kings of the North, and the Ptolemies were the Kings of the South. The dynasties of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies fought for some 130 years. The stronger of the two always held dominion over the Holy Land.

5. Daniel 11:6 – “After some years they shall make an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement. But she shall not retain the strength of her arm, and he and his arm shall not endure, but she shall be given up, and her attendants, he who fathered her, and he who supported her in those times.” Antiochus II (of the Seleucids) married Berenice (daughter of Ptolemy II). There was peace for a time because of this marriage, but it was upset when Ptolemy II died. Once Ptolemy II died, Antiochus II put away Berenice and took back his former wife, Laodice. Laodice didn’t trust her husband Antiochus II; so she had him poisoned. After the murder of Antiochus II, Laodice had Berenice, her attendants, and an infant son of Antiochus II and Berenice killed. After this reign of terror, Laodice set her son (Selecus II) on the throne of the Syrian dominion.

6. Daniel 11:30-32 – “For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” Ungodly kingdoms will inevitably find themselves opposed to the worship of God as His commands will oppose the sinfulness of their ways. A natural next-step is to seek to eliminate worship of God.

7. Daniel 11:32 – “He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” Knowing about God won’t be enough to keep people from being led astray by the seduction of the world; you must truly know God and live Him with all your heart. Those who truly know God will not partner with the world in violation of God’s commands.

8. Daniel 11:33-35 – “The wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.” Many will resist the world for a time but will succumb to the pressure that comes from both pain and pleasure. Those who remain faithful until the end will reign with Christ in the new Kingdom of God on earth.

9. Daniel 11:36 – “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done.” Daniel transitions to End Times.

10. For an explanation of the remainder of the prophetic verses in Daniel 11, go to https://www.blueletterbible.org/comm/guzik_david/studyguide_dan/dan_11.cfm

11. Daniel 12:4 – “But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” People are getting busier and busier, and human knowledge is increasing exponentially on earth, but wisdom is decreasing just as fast. While the ungodly pride themselves in their knowledge, they become increasingly capable of evil and destructiveness. Our global technologies have become our Tower of Babel – our rapid progress is rapidly progressing us towards catastrophic consequences as mankind seeks their own global kingdom on earth rather than the Kingdom of God.

12. Daniel 12:9 — “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end.” End Times prophecy is mostly intended to be understood when it is revealed, to give confidence throughout all times that God is in control and has a plan and to give confirmation to those who witness the fulfillment of prophecy that God always fulfills His word. Daniel 11:1-36 shows us that God fulfills His word, and we can have complete confidence that God will fulfill His End Times prophecy – only the Father knows when.

13. Daniel 12:10 – “Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.” You are either purifying yourself as one of God’s holy people or not. You are either giving your allegiance to this world or to God. The world will be distinctly divided between true Christians and the ungodly. Only the true followers of Christ will have the spiritual discernment to understand what is going on. The wicked cannot understand the gravity of what is happening around them right now.

14. Daniel 12:13 – “But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.” Daniel would die before the end of the days, but there is a position awaiting him when Christ returns to establish His Kingdom on earth.

15. Proverbs 30:1-3 — “I am weary, O God, and worn out. Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.”

– It takes a lot for some people to finally realize how much they need God and to humble themselves before the Lord.

– One of the first steps to wisdom is acknowledging that you know nothing and that you are totally reliant on God for understanding.

16. Proverbs 30:5, 6 – “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.”

– We should only communicate the word of God to ourselves and to others. Don’t try to prove your wisdom by adding to it.

– Many feel they are too smart for the Bible, and many think they need more than God’s word. Many people trust in their own intellect rather than the mind of God. God will be glorified in the consequences the proud will inevitably face. Trust in God’s word, not in your own understanding.

17. Proverbs 30:7-9 – “Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” Trust God to give you what you need, not what you want.

18. Proverbs 30:10 — “Do not slander a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.” Don’t judge the worth of others; you don’t have God’s perspective on their lives. God is the judge of people. We can only judge behavior. You can speak to whether or not a person is doing what is right or wrong, but you cannot judge the value of the person. What a person does today isn’t the sum total of who they are or who they are becoming. At one point, both Moses and David were murderers, but God was making them into people after His own heart. You have to assume that God is doing great things in the lives of every person you meet, even the difficult people.

19. Proverbs 30:12 – “There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth.” If you don’t think you need it, you won’t ask for it, and your need will remain unfilled to your loss.

20. Proverbs 30:18, 19 – “Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a virgin.” You never know what a person might do under certain circumstances. Everyone can be tempted to do foolish, sinful things when conditions change. You should seek to not only guard your own heart by controlling your environment as best as you can, you should also do the same for others, protecting them from their own weaknesses whenever possible.

21. Proverbs 30:20 – “This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’” What sins in your life have become so commonplace that you don’t even consider them sinful anymore? How about watching ungodly scenes as entertainment on your television?

22. Proverbs 30:24-28 – “Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard you can take in your hands,
yet it is in kings’ palaces.” You don’t have to be powerful if you are wise. Wisdom comes from God, not through human intellect.

23. Revelation 2:2, 23 — “I know your deeds…. I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” In today’s reading from Revelation, Jesus commends and rebukes the churches based upon their deeds. The church of Ephesus is commended for its perseverance, refusal to tolerate “wicked men” and false teachers, and for its hatred of evil practices. Yet, it is also rebuked for slipping from its original height and commanded to repent. Meanwhile, Smyrna receives no rebuke, only praise and encouragement to remain faithful through affliction. Jesus commends Pergamum for refusing to renounce their faith under persecution but also rebukes them for immorality including sexual sin. He warns Pergamum that if they don’t deal with their sinful behavior, he will personally “fight against” those who practice such behavior. Thyatira is commended for “love, faith, service, perseverance, and growth. However, Thyatira is also rebuked for tolerating false teaching and immorality. Jesus warns that, without repentance, he will personally punish such behavior that God may be glorified. The end of chapter 2 states, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” – these letters have a message for all of God’s people. My takeaway: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9). However, God holds us accountable for our words and deeds on earth as His ambassadors. God calls His people to repent from false doctrines and immorality which dishonors His Holiness. God does not take sin lightly and will punish His people for sin. Churches that fail to repent lose their “lampstand.” Reward awaits those who persevere and overcome.

24. Revelation 2:3, 4 – “I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”

– You must endure patiently, but you must do it out of genuine love, not merely a sense of duty. You must be patient because you really want to for God and not just because you know you are supposed to.

– Good deeds are not enough. God is concerned about your heart. Your actions must be the fruit of love, not the fruit of pride, self-righteousness or self-preservation. How can two people do the same deed and one is accepted by God and the other isn’t? The answer is that one person is motivated by genuine love and the other isn’t. What motivates you to do what you do?

25. Revelation 2:14, 15, 20 — “You have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam… so that they might… practice sexual immorality…. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans…. you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality.” God warns his churches that syncretism (the blending of God’s truth with the world’s lies) will destroy the churches if not stopped. Despite their “toil and… patient endurance… and bearing up”; despite their ‘holding fast’ to the Name of God and their refusal to deny their faith; despite their ever-increasing “love and faith and service and patient endurance,” the influence of the world around them threatens to erode their holiness, salt and light, thereby rendering them powerless and worthless as a church. It starts with ‘tolerance’ of evil within the church which turns into acceptance of evil within the church. Soon the word of God is filtered by God’s people to accommodate their sins which are abhorrent to God and misrepresent His character and His will before the world. The Bible points out over and over again that sexual sin is the most obvious or blatant indicator of infidelity to God. First the church starts to tolerate sexual sin (this usually starts with entertainment); then the church accepts it; then we stop preaching about it or, even worse, we pervert the word of God to justify current cultural norms. We do all this in the name of ‘love.’ However, the Provider of Grace has a much different message to the churches – “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5)

– God will not tolerate sexual immorality within the body and will “war” against it. God strictly forbids sex outside the covenant marriage of one man and one woman. All other sexual activity is an abomination. Remember, this is Jesus speaking. Don’t let anyone convince you that His grace accommodates unrepentant sin after salvation.

– Again, God forbids you to tolerate any form of sexual immorality. Don’t view inappropriate things and then go to the Lord in prayer, expecting God to honor your prayer. Purify yourself.

26. Revelation 2:9 — “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”

– Christians must be willing to really pay the price for doing the right thing. Wealth obtained in an ungodly way (like taking advantage of others or working for ungodly organizations) is not wealth at all. To be faithful to God, you might have to pass up on opportunities to get what you desire.

– See how many places the Bible points out that the church will go through the tribulation. Many Christians think they will escape the suffering that comes when God judges their nations.

27. Revelation 2:10, 11 – “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’” God will let His faithful servants suffer and die, and He warns them not to be afraid of their earthly demise. He will reward them for eternity. You likely won’t hear this message preached in the “seeker sensitive” church.

28. Revelation 2:21 – “…she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.” Once again, God will not tolerate sexual immorality.

29. Revelation 2:26, 27 – “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.” Those who are most faithful will rule on earth with Jesus in His new Kingdom; not everyone receives a position of leadership in that kingdom.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 30 Nov 18: Today, purify yourself, and focus your mind on responding to all people, regardless of how they treat you, with love and service. (Rev 2:14-20; Proverbs 25:21, 22)

DBRP – WEEK 48, Day 4, Thursday, 29 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=dan+9%2C+10%3B+pro+29%3B+rev+1

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 29 November 18:

1. Daniel 9:1-3 – “I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.” Daniel went to God’s word to understand history, the current situation, and what would happen in the future. Do you?

2. Daniel 9:3 – “Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.” Reading God’s word drove Daniel to impassioned prayer.

3. Daniel 9:3-19 – Daniel’s response to the truth of God’s word was mourning, confession, and repentance. The more you appreciate the Holiness of God, the more you understand and appreciate your need for His mercy and grace and the more you earnestly desire to live in obedience to Him.

4. Daniel 9:5-11 – “We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame…. To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you…. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice.” Daniel intercedes for a people who had suffered great calamity because they refused to listen to God’s word, obey God’s commands, and walk in the ways of God. God’s word reveals God’s holiness; God’s commands; the guiltiness of individuals, leaders, and nations; God’s righteous condemnation of sinners, and their utter dependence on God’s mercy and grace. Daniel exemplifies a proper response as a member of a sinful nation and as God’s ambassador – repentance, deep intercessory prayer, personal counter-culture faithfulness, and a willingness to proclaim God’s truth to everyone, even to kings, even at the risk of his life, whether anyone will listen or not.

5. Daniel 9:18 – “For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.” Everything we do rests on God’s continual grace. The more you think in a self-centered way, the worse off your perspective of reality. To self-promote is to work against the Gospel. God cannot share His glory with anyone. You don’t have the answer, Jesus does.

6. Daniel 9:21 – “…while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice.” Vision came at worship time.

7. Daniel 9:23 – “At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision.”

– Daniel’s prayer was answered immediately. Daniel was greatly loved not because of his righteous deeds (which were truly impressive), but because of his genuine, humble love of God which inspired his righteous deeds. Daniel was truly wholehearted, and his deeds were the fruit of love, not acts of self-righteousness or even duty.

– Daniel’s supernatural powers emanated from His love relationship with the Lord.

8. Daniel 9:27: “And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” Daniel’s vision revealed a future discipline.

9. Daniel 10: Daniel’s next recorded vision is two years later. How long will you wait and remain obedient before you hear a clear word from God? Many Christians, in their impatience, try to invent words from God in order answer their doubts. Be still and know that God is God.

10. Daniel 10:3 – “I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.”

– How serious are you about following Jesus? How desperately do you want to know His word? Daniel had been in mournful prayer and fasting for twenty-four days (presumably a regular practice for him) before God gave him a vision. Doubtful he would have done this if he were clamoring for political position in the king’s palace, something he had the opportunity to do.

– Though he was surrounded by people, Daniel was alone in his vision, and his personal strength or abilities were meaningless. Nothing that was about to happen was contrived by him or his intellect. The servant of God will likely stand alone and can only transmit (not craft) God’s word.

11. Daniel 10:12 — “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.”

– Daniel was heard because he was wholehearted and truly humble. As Jesus said would happen, Daniel’s prayers were answered because Daniel asked in His name, not in Daniel’s name. In other words, Daniel’s prayers were totally aligned to God’s will and not selfishly motivated or self-centered. Daniel asked the right things, for the right reasons, in the right way, and at the right time. Why? Because Daniel had “set his heart” and humbled himself.

– The prayers of the wholehearted and humble are powerful.

12. Daniel 10:15 – “When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute.” God’s word will shut you up.

13. Daniel 10:20 – “But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia.” There is a real spiritual battle occurring that we cannot perceive unless it is revealed to us by the Spirit.

14. Proverbs 29:1 – “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.” There can come a time when it is too late to escape punishment.

15. Proverbs 29:13 – “The poor man and the oppressor meet together; the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.” God is in complete control of your life and the lives of others. He knows what you are going through and will work all things together for good if you are living according to His purpose.

16. Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” The law gives you boundaries to protect you in areas of your life where you are still not controlled by the love of God. Where love reigns, there is no need for laws.

17. Proverbs 29:25 – “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” You will either fear people or trust in God. Who has a greater impact on your decisions God our others?

18. Proverbs 29:26 – “Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.” Your hope is not in political leaders or any other human leader. God is your only hope and your only salvation.

Note: Here is a video overview of Revelation 1-11: https://youtu.be/5nvVVcYD-0w

19. Revelation 1:1 – “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.” This is not a revelation of John. This is a “revelation of Jesus Christ” – The Father first revealed it to the Son, and then the Son revealed it to John by sending His angel. John’s very first point is that he is only transmitting Jesus’s message, not something inspired by his Christian thinking. He is just a messenger, not a philosopher. Too many Christians are trying to be “teachers” rather than transmitters. The Holy Spirit is the teacher.

20. Revelation 1:3 – “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” We are blessed when we read Revelation and share it with others who in turn are also blessed.

21. Revelation 1:5, 6 – “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

– In our salvation, we are not only freed from our sins, be we have also become subjects in the Kingdom, citizens with all other believers under the rule of Jesus. We have become priests to God with the sole duty of glorifying Him forever. John, though exiled on the island of Patmos, did not see himself as any less of a priest or as having any less of a part in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God does not manifest itself in the way the kingdoms of the world do. John, who identifies himself to the reader as a ‘partner in the kingdom’, also identifies himself as a ‘partner in tribulation.’ John points out that Kingdom people must unite through tribulation. Daniel was a great example of a ‘priest’ of the Kingdom who was being subjugated by earthly rulers. Through intense study of the Scriptures, he understood the ‘signs of the times’ which drove him to relentless intercessory prayer and fasting for his people and for himself. Yes, Lions’ Den Daniel understood, “we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules…. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame…. To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you…. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth.” (Daniel 9:2-13) Daniel felt compelled to fast and mourn for three weeks because of the transgression of God’s people and his understanding of the Holiness of God. (Daniel 10:2, 3) Daniel understood from his study of Scripture (Jeremiah) that 70 years of captivity were drawing to an end, but he could not understand how God would fulfill this prophesy based on the current situation. So he went to God in prayer for answers rather than just speculating. This is a good example for us as we begin a quick study of Revelation and the remaining books of prophesy in the Old Testament. Hang on to what you know and pray earnestly about what you don’t know with expectation that God will reveal truth to you when you are ready for it. In the meantime, be a faithful ‘priest’ one day at a time, remaining in intercessory prayer for those around you. Also, remember that you were saved into a Kingdom, to be united with fellow believers. Be a good citizen of the Kingdom of God and join your people. Give your full allegiance to the KING.

– Revelation is a confusing book though it comes with a blessing to those who read it and take it to heart (Revelation 1:3). Since there is so much that I don’t understand in Revelation, I try hard to hang on to what I can understand, hoping to comprehend a little more each year. Today, some important points jump out at me: First, This is “Revelation,” not “Revelations” as some say. It is a single revelation “of Jesus Christ” intended for “His servants.” It is a “testimony of Jesus Christ.” So, the first big takeaway: This book further reveals Jesus – an important reason to read it and seek to understand it. The first testimony of Jesus: He is the faithful witness; He is alive, and He IS the ruler of the kings of the earth (your King is King); every eye shall see him in his glory – The Almighty was and is, but He is also “yet to come” (Revelation 1:8). The first big revelation about you: Jesus loves you and has freed you from your sins through His blood. He has made you to be part of His Kingdom, serving God the Father as a priest, yes, a priest (Revelation 1:6). Take this revelation “to heart” as stated in Revelation 1:3 because “the time is near.” Consider these words in comparison to the “Lord’s Prayer”: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.” Honor your King as King and give Him all glory. As a priest in the Kingdom, bring glory to God by doing His will on earth, trusting Him and faithfully serving Him, one day at a time without worrying about tomorrow. Seek to be a good steward of today.

22. Revelation 1:7: — “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” As Ambassadors and Priests, our bold message is that God is Almighty and will come again to hold all accountable. That is not a popular message. How well are you communicating it?

23. Revelation 1:9 – “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus.” Christians are united in Jesus but also united in tribulation, citizenship, and patient endurance. Adversity strengthens unity.

24. Revelation 1:10 – “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” In the Spirit, John was no longer limited in the physical sense and could now transcend the physical aspects of time and space. He could also see what is not physically visible but real nonetheless. When we are guided by the Spirit, we move far beyond mere intellect.

25. Revelation 1:14-15 – “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters.” From Henry T. Blackaby — At times it is tempting to conclude: “If only I could have walked with Jesus, as the twelve disciples did, it would be so much easier to live the Christian life!” This thought reveals that we do not comprehend the greatness of the risen Christ we serve today. The Jesus of the Gospels is often portrayed as One who walked along the seashore, loving children and gently forgiving sinners. Yet the image of Jesus that we see at the close of the New Testament is far more dramatic! He stands in awesome power as He rules all creation. His appearance is so magnificent that when John, His beloved disciple, sees Him, he falls to the ground as though he were dead (Rev. 1:17). We grossly underestimate the God we serve! To ignore God’s word or to disobey a direct command from Him is to ignore the magnificent nature of Christ. Our fear of other people proves that we do not understand the awesome Lord who walks with us. The Christ we serve today is the Lord of all creation. He is vastly more awesome and powerful than the gentle rabbi we often imagine. If you struggle with your obedience to Christ, take a closer look at how He is portrayed in the Book of Revelation. If you are succumbing to temptation, call upon the powerful One who dwells in you. If you have forgotten how great and mighty the Lord is, meet Him through the vision of the beloved disciple. The encounter will dramatically affect the way you live!

26. Revelation 1:17 – “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.”

– Our problems always relate to a limited or superficial perception of Jesus Christ. The reality of Jesus Christ should completely overwhelm us and transform us.

– Jesus’ most repeated prohibition is “Fear not”. We can rest assured because or confidence is in Jesus, the First and the Last.

27. Revelation 1:19 – “Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.” Revelation is not just about the future. It is also an explanation of past and current events.

28. Revelation 1:20 – “As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” Jesus is the Head of the churches, and He is in the midst of the churches. Note that there are seven churches, all different, all with different strengths and weaknesses. When Jesus speaks to the seven churches, He will speak to them all individually.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 29 Nov 18: Today, make your every response to others loving, patient, kind, gracious, uplifting, and encouraging regardless how they treat you. Treat others greater than yourself regardless how they treat you. As stated in Philippians 2, “In humility count others more significant than yourselves…. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who… emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant.., he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Deny self, take up your cross in relationships, and follow Jesus – today.

DBRP – WEEK 48, Day 3, Wednesday, 28 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=dan+7%2C+8%3B+pro+28%3B+John+21

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 28 November 18:

1. Daniel 7:9 — “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat.” Powerful nations will rise and fall, but God reigns as Sovereign and is in complete control.

2. Daniel 7:12 — “As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.”

– God accomplishes His purposes in His ways and on His timeline, not ours. We cannot understand the mind of God or why He does what He does the way He does it. Prophecy is given to help us trust when we don’t understand.

– The fate of the beasts was determined before it was apparent.

3. Daniel 7:21, 22 — “As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.” From these verses, it would appear that God will allow the saints to suffer until Jesus returns, and then the saints will reign with Jesus.

4. Daniel 7:23 — “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces.” The fourth kingdom is global.

5. Daniel 8:25 — “By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.” God wins the final battle, not men. Jesus will destroy the destroyer. “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” (Proverbs 21:31) We are called to be faithful; victory belongs to God. This was learned by Moses when seemingly trapped by Pharaoh’s army. It was learned by Joshua when he faces the walls of Jericho. It was learned by Gideon when he faced the powerful Midianites. It was learned by king Hezekiah when he faced seemingly impossible odds against Sennacherib, king of Assyria; and it will be learned again by the whole world at the Battle of Armageddon – “And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’” (Revelation 16:16, 17) The kings will form for battle, but God will finish them before it ever begins. Victory is not the question. Will you be like Gideon’s army of 300 who were willing to remain faithful and diligent to show up for the fight? Will you be among the ranks of faithful to partake in the great victory which will be handed down by God through His Mighty Hand? Will you be one of his saints who reign with Him in victory? Many are called, but few are chosen. The test of faith – what do you do before impossible odds? Are you willing to lose everything to win EVERYTHING? Your fight might not be glamorous but it is today. What you decide to do with the small, seemingly insignificant decisions of the day defines who you really are, what you really believe, and who is Lord of your life. Trust and Obey; there is no other way….

6. Daniel 8:27 — “I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days.” The truth can be hard to handle.

7. Proverbs 28:1 – “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Perspective is everything. Knowing that God loves you beyond your understanding and is in complete control of your life changes everything.

8. Proverbs 28:13 – “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Pride causes us to hide our sins; humility enables us to confess our sins, have freedom from them, and move on.

9. Proverbs 28:20 – “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” Blessings are conditional upon faithfulness. Selfishness will not be blessed by God.

10. Proverbs 28:26 – “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” Wisdom comes only from the word of God and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (as opposed to knowledge which comes from our limited intellect). Only God can show you how to rightly apply knowledge (wisdom) because only God knows the whole truth of any situation. Many think they are smart enough to live their lives without the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is the height of arrogance and foolishness.

11. John 21:3 — “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” Trained for three years as a disciple of Jesus, charged with seeking lost souls, Peter, in fear and doubt, went back to his old business, doing what was comfortable for him, doing what he knew he could do under his own strength rather than doing what now seemed impossible to him.

12. John 21:15 – “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’”

From Henry T. Blackaby — Jesus has a wonderful way of restoring us when we fail Him! He does not humiliate us. He does not criticize us. He does not ask us to make a resolution to try harder. Rather, He takes us aside and asks us to reaffirm our love for Him. Peter miserably failed his Lord when he fled with the other disciples from the Garden of Gethsemane. Later, he publicly denied that he even knew Jesus. Peter must have wondered if he had been capable of being Jesus’ disciple when he was unfaithful to Jesus in His most crucial hour…. You may be painfully aware that you have failed your Lord in many ways. Perhaps you were not faithful. Perhaps you disobeyed His word to you. Perhaps you denied Him by the way you lived. Jesus will take you aside, as He did Peter. He will not berate you. He will not humiliate you. He will ask you to examine your love for Him. He asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” If your answer, like Peter’s, is “Yes, Lord,” He will reaffirm His will for you. If you truly love Him, you will obey Him (John 14:15). Jesus does not need your resolutions, your recommitments, or your promises to try harder this year. If your resolve to obey God last year did not help you to be faithful, it will not make you successful this year. Jesus asks for your love. If you truly love Him, your service for Him in the new year will be of the quality that He desires.

13. John 21:15-19 — Previously Peter denied Jesus three times; here Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him three times. In the original language Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him unconditionally, but Peter, now humbled by the truth of himself, can only say to Jesus that he loves Him as a brother. Jesus accepts Peter’s imperfect love and charges Peter to “follow” Him and to “feed [His] sheep.” This is Peter’s call to do more than just work for a living in order to meet his worldly needs. It is his call to accomplish his purpose in life to be Christ’s Ambassador. This is your call too.

– “Do you truly love me (John 21:15-17)?” We can all agree that we don’t love Jesus perfectly, and every day we fail in our attempts to follow Jesus and to remain obedient in love. So, what do we do in the face of our failures? Don’t accept sin or make light of it (God doesn’t), but rejoice in your state of grace and keep trying. Seek to enjoy God and glorify Him better each day. Keep pressing forward, not looking backwards but keeping your eyes on the prize, Jesus, one day at a time. “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day (Proverbs 4:18).”

– “He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.'” When you love someone, you care about what they care about. You earnestly desire to please them. Jesus said that the proof of our love for Him was revealed in our love for others. What could be more loving than to lead someone to Jesus, to disciple them in the Lord?

14. John 21:20-21 – “Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following…. Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’” From Henry T. Blackaby — The first thing you do after God speaks to you is critical. Jesus was telling Peter what type of ministry he would have and what type of death he would suffer (vv. 18-19). It was a sacred moment in Peter’s life, as his Lord pulled back the curtain to his future. His was not to be an easy life but a life ordained and blessed by his Lord and Master. Rather than responding to what Jesus told him, Peter looked around at his fellow disciples. His glance fell upon John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. “But Lord, what about this man?” Peter asked. Peter had just been given the somber news of his future death. How natural to compare his assignment with that of the others! This is the great temptation of God’s servants: to compare our situation with that of others. Did God give my friend a larger house? Did God heal my friend’s loved one and not mine? Did God allow my friend to receive appreciation and praise for his work while I remain anonymous? Did God allow another Christian to remain close to her family while I am far removed from mine? Jesus assigned Peter and John to walk two different paths, but both Peter and John have enriched our lives. Jesus knew how dangerous it is when a servant takes his eyes off the master to focus on a fellow servant. Where is your focus? Have you become more concerned with how God is treating someone else than you are with how He is relating to you?

15. John 21:22 — “Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’” Jesus does not want you to compare yourself with other Christians or to worry about what God is doing in their lives. Jesus wants you to follow Him one day and a time and to be faith with the resources, opportunities, and relationships that you have been given.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 28 Nov 18: Today, don’t worry about your circumstances, simply trust God, obey Him, follow Him, and bring the people God has placed in your life closer to Jesus. (John 21:22)

DBRP – WEEK 48, Day 2, Tuesday, 27 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=dan+5%2C+6%3B+pro+27%3B+John+20

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 27 November 18:

1. Daniel 5:1-4 – “Belshazzar… commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.” Belshazzar treated God’s holiness with contempt and would pay the price for it.

2. Daniel 5:11 — “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers.” Nebuchadnezzar had made Daniel chief of the magicians, but by the time Belshazzar had assumed his reign, Daniel was nowhere to be found. Daniel was not interested in position, power, or prestige and did not desire to partner with the secular government. Daniel’s ambition was oneness with God. What is yours?

3. Daniel 5:14 – “I have heard of you that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you.” Is this your reputation? Have people who have never met you heard of your godliness and godly wisdom?

4. Daniel 5:17 — “Then Daniel answered and said before the king, ‘Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another.’”

– In our previous readings from Daniel, we learned of his amazing character which earned him the special trust and confidence of the king. Daniel was not only excellent in all things, but he also carefully guarded his purity, even with the smallest things. In every way, Daniel gave all honor, praise, and glory to God who had blessed him with special abilities. Daniel’s faithful witness impacted an entire nation, the most influential nation on the planet. Today’s readings from Daniel include two very famous stories: the Writing on the Wall and the Lion’s Den. One of the many important lessons from these stories is the need to avoid becoming unequally yoked and entangled in the systems of the world. Notice that Daniel, having been previously appointed by Nebuchadnezzar as “chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners” was not found at the palace enjoying the privilege and prestige of his position; in fact, the new king Belshazzar apparently hadn’t even heard of him. Daniel could have “had it all” yet he would have none of it. King Belshazzar offers Daniel the position of “third highest ruler in the kingdom.” Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to have such an important position? But Daniel says, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else.” His response is very similar to the response Abraham gave the king of Sodom: “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich’ (Gen 14:21-23).” Daniel’s response also reminds me of Jesus’ response to Satan in the desert when he reminds Satan that his purpose is to worship God and serve the Kingdom of God rather than the kingdoms of man (Matt 4:10). Conversely, we read of God’s anger with Jehoshaphat for not only supporting the wicked king Ahab but also for going into business with his son King Ahaziah (1 Kings 22:1-40; 2 Chron 18-19). Too often we compromise our holiness for worldly success and pursuit of the American dream. If we were in Daniel or Jehoshaphat’s shoes, we might say, “God could really use my great success,” or “I could use this position and wealth to better spread the Word.” But what is the price in integrity and holiness paid to gain and maintain that position? Note that, despite Daniel’s desire to remain set apart, Darius was intent to place Daniel “over the whole kingdom.” Daniel didn’t seek a political position, but once in office, his fidelity to God was tested greater than ever before, and in his fidelity, he impacted the whole nation for God’s glory: “Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: ‘Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.” (Daniel 6:25, 26) Note that reconciliation between Daniel and the king was only resolved by the king submitting to God’s authority, not by Daniel conceding.

— “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14)?”

– One way to examine your heart is to consider why you do the things you do. What motivates you? On what are your goals and ambitions based? Do you live for God or for self? Daniel lived for God. When an ordinance was made making worshipping God a crime punishable by death, Daniel boldly and publicly worshipped God even more fervently – he would have rather died horrifically than to fail to worship His God. Though it would have been a simple thing for Daniel to worship in private, Daniel refused to deny God the glory due Him through the life of one of His faithful servants. He refused, even as a captive of the most ruthless king on the planet, to put his light of faith under a bowl regardless the cost. Oh, that we would be so committed and faithful! How many times have I been motivated by, greed, fear, ambition, anger, jealously, and other worldly passions rather than by love, awe, reverence, and joy for God? I continue to pray for the type of courageous faithfulness displayed by Daniel which only comes from God.

5. Daniel 5:22 – “And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this.” Faith is not inherited. You get no credit or discredit for the decisions of your parents. Your relationship with God is between you and God.

6. Daniel 6:3 — “Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.” Daniel was exceptional and stood out, not merely because he was talented but because of his spirit for the Lord which defined his character and influenced all that he did.

7. Daniel 6:7 – “All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.” Unbelievers will attempt to use the legal process to persecute Christians. In this case, laws were passed to restrict acts of worship. What laws have we accepted in society that restrict our freedom of religion?

8. Daniel 6:10 — “When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” Daniel made it quite clear that he served God over government. Daniel intentionally defied the laws of the government that were in opposition to God’s laws.

9. Daniel 6:18 – “Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.” Daniel’s response to trouble was continual fasting and prayer.

10. Daniel 6:24 – “The king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions.” God treats you the way you treat others.

11. Daniel 6:26, 27 – Daniel’s fidelity meant that God was honored throughout the land as a matter of law.

12. Daniel 6:28 — “So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” God protected faithful Daniel and allowed him to prosper; conversely, God didn’t prevent John the Baptist from being beheaded, though Jesus said there was no greater man born from woman than John. God’s perfect plan for our lives involves hardships and even physical death. His goal for us is that we would glorify Him in life and death, love Him more and more with each day, have greater unity with Him day by day, and be conformed into the image of His Son, Jesus. The wonders of God’s eternal plan are far beyond our greatest imaginations, and we can rest assured in His Sovereignty, grace, mercy, and love – nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.

13. Proverbs 27:5 – “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” If you don’t tell others about Jesus, you may not really care about them as much as you should, you may not care about God as much as you should, or you may simply lack the courage you should have. You may say to yourself, “It’s too soon to share Jesus with him/her,” or “(S)he isn’t ready for that yet,” but how much time do you think you have with that person? Either one of you could be dead tomorrow. Make the most of the opportunity you have; you don’t know what tomorrow might bring.

14. Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” If you only tell people what they want to hear, you are ultimately their enemy.

15. Proverbs 27:12 – “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Only the wise can truly see what is going on around them.

16. Proverbs 27:13 – “Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger.” God wants you to protect the spiritually weak who are tempted by sin.

17. Proverbs 27:23-27 – Spend your productive years building production capacity (industry) so that you possess the ability to be financially self-sufficient.

18. John 20:13 — Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” — From Henry T. Blackaby — Mary Magdalene could vividly remember the day Jesus delivered her from her demonic . She became His devoted follower that day (Luke 8:2). She watched Him heal the sick and teach people about God’s love. Her life was transformed as she experienced the joy of being with Jesus. Then her world seemed to fall apart! Her Lord was arrested and brutally murdered. The crowds that had shouted “Hosanna!” at the beginning of the week cried “Crucify him!” by week’s end. A final blow came when she went to anoint Jesus’ body at the tomb. She saw that His tomb was empty. Someone had apparently stolen His body. As she sobbed in despair, angels asked the poignant question, “Why are you weeping?” She was standing before an empty tomb! Jesus had risen, just as He had promised! Knowing that Jesus was alive put everything back into perspective, and Mary joyfully raced to share the good news with others. The Christian life is not always easy. There are joyful moments of walking with Jesus, but there are also times when nothing makes sense and when your world seems to be crumbling. The world will mock your Lord, and you may grow discouraged. At those times, you need to peer into the empty tomb. It is the abandoned tomb that gives you hope, for it symbolizes the life that is yours from your risen Lord. The empty tomb promises that nothing, not even death itself, can defeat the purposes of your Lord. Are you weeping beside an empty tomb?

19. John 20:19 – “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” After the disciples had all abandoned Jesus, now hiding in fear and doubt, Jesus’s first word to them was “Peace.” What is your hope for, attitude towards, and message to those who abandon you, mistreat you, and let you down.

20. John 20:21 — “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” Yes, you are expected to live like Jesus and only do what He says.

21. John 20:22 — “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Jesus empowers you to do His work. He doesn’t empower you to do your work.

22. John 20:29 – “Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” Faith involves believing what is unseen more than what is seen.

23. John 20:30, 31 – “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The Bible is given to you to strengthen your faith. Commit to reading it, studying it, meditating upon it, and following it every day of your life from this day forward.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 27 Nov 18: Today, consider the first words others would use to describe you. Consider for what attributes you are most known. Would you mostly be described by others as a person filled with the Holy Spirit? If not, why not? For what do you want to be most known? (Daniel 5:14)

DBRP – WEEK 48, Day 1, Monday, 26 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=dan+3%2C+4%3B+pro+26%3B+John+19

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 26 November 18:

1. Daniel 3:1-7 – “King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold….” King Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold was intended to enforce loyalty to the government and unity in a diverse society. The idea was that all personal beliefs and priorities should be subordinated to nationalism. Today, in America, Christians are often taught that we must subordinate God’s laws to a ‘greater collective good,’ one that accommodates offenses against God, because unity is considered more important than fidelity. This may seem noble to the ‘intellectual’ person, but God has always called His people to remain holy, set apart, and loyal ambassadors who proclaim Truth to the world, a ‘foreign land.’ As Daniel and his friends will demonstrate, we are to obey earthly authorities until they demand that we disobey God. Daniel will be put to the test as to whether or not he will subordinate God to government or government to God. You have already been put to that test whether you realize it or not, and you will be put to that test again and again.

2. Daniel 3:8 – “Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews.” Nationalism and other man-made ‘-isms’ will eventually refuse to tolerate a higher fidelity to God, though nationalism is often couched in religious terms. History is replete with examples of governments and other organizations coopting religion for political ends. Sooner or later, everyone will choose between the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of men.

3. Daniel 3:16-18 — “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.’” Christians, we could learn much from the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They boldly and confidently obeyed the True KING regardless the personal cost, without feeling the need to defend themselves before sinful men, even before a godless king. It is inevitable that God’s people will have to choose between loyalty to the earthly kingdom of their citizenship and the Kingdom of God of their true citizenship. Obey God proudly and boldly. You don’t need to justify your obedience before mere men – don’t cheapen it by acknowledging their complaints. You serve ‘I AM’. We tend to underestimate how powerful uncompromised fidelity to God can be – “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (Daniel 4:37)

4. Daniel 3:16-18 — “But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” For what beliefs are you willing to die? Many military personnel have gone overseas to be killed or maimed in defense of their nation, but how many of those same people would put it all on the line to proclaim Jesus publicly in the streets of their communities, to stand up against immorality, to stand up against abortion, to stand up against governmental injustice?

5. Daniel 3:25 — “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Could the fourth man, like a ‘son of gods’ be the Son of God, Jesus?

6. Daniel 3:28-29 – “Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.’ Shadrach’s, Meshack’s, and Abednego’s unyielding devotion to God transformed the mightiest nation on the planet. Though they did not engage in political activities or lead national movements, their actions led to changes in the law that protected their religious freedom.

7. Daniel 3:29 – “Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”

– God performs miracles in your life, not primarily for your benefit, but rather to bring glory to Himself before a watching world. Many people want to see miracles for personal reasons or to strengthen their faith, but God doesn’t usually operate that way but rather uses miracles for His greater purposes. Those who are fully committed and fully surrendered to God’s work will see miracles. “His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; His dominion endures from generation to generation…. acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men…. Renounce your sins by doing what is right (Daniel 4:3, 25, 27).”

– The theme that runs across our readings from the Old Testament through the New Testament is that Jesus is the KING of Kings, and all power and authority has been given to him. Governments receive their authority from God whether they realize it or not, and “the kings of the earth belong to God (Psalm 47:9).” We are subjects of the KING of Kings, and His sovereignty demands our wholehearted fidelity and obedience. His Kingdom is both now and still yet to come in all glory. We serve the King now and are called to proclaim His Lordship across the planet with the boldness of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, regardless of the response of men. Of course Jesus provides the ultimate example of faithful fidelity – “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above (John 19:11).”

8. Daniel 4:18 – “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. And you, O Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation, but you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.” It was evident to the king that the Spirit of God was in Daniel.

9. Daniel 4:25-27 – “…that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. 26 And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” God intended to humble proud Nebuchadnezzar and teach Him that God is King, and the King demands obedience from all people. Daniel counselled Nebuchadnezzar to obey God above all else – sound counsel for anyone. God will be honored as the Most High and the Sovereign.

10. Daniel 4:34, 37 – “I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever…. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” A ruthless king repented. God is always doing two things at once in the life of a person, He is working on His one-on-one relationship with that person, and He is also using that relationship to reveal Himself to a watching world. He is doing these two things in your life too.

11. Proverbs 26:7 – “Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” Knowing the words of Jesus is pointless if you are not ready to follow Jesus, which requires first that you deny self. You will act upon what you really believe to be true.

12. Proverbs 26:9 – “Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” Those who foolishly handle God’s word are more harm than good. The fool approaches God’s word from a self-centered perspective. Listen carefully, and you will see that “me” is at the center of their presentation rather than “He.” Be very careful not to use God’s word to validate your own selfishness or self-righteousness. The Bible used carelessly can be very hurtful.

13. Proverbs 26:11 – “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” To sin is terrible, to repeat a sin far worse.

14. Proverbs 26:13-15 – “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!’ As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.” Laziness and complacency are parts of human nature that must be overcome by the Spirit. Christians are hardworking, don’t take shortcuts, and don’t miss an opportunity to do good while they have a chance.

15. Proverbs 26:16 – “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.” Laziness is a spiritual issue and unacceptable for God’s servants. Spiritually blinded, the lazy usually don’t think they are lazy. Lazy people always seem to have a way of justifying their laziness. The Bible calls this foolishness.

16. Proverbs 26:17-23 – “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears. Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I am only joking!’ For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body. Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel are fervent lips with an evil heart.” God calls us to bring peace into situations, not to add to discourse. We should never get involved in quarreling or gossip.

17. Proverbs 26:23-28 – God wants us to see past a person’s words to understand their heart and motives. The Bible says that no person can ever completely understand another person’s heart or motives, but we can judge the fruit of their lives, and we can also be enlightened by the Spirit which knows every person’s heart.

18. John 19:1-5 – “Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, ‘See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.’ So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Behold the man!’” The world will mock and hate the truth. Jesus warns you to be prepared for that.

19. John 19:9 – “But Jesus gave him no answer.” Notice that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego also felt no requirement to justify their fidelity to God and placed their fate in the hands of God. You have no need to defend yourself before scoffers. Simply proclaim the truth, let the scoffers scoff, and take up your cross as you follow Jesus, fellowshipping with Him in persecution.

20. John 19:11 – “Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.’” Our fate is never really in the hands of men. God controls every situation.

21. John 19:15 – “The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’” What a shocking statement coming from the chief priests. However, a church that remains silent before legalized abortion and other state endorsed abominations has essentially proclaimed the same thing.

22. John 19:19-20 – “Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.” The Cross made clear in everyone’s language who Jesus is.

23. John 19:24 – “This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, ‘They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.’” Read Psalm 22:12-18 to see this prophecy. Read Isaiah 53 too.

24. John 19:25 – “….but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” — From Henry T. Blackaby — There is no Christianity without a cross, for you cannot be a disciple of Jesus without taking up your cross. Crosses are painful, they forever change your life, but sometimes the greatest cost will not be to you but to those you love. You may be prepared to obey the Lord’s commands, whatever they are, because you’ve walked with Him and know that His way is best. Yet there will be those close to you who have not related to Jesus in the same way and have not heard His voice as clearly. Jesus understood that His Father’s will for Him led to a cross. The cross would mean a painful death for Jesus, and it would also bring suffering to those closest to Him. Because of the cross, Jesus’ mother would watch in agony as her son was publicly humiliated, tortured, and murdered. Jesus’ aunt and close friends would witness His excruciating death. His disciples would be scattered in terror and confusion in what would be the longest, darkest night of their lives. Because of Jesus’ obedience, there would also be a cross for each of His disciples. Obedience to your Lord’s commands will affect others (Luke 14:26). Don’t refuse to obey what you know God is asking because you fear the cost to your family will be too great. Beware lest you seek to prevent those you love from taking up the cross God has for them. Don’t ever try to protect those you love by disobeying God. The cost of disobedience is always far greater. Rather, look to Jesus, your model, and see what it cost those around Him for Him to be obedient to His Father.

25. John 19:30 – “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” — From Henry T. Blackaby — God always finishes what He begins (Phil. 1:6). God never speaks a word without ensuring that it comes to pass (Isa. 55:11). Christ is both the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Rev. 1:8, 17). Christ is as much at the end of His work as He is at its beginning. Jesus was given an enormous mandate. He was to live a sinless life, remaining absolutely obedient to His Father. Even the manner of His death was to fulfill numerous prophecies that had been foretold in Scripture (Matt. 26:24, 31, 54, 56; 27:9, 35; 46; John 19:28, 36-37). Yet, despite the extremely complex assignment Jesus received from His Father, He could shout triumphantly from the cross, “It is finished!” Christ now resides within each believer. His assignment today is to complete God’s will in each Christian. He is just as determined to do this in us as He was to complete God’s will for Himself. You will have to resist Christ in order to remain out of the will of God. What is it God wants to do in you? Have you allowed Him to complete what He has begun? He will not force you to receive all that He has for your life. If God’s work has not been brought to fruition in you, it is not that Christ has not been diligently working toward that end. Rather, you may need to release areas of your life to Him and be as determined to see God’s work in you completed as Christ is. Review the things God has said to you over this last year. Are there promises God has made to you that you have refused to allow Him to complete? If so, commit to yield your will to God today.

26. John 19:39 – “Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight.” This is the same Nicodemus who previously sought Jesus secretly at night (John 3). The life changed by Jesus is no longer ashamed to worship Him in public.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 Nov 18: Be willing to step in the fiery furnace with confidence today by publicly proclaiming Jesus. Be willing to take up your cross today by publicly proclaiming Jesus. Be willing to worship Jesus publicly today like Nicodemus. (see today’s notes above)

 

DBRP – WEEK 47, Day 7, Sunday, 25 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=dan+1%2C+2%3B+pro+25%3B+psalm+138%2C+139

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 25 November 18:

Note: Here is a short video overview of Daniel: https://youtu.be/9cSC9uobtPM

1. Daniel 1:3, 4 – “Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.” God’s faithful servants were excellent in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 8:7; Colossians 3:23, 24; Ecclesiastes 9:10). They stood out not only spiritually but in every way. Therefore, Daniel and his friends had a unique advantage in service to God. God calls us to be excellent in all things too, increasing our influence that we would bring Him greater glory on earth. Do you strive for excellence in every way?

2. Daniel 1:8 – “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.”

– Though a captive in a pagan land, Daniel managed to keep himself completely pure before the Lord. He “resolved” to do this. How resolved are you to remain pure?

– Would you dare to believe that God, who called you to Himself and equipped you with His Spirit, could work mightily through you? Have you made the connection between the time and place in which you live and God’s call upon you? World events never catch God by surprise. He placed you precisely where you are for a purpose. Daniel did not let the temptations of his day interfere with his relationship to the Lord. He knew that to make his life useful to God he must be obedient in all things. Regardless of what the most powerful king in the world commanded, Daniel refused to compromise what he knew God required of him. History is replete with examples of Christian men and women who believed that God would work through them to make a significant difference for His kingdom. God placed Esther strategically in the king’s court at a crucial time when she could save the lives of God’s people (Esther 4:14). God placed Joseph strategically to become the most powerful adviser to the pharaoh in Egypt and to save Jacob and his family from a devastating drought (Gen. 41:39-40). Are you allowing your surroundings to determine how you invest your life? Or are you letting God use you to make a difference in your generation? Ask God to reveal His purposes for you and His will for your life today.

3. Daniel 1:12 — “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.” Some popular diet books have tried to suggest that Daniel desired a vegetarian diet to stay healthy, but that wasn’t the case at all. The King’s meat would have been meat sacrificed to idols – the finest meat available, very nutritious. However, Daniel was committed to not defiling himself with meat sacrificed to idols. His harsh, extreme vegetarian diet concerned the “chief of the eunuchs” for good reason, but God honored Daniel’s fidelity. These verses aren’t intended to promote a vegan lifestyle. In fact, after the flood, God desired His people to eat meat, even during religious ceremony, as described and regulated throughout the Bible. Whether we are talking about nutrition, adornment, courtesies, or any other social choices, we must be very careful not to interpret the Bible out of context to validate human wisdom. Don’t allow popular fads restrict from your life what God has blessed.

4. Daniel 1:17-20 – “God gave them learning and skill…. among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore, they stood before the king. And in every matter… he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.”

– God gave Daniel great knowledge but also gave him supernatural understanding, which turns knowledge into wisdom – knowledge rightly applied. God can show His servants what is impossible for them to understand naturally.

– It is God who empowers His servants, and when He does, no one can compare with them. God empowers the faithful.

5. Daniel 2:11 – “The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Nebuchadnezzar intentionally gave the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans an impossible task because he wanted a supernatural answer rather than a fake miracle from people who claimed a power that really didn’t have.

6. Daniel 2:17, 18 – “Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” In distress and faced with an impossible situation, Daniel went to the Lord, but he did not go alone, he called his friends seek God’s mercy with him. Daniel understood that prayer would be more effective if it were done in companionship. God calls us to worship and pray with other fellow Christians.

7. Daniel 2:20-22 – “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.” Wisdom comes only from God; all power comes from God. Through God, we can know what we would otherwise never be able to know. God will reveal to you what you need to know if you will walk with Him in fidelity.

8. Daniel 2:27, 28, 30 – “Daniel answered the king and said, ‘No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days…. But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living….” Daniel was very careful not to share glory with God or to suggest that he had any knowledge apart from what God had revealed to him. Daniel gave God all of the glory by ensuring the king knew that Daniel was not special. Are you still trying to be special? Are you still trying to give people your opinion as if it has any value? Or, are you saying, “Not me, but Jesus.” Never be a self-promoter.

9. Daniel 2:44, 45 — “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold.”

– We are subjects of God’s Kingdom, and we are called to be the KING’s ambassadors “in the days of those kings.” Even the United States is one of “those” kingdoms. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God, a much higher calling than any national loyalties. God calls us to obey government, but to remain faithful to Him and His Kingdom above all else.

– God’s Kingdom is ‘set up’ in the days of the worldly kingdoms; it is not like other kingdoms and will never be destroyed. God’s kingdom destroys the other kingdoms on earth. Jesus announced, “the kingdom of God has come upon you…. The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand…. The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (Matthew 12:28; Mark 1:15; Luke 17:20, 21) Furthermore, concerning God’s true church, the Bible says He has “made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:10) God’s people “are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” among the nations, preparing the way for the return of the King. (1 Peter 2:9) Micah 5:7-9 describes a global, spiritual insurgency for the Lord – “Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the children of man. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver. Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off.” Of course, this insurgency is not violent like that envisioned by the Islamists but rather is spiritual – “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4) What role are you playing in the advancement of the Kingdom?

10. Daniel 2:47, 48 – “The king answered and said to Daniel, ‘Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.’ Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.”

– Do you want to impact the world? We need merely to be faithful and un-comprising ambassadors and let the true power of God be revealed through us.

– Daniel remained faithful to God and trusted God, regardless the personal risk, and was given power he never could have imagined, not for his comfort and prestige but rather so that he could be placed in a position to have an even greater impact for God’s glory. Daniel’s new position would only increase his challenges.

11. Proverbs 25:2 – “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” The government-run education system in our country is based upon the assumption that one can acquire knowledge and wisdom without God as part of the equation, and today, the “enlightened” class more and more reject God, pursuing more and more knowledge for their own glory. However, God in His glory withholds truth for the His followers, truth that can only be obtained through the Spirit. Man’s ‘knowledge’ is foolishness in God’s eyes.

12. Proverbs 25:7, 8 – “What your eyes have seen do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame?” Human discernment is always deceiving because we cannot see the whole picture that only God sees, hence the reason we should not judge others because we do not know what God knows about them and about the situation at hand. 1 Corinthian 4:5 says, “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”

13. Proverbs 25:21, 22 – “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.” God wants you to treat those who offend you with nothing but kindness. This is hard to do, particularly when you are caught off guard by bad behavior. Often our first response is to push back against offenders. Often our first, unguarded response reveals what is really in our hearts. Pay attention to your first responses, and pray for a genuinely loving heart that automatically loves the sinner who hurts us.

14. Proverbs 25:26 – “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” Don’t let the wicked influence your behavior. Prepare yourself to meet the wicked today by reading God’s word, praying for strength in obedience, and resolving in your heart not to sin at the moment of decision.

15. Proverbs 25:27, 28 – “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory. A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Do not let your selfish desires and pride get the best of you today. Apply self-control which is given to you by the Spirit (not your own will power). When tempted, turn to the Spirit for strength. Today, you will be tempted to follow your urges and passions rather than the Spirit. Prepare yourself for the challenge and set your mind before the challenge. Be a selfless servant of Jesus today.

16. Psalm 138:1 – “I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart.” Half-heartedness doesn’t do God justice.

17. Psalm 138:6 – “For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.” God being Spirit is not subject to distance in the physical sense. Nearness or farness from God relates to fellowship, love, and obedience. The prideful, disobedient, and unrepentant are far from God spiritually.

18. Psalm 138:8 – “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” No matter what you are going through, you can have complete confidence in the fact that God will fulfill His purpose for your life. Trust and obey Him through all things.

19. Psalm 139:1-4 – “O Lord, you have searched me and known me…! You discern my thoughts from afar. You… are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” God knows the real you, seeing beyond your actions to the motives behind your actions. Seek to honestly see about yourself what God sees, and strive to grow in genuine love and selflessness. Strive for purity and holiness.

20. Psalm 139:16 – “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” God cherishes the unborn baby.

21. Psalm 139:17 – “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!” Seek to make your thoughts God’s thoughts, to have the mind of Christ.

22. Psalm 139:21, 22 – “Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.” Not all hate is bad.

23. Psalm 139: 23, 24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” The Holy Spirit can reveal to you what you refuse to see in yourself, and the Holy Spirit can reveal to you what you need to change in your life. However, if you refuse to listen or change, your ability to hear the Holy Spirit will diminish, your heart will harden, and you will be destroyed by your disobedience. Pray that God will reveal to you where your heart is not right and that He will guide you to greater holiness, purity, and love.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 25 Nov 18: Today, in prayer, search your heart and consider the true motives behind your actions. Seek to walk selflessly, guided by the Spirit. When you catch yourself acting selfishly, stop, dig deeply within you, and consider why. Where are harboring idols (things that have more influence over you at times than God)? Where are you harboring pride? Where are you doubting God? Seek to identify the heart of your sin, the problem with your heart. Pray for God’s strength in overcoming your selfishness, and rest in God’s grace when you fail, understanding that He loves you perfectly despite your failures.

DBRP – WEEK 47, Day 6, Saturday, 24 November 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 24 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 47:1-12 – “Behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple…. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes…. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.” The river of life flows from the temple, bringing life to all who draw near to it and providing all that is needed for life. Jesus is the Living Water, and true followers of Christ are now the temple (more on this topic below). Our job is the allow the living water of Jesus to flow through us, not to attempt to create our own ‘water’ to give to others. We should not seek to share mere ‘good ideas’ with others, our personal opinions, or the latest humanistic answers to life’s problems; nor should we merely seek to make people feel a bit more comfortable apart from Jesus. Our mission is to speak as Ambassadors for Christ, using only His words, not ours. Of those who exchange the Gospel for moralism, concepts of ethics, or fuzzy ideas of an all-accepting god, the Bible says, “My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13) The only thing we have to offer the world is Jesus, nothing else matters.

2. Ezekiel 47:6, 9 — “’Son of man, have you seen this?’… wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live.” Much of Ezekiel’s prophesies (chapters 34-48) deal with the future Kingdom of God on earth and should be studied in unison and in context with the other prophesies in the Bible related to the same topic. Similar to how Bible prophesy enabled the ‘wise men’ and Herod’s religious scholars to determine the time and location of Jesus’ birth, diligent study of Bible prophesy can give us a good understanding of what will happen in the future; however, most prophesy is written in such a manner that you will ‘know it when you see it.’ Most of it is intended so that current believers can maintain hope while they wait and so that future believers who will experience these events first-hand will be able to recognize the ‘signs of the times.’ Jesus warned that no one knew when He would return but the Father. Of course, we must be careful not to attempt to make prophesy ‘fit’ with current circumstances where it really doesn’t. I once witnessed a patrol of troops (having been air-dropped at night in the wrong location) navigate confidently several miles from a map of an entirely different area, all the while convincing themselves that what they saw around them was what was portrayed on the map, though it wasn’t. Their problem was that they continually made course adjustments from their perceptions of where they were, based off of what they were interpreting from the wrong map – their decisions where guided by their imaginations and false interpretations rather than the truth. There was nothing wrong with the map; it accurately depicted the intended terrain. The patrol simply applied the map out of context and used their imaginations to make it fit their current location and situation. We don’t want to do that with Bible prophesy. We must judge all prophesy from the context of the whole Bible which is why it is so important to diligently study the whole Bible, not just morsels from daily devotionals or sermons. And the Holy Spirit, rather than our imaginations, must guide our understanding as to how prophesy applies to our current situation.

3. Ezekiel 47:15-20 — The divided land is similar to Numbers 34 but does not include land east of the Jordan so that the people are unified.

4. Ezekiel 47:22, 23 – “You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the sojourner resides, there you shall assign him his inheritance, declares the Lord God.” God commanded that the aliens who lived among the Jews and who assimilated into the faith and culture were to be taken in as part of the family. God’s plan treats settled aliens as native-born.

5. Ezekiel 48 — God rearranged the land so that the sons of Leah and Rachel are closer to the temple and the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah are farther away. Do you understand why?

6. Ezekiel 48:1-7, 24-28 — God gave each tribe equal land.

7. Ezekiel 48:14 – “They shall not sell or exchange any of it. They shall not alienate this choice portion of the land, for it is holy to the Lord.” God gave man no rights over the temple property. You are God’s temple. No other person has rights over God’s temple which is your body. You have no independent rights over yourself or your body either – it is solely dedicated for God’s will on earth. Your authority over your body is only to do God’s will with your body. Most unbelievers could neither understand such a statement nor tolerate it.

8. Ezekiel 48:11 – “This shall be for the consecrated priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept my charge, who did not go astray when the people of Israel went astray, as the Levites did. And it shall belong to them as a special portion from the holy portion of the land, a most holy place, adjoining the territory of the Levites.”

– Ezekiel extols the sons of Zadok as staunch opponents of paganism during the era of its pagan worship and indicates their birthright to unique duties and privileges in the future temple (Ezekiel 42:13, 43:19). Because of their faithfulness, they earned praise and responsibilities over the Levites.

– The choicest position, a most holy place, is given to the faithful sons of Zadok who remained faithfully obedient to God despite the fact that all the other priests didn’t. Ezekiel mentions the sons of Zadok three times, despite the fact that he was not a descendant of Zadok. You can review the story of Zadok’s faithfulness in opposition to popular opinion in 2 Samuel 15-1 Kings 4. Do we have the faith in God and the substance of character to go the way we think is right even if everyone else goes the other direction? That was the resolve of Zadok, and we are in desperate need of that kind of leadership right now. Where are the voices like John the Baptist who would challenge the Herods of our day?

9. Ezekiel 48:35 – “The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.” One of our challenges is that Bible prophesy uses a lot of symbolism. Ezekiel 47 and 48 use a lot of symbolism when describing the future Temple and Holy City where the Lord will dwell – “And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.” One important example of that symbolism is that of the Life Giving Water. We are very fortunate because we as Christians have been given the greater revelation that the Life Giving Water is the Spirit which flows from Jesus – “…but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life…. Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 4:14; John 7:37-39) From our more enlightened position, we can learn more from Ezekiel than people could have when it was written. Consider what Ezekiel reveals about the Spirit flowing from Jesus – a small ‘trickle’ emanating from the Temple turns into a mighty river (swimming depths) which follows a geographically impossible path (countering gravity) and brings incredible life to everything it touches. Compare this picture with the parables Jesus gives about the Kingdom. In the prophesy the river “flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea” – impossible. (v. 47:8) The sea is the Dead Sea, and to get there from Jerusalem via the route Ezekiel describes, it would have to flow down to the Kidron Valley, up over the Mount of Olives, and then cross through a series of other valleys and mountain ranges. Gravity and other forces and pressures make this impossible for an ordinary river, but this is no ordinary river, and that is further confirmed by what happens when the river reaches the Dead Sea. The salinity of the Dead Sea is so great that nothing lives in it. But when the river from the temple reaches it, the water is instantly transformed and can support fish “of very many kinds” (vv. 47:8–10). Fruit trees line the river that flows through what was a desert in Ezekiel’s era and remains so today (v. 47:12). This vision describes the power of the Spirit flowing from Jesus and merely ‘trickling’ down the walls of the Temple – Wow! One day, God will rebuild His Temple (literally and/or figuratively) on a New Earth, but until that day, what does the New Testament say about the temple on earth?

— 1 Corinthians 3:16 — Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

— 1 Corinthians 3:17 — If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

— 1 Corinthians 6:19 — Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

— 2 Corinthians 3:3 — And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

— Ephesians 2:18-22 — For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

— Revelation 3:12 — The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

10. Proverbs 24:10 – “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” You don’t know what you are made of until you are tested. Strength is something you must build up before you need it.

11. Proverbs 24:21 – “My son, fear the Lord and the king.” Christians strive to obey all authority. Christians only defy authority when that authority demands disobedience to God. Christians obey God above all else.

12. Proverbs 24:29 – “Do not say, ‘I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.’” This is easy to understand but often hard to do. It is easier for us to imagine obeying this command with big things – if someone robs us, we can accept not robbing them in return. However, it is in little everyday ways that we fail to obey this command. When someone speaks harshly to us, we are tempted to speak harshly back. When someone blatantly takes our parking spot, we want to yell at them. When someone puts their own interests ahead of ours, we, in turn, want to put our own interests ahead of theirs, though the Bible tells us to put the needs of others first. Today, focus on responding only with selfless, gracious love when others act selfishly and mistreat you.

13. Psalm 137 – God wants you to share your resentment of others with Him and turn it over to Him. Remember, God know what is happening to you and remains in complete control. Vengeance belongs to Him and not you. Be honest with God in your prayers, for your sake, not His. Praying to God is not like speaking to another person. You can’t hide what is really on your heart – He knows your heart far better than you do. When you are honest with God in prayer, it might be the only time you are truly honest with yourself. This confession is good for your soul. Remember, in prayer, you are in the presences of the Omniscient, Almighty, Holy God. Present to Him the full sacrifice of self in prayer. Only pride causes you to pray vanities and platitudes. It takes total humility to freely expose the whole ugly you to Him, and it takes confidence in His love, mercy and grace.

14. Psalm 137:1-6 — There are two pains: the small daily pains of disciplined obedience or the crushing pain of regret while reflecting upon what you have lost to sin. Choose the path of the disciple who is willing to live the disciplined life for the Glory of God and to experience the fullness of joy.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 24 Nov 18: Today, resolve to be a ‘son (or daughter) of Zadok. (Ezekiel 48:11)

DBRP – WEEK 47, Day 5, Friday, 23 November 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 23 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 45:1-8 – “…but they shall let the house of Israel have the land according to their tribes.” God is concerned about people’s right to own and control their own piece of land.

2. Ezekiel 45:7-9 – “Cease your evictions of my people, declares the Lord God.” God gave the ruler enough land that he did not need to tax the people or mistreat them in order to have the resources to run the country.

3. Ezekiel 45:10 — “You shall have just balances.” God is a just God who demands that all people and especially His people treat all others justly but also mercifully and graciously. People expect God to treat them with mercy and grace but to administer justice to those who offend them. God

4. Ezekiel 45:17 — “It shall be the prince’s duty to furnish the burnt offerings.” God expected the government to support worship of God.

5. Ezekiel 46:8 — “When the prince enters, he shall enter by the vestibule of the gate, and he shall go out by the same way.” The Bible emphasizes the Holiness and Sovereignty of God and the subservience of all governments and rulers to God. We are commanded to obey earthly authorities which are all ordained by God (Romans 13), but the authorities are commanded to obey God, and we are commanded to obey God above all earthly authorities. “Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’” (Romans 12:17) Our allegiance is first and foremost to the KING of Kings and to the Kingdom of God. People are just people, and God is God.

6. Ezekiel 46:18 — “The prince shall not take any of the inheritance of the people, thrusting them out of their property. He shall give his sons their inheritance out of his own property, so that none of my people shall be scattered from his property.” Again, God is very concerned about property rights and specifically directs that the powerful not add to their family’s property by taking from others.

7. Proverbs 23:4 — “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.” Many people are wearing themselves out doing what God never wanted them to do because they are not satisfied with God’s provision in their lives.

8. Proverbs 23:17, 18, 23 — “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off…. Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.” The Bible tells us to be zealous for the fear of the Lord, to put all of our effort, non-stop, into fearing the Lord; to invest everything we have into fearing the Lord. One definition for the word zealous is fanatical. Of course, the word fanatic is used in a negative sense today, but the devotion a Christian expresses for God will always appear excessive and extreme to the non-believer. To the non-believer, living in complete reverence, awe, and submission to the Lord is ignorant and foolish; however, the Bible reminds us that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10). All creation is commanded by God to fear Him, both believer and non-believer. “Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.” (Proverbs 28:14). As Proverbs points out today, the fear of the Lord and the wisdom and understanding that comes from fearing the Lord requires discipline – hence the word disciple. It’s not just a feeling; it is fervent, consistent action — it is radical and fanatical; it’s true love demonstrated by faithfulness.

9. Proverbs 23:22 — “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” Character is taught in the home, and God’s way is for a man and woman, united in marriage, to teach their children to fear the Lord.

10. John 18:1-11 — Following God’s way, Jesus knew what would happen to Him and remained in obedience regardless from a purely submission heart of love.

11. John 18:10, 11 — “Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?’” Many have used the story of Peter’s sword wielding to preach pacifism, but bear in mind that Peter had a sword, and Jesus knew it. It wasn’t that Peter sought to defend Jesus with his sword that was the issue, it was that Peter sought to defend Jesus at the wrong time, against the will of God at the moment. In fact, In Luke 22:35-38, Jesus tells His disciples that if they lack swords they should buy them. Self-defense is a God-given right and responsibility which can’t be abrogated.

12. John 18:14 – “It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.” God’s way included Christ’s death for the sins of the people.

13. John 18:15-18 – “Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.” Pride and fear are opposite sides of the same coin. Peter was willing to fight in garden when it wasn’t appropriate but not willing to stand up for Jesus in the courtyard when it was appropriate.

14. John 18:17 – “The servant girl at the door said to Peter, ‘You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?’” He said, ‘I am not.’” Disciples of Christ must be ready to deny self, take up their crosses, and follow Jesus. (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, Luke 14:27) Jesus had previously warned overconfident Peter that he wasn’t there yet, but Peter did not believe Him. Here Peter faces the truth of himself which has been exposed, not by an attacking army but rather by a mere servant girl sitting at a campfire. It is in the little, seemingly insignificant moments that we reveal what we really believe about Jesus, in our conversations with others around ‘campfires,’ in our homes, in our workplaces, in the marketplace, in social settings, and on social media. While it may be true that actions often speak louder than words, don’t believe the popular lie that words are secondary. The true test of your courage is in how, as an ambassador for Christ, you purely proclaim the Gospel to others right where you are. Those of us who have failed to proclaim the Name of Jesus to others when we should have can find hope in the story of Peter who failed miserably but later went to the cross literally for Jesus.

15. John 18:27 – “Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.” Remember what Jesus had said to Peter and Peter’s response: “Jesus said to him, ‘Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!’” (Matthew 26:34, 35) Mark 14:72 tells of Peter’s reaction after he denied Jesus just as Jesus said he would: “And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.” Have you ever felt the guilt of failing Jesus? Remember, Jesus knows your weaknesses better than you do. Your failures are not a surprise to Him. When you are tested, it is not so that God can see the truth of your sinful hearts, it is so you can see it. God’s will in your failures is to bring you to humble repentance, to draw you closer to Him, to sanctify you, to conform you to the image of His Son, and to prepare you for greater faithful service in love. His goal is not to condemn you and destroy you. Judas denied Jesus, couldn’t bring Himself to repent and accept the forgiveness of God, and killed himself. Peter repented, accepted forgiveness, and was used mightily by God. Paul, formerly Saul who had made a career of persecuting Christians, repented and went to his death boldly proclaiming Christ and glorifying Him. Have confidence in grace, and glorify God boldly.

— Acts 5:40-42 – “…when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”

16. John 18:33-37 – “Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.’ Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’”

– Most people, including Christians, prefer the earthly kingdoms they can see over the Kingdom of God they cannot see. Someone once said, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” In church, Christians often proclaim their ultimate allegiance to the KING of Kings and the Kingdom of God, but daily, in practical ways, the fear of man prevails in their lives. What has the greatest influence over you at the moment of decision? Every day, perhaps in seemingly small ways, we will take a side. And remember, silence is consent. When you choose to say or do nothing where sin is present, you have made a choice to capitulate.

– Jesus’ kingdom does not depend upon politics.

17. John 18:37, 38 — “‘In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me’. ‘What is truth?’ Pilate asked.”

– The truth is revealed through Jesus and Jesus alone. In fact, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Those who listen to Christ understand truth. Those outside of Christ, like Pilate, have no way to determine truth or to truly know God. Regardless their intellect or religiosity, they navigate without map and compass on a journey to nowhere. Jesus said that He came to testify to the truth. Jesus stayed true to the mission God gave Him until the end. Now that mission has been given to you. How are you doing? Don’t lose sight of the fact that your message is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not a message of ethics, morality, or better living. If the “truth” or “salvation” message you are proclaiming to others is about fixing their earthly problems rather than saving their souls, and if your message doesn’t start and end with Jesus, you are likely leading others astray. Ambassador, Priest, Saint, How many times will you say the Name, Jesus to others today?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 23 Nov 18: Testify to the truth of Jesus today, regardless the personal cost. Don’t be like Peter and act as if you do not know Him when faced with the scrutiny of popular opinion or social acceptability. (John 18:37)

DBRP – WEEK 47, Day 4, Thursday, 22 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+43%2C+44%3B+pro+22%3B+John+17

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 22 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 43:11 — “And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple.” Repentance comes before revelation.

2. Ezekiel 43:12 — “This is the law of the temple: the whole territory on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.” God demands holiness in His temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” God demands that you be holy — “He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15, 16) We are too complacent with the demand of holiness. Strive to be holy from this day forward.

3. Ezekiel 44:8 — “You have not kept charge of my holy things, but you have set others to keep my charge for you in my sanctuary.” Once again, God expects His people to remain holy and to refuse to partner with the unholy.

4. Ezekiel 44:15-31 — God honors ministers who are faithful in service by allowing them to be nearer to Him and to have greater intimacy with Him.

5. Ezekiel 44:23-24 – “They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. In a dispute, they shall act as judges, and they shall judge it according to my judgments. They shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my appointed feasts, and they shall keep my Sabbaths holy.” Ministers have no special rights in regard to obeying God; on the contrary, with maturity comes increased responsibility and a greater expectation of obedience, purity, and holiness. Leaders are expected to practice what they preach. With that maturity also comes a greater responsibility to offer grace to those who are less mature, to be longsuffering in response to the offenses of others, while persistently guiding others to reconciliation.

6. Ezekiel 44:27 – “And on the day that he goes into the Holy Place, into the inner court, to minister in the Holy Place, he shall offer his sin offering, declares the Lord God.” Ministers sin and have to follow God’s way of dealing with sin.

7. Ezekiel 44:28 “This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession.” God’s plan was for His priests to be solely dependent upon His daily provision. This requires them to live in faith and obedience. The Bible says that all Christians are priests.

8. Proverbs 22:4 – “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” Daniel, along with many others in the Bible, demonstrated this truth as you will read.

9. Proverbs 22:7 — “The borrower is the slave of the lender.” You cannot be a wholly faithful servant to God if you have made yourself a slave to men. Jesus was clear that no one can serve two masters. If you are in financial debt, a portion of your labors no longer resources God’s work but rather another kingdom’s agenda, and you have limited what you can do for the Lord.

10. Proverbs 22:11 – “He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.” See if this wasn’t proved in the life of Daniel when we get there soon.

11. John 17 — This chapter is Jesus’ last recorded prayer before His crucifixion. Notice that His final prayer is all about glorifying the Father and about His disciples’ relationship with the Father. What is your most earnest prayer? Are your prayers about you or about God’s glory and the needs of others? How do you judge the effectiveness of your prayers? How do you judge whether your circumstances, regardless how painful they might be, are good or bad? If your prayers or circumstances draw you closer to Jesus, they have served their ultimate purpose, regardless the tangible outcomes.

12. John 17:1, 4, 10, 22, 23 — “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you… I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do…. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them…. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me….” In our readings today, the concept of ‘glory’ is mentioned several times, eight times by Jesus. First, Ezekiel witnesses ‘the Glory of God’ at the Temple. Jesus in an impassioned prayer to the Father, describes the transfer of ‘glory’ from the Father, through Jesus, to the true believer, an allocation which occurs for two reasons – that the believer may be in unity with God (or truly ‘know’ Him) and that the world might see the power of that unity and ‘know’ that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 deserves much deep, prayerful meditation on our part. The Father glorifies the Son so that the Son can glorify the Father before men; Jesus glorifies the believer so that the believer can glorify the Father and the Son (who are One) while living in unity with God, “accomplishing the work” given by God. So, what is ‘glory’? The word is Kabod or doxazō in Hebrew or Greek respectively, meaning to honor, to magnify, or to properly weight in priority or significance. God ‘magnified’ the Son, proclaiming His pleasure with him, that the Son would ‘magnify’ the Father by revealing the character and will of the Father through his perfect life. To see Jesus was to see the Father in human form – “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9) The Father and Jesus are truly ‘One,’ which relates back to the first point John makes in this Gospel – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus is the Logos – the outward expression and revelation of the mind, wisdom, and voice of God. Jesus is the ‘Wisdom’ spoken of in Proverbs that existed before Creation and who was the source of Creation; He is the Truth of God personified. (Proverbs 8:22; John 14:6; John 17:5) The written word of God in the Bible is powerful because it communicates the will of God and reveals the Word (Jesus). God’s word is true, it is through His word that we “come to know the Truth,” Jesus. (John 17:8) When we ‘abide’ in God’s word, we are aligned with His will and become one with Him, personifying (imperfectly) His will, bringing glory to Him, living out His Kingdom on earth (thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…). Walking in the word, empowered by the Spirit, we have the mind of Christ and unity with both God and fellow believers (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 1:27). Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples…. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 8:31, 15:7). Living God’s word is how we walk with God as Noah did. The Bible says the Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” and that we were originally created “in the image of God.” (Colossians 1:15; Genesis 1:27) How clearly does your life reflect God to others? Do you magnify God on earth by your obedience to Him?

13. John 17:3 — “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

– Eternal life begins on earth not when we die and go to Heaven. Eternal life is not something that begins after you die, it is something that begins the moment you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you are a Christian that doesn’t feel the joy, peace, and rest of eternal life, carefully consider the quality of your relationship with Jesus; go the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to strengthen your faith, hope, and love; and walk in obedience with eyes wide open to see a greater revelation of God in your life.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — Knowing God through experience is radically different than knowing about God from a theology textbook. According to the Bible, you cannot say you know God unless you have experienced Him (Phil. 3:8, 10). Biblical knowledge always involves experience. You may become discouraged because the truths you read about in the Bible are much richer than the reality of your own experience. If you have not experienced God’s power at work in and through your life, do not settle for a secondhand knowledge of God’s power, rejoicing in what He has done in others. Jesus’ prayer was that you would come to know God and His presence in your life and experience. Don’t discount the power of God as described in Scripture simply because you have not experienced it. Bring your experience up to the standard of Scripture, never reduce Scripture to the level of your experience. Don’t settle for a head knowledge of God’s love. Jesus prayed that you would experience the depth and width and height of His love and that you would enjoy God’s full and unending love in the day-to-day experiences of your life. If you sense there are biblical truths that you are not experiencing, keep that truth before you and ask God to bring it into your everyday experience. Ask God if there are any adjustments you need to make in order to receive His promise. Don’t give up on the promises of God, stay with them until you are fully experiencing them.

14. John 17:4 — “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” Jesus understood that the purpose of life on earth is to glorify God and to serve Him wholeheartedly. Life success is measured in obedience to God that results in ever-increasing love for Him and unity with Him, which draws others closer to Him – increasingly knowing Him and making Him known. God is glorified when we do what He has commanded.

15. John 17:6 — “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world.” The word “manifested” is important for us to understand, meaning, “demonstrated, displayed, showed, exhibited, or revealed.” Jesus brought the invisible, intangible attributes of God into physical reality on earth. He was the embodiment of God’s word and will. We now are called to be “the hands and feet of Jesus.” As ambassadors of Christ, we are called to be His representative in any situation, to “manifest” Jesus at the moment to those who otherwise would not see Him to know Him. This is a tremendous calling and responsibility.

16. John 17:8, 9 — “For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them.”

– Jesus modeled for us the pattern for evangelism and disciple-making: Give them the words of God (not our own words), walk with them, demonstrate obedience for them, help them know the truth, and pray for them.

17. John 17:9 — “I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me….” Jesus does not see everyone the same.

18. John 17:10 — “All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.” Jesus took ownership of the people God had placed in His life, committing to discipling them for the glory of God.

19. John 17:11, 21-23 — “…that they may be one, even as we are one…. that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me…. that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me…. that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” Jesus’ prayer for you is that you would come into perfect unity and love with the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and other followers of Jesus; and that your perfect fellowship in love would be a testimony to the world that does not yet know that God is Love. If you have ever wondered what God wants you to do with your life, now you know. This is your measure of life success: How well you obey the commandments of love. The closer you get to Jesus, the closer you get to Love and the more the Light of Love will reflect off of you to others. Today, seek unity in love, first with God, the source of Love, and then with other Christians, while drawing others into that love. Know Love (God), and make Him known to others. It is very popular today to talk about unity, but unity around anything but Jesus is doomed and ultimately no unity at all. Draw closer to Jesus today, and let His love illuminate your life and brighten the lives of others around you, all to the glory of God.

20. John 17:12 – “While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” From Henry T. Blackaby — Nothing that Satan can do to you should cause you to fear (2 Tim. 1:7). Jesus chose the twelve disciples the Father had given Him and then jealously guarded them from the evil one. Jesus sent His disciples into the world where they experienced difficult and dangerous circumstances, but He interceded on their behalf with His Father that they would have His strong protection from the evil one (John 17:15). In the same way, Jesus said that we, as His sheep, are held securely in the Father’s strong hand (John 10:28). There is no better place to be than safely in the hand of almighty God. Do you believe this, or are you fearful of what Satan or people can do to you? The apostle John encourages us that we do not need to fear: He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). This is not merely a theological concept but a profound reality in which you can have absolute confidence. It is not just a truth for meditation in the security of your home; it is a promise you can cling to in the midst of a hostile and menacing world. What you do reveals what you believe. If you are living a fearful, anxiety-filled life, you are proving your lack of confidence in God’s protection, regardless of what you may say. Live your life with confidence that Jesus is continually interceding with the Father on your behalf. If you trust Him completely, you will have nothing to fear.

21. John 17:13 – “But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” From Henry T. Blackaby — If there is anything that ought to characterize the life of a Christian, it is joy! Jesus spoke many times to His disciples about His joy being complete and full in them. His disciples were filled with joy as they realized who they were: children of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:16-17). They had been dead in their sins but were now made alive in Christ (Rom. 6:4). They had once been helpless victims of death, but now death had no hold over them (1 Cor. 15:55-58). With such a marvelous salvation experience with Christ, how could the disciples be anything less than joyful? Don’t deny yourself that which is your birthright as a child of God. Don’t be satisfied with a joyless life. There ought to be in every Christian a deep, settled fullness of the joy of Christ that no circumstance of life can dispel. This comes as you allow the Holy Spirit to express Himself in your life. One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy (Gal. 5:22). This joy is unlike any happiness that is produced by the world. It fills you and permeates everything you do. Jesus did not pray that you would merely be happy or even that you would escape grief. He prayed that you would have the same joy that the Father had given Him: a divine joy, a joy that comes from a deep and unwavering relationship with the Father. It is a joy that is grounded so firmly in a relationship with God that no change in circumstances could ever shake it. This is the kind of joy that Christ is praying will be in you.

22. John 17:15 — “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” We are here on earth on purpose and for a purpose. We are not just waiting to die and go to Heaven. We are here to accomplish The Great Commission. Don’t pray that God would take you out of this world and away from the important mission He has given you on this earth. Pray that in all things, you would grow in your love for Him and unity with Him, and that you would be increasingly conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus. (Romans 8:28, 29)

23. John 17:17-18 – “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

– From Henry T. Blackaby — God will always sanctify you before He sends you. The Father set aside the twelve disciples and made them holy by the Truth, His Son. As they related to Jesus, the Truth (John 14:6), the disciples were refined by that Truth and were prepared to be sent out to preach the gospel. Jesus challenged their ambitions (Luke 9:46-48), chastised their lack of faith (Matt. 17:19-20), refuted Satan’s influence (Matt. 16:23), and denounced their pride (Matt. 26:33-35). When Jesus had finished preparing them, the disciples were sent out in such power that their world was never the same again. Satan will try to convince you that your sin renders you useless to God. That is a lie from the author and father of lies. As soon as you sin, the Deceiver will whisper, “You failure! You are now of no use to God.” This can bring a deep sense of defeat and hopelessness to a Christian. Yet, there is no freedom that compares to a soul set free by God’s grace. When God’s people allow God’s truth to realign them to God’s will and God’s standard, then the power of God will be released through them the same way it was through the first disciples. The Truth will set you free. The Truth is: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9), and we are restored to usefulness to God.

– God gave His written word. Then Jesus embodied and fulfilled that word as The Word. Then, with all power and authority, Jesus commissioned us as ambassadors, priests, and saints to proclaim the word on His behalf, making disciples of all nations on earth, and we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to receive special revelation from God’s word. So, how important is Bible study, memorization, and application?

– In his final hours, Jesus prays to the Father for the sanctification of the believers. He points out that the word of God is the primary instrument used by the Holy Spirit for sanctification. Jesus points out that, under his leadership, the disciples received God’s word, accepted God’s word, and obeyed God’s word (John 17:6, 7, 14). The product of sanctification through the word of truth is unity in the Body which serves as a testimony to a watching world (John 17:20-23). Today the Bible is more accessible than ever before, but perhaps never before has God’s word been handled so carelessly and complacently by so many. How much of the division and disunity we see in the Church today is the result of Biblical ignorance? God has commanded us (not suggested to us) to study His word diligently every day, to meditate upon it all day, to obey it, and to teach it to everyone, starting with our families. We are all to be like the Bereans who, with character more noble than others, eagerly examined the Scriptures each day to discern truth (Acts 17:11). “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).”

24. John 17:21 – “…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

– From Henry T. Blackaby — God often speaks of human relationships as a part of His mission to redeem a lost world (John 13:20; Matt. 25:40). One reason He gives for a husband and wife to live in unity is so they can produce a “godly seed,” that is, children who love and obey God, who can be used in God’s mission to bring redemption to a lost world (Mal. 2:14-15). Similarly, the church is the body of Christ. A church cannot be on mission with the Father in our world if its members are waging war with one another (1 Cor. 12:12). There is a crucial connection between our relationships with others and the salvation of those around us. We might assume that during Jesus’ prayer before His crucifixion, He would have prayed that His disciples would have courage, or would remain faithful, or would remember what they had been taught. Yet He asked that His followers would remain united in their love for one another. Jesus understood that it is spiritually impossible to love God but not love others. A test of your love for God is to examine your love for others. Our tendency is to say, “Heavenly Father, the problem is not between You and me. I love You with all my heart. I just don’t love my brother.” And God says, “That is an impossibility. You cannot love Me without loving the ones for whom My Son died” (John 13:34-35). Your life will not convince those around you of the reality of Jesus if you cannot live in unity with your fellow Christians.

25. John 17:22, 23 — “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

– Jesus enables us to become “perfectly one” with Him and the Father – a reality that should be apparent to the world around us.

– Unity can only come when we unify with God. Many people, even Christians see unity in itself as the goal so they attempt to unify around an activity, a church, a charity, a person, an organization, and many other things other than Jesus. If Jesus isn’t the goal, the target, the center, Jesus will fail.

26. John 17:25-26 – “O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” From Henry T. Blackaby — You do not “organize” the kingdom of God, you “agonize” the kingdom of God. You cannot be close to God without being affected by His love. The heavenly Father loved His Son with an eternal love. Everything in the heart and life of the Father was released to His Son. As the Father expressed His love for a broken and sinful world, this passion was manifested through the life of His Son. The Father initiated His plan to save mankind, and out of a heart of devotion, the Son accepted the assignment that took Him to the cross. As Jesus walked among people, the Father’s love filled His Son. Jesus recognized that no ordinary love could motivate Him to go to the cross. No human love could keep Him perfectly obedient to His Father throughout His life. Only His Father’s love was powerful enough to compel Him to commit His life to the saving purpose of His Father. Jesus prayed that God would place this same love in His disciples. He knew that no other motivation would be sufficient for the assignments God had for them. God’s answer was to place His Son in them. It is impossible for a Christian to be filled with this measure of love and not to be on mission with God. You will be incapable of ministering to everyone God sends you unless you have His love. You cannot forgive others or go the extra mile with others or sacrifice for others unless you have first been filled with the boundless love of God. Seek to know the Father and His immeasurable love, then allow His Son to love others through you!

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 Nov 18: On this Thanksgiving Day, proclaim our thankfulness for your salvation through Jesus Christ, and glorify Him through your attitude of gratitude, and your unity with fellow believers.

DBRP – WEEK 47, Day 3, Wednesday, 21 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+41%2C+42%3B+pro+21%3B+John+16

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 21 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 41-42 – God had a very precise plan for the place where He would live among His people and where the people would come to worship and give gifts to Him. The Bible says, that you are His Temple.

2. Ezekiel 41 — The plans place the temple at the highest point and make the entrances to the parts of the temple increasingly narrow as one approaches the Most Holy Place where God lives. What does this suggest about the ways of God and about how He relates with us?

3. Ezekiel 41:3-5 — “Then he went into the inner room…. And he said to me, ‘This is the Most Holy Place.’” Ezekiel was taken to the outer sanctuary, but the angel did not take Him to the inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place, because Ezekiel couldn’t enter the Holy Place as an unholy, unrighteous sinner. However, Hebrews 10 reveals that, through the blood of Jesus, we now have access to the Most Holy Place, having been covered over by the righteousness and holiness of Jesus — “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22) Now that you have access, live in that close relationship with God, and remain pure in His presence. The motto is “Semper Fidelis Coram Deo” which means “Always Faithful Before the Face of God”.

4. Ezekiel 41:21-22 – “The doorposts of the nave were squared, and in front of the Holy Place was something resembling an altar of wood, three cubits high, two cubits long, and two cubits broad. Its corners, its base, and its walls were of wood. He said to me, “This is the table that is before the Lord.” Incredible detail is planned for the furnishing of the Holy of Holies, a place only the High Priest is allowed to see. God demands our very best where only He can see, our hearts. Only you and God can enter into your heart to see what is really there. It must be the most beautiful and holy place of the Temple.

5. Ezekiel 42:1-14 – Much detail is placed in God’s temple to accommodate the physical needs of the people and the logistics of worship. Often times Christians seek to “spiritualize” their faith so much they act like the physical aspects of life are somehow inconsequential or less spiritual. Some suggest that our physical lives don’t really matter, that we are just waiting to get to Heaven. However, God made us physical on purpose and told us to translate His will into physical reality on earth – “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s plan has Him returning to earth (a new earth) to reign. The physical is part of God’s spiritual reality.

6. Ezekiel 42:20 — “He measured it on the four sides. It had a wall around it, 500 cubits long and 500 cubits broad, to make a separation between the holy and the common.” In the physical world, proximity relates to time and space. Spiritually distance is measured in love, obedience, and holiness. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey….” The more you love and obey Jesus, the closer you get to Him and the more you distance yourself from the unspiritual. Obedience to Jesus makes you uncommon, holy, and holy means “set apart.” If you ever feel as if God is distant, make sure it is not because you have distanced yourself through disobedience.

7. Proverbs 21:1 – “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” God is in control of the lives of all political leaders, using them for His purposes. This was revealed in the life of Nebuchadnezzar and many other worldly leaders in the Bible. If you want political leaders to act differently, you need to go to The Lord who controls their actions.

8. Proverbs 21:2 – “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” God is not just interested in what you do but more importantly why you do it. Every ‘good deed’ can be done with selfish motivation or selfless motivation. A good deed done selfishly and one done selflessly may appear the same outwardly, but God knows the difference, the heart and true motive behind the deed, and He judges the acts differently.

9. Proverbs 21:3, 26, 27 — “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice…. the righteous gives and does not hold back. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent.” Throughout the Bible, we see that God does not accept the worship and ‘religion’ of the unrepentant sinner, regardless the person’s commitment to their futile religious practices. Of the Old Testament Israelites, God said, “Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they… did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.” (Isaiah 58) In their sin, God did not respond to their prayers and worship, leaving God’s disobedient people to question why their church had lost its power – “Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?” (Isaiah 58) Jesus answers this question still being asked in churches today – “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7) The powerful life is the life truly surrendered to God, intent on fulfilling the will of God day by day, denying self, carrying the Cross, and truly following Jesus in obedience — “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1) It is God’s grace and mercy that give us the opportunity to present ourselves as ‘living sacrifices’ and to worship Him in spirit and in truth (in practical reality through tangible actions aligned with God’s will). Living by grace involves bearing fruit which comes out of obedience. To love flowers is to hate weeds. Are there weeds of sin in your life that need to be pulled that are choking out your fruitfulness?

10. Proverbs 21:10 – “The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.” Mercy is a trait of the righteous.

11. Proverbs 21:11 – “When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise; when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.” Scoffers who have no spiritual discernment are like animals – like mules, they only respond to whips on the backside (pain) or to carrots (pleasure). The legal system is for scoffers and the simple. True Christians do what is right without need of laws, motivated by love.

12. Proverbs 21:17 – “Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.” Pleasure seekers don’t gain lasting wealth.

13. Proverbs 21:27 – “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent.” Compare this verse with Pro 21:2. Again, God judges intent, the heart behind the action.

14. John 16:1-4 — “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.”

– Jesus was focused on the fact that His disciples were in great danger of going astray and that they needed to abide by His word as their only hope.

– Jesus warned His followers that they would be persecuted by people from within the church in the name of God because, though these persecutors were very religious, they “have not known the Father, nor me.” Jesus warned His followers so that, under the pressure of the worldly church, His true followers would not ‘fall away.’ We must be very careful not to allow unfaithful but powerful elements of the contemporary church compromise our fidelity to Jesus. If you are truly obeying God’s word, you might find that your greatest critics are members of the church.

– Many Christians have hurt other Christians believing they were serving God in the process. If your actions don’t feel gracious, peaceful, and loving, they probably aren’t, and you our therefore outside of God’s will. When you are operating outside of the command of love, you are essentially making yourself an enemy of God.

15. John 16:6 – “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.” The reality God has in store for us might tend to fill us with grief, though we are reminded that this is part of God’s perfect plan, and we can rely on the Holy Spirit for strength and joy in the midst of trials. God will judge the world, and we will suffer in the midst of that judgment; however, we will be rewarded for faithful service behind the enemy’s front lines.

16. John 16:8 — “When he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” Only The Holy Spirit can convict the heart. As God’s messenger, you are called to proclaim truth to others, but the Holy Spirit must do the convicting. Tell people the truth in love, and let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest.

17. John 16:12-13 — ” I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” The Holy Spirit guides you through a process of spiritual growth — spiritual growth is not obtained on your own ability and isn’t obtained overnight. For those who are diligent disciples, the Holy Spirit reveals more and more truth everyday overtime. The Holy Spirit only speaks the words of the Father. Obedient disciples do likewise. No one should care about what you think, and your credibility does not improve with position, experience, or age. All that matters is the unfiltered word of God flowing out of your mouth as a messenger of Christ.

18. John 16:14 — “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” We glorify God when we declare His truth to others.

19. John 16:20 — “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.”

– The Christian’s response to circumstances and world events is the opposite of those who are not followers of Christ. If you are rejoicing with the world, you might want to question your spiritual discernment. If you are fearing or fretting with the world, you might want to question your spiritual discernment.

– We naturally mourn over what the world rejoices over. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you won’t mourn, quite the opposite. Happiness and joy are not the same thing.

20. John 16:22 – “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” Now is not our time of rejoicing. We will not fully rejoice until Christ returns, but our inner joy remains because we are always with Jesus. Today’s feel-good church is severely disoriented to the realities of its environment and situation.

21. John 16:23, 24 — “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” This is an important word for us from Jesus. The disciples had been with Jesus for a long time and had asked Him for many things, but Jesus said of them, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name.” What is it to ask in Jesus’ name? Essentially it is asking for Jesus’ will rather than our own will, from unselfish motives that seek only to glorify Jesus. To that point in the Bible, the requests of the disciples always had a little selfish intent. To ask in Jesus’ name is to essentially ask on His behalf, not ours. What will you pray for today and why? Are your prayers about you or about Jesus?

22. John 16:31, 32 — “Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone.'” Part of your spiritual growth involves God revealing to you your lack of faith. This is your opportunity not to get discouraged but rather to turn to God for strength and to grow in faith.

23. John 16:32 — “Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” Jesus knows better than anyone what it is to be abandoned and rejected and reminds us that the Christian is never alone, never abandoned, and never rejected. Your relationship with God is the only relationship you have that will never fail you in some way.

24. John 16:33 — “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

– The Christian should have and display peace through tribulation because of his relationship with God and total trust and confidence in Him. Jesus wants you to have inner peace on earth when there is no outer peace. Jesus speaks about peace over 100 times in the Bible. To those who have received salvation in Him, Jesus says, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50) Walk In the peace of Jesus. Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27) Be troubled and worried no longer. Jesus also says, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21) Jesus also commands us to spread His peace to the world. We should be beacons of peace through our attitudes and communicators of peace through the preaching of the good word. Today, live in peace and preach peace to others, peace that only comes through Jesus.

– God modeled for us how to respond to abandonment and persecution while having peace in fellowship with God. If the world has not yet abandoned you, see if you haven’t indeed abandoned God when it mattered most. When it was time to speak out against adultery, abortion, homosexuality, promiscuity, injustice, etc, did you run to your home, shut the door and act like you didn’t know Jesus, His teachings, or His call for repentance, which we are called as ambassadors to communicate on His behalf? Don’t fool yourself – silence is consent. Are you scared to leave your comfortable, seemingly secure silence for Jesus? John the Baptist was beheaded because he dared speak out against adultery. Jesus said of John the Baptist that there was no man born of woman greater than John the Baptist. What does Jesus say about your fidelity and courage as His ambassador?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 Nov 18: Today, practice peace. Be an agent of peace, pointing others to the peace that only comes from right relationship with Jesus.

DBRP – WEEK 47, Day 2, Tuesday, 20 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+39%2C+40%3B+pro+20%3B+John+15

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 20 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 39:7 – “I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore.” God’s patience doesn’t last forever.

2. Ezekiel 39:21-23 — “And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword.” God will glorify His Name in either positive ways or negative ways depending upon the obedience of those through whom He is working. God warns people that they will choose either blessings or curses. God will not be mocked.

3. Ezekiel 39:29 – “And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God.” The Holy Spirit enables you to see God.

4. Proverbs 20:6 – “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?” Nothing makes you more valuable and respected than fidelity to God. Nothing makes you more loving than fidelity to God.

5. Proverbs 20:22 – “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.” God commands you not to respond negatively to insults or maltreatment. Return good for evil.

6. Proverbs 20:27 – “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Man was created with spirit, soul, mind, and body. The soul is our psychology and emotions, but the spirit is our connection with God, God’s spirit within us. Those without Christ have physical life, with a body, mind, and even soul, but they are spiritually dead. Those who are born again in Jesus obtain spiritual life, and the Holy Spirit is within them. They are no longer just smarter animals, they are spiritual beings.

7. John 15:1, 2, 5 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit…. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

– Jesus expects continual spiritual growth and fruitfulness from His followers. The growth process is often painful as God “prunes” your character to make it more Christ-like and productive. Pruning is the painful process of removing what hinders further growth. What must be removed from your life so that you may continue to grow in Christ? The loving Father will continue to conform you to obedience and love “that your joy may be complete (15:11).” See Proverbs 20:27, 30. God has “appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last (15:16). How are you doing at fulfilling the King’s calling? Everything you do apart from this is meaningless, meaningless, meaningless:”

— “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:11).”
What sort of fruit does a Spirit-led Christian produce? See Galatians 5:22, 23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” The attributes God removes are those opposite of the Beatitudes – He prunes away pride, pleasure seeking, arrogance, self-sufficiency, cruelty, impurity, resentfulness, bitterness, defensiveness, etc. Bearing fruit glorifies God and proves our discipleship. (John 15:8) The foundation of fruitfulness is obedience to God’s commands – this is also the secret to joy as well as a prerequisite for genuine love. (John 15:10, 11, 17) Those who obey God’s commands with love as their motive are friends with Christ and understand God’s will. (John 15:15) If we walk in obedience, we will walk in the power of God (meekness) and will have rest within our spirits despite the fact that we will be hated and persecuted by the world. In our persecution, we have true fellowship with Christ – adversity unites.

8. John 15:3, 4 — “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” You are saved by faith, not by works; you are cleansed by the blood of Jesus. However, having been saved by God’s grace, you must remain in Him to be sanctified in grace. He has called you to obedience, holiness, and good works which God has prepared in advance for you. Now that you have been saved, serve the Lord as His disciple and bear fruit. Jesus said that to bear fruit you must remain in Him, remaining in Him means remaining in His love, and remaining in His love means obeying His commands. (15:4, 9, 10) The fruit that you bear demonstrates your discipleship to the watching world and serves your life’s purpose of glorifying God. (15:8; Proverbs 20:11) Anything you do in life that is self-serving misses the mark. (15:4-6) Jesus describes two types of branches: those that don’t bear fruit and those that do. The branches that don’t bear fruit wither and die to no end, but the branches that do bear fruit add life, and when they fall to the ground (die of self), they produce seeds of new life (disciples).

9. John 15:5 – “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

– From Henry T. Blackaby — There are those who feel that they must be constantly laboring for the Lord in order to meet God’s high standards. Jesus gave a clear picture of what our relationship to Him ought to be like. He is the vine, the source of our life. We are the branches, the place where fruit is produced. As we receive life from Christ, the natural, inevitable result is that fruit is produced in our lives. In our zeal to produce “results” for our Lord, we sometimes become so intent on fruit production that we neglect abiding in Christ. We may feel that “abiding” is not as productive or that it takes too much time away from our fruit production. Yet Jesus said that it is not our activity that produces fruit, it is our relationship with Him. Jesus gave an important warning to His disciples. He cautioned that if they ever attempted to live their Christian life apart from an intimate relationship with Him, they would discover that they ceased to produce any significant results. They might exert great effort for the kingdom of God, yet when they stopped to account for their lives, they would find only barrenness. One of the most dramatic acts Jesus ever performed was cursing a fig tree that had failed to produce fruit (Mark 11:14). Are you comfortable in abiding, or are you impatient to be engaged in activity? If you will remain steadfastly in fellowship with Jesus, a great harvest will be the natural by-product.

10. John 15:10, 11 – “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” You abide in Jesus through obedience. You love Jesus through obedience. You find joy in life through obedience.

11. John 15:15 — “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
From Henry T. Blackaby — You do not choose to be a friend of God. That is by invitation only. Only two people in the Old Testament were specifically described as “friends of God.” Abraham walked with the Lord so closely that God referred to him as His friend (Isa. 41:8). Moses spoke to God face to face as a man speaks with his friend (Exod. 33:11). By His very nature God is a friend to us. He loves us with a perfect love and reaches out to us with salvation when we can offer Him nothing in return. It is quite another thing when someone has a heart so devoted to Him that God initiates a special friendship. David’s heart was totally devoted to God (1 Kings 11:4). Although David was not sinless, he loved God. David hated sin (Ps. 103:3); he loved to worship God (Ps. 122:1); he took genuine delight in God’s presence (2 Sam. 6:14); he loved to speak about God (Ps. 34:1); he was keenly aware of his transgressions (Ps. 51:3-4); and he delighted in offering gifts of song, thanksgiving, and praise, asking for nothing in return (Ps. 100). So closely did David walk with God that his words were on Jesus’ mind as He hung upon the cross (Matt. 27:46). Jesus called His disciples friends. He said He would disclose to them things that the Father had shared with Him, because they were His friends. There developed such an intimate friendship between them that He would share what was on His heart with His friends. If you cannot describe yourself as a friend of God, commit yourself to seek after God with all your heart.

12. John 15:20 – “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” If Jesus was willing to be persecuted by sinners for their sake, to reconcile them to the Father, what makes you more deserving of fair treatment than Him. What justification do you have demanding your ‘rights’ from others or seeking their punishment for treating you poorly? If you are going to rest on grace through Jesus, you have no choice but to give grace to all others. You have to be hurt by the sins of others to fully appreciate the grace you have received through Jesus.

13. John 15:25 – “They hated me without a cause.” You will not convince others to believe through evidence our logic. It is not a head problem, it is a heart problem.

14. John 15:26, 27 — “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” You partner with the Holy Spirit to lead people to Jesus. You cannot lead anyone to Jesus apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, and God’s plan is that you serve as Jesus’ ambassador, empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is your life mission.

15. John 15 – God expects followers of Christ to bear much fruit, not through their power or abilities but through the power of God flowing through them. Only the Creator can create; we can only steward what He has created. Apart from Christ working through us, we cannot do anything. If the life of the vine does not flow through you the branch no fruit can be produced. However, it is natural and expected for a healthy tree to bear fruit and to grow. The fruit proves the tree. Your fruit is evidence of your relationship with God.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 20 Nov 18: Proclaim Jesus to as many as you can today, and allow the Holy Spirit to work where the Holy Spirit will. (John 15:26, 27)

DBRP – WEEK 47, Day 1, Monday, 19 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+37%2C+38%3B+pro+19%3B+John+14

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 19 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 37:1 – “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.”

– Don’t just go out – be led out in the Spirit of the Lord. Even in a proverbial valley of dry bones, you can expect amazing things if the Spirit has led you there.

– God’s servants are led by the Holy Spirit.

2. Ezekiel 37:4 — “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.” God calls us to prophesize, not to question the receptivity of the audience. Ezekiel faithfully obeyed in a seemingly fruitless environment.

3. Ezekiel 37:6 – “And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” God brings the spiritually dead to life for His glory.

4. Ezekiel 37:10 – “So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.” God allows His servants play a critical role in His work, though He is not dependent on them.

5. Ezekiel 37:14 – “And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live.”

– It is the Holy Spirit within us that gives us spiritual life.

– Dry bones cannot breathe life into themselves and bring themselves alive. Neither can a spiritually dead person bring themselves to life. God provides His Spirit to enable people to surrender to Him and follow Him. The Spirit, however, does not prevent a person from rejecting or disobeying Jesus if they want.

6. Ezekiel 37:23 – “They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” When you turn to the Lord for cleansing, He will forgive you but also change your heart so you won’t desire to sin as you once did; rather you will desire to closer to Him day by day, hating the sin that separates.

7. Ezekiel 37:24 — “My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes.” The name ‘David’ here likely refers to the Messiah in the line of David, Jesus. When Jesus is truly your Shepherd, you are careful to obey Him.

8. Ezekiel 37:26, 27 – “And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” God does not reside in a building. God’s sanctuary is within His people. You are the Temple of God.

9. Ezekiel 38:23 – “So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” How many times does God’s word remind us that His purpose for our lives is to bring glory to Him, not to us?

10. Proverbs 19:2 – “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” Make rational decisions rather than emotional decisions; make spirit led decisions rather than decisions based merely upon your limited knowledge, but don’t mistake feelings and emotion for the Spirit’s counsel. The Bible says to test your perceptions of the spirit against the word of God. God will never ask you to go against His written word. If you sense selfishness in your decision, it is not from the spirit.

11. Proverbs 19:3 – “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.” Human nature incites us to blames God for our buffoonery and disloyalty.

12. Proverbs 19:4 – “Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend.” The vast majority of relationships are motivated by selfishness – selfish friends like the way you make them feel or what you do for them. Often people approach God the same way, seeking His blessings rather than Him. What is the motivation behind your relationships with God and others – genuine love is selfless.

13. Proverbs 19:6 – “Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.” Many are in love with a concept of a god who always blesses them – a conditional, self-centered religion. This was Satan’s test of Job: “Take away the blessings, and Job will stop loving God, trusting, and obeying God.” Will you love, trust, and obey God no matter what happens to you?

14. Proverbs 19:22 – “What is desired in a man is steadfast love.” Any questions?

15. John 14:1, 21, 24, 30 — “If you love me, you will obey what I command…. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him…. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching…. the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”

– Obedience to God reveals the truth of our love for God. We cannot disobey from a position of love. To claim love and godliness in disobedience is blasphemous.

16. John 14:6 – “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

– Do you believe Jesus enough to proclaim this eternal message to everyone you know?

– From Henry T. Blackaby — If you are walking daily with the Lord, you will not have to find God’s will—you will already be in it. If you are walking with Him in obedience day by day, you will always be in the will of God. The Holy Spirit’s role is to guide you step by step to do God’s will. Walking closely with God each day guarantees that you will be exactly where He wants you to be. You would have to reject all of the Holy Spirit’s activity in your life in order to get out of the will of God. The disciples never had to ask Jesus where they should go next. They simply looked to see where Jesus was going and stayed close to Him! Jesus was their “way.” They didn’t need a map as long as they had Jesus. Too often, we would prefer a road map of our future rather than a relationship with the Way. It often seems easier to follow a plan than to cultivate a relationship. We can become more concerned with our future than we are with walking intimately with God today. Jesus will never give you a substitute for Himself. He is the only way to the Father. That’s why it is critical that you clearly know when God is speaking to you (Isa. 30:21). If you are disoriented to how God speaks, you will not understand when He is giving you a new revelation about what He is doing. If you want to know God’s will, take time to cultivate your relationship with Jesus and learn to identify His voice. He is more than willing to show you the way.

17. John 14:6, 7 – “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.’” Jesus and the Father are one. Jesus is the Way God has provided for people to know Him – there is no other way, no other truth, no other life. We can’t approach God on our own terms.

18. John 14:10 – “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” Jesus only spoke the words of God through the power of God and in the authority of God. We should do the same.

19. John 14:12-14 — “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

– Jesus operated under the authority and power of the Father, and was solely obedient to His will. He modeled how we are to live our lives. If we truly believe, we will surrender entirely to His authority, will, and power.

– Do you believe that Jesus expects us to do greater things than He did because of the power, authority and support we have in Him? Do you understand that asking “in” His name is asking within His will for His will to be accomplished? When your prayers are for what God wants rather than merely what you want, your prayers will be answered with “Yes.” Our prayers must be God-centered, not self-centered, asking that God’s will be done, not our will.

20. John 14:15 — “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Obedience is the proof of our love.

21. John 14:15, 16, 21, 23, 24 — “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever…. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me…. If anyone loves me, he will keep my word…. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.”

– Obedience opens the door for the Spirit’s work in the believer’s life.

– When something is repeated in the Bible it is for emphasis; the highest degree of emphasis is when something is repeated three times. Three times in John 14, Jesus reiterates that love and obedience go hand-in-hand. Many people believe in God, but James reminds us that even the demons believe in God. To love God, however, is to obey Him with contentment from the heart – “godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6) Jesus points out that love inspired obedience will be VERY powerful in the life of a true Christian – “whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it…. the Spirit of Truth… will be in you…. I will love him and manifest myself to him…. The Helper… will teach you all things… Peace I leave with you.” The powerless Christian has a love problem. The loving Christian will be evident to all by the power of the Spirit flowing through him or her. How is your spiritual love life?

22. John 14:21-24 – “…and I will love him and manifest myself to him….”

– Do you want to see Jesus? Do you want Him to be truly manifested in your life? Then, keep His commandments and His words. Love inspired, selfless obedience is the path to knowing Jesus more and more.

– From Henry T. Blackaby on John 14:21 — Obedience to God’s commands comes from your heart. When you begin struggling to obey God, that is a clear indication that your heart has shifted away from Him. Some claim: “I love God, but I’m having difficulty obeying Him in certain areas of my life.” That is a spiritual impossibility. If I were to ask you, “Do you love God?” you might easily respond, “Yes!” However, if I were to ask you, “Are you obeying God?” would you answer yes as quickly? Yet I would be asking you the same question! Genuine love for God leads to wholehearted obedience. If you told your spouse that you loved her at certain times but that you struggled to love her at others, your relationship would be in jeopardy. Yet we assume that God is satisfied with occasional love or partial obedience. He is not. Obedience without love is legalism. Obedience for its own sake can be nothing more than perfectionism, which leads to pride. Many conscientious Christians seek to cultivate discipline in their lives to be more obedient to Christ. As helpful as spiritual disciplines can be, they never can replace your love for God. Love is the discipline. God looks beyond your godly habits, beyond your moral lifestyle, and beyond your church involvement and focuses His penetrating gaze upon your heart. Has your worship become empty and routine? Have you lost your motivation to read God’s Word? Are you experiencing spiritual lethargy? Is your prayer life reduced to a ritual? These are symptoms of a heart that has shifted away from God. Return to your first love. Love is the greatest motivation for a relationship with God and for serving Him.

23. John 14:26 — “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” The Holy Spirit is your teacher, not any person. Listen to wise counsel from others, but test all teachings by God’s word and the teaching of the Holy Spirit. No person has more potential access to the Spirit than any other person, though many are more receptive to the Spirit than others due to the condition of their hearts and their level of obedience. Develop your own relationship with the Spirit, and be guided by Him.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 19 Nov 18: Focus on obedience to Jesus today, but not an obedience motivated by fear, pride, or even duty, rather motivated by selfless love that is not seeking personal blessings but rather a more intimate relationship with Jesus. Seek that Jesus would be manifested in your life, not that you would have a more comfortable existence apart from Him. Seek not more knowledge ‘about’ Jesus, seek knowledge of Jesus, personal knowledge that comes from walking with Him in obedience. (John 14)

DBRP – WEEK 46, Day 7, Sunday, 18 November 2018

https://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+35%2C+36%3B+pro+18%3B+psalm+135%2C+136

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 18 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 35:6, 11, 15; 36:19 — “Because you did not hate bloodshed, therefore blood shall pursue you…. I will deal with you according to the anger and envy that you showed because of your hatred against them…. As you rejoiced over the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so I will deal with you; you shall be desolate…. In accordance with their ways and their deeds I judged them.”

– God’s way is to judge people according to the way they judge others. This pattern is revealed throughout the Bible. Remember Jesus’s words — “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:36-38) Remember how He taught people to pray to the Father – “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12) Most are familiar with the ‘Golden Rule’ — “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) However, few truly consider the implications of not following the Golden Rule.

– We should not presume to think that we can treat others harshly while receiving nothing but mercy from God. God will reveal to you and to others His Justice, His mercy, and His Grace, by treating you the way you treat others. He will glorify Himself.

2. Ezekiel 35:13 – “And you magnified yourselves against me with your mouth, and multiplied your words against me; I heard it.” God takes offenses against His people personally, as an affront to Him, and He will deal with the offenders accordingly.

3. Ezekiel 36:13, 14 – “Thus says the Lord God: Because they say to you, ‘You devour people, and you bereave your nation of children,’ therefore you shall no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children, declares the Lord God.” Ungodly nations are particularly hard on children. The nation of Israel during the time of Ezekiel had developed an international reputation as being a dangerous place to live because of the sinfulness of the people. Remember that one of the primary reasons God judged Israel was because they sacrificed their infants to Baal. This is what is being referred to in vs 18 – “I poured out my wrath upon them for the blood that they had shed in the land, for the idols with which they had defiled it.” Today, the sacrifice of children to idolatry is performed in a more sophisticated way, and we call it abortion. About 60 million babies have been aborted in America since Roe vs Wade – that is the equivalent of 10 Holocausts. God will hold the nation accountable for that.

4. Ezekiel 36:20, 21 – “But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came.” God is ashamed of people who claim to represent Him when they are not holy and obedient.

5. Ezekiel 36:22-23 – “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.”

– God’s intent is to spread the reputation of His name throughout the earth. When God works in our lives, it is ultimately not about us but rather about Him. We are on earth to accomplish His purposes, not ours. If His purposes require our demise, then praise God who has given us this incredibly honorable responsibility.

– God will glorify Himself through your life either in a positive way or a negative way, either through blessings or through discipline, depending on whether or not you choose to obey Him and display His character to the world rightly. God the Father cannot tolerate children that dishonor the family name.

6. Ezekiel 36:25-32 – “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules…. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses…. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways….”

– We cannot purify ourselves; God must purify us. We cannot fix our hearts; God must give us a new heart. We cannot follow God’s command or obey Him unless His Holy Spirit is within us. You must be born again by salvation through Jesus Christ alone.

– Only God can cleanse you, fix your heart, and give you the strength to obey Him day by day. You cannot achieve holiness through willpower.

– Man cannot fix the condition of his heart. Modern-day gurus have nothing to offer you. Our only hope is salvation through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus we receive a new heart, and a new spirit, not band aids on our old broken, corrupted heart. Then we will see clearly the foolishness and sinfulness of our old self and our new heart will desire, out of love, honor, and reverence to obey God’s commands, placing no confidence in self or the ways of the world. Only through the power and grace of God is there any hope for genuine change.

— 2 Corinthians 5:17 — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

– “Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.” The Holy Spirit drives you to humility, continual repentance, and the acknowledgment that is not for you but rather for the glory of God. When the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin, you will be truly repentant. When you are truly repentant, you will not want to sin any longer.

7. Ezekiel 36:26 – “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Comments from Henry T. Blackaby – “From our hearts comes our response to God. Apart from the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are extremely deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). David prayed that God would cleanse him from the ravages of his sin and purify his heart (Ps. 51:10). God’s greatest desire is that His people love Him with all their hearts (Deut. 6:5). Jesus said we are blessed if our hearts are pure (Matt. 5:8). Sin hardens the heart (Matt. 13:4, 19). The more sin we allow to pass over our hearts and through our lives, the more resistant we become to a word from God. The sin of unforgiveness stiffens our hearts. We cannot continue to resist the prompting of the Holy Spirit without becoming hardened against Him. Exposing ourselves to evil and ungodly influences desensitizes us to God and His word. Over time, our hearts become like stone, unreceptive to a fresh word from God. We become anesthetized to sin. Has your heart grown hard toward God? Do you feel as though nothing could soften it? God has a solution. He will separate you from the influences that are destroying you (Ezek. 36:24). He will cleanse you from all filthiness and remove everything that has taken His place in your affections (Ezek. 36:25). He will remove your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh, tender toward Him and His word. If your love for God is not what it should be, ask Him to renew your heart and restore your devotion to Him.”

8. Proverbs 18:3, 5-6, 8, 19, 21, 23 —

– God wants you to appreciate the power of your careless words to hurt other people.

– God has an ongoing concern for the needy and calls you to have the same.

9. Psalm 135:1, 5 – “Praise the Lord!… For I know that the Lord is great.” The more you really understand how great God is, the more you will want to genuinely praise Him. If your worship and praise is flat, it is because you have an appreciation problem.

10. Psalm 136:1 – “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136 is a list recounting all the ways God demonstrated His love and faithfulness to the people. This gave them encouragement for the future. Do you have a list of all the things God has done in your life to demonstrate His love and faithfulness? Take the time today to make that list, share with your family, and give thanks to God.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 18 Nov 18: See number 10 above.

DBRP – WEEK 46, Day 6, Saturday, 17 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+32-34%3B+pro+17%3B+psalm+134

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 17 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 32:3-9 – “Thus says the Lord God: I will throw my net over you with a host of many peoples, and they will haul you up in my dragnet. And I will cast you on the ground; on the open field I will fling you, and will cause all the birds of the heavens to settle on you, and I will gorge the beasts of the whole earth with you. I will strew your flesh upon the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcass. I will drench the land even to the mountains with your flowing blood, and the ravines will be full of you. When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord God. “I will trouble the hearts of many peoples, when I bring your destruction among the nations, into the countries that you have not known.”

– Throughout the Bible we are warned that everyone will face God’s judgment. Christians approach the Judgment Seat clothed in the righteousness of Jesus.

– God uses both domestic and international politics to glorify Himself. God is currently setting the stage for what He will do in the future. To understand what might be coming about, you must first understand Him. However, deeper understanding can come only from the Holy Spirit revealing God’s will and the pattern of His ways through God’s word. Human intellect apart from revelation will always fall short. Only God knows what He is bringing about. Today, many are raging in the streets when they should be repenting.

– God knows a nation’s or person’s impact on people and generations far beyond the nation’s or person’s understanding of that impact. Sin has a ripple affect we cannot even imagine; God’s judgment on a nation or person is intended, in part, to send a message to an immeasurable number of other people who might hear and understand. When we spread the Gospel, we cannot imagine who might be impacted, people we will never meet.

2. Ezekiel 32:12 – “I will cause your multitude to fall by the swords of mighty ones, all of them most ruthless of nations. ‘They shall bring to ruin the pride of Egypt, and all its multitude shall perish.’”

– Again, God will eliminate human pride. Be on constant vigilance against pride in your heart.

– God’s will is to shatter human pride.

3. Ezekiel 32:17-19 – “In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt, and send them down, her and the daughters of majestic nations, to the world below, to those who have gone down to the pit: ‘Whom do you surpass in beauty? Go down and be laid to rest with the uncircumcised.’”

– God has one destination for those who oppose Him.

– God will judge all those who do not “know” and acknowledge that He is God so that His name will be glorified. A nation’s only hope is to acknowledge God.

– God has one destination for all those who oppose Him.

4. Ezekiel 33:1, 2 – “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, speak to your people and say to them….’”

– The “word of the Lord,” includes a message of judgment against sin which is why Jesus’ first message was “Repent.” As Ambassadors for Christ, we must speak out against sin and point to the Savior who saves us, not from the consequences of our sin, but from the wrath of God.

– It is always good to notice in the Bible, take to heart, and remember that God’s worthy messengers did not speak their own words but only the words God gave them to speak. They were not offering others mere opinions, regurgitated interpretations of the Bible, or new ways of communicating old ideas. God’s messengers speak His word at the right time at the right place in the right way to the right people for the right reasons. As ambassadors for Christ, we must be guided by the Holy Spirit, informed by the word of God, and we must only speak on His behalf using His words, not ours.

5. Ezekiel 33:5 – “He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life.” You have to sound the trumpet; people have the responsibility to respond to your call for repentance. You are not responsible for how they respond.

6. Ezekiel 33:6 — “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand…. And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet?”

– Today’s readings in Ezekiel directly mirror what God said to Jeremiah about the messenger being held accountable for the delivery of the message. The word Apostle (apóstolos) means basically ‘commissioned and sent messenger’ with authority as a ‘delegate.’ Jesus gave his followers the ‘Great Commission’ – “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20) The Bible says further, “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) Under the authority and power of God, we have been commissioned to serve as His messengers and representatives on earth, to proclaim a message of eternal consequence. This is a TREMENDOUS responsibility that cannot be abrogated. God will hold us accountable for how we perform our mission. We must warn the iniquitous, and we must be very careful not to ‘muddy the waters’ by adding or taking away from God’s word. What we think about an issue matters little; what matters is what God’s word says. For example, God’s word forbids sex outside of a marriage between one man and one woman, period. God also demands that overseers, deacons, and elders be “men of one wife” with believing children. (1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Timothy 3:12; Titus 1:6) However, regularly the church disregards these commands and many others, muddying the waters of God’s word in the process in order to justify what they are doing. As a result, many churches have lost their holiness, power, saltiness, and luminance. While sin abounds, many Christians remain silent, contributing to the sin environment – “Qui tacet consentit”: “Silence gives consent.” What would Jesus say to the ‘consenting’ Christian? “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42) “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” (Matthew 18:7) Are you warning those around you? Are you vocal?

– You are responsible and held accountable for delivering the message to all; how people respond is their responsibility, not yours. However, their response to you is not an opportunity for you to quit proclaiming Christ. Your life mission is to proclaim Jesus and represent Him on earth. How are you doing?

7. Ezekiel 33:7-9 — “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.” God holds His people accountable for testifying to the truth and warning the wicked, whether they choose to hear or not. Why does God give us this burden of responsibility? “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die?’” (Ezekiel 33:11) God has called us on a challenging mission of love. What could be more unloving than watching people head down the path of ruin and death while saying nothing? In an effort to appease sinful society, some Christians have accepted cleaver, sophisticated arguments which seek to nullify God’s Laws, though the Bible makes them very clear and easy to understand. In this way, some Christians have sought to abrogate their eternal responsibility and life purpose as Christ’s Ambassadors. However, God is against those who muddy the clear waters of His unchanging word to suit their own fears, desires or self-righteous egos.

8. Ezekiel 33:11 – “Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die…?” God loves all people and does not want any to die in sin. Is this hard to understand? God does not want to see anyone perish. So He tells his ambassadors (true Christians) to “Say to them” that they need to repent.

9. Ezekiel 33:12 – “And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins.” Your good deeds don’t make up for you bad deeds. Righteous can only come from Jesus Christ. Trusting in human goodness is an illusion that leads to death (v13).

10. Ezekiel 33:14-16 – “Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.”

– Grace is given with the expectation of genuine repentance, restitution when possible, and continued obedience. Grace is not an opportunity to continue to freely dishonor God and hurt people without consequences to you. On the contrary, grace raises the standard for and expectation of love and faithfulness to God.

– Repentance results in a changed life.

11. Ezekiel 33:30-33 — “As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, ‘Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it. When this comes—and come it will! — then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

– God judges those who enjoy hearing His word but never practice it.

– The people did not want to obey God, they just wanted blessings from God – “their heart is set on their grain.” When people approach God and His word in a self-centered way, treating God as their genie in a bottle, they will be judged by God. We serve God; He doesn’t serve us.

– A love relationship with God is more than loving His word; it is obedience to His word.

12. Ezekiel 34:2-10 – God expects leaders of His people to sacrifice personal needs for the good of the people.

13. Ezekiel 34:4 – “The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.” God’s expectations for religious leaders are described here – it requires much, much more than an inspirational sermon.

14. Ezekiel 34:15, 16 – “I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.” Jesus said, He is the Good Shephard. Follow Jesus, and lead others to Jesus. He is the only Shephard we should follow.

15. Ezekiel 34:17-19 — “As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?” Again, when we put our spin on God’s word, adding to it, taking away from it, misinterpreting it, misapplying it, or distorting it in order to make it more appealing, we are muddying the waters, we ruin the terrain and muddy the waters. In a court of law, a witness takes an oath to tell the truth, the WHOLE truth, and NOTHING but the truth – anything else is a lie. I’m afraid we are all guilty of muddying the waters, justifying it as wisdom and tact in our relationships with others.

16. Ezekiel 34:30 – “And they shall know that I am the Lord their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord God.” God’s presence with His people is the primary mark of His love relations with them.

17. Proverbs 17:3 – “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” The Lord uses circumstances to test your heart. How has God tested your heart?

18. Proverbs 17:6 — “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.” Christian parents should have a plan for generations of faithfulness.

19. Psalm 134:1 – “Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord!”

– God seeks worshippers whose worship never stops, who worship in spirit and in truth 34/7, 365.

– Make sure you go to church tomorrow.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 Nov 18: Today, take some time to evaluate your success in your life’s mission of serving as Jesus ambassador — proclaiming Jesus, representing Him, and leading others to Him. Have you warned everyone who needs to be warned? Have you ministered to everyone God has placed in your life who need ministry? Recommit today to greater fidelity in service to God. Seek today to represent only Him and not yourself. (Ezekiel 33)

DBRP – WEEK 46, Day 5, Friday, 16 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+30%2C+31%3B+pro+16%3B+John+13

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 16 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 30:8, 19, 26 – “Then they will know that I am the Lord.” God’s ultimate aim is to glorify Himself. Everyone will eventually know Him as their Lord and Savior through Jesus or as their ultimate Judge.

2. Ezekiel 31 – God will destroy all pride which is an affront to His Sovereignty and Majesty.

3. Proverbs 16:2 – “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.” We tend to believe our own lies about our motives and intent. We often tell ourselves we are doing something for God or for others when we are really being self-serving. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” God knows your heart completely as well as the truth of your motives. Pray that God will reveal your heart to you and give you the strength through the Holy Spirit to turn your selfishness to selflessness.

4. Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” The way to get what you want is to want what God wants. When you are working on God’s plan, your plan cannot fail. It is only when you go your own way and start working for yourself that you have to start worrying. God has given you just enough time, energy, and capability to do what He wants you to do. If you find yourself harried, stressed out and worn out, you are probably doing things God never asked you to do.

5. Proverbs 16:6 — “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.” Our iniquity is atoned for by the blood of Jesus Christ who displayed perfect sacrificial love for us. We demonstrate our appreciation of the grace we have received by emulating the love and faithfulness of Jesus.

6. Proverbs 16:20 — “Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” There gives great blessings to the person who not only will carefully study God’s word but who will also trust God enough to obey His word.

7. Proverbs 16:26 — “A worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on.” God knows that a little want is good for you. A life of ease and comfort will ruin a person. Stay hungry and drive on!

8. Proverbs 16:32 — “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” The most difficult battle to fight is the inner battle, the struggle with self. If you have self-control, you are stronger than any warrior. If you can control your emotions in relationships and learn how to engage people in a positive and effective way, you will be a very influential person. Remember, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23), not merely a product of human force of will. You can’t overcome self with self alone.

– Proverbs 25:28 — A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

– Acts 24:25 — And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.”

– 1 Corinthians 7:5 — Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

– 1 Corinthians 7:9 — But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

– 1 Corinthians 9:25 — Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

– Galatians 5:22-24 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

– 1 Timothy 2:9 — likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,

– 1 Timothy 2:15 — …continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

– 2 Timothy 1:7 — for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

– 2 Timothy 3:1-5 – But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

– 2 Peter 1:5-8 – “Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9. John 13:14 – “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” Jesus died on a cross for sinners, including you. He commanded that those who would follow Him must deny self and take up their cross for others, suffering the sins of others, humbly, as their servant, that they might know Jesus or know Him better.

10. John 13:16, 17 — “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Jesus, though the Son of God, completely humbled himself and made himself a total servant to those undeserving around Him, even to the one who would betray him. Of Jesus, the Bible says, He “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:7, 8) The Bible calls us to “Have this mind among ourselves,” and Jesus said that we are blessed, not by knowing what Jesus did, but by DOING what Jesus did. Christ died for sinners; are we better than He, our Master? When we accept God’s mercy and grace for salvation and then demand justice from those who have sinned against us, we are seeking to make ourselves worthier of justice than the Son of God. This must never be considered. How could we possibly demand more rights than Jesus? If He was willing to die for sinners, we certainly must do the same. Have you ever said to someone, “I’m not your servant!”? Christians can never say something like that or think that way. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14) Note from the life of Judas that being with God’s people, participating in the activities of God’s people, and fellowshipping with God’s people does not make you a Christian — “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me…. It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” Judas was among the twelve, participating in Jesus’ activities, yet the son of perdition. Yet, Jesus never kicked Judas out of the group or even fired him as the money handler (though Judas stole from the resources). Likewise Jesus does not filter the fake, self-serving, self-righteous ‘Christians’ from the churches. Be certain that you are worshipping Jesus in spirit and in truth. Christians follow Christ in obedience, from the heart, denying self, taking of the cross in relationships, and modelling Jesus sacrificial, selfless love to unloving people.

11. John 13:20 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” You are God’s presence on earth for other people.

12. John 13:33-38 – “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.’ Peter said to him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.’”

– Love led Jesus to the cross and then to the Father. Love is willing to die for the beloved. A disciple’s love imitates Christ’s love.

– “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Does your radical love for others make it clear to all that you are a follower of Jesus rather than just another person who says that they are a Christian but who acts just like everyone else?

– When you were saved, you were saved into a family, a spiritual family of God’s people, the church. Jesus said that the true church would be recognized by the love shown between its members. This family would be so full of genuine love flowing from the Head, Jesus that the world would have to take notice. Of course how could you expect anything else from the Bride of Christ but remarkable love? Is your community overwhelmed by the remarkable love flowing from your church? Do you have a genuine love for the people in your church, even the obnoxious, immature, annoying people? These are the people that really test your willingness to love which is one of the reasons God commands you to fellowship and worship with them. The quality of your relationships with the people within the family of God reveals much about the quality of your relationship with God – they go hand-in-hand.

– Hebrews 10:25 — Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

13. John 13:37, 38 — “’Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.’” We cannot obey God within our own power; we must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. When we start trying to serve God solely from our own knowledge and strength, we will fail. God will use that failure to humble you and remind you to rely on Him. Remember, what God wants you to do is beyond human ability, because He wants to reveal Himself to the world, not reveal you. You can do ALL things, but only THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens you, and only the things God wants you to do through His power. All other ‘things’ are really no things at all, just meaningless efforts of futility, filthy rags no matter how much you declare them good deeds.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 16 Nov 18: Display the same type of mercy, grace, and love to others that Jesus displayed on the cross for you. Deny yourself today, and take up your cross for others. Forgive today the way you want God to forgive you. Don’t try to make yourself better than God by demanding better treatment from others than Jesus did for you. If He, the Son of God, was ready to forgive unconditionally and suffer for sinners, what right do you have to do otherwise? (John 13)

DBRP – WEEK 46, Day 4, Thursday, 15 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+28%2C+29%3B+pro+15%3B+John+12

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 15 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 28:2 — “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods….'” When pride causes us to trust in ourselves or anything else rather than God, we face judgment. When a nation thinks they don’t need God anymore, it’s end is near.

2. Ezekiel 28:16 – “In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned.” When you do business with the world for the sake of personal gain, you lose your holiness and step outside of the Lord’s protection.

3. Ezekiel 28:17 – “You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.” Foolishness is serving self rather than God. Foolishness chooses riches over righteousness. Foolishness seeks praise rather than seeking to be praiseworthy. Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”

4. Ezekiel 29:6 — “Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD.” God will prove His Sovereignty to all nations. God’s will is to glorify Himself. People and nations are either with Him or against Him.

5. Proverbs 15:8, 9 – “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him who pursues righteousness.”

– God is not interested in the religious activities of those who are merely seeking blessings for themselves with no real desire to serve and obey God wholeheartedly.

– Everything comes from God, belongs to God, and is controlled by God. Man’s self-confidence and self-reliance are an illusion.

6. Proverbs 15:16, 17 – “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” You cannot get for yourself anything better than what God intended for you. When you are committed to walking with the Lord, He will give you what is best for you rather than what you want; but God often gives the unfaithful what they want, along with the consequences, as a form of discipline or judgment. It is hard when God tears down your idols in order to remove your distractions from Him, but it is devastating when God turns someone over to their idols. If you choose to pursue what you want instead of what God intends, you will only find sorrow and unfulfillment.

7. Proverbs 15:24 – “The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.” Everyone is either on the right path or the wrong one. Only one path leads to God, and it is “narrow.” Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” No one gets to God but through Him. The Jesus path is the only path. If you don’t really believe that, you not only have no witness, the Bible says to are an anti-Christ.

8. John 12:3-8 — “Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.’” God sees beyond words and deeds, judging the motives and the hearts of people. Judas claimed concern for the poor for selfish reasons. From his selfish, unloving position, he criticized Mary’s act of worship as impractical and wasteful. However, Jesus understood the intentions of her heart, to worship him. When Jesus says to Judas, “the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me,” I think he is saying much more than just “you can take care of the poor later.” I think he is saying that the poor remain, not because a lack of resources, but rather because a lack of love, love first for God and then for others. Mary understood that love starts with God and flows from God. We have no real love to give others unless we are abiding in Christ, and the love of Christ is flowing through us. Many people give to charities, not to love God and others, but rather to feel righteous or to get some sort of credit. How many charities have you seen named after a person rather than named to glorify God who provides everything? These self-centered philanthropic activities do provide some relief to people in need, but not only does the self-centered giver remain without “credit” from God, but these superficial efforts fail to address the root cause of the issues causing the need – sin. The heart of man’s problem is the problem with man’s heart.

– 1 Samuel 16:7 — But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

– 2 Chronicles 6:30 — then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind,

– Proverbs 21:2 — Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.

– Isaiah 29:12-14 — And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read. And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

– Jeremiah 11:20 — But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.

– Matthew 15:19 — For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

– Mark 7:21 — For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,

– Romans 10:10 — For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

– 1 Corinthians 4:5 — Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

– 2 Corinthians 5:12 — We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.

– Ephesians 6:5-7 — Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man,

– Hebrews 4:12 — 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 10:16 — “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”

9. John 12:4-11, 13 — “But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it…. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

– Many, many people are involved in “Christian” ministry for selfish reasons, even though they quite often have not admitted it to themselves. For this reason, C.S. Lewis advised friends to not make ministry a source of livelihood. Be certain that your acts of ministry are in no way motivated by selfishness such as a desire to feel good about yourself, to feel righteous, or to be noticed by others. Only God truly understands your motives because you even deceive yourself; but with humility, God can show you where you are not motivated by love alone.

– Selfish interests often blind us to God’s interests.

10. John 12:26 — “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

– Jesus did not live life for himself, asking God to bless him along his personal journey. Rather, Jesus lived only for the Father’s desires, plan, and will. Jesus did nothing unless the Father directly commanded him, and everything the Father commanded, He did. In Today’s readings we see that every single word that came out of Jesus’ mouth was commanded to him by the Father (John 12:49). This obedience was exemplified by Jesus at a very young age – “‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’” If God is God (of course He is), and we are called to serve and glorify Him (as we are), and glorifying God is the purpose of our existence (which it is), how could we do anything but what the Father desires. Jesus was the perfect example, and commanded us to follow him as a faithful servant. So, what else in this world matters? However, today we read in both Ezekiel and John that pride gets in the way of our fidelity to the Lord. As described in Ezekiel, when we pursue our own paths for our own purposes and our own desires, we are putting ourselves before God and, in fact, calling ourselves god (Ezekiel 28:1-5). This self-worship is idolatry (Colossians 3:5) and putting a Christian spin on it does not change the truth of it. The Pharisees and those that followed them proclaimed their faith in God while they in fact refused to follow Jesus because they “loved praise from men more than praise from God (John 12:43).” Jesus warned that we cannot serve two masters. We are either about our Father’s business or pursuing the American dream. What is driving your actions today? What will you do today, what you think is best or what the Father has commanded? Whose words will you speak today, yours for the Father’s? In what will you place your trust, God or the economy and your job security? What will you fear today, God or man? What would happen if today we all boldly followed Christ in deed and no one or nothing else? See you on the battlefield.

– Many will talk about Jesus, but few will follow Him.

– Read this verse to know whether or not God will honor you.

11. John 12:37 – “Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him….” Miracles do not lead to faith.

12. John 12:41 – “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.” Real prophets point to Jesus.

13. John 12:47-50 — “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 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. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

– Sinners are judged by the Father, not by the messenger who testifies to the truth of God’s word and reveals sin through his testimony. Our job is to proclaim the truth, and we MUST point out sin and the need for salvation through Jesus Christ alone. The Father does the judging.

– Many struggle with how to reconcile these verses with the following: “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father.” (John 5:22, 23) Also, consider John 9:39 – “Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.’” Christ came to bring salvation and restoration, to “proclaim the truth.” The Truth will stand as witness against all who reject His message when he returns to judge the living and the dead on the last day. This is better understood when we consider John 3:16 in context: “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. (John 3:16-18)

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 Nov 18: Make your goal today to humbly serve Jesus and others today rather than yourself. Try to do nothing for personal gain. (John 12:6; Ezekiel 28)

DBRP – WEEK 46, Day 3, Wednesday, 14 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+26%2C+27%3B+pro+14%3B+John+11

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 14 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 26:3, 5, 6 – “I am against you, O Tyre, and will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves…. For I have spoken, declares the Lord God. And she shall become plunder for the nations, and her daughters on the mainland shall be killed by the sword. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

– God will control nations, control nature, control circumstances, and control history to reveal Himself to the world.

– The nation that does not put God first and honor God as God will face the consequences of complete destruction.

2. Ezekiel 27:3 – “O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty.’” Tyre had an extremely high opinion of itself in the midst of being condemned by God. The nation was completely out of touch with what God actually demands. Tyre truly had everything a nation could desire and was the product of the very best efforts people could put forward, but Tyre did not fear God. Because its foundation was ungodly, Tyre fell instantly like a house of cards. No doubt it had its mega-churches, luxurious cities, and mighty armies. Yet, in a blink of an eye, one of the greatest nations on the planet was left in ruins. This is a lesson for us. Our national motto remains, “In God We Trust.” Will America in its strength put its trust in God rather than economics, military strength, and ‘enlightenment’?

3. Proverbs 14:2 – “Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises him.” What you do reveals how you really feel about God.

4. Proverbs 14:4 – “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” You have to get your hands dirty to get anything done. Someone has to be willing to do the dirty work.

5. Proverbs 14:8, 15 – “The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving…. The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.” Wise people think carefully before they act.

6. Proverbs 14:14 – “The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.” God does not shield Christians from the consequences of their sin.

7. Proverbs 14:26 – “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.” Only God can protect your family.

8. Proverbs 14:31 – “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.” Generosity is an act of worship. The religious acts of the greedy person are unacceptable.

9. John 11:4 — “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Since we cannot understand what God is doing, and since we view circumstances from a self-centered perspective, it is very easy for us to misinterpret what is happening to us and to begin to think that God is neglecting us or punishing us when bad things are happening. It is hard for us the imagine that “bad” things aren’t really “bad” but rather best.

10. John 11:5 — “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.”

– In perfect love, Jesus delayed, much to the dismay of those who loved Him. Because of His love, Jesus allowed Martha, Mary, and Lazarus to go through a terrible experience that God would be glorified through it all and also that Mary, Martha, and Lazarus could grow in a deeper, more enlightened, and more meaningful relationship with the Lord. To them, Jesus’ delay may have appeared unloving, but yet they trusted in Him. Had it been up to Mary and Martha, they would have skipped this painful experience and would have missed out on what God had in store for them, but God responded to their pleas in a way that would give them what was best rather than what they desired. From our perspective, the pain of life does not make any sense, but how can we possibly understand what God has in mind: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD (Isaiah 55:8).” The question is, “How will we respond to painful circumstances, knowing that our perfect, loving Father is in control and has called us to serve as His instrument to Glorify Himself?” Can we be like Job who said, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him”? How will we respond to the circumstances the Lord puts before us today and the days to come? God will answer all of your prayers in a way that is better than you can imagine from your limited perspective. His goal is not to give you blessings. His goal is to bring you closer to Him. We don’t live on blessings, we live on Jesus. Are we prepared to serve as God’s instruments to glorify Himself regardless the personal cost?

11. John 11:14, 15 — “Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’” Again, Jesus wants you to experience whatever you need to experience to know Him better. Trust Him and focus on Him rather than what He can give you. Your life is not about comfort, health, wealth, worldly success, or security; your life is about being one with Him. This is where He desires to take you, and if that is your goal, all things, whether seemingly good or bad, will be good.

12. John 11:21 – “Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’” What emotions do you suppose were behind Martha’s words? It takes great faith to trust God in His apparent silence or delay while going through life crisis. It takes great faith to believe in God’s unconditional, perfect love and not to start blaming Him. No doubt Mary and Martha had their doubts, but they maintained hearts responsive to the Lord. They were probably like the man who said to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief (Matthew 9:24)!”

13. John 11:25, 26 — “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” If you really believe this, it changes your whole outlook on life and all of your priorities.

14. John 11:27 – “She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.’” Jesus put Martha through life crisis to take her to the next level, to take her from head knowledge to heart knowledge, to make her faith real by giving her an opportunity to personally experience the Truth of God rather than to just rely upon teachings. Martha was going to see first-hand the power of God in her life; no longer would her faith rely on stories and the testimony of others. She was about to become a true witness. You won’t grow in faith unless you step out in faith, unless you place yourself, or are placed, in situations when you can truly see God work. God will not let you stay where you are in your relationship with Him. You will either step out in faith to truly experience Him, or He will push you out through circumstances that He will orchestrate for your benefit and for His glory.

15. John 11:32, 33 — “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

– How differently do you think Mary, Martha, and Lazarus felt about Jesus after Lazarus was raised from the dead? But Jesus wasn’t just using this situation to draw those three closer to Him, he was using their situation to bring glory to God before a watching world — “Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.” (John 11:45) It takes great faith to believe that God’s delay is always for a greater good, a greater purpose that I cannot understand. But in faith we bring glory to God while He draws us closer and closer to Him.

16. John 11:35 – “Jesus wept.”

– One of the shortest verses in the Bible is one of the most powerful. Through it all, God Himself has great compassion for you because of His perfect love for you. Tied for shortest verse in the Bible is Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always.” These two short verses have much to tell us.

17. John 11:39, 40 – “Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’” Jesus has control over science and nature and uses them to reveal Himself.

18. John 11:41, 42 – “And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.’”

– What God does in your life is ultimately not about you but about God and His purpose of reconciliation in the world. God’s ultimate intent is not to give you a better life on earth but to glorify Himself and conform you to Christ-like character. Your goal should be His goal.

– Jesus saw His public prayers as an important testimony to others.

19. John 11:43 — “Lazarus, come out.” The blessings of God always require our instant, willing obedience to His commands.

20. John 11:45, 46 — “Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.”

– Jesus Christ will always be divisive. Everyone will pick a side, but no one stands in the middle. It is either all about Jesus or not at all about Jesus. Anyone who say’s they are Christian but don’t surrender all to Him are hypocrites.

– Jesus’ incredible miracle divided the crowd, some believed and some didn’t. Miracles cannot change the heart, though many claim their disbelief comes from a lack of evidence of God. Belief is not a knowledge issue, it is a heart issue. However, the chief priests and Pharisees only saw Jesus as a threat to their earthly position (John 11:48).

21. John 11:54 – “Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.”

– Those who reject Jesus will not see Him, experience Him, or have an appreciation for what they are missing. Jesus is with His disciples in obscure locations.

– Had Jesus desired political power or power within the religious institutions, this would have been His opportunity to claim a position of leadership, yet He did the opposite of what most people would do, He withdrew. His goal was to glorify the Father and the Kingdom of God, not to build a kingdom on earth that would help people get the things they wanted that were mere substitutes for God.

22. John 11:57 – “Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.” The religious leaders wanted Jesus arrested. What does this say about the dangers of church politics?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 Nov 18: Today, trust God with your adversity. Instead of viewing it as ‘bad’, consider how God is answering your prayers in a better way to bring you closer to Him. In your adversity, seek Jesus rather than just His blessings. You will receive the ultimate blessing — Him. (John 11)

DBRP – WEEK 46, Day 2, Tuesday, 13 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+24%2C+25%3B+pro+13%3B+John+10

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 13 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 24:13, 14 – “On account of your unclean lewdness, because I would have cleansed you and you were not cleansed from your uncleanness, you shall not be cleansed anymore till I have satisfied my fury upon you. I am the Lord. I have spoken; it shall come to pass; I will do it. I will not go back; I will not spare; I will not relent; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged, declares the Lord God.” God gives people the opportunity to be cleansed of their sins, with Him doing for them what they cannot do for themselves, but if they continue to reject His free gift of salvation, He will judge, and when He decides to judge, He will not relent.

2. Ezekiel 24:16 — “Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke.” God may call us to go through terrible pain and suffering for His purposes.

3. Ezekiel 24:18 – “So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded.” The purpose of your life is to glorify God. Eventually, we will be called to glorify God in death, but from this perspective, death is not bad but an opportunity. Of course, Christians understand that death is the beginning of an eternity with God.

4. Ezekiel 25:3 – “Say to the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord God: Thus says the Lord God, Because you said, ‘Aha!’ over my sanctuary when it was profaned, and over the land of Israel when it was made desolate, and over the house of Judah when they went into exile….” Just because a person does not choose to believe in God doesn’t mean that they aren’t still responsible to God. God will hold unbelievers accountable for their acts against God’s people.

5. Ezekiel 25:5, 7, 11, 14, 17 – A nation that does not know God in love will meet Him in anger.

6. Ezekiel 25:6 – “For thus says the Lord God: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet and rejoiced with all the malice within your soul against the land of Israel….” Joy over another’s misfortune is sin.

7. Ezekiel 25:11 – “…and I will execute judgments upon Moab. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” A nation’s military strength makes no difference when God chooses to judge.

8. Ezekiel 25:14 – “And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel, and they shall do in Edom according to my anger and according to my wrath, and they shall know my vengeance, declares the Lord God.” The fall of a nation is a result of God’s anger.

9. Ezekiel 25:15 — “Thus says the Lord God: Because the Philistines acted revengefully and took vengeance with malice of soul to destroy in never-ending enmity….” Harboring hatred is sin.

10. Ezekiel 25:16 – “…therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethites and destroy the rest of the seacoast.” God intends the defeat of a city to send a message to all the powerful nations of the world.

11. Proverbs 13:7 – “One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” What you really are eventually reveals itself. It matters little what you say; what matters is what you really do, and from what motivation you do it.

12. Proverbs 13:13 – “Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.” God’s word is not hard to understand. What a person does with God’s word determines consequences. What you choose to do with God’s word is life defining.

13. Proverbs 13:21 – “Disaster pursues sinners, but the righteous are rewarded with good.” Sinners don’t fall into disaster, they are chased by disaster, and they will be caught.

14. John 10:1 — “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.” There are not many paths to God. Only through Jesus is there salvation. Anyone who proclaims any other message is a liar.

15. John 10:1-5, 14 – “He who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers…. I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”

– Preachers who point to anything or anyone but Jesus are liars, thieves, and robbers. True followers of Jesus follow Him only, they know His teachings and are not deceived by false teachings. Those who truly know Jesus respond to Him and follow His word in obedience. They are protected from false teachers because they know the “voice” of Jesus and can easily recognize an imposter or thief. How well do you know God’s word and the “voice” of Jesus?

– Do you follow Jesus because you know Him and his voice? Do you follow his commands alone, or are you enticed by robbers and thieves?

16. John 10:7 — “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” Jesus is not only the Way, the Truth, and the Life, He is the door. Through Him you have access to the Father.

17. John 10:11, 12 – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.” Everyone else might abandon you, but Jesus never will. He has given His life for you when you didn’t deserve it. If you desire to love Jesus, even very imperfectly, He will not forsake you.

18. John 10:14 – “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.” Jesus’ sheep follow Him.

19. John 10:19 – “There was again a division among the Jews because of these words.” There are few things you can say today more divisive than “Jesus is the only way.” Try it and see. Are you willing to proclaim this message?

20. John 10:25 – “The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.” Jesus did works in His Father’s name, and He wasn’t accepted by most. Today, most Christians do not generally attach Jesus’s name to their works because they don’t want to be rejected by people. Christians sanitize most of what they do from the name, Jesus. Even when giving to charity or committing acts of kindness, often they do not do it in the name of Jesus but rather say nothing, take credit themselves, or do it in the name of an organization. The two most popular charities are Doctors Without Borders and American Red Cross. These charities do not give in the Name of Jesus, but rather in the name of humanity.

21. John 10:25, 37, 38 — “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’” Do your actions reveal the power of the Holy Spirit within you so that it is undeniable?

22. John 10:27 – “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Obedience reveals God’s true followers.

23. John 10:30 – “I and the Father are one.” Our life ambition should be to be one with the Father and the Son. (see John 17)

24. John 10:38 – “…even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Let your works be proof that you are a follower of Jesus and have the Holy Spirit within you.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 13 Nov 18: John 10:38 – Today, let your works be proof that you are a follower of Jesus and have the Holy Spirit within you.

 

DBRP – WEEK 45, Day 6, Saturday, 10 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek17-19%3B+pro+10%3B+psalm+139

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 10 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 17:18 – “He despised the oath in breaking the covenant, and behold, he gave his hand and did all these things; he shall not escape.” God expects His people to keep the promises they make to both believers and unbelievers.

2. Ezekiel 18:4 – “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.” God holds everyone accountable for their own actions.

3. Ezekiel 18:20 – “The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son.” Neither sin nor salvation are transferable from one generation to the next. Your relationship with God is between you and God.

4. Ezekiel 18:20-25 — “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.”

– People are often judged by others because of their family backgrounds, and many social groups hate each other because of conflicts that occurred between past generations. God does not accept this and demands that we hold people accountable for their actions only.

– Chapter 18 is all about accountability. We are all responsible for our own actions; we all stand before Judgment alone, and there are no excuses. Stop blaming heredity, environment, chemicals, or circumstances for your sins. Repent, have a changed heart. Remember too that it is not how you start but how you finish that counts. Don’t worry about your past sins, and be sure to NEVER return to them. Don’t worry about what is not in your control (uncontrollable circumstances), but only what is in your control – your response to circumstances. Be faithful with today, one day at a time.

5. Ezekiel 18:23, 32 — “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?… For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.”

– God wants all sinners to repent. He has commanded you to send that message.

– God does not desire that anyone should suffer or be lost. He does not reject men, men reject Him. People suffer the consequences of sin and then blame God for it or even deny His existence – “If there were a God, He wouldn’t let these things happen.” We suffer in a world torn apart by sin, and we add to the pain by sinning ourselves. Some argue that God is not just while they themselves could not stand before His righteous judgment. In fact it is only by God’s mercy that we don’t face His total judgment. As the Bible says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) In today’s readings from Ezekiel God says, “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now.., Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just…? Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life…. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.” Again the Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

— Revelation 3:20 — Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

6. Ezekiel 18:27, 28 – “Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.” Both in the Old Testament and New Testament, people had a hard time accepting the fact that God offers complete forgiveness to all people equally, regardless of how terribly they have sinned and regardless of how late in life they accept His forgiveness. It doesn’t seem fair to the person who has diligently sought to please the Lord his whole life that a person who has sinned greatly his whole life could, in the end, receive the same forgiveness. However, God wants all people to be saved. His desires should be our desires. We should rejoice when the wicked are saved.

7. Proverbs 10 – The Bibles warns of the results of violence (6, 11), the consequences of ungodly gain (16, 24), the results of hard-headedness (8, 13-14, 17), the dangers of talking too much (19), and the importance of obedience (25).

8. Proverbs 10:4, 5 – God does not intend to use His power to make up for you lack of effort.

9. Proverbs 10:22 – “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” If your riches have added sorrow, they were not acquired God’s way.

10. Proverbs 10:23 – “Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.” Wise people mourn sin; they don’t make light of it.

11. Proverbs 10:25 – “When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever.” One thing is certain in life: the tempest is coming, everyone will go through it, and how you go through it reveals the strength of your faith.

12. Psalm 139:1, 2 – “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.” Again, the Bible reiterates that God judges your heart and your thoughts. You should take your thoughts as seriously as God does. Many misunderstand that fact that Jesus was without sin and yet the Bible says He was tempted by Satan in the desert. What they fail to understand is that Jesus was externally tempted by Satan, not internally tempted by His own wicked thought. Satan tried to get Jesus to change His desires, but Jesus only sought the will of the Father. What do you desire today?

13. Psalm 139:7 – “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” Do you know the answer to this question?

14. Psalm 139:13, 16 – “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb…. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.. ” How do you think God feels about the unborn child.

15. Psalm 139:17 – “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” Are God’s thoughts precious to you? Compare your thoughts to God’s thoughts.

16. Psalm 139:23 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” Make this your prayer today.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 10 Nov 18: Today’s verses emphasize faithfulness in thought. Search your thoughts today to see where your heart is not aligned to God’s thoughts. Pray that God will search your heart and make His thoughts precious to you and His thoughts your thoughts. (see today’s readings)

DBRP – WEEK 45, Day 5, Friday, 9 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek15%2C+16%3B+pro+9%3B+john+8

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 9 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 15 — Those who choose to build their own kingdoms on earth rather than to faithfully serve the Kingdom of God are good for nothing. The Bible repeats this over and over again. The whole Book of Ecclesiastes is a warning that all the people do for themselves rather than for God is meaningless, utterly meaningless. Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Note that Jesus didn’t say you can do some things — He said you can do NOTHING. Many Christians wear themselves out trying to build their own kingdoms, missing what God has in store for them. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, fell victim to the deceit of earthly pursuits, and at the end of his ultimately unsuccessful life he said, “The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11, 12) Our sole (or soul duty) is to serve God. Anything else is more than a waste of time, it is destructive.

2. Ezekiel 16:15, 16 — “But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beauty became his. You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore.” God describes His relationship with His people as a marriage and describes sin as adultery. It starts when pride creeps in, and we become selfish, self-centered, and self-righteous; we start to believe that the talents, abilities, resources, and opportunities God gave us are from ourselves and for ourselves. We seek to please ourselves more than we seek to please God, and we are motivated by our own desires, passions, and emotions rather than by the Holy Spirit.

3. Ezekiel 16:15, 30-34 — “How sick is your heart, declares the Lord God, because you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen prostitute…. Yet you were not like a prostitute, because you scorned payment. Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband! Men give gifts to all prostitutes, but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side with your whorings. So you were different from other women in your whorings. No one solicited you to play the whore, and you gave payment, while no payment was given to you; therefore you were different.”

– How differently does God describe sin than your church describes sin? While we tend to make light of sin, God describes it in the worst way, comparing it to unimaginable whoring and sin deserving of death. To fully appreciate the grace offered through Jesus, we must fully understand the severity of our sin and the nature of the One against whom we have sinned. True love for Jesus makes unthinkable sin unthinkable again. How well does the church communicate these words today? When was the last time you heard your pastor or preacher use the word sin or the word repent?

– “How sick is your heart, declares the Lord God?” A good question to continually meditate upon as you grow in your appreciation for Jesus and His grace and as you grow in your desire to have His heart.

4. Ezekiel 16:20 — “And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured.” When we stop truly loving God and draw away from Him, we lose our ability and desire to truly love others. People become instruments for our own pleasure, and when they do not fulfill our perceived needs, we view them as obstacles to happiness and resent them. One of the first places love is lost is within the family, those closest to us to affect us the most. This is why so many marriages fail today and why so many kids lose the benefit of sacrificial parenting.

5. Ezekiel 16:22 — “And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, wallowing in your blood.” All sin is the product of forgetting the reality of our relationship with God and forgetting the mercy and grace we depend on.

6. Ezekiel 16:28 — “You played the whore also with the Assyrians, because you were not satisfied; yes, you played the whore with them, and still you were not satisfied.” Sin is a lack of satisfaction with God and with His provision in your life. We want more than what God desires for us.

7. Ezekiel 16:48 – “As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done.” God expects more from those who claim to know Him and follow Him. When a Christian sins like an un-believer, his sins are actually much worse than those of the unbeliever.

8. Ezekiel 16:49 – “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” Sodom is most remembered for “sodomy” and the terrible sin of homosexuality. However, God points out that the root of that sin was pride, gluttony, and self-centeredness. In their prosperity, they forgot God and became lawless to the basest degree. This is now a popular verse within the homosexual community who claim that it implies that homosexuality was not really the issue that brought about God’s judgment in Sodom (where we get the word sodomy) and Gomorrah. However, many, many other verses in the Bible, such as those found in Romans 1, reveal otherwise.

9. Ezekiel 16:59, 60 — “For thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant.” God’s ultimate aim is reconciliation, and He has given us, His ambassadors, the mission of reconciliation. Reconciliation does not include acceptance of sin. We must reconcile with God on His terms, starting with repentance.

10. Ezekiel 16:60-63 — “Yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant. Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed…. I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord God.” Despite our whoredom, sin deserving of death, God establishes a new, undeserved, marriage covenant with us that should leave us totally humbled, speechless, grateful, submissive, and obedient. To sin (whore) again should be totally unthinkable. What is your response to grace?

11. Proverbs 9:8, 9 — “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” Both the wise man and the scoffer make decisions based upon what they think is right and best, but the wise man does so humbly, remains continually introspective, continually judges his behavior from the plumb line of God’s word, and is always willing to listen to the advice of other wise, godly people and learn.

12. Proverbs 9:17, 18 — “’Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’ But he does not know that the dead are there that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.'” The fool is always looking for a short cut and is driven by self-centered desires and emotions, lacking self-control and discipline, but the wise person is self-disciplined, self-controlled, and willing to make daily sacrifices for a future greater good.

13. John 8:1 — “…but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.” Interestingly, this sentence begins in the last chapter — “They went each to his own house….” You may recall that in the last chapter, Jesus had delivered some hard teachings that most could accept, so they left Jesus. What Biblical teachings are you struggling with that have caused separation between you and God?

14. John 8:10, 11 — “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

– I have often heard people living in sin refer to this story to justify their sin — “Let him who is without sin… be the first to throw a stone at her,” implying that, because we are all sinners, God accepts our sin, and if anyone speaks out against sin they are just being judgmental. However, they never seem to mention Jesus’ final words to the woman — “from now on sin no more.” This was a kangaroo court designed to trick Jesus into an improper judgment (John 8:6). But Jesus had already stated that he did not come to do away with or change the Law. (Mat 5:17) Jesus held the accusers accountable to the letter of the law, an accountability that would have actually demanded their executions: Where were the witnesses? Where was the adulterous man? When Jesus commands that the innocent throw the first stone, he is referring back to Deuteronomy 17:6, 7 — “On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” Also, Leviticus 20:10 is very clear — “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, BOTH the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” The accusers were not following due process and were standing on deadly ground: “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” (Deuteronomy 19:15-19) I would submit that the accusers departed because they recognized their own guilt. What Jesus did not do is excuse the woman’s sin, though he did not condemn her for it. Jesus never excused sin but rather commanded, ““Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2). However there is a lesson for us here in that while we should challenge sin, we are all guilty and not in a position to condemn (judge) anyone — only God can Judge (determine the sentence). Saved by grace, we can only testify to the truth graciously and compassionately; ignoring sin is not loving or compassionate as sin itself is contrary to love. Jesus was very clear: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…. Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” (John 8:31-34) Jesus desires to set captives free from sin. We are Christ’s Ambassadors.

– Jesus always calls us to repentance and a new life of obedience motivated by love.

15. John 8:24, 26, 28, 29, 38, 42, 49-55 — “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins…. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him….. I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him…. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me…. I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word.”

– The Book of James reminds us that even the demons believe in Jesus, but saving faith surrenders all to Jesus and follows Him. Jesus modeled the faith He expects from His disciples – walking in His authority, speaking only His words, doing only was Jesus commands, empowered by the Holy Spirit, no longer walking in the flesh or for self.

– We are not the judge of others; we simply declare God’s word to the world under the authority of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit. We also bear witness to the activity of God in our lives as we live in obedience to Him. We bear witness to the God we know, not to a religion, and we honor God in word and deed.

16. John 8:34 – “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.’” If you have been saved, you have been freed from the bondage of sin and will no longer practice sin because of your genuine love of Christ and because the Spirit gives you self-control in love. You will still sin, but it won’t be your ultimate desire or practice. Through the sanctification process, you will sin less and less. Ultimately, the first sin and the sin that inspires all other sin is the breaking of the Greatest Commandment — “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27). None of us are perfected in this love and, therefore, sin daily and depend solely on God’s grace through Jesus. However, this is our pursuit.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 Nov 18: Today’s readings really emphasize the requirement for obedience that is motivated by genuine love for God. Focus your day on obeying God, but not out of duty but rather out of love. Search your heart, and where you find a lack of love, pray, pray, pray, and continue your attempt to obey from a right heart. The Lord wants your heart, not just your service.

DBRP – WEEK 45, Day 4, Thursday, 8 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek13%2C+14%3B+pro+8%3B+john+7

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 8 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 13:2, 3 — “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!”

– There are many competing messages out there, many proclaiming to be “truth.” There is only One Truth, and One Word. Anyone who is proclaiming anything other than Christ is proclaiming self-righteous fantasy that is cursed. Ezekiel was called by God to counter the false messages of his day with the word of God – so are you. How are you doing?

– Nations facing judgment have religious leaders who speak on behalf of God though God never spoke to them. Such false teachers can even use God’s word out of context to send a message God never intended. As Christians, we must be very careful not to misappropriate God’s word to bolster our own personal opinions. The Holy Spirit is required to rightly apply God’s word to a particular situation.

2. Ezekiel 13:6, 7 – “They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the Lord,’ although I have not spoken?” False prophecy and religion may be very popular and may make people feel good for a time, but ultimately it is powerless.

3. Ezekiel 13:9 — “My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations.” Those who falsely speak on behalf of God become enemies of God.

4. Ezekiel 13:10, 11 – “They have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash, say to those who smear it with whitewash that it shall fall!” Peace is a popular and socially acceptable message, but there cannot be peace with God while sin remains unaddressed. Today, many preachers bring the ‘feel good’ message when people need to first feel bad, when people need to mourn and repent, turning to God for forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Those who are saved, are not merely saved from the earthly consequences of sin, they are saved from the wrath of a Holy God who can have nothing to do with sin. Sin is the wall which separates us from God. The popular preacher doesn’t seek to tear down that wall but rather seeks to whitewash it — clean it up, make it a non-factor. The message is one of cheap grace, converting the Bible into a self-help book for better living. We need to deal with our sin and the problem with our hearts.

5. Ezekiel 14:3,6, 7, 9 — “Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?… Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations…. Anyone… who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, I will set my face against that man;… and you shall know that I am the Lord…. And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the Lord… will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.”

– Idols are anything that come between us and God or that we rely on instead of God. False teachers lift up idols instead of lifting up Jesus Christ. False teachers promote themselves, another person, organizations, institutions, philosophies, ideas, etc. rather than Jesus Christ. While everyone is talking about politics, talk about Jesus.

– Your work, your family, your hobbies, your possessions, your plans, etc. can all be idols if they become the motivation for your decision-making, if they become your goal and your focus. In themselves, these ‘created things’ are neither good or bad, but when placed above God, they become bad for you. The love of God must be your motivation for every decision you make, and oneness with God must be your life goal and daily objective and focus. You were created for this purpose.

6. Ezekiel 14:4, 5 — “I the Lord will answer him as he comes with the multitude of his idols, that I may lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel, who are all estranged from me through their idols.” When you turn to God and seek a relationship with Him, He is going to deal with your idols. The Holy Spirit will challenge you to search your heart, discover your idols, and put them aside that your heart would be fully committed to the One True God, your source of life.

7. Ezekiel 14:10, 11 — “And they shall bear their punishment—the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike— that the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor defile themselves anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord God.” God will deal with the false teacher AND the person who listens to the false teacher because His goal is to let nothing or no one lead other people away from Him. If you remain focused on Jesus and God’s word, you will not be deceived by the false teacher.

8. Ezekiel 14:13, 14 — “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God.” God punishes disobedience, and people are not saved by the righteousness of other people. But as God punishes a nation, He will deal with each person according to their own behavior.

9. Ezekiel 14:21 — “How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast!” God uses elements of His creation to punish people. The world sees all natural acts as merely the random product of scientific principles, seeing the will of God as a non-factor. Therefore, they scoff at the idea of judgment. The Christian realizes that God is the God of science and direct the course of all things according to His perfect will.

10. Proverbs 8:2 – “At the crossroads she takes her stand.” At the crossroads of life, you will choose to listen to wisdom or folly. Both are available to anyone and everyone.

11. Proverbs 8:13 – “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil.”

– Anyone with a right understanding of the Holiness of God, must hate evil. You cannot love God without hating evil, the thing He hates most. All sin hurts, destroys, and separates from the Holy God. Out of love, God cannot tolerate sin. If you tolerate sin, you lack true love. Today, our twisted world says that tolerance (of sin) is somehow a loving thing to do, and Christians are accepting that lie more and more.

– In pride, people twist God’s words in order to accommodate sin. This is the same trick used by Satan in the Garden of Eden – “Did God really say…?” Today churches are doing what the Bible expressly condemns, arguing that modern times require a new interpretation of God’s truth. God will not tolerate that.

12. Proverbs 8:35, 36 – “For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.” God expects you to put forth the effort to diligently study His word to understand His truths. The wisdom of God is not just magically revealed to you.

13. John 7:7 — “The world… hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.”

– Why does the world hate Jesus? Are you hated as Christ’s Ambassador?

– Today many in the church have shied away from testifying against sin, because they have been led to believe that it is judgmental or unloving, and they feel that it will only alienate them from the world. Jesus did not shy away from calling out sin, and he knew the world would hate him for it. John the Baptist was beheaded because he exposed Herod’s adultery, and of him, Jesus said that there was not greater man born of woman. One of the reasons sin is increasing so rapidly in our society today is because the church is largely silent. This should not be. We must testify against sin, but of course, we must do it from a position of love and genuine concern. We must do it to bring glory to God, not to ourselves, and we should never do it from a position of self-righteousness. We must approach those who are sinning with gentleness and grace. (1 Peter 3:15; Ephesians 4:2; James 3:17)

14. John 7:8 — “You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” Again, wisdom is knowledge rightly applied, and wisdom can only come from God. From their perspective, the disciples wanted Jesus to go to Judea that He would be glorified there. The purpose for their request seemed very good and reasonable. They had a good objective — to reveal Jesus to as many as possible. However, Jesus understood the Father’s ultimate plan that they could not perceive — in God’s plan, the timing wasn’t right to do the good thing they desired. Timing mattered. Only God can tell His followers when and how to apply his word. The Holy Spirit must direct your path.

15. John 17:12, 13 — “And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, ‘He is a good man,’ others said, ‘No, he is leading the people astray.’ Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.”

– Everyone will make a decision of eternal consequence on who they think Jesus is. However, as Christians, Ambassadors for Christ, what we can’t do is remain silent about the truth of Jesus due to fear.

– Don’t be deceived. It is fear, not tact, that causes people to not speak openly about Jesus.

16. John 17:16-18 — “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”

– We don’t seek to be the teacher but rather the messenger of the teachings of Jesus. We don’t need to add to His teachings or defend them. Those who are seeking God will accept the message. Those who are not seeking God won’t.

– Jesus was the First Ambassador of the Father and our model for our ambassadorship to Jesus. We don’t represent ourselves in any situation, we represent Jesus, and this is a 24/7 job. We stand in the place of Jesus in any particular situation and communicate His will and desires. As Jesus said clearly, “The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory,” and therefore speaks falsely. Don’t show people what you know or how smart and moral you are. Show them Jesus. God shares glory with no one. We are not ambassadors of good ideas or morality. We are ambassadors of Jesus. People don’t need to learn from you, they need Jesus. If you are simply trying to lead people to a more successful or moral life, you are misleading them. They need Jesus. Don’t let fear cause you to compromise the message and replace Jesus with a moral principle.

17. John 7:24 — “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” Again, appearances are always deceiving because what can be seen by our five senses does not reveal the spiritual realities of the situation, and spiritual understanding is not ascertained by human intellect but only through spiritual revelation which comes from God. Right judgment can only come from God, and we are only as right as we are united with God and attuned to His will.

18. John 7:26 — “And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him!” Jesus was not afraid to speak the truth openly though His life was seemingly threatened by authorities.

19. John 7:28 — “But I have not come of my own accord.” You are in the right place when you went there because God told you to go there and not simply because that is where you thought you should go or where you wanted to go.

20. John 7:37 — “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” Jesus is the source of life. There is no satisfaction outside of Him.

21. John 7:43 — “So there was a division among the people over him.” Though there is not real unity apart from Christ, Jesus is the great divider because everyone will choose either to follow Him or not.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 Nov 18: Endeavor today not to be influenced in your decision-making by any substitutes for God, your own desires, or even your own intellect. Seek the will of God first in every decision you make. Consider carefully why you are doing what you are doing. What is your primary motivation. Don’t be driven by mere fear, pride, ambition, or even duty. Be guided by the Holy Spirit and love for Jesus. Also, don’t lose sight of your God-given mission today — to bring others closer to Jesus. (see today’s readings).

DBRP – WEEK 45, Day 3, Wednesday, 7 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek11%2C+12%3B+pro+7%3B+john+6

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 7 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 11:5 — “For I know the things that come into your mind.” The Greatest Commandment in the Bible is to love God with all your mind. God knows your thoughts and what you care about most. God knows whether or not you really place Him first.

2. Ezekiel 11:8 — “You have feared the sword, and I will bring the sword upon you, declares the Lord God.” Those who disobey God out of fear or turn to something other to God for security will be turned over to their fears and see those fears come to fruition.

3. Ezekiel 11:12 — “For you have not walked in my statutes, nor obeyed my rules, but have acted according to the rules of the nations that are around you.” Today, Christians are deciding whose rules they will follow, God’s rules or the rules of secular society and secular government. Choose wisely.

4. Ezekiel 11:16 – “…though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them….”

– It’s not national security you need to worry about but rather obedience to, and unity with, the One True Protector.

– Even in discipline, God protects His children with the goal of seeing them through the discipline to ultimately bring them closer to Him in accordance with His will.

5. Ezekiel 11:19-21 – “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God.”

– The Spirit of God brings God’s people closer to Him and closer to each other. A godly people have unity in Christ. Many people are calling for unity today, but unity around the wrong thing means everyone is wrong together and collectively doomed. The only unity that benefits is unity around Jesus. Often, even Christians will mistakenly attempt to make “unity” the goal rather than Christ, and they will attempt to unify around and organization, a charity, a political party, a business, an ideology, etc. Also, many Christians will water down or disregard God’s commands in order to maintain unity within a church or parachurch organization. This too is idolatry and ultimately doomed. Unity must be around the unchanging Truth, Jesus Christ. Until people seek Christ first, disunity is guaranteed. Where you see disunity, someone (or everyone) is putting self before Jesus.

– God’s people walk together, with Jesus, in God’s commands. The ungodly will suffer the consequences of going their own way.

6. Ezekiel 12:2 — “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.” It’s not that we can’t understand God’s commands, we just choose not to obey them.

7. Ezekiel 12:3 — “You shall go like an exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house.” God delays in judgment and continues to send His messengers that some might still repent and surrender to Him. People, though they have sinned greatly, have a choice to repent, but the choice is theirs and the opportunity to choose has a deadline.

8. Ezekiel 12:25, 28 — “I am the Lord; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed…. the word that I speak will be performed, declares the Lord God.” Regardless of what visionaries might say, God will do what He has promised, and His will stands as a definite. Your vision matters not at all if it is not aligned with God’s will. The prayers of God’s people are answered when they are praying for what God intends.

9. Proverbs 7 – As stated earlier, God describes sin against Him as adultery. Read Proverbs 7 with this perspective.

10. John 6:5, 6 — “Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.” Jesus will put you in impossible situations to test your faith. You may have heard it said, “God will not ask you to do anything you are not capable of doing.” This is not true. God will always ask you to do what you can’t do so that you can see what He can do through you, building your faith in Him and revealing Himself to the world around you as others see the power of God in your life. It doesn’t take faith to do what you know you can do. It takes faith to obey God when you know you can’t. This is where you experience God.

11. John 6:15 – “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” The people thought they needed a political leader; Jesus knew they needed a Savior. The same is true today. Jesus was not seeking political power but to glorify the Father on earth. The people wanted a king who would give them what they wanted on earth. Jesus came as King to call people to seek God’s will rather than their own will, not to build for themselves kingdoms on earth but to serve the Kingdom of God.

12. John 6:19-20 – “When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’” Jesus’ presence should bring peace, not fear.

13. John 6:27 — “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”

– For what are you working? Many people are defined by their careers, their personal goals, or their accomplishments. You should be defined by Jesus.

– Observe how much Christian conversation to unbelievers is about how to receive the blessings of God on earth (security, prosperity, comfort, success, happiness, etc) rather than how to become one with Jesus Christ.

14. John 6:35, 36 — “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.”

– It is spiritual nourishment that people need which comes only through Jesus. Obesity is a problem in America, though there is a spiritual famine in the land. We feed the hungry by giving them Jesus, the only Bread that brings life. Are we telling the starving about Jesus Christ, or are we pointing to other ways to get fed – religion, philosophy, self-help, politics, ethics, morals, values, positive mental attitude, personal finances, counseling, etc? Do we think that just because we call ourselves Christians that our “self-help” advice to others is any less offensive to the Father who has offered His Son as the only answer?

– Contrary to what some might say, seeing is not believing. Many people say they simply don’t have enough evidence to believe in Jesus, but their problem is not a knowledge problem, it is a heart problem.

15. John 6:37, 44, 45, 63, 65 — “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out…. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me…. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all…. This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” God chose you before you chose God. God took the initiative in your relationship with Him. Had he not, you would not have a relationship with Him. Life comes from the Spirit not from human effort. The fact that you were Chosen by God for eternal life should drive you to true worship, surrender, obedience, and love.

16. John 6:38 — “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” Jesus proclaimed that His life purpose was to do the will of the Father. This is your life purpose too. How are you doing?

17. John 6:40 — “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” The will of the Father is to reconcile people to Him through Jesus that they would have eternal life with Him. You have been given this mission of reconciliation on earth. How are you doing?

18. John 6:44 — “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Jesus proclaimed truth to the Pharisees, but they did not believe. He did not argue with them. You cannot convince someone to believe in Jesus who is not being convicted in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. Your job is to proclaim truth. You cannot control other’s response to truth, and you should not let the response of scoffers discourage you – since you have been faithful.

19. John 6:45 — “It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.” Again, being informed is not the same as being transformed. Not everyone who hears and sees believes.

20. John 6:61-65 — “But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, ‘Do you take offense at this?… It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’”

– Jesus spoke of His followers consuming His body as a spiritual metaphor, but most completely missed what He was saying, took it literally, and walked away, offended by the thought of cannibalism. Jesus explained that He was speaking on spiritual things, not physical things. He then called out this misunderstanding as an example of how people who are not empowered by the spirit cannot understand spiritual things. Jesus knew that many would not accept His words, but He spoke to them anyway. Proclaim the truth and let God do the rest.

– Are you withholding the Name of Jesus Christ from your daily conversations in order to avoid some sort of professional or social rejection? Do you think that it is wise to be “subtle”? More often than not, Christians justify cowardice as tactfulness. Better to ere on the side of boldness. God, not us, determines who will accept Jesus. Do not miss your opportunity to say the Name today.

21. John 6:66-69 — “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.’”

– To many Jesus’ words were more than just hard to understand, they were downright offensive. However, Jesus’ true followers were willing to walk with him even when they didn’t understand; in fact, because they truly believed that Jesus is the “Holy One of God,” they understood that walking with Jesus was the only real choice. It doesn’t take faith to follow when it makes perfect practical sense to us; it does take faith to do or believe what doesn’t seem to make sense. It is hard for us to understand when Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) It is also overwhelming to contemplate the implications of Jesus’ statement, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (John 6:44) You don’t have to understand the truth to believe in the truth if you know the Truth, Jesus. If you really believed that salvation only comes through Jesus, how differently would you live your life? How would that change your priorities? If this truth hasn’t given you a sense of urgency for spreading the Gospel, what does that say about what or, more importantly, Who you really believe?

— John 6:29 — Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

— John 6:40 — For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

— John 6: 47 — Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

– “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The only hope for our nation and for every individual is to turn or return to Jesus Christ; do not deceive by communicating any other message, no matter how “good” that other message might sound.

22. John 6:70 — “Jesus answered them, ‘Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.’” Few people saw more of Jesus than Judas, yet Judas still rejected Jesus. All the Bible study in the world and all the religious activity in the world can’t substitute for genuine faith that surrenders in trust and obedience to Jesus. In the end, Judas’ religion was selfishly motivated, seeking personal gain rather than to truly love and honor Jesus. Search your heart to understand what you really want from Jesus. Do you want blessings and reward or simply Him?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 7 Nov 18: Today, search your heart and consider why you practice your faith. Are you seeking the blessings of Jesus or Jesus Himself? Do you want comfort and security or unity with God, a truly loving relationship with Him? If you are honest, you will see that you have mixed motives. Pray earnestly for a pure heart and wholehearted desire for Jesus alone. (John 6:70)

DBRP – WEEK 45, Day 2, Tuesday, 6 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+9%2C+10%3B+pro+6%3B+john+5

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 6 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 9:4 — “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” This is the mark of God’s people, also described in Revelation 14:1 — “Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.” These are they who are in the family of God, united with Jesus and the Father. These are they who stand for Jesus in opposition of the world and often suffer for it. These followers of Christ are contrasted with those who have chosen to live as members of the godless earthly kingdoms and have a different mark — “Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name…. If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath…. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.’ And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” (Revelation 13:16, 17; 14:9, 10; 17:5, 6 ) At some point, every person must choose to follow God as a citizen of God’s Kingdom or man and his kingdom. Those who choose to follow Jesus ultimately can have no partnership with the corrupt systems of this world and will have to stand in opposition. The Book of Revelation describes their ultimate fate — “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also, I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years…. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 20:4; 22:4) Many Christians wait for the day when they will have to make some obvious and dramatic choice to either reject God or be persecuted by the world, not realizing that they have already made this choice and make it every day. Will you compromise today and partner with corruption in order to get paid, to have security, to have ‘friends,’ and to live comfortably without conflict, or will you stand for what is right today regardless the cost? Will identify yourself as a follower of Christ today or as something else — an American, an employee of a particular organization, a member of a particular political party, etc? Will you put your life on the line to confront sin and proclaim the need for confession, repentance and salvation through faith in Jesus, as John the Baptist did? If you are Christian, you are an Ambassador for Christ, either an honorable one or a dishonorable one. As an Ambassador, you cannot represent two different entities.

2. Ezekiel 10:22 — “Each one of them went straight forward.” Followers of God walk straight paths, turning neither to the left or to the right. They are wholehearted and fully committed, not distracted by any temptation or worthless thing. None of us live this out perfectly, but this is the goal.

3. Proverbs 6:20-25 – “My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck…. Do not desire her beauty in your heart.” Mothers and fathers should teach their kids the importance of the sanctity of marriage, and they should teach them God’s word that their desire for Jesus would be a more powerful influence in their lives than their passions, emotions, and urges.

4. John 5:5, 6 – “One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’” Jesus noticed and supported the people everyone else had long forgotten.

5. John 5:7, 8 – “The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’” For a long time, a man diligently looked to tradition, human wisdom, and superstition for healing when all he needed to do was trust and obey Jesus.

6. John 5:10 — “So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, ‘It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.’” People get angry when Jesus confounds their understanding and operates outside of their rules, beliefs, and values.

7. John 5:14 — “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” Jesus didn’t just address physical needs, but more importantly, spiritual needs. Jesus healed but also warned against sin. Unity with God through obedience inspired by genuine love is the goal, not a more comfortable life apart from God.

8. John 5:17 — “But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I am working.’” Jesus did what the Father was doing; He wasn’t on His own program but rather was following the Father’s lead. Jesus’ agenda was The Father’s agenda. He only did what The Father told Him to do, regardless of what others thought He should do. Jesus didn’t act on His own initiative. He joined The Father in the work that the Father was already doing. Had Jesus done ministry like everyone else, the invalid would not have been healed but only ignored. How do you decide where to minister?

9. John 5:17, 19, 20 — “But Jesus answered 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. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing…. I can do nothing on my own.’”

– Abiding in the Father, Jesus could see what the Father was doing when others could not. Jesus had spiritual vision and was led by the Spirit, not by the flesh or emotion. Christians often get this backwards; we come up with a plan to serve God based upon our human perceptions and then we get very busy with self-generated religious activity and ask God to bless it. Then, we measure success of that activity based upon outward appearances and our mortal standards. If the activity meets our standard of success, we tell ourselves God is with us, and if it doesn’t measure up to our standards, we tell ourselves that it wasn’t God’s will after all. Of course, God doesn’t follow our lead, nor does He measure success or failure on our terms. God’s thoughts are as far removed from our thoughts as the Heavens are from the Earth. But we get so caught up in our own activities that we miss, right in front of us, what God is actually doing. Today, don’t just get wrapped up in your own activities and initiatives; wait on God’s lead. Walk with eyes wide open today to see what God is doing. Pay attention to the circumstances God intentionally orchestrates before you today and seek to be wholly obedient to His word in your response. Look to minister to the needs of those around you today as you feel convicted. Look for where the Holy Spirit is convicting hearts around you and follow God’s lead as you serve as Christ’s Ambassador in the lives of others on whom He is working. How different will your day be if you only do what God is already doing?

– People are busier today than ever before, but how much of that effort is doing things God never asked them to do or wanted them to do. Even in religious activities, we can find ourselves doing what God had never asked. What will drive your day? Will you be about your business, someone else’s business or God’s business. Find out what God is already doing around you and join Him in that.

10. John 5:23, 24 — “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” You cannot love God and not Jesus. You cannot come to The Father apart from Jesus, His Beloved, one and only, Son. This reality doesn’t make sense and is downright offensive to those who want to approach God on their own terms. God is God. Jesus is Lord and Savior.

11. John 5:30 — “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.” Again, Jesus was informed solely by the word of God and walked in the word. Jesus is the embodiment of the word; He is The Word. When you walk in the word, you are walking with The Word.

12. John 5:39-42 — “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.”

– The world does not need Biblical principles, ethics, morals, and values; the world needs Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior, the only Name by which people can be saved. Today, Christians are preaching “goodness” rather than Jesus, convincing themselves that they are evangelizing. If your message or “advice” doesn’t focus on the Person of Jesus, you are preaching another gospel which is not gospel at all but rather anti-Christ. Yes, Bible principles “work” in a practical sense, even for the unbeliever, but they don’t “save.” We are called to be Ambassadors for Jesus Christ, not Ambassadors for the law, or for morality.

– People approach the Bible in many different ways but mostly in a self-centered fashion, hoping to gain a better life on this earth. To many, the Bible is an encyclopedia of do’s and don’ts, a self-help book, or a history of lessons-learned. However, the intent of the Bible is to lead you to Jesus — the whole Bible is a testimony about Jesus, provided so you would go to Him in real, personal, and obedient relationship. Don’t just read the Bible for how to live your life. Read the Bible to unite with Jesus.

– “I do not receive glory from people.” God doesn’t need us to defend Him. Just share the truth with others, regardless of whether or not they want to hear it, and let God take care of the rest. You are just a messenger – be faithful to that.

13. John 5:43, 44 – “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”

– Christians often say that they don’t want to “beat people over the head with the name ‘Jesus’” and close the door to future influence. So, they try to communicate biblical ideas in some vague way, as if that would inspire the unbeliever to pursue Jesus. And then there are others who tell themselves that they don’t have to say anything but just “act like Jesus,” again somehow inspiring the unbeliever to seek Jesus. Today, we have Christians who actually boast that they don’t say the Name “Jesus” because they don’t want to “lose their witness.” What? Christians avoid their ambassadorship to save their jobs and social positions, and they tell themselves that they are “salt and light” in their positions because they hint at faith and because they are good people. Often, they are seeking to draw attention to their own “righteousness” rather than to the person of Jesus Christ. What would Jesus do (WWJD)? He would not hesitate to proclaim the truth and be rejected. No one comes to the Son but the Father draws him. It is a copout to suggest that too bold a stand for Jesus is unproductive. It is God who produces, not us. The mealy-mouthed Christian is just a coward, usually with a great excuse. If more Christians boldly proclaimed Christ, we might have more unemployed Christians but also perhaps another Great Revival in America.

– What motivates you to do what you do? What or who has the biggest influence on your life? Whose approval do you seek most? To whom do you go to seek comfort? Who do you fear most, God or other people? Jesus said that the mark of a true believe is that they seek the will, praise, and glory of God above all else, and that their actions are determined by God’s word. Jesus was criticized by the religious leaders of His day for doing God’s will in the face of what men demanded of him. These religious leaders where the same type that Jesus called hypocrites (Greek word for stage actor) because that acted holy to gain the praise of men. Their good deeds were the product of pride rather than the product of genuine love for God. One scholar comments on these leaders — “they never were afraid of the judgment of God but only the judgment of people.” We can be led into sin and deceit when we honor and fear men more than we honor and fear God. Ask yourself today whose approval you are seeking. Endeavor to care not primarily what men think but to be first and foremost concerned with God’s perspective.

— Matthew 6:24 — No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 6 Nov 18: Don’t just get busy doing stuff today, getting wrapped up in the worries of the world. Only do what the Holy Spirit leads you to do; do it immediately and exactly how the Holy Spirit leads. Remember that God’s thoughts are not your thoughts. The Holy Spirit will always lead you off of your intended path to do what He wants you to do rather than what your simple minds thinks best in any particular situation. Where you are uncertain as to what to do, remain within the direction of God’s written word. (John 5)

DBRP – WEEK 45, Day 1, Monday, 5 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+7%2C+8%3B+pro+5%3B+john+4

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 5 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 7:4 – “Then you will know that I am the Lord.” God’s goal for both justice and grace is to reveal Himself and glorify Himself – it’s not primarily about us.

2. Ezekiel 7:9 – “And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord, who strikes.” To know God as a judge without pity is to know Him too late.

3. Ezekiel 7:12-13 – “The time has come; the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn, for wrath is upon all their multitude. For the seller shall not return to what he has sold, while they live. For the vision concerns all their multitude; it shall not turn back; and because of his iniquity, none can maintain his life.” God has a day when all commercial transactions cease.

4. Ezekiel 7:19 – “They cast their silver into the streets, and their gold is like an unclean thing. Their silver and gold are not able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord. They cannot satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it. For it was the stumbling block of their iniquity.” On the day of God’s judgment, money is worthless – you can’t eat money.

5. Ezekiel 7:20 – “His beautiful ornament they used for pride, and they made their abominable images and their detestable things of it. Therefore, I make it an unclean thing to them.” Substitutes for God appear only when people create them. Mankind brought sin, rebellion, and disorder into the world and created the corrupt systems that lead to wars and strife. Only when mankind sought to create kingdoms for themselves rather than serve the KING in His creation did mankind suffer.

6. Ezekiel 7:23 — “Forge a chain! For the land is full of bloody crimes and the city is full of violence.” When God judges a nation, its government no longer maintains order and security to protect its people.

7. Ezekiel 7:24 – “I will bring the worst of the nations to take possession of their houses.” When God judges a nation, property rights go out the window.

8. Ezekiel 7:26 – “They seek a vision from the prophet, while the law perishes from the priest and counsel from the elders.”

– A lawless and ungodly nation cannot hear from God.

– A nation that faces judgment has religious leaders that cannot truly understand God’s word or will though they make a living claiming that they do.

9. Ezekiel 7:27 – “The king mourns, the prince is wrapped in despair, and the hands of the people of the land are paralyzed by terror. According to their way I will do to them, and according to their judgments I will judge them, and they shall know that I am the Lord.” God’s ultimate goal in judgment is that people would know that He is God, and that He is KING.

10. Ezekiel 8:6 – “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see still greater abominations.’” Sin separates people from God though they may continue to perform religious activities and do “good works.” They have the form of religion, but it is powerless.

11. Ezekiel 8 – In a godless nation, there is still religion and religious leaders who claim to be worshipping God. The godless nation still claims godliness, and the vast majority practice the accepted false religion of the day.

12. Ezekiel 8:12 – “Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’” God’s people cherished things more than God and blamed God for being distant and unresponsive. God is not here to give you what you want. We cannot barter with God by performing deeds just so He will bless us. We must worship and serve God because that is what we were created to do. We are here for Him, not the other way around. When we are in a loving, obedient relationship with God, blessings come naturally, but blessings can never be the motivation for our worship – this is self-centered worship and is not love, not really worship.

13. Ezekiel 8:18 – “Therefore I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.” God is deaf to the cries for help of the people who have departed from Him. These cries are all self-serving. God cannot reward the unfaithful.

14. Proverbs 5:21 – “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.” Sin starts in the heart, and God knows your heart fully. Consider carefully your thought life. Before you committed any outward sin, whether seen or unseen, you first desired to do it, and that desire was already a sin, breaking the Greatest Commandment of loving God completely. As Jesus pointed out, sin starts in the heart. You may not have murdered anyone, but if, in your heart, you desired to, you are guilty of an even greater sin than murder, and that sin is failing to love the Almighty and other people as you should and as He commands. Putting your desires, even for a moment, above Him is cosmic treason against the One and Only Sovereign Lord. Don’t just repent of the sins you commit in secret, repent of your thoughts that dishonor God. Pray for a pure heart, and give thanks for God’s grace.

15. Proverbs 5:22, 23 – “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.” Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” Obedience is a discipline – hence, the word disciple. Sinners lack self-control and self-discipline. They are not willing to make the small daily sacrifices each day required to invest in their spiritual growth and in their relationship with Jesus. They are defeated each day by their desires, emotions, and passions. Rather than being controlled by the Spirit, they are controlled by idols, created things that have become more influential in their lives than the Creator. What will control you today? What will be the source of your motivation? For what will you endeavor and why?

16. John 4:6 – “Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.” Jesus knew what it was to be tired, hungry, and thirsty. Although when he felt these strong human desires, He did not sin by becoming self-centered, irritable, or blind to the needs of others. He stayed on mission and continued to serve God and draw others towards God.

17. John 4:7 – “A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’” Jesus asked for service not to take care of Himself but to create a relationship that would be used to serve others. Samaritans were despised by Jews, but Jesus knew no prejudice.

18. John 4:10 – “Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’” Jesus identified Himself as “the Gift of God” who when served blesses far than one could imagine.

19. John 4:13, 14 – “Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” Jesus satisfies the root of all needs by bringing people to the source of Life. Jesus said, “I am the… Life.” If you have Jesus, you are satisfied beyond measure. If you feel dissatisfaction, it is a relationship and perspective problem.

20. John 4:18 – “For you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband.” To reunite people with God, Jesus had to reveal to people the sins that separated them from God. He had to call them to repentance. God forgives sin, but He must be honored in obedience and faithfulness.

21. John 4:23, 24 — “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

– True worship is empowered by the Spirit and revealed in tangible examples of obedience and selfless love. God made us human to worship Him in the physical realm. We translate spiritual truth into physical, tangible reality on earth. We don’t just love the Lord with all our “heart and with all our soul;” we also love Him with all our physical “might” or strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5) We are not called to simply “fear the Lord” conceptually, but also to “walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 10:12, 13) A true worshipper of God does His will, and God listens to Him. (John 9:31) True worshippers present themselves to God as living sacrifices, “holy and acceptable to God.” (Romans 12:1) What you do reveals what you truly believe and care about. God is seeking those whose worship is true.

– Most people worship “what [they] do not know.” True worshippers “know” God, not just about God, and worship in truth by doing what He commands.

22. John 4:26 – “Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’” Some false teachers claim that Jesus never said He was the Messiah. Let this verse and the one preceding it settle the matter.

23. John 4:34 – “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.’”

– Jesus was not controlled by human desires and passions but rather by His love for the Father. His motivation behind all of His words and deeds was to selflessly serve the Father. When He got uncomfortable, His words and deeds didn’t change. He was just as loving under any condition. How about you? What motivates you to do what you do? What does it take to change your attitude?

– “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” This should also be our “daily bread.”

24. John 4:39 – “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” The woman’s natural response to her life changing experience with Jesus was to tell others. If you have a hard time telling others about Jesus, you might want to question what sort of relationship you really have with Him. She didn’t just know ‘about’ Jesus; she knew and experienced Jesus personally. Do you have knowledge about Jesus or knowledge of Jesus? Have you been practicing religion rather than walking in relationship? Bible knowledge informs, but Jesus transforms. A genuine encounter with Jesus changes everything.

25. John 4:42 – “They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.’” A testimony must come from first-hand knowledge, not second-hand knowledge. Witnesses can only testify to what they have seen and heard personally, anything else is hearsay. If your testimony is weak, it can only be because your experience with Jesus is limited. Pray that God will reveal Himself to you more and more each day, but don’t pray pridefully. You must approach God humbly.

26. John 4:42 — “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” Someone else may have led you to Christ and may have discipled you from God’s word, but maturity demands that you hear from God yourself through His word empowered by the Holy Spirit.

27. John 4:48 — “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”

– God’s judgement will come as a thief in the night because it will not be preceded by signs and wonders so that those who do not seek God and have faith will not be aware. God’s word has been provided already and is very clearly understood. What people do with God’s words without signs and wonders reveals the condition of their hearts.

– Sin causes people to ask God to prove Himself to them.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 Nov 18: Today, share your personal testimony with those you know. If this is hard for you, search your heart to understand why. Are you more concerned about how others might view you than you are excited about sharing Jesus with anyone who might listen because you cannot contain your love for Him? (John 4:39-42)

DBRP – WEEK 44, Day 7, Sunday, 4 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+5%2C+6%3B+pro+4%3B+psalm+129%2C+130

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 4 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 5:6, 7 – “And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes.” In one sense, the person who knows God’s commands and then rejects them is far worse than the person who had never heard God’s commands. You would expect an ungodly person to sin; but how shocked should you be when someone who has received salvation through the blood of Jesus, who has the Spirit within them, willfully tramples on the blood of Jesus through sin?

2. Ezekiel 5:11 – “Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw. My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity.” God’s mercy has a limit beyond which only judgment lies.

3. Ezekiel 5:13 – “And they shall know that I am the Lord—that I have spoken in my jealousy—when I spend my fury upon them.” God executes judgment on sinners to reveal Himself and His character before a watching world.

4. Ezekiel 6:7 – “And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” Nearly eighty times in the Book of Ezekiel, God says that His intent is to reveal Himself, to confirm His sovereignty, to glorify Himself, and to bring people repentance. How has God revealed Himself in your life, and what has been your response?

5. Ezekiel 6:9 – “…I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols. And they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations.” God views sin as spiritual adultery (or prostitution) – because we desire, direct, and give our passions to something other than Him, other than the One we have made an oath to love only. God cannot approve of our adulterous actions. Of course, we tend to make light of our sins, but God is a jealous God. Would God approve of the Bride, His church, even flirting with the world? You cannot be “married” to God or be one with God and mess around with the world.

6. Ezekiel 6:10 – “And they shall know that I am the Lord. I have not said in vain that I would do this evil to them.” Again, God punishes to reveal Himself as God. We must be very careful not to take a self-centered view of the Bible and of circumstances – ultimately, it’s not about us; it is all about Him.

7. Proverbs 4:4 — “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.”

– God wants you to have the fullness of life, which comes from a heart that earnestly desires to love, trust, and obey Him.

– It is amazing how the modern church has perverted this simple truth in order to accommodate sin, all in the name of “grace.”

8. Proverbs 4:13 — “Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.” Daily Bible study and practice is an essential discipline of the disciple.

9. Proverbs 4:18, 19 — “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” Everyone is walking down one of two paths, either getting closer to God or further away. Some have described Hell as an eternity of getting farther and farther away from God.

10. Proverbs 4:26 – “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” One of the most important traits a person can have is humble self-awareness, the ability and willingness to see and correct personal character flaws. Most people have “fatal flaws” they either can’t/won’t admit or aren’t willing to change. Growth requires both incredible humility to admit and persistent discipline (as a disciple) to change. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but denial, self-righteousness, and self-justification, can seriously delay required change.

11. Psalm 129:2, 4 — “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me…. The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked.” Things are not what they appear to be from the very limited human perspective. It may appear that sin prevails, but God has already cut the chords of the wicked, the victory has already been won, and we stand victorious in Jesus. You may be enduring suffering now, but it is very much temporary and a very small thing compared to your eternal reward.

12. Psalm 130:3, 4 – “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.”

– Truly understanding the grace you have received through Jesus drives you to obedience, not to casual, comfortable compromise. Grace gives you a second chance to honor God as God.

– Grace should bring us to Fear God, not take Him for granted or treat Him disrespectfully.

13. Psalm 130:5, 6 – “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” Faith is trusting God in the moment, and hope is trusting God with the future – faith projected forward. The Bible says that the big three for Christians is “faith, hope, and love” – “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” You must know God to trust Him, and you must trust Him to obey Him, to wait on Him. Faith trusts God enough to do what God commands at the moment of decision, though the consequences may seem perilous in the current situation; hope trusts God enough to continue in obedience over time, though you don’t seem to be getting results or though things seem to be going from bad to worse. It takes both faith and hope to truly love God and others. Love is obedience now and consistent, unwavering obedience over time. Hopeful love is never giving up on someone, even if it takes a lifetime to achieve reconciliation. Remember, your life mission is reconciliation — drawing people closer to Jesus and closer to each other in Jesus.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 4 Nov 18: Wait on the Lord today by trusting and obeying Him now, committing to trusting and obeying Him in the future, and by demonstrating unconditional love for others that is willing to suffer unfairness for the sake of reconciliation. Have the faith to deny self, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. (Psalm 130:5, 6)

DBRP – WEEK 44, Day 6, Saturday, 3 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+3%2C+4%3B+pro+3%3B+psalm+128

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 3 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 3:1 — “Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” As Ambassadors, we are to consume God’s word and communicate it to the world.

2. Ezekiel 3:7-11 — “’But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.’ Moreover, he said to me, ‘Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.”

– God often sends His messengers to people He knows won’t listen. God strengthens His servants to endure opposition. Are you ready to preach the Gospel regardless of how it might be received?

– God calls his ‘Ambassadors’ to faithfully proclaim God’s word while walking in obedience; the messenger’s success is measured in faithfulness, not by how the rebellious respond to the message. In fact, God warns Ezekiel that, “[they] will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because [they] have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart…. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” The fact that God knows that the rebellious will not receive His word does not relieve the ‘Ambassador’ of the responsibility to proclaim the message. Today, Christians are very careful not to say anything to the rebellious that they would not receive well or that might be considered offensive to them. Christians have also become very casual with sin and carelessly disobedient. Rather than becoming peacemakers (reconciling man with God), the church has become more concerned with becoming more peaceable and peace loving (avoiding conflict at all costs), to the expense of holiness and evangelism. Too often the mega-seeker-sensitive churches’ answer to rebellion and rejection is better marketing, packaging, and presentation rather than greater movement of the Holy Spirit emanating from holy congregations. Pray for revival within the church. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

– “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears….” You must know the word of God in order to share the word of God. We must diligently study God’s word and only speak God’s word. Don’t substitute ‘good ideas’ or popular opinion for God’s word. We represent Jesus, not the current version of morality.

3. “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself. Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.” (Ezekiel 3:17-21)

– As Christians we have been given a great responsibility. We have been appointed as “Christ’s Ambassadors” charged to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19) This charge is often referred to as the “Great Commission;” but the “teaching them to obey” part has often been called the “Great Omission” because people don’t want to hear that our HOLY GOD demands obedience and hates sin. All believers are to live and serve as Priests within the world, proclaiming the Gospel to all of mankind. This IS our purpose on earth, and we were created to glorify and serve God. Jesus began his earthly ministry by commanding, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2) Likewise, as Christ’s Ambassadors, we are called to warn the of the consequences of sin and of their need for repentance. This is not a popular message (John the Baptist lost his head for calling out the sexual sins of Herod), but God holds us accountable for delivering the message, not for how others respond to the message. God also holds us accountable for the way we proclaim the truth – “yet do it with gentleness and respect…. with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…. peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (1 Peter 3:15; Ephesians 4:2; James 3:17) Proclaim the truth so that when you meet the Lord you will hear Him say, “Well done, my good servant!” (Luke 19:17)

— 1 Peter 2:9 — But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

— Revelation 1:6 – [Jesus] has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

— Revelation 5:10 — You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.

— Revelation 20:6 — Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

— 2 Timothy 4:2 — Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

– You cannot escape or abrogate your responsibility to communicate God’s truth. God will hold you accountable.

4. Ezekiel 3:22-27 – “And the hand of the Lord was upon me there. And he said to me, ‘Arise, go…. the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and he spoke with me and said to me, “Go, shut yourself within your house. And you, O son of man, behold, cords will be placed upon you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people. And I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house.” God’s true servant is led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, not by human wisdom or ability.

5. Proverbs 3:33-35 — “The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous. Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor. The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.”

– Some receive judgment while others, also guilty, receive forgiveness, mercy, and grace. The notable difference between those who receive forgiveness and those who receive punishment is that the forgiven are humble, contrite, repentant and fear the Lord. Humility involves seeing ourselves from God’s perspective, seeing the truth of ourselves, and lowering ourselves in relation to others (the greatest shall be the least), having the heart of a servant to God and mankind. St. Bernard (not the dog) defines humility as, “A virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself.” Proverbs says that “humility is the fear of the Lord.” Humility is closely related to meekness and selflessness. It is impossible to have wisdom or honor without humility. A humble person cannot look down on others while he seeks to help them draw closer to God — a beggar showing another beggar where to find bread. Part of being humble is being continually self-aware, always considering the motives behind our behavior. Most importantly it is being receptive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit (impossible prior to salvation). Humility is the key to judging sin without being judgmental.

6. Psalm 128:1, 2 — “Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.”

– Believing in God is not the same as fearing God, trusting Him and obeying Him. Blessings come from obedience.

– Biblical living involves fearing The Lord and working with your hands to provide for yourself and others.

7. Psalm 128:6 – “May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!” A full and peaceful family is one of God’s primary blessings for those who follow Him.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 Nov 18: Recommit to diligently studying and obeying God’s word so you can effectively share God’s word and glorify God. Let the peace of God be apparent in your life. (See today’s readings)

DBRP – WEEK 44, Day 5, Friday, 2 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=ezek+1%2C+2%3B+proverbs+2%3B+john+3

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 2 November 18:

1. Ezekiel 1:12 — “And each went straight forward. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went.” Four different creatures had complete unity in purpose and action because they followed the Holy Spirit without turning to the left or to the right. Unity is only found in the Spirit. The words universe and university combine the words unity and diversity — many different things working together as one. God created the universe, and God created the church. The Church should be united in their diversity through their collective union with Jesus. Where there is disunity, there is a relational problem with Jesus somewhere.

2. Ezekiel 2:3 – “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day.’” When God calls a servant, God reveals where He is at work and where He wants the servant to work.

3. Ezekiel 2:5 — “And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them.” Your duty to God is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Whether they hear or refuse to hear is up to them, but their choice is not the measure of your success, your obedience is.

4. Ezekiel 2:6 — “And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” Rebellious people have always treated God’s ambassadors poorly, and God knows it. You should expect it, but God commands you not to be afraid of it.

5. Ezekiel 2:6 – “And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions.” God knows His messengers will get persecuted, and God warns His messengers, reminding them that many will reject the Gospel violently.

6. Ezekiel 2:8 — “But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

– To be ready to preach God’s word, you must digest Gods word. It must be your daily sustenance, and like food, it should slowly build you into a new person.

– God holds His servants accountable for calling the sinful to repentance; God does not hold the messenger accountable for how the message is received.

7. Proverbs 2:1 – “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you….” God’s people avoid being led astray by Christian-like false teachings by storing God’s commands from the written word within their hearts. All acceptable teaching is merely an application of God’s word. The only acceptable teacher is the one who points to Christ, given Him all the attention and credit.

8. John 3:1-15 — “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” Only the Holy Spirit, received by those saved through Jesus, can bring enlightenment. You MUST be born again. Spiritual birth comes through faith in Jesus, not through anyone or anything else. Schools can inform, by only Jesus can transform. You cannot understand what the Bible says intellectually, but you can never really understand the wisdom of the word apart from the Spirit. You either have it or you don’t. Debating about the Bible with the unspiritual is like trying to teach a fish to play piano.

9. John 3:8 – “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

– We cannot know who the Spirit is convicting and drawing to Jesus. We are called to serve as Christ’s Ambassadors to all people. The Holy Spirit will convict as the Spirit wills.

– If you have boldly proclaimed the Gospel to others, you have undoubtedly been made fun of for being a “born again Christian.” Perhaps, as was the case with Jesus, you were mocked by someone who claimed to worship God. Jesus explained that this was inevitable. However, as is clear in both our Old Testament and New Testament readings today, we are called to proclaim the Gospel to all, whether or not they choose to hear it and despite the abuse we will inevitably receive by the rebellious. God’s charge to us is much like what God commanded of Ezekiel: “Son of man, I send you… to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house. But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you [the word of God is our bread].”

— Matthew 28:19 — Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

10. John 3:13 – “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” Compare John 3:13 to Proverbs 30:4 – “Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!”

11. John 3:14 – “…who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil….” The cross was always God’s plan.

12. John 3:17-18 — “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.”

– God wants everyone to be saved and offers salvation freely, but people must take the free gift in order to possess it. Those who go to hell choose to.

– Those who reject Jesus are condemned because they condemn themselves.

13. John 3:19 — “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” It isn’t that people don’t have enough evidence to believe in Jesus, they just don’t want to believe. It isn’t a knowledge problem, it is a heart problem.

14. John 3:21 — “But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” You come to the light through obedience, and obedience demonstrates unity with God, being one in purpose with God, or being “in God.”

15. John 3:27 — “John answered, ‘A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.'”

– You cannot save yourself, and no one else can save you. Your salvation can only come through Jesus.

– God is the Creator and Source of everything. We cannot produce wisdom, love, or anything else; it must come from God. We will either use what God has created in a good way through obedience or pervert God’s good creation through sinfulness.

16. John 3:30 — “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The saved Christian desires to become nothing that Jesus would become their whole life and that all that they are would be a testimony of Jesus to the world. Don’t let anyone look to you. Always point to Jesus.

17. John 3:31 — “He who comes from above is above all.” Never forget that!

18. John 3:36 – “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” Again, eternal life comes only through Jesus. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God…. unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God…. You must be born again….whoever believes in him may have eternal life…. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life…. 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. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” (John 3:3, 5, 7, 15, 16, 18, 19)

— Matthew 18:14 — So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

— 2 Peter 3:9 — The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 2 Nov 18: Walk with God today, in oneness with Him by obeying Him completely. Perhaps the hardest place to learn obedience is in relationships with others. To follow Jesus, you must deny self in relationships and take up your cross in relationships. The first command is love, and love must be willing to suffer injustice for the sake of reconciliation. (John 3:21)

DBRP – WEEK 44, Day 4, Thursday, 1 November 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=lam+3%2C+4%3B+proverbs+1%3B+john+2

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 1 November 18:

1. Lamentations 3:21, 22 — “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” In your darkest hour, when there seems to be no hope, you can hold to the truth that God’s love and mercy never ceases, and He is still in complete control. He knows what is best for you though sometimes it is painful. Trust in Him.

2. Lamentations 3:25, 26 — “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” Waiting quietly and patiently for The Lord is one of the hardest things to do.

3. Lamentations 3:27-42 — “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men…. Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven: ‘We have transgressed and rebelled’” There is a lot of meat in these verses. Sometimes, trials are clearly self-induced — “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12) Sometimes, we don’t understand why we are are suffering. In trials, don’t turn away from God but draw closer to Him and learn from the situation. God ultimately works all things together for good for those who are following Jesus. Trust your loving Father in your suffering; recognize that nothing is happening to you the He did not allow to happen for a greater good that you cannot understand – wait on Him. He is more than faithful and only deals with you in perfect love. Pain is God’s chisel as He crafts you into the likeness of Christ. If you are being disciplined accept it, learn, and grow in love.

— 1 Peter 4:19 — Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

— Hebrews 5:8 — Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

— 2 Corinthians 12:10 — For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

— Psalm 141:5 — Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.

— Romans 5:3-5 — …we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

— Philippians 4:4 — Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

4. Lamentations 3:40 – “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!” You should know if you are obeying God.

5. Lamentations 3:42 – “We have transgressed and rebelled, and you have not forgiven.” Repentance is required for forgiveness.

6. Lamentations 4:1 — “How the gold has grown dim, how the pure gold is changed! The holy stones lie scattered at the head of every street. The precious sons of Zion, worth their weight in fine gold, how they are regarded as earthen pots, the work of a potter’s hands!”

– We are called to be the holy stones of the temple and the shining gold of God. Sin tarnishes and scatters God’s people. This should never be.

– Judgment can enable you to see yourself in a new light and change your materialistic priorities.

7. Lamentations 4:11, 12 – “The Lord gave full vent to his wrath; he poured out his hot anger, and he kindled a fire in Zion that consumed its foundations. The kings of the earth did not believe, nor any of the inhabitants of the world, that foe or enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem.” Sin causes God to destroy what He established.

8. Lamentations 4:13, 14 — “This was for the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests…. They wandered, blind, through the streets; they were so defiled with blood that no one was able to touch their garments.” A precursor of God’s judgment is blind guides and teachers.

9. Lamentations 4:15, 16 — “’Away! Unclean!’ people cried at them. ‘Away! Away! Do not touch!’ So they became fugitives and wanderers; people said among the nations, ‘They shall stay with us no longer.’ The Lord himself has scattered them; he will regard them no more; no honor was shown to the priests, no favor to the elders.” Judgment exposes and humiliates false teachers and separates them from the true church.

10. Lamentations 4:22 — “He will uncover your sins.” All sinners face God’s judgement. The purpose of God’s discipline is to uncover your sins and bring you to repentance and reconciliation.

11. Proverbs 1:7 — “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Our public school systems start with the presumption that God is not a factor in knowledge. They teach a ‘knowledge’ that is independent or void of God. What does this say about the ultimate fate of the nation?

12. Proverbs 1:22 — “How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” Scoffers are those who simply refuse to hear the truth of Jesus. Have you noticed how they delight in their ungodly beliefs?

13. Proverbs 1:24 — “Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded….” It is not that God isn’t calling out to save, it is that many refuse to take His hand.

14. Proverbs 1:32 — “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.” The cherubim in Ezekiel 10:22 walked straight paths under God’s commands, but notice that the evil turn away from God and are destroyed.

15. John 2:3-5 — “When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” Jesus was obedient to his mother, despite the inappropriateness of her request, her lack of understanding, His adulthood, and His position as the Son of God. What does this tell us about how God views obedience to His commands? Jesus modelled obedience for us all. Do you obey God’s commands even when it doesn’t seem to make any sense? Are their some ‘small’ or ‘outdated’ commands that you have decided God doesn’t really care that much about? Do you have habitual sins that you commit casually in the name of ‘grace’? “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1, 2)

— Philippians 2:8 — And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

16. John 2:15 — “And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.” This is not the “gentle Jesus” often described in traditional storytelling. Jesus knew when and how to be forceful to defend the powerless for God’s glory.

17. John 2:23-25 — “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” There is a big difference between believing in Jesus and surrendering and following Jesus. Saving faith is a fully committed faith. If Jesus is truly your Lord and Savior, everything in your life has changed, and He is your goal. Saving faith seeks Jesus, not just His blessings.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 1 Nov 18: Practice total obedience today to God and to all authorities. (John 2:1-10)

DBRP – WEEK 44, Day 3, Wednesday, 31 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=lam+1%2C+2%3B+proverbs+31%3B+john+1

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 31 October 18:

Note: Here is a link to a short video overview of Lamentations: https://youtu.be/p8GDFPdaQZQ

1. Lamentations 1:2, 19, 21 – “Among all her lovers she has none to comfort her” – Many put their hope for comfort, peace, joy, security, etc, in something or someone other than God, though they may not even admit to themselves that they are doing it. However, all substitutes for God will let you down.

2. Lamentations 1:4-10 – When God judges, He puts an end to unacceptable, comprised, half-hearted, self-centered, and misguided worship.

3. Lamentations 1:5 — “Her foes have become the head; her enemies prosper.” Defeat was God’s method for discipline.

4. Lamentations 1:5 — “The Lord has afflicted her.” Sometimes the Lord has to afflict those He loves in order to bring about the good He wants in them and for them.

5. Lamentations 1:8, 9 – “Jerusalem sinned grievously; therefore she became filthy; all who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans and turns her face away. Her uncleanness was in her skirts; she took no thought of her future; therefore, her fall is terrible; she has no comforter. ‘O Lord, behold my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed!’” Throughout the Bible, God uses vivid word pictures of a woman caught in adultery or prostitution to describe the sin people commit with substitute “idols” against Him. The Bible picture of sin stands in stark contrast with the world’s approach to sin, even the church’s approach to sin which makes light of sin in the name of “grace.”

6. Lamentations 1:11-16 – When the illusion of idols is stripped away, some people remember God and cry out for His help. Contrary to secular humanist teachings, It is not because people need an imaginary, superstitious hope that they turn to God; they turn to God in need because their imaginary hopes have been revealed and removed and, perhaps for the first time, they see the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.

7. Lamentations 1:12, 13 – “Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the Lord inflicted on the day of his fierce anger. From on high he sent fire; into my bones he made it descend; he spread a net for my feet; he turned me back; he has left me stunned, faint all the day long.”

– God’s worse punishment was reserved for His people who knew Him yet continued in sin.

– God’s discipline may isolate you and make you feel sorry for yourself until you cry to Him for help.

8. Lamentations 1:19 – “I called to my lovers, but they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city, while they sought food to revive their strength.” Religious leaders sometimes forsake people for the sake of their personal needs.

9. Lamentations 1:22 – “Let all their evildoing come before you, and deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my transgressions; for my groans are many, and my heart is faint.” Judgment against you does not mean that you are the only sinner. God will administer appropriate justice, mercy, and grace to all. You need only be concerned about your relationship with God and can trust Him to deal appropriately with everyone else.

10. Lamentations 2:2 – “The Lord has swallowed up without mercy all the habitations of Jacob; in his wrath he has broken down the strongholds of the daughter of Judah; he has brought down to the ground in dishonor the kingdom and its rulers.” When God’s people take His grace for granted and accept sin, He must punish them to humble them and bring them back to a right appreciation of His holiness, mercy, grace, and love.

11. Lamentations 2:5 – “The Lord has become like an enemy.” In our sin, we can make God like an enemy.

12. Lamentations 2:6 – “He has laid waste his booth like a garden, laid in ruins his meeting place; the Lord has made Zion forget festival and Sabbath, and in his fierce indignation has spurned king and priest.” God has the power to replace earthly leaders whenever and however He wants. God has established all political leaders for His purposes. Often God uses bad leaders as an instrument of discipline.

13. Lamentations 2:7 – “The Lord has scorned his altar, disowned his sanctuary.” The Lord rejects religion practiced by the ungodly and disobedient.

14. Lamentations 2:9 – “Her gates have sunk into the ground; he has ruined and broken her bars; her king and princes are among the nations; the law is no more, and her prophets find no vision from the Lord.” An ungodly nation is filled with misguided politicians and powerless spiritual leaders who no longer truly hear from God, although they continue to claim that they do, likely convincing themselves that their fantasies are visions.

15. Lamentations 2:11-13 – “My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out to the ground because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, because infants and babies faint in the streets of the city. They cry to their mothers, ‘Where is bread and wine?’ as they faint like a wounded man in the streets of the city, as their life is poured out on their mothers’ bosom. What can I say for you, to what compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem? What can I liken to you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For your ruin is vast as the sea; who can heal you?” Reflective people weep and are troubled by God’s judgement.

16. Lamentations 2:14 — “Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading.”

– One of the factors that led to the destruction of Israel was that the religious leaders did not expose sin but rather told the people what they wanted to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3 has this to say: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Today’s introductory chapter of John reveals that John the Baptist, who eventually lost his head for exposing sin, had a far different approach than the prophets condemned in Lamentations. John the Baptist, was “a voice crying in the wilderness,” telling everyone to “Make straight the way for the Lord.” Recognizing that most would reject the Lord, he still cried out to his community in hopes that “all men might believe.” As 1 Corinthians 13 says, “Love… always hopes.” John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance (Matt 3:11) – exposing sin, pointing to our need for a Savior, calling the sinner to seek God’s mercy and grace through the Messiah. Matthew 3:8-11 records that the first words of Jesus’ ministry were: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” and then “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Less and less are churches and individual Christians “expos[ing]… sin to ward off… captivity.” The word sin is hardly ever used anymore, much less repentance and surrender. Christians are often caught flat footed when you ask them, “From what have you been saved?” Answer: The wrath of God due to our sin.

17. Lamentations 2:18-22 — Intercessory prayer is part of God’s plan for His people when they endure judgment.

18. Lamentations 2:20 – “Should women eat the fruit of their womb, the children of their tender care? Should priest and prophet be killed in the sanctuary of the Lord?” How bad does it have to get before people lament and repent?

19. Lamentations 2:22 – “You summoned as if to a festival day my terrors on every side, and on the day of the anger of the Lord no one escaped or survived; those whom I held and raised my enemy destroyed.” God’s plan affects all people.

20. Proverbs 31:1-5 – Leaders are characterized as self-disciplined and self-controlled. They are not motivated by passions.

21. Proverbs 31:6-9 – Leaders are strong people who take care of weaker people.

22. Proverbs 31:31 – “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” Honor is something that is earned through honorable behavior.

Note: Here is a link to a short video overview of John chapters 1-12: https://youtu.be/G-2e9mMf7E8

23. John 1:1-5 — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
– John begins his story of Jesus by telling you that He is the source of all wisdom and all life. Jesus said of Himself that He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Everything that matters to you starts and ends with your relationship with Him.

– Jesus Christ is the center and source of everything, all wisdom, all creation, all peace, all love. If we are pointing to anything else or proclaiming anything else, we are antichrist. There is no hope in governments, people, or programs that don’t acknowledge that Christ is our only hope. The dark message from Satan that goes back to the beginning of His rebellion is that mankind can find salvation through someone or something else.

24. John 1:1, 14 — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” How we view, approach, receive, and respond to God’s written word reveals our relationship with the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

25. John 1:7 – “He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.” John was the first Ambassador for Christ who modelled our life mission – bearing witness to Jesus that others might believe in Him, not in “goodness” or vague concepts of “god,” but Jesus Christ.

26. John 1:8 — “He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.” Your life mission is to bear witness to Jesus. Never point to yourself or to anything else. Always point to Jesus.

27. John 1:9-13 — “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

– What have we done with our right to become “children of God?”

– “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” The religious reject Jesus when they proclaim Him theoretically, but follow idols practically.

– You must be born of the Spirit through Jesus to be truly alive. Those without the Spirit are the real walking dead.

28. John 1:14 — “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” When you read the Bible honestly, you cannot help but fellowship with the Living Word of Jesus. The Bible is the thoughts of the One you need to know. Read the Bible to draw closer to Jesus.

29. John 1:19-30 – To accomplish your life purpose and mission, you must know who you are and who Jesus is. Truly understanding this changes everything. Even most Christians don’t understand these basics.

30. John 1:29, 32, 33 – “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!…’ And John bore witness: ‘I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’” Your mission involves getting rid of sin and guilt and being Spirit-led.

31. John 1:38-44 – Your mission involves following Jesus and leading others to Him.

32. John 1:39, 46, 50 — “Come and you will see…. You will see greater things than these.” If you are truly willing to follow Jesus, He will show you things you could not possibly imagine.

33. John 1:41 – “He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means Christ).” Mission begins with your own family.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 31 Nov 18: Follow Jesus today and see what happens. (John 1:39, 46, 50)

DBRP – WEEK 44, Day 2, Tuesday, 30 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=jeremiah+51%2C+52%3B+proverbs+30%3B+jude

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 30 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 51:1 — “Behold, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon,” God moves the hearts of people for His purposes. He is the only one who can change the mind of the people around you that you deal with.

2. Jeremiah 51:5 – “For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord of hosts, but the land of the Chaldeans is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel.” The Holy God cannot stand sin but is willing to forgive it.

3. Jeremiah 51:7—“Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations went mad.” God used Babylon to discipline Israel, then God disciplined Babylon. Failure in life is often being successful in the wrong things. Babylon experienced apparent success on a path to destruction.

4. Jeremiah 51:8, 9 – “Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she was not healed. Forsake her, and let us go each to his own country, for her judgment has reached up to heaven and has been lifted up even to the skies.” God felt compassion for the people He judged.

5. Jeremiah 51:11 – “Sharpen the arrows! Take up the shields!” The Lord stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose concerning Babylon was to destroy it as the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance for his temple. God controls foreign policy.

6. Jeremiah 51:16 – “When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.” The Creator never stops controlling His creation. It is insanity for the created creature to believe (s)he can manipulate the Creator, define Him, completely understand Him, or ignore Him.

7. Jeremiah 51:17-19 – “Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish. Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the Lord of hosts is his name.” Substitutes for God will come and go and have no real power. They are an illusion. God is the only real Power, and He never changes. The Creator will destroy all substitutes for Him.

8. Jeremiah 51:20-23 – “You are my hammer and weapon of war: with you I break nations in pieces; with you I destroy kingdoms; with you I break in pieces the horse and his rider; with you I break in pieces the chariot and the charioteer; with you I break in pieces man and woman; with you I break in pieces the old man and the youth; with you I break in pieces the young man and the young woman; with you I break in pieces the shepherd and his flock; with you I break in pieces the farmer and his team; with you I break in pieces governors and commanders.” God chooses small people and His remnant to achieve His purposes in history, revealing the foolishness of man’s pride. God does not honor the pride of men.

9. Jeremiah 51:26 – “No stone shall be taken from you for a corner and no stone for a foundation, but you shall be a perpetual waste, declares the Lord.” God’s judgement has eternal consequences.

10. Jeremiah 51:31-34 – “One runner runs to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to tell the king of Babylon that his city is taken on every side; the fords have been seized, the marshes are burned with fire, and the soldiers are in panic. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come. Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me; he has crushed me; he has made me an empty vessel; he has swallowed me like a monster; he has filled his stomach with my delicacies; he has rinsed me out.” Even while they were in captivity, God took care of His people by influencing the hearts of the captors.

11. Jeremiah 51:47 – “Therefore, behold, the days are coming when I will punish the images of Babylon; her whole land shall be put to shame, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.” God’s invitation competes with the invitation of substitutes for God for the loyalty of God’s people. Today, it’s the Gospel or the American Dream.

12. Jeremiah 51:50 – “You who have escaped from the sword, go, do not stand still! Remember the Lord from far away, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.” God’s invitation demands an immediate response.

13. Proverbs 30:2 — “Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man.” The first step to understanding is to understand that you don’t understand. Human intellect is so very limited; it can’t take you very far. However, God reveals things to you that you could never understand on your own or through all the teaching the world has to offer. A prerequisite to acquiring wisdom is acknowledging your ignorance, your sinfulness, and your total dependence on God.

14. Proverbs 30:3 – “I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.” Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied. You cannot apply knowledge rightly without the direction of the Holy Spirit who puts things in context with the big picture that you can never see.

15. Proverbs 30:5, 6 – “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” Walking in God’s word keeps you within the will of God even though you don’t fully understand what is happening or the “why” behind what is happening. We tend to add to God’s word or to complicate it because we really don’t want it to say what is clearly says. We tend to put conditions on it: “Who really is my neighbor? Under what conditions do I really have to forgive? Times have changed, and this doesn’t mean the same thing anymore.” The Bible warns that God’s word is unchanging, and you must obey it to remain in God’s will and to have wisdom. And Jesus told you in last week’s readings that you cannot really understand God’s word or obey it without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit which comes through salvation.

16. Proverbs 30:8, 9 – “Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” Sin, all sin, is to reject the Lord and profane His name. We take it so very lightly, but God does not. Sin always starts with desires that become bigger in our life, more important, and more influential than God. Even desires that are, in the right application, good, such as the desire to eat, can become sin when they start to control us and lead us to depart from God’s will. When the God-given desire to eat becomes gluttony, we are caught in sin and need to recognize the remove the idol we have created.

17. Proverbs 30:10-23 – After the writer of Proverbs 30 proclaims in verses eight and nine the requirement to maintain God as your highest desire, honoring Him as KING, obeying Him, and rejecting competing desires, he describes the attributes of those who lack proper humility and are self-serving rather than disciples. They are slanderers (v 10), disrespectful (v11), self-righteous (v12), arrogant (v13), sharp-tongued (v14), greedy (v14), never satisfied (v15-16), disobedient (v17), unpredictably driven by human passions (18-19), callously deceptive (v20), and unfit for service (v21-23).

18. Proverbs 30:24-31 – The writer transitions from the traits of the sinful fool in verses 10-23 to traits of wisdom which are grounded in discipline and unity.

19. Proverbs 30:32 – “If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth.” Sin is selfishness. Sin is placing yourself, your desires, ahead of God which is unthinkable cosmic treason. The writing is calling you to repentance. Even those sins you know you commit that you consider “small” are not small if you consider what they mean – “God says, ‘no’, but I say ‘yes.’” Consider today where you still knowingly dishonor God, repent, and receive His forgiveness.

20. Jude 1, 2 – “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.”

– Jude introduces himself first as “a servant of Jesus Christ.” How do you introduce yourself?

– Mercy, peace, and love come only from God.

– The mark of a person truly walking with Jesus is ever-increasing mercy, peace, and love — it is not additive, it is exponential.

21. Jude 4 — “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

– A teaching can creep into the church that allows grace to be used an excuse to do what you want to do. Grace is not a license for disobedience or immorality, nor does it mean that God will overlook such behavior. Grace is not freedom to sin; it is freedom from sin. Jude was compelled to warn the church against those within the church who make light of sin in the name of ‘grace’.

– It would appear that, as is the case today, Jude had observed many in the church using grace as an excuse to live sinful lives, surrendering to their wicked desires rather than to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Jude describes them as no better than animals and warns that they will not escape God’s judgment. Though they claimed to be Christians, their actions revealed that in fact they were “devoid of the Spirit.” Jude exhorts the church to persevere: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” Essentially he is saying, “Love the sinner, and hate the sin; influence without being influenced.” Again, it is interesting that, during this time before the fall of Rome, Jude specifically refers to the sin of homosexuality as Paul does in Romans 1. When was the last time you heard someone preach against homosexuality, adultery, promiscuity, etc?

– Jude reminds us that, while under grace, we cannot reject authority (8) and simply act as unreasoning animals (10) “who follow mere natural instincts” rather than the Spirit (19). Instead, Jude commands “Build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life (20, 21).” While we wait for the mercy of Jesus, we are to continue to pursue holiness and obedience. In our pursuit, we are to hate sin while showing Christ-like mercy to sinners (22, 23) – Love involves revealing the truth of sin:

— “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:9-12).”

22. Jude 8, 19 — “Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones…. It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” Those who call themselves Christians yet continue in sin, proclaiming ‘grace’ all the while, are in actuality denying the Lordship of the Savior, rejecting His authority, blaspheming His Holy Name, and perverting the Grace that comes through the Blood of Jesus – they are, in fact, devoid of the Spirit. Such Christians are divisive, countering the ministry of reconciliation.

23. Jude 8 — “Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.” Sin is always a rejection of God’s authority over your life and a discrediting of His holiness. The “Christian” who continues in sin is really rejecting the authority of Christ, living out blaspheme.

24. Jude 10, 11 – “But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.” Jude describes the “carnal Christian” as spiritless animals who act on animal instincts rather than being controlled by the Spirit. They are like Cain who lacked self-control which comes from the Spirt. When you sin, you blaspheme God — how serious is that?

25. Jude 12, 13 — “These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.”

– Selfish Christians are hidden destroyers, claiming to be leaders but only lifting themselves up and drawing attention to themselves rather than God; they may claim to be alive, but in their selfishness and self-centeredness, they are really dead.

– The disobedient Christian is worthless and destructive.

26. Jude 16 — “These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.”

– Constant complainers who take sides are revealing their self-centeredness and ungodliness. Jesus gave us a mission of reconciliation, uniting other to God and to each other, not dividing. Do you know a church-goer who always seems to have a complaint, who always seems to be dissatisfied? Hopefully, that someone is not you. Hopefully, in your selflessness, you can influence that constant critic to reconcile to Jesus and to others. Again, read John 17.

27. Jude 18 — “’In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” Scoffers who cause divisions do not have the Spirit or are at least quenching the Spirit. Scoffers scoff because they want to pursue their own passions.

28. Jude 19 – “It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” Worldly people cause divisions, the Spirit unites people in Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ, there can be no real unity. Many will seek unity around some idol, like a political party or an organization, but this is doomed and antichrist.

29. Jude 20-23 — “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”

– We must be uniters in a world full of dividers; we must be peacemakers in a world full of unpeaceable people. We must bring order in a world of disorder; we must bring light in a world of darkness. We must love in a hateful world. However this requires much prayer and requires the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than merely intellect. It is dangerous business to snatch others out of the fire. Don’t be complacent in your efforts to do so or attempt to do it in your own power.

– You don’t snatch people from a fire by standing in it with them.

30. Jude 24 – “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling….” Only Jesus can keep you from stumbling. You cannot stand on your own.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 30 Oct 18: Be a positive uniter today, remembering that ultimately there is no unity unless people are uniting first with Jesus. Don’t try to create a false unity, uniting around and idol such as the nation, a business, a teacher, a pastor, a church, morals, ethical standards, bright ideas, etc. Reconcile people to Jesus, and they will naturally unite with each other too. Your mission is to reconcile others to Jesus. (2 Cor 5:18, 19). Also re-read John 17. (Jude)

DBRP – WEEK 44, Day 1, Monday, 29 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=jeremiah+49%2C+50%3B+pro+29%3B+3+John+1

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 29 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 49:1 — “Concerning the Ammonites. Thus says the LORD: ‘Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? Why then has Milcom dispossessed Gad, and his people settled in its cities?'” There is no reason why God’s people, empowered by the Holy Spirit, should be controlled by the world.

2. Jeremiah 49:4 — “Why do you boast of your valleys, O faithless daughter, who trusted in her treasures, saying, ‘Who will come against me?” God will take away what you place in the way of your relationship with Him.

3. Jeremiah 49:11 – “Leave your fatherless children; I will keep them alive; and let your widows trust in me.” God still cares about your enemies’ children. Do you?

4. Jeremiah 49:12 – “For thus says the Lord: ‘If those who did not deserve to drink the cup must drink it, will you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you must drink.’” God will not leave a nation’s sins unpunished.

5. Jeremiah 49:15, 17 – “For behold, I will make you small among the nations, despised among mankind. ‘Edom shall become a horror. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters.’” Part of God’s judgment is ruining one’s reputation.

6. Jeremiah 49:16 — “The horror you inspire has deceived you, and the pride of your heart.” Pride deceives you in thinking you are of any significance apart from God.

7. Jeremiah 49:19 – “Behold, like a lion coming up from the jungle of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly make him run away from her. And I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me?” God’s judgment can be compared to a surprise attack.

8. Jeremiah 49:20 – “Therefore hear the plan that the Lord has made against Edom and the purposes that he has formed against the inhabitants of Teman: Even the little ones of the flock shall be dragged away. Surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate.” God wants people to know His purposes.

9. Jeremiah 49:22 – “Behold, one shall mount up and fly swiftly like an eagle and spread his wings against Bozrah, and the heart of the warriors of Edom shall be in that day like the heart of a woman in her birth pains.” God’s judgment melts all human courage.

10. Jeremiah 49:31 – “Rise up, advance against a nation at ease, that dwells securely, declares the Lord,
that has no gates or bars, that dwells alone.” God condemns a people who are overconfident.

11. Jeremiah 50:4 — “In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come, and they shall seek the Lord their God.” Repentance is the beginning of revival.

12. Jeremiah 50:5 – “They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.’” Commitment to an eternal love relationship with God brings revival.

13. Jeremiah 50:6, 7 — “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold. All who found them have devoured them, and their enemies have said, ‘We are not guilty, for they have sinned against the LORD, their habitation of righteousness, the LORD, the hope of their fathers.’”

– God calls unfaithful believers lost sheep with bad shepherds who need revival and the Good Shepherd, Jesus.

– When God’s people are led astray by false teachers, the entire nation falls. The only shepherd worth following is The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Any leader that does not point to Jesus as the one to obey is an anti-Christ, though we don’t see them that way.

14. Jeremiah 50:11, 12 — “Though you rejoice, though you exult, O plunderers of my heritage, though you frolic like a heifer in the pasture, and neigh like stallions, your mother shall be utterly shamed, and she who bore you shall be disgraced.” Many messages in churches today are “Be happy” while the Nations go from bad to worse. God doesn’t expect people to rejoice and boast when they should be mourning and turning to Him.

15. Jeremiah 50:15 – Raise a shout against her all around; she has surrendered; her bulwarks have fallen; her walls are thrown down. For this is the vengeance of the Lord: take vengeance on her; do to her as she has done.” You will reap what you sow.

16. Jeremiah 50:20, 33-34 – In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant…. Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them. All who took them captive have held them fast; they refuse to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.” A remnant will experience revival, not the majority.

17. Jeremiah 50:29, 31-32 – “Summon archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow. Encamp around her; let no one escape. Repay her according to her deeds; do to her according to all that she has done. For she has proudly defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel…. Behold, I am against you, O proud one, declares the Lord GOD of hosts, for your day has come, the time when I will punish you. The proud one shall stumble and fall, with none to raise him up, and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it will devour all that is around him.” Another chapter in the Bible warns you that God opposes human pride. God will humble the proud for His name’s sake.

18. Jeremiah 50:42 – They lay hold of bow and spear; they are cruel and have no mercy. The sound of them is like the roaring of the sea; they ride on horses, arrayed as a man for battle against you, O daughter of Babylon!” God uses cruel, merciless people as agents of His judgment.

19. Proverbs 29:1 – “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.” There can come a place in a person’s life when it is too late to receive forgiveness. God’s patience has a limit.

20. Proverbs 29:5 – “A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.” When you tell people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear, you are contributing to their pain and destruction, you are being unloving, and you are sinning.

21. Proverbs 29:12 – “If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.” Christ’s Ambassadors have an obligation to speak the truth to leaders whether they want to hear it or not.

22. Proverbs 29:18 — “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” Gods people can serve as a preservative and an influential agent of peace and stability if they have the courage to defy popular opinion and to speak the truth.

23. Proverbs 29:26 – “Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.” Most don’t even treat God with as much respect as they do influential people.

24. 3 John 1:1 – “The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.” Love is an easy word to say, but true love is sacrifice.

25. 3 John 1, 3, 8, 12 — “I love in truth…. indeed you are walking in the truth…. that we may be fellow workers for the truth…. Demetrius has received a good testimony… from the truth itself…. and you know that our testimony is true.” The true church is united in truth, truth that makes man-made divisions such as race, class, culture, nationality, and denominations meaningless. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14 6) Those who ‘walk in the truth’ walk as Jesus walked. John reminds us that, toward that life ambition, we should live our lives “for the sake of the name” and treat others “in a manner worthy of God.” (3 John 6, 7) Is that your ambition? Are you united as one with the true church rather than the world?

26. 3 John 1:3, 4 – “For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

– Real Christians don’t just talk about the truth, they walk in the truth. They surrender themselves to Jesus daily and walk with Him, denying themselves, proclaiming the truth daily in love, demonstrating forgiveness, generosity, grace, mercy, peace, patience, kindness, justice, humility, etc…. Your life goal should be that as you follow Jesus closely, you will be an example to help others follow Him too, not follow you but follow Him.

– Love hopes more than anything else that others would follow Jesus.

27. 3 John 7, 8 — “For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore, we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” God expects us to work through the church to advance the Kingdom.

28. 3 John 11 – “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.”

– The Bible could not be clearer on this point: faith is revealed in attitudes, words, and actions. Jesus said, you judge the tree by the fruit the comes from it. Those who truly know and love Jesus are transformed by His love. They don’t continue in unrepentant sin, and when they do sin, they mournfully and humbly turn to God in repentance. Christians are continually claiming the promise of 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

– In the very short letter of 3 John, John contrasts the behavior of Gaius and Demetrius with that of Diotrephes. Gaius had displayed his love and “faithfulness to the truth” along with his commitment to “walk in the truth” by showing hospitality and generosity to “the brothers” who he did not know personally. Contrarily, Diotrephes who “likes to put himself first” is characterized by John as a malicious gossip who refuses to “welcome the brothers.” John then reminds us of what was taught by Jesus, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit…. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” (Matthew 12:33, 35) Of our own power, we have no ability to be “good” only through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit can we hope to do good – “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4, 5) So, how do we abide in Christ? Jesus said, “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:9-11). The verse above tells us to “imitate good” rather than evil. So, how do we imitate good? Ephesians 5 expands on this concept and would be worthy of review today. Unlike Diotrephes who lived selfishly while claiming to be Christian, we are to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” and to submit “to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5) The Holy Spirit gives us the power to abide in Christ, but we must make the decision daily to submit to God and others in true love. The completely sacrificial love lived out by Jesus is our example.

– John encourages the Church to walk in obedience to the Lord. John, The Apostle of Love, sees obedience as required to truly love God and to express genuine love towards others. Paul backs this truth up in Romans 12:9 when he says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Someone once said, “If you love flowers, you have to hate weeds.” Sin is contrary to God’s Will – it offends, hurts, and destroys. We cannot take a casual, careless position on either love or sin like the culture around us does.

– Christians who are really Christian do the work of Christ.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 29 Oct 18: If Jesus walked in your circles today, what would he be like? How would He act? What would He do? What would He say to your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers? Make every effort to imitate Jesus today. Truly seek to be His Ambassador. Keep a journal of your experience. Make a note ever hour on how the last hour went. You have somewhere around sixteen waking hours today, sixteen hours to reveal the Way, the Truth, and the Life to others. Journal sixteen hourly self-assessments today, each time praying for a closer walk with Jesus and a greater imitation of Him to others. (3 John 11)

DBRP – WEEK 43, Day 7, Sunday, 28 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=jeremiah+47-48%3B+pro+28%3B+psalm+126%2C+127

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 28 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 47:3 – “At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his stallions, at the rushing of his chariots, at the rumbling of their wheels, the fathers look not back to their children, so feeble are their hands….” God’s judgment humbles the prideful and terrifies the fearless.

2. Jeremiah 48:3-6 — “A voice! A cry from Horonaim, ‘Desolation and great destruction!’ Moab is destroyed; her little ones have made a cry. For at the ascent of Luhith they go up weeping; for at the descent of Horonaim they have heard the distressed cry of destruction. Flee! Save yourselves! You will be like a juniper in the desert!” A nation that puts its trust in anything other than God will inevitably face destruction, and when the institutions fall, it is every person for themselves.

3. Jeremiah 48:7 – “For, because you trusted in your works and your treasures, you also shall be taken;
and Chemosh shall go into exile with his priests and his officials.” God brings judgment when you trust in your own resources.

4. Jeremiah 48:8 – “The destroyer shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape; the valley shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the Lord has spoken.” God’s judgment is swift and complete.

5. Jeremiah 48:10 – “Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with slackness.” God will not be dishonored with half-hearted obedience our lackluster service. God is God and must be treated with due honor. How can anyone dishonor the Almighty with mediocrity, particularly after He sacrificed His Son for the unworthy?

6. Jeremiah 48:11 — “Then Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel, their confidence.” The Great Commission is to bring all peoples back into loving, obedient relationship with Him, not to “make the world a better place.” The entire Bible describes a struggle between two kingdoms, between the Kingdom of God, and the counterfeit kingdom of man (inspired by Satan). God will tear down the kingdom’s of men that attempt to compete with His Kingdom. God destroyed the Tower of Babel, and man has been trying to rebuild it ever since rather than placing their trust in Him.

7. Jeremiah 48:14 — “How do you say, ‘We are heroes and mighty men of war’?” God destroys all human pride which an affront to Him.

8. Jeremiah 48:20 – “Moab is put to shame, for it is broken; wail and cry! Tell it beside the Arnon, that Moab is laid waste. Moab is put to shame, for it is broken; wail and cry! Tell it beside the Arnon, that Moab is laid waste.” When God punishes a nation, it often surprises and confounds them.

9. Jeremiah 48:26 — “Make him drunk, because he magnified himself against the Lord, so that Moab shall wallow in his vomit, and he too shall be held in derision.” To take credit for success without reference to God is to oppose God.

10. Jeremiah 48:29, 30 – “We have heard of the pride of Moab— he is very proud— of his loftiness, his pride, and his arrogance, and the haughtiness of his heart. I know his insolence, declares the Lord; his boasts are false, his deeds are false.” Again, God destroys all human pride which is an affront to Him.

11. Jeremiah 48:30, 33 – “I know his insolence, declares the Lord; his boasts are false, his deeds are false…. Gladness and joy have been taken away from the fruitful land of Moab; I have made the wine cease from the winepresses; no one treads them with shouts of joy; the shouting is not the shout of joy.” God will silence the self-reliant boasting of any person or nation and take away their joy.

12. Jeremiah 48:36 – “Therefore my heart moans for Moab like a flute, and my heart moans like a flute for the men of Kir-hareseth. Therefore the riches they gained have perished.” Judgment makes your material resources useless.

13. Jeremiah 48:38 – “On all the housetops of Moab and in the squares there is nothing but lamentation, for I have broken Moab like a vessel for which no one cares, declares the Lord.” God’s judgment destroys nations in a rapid, complete, and irreversible way, like a piece of pottery which is shattered and cannot be repaired.

14. Proverbs 28:1 – “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” God’s truth is uniting, not divisive. When leaders point everyone to Christ, the closer they all get to Christ, the closer they get to each other, and the closer they get to Peace, Love, Joy, and Hope.

15. Proverbs 28:5 – “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.” There is no complete justice apart from God; no one approaches God but through Jesus Christ. No leader who fails to proclaim Christ first can bring true justice to a people. Christians see very clearly the injustice of the justice systems of this earth, and Christians are called to be the conscience of society, always trying to steer people back to Jesus.

16. Proverbs 28:7 — “The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.” Why is the law contrasted with gluttony? Because both relate, from opposite positions, with self-control and self-discipline. There are many undisciplined, self-centered, destructive behaviors that are not illegal but are still wrong, signs of disrespect for God. The last fruit of the spirit described in Galatians 5 is self-control. Self-control is not an intellectual ability, it is a spiritual ability. Do you have it?

17. Proverbs 28:9 — “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” God does not reward bad behavior. God is not here to serve you. You are here to serve Him. This is a consistent message throughout the Bible.

18. Proverbs 28:14 – “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” This is true for both people and nations. A hard lesson revealed in the Old Testament.

19. Proverbs 28:19 – “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.” Worthless pursuits are those that have no virtuous reproduction capacity to support the needs of others (not the just the wants of others).

20. Proverbs 28:26 – “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” Do you know any fools?

21. Psalm 127:1, 2 — “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

– We were created to serve God and to fulfill His will on earth. Whatever we are doing for self is a waste of time and will not prevail.

– So many churches and Christians are wearing themselves out pursuing goals God never intended for them to pursue. Too often we decide how we are going to serve God rather than waiting on Him and merely being faithful with the little things He places before us day by day. It is usually pride, fear, and feelings of inadequacy that drive us towards emotional decision-making and pursuit of works of the flesh rather than works of the Spirit which come from the Spirit’s lead. God has given you just enough time and resources in a day to do exactly what He wants you to do without losing your peace and joy. He does not equip each day to pursue your own goals and ambitions, things He never asked you to do. “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22).” Why wear yourself out and ruin your joy and peace trying to get what God never intended you to have and what God will never allow you to keep? Serve God, rest in Him, receive His blessings which will exceed your expectations, and have peace in life.

22. Psalm 127:3-5 — “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” Children are a blessing from God, a reward from God. Treat them as such.

23. Psalm 127 — If you aren’t working for the LORD, your work is futile, regardless of how hard you work. Are you advancing the Kingdom of God or trying to build your own kingdom on earth?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 28 Oct 18: Rest in the Lord today. (Psalm 127:2)

DBRP – WEEK 43, Day 6, Saturday, 27 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=jeremiah+44-46%3B+pro+27%3B+psalm+125

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 27 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 44:5 – “But they did not listen or incline their ear, to turn from their evil and make no offerings to other gods.” God doesn’t accept idols in your life, things that you allow to detract from your wholehearted devotion to God. These things aren’t little statues for most people. The Bible says, “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord….” (1 Samuel 15:23) “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5) “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” (1 Corinthians 10:14)

2. Jeremiah 44:7, 11-12 – “And now thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, infant and child, from the midst of Judah, leaving you no remnant?’ Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will set my face against you for harm, to cut off all Judah. I will take the remnant of Judah who have set their faces to come to the land of Egypt to live, and they shall all be consumed. In the land of Egypt they shall fall; by the sword and by famine they shall be consumed. From the least to the greatest, they shall die by the sword and by famine, and they shall become an oath, a horror, a curse, and a taunt.” To depart from God after discipline is to face judgment.

3. Jeremiah 44:10 — “They have not humbled themselves even to this day, nor have they feared, nor walked in my law and my statutes that I set before you and before your fathers….”

– Humility and fear of the Lord lead to obedience. Disobedience is a lack of both humility and fear of the Lord and is a rejection of the Sovereignty of God – this is the highest of all possible treasons. God is patient, but God will humble the proud, particularly those who claim the name of Christ yet play loose with sin. Humility, reverence, and obedience — only the humble will follow Jesus Christ.

– Sin is a pride problem. It is always placing yourself higher than God, at least at that moment. For example, holding back forgiveness from someone is saying that you deserve more justice than Jesus, who gave His life for sinners. You may not have considered that even the sin of fear is the product of pride. Pride demands control, and fear is a response to a sense of a loss of control. Fear is the opposite of faith, and some will have faith in self (pride), which proves inadequate, while others will place their faith in God (real faith, surrender, confidence in Him). When the idol of self proves false, fear enters into the picture. Humble faith in God, however, never proves false. Those with faith in Jesus also have hope – faith projected forward to the future. Those without faith and hope have a void in their soul that they try to fill with more self, attempting to strengthen their faith in self. So, they try to build upon the lie of self-sufficiency. They get more money, more education, more “friends,” more awards, etc. However, the fear that can never replace hope only grows because inside people know that the bigger the house built on a foundation of sand, the more catastrophic the collapse. The Bible says, that humility comes before honor, that pride comes before the fall, that without faith it is impossible to please God, that we must build our house on the rock of Jesus, that we must seek the Kingdom of God rather than our own kingdoms. Learn from the Bible and truly place all your faith in God and not in your own abilities or anything else.

4. Jeremiah 44:15 – “Then all the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah….” Both men and women lead a nation to sin; both men and women can be mighty witnesses for Jesus.

5. Jeremiah 44:18 – “But since we left off making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.” Israel gave substitutes for God credit for what God had done.

6. Jeremiah 44:21 — “As for the offerings that you offered in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your officials, and the people of the land, did not the Lord remember them? Did it not come into his mind?” Just because God has yet to judge our nation for the sins we have committed, doesn’t mean He isn’t going to. His delay reflects His patience as He waits for repentance. But God doesn’t wait endlessly.

7. Jeremiah 44:22 – “Therefore your land has become a desolation and a waste and a curse, without inhabitant, as it is this day.” Many scoff at the idea that a nation’s sins are the cause of the crisis it experiences. However, throughout the Bible, God punishes nations through wars, famine, disease, natural disasters, economic collapse, bad leadership, etc. God is in complete control.

8. Jeremiah 44:26 – “Therefore hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: Behold, I have sworn by my great name, says the Lord, that my name shall no more be invoked by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, ‘As the Lord God lives.’” God swears an oath to Himself because He is Everything, with nothing higher. God’s promises are sure.

9. Jeremiah 44:29 – “This shall be the sign to you, declares the Lord, that I will punish you in this place, in order that you may know that my words will surely stand against you for harm,” God carries out the judgment about which He warns.

10. Jeremiah 45:5 – “And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing disaster upon all flesh, declares the Lord. But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go.” God does not want you to seek personal success or power in order to build for yourself a personal kingdom as a replacement for The Kingdom. God will not allow you to put yourself on a throne rather than honoring God on His Throne.

11. Jeremiah 46 — God controls the fortunes of all nations.

12. Jeremiah 46:8-10 — Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge. He said, ‘I will rise, I will cover the earth, I will destroy cities and their inhabitants.’ Advance, O horses, and rage, O chariots! Let the warriors go out: men of Cush and Put who handle the shield, men of Lud, skilled in handling the bow. That day is the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance, to avenge himself on his foes. The sword shall devour and be sated and drink its fill of their blood. For the Lord God of hosts holds a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.” God destroys the proud expectations of the world’s most powerful leaders.

13. Jeremiah 46:12 – “The nations have heard of your shame.” For those who lack humility, God will bring shame, to prove their pride a lie and potentially drive them to humility.

14. Jeremiah 46:28 – “Fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the Lord, for I am with you.” God continually calls us to put an end to a life of fear by trusting in Him rather than self or anything else. If your faith is in God, you cannot fear because you trust that the God who loves you is in complete control and will only respond to you out of perfect love, giving you only the very best. Faith inspires you to see past the appearance of things to the reality of things. Things may appear to be bad, but to the Christian, all things are good.

15. Jeremiah 46:28 – “Fear not… declares the Lord, for I am with you…. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.” Don’t be scared of God’s discipline. It doesn’t mean God is abandoning you, on the contrary, He is giving you what is best for you. Like a loving parent does with a child, He must punish you to perfect you. Have faith through discipline, and draw closer to Jesus, not farther away. Remain obedient through discipline and return to humble submission. Don’t despise God’s discipline but be thankful and grow in your love and appreciation for your Father who seeks to bring you to the place where you can have the fullness of joy.

16. Proverbs 27:6 — “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Honest words from true friends are for your benefit, provided to you unselfishly; words from fake friends are for their benefit, provided to you selfishly.

17. Proverbs 27:17 — “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” True friends challenge you and support you to make you better, to help you get closer to Jesus. A true friend doesn’t want anything to stand between you and Jesus. If your friends aren’t in a partnership with you to get closer and closer to Jesus, you need better friends.

18. Proverbs 27:23-27 – “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? When the grass is gone and the new growth appears and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field. There will be enough goats’ milk for your food, for the food of your household and maintenance for your girls.” While others are focused on obtaining wealth, comfort, and pleasure in the here and now, focus on building wealth generating capacity for the long haul. Don’t be satisfied with produce, seek what produces the produce, seek production capacity.

19. Psalm 125:1 – “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” There is a clear theme in today’s readings – humility, faith, hope, trust, obedience, love.

20. Psalm 125:3 — “For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong.” When the wicked lead a nation, the righteous are tempted to sin. The ungodly should not be allowed to lead.

21. Psalm 125:5 – “Peace be upon Israel!” You will never have peace in life until you have faith, hope, and love. Summary: Humility comes before honor, and pride before the fall. Fear is the product of pride. Faith comes from humility. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith surrenders all to God and trusts God rather than self or any other idol. Faith walks in obedience and the greatest command to obey is love. It takes faith to love because it takes faith to be vulnerable in love and to suffer in love. Faith trusts God through the suffering for a greater blessing than can be imagined today. Faith, hope, and love bring peace as we become one with the Father and the Son. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The goal is not goodness or blessings, the goal is Jesus. Your goal today is to humbly follow Jesus, trusting and obeying Him. Don’t let anything distract you today.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 27 Oct 18: Today, seek to understand your fears from the perspective of your pride, your trust in self rather than Jesus, your focus on self rather than Jesus and others. Discover your hidden pride and pray for greater humility. Put your trust in Jesus and grow in faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love. Consider how well you are loving God and others today. Realize that your unloving words and deeds have their root in fear, pride, and selfishness. Pray that God will help you truly search your heart and remove your selfish pride. Recognize your pride, but don’t stare at it. Rather, keep your eyes on Jesus. Follow Him today, only Him. (see today’s readings)

DBRP – WEEK 43, Day 5, Friday, 26 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=jeremiah+42%2C+43%3B+pro+26%3B+2+John+1

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 26 Oct 18:

1. Jeremiah 42:6 – “…we will obey the voice of the Lord our God….” A right perspective on God leaves no debate about obedience. No sane person would consider disobeying the KING of Kings.

2. Jeremiah 42:6 – “Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” God’s view of what is “good” or “bad” is far different than our view. As Romans 8:28 explains, “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans goes on to say, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29) According to God’s word, when we are in fellowship with God, He uses all circumstances for good purposes beyond our understanding and to conform us to the image of His Son. If we allow circumstances or our actions hinder our fellowship with Him, failing to trust Him, to obey Him, and to remain joyful (though not necessarily happy), we only hinder God’s blessings in our lives. We might think when we get what we want it is good, and when we don’t it is bad, but if what we want is not what He wants, we misinterpret the circumstances, misinterpret God’s ways, and set ourselves for unnecessary pain. No one wants to go through hard times, but often hard times are what are needed to glorify God and conform us to the image of Christ. This is why the Bible tells us to rejoice in trials, tribulations, and suffering (Matt 5:12; Luke 6:23; 1 Pet 4:13; James 1:2; Rom 5:3; 1 Thes 1:6).

3. Jeremiah 42:11 — “Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid.”

– One major theme in the Bible is that fear of man more than fear of God will lead to terrible sin. This fear of man comes in many forms and is an incredible temptation. For most people, it is peer pressure or social pressure that creates the most temptation, wanting to keep peace with the crowd rather than peace with God, or wanting to be approved by others rather than approved by God. For others the primary temptation might be fear of authority figures, believing their fate to be in the hands of the authorities rather than in the hands of God. Key is trusting and obeying God above all else — “No king but King Jesus!”

– We have put too much stock in government. We talk more about politicians than we do about Jesus Christ.

4. Jeremiah 42:13-17 – “But if you say, ‘…we will go to the land of Egypt, where we shall not see war or hear the sound of the trumpet or be hungry for bread, and we will dwell there,’ then hear the word of the Lord, …the sword that you fear shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine of which you are afraid shall follow close after you to Egypt, and there you shall die.” There is always a risk of syncretism, the blending of false worldly beliefs with God’s truth in order to “get along” or have “unity” with those around us; this is compromise that threatens our holiness. Purity is more important than unity. In the US, Christianity has been compromised for sake of the American Dream. We are very careful not to offend with the truth, and we adopt what seems to work in this world rather than what God commands in order to enjoy the comfort and riches of our pleasure-seeking society. This security is an illusion. Security only comes from fidelity to God.

5. Jeremiah 42:13-22 — “But if… then.” It is very popular in churches to preach on “The promises of God,” but rarely do the preachers point out that most of God’s promises are conditional. God will respond to you in a certain way “if” you respond to Him in a certain way. The way is love and obedience. God is not simply your genie in a bottle, here to give you gifts and empower you to get all you want out of life. We are here to love Him, serve Him, and glorify Him — this is what we were created to do. When we fulfill our purpose we are blessed as promised.

6. Jeremiah 42:19-22 – “The Lord has said to you…, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ …you have gone astray at the cost of your lives. For you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the Lord our God, and whatever the Lord our God says declare to us and we will do it.’ …but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God…. Now therefore know for a certainty that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go to live.” The people said they wanted to follow the Lord, but they went to the world for their provision, comfort, and security. They prayed but didn’t obey. They trusted in government over God. This mistake had short-term payoff but ultimately cost them everything.

7. Jeremiah 43:2 — “Azariah… and all the insolent men said to Jeremiah, ‘You are telling a lie. The Lord our God did not send you….'”

– Azariah’s fatal decision was that he did not believe God’s prophet. Why? One, because the prophet said what Azariah didn’t want to hear. Two, he did not trust Jeremiah because he did not have a right relationship with either God or Jeremiah. Knowing who to trust and from whom to receive biblical counsel is critical. Who can you trust to advise you solely from God’s word? And when this godly, trusted advisor does counsel you, are you willing to listen and do what the Bible tells you to do?

– When people don’t like what God had to say they invent their own version of the truth to justify their disobedience. They will then violently defend their flawed, sinful positions. God’s word stands no matter what popular public opinion says.

8. Proverbs 26:4, 8 – “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself…. Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool.” There is a danger of becoming like who you challenge. How we respond to sinners often reveals the sin within our own hearts.

9. Proverbs 26:7 — “Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” Fools often know the word but won’t do the word. They may claim to be Christian but are guided by their own fears/desires and the teachings of the world rather than Him.

10. Proverbs 26:12 — “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Fools think they know better than God’s word.

11. Proverbs 26:18-20 — “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I am only joking!’ For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.” The Bible holds you accountable for careless words and careless dealings which impact others’ lives in a negative way. How we influence other people’s lives is nothing to be taken lightly.

12. 2 John 1:1 — “The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth…” There is no love apart from the Truth.

13. 2 John 1:3 — “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.” Grace, mercy, and peace can only come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, and only in both truth and love. Again, there is no love apart from the truth. This is wholly contrary from what the world says.

14. 2 John 1:3 — “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.” Your level of grace, mercy, and peace reveals how close you are to Jesus.

15. 2 John 1:4-11 – “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father…. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it…. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”

– “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father.” Knowing the truth isn’t enough. We must “walk” in the truth with peace and joy out of love. If you are obeying but it is difficult for you, you still have a love problem.

– “And now I ask you… that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.” Once again, love requires obedience to God’s commands.

– “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves…. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” Which of our leaders in America proclaim the Gospel above all else? Christians often get excited about leaders who never mention Jesus or His Gospel but proclaim a message of salvation through human effort and achievement. The seemingly good message that doesn’t point to Christ is ultimately deception. Remember, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching [the Gospel], do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” Don’t fall into the trap of moralism. How many times will you proclaim Jesus Christ today?

– John was known as the ‘Apostle of Love.’ Notice how adamant John is about the requirement for obedience in love. This is in stark contrast to the world today which sees calls to obedience as somehow ‘unloving.’ Notice also how the ‘Apostle of Love’ has no tolerance for those who teach anything other than Christ and obedience to him. Why? Because to ‘tolerate’ false teachings and sinful practices is to make one culpable for the eternal demise of others and to dishonor God. No, true Christians are not always tolerant – they can’t be while remaining in love.

– Love and obedience are inseparable. Where you are not obeying, you are unloving.

– “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.” As discussed previously, this isn’t just a verbal confession, it is a life confession proclaimed by actions. If you don’t live for Jesus, you are anti-Christ, regardless of what you say. If you are not physically gathering with Jesus, you are scattering.

– “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” Abiding in the teaching is obeying the teaching. Don’t hang out with fake Christians who Jesus calls hypocrites, the Greek word for actors.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 Oct 18: Demonstrate your love today through obedience, joy, grace, mercy and peace. (2 John 1)

DBRP – WEEK 43, Day 4, Thursday, 25 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=jeremiah+40%2C+41%3B+pro+25%3B+1+john+5

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 25 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 40:3 – “The Lord has brought it about, and has done as he said. Because you sinned against the Lord and did not obey his voice, this thing has come upon you.” God often punishes sin by orchestrating circumstances against the sinner. The unbeliever will not accept this idea.

2. Jeremiah 40:4 – “Now, behold, I release you today from the chains on your hands. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you well, but if it seems wrong to you to come with me to Babylon, do not come. See, the whole land is before you; go wherever you think it good and right to go.” Ironically, Jeremiah gained freedom of choice under Babylon after Judah had put him in prison.

3. Jeremiah 40:5-7 – “’If you remain, then return to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon appointed governor of the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people. Or go wherever you think it right to go.’ When all the captains of the forces in the open country and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land and had committed to him men, women, and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile to Babylon.’ So the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a present, and let him go. Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, at Mizpah, and lived with him among the people who were left in the land.” Under the worst circumstances, God can still deliver his faithful from total destruction and can orchestrate circumstances to provide for them and comfort them.

4. Jeremiah 40:10-12 – “’As for me, I will dwell at Mizpah, to represent you before the Chaldeans who will come to us. But as for you, gather wine and summer fruits and oil, and store them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken.’ Likewise, when all the Judeans who were in Moab and among the Ammonites and in Edom and in other lands heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, as governor over them, then all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah. And they gathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance.” God’s people, for thousands of years, have had to learn to live under foreign, ungodly rule.

5. Jeremiah 40:10-41:7 — People often think that their schemes and plots can control history without realizing God remains in control and no plan prevails over His. Succeeding generations often refuse to learn the right lessons from God’s work in history, which is “His-story.”

6. Jeremiah 41:8-9, 18 – “But there were ten men among them who said to Ishmael, ‘Do not put us to death, for we have stores of wheat, barley, oil, and honey hidden in the fields.’ So he refrained and did not put them to death with their companions. Now the cistern into which Ishmael had thrown all the bodies of the men whom he had struck down along with Gedaliah was the large cistern that King Asa had made for defense against Baasha king of Israel; Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with the slain…. because of the Chaldeans. For they were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land.” Fear of people rather than fear of God is often, unfortunately, the primary motivator for most people’s actions despite God’s stern warning against fearing man.

7. Proverbs 25:11-12, 15, 18 – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear…. With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone…. A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.” Your words have a powerful impact on your environment and on people within your environment. Your words shape the outcome of events and influence the hearts of others. Your words will either make things better or worse, reconcile or further divide, build up or tear down, energize others or deenergize others. Knowledge is not enough; you must transmit knowledge in a way that can be well received by the listener; you must understand your audience and have a sense of timing and effectiveness. You must be salt and light, but too much light can be blinding, and too much salt can ruin the flavor. Impersonal communication is often unloving, regardless the content. God is very concerned about how you speak and how you listen.

8. Proverbs 25:19-20 – “Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips. Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda.” God wants you to learn who to trust and who not to trust.

9. 1 John 5:1-5 – “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

– True believers believe in Jesus, the kind of belief that trusts and follows.

– The product and evidence of our love is obedience. Truly loving others requires genuine love for God and obedience to his commands. We know that sin (all wrongdoing) is not only an offense to God but also hurts others. Though “the Son of God has come and has given us understanding,” and though, through Jesus, we have “overcome the world,” no one loves perfectly, and, therefore we still sin. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us (1 John 1:8-10).” As we grow in faith and love, our obedience increases. Jesus loved perfectly and was wholly (holy) obedient to the Father. In fact, he said that he did nothing unless the Father commanded him. My sin reveals to me the true condition of my heart and reveals where I have not completely surrendered. Holiness is a journey following the path of God’s Word: “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:9-11).” Our spiritual growth process as we walk in the Light is described in Proverbs 4:18: “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”

– Many people are quick to say that they believe Jesus is the Son of God, but their actions don’t reveal it. The reality of Jesus changes everything in a person’s life, driving them to radical love and obedience. The true believer overcomes the temptations, worries, fears, and trappings of the world. They aren’t perfect, but they are being perfected every day in evident ways. God’s people love other Christians. God’s people believe that Jesus is the Son of God, The KING of Kings, and they follow their King, not just from a sense of duty, but from wholehearted love. The mark of genuine love is willing obedience to God’s commands. All acts of love conform to God’s commands. Sinful relationships are by definition unloving regardless of how the world defines them.

– The prerequisite for love and godliness is faith in Jesus Christ and rebirth through him (see John 3 for the requirement to be born again). The way we love others is to “love God and obey his commands.” I hope that the modern church will relearn this vital relationship between love and obedience. God’s commands reflect God’s perfect character, perfect will, and perfect love; they reveal the way to apply or live out love which Jesus Christ perfectly demonstrated for us, ultimately on the cross. The God who IS love has given us the commands of love that we may learn the ways of true love, learning as children to walk as Jesus walked in perfect love. John points out that as we grow in love, God’s commands become less burdensome for us because we become more aligned with them in love – we desire to obey God because we no longer have to resist our unloving hearts. By definition, ANYTHING we say or do that is contrary to God’s commands is unloving, hateful, murderous, even blasphemous (against God). How can you examine yourself to assess how loving you are? Joyful obedience to Jesus Christ is the test of love – “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” What is the greatest way to love others? Love and obey God, pointing the way to Jesus Christ.

10. 1 John 5:12 — “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Again, many, many Christians are substituting the Gospel message with moralism, ethics, and charity. The Bible is clear that we are to minister to the needs of others, but in the name of Jesus with the Gospel as our message. How urgently are you sharing the Gospel of Jesus with those who do not have the Son? How many times will you proclaim Jesus Christ today?

11. 1 John 5:14 – “If we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” The Bible doesn’t say ‘if we ask anything, He hears us,’ rather it says, “If we ask anything according to His will.” God does not support or resource what isn’t within His will. If you want what God wants, you will get what you want.

12. 1 John 5:18 – “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning.” Salvation changes your whole life. When you truly put your faith in Jesus, you are never the same again. What does your behavior say to others about your God?

13. 1 John 5:21 — “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” Don’t prioritize anything over Jesus and His commands. Your success today is measured in how faithfully you follow and serve Him out of your love for Him.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 25 Oct 18: Today, pray, but seek to pray within God’s will and not your own will. Pray first for the heart and mind of Jesus. (1 John 5:14)

DBRP – WEEK 43, Day 3, Wednesday, 24 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=jer+38%2C+39%3B+proverbs+24%3B+1+John+4

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 24 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 38:4 — “Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” The truth often hurts, but “wounds from a friend can be trusted.” In this case, the truth was hurting morale, which directly effects the strength of the fighting force. The officials had good reason to be concerned, but they were wrong in assuming that Jeremiah intended to harm them – quite the opposite was true. If you love someone, you must tell them the truth. Jeremiah was willing to tell the truth to those who did not want to hear it at great peril to his life.

2. Jeremiah 38:6 — “So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.” Jeremiah was faithful to God’s word, and God allowed him to be persecuted in a life-threatening way. What doubts would you have had in Jeremiah’s position? Do you need people or circumstances to validate your fidelity to God?

3. Jeremiah 38:19 — “King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, ‘I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, lest I be handed over to them and they deal cruelly with me.’” King Zedekiah’s character was 180-out from Jeremiah’s. King Zedekiah was motivated by fear and self-preservation, ready to disobey God and destroy a city in hopes of saving his own skin. Where does fear and selfishness rule in your life?

4. Jeremiah 39:7, 8 – “He put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains to take him to Babylon. The Chaldeans burned the king’s house and the house of the people, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem.” There is no limit to the cruelty of the ungodly who do not know true love, love which can only come from God. Expect no mercy or compassion from the ungodly.

5. Proverbs 24:11, 12 – “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” These Proverbs cannot be repeated enough to Christians. Those without Jesus face terrible consequences on earth but, more importantly, eternal damnation. Christians can’t act like they are not responsible for those around them who are on the path of destruction. It is selfish to avoid uncomfortable conversations, keeping people from hearing the eternal truth they desperately need. Your enemies salvation should be of utmost importance to you.

6. Proverbs 24:32 – “Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction.” The truth of God’s word is revealed all around you as circumstances play out in the lives of others. One person observed that wisdom understands without experiencing. In other words, it is wise to avoid the mistakes of others by learning from the experiences of others without experiencing the same circumstances yourself. The Bible warns you on what you should do and shouldn’t do. Don’t put God’s word to the test. When others do, observe and learn even further.

7. 1 John 4:1 – “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Go to the source for your understanding. Keep the Holy Spirit as your Counsellor and Teacher. The best another person can do to instruct you is to refer you to Him and repeat what He said. No one can add to God’s word. Go to God.

8. 1 John 4:2, 3 — “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”

– To be clear, other religions are ‘antichrist’ and DO NOT lead to God. “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:13-15) Only through the Spirit can a person truly confess Jesus – the Spirit within us causes us to uncontrollably “confess that Jesus is the Son of God.” It is amazing to me how many who call themselves Christians are more concerned about offending others than saving them from eternal separation from God.

– Many Christians, even pastors, have largely eliminated the name Jesus from their social discourse, choosing rather to preach a form of moralism rather than the Gospel. They justify this by claiming to be ‘seeker sensitive,’ not wanting to offend, not wanting to ‘lose their witness,’ etc. Whatever the reason, these teachers have not put Jesus Christ first, rendering them false teachers. The solution to man’s problems is not principles but rather a Person, Jesus Christ. We are Christ’s Ambassadors, not self-help gurus who put our spin on what Jesus said. Charity is not enough, education is not enough. What people need is Jesus – that is the only message of a true teacher.

– In your conversations, the name Jesus Christ will be the filter separating those being convicted by the Holy Spirit and those who are not. Many Christians get sucked into that comfortable, acceptable conversation and convince themselves that they are somehow fulfilling the Great Commission of making “disciples” who “obey” Jesus Christ. Start your advice with a call for repentance and surrender to Jesus and see who is still willing to listen. Those are the ones to invest in. Of course, you are likely to pay a hefty price for your faithful, uncompromised approach. John 14:6 — “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Is Jesus’ message your message?

9. 1 John 4:7, 8 — “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

– God’s main command for us is love. “God is love.” There is no love apart from God. God, The Creator, is the Creator of love and the source of love. People cannot produce or create love, only radiate the love they have received from God. The closer you are to God, the more you can truly love. Strive for unity with God, and you will grow more loving as a natural result. Anything that comes from another source and is presented as love is a lie, a false love. The closer you are to Jesus, the more you really know Him, the more you will love others with a real love, not the false, fake worldly version of love.

– Throughout the Bible we are commanded by God to love, demonstrating that love is a choice we have to make. However, it is impossible for us to make that choice if love is not “manifested” in us through Jesus Christ. We must be “born” spiritually through Jesus to have the Spirit of God (who IS love) within us. We can only “choose” to love God because God first chose us – “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) So, it seems to me that God has given us the ability to love (an ability that only truly comes from God) so that we have the power to choose to love – “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11) As we choose to love one another, “God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12) But again, John makes it very clear that anyone who claims to have love apart from Jesus Christ has been deceived – “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15) Only through Christ can we be “perfected” in love. Jesus said that to abide with him we must also obey him, and John points out that this obedience should be based on love rather than fear. Since God has commanded us, above all else, to love, it is probably wise to search the Scriptures to understand what He means by love:

— John 15:13 — Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

— 1 Timothy 1:5 — The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

— 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 — Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

— Ephesians 4:2 — walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.

— Romans 12:9-21 — Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[c] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

10. 1 John 4:10-11 – “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” God has called us to emulate His boundless, unconditional love that is not dependent on the response of the recipient of our love. In fact, it is inevitable that this sort of love will involve bearing the burden and forgiving the offenses of those incapable of returning such love: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Out of obedience, which is a product of love, Jeremiah delivered God’s Word to the king and was subsequently abused to the point of near death. In response, he showed no bitterness or anger but continued to speak truth to them. Love cannot remain silent while people perish. As it says in today’s Proverbs: “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?” (Proverbs 24:11, 12) Finally, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18). Fear stands in the way of love. The anecdote to fear is unconditional forgiveness. Through Christ we have complete forgiveness so we can experience the joy of God’s love without fear of punishment. We now must provide the same type of forgiveness to others so that there is no fear of retribution that would stand in the way of reconciliation.

11. 1 John 4:12 — “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” The love you show others reveals how much you really know and love God and are used by God. Love is the proof of your salvation in Jesus.

12. 1 John 4:13 — “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” Again, love is impossible without the empowering of the Holy Spirit and irresistible while abiding in the Holy Spirit. If you are unloving, you either are not saved and lack the Spirit, or you are quenching the Spirit or are out of step with the Spirit due to sin in your life.

13. 1 John 4:15, 16 — “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So, we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

– The confession mentioned here is not simply a verbal statement, it is a life-altering conviction. It is a total surrender to Jesus and to His love. It is a confession that makes Jesus our life’s ambition. If you want Jesus above all else, He will never deny you.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — The greatest truth in all of Scripture is this: God is love. Understanding this in its full dimensions will set you free to enjoy all that is yours as a Christian. But you must accept that God loves you. If you grew up experiencing unconditional love in your family, this may not be difficult for you. However, if your early years were void of love, this truth may be hard to accept. God loves you, not because you deserve His love, but because His nature is love. The only way He will ever relate to you is in love. His love for you gives you an inherent worth that nothing can diminish. If you cannot accept the truth that God loves you, you will be limited in how you can relate to Him. When He disciplines you, you will not take it as an expression of His love. Rather, you may resent Him. When God says no to a request that is less than His best for you, you will conclude that He doesn’t care about you. Without a clear understanding and acceptance of God’s love for you, you will be disoriented to Him and to what He wants to do in your life. If you will accept God’s love, however, you will be able to return love to God as well as to others (1 John 4:19). Are you experiencing the profound sense of joy and security that comes from knowing you are dearly loved by God? Being assured of God’s love for you sets you free to enjoy the numerous expressions of love He showers upon you each day.

14. 1 John 4:18 — “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” Those who love Jesus obey Him not because they are scared not to, but rather because they love Him and want to honor Him and glorify Him above all else. Love is a much greater motivator than fear. Only through faith and love can you please God. Everything you do that is selfishly motivated is unacceptable to God.

15. 1 John 4:19-21 — “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

– It doesn’t get much clearer than this. How you love others reveals how much you really love God.

– The best measure of your relationship with God is how you love others. This is why Jesus tied together the love of God and the love of others in His response to the question, “What is the greatest commandment.” Religious activities, religious knowledge, and charitable contributions are not measures of your godliness – genuine love is the measure of your godliness. If you don’t feel loving, check your relationship with Jesus Christ. What might be hindering that relationship?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 24 Oct 18: Today, consider how you love those around you, particularly those who are hard to love. What does your attitude towards others reveal about the truth of your relationship with Jesus? What might be standing in the way of your relationship with Jesus and with others? Pray that God will draw you closer to Jesus that you can genuinely love more and more. (1 John 4) Also today, don’t preach moralism, values, ethics, and principles — preach Jesus Christ! Don’t replace the Gospel with good ideas. Be an Ambassador for Christ, not self-help guru. Don’t talk about what you have done or what you think. Talk about what He did/does and what He commands. Go and “make disciples” who “obey” Jesus, not more motivated humanists who want to believe that self-control can be obtained apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. As His ambassador, how many times will you say the name Jesus Christ today? (1 John 4:1-6)

DBRP – WEEK 43, Day 2, Tuesday, 23 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 23 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 36:3 – “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that everyone may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” God wanted Jeremiah to preach the truth about Israel’s sin in order to give them a chance to repent. The truth was to be proclaimed for the sake of love. God sovereignly gives us the freedom to choose. Our choices do not alter His perfect plan, but we still bear the burden of choice.

2. Jeremiah 36:5 – “And Jeremiah ordered Baruch, saying, ‘I am banned from going to the house of the Lord, 6 so you are to go.’” There came a time when God’s word was not allowed to be proclaimed in the ‘church,’ only what suited the government. Religious and political leaders may prevent true followers of Christ from speaking the truth because the leaders reject the truth and are threatened by the truth. Nevertheless, we should look for opportunities to speak the truth anyway.

3. Jeremiah 36:23, 24 – “As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot. Yet neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, nor did they tear their garments.”

– Ignoring God’s word or refusing to accept it doesn’t change God’s word, it only changes the one who rejects it, further hardening the heart and sealing the hearer/reader’s fate.

– Powerful leaders can show complete contempt for God and think nothing of it, demonstrating incredible arrogance and bringing great judgment upon themselves and those who would follow them.

4. Jeremiah 36:26 – “but the Lord hid them.” The officials warned Baruch and Jeremiah to hide, which they did, but the Bible says also that “the Lord hid them.” Success comes from the Lord, not from our actions, but we must first be willing to do our part, and we must be responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

5. Jeremiah 37:3 – “King Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, ‘Please pray for us to the Lord our God.’” Ironically, king Zedekiah defied God’s word yet hoped that God would still show mercy to him and bless him. One cannot expect God to bless sin.

6. Jeremiah 37:15 – “And the officials were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him and imprisoned him in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for it had been made a prison.” Jeremiah’s faithfulness to God and his refusal to keep God’s word to himself earned him a beating from the king. He was a successful prophet. How do you measure success?

7. Jeremiah 37:7-20 – The people had to decide between trusting God or the powerful armies of Egypt. It takes faith to believe the promises of God that cannot be seen in the face of tangible evidence that would seem to contradict God’s word.

8. Proverbs 23:17 – “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.”

– Don’t be influenced by the teachings of the world which seem to bring success to the ungodly. Their apparent success is a hollow deception. Trust and obey God.

– Envy is another form of fear of man, and it is disloyalty to God. We see what other are getting through ungodliness, and we want what they have more than what God has given us. We start to question (subconsciously) whether or not God is going to take care of us or is treating us fairly, and in our perceived relative deprivation, we “God to Egypt”. Abandoning (spiritually) our King.

9. Proverbs 23:20, 21 — “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty.”

– Drunkards and gluttons lack self-control. Christians are empowered by the Holy Spirit to have self-control, to live disciplined, holy lives.

– Some research suggests that the Christian population in America is more obese than the rest of the population. What does the Bible say about that?

10. 1 John 3:3 – “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” Those who really love Jesus pursue purity as an act of love and worship. How you endeavor to purify yourself reveals what sort of faith, hope, and love you really have.

11. 1 John 3:4 – “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” From Henry T. Blackaby – “It is a dangerous thing to live your life without a spiritual “plumb line,” or standard, by which you determine right from wrong. God’s Word is that plumb line. Spiritual laws, like physical laws, are meant to protect you, not restrict you. You may exercise your freedom to challenge the laws of electricity, but to do so can bring you death. Likewise, you will not break God’s laws, they will break you. God established absolute moral and spiritual laws that we are free to ignore, but we do so at our own peril. These laws are timeless. Culture does not supersede them. Circumstances do not abrogate them. God’s laws are eternal, and they will save you from death if you follow them. You may feel that God’s laws restrict and bind you. On the contrary, God’s Word protects you from death (Rom. 6:23). For example, when God said that you are not to commit adultery, He wanted to free you to experience the fullest pleasure of a marriage relationship. Furthermore, He knew the devastating heartache that would come to you, your spouse, your children, your relatives, your friends, and your church family if you broke this law. How important the laws of God are for your life! Without them, you would be robbed of the delights God has in store for you. Sin is choosing a standard other than God’s law on which to base your life. If you are measuring your life by that of your neighbors, or society at large, then you are basing your life on lawlessness, and lawlessness is sin.”

12. 1 John 3:5-10 — “You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” 1 John 3 closely mirrors 1 John 2. It is almost as if he is saying the same thing twice, this time in a different way. First, he drives home to essentiality of obedience, holiness, and righteousness in the life of a Christian, and then he immediately turns to ‘love’ as the ultimate test of obedience – he digs in deep into the heart as if he has anticipated the listener who would start counting off their ‘good deeds’ and ‘works of service’ in their heads while denying the truth of their self-centeredness, anger, bitterness, envy, greed, lust, and pride. He has to say it twice because he knows too well our nature. In both chapters, John challenges the ‘desires’ that drive the outward activities, and dares us to be honest with what is in our hearts. (1 John 2:16; 1 John 3:21) In both chapters, John reminds us that we cannot walk both in selfishness and with Christ – we must die of ourselves and be selfless. From the perspective of love (rather than pride or fear) he returns to the importance of making your faith tangible in this world – “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) Genuine love comes from “a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5) Those who desire a “pure heart” must “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness” — two action verbs that involve running at max effort, not lightly or half-heartedly. (2 Timothy 2:22) Those who desire a good conscience must live in humility, repentance, and confession before the Lord, constantly living out 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” John makes a VERY important point here: “you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (1 John 2:26) In Christ, you have become the ‘priest’ and the Holy Spirit within you reveals truth to you, convicts you, and teaches you. (1 Peter 2:9, Rev 5:10) While others might be used by God to convict you, the issues of your heart are between you and God and must be dealt with solely between the two of you. No one else knows your heart but God. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” (Ephesians 4:30) What has the Holy Spirit revealed about the condition of your heart that must be confessed (as in 1 John 1:9) today?

13. 1 John 3:6 – “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” More thoughts from Henry T. Blackaby – “The Bible makes two things clear about sin. First, living a lifestyle of sin indicates that you are not walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, regardless of what you say about your spiritual condition. You cannot regularly spend time studying and meditating on God’s word, praying and walking in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and persist in sin. Second, if you do not hate sin the way God does, then you do not truly know Him. There are those who continue in their sin yet insist that they love God and belong to Him. John makes it clear: If you have a lifestyle of sin, you have not seen Him and do not know Him. You may have prayed a “sinner’s prayer,” or made a commitment in your church, or been baptized, but the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life is that you are defeating sin. This does not mean that you will never sin, but it does mean that you refuse to make sin a lifestyle and you immediately seek forgiveness when you sin (1 John 1:10). It means that you are opposed to sin, as God is, and you allow the Holy Spirit to eradicate every trace of sin in your life. It means that when you sin, you immediately confess it and repent of it and do whatever is necessary to avoid repeating your sin. If you find yourself falling into sinful habits or not grieving over your sin as you once did, this indicates that you are not abiding in Christ. Return to Him in repentance; restore your fellowship with Him, and you will once again experience victory over your sin.”

14. 1 John 3:7-10 — “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” Children act like their parents. Your actions reveal whose child you really are. Proverbs 20 says it like this: “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.” (Proverbs 20:11) These words cannot be more clear, but people still seem to find creative ways to explain them away. When was the last time you heard a sermon preached on these verses? Again, the expectation of the early church was that Christians would live righteous, holy, and pure lives, rarely sinning.

15. 1 John 3:16 – “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” Christian love is selfless. Jesus said that the first step to “coming after” Him was to deny self. Compare 1 John 3:16 with the well know verse, John 3:16.

16. 1 John 3:17 — “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” Are you ready to give everything up to love God and others unconditionally?

17. 1 John 3:18 – “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” Talk is cheap. Jesus said that His true followers worship the Father “in spirit and in truth.” What you do reveals what you really believe and who you really love.

18. 1 John 3:22 – “Whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” When you want what God wants, you will get what you want. The secret to answered prayers is the pray in the will of the Father. Prayer doesn’t change God, it changes us. Keep praying and watch God shape your desires more and more to His desires.

19. 1 John 3:23, 24 — “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”

– God’s command of love does not negate all of His other commands but rather covers them as they are a perfect reflection of His love and His will. This is why John begins this chapter by reminding us that “sin is lawlessness.” Love does not condone lawlessness which only dishonors and destroys.

– Again, the Bible is not complicated or hard to understand – to abide in God is to obey His commands. Today John is only repeating what he learned from Jesus: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:4-11)

– “…whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother (1 John 3:4-10).” John points out that sin is the product of selfishness (self-worship, idolatry) which is the opposite of love, stands in the way of love, and is actually hateful and murderous. Contrarily, love is selfless and obedient unto death as exemplified by Jesus’ sacrificial love for us. John tells us, as children, don’t wallow in guilt over the sins you know you have committed because you have been forgiven, just stop being deceived, stop making excuses, and grow up to be like Jesus – “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 23 Oct 18: Practice purity and selflessness today. (1 John 3:3-16)

DBRP – WEEK 43, Day 1, Monday, 22 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 22 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 34:15-17 – “You recently repented and did what was right in my eyes by proclaiming liberty… and you made a covenant before me in the house that is called by my name, but then you turned around and profaned my name…. Therefore, thus says the Lord: You have not obeyed me… behold, I proclaim to you… the sword… pestilence, and… famine, declares the Lord. I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.” Don’t mock God by repenting and returning to your sin in complacency. God will not be mocked by His people. Grace does not free you from the Lord’s discipline.

2. Jeremiah 35:18, 19 – “Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.”

– God honors obedience. The Recabites could trace their obedience back 250 years (2 Kings 10:15), never giving in to temptations to do what everyone else was doing. God lifted the Recabites up as an example to all had promised them a permanent relationship with Him. What has your family done faithfully from generation to generation to honor God? Today is a good day to commit or recommit to create generations of fidelity.

– To Jonadab’s family God said, “You shall always stand before me.” In contrast, concerning the disobedient God said, “Behold, I am bringing… all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, because I have spoken to them and they have not listened, I have called to them and they have not answered.” The Church today takes sin very lightly, as if grace means that God no longer cares that much about our sins. However, today is another day where our readings should correct us. In the first sentence of 1 John 2, John (the Apostle of Love) writes, “I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But IF anyone does sin…. He then goes on: “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” This is not at all hard to understand, but somehow we manage to create theology which suggests that there is not a real expectation for us to “walk in the same way [Jesus] walked.” Yes, John reminds us that IF we sin, “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” However, we forget Hebrews 10:29: “How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of Grace?” While we know that, in mercy and grace, we don’t get the punishment we deserve but rather the forgiveness we don’t deserve, the fear of trampling Jesus under foot should be a far, far greater motivation than fear of punishment to spur us on to holiness. Love causes us to see our sin from God’s perspective and to respond accordingly. Lord, please help me see my sin the way you do and to have Jonadabian fidelity to you – Semper Fidelis Coram Deo.

— 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 – It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lusts like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God who gives you the Holy Spirit.

3. Proverbs 22:4 – “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” God will honor humility.

4. Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” God will train you up in the way you should go, and you won’t always like it.

5. Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” During your formative years, did your parents train you in godliness (discipleship)? If not, your battle against ingrained habits of sinfulness is more difficult, but fortunately, the Holy Spirit empowers you to have the fruit of self-control. Don’t convince yourself that you can’t help what you do. On another note, what habits are you instilling in your children which will form the way they think and act? Is God’s word the beginning and end of your conversations?

6. Proverbs 22:11 – “He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.” Your mouth reflects what is in your heart and affects all of your relationships.

7. Proverbs 22:19 – “That your trust may be in the Lord….” This is humility and faith. You will not trust who you do not know and love. Proverbs says that the Bible was given to you that you would grow to know Jesus, to love Him, and to trust Him. Pour into your Bible daily and grow in humility, faith, hope, and love. Remember, the goal of the Bible is not to make you more moral and successful, it is to bring you into oneness with Jesus and conformity to His image, that you would truly “know” Him and make Him known.

8. 1 John 2:1 — “I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin….” It is striking how much the expectation has changed within the church. John’s expectation was that sin would be a very rare thing – “if anyone does sin.” It seems the church today expects sin within the body to be a normal thing, and the worldly church is quick to proclaim “grace” as an excuse for sin, rather than freedom from the bondage of sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. The early church certainly didn’t cheapen grace like that. We are saved by grace alone, resting upon God’s merit rather than our own unworthy merit. However, the expected response to grace is obedience motivated by love. Obedience isn’t the path to salvation, it is the evidence of salvation.

9. 1 John 2:1-6 — “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin…. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

– Obedience is the true mark of salvation and love for Christ. John’s expectation for Christians was that they would not sin habitually but would walk as Jesus walked. Christians do not achieve holy perfection in this life, but Christians display holy direction in life. How far the church has drifted from what Jesus expects of his followers….

– These are very powerful verses worth memorizing and meditating on every day. The truth of your relationship with God is revealed in your obedience. Again, the truth of your love for God and others is also revealed by your obedience. All disobedience is selfish and unloving, no matter how you justify it. Don’t deceive yourself by going to church while continuing in sin and believe that you are good with God.

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” (1John 2:3)

– The ‘casual Christian (if there can be such a person) says, “Well, everyone sins.” True, and yes, we live in a state of grace. Yet the Bible commands that, in our love for Christ, we must resist sin with all of our might as our genuine act of worship (Hebrews 12, James 4:7, Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 10:13; John 4:23). Today is a new day. Get your armor on, and step out.

10. 1 John 2:4 – “Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. There is no such thing as a “carnal Christian.” Those who continue in sin unrepentantly don’t know Him though they may believe in Him like the demons do – “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19)

11. 1 John 2:18 – “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.” Many speculate about the end times antichrist, but there have been and will be many antichrists, powerful people who are against God. Anyone who preaches a truth that is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ is an antichrist, no matter how kind that may seem.

12. 1 John 2:19 – “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” Those who reject their faith never really had faith to begin with.

13. 1 John 2:22, 23 – “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” Again, those who deny that Jesus is the one and only Son of God and the one and only way to God are antichrists.

14. 1 John 2:27 – “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” If the Holy Spirit is within you, then the Holy Spirit is your Teacher. Study God’s word daily, walk with Jesus in obedience, remain in prayer, and listen to the Holy Spirit.

15. 1 John 2:29 – “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.” Children act like their parents. God’s children act godly. What you do reveals what you really believe in and who you really love the most. Those who really love Jesus want to please Him in love and obey Him as a desire of the heart rather than just an act of obedience.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 Oct 18: The theme from Jeremiah 35 and 1 John 2 today is obedience. Reread 1 John 2:3-6 and consider your actions today from the context of those verses, meditating upon what your behavior says about your love for God. From the context of these verses, consider what you allow yourself to think about, what you choose to view or listen to, what you gaze up, what you say, what you do, and what you feel. What do your actions in context with these verses reveal to you?

DBRP – WEEK 42, Day 7, Sunday, 21 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 21 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 32:2 – “At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah.” The scene-setter for what is about to happen next is Jeremiah being imprisoned at the palace while his prophesies are being fulfilled through Babylon besieging the city. Try to imagine being in his position.

2. Jeremiah 32:8 – “Then Hanamel my cousin came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.” Jeremiah is in prison, the city is about to be captured by Nebuchadnezzar, and now Jeremiah’s cousin comes and asks him to buy his field. It took a lot of nerve for Jeremiah’s cousin to ask him to buy a field that was about to be captured. It took far more faith for Jeremiah to buy the field. How shocked Hanamel must have been when Jeremiah bought it, and while in captivity! What Jeremiah was displaying was complete trust, faith, and hope in God. Jeremiah was willing to invest in the future God had promised. Are you ready to put this kind of faith into your investment in the Gospel and the Kingdom of God?

3. Jeremiah 32:25 “Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, ‘Buy the field for money and get witnesses—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.’” God directed Jeremiah to invest in God’s future promise when that investment defied all human reasoning and understanding. This is called faith. Jeremiah did it before he understood it, and then he went to the LORD in prayer to seek understanding. God answered Jeremiah’s prayers. Faith obeys first and asks question later. Most people ask a lot of questions first to put off or avoid obedience. Remember Satan in the Garden – “Did God really say….?”

4. Jeremiah 32:27 — “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Do you want to be used by God in your day as powerfully as Jeremiah was in his day? Then, you must walk in absolute faith and obedience as he did. Today, Jeremiah does not hesitate to tell the king that he will soon lose his throne and become a prisoner of war; nor does he hesitate to obey Leviticus:25 and buy his cousin’s field, even though he knew the Chaldeans would take over. Jeremiah obeyed God’s word, period, despite the fact that it seemed to counter human wisdom and good sense. Jeremiah walked by faith, not by sight; he did no lean on his own understanding but rather trusted in God with all his heart. He put his money where his mouth was. He knew that nothing was too hard for God. “And without faith it is impossible to please him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Do you have the faith to please God as Jeremiah did? Are you ‘all in’ for the Lord?

5. Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” God still does this. Are you hearing from God?

6. Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

– The Spirit reveals what is impossible for the mind to know. God who knows all will reveal to you so much more than you could ever learn or discover on your own. How important is it to receive God’s revelation in life?

– Too often we settle for much less than what God wants to do through us. We read in Jeremiah 32:27: “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?” and we answer, “No Lord.” Yet, when we face difficult situations we begin to qualify our belief in God and lower our expectations of what God will do. It is one thing to believe God could perform a miracle in the Bible, or a thousand years ago, or even in the life of a friend; it is quite another matter to wholeheartedly believe God can do anything He chooses to do in our lives! When almighty God speaks to us, what we do next proves what we believe about Him, regardless of what we say. God revealed to Moses His plan to orchestrate the greatest exodus in human history, and He wanted to use Moses to accomplish it. Moses responded by arguing with God! Moses was overwhelmed by what he heard and began to make excuses for why he could not participate in God’s activity. Moses would have readily acknowledged his belief in God’s power, he simply did not believe God could do His miraculous work through his life. Moses’ argument with God limited his ministry for the rest of his life (Exod. 4:13-16). Do you sense there may be far more that God wants to do through your life than what you have been experiencing? Ask God to show you what it is, then be prepared to respond in faith and obedience to what He tells you.

7. Jeremiah 33:7, 8 – “I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.” God can fix what sin has broken. Turn your past over to God and serve Him today with all of your heart, and let Him give you a new future.

8. Jeremiah 33:5, 8, 9 – “I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil…. I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me…. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.” In love, God can’t tolerate evil. He will glorify Himself in either a negative way or positive way, revealing His sovereignty, holiness, justice, mercy, and grace. He will punish and cleanse so that He can bless. Does the reality of God’s sovereignty, holiness, justice, mercy, and grace cause you to tremble and drive you towards personal holiness, purity, and obedience?

9. Jeremiah 33:14-16 – “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’”

– “The Righteous Branch” refers to Jesus. Interesting to compare with Matthew 2:23:23 — “He went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’” The root of the word ‘Nazareth’ (in Greek the word is ‘Nazara’) relates to the Hebrew word for branch: “nazar.” The use of ‘nazar’ to mean BRANCH is found in at least a few important messianic passages such as Isaiah 11:1: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch [nazar] shall grow out of his roots.” There are many passages earlier and later than Isaiah 11:1 which define the condition ‘nazarim’- the holy, set apart life, set apart and sanctified to God.

10. Proverbs 21:3 — “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Another major theme throughout the Bible is that proclaiming Jesus is no substitute for obeying Jesus. Obeying is far better than saying, “I’m sorry.” You should worship in church as the Bible commands, but you will worship today in your behavior. True worship is being obedient to God, doing what is right. Will you deny yourself today, take up your cross, and follow Jesus?

11. Proverbs 21:9 — “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” This verse isn’t just about marriage or directed at women. It is about relationships in general, particularly close relationships. Do you lift people or bring them down? Are you positive or negative? Are you thankful or always complaining? Do you bring peace or discourse? When you walk in a room, do people light up or turn away? Maybe your answer is different for different relationships. Maybe you are positive at work or negative at home or vice versa. Seek to always be a harbinger of peace and joy. Seek to change your outward behavior towards others immediately, but simultaneously, get to the root of your behavior. If you lack grace, peace, joy, gentleness, etc, it can only be that you are not close enough to Jesus; you are not amazed enough by grace. Don’t just heal the wound superficially. Draw nearer to Christ that you would be so filled by His love that it would naturally overflow out of your life onto others.

12. Proverbs 21:10 – “The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.” If what you desire most is not God but something else, you will eventually treat people unfairly and justify your actions to defend what you really care about the most.

13. Proverbs 21:11 — “When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise; when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.” There are many possible responses to the truth. One is acceptance, one is doubt, but the scoffer wholly rejects truth, refusing to listen at all. There is no hope for a scoffer.

14. Proverbs 21:30, 31 – “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” Don’t learn this the hard way. Better to understand this upfront and follow the teachings of God rather than the counsel of people. The world is full of many very talented and intelligent false teachers. If you aren’t grounded in God’s word, being counselled daily by the Holy Spirit, you will be deceived by another teacher and go the wrong way. Judge everything you hear and see from the standard of God’s word.

15. Proverbs 21:31 — “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” What are you placing your confidence in today? If you lost all physical possessions on this earth, would your trust be shaken? If so, your trust is not really in God as it should be. God tested Abraham’s trust by asking him to sacrifice the one thing he cared most about in life. Is there something that motivates you more than Jesus?

16. Psalm 123 – Look to the LORD if you need mercy. You won’t find complete mercy anywhere else.

17. Psalm 123:2 – “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.” Keep your eyes on Jesus today; follow Him closely.

18. Psalm 124:1-5 – “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side… when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters.” Life is too big for any of us. God tells us to take responsibility for our lives, to plan, to save for the future, to work hard, etc, but we are deceived if we think that our security and our future rests in our abilities. God remains in complete control. Trust in Him, and rest in His security.

19. Psalm 124:8 – “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Your fate is solely in God’s hands. Turn to Him. Part of turning to Him is obeying what He has told you to do for His glory and for your benefit. Too often we expect God to remove from our lives the consequences resulting from our disobedience. Sometimes, our merciful God does remove the consequences of our sin, but often, in perfect love, He leaves the consequences in our lives as his chisel to shape us more and more into the image of Christ.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 Oct 18: Practice Psalm 123:2 today. Keep your eyes affixed on Jesus today, and truly walk with Him today, not just conceptually but tangibly. Jesus said, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kinds of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” Today, be led by the Spirit rather than your own perceptions, intellect, and emotions, and translate Spiritual truths into tangible reality through your words and deeds. Transmit the will of God into the world through your words and deeds. Be a light today, and ambassador of Jesus. Worship Jesus today through your love for others.

DBRP – WEEK 42, Day 6, Saturday, 20 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 20 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 29:1-7 – “These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
– Faith, hope, and love involves investing in God’s word and promise, even if no one else is, even when everything seems hopeless to everyone else. It involves putting your everything into a plan, God’s plan, even when others think it will fail. It involves being willing to have children in a sinful world because God said “be fruitful and multiply.” It involves preaching the Gospel when it seems no one wants to hear it. It involves continuing to obey God when obedience seems to be working against you.

– Interestingly, when I looked up the word “kingdom” in the Bible this morning, I found two definitions: 1) “A political or territorial unit ruled by a sovereign”; 2) “The eternal spiritual sovereignty of God or Christ.” God’s people are defined by the second definition, and God warned His people not to put their trust and hope in earthly kings or earthly kingdoms. In fact, in 1 Samuel 8, when God’s people asked for an earthly king, God declared they had rejected God as KING, and that their choice would only lead to ruin. Now in Jeremiah, because of their own sin, God’s people were in exile being ruled by the ungodly – they had lost their political/territorial kingdom because they had rebelled against the Sovereign KING in their hearts. They had gone from being a powerful nation on earth to becoming slaves. Some “prophets,” completely out of touch with what the KING was doing, remained in denial, preaching that God would miraculously destroy their conquerors within a couple of years – a popular message with the people (Jeremiah 28). However, God wanted his people to understand that the KING remains the KING and rules over His people wherever He desires; their problem was not political it was spiritual – in their rebellious hearts, they had denied the Sovereignty of God in their lives. God took away their earthly kingdom that they would “seek first the kingdom of God (the second definition of kingdom) and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) — “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).” God told His people to pursue prosperity in society while being very careful to remain holy and obedient to the KING and His unchanging word. As some say today, “Be in the world, but not of the world.” Engage the world, but do not compromise your holiness in the process. God was also very clear to His people not to let “prophets” lead them astray from the word of God. Most importantly, God told His people to live boldly in faith and hope — “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Our KING is the KING of Kings who reigns Supreme. God’s people are a “kingdom of priests” living among the earthly kingdoms as “Ambassadors for Christ.” We must influence without being influenced, remaining holy and true to the word of God. Stay in the word. These passages apply to us today as we live as a Kingdom dispersed among the kingdoms of the world.

— Jeremiah 31: 33, 34 — I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

— John 18:36 — Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

– “Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.” It takes faith, hope, and love to raise children, particularly when times are hard. God told the exiles not to stop having children though they were in captivity. When everyone else is worried about loss, God wants His people to think about growth — “Be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth.”

2. Jeremiah 29:8, 9 — “Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.” If God has not sent the messenger, the messenger is a deceiver. Fidelity to God and daily study of His word will enable you to detect the false prophet or false teaching and protect you against those who claim to speak on behalf of God and who have popular acclaim but who are only liars and destroyers.

3. Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Your faith in this statement changes how much you are willing to invest in God’s word and commands. Faith, hope, and love generate action, enthusiasm, and passion. God has a great plan for your life if you will turn your heart to Him and obey Him.

4. Jeremiah 29:13 — “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” There can never be a casual relationship with the Almighty. If you want to know God, you must be wholehearted, serious, fully committed. A half-hearted search for God comes up wanting. Jesus said He will spit the lukewarm out of His mouth.

5. Jeremiah 29:15-23 — “Because you have said, ‘The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,’ thus says the Lord concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile: ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. I will pursue them with sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the Lord, that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the Lord.’ Hear the word of the Lord, all you exiles whom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying a lie to you in my name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall strike them down before your eyes. Because of them this curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: The Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire, because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and they have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. I am the one who knows, and I am witness, declares the Lord.’”

– If God didn’t build it or bless it, it is doomed. Though God, through the prophets, told the Israelites to accept their exile into a foreign land, many refused to listen and tried to sustain the nation under their own power, contrary to God’s plan. They went through the motions of both government and church, but all of it was meaningless. We don’t tell God what we are going to do for Him, He tells us.

– “…because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the Lord, that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the Lord.” When God judges the nation, the nation will not have the excuse of ignorance of God’s word.

– “They have done an outrageous thing in Israel, they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and they have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. I am the one who knows, and I am witness, declares the Lord.’” God knows the sins of those who have not made restitution or have not sought reconciliation, and He will hold them accountable, even those who proclaim Jesus while hiding the offenses they have committed against others.

6. Jeremiah 30:24 – “In the latter days you will understand this.” Faith (trusting God at the moment), hope (trusting God with the future), and love (relying on God’s love enough to love others unconditionally) may require you to commit your whole life to parts of God’s word you don’t understand or are completely unaccepted by others. Everyone will understand at the time of judgment.

7. Jeremiah 31 – Faith, hope, and love rely on God’s grace through self-induced hard times (v2), trusting in God’s everlasting love rather than personal merit or strength (v3). Faith, hope, and love start with humility and repentance (v9), acceptance of God’s discipline with a response of obedience (v18, 19), and a return to the path of righteousness without wavering (v 21, 22).

8. Jeremiah 31:19 — “For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'” The Holy Spirit uses the word of God to convict you of your sin and to bring to repentance. The truly repentant turn 180-out from their old ways and walk in both grace and holiness.

9. Jeremiah 31:31-34 – “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Christianity is not about following a bunch of written laws or moral code through personal goodness and self-discipline. It is about having a true heart for God, obeying God out of genuine love, empowered by the Holy Spirit to do what the flesh could never do. It is about truly knowing God rather than simply knowing ‘about’ Him. It is about following Him wholeheartedly because love for the Perfect Father demands nothing less. It is a spiritual covenant rather than simply a written one. However, it doesn’t contradict God’s written word because God’s written word reflects His perfect character and will.

10. Jeremiah 31:33-34 — “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Our readings in Jeremiah today tell a remarkable story of sin, punishment, conviction, repentance, mercy, grace, revival, reconciliation, love, and joy – a story of salvation that reflects how God works in the lives of individuals too. Every generation has their teachers and ‘prophets’ who attempt to downplay sin and offer shortcuts to salvation that don’t involve punishment, genuine repentance, the need for forgiveness that only God can provide, and total surrender to God. Claiming to speak on behalf of God, Shemaiah preached a blasphemous yet popular message of ‘short-cut salvation’ that minimized the wrath of God. Not Jeremiah. Jeremiah proclaims God’s wrath and punishment, “Because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the Lord, that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets…. they have committed adultery… they have spoken in my name lying words.” Jeremiah describes the “incurable hurt… because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant.” However, Jeremiah also describes healing and reconciliation that can only come from God — “For thus says the Lord: I will visit you…. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore…. With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back.” God always takes the initiative, visits, and invites; those who seek Him and genuinely call upon Him with weeping and wholeheartedness will be received by Him, and He will “lead them back.” Jeremiah prophesied of a day when God’s people would truly ‘know the Lord’ and would have the “law within them, and… on their hearts.” This ‘New Covenant’ is provided through Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ alone. Without Jesus Christ, there is no forgiveness of sins and no Holy Spirit power to overcome the power of sin. This fundamental truth is regularly denied today, even by people who would call themselves ‘Christian.’ And our seeker-sensitive churches that make every effort to avoid labelling anything sin, have countered Jesus’ message of “Repent!” Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) To know him is to love him; to love him is to obey him — “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

11. Jeremiah 31:33, 34 — “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord.” Those who know God have a heart to obey Him. They obey Him because they love Him.

12. Proverbs 20:1 – “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” How does the Bible describe alcohol?

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

– God seeks a rare commodity: a faithful individual.

– There is an important lesson for us in Jeremiah 32: Obey the Lord, and ask questions later. Jeremiah is in prison while the army of the king of Babylon is besieging Jerusalem. With shocking audacity, Jeremiah’s uncle comes to him in prison and asks him to buy his field, presumably in a rush to get silver before the economy collapses, all real property is captured, and the people are exiled. According to Biblical scholars, at the time Hanamel’s offer, the town of Anathoth was already destroyed by the Babylonians, and the property rights were essentially worthless. Yet, God told Jeremiah to buy the property anyway. So, Jeremiah did exactly what the Lord said to do even though it appeared to make absolutely no sense. Only AFTER Jeremiah obeyed the Lord did he ask the Lord for answers – “Yet you, O Lord God, have said to me, ‘Buy the field for money and get witnesses’—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.’” (Jeremiah 32:25) Jeremiah’s obedience was the product of his faith in God. The situation seemed hopeless, but Jeremiah rested in the promises of God and, literally, “put his money where his mouth was by redeeming his cousin’s field.” As stated in today’s Proverbs, many claim to have steadfast love, but few will be faithful regardless the cost. Jeremiah taught us a lesson in fidelity. Jeremiah trusted God’s word that, “Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land” (Jeremiah 32:15), but he also trusted in a greater promise — “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” (Jeremiah 33:14-16). Through Jesus we have eternal life and are filled with the Holy Spirit. He has made Christians a “Kingdom of Priests” to serve as “Ambassadors for Christ” until Christ returns in full majesty. I pray that we have the faith to live with integrity as we look forward to that Great Day.

— Hebrews 11:1 — Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

— Hebrews 11:6 — And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

— Hebrews 10:19-31 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

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

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

14. Proverbs 20:12 – “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.” Do you have to believe it to see it? Your eyes and ears can be deceiving and can how our heart interprets the inputs it does receive. Which is wiser, to trust your ears and eyes or the One who created them?

15. Proverbs 20:29 – “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” Building physical strength is a daily effort that is hard but has value. However, that daily investment eventually dwindles with age. However, character and wisdom development are also a daily effort of great value, but the investment isn’t lost with age. Unfortunately, many spend their early years neglecting their spiritual strength only to end up weak in their older years when they need that strength the most.

16. Psalm 122:1 — “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!” How excited are you to go to church tomorrow? Do you have a heart to worship God in fellowship with God’s people? The Bible says that how much you really love God is revealed by how much you really love others, how much unity you have with fellow believers. Do you have a passion for your church? If not, your relationship problem starts with your relationship with God. Pray about your heart for God and others — the two are inseparable: “He who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)

17. Psalm 122:8, 9 – “For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, ‘Peace be within you!’ For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.” The way of a child of God is to seek peace for others and not to just give them comforting words of peace but also to personally work to bring them peace, meeting their needs in a tangible way, while seeking to draw them closer to the Prince of Peace, Jesus. Don’t just say, “Have a nice day”, but do something real to make it nice.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 20 Oct 18: Consider the strength of your faith (how much you trust God at the moment of decision), hope (how much you trust God with the future), and love (how willing you are to selflessly and unconditionally love others, particularly those who hurt you, because God loves you perfectly and gave His Son for you). Your faith, hope, and love reveal the quality of your relationship with God. If you find yourself lacking, don’t try harder but rather draw closer to Jesus. Read John 17 and seek the “oneness” with God for which Jesus prayed for you.

DBRP – WEEK 42, Day 5, Friday, 19 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 19 Oct 18:

1. Jeremiah 27:9, 10 — “So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your fortune-tellers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon.’ For it is a lie that they are prophesying to you….” God was using world politics to punish Israel which, as a nation, had turned from Him. However, none of the nation’s advisors or religious leaders understood what God was doing except Jeremiah who had remained faithful to God amidst a wholly corrupt society. Only Jeremiah understood what was really going on, and Jeremiah was willing to proclaim the truth regardless the personal cost. Can you see the signs of the times from the perspective of God’s word, and are you willing to speak the truth to a society that doesn’t want to hear it?

2. Jeremiah 28:11 — “And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within two years.’ But Jeremiah the prophet went his way.” Self-confidence, the power of positive thinking, and empty faith are no substitute for God’s word and His truth. Many people today preach a faith that has nothing to do with faith in God but rather faith in the power of belief alone, an empty faith that says with enough confidence and determination a person can overcome or achieve anything. It is a faith in the power of human will, and it is a deception. A more ‘spiritual’ version of empty faith is “name it and claim it” — just say want you want, and trust that God will provide it. However, faith is only as good as the object of that faith, and you can’t claim what God hasn’t named. It is God’s will that shall be done, not yours, no matter how committed you are to your ideas or how confident you are in your abilities. Faith in God partners goes hand-in-hand with the fear of God. God is God and you are not. If God is not the author of your plan, it is doomed. Find out what God is doing, and be a part of that plan.

3. Jeremiah 28:15-17 — “Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. Therefore, thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the Lord.’ In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died.” Those who proclaim their own version of the truth make themselves enemies of God, and there is no more horrific place to stand than against the Almighty. Those who, through their own spiritual immaturity and ignorance follow false teachers, follow them down the path of death. Jesus said that wide is the path taken by the majority who will follow false teachers, but narrow is that path of those who will follow Him. Who are you listening to for direction every day, and who are you really following?

4. Proverbs 19:3 — “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.” Don’t blame God when you face the consequences of your own foolish actions.

5. Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Again, it’s God’s plans that matter, not yours. Seek God’s plan rather than trying to create your own.

6. Proverbs 19:22 — “What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar.” Character is invaluable and very rare. Love and faithfulness go hand-in-hand. What God seeks is the person who will be faithfully obedient in love.

7. Proverbs 19:27 — “Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” Don’t stop reading the Bible every day. You need to be coached daily in the word of God by the Holy Spirit.

8. 1 John 1:1 — “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life.” Jesus is the physical manifestation, the human form of God’s word. When you read, study, meditate upon, memorize, and obey God’s written word, you will naturally draw closer to Jesus.

9. 1 John 1:3, 4 — “…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”

– When you proclaim God’s word, you help others grow closer in fellowship to the Father and the Son, which was Jesus’ final prayer in John 17. In John 15, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Jesus wants you to have the fullness of Joy by being united in Him, and God gives us His word that we might learn how to be united with Jesus. How important is daily Bible study and practice for your life?

– From Henry T. Blackaby — John the apostle never ceased to marvel at the life-changing relationship he enjoyed with his Lord. It overwhelmed him to know that, at a particular time in history, the God of the universe chose to have fellowship with him, a simple fisherman. John was so overjoyed that he earnestly wanted to share his joy with others so they, too, might experience the same joy. A special fellowship or “bonding” developed between those who had personally encountered Christ as they rejoiced together at God’s goodness to them. Those around you desperately need to be encouraged by your latest encounter with Christ. Some have lost hope that they can experience the reality of God’s presence in their lives. They don’t need your philosophies or theological speculations. They don’t need to hear your opinions on what they should do. They need to hear from someone who has just come from a personal, life-changing encounter with the living Christ. When you have had such an experience you will be like the apostle John, hardly able to contain yourself as you rush out to tell others of your amazing encounter with God. Your responsibility will not be to convince others of the reality of God, but simply to bear witness to what your Lord has said and done for you. The change in your life will be your greatest testimony of your relationship to Christ. There is nothing more appealing or convincing to a watching world than to hear the testimony of someone who has just been with Jesus.

– Our joy is made complete when we follow Jesus in truth, together. Jesus said this: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9-11)

10. 1 John 1: 5-10 — “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

– We must walk in the light, not in darkness, and “practice the truth” (not just acknowledge the truth) to have true fellowship with Jesus and with one another. To walk with Jesus, we MUST deny self, that ultimate idol. We won’t get it right, we will wander off, and we will continue to sin along the way, but through the process of (genuine) confession and repentance we will grow to me more and more like Christ, we will be strengthened in our fellowship, our light will shine brighter, and our joy will become more complete.

— Genesis 6:9 — Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.

— Mark 8:34 — And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

— 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.

— Proverbs 4:18 — But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

— John 15:10, 11 — If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
– You can’t have close fellowship with Jesus and subsequent fullness of joy if you continue in sin. One of the indicators of true fellowship with Jesus is purity and holiness. Another mark of fellowship with Jesus is fellowship with other true believers. Also, the one in fellowship with Jesus walks very humbly and with a repentant heart.

– Two marks of a Christian: 1) They walk not with the sinful world but with Jesus, practicing the truth (not just reading it or talking about it); 2) They walk with each other, in fellowship with one another, preferring on another, supporting one another, loving one another that they world may bear witness to that love (along with the collective obedience to Christ as one united body) and know that the church is Christ’s. Are your best friends from your church, those with whom you fellowship with, those with whom you leisure with, those with whom you confide in, and those on whom you count? If not, why not? What does that say about the condition of your fellowship and that of your church? We are called to serve specific purposes within a body of believers, not alone. Are you an amputated limb? Are you a lame limb, only useful part of the time and at times undependable? Or are you united with your local church body (both the collective body and the individual members)? God gave us the ‘one anothers’ to practice first within our home, then within the church, then within our communities. Are you practicing the ‘one anothers’? Below are 52 ‘one another’ verses. A good idea would be to put one on your mirror each weak to consider, memorize, and put into practice.

— Mark 9:50 — Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.

— John 13:14 — If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

— John 13:34 — A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

— John 13:35 — By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

— Romans 12:10 — Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

— Romans 12:16 — Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

— Romans 14:13 — Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

— Romans 15:5 — May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,

— Romans 15:7 — Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

— Romans 15:14 — I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

— Romans 16:16 — Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

— 1 Corinthians 6:7 — To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

— 1 Corinthians 11:33 — So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—

— 1 Corinthians 12:25 — that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

— 2 Corinthians 13:11 — Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

— Galatians 5:13 — For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

— Galatians 5:15 — But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

— Galatians 5:26 — Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

— Galatians 6:2 — Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

— Ephesians 4:2 — with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

— Ephesians 4:25 — Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

— Ephesians 4:32 — Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

— Ephesians 5:19 — addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,

— Ephesians 5:21 — submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

— Colossians 3:9 — Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

— Colossians 3:13 — bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

— Colossians 3:16 — Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

— 1 Thessalonians 3:12 — and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,

— 1 Thessalonians 4:9 — Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,

— 1 Thessalonians 4:18 — Therefore encourage one another with these words.

— 1 Thessalonians 5:11 — Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

— 1 Thessalonians 5:15 — See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

— 2 Thessalonians 1:3 — We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.

— Hebrews 3:13 — But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

— Hebrews 10:24 — And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

— Hebrews 10:25 — not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

— James 4:11 — Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

— James 5:9 — Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

— James 5:16 — Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

— 1 Peter 1:22 — Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

— 1 Peter 4:8 — Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

— 1 Peter 4:9 — Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

— 1 Peter 4:10 — As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

— 1 Peter 5:5 — Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

— 1 Peter 5:14 — Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

– “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Confession is a daily, continual habit. You have been forgiven of your sins and still need to come to terms with the sin that remains within your character. When you sin today, and you will, immediately ask for forgiveness of that sin, regardless of the fact that you live in grace. This is fellowship and part of your growth process. When you do ask for forgiveness for your sin, having asked from your heart, fully accept that forgiveness and walk with Jesus in peace and confidence, remembering the words Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 19 Oct 18: Memorize 1 John 1:9, practice it today, and make it your daily habit.

DBRP – WEEK 42, Day 4, Thursday, 18 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 18 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 25:3 — “The word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened.”

– For about 40 years, Jeremiah, ‘The Weeping Prophet’ faithfully and persistently prophesied against his nation, contrary to the other prophets of his time, and at the expense of his own comfort and security. In today’s readings, Jeremiah was on year 23. He countered his government, the church, and the culture. Who are we not listening to today? Who is the Jeremiah of our generation? How long would you faithfully proclaim God’s word in a hostile environment without any apparent results? Do you need results or confirmation to be faithful? Jeremiah did His job as an Ambassador. How others responded to Him was not Jeremiah’s responsibility. Have you persistently proclaimed God’s word?

– Today, God’s word is more available than any other time in human history, but less and less do people seem to care about it. Even within the Christian church, research polls reveal that a very small percentage of Christians have actually read the whole Bible; far fewer study it and apply it intentionally. You cannot know what you have not heard, and you certainly can’t obey what you haven’t heard. However, ultimately the issue is a heart issue rather than a knowledge issue. If there is no desire to know God’s word, a desire which comes from the heart, there is no hope for wisdom.

2. Jeremiah 25:34 — “Wail, you shepherds, and cry out, and roll in ashes, you lords of the flock, for the days of your slaughter and dispersion have come, and you shall fall like a choice vessel.” There are two types of sorrow: the sorrow of repentance, being truly sorry for having done wrong with a heart to never do wrong again; and the sorrow of punishment, being sorry for receiving the pain of discipline and judgment. The people who do not experience the sorrow of repentance will only cry out and mourn when judgment falls upon them. Today is the day for repentance and surrender to God, but this is not the message of most ‘shepherds’ within our communities. Sometimes, the positive message is not the right message, but no one wants to hear the hard message.

3. Jeremiah 26:2, 3 — “Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word. It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds.”

– Jeremiah was sent to ‘worshippers’ who were about to face the judgment of God because they did not really honor Him as God in their deeds. God had to encourage Jeremiah not to “hold back a word” because this was a message no one wanted to hear, a message that would not be received well; but God intended to give them a chance to repent anyway. Perhaps, Jeremiah was the only one in his day proclaiming this message — the pastors, priests, and gurus of the day certainly weren’t. Even if you go to a Bible-based church, it is possible to preach a message from the Bible that is out of place for the current situation, preaching a message of peace and joy when it should really be a message of woe and repentance.

– “It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds.” People have a choice and a chance to obey or not obey.

4. Jeremiah 26:14 — “But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you.” Again, Jeremiah was willing to proclaim God’s word regardless the consequences, and he never stopped preaching.

5. Jeremiah 26:11 — “Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, ‘This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.’” Much like Jesus was persecuted by the Pharisees, Jeremiah was persecuted by the religious leaders of his day. Jeremiah was essentially accused of being unpatriotic or politically incorrect because he preached the word of God. Today, God’s word is becoming more and more politically incorrect, placing the Christian in a moral dilemma. Many respond to this division of ideas by remaining silent in order to preserve the ‘peace’, abrogating their life mission of being Christ’s ambassador. What will you do?

6. Jeremiah 26:16 — “Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, ‘This man does not deserve the sentence of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.’” A nation needs leaders, not just theologians, who are willing to listen to God and to call for a national fear of the Lord.

7. Proverbs 18:1 – “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Christians are not loners. Isolation and individualism is selfishness and unloving. Our mission is all about relationships. God brings people together in unity.

8. Proverbs 18:9 – “Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” We are to do our work for God, not for men or money. How you work reveals who/what you are working for as well as what you think about God and the honor due him. What does your work reveal?

9. Proverbs 18:13 – “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”

– Christians don’t interrupt.

– This is one of the most basic rules of listening, communication, and relationship building. If you are thinking about what you are going to say while the other person is talking, you are also breaking this rule.

10. 2 Peter 3:3, 4 — “Scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming?'” Do you know any scoffers today?

11. 2 Peter 3:9, 10 — “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.” God’s patience will not last forever, and there will be no warning when it comes. God’s timing is perfect. Only the Father knows the time of the End as he patiently provides mercy and salvation to sinners who would perish eternally without. Meanwhile, God has commanded us to preach the Gospel and make disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey all of His commands.

12. 2 Peter 3:11 – “A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.” From Henry T. Blackaby — When God told Abraham He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham’s life was immediately and radically affected. Noah could not carry on business as usual once he knew what God was planning for his generation. Knowing that God is preparing judgment brings a sobering reality to Christians, helping us recognize what is eternally significant and what is not. Peter cautions us that a catastrophic time of judgment is coming. On the day of the Lord there will be a great noise, and the elements will melt with a fervent heat. On that day, he warns, the earth will be consumed. Peter assures us that this is not mere speculation; it is certain and imminent. He then asks the crucial question that applies to each generation: “What kind of persons ought you to be?” With judgment pending for us and countless millions of people facing destruction, how should we live our lives? Many Christians attach great value to temporal things. Hobbies and possessions consume us, leaving little time or energy to invest in what is eternal. More than anyone else, Christians should be sensitive to the times in which we live. We should walk so closely with God that if He were preparing to bring judgment upon people, we could warn those in imminent peril. Since Christ has been long-suffering in His return so that no one might perish (2 Pet. 3:9), should we not invest our effort in building God’s eternal kingdom? Should there not be an urgency about us to complete the tasks that God gives us?

13. 2 Peter 3:14 — “Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” Are you diligently pursuing purity, holiness, and peace with God as you eagerly await His return?

14. 2 Peter 3:17, 18 — “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

– Grace is not freedom to live lawlessly. Grace affords you the opportunity to pursue and even higher degree of obedience which is motivated by genuine love rather than fear or duty. Many view salvation as freedom to sin without fear of punishment. However, this is a misguided, selfish, and false view of Grace. The one who has been saved from God’s wrath through the blood of His son desires above all else not to continue in the very sins for which Jesus suffered — this is unthinkable. How could anyone be so flippant with such sacrifice of love from God Himself? Peter warns not to get trapped by this false teaching or by the practices of lawless ‘Christians.’

– A popular teaching today suggests that grace renders the Law obsolete. Gods warns us against lawlessness. Grace frees us and empowers us to grow in obedience which is the natural response of love for Jesus. The more we know Jesus, the more obedient we are, and the more we grow spiritually.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 18 Oct 18: Today, make this your focus: “Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” (2 Peter 3:14)

DBRP – WEEK 42, Day 3, Wednesday, 17 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 17 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 23:1 — “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” Many ‘spiritual’ and political leaders who claim to know the way only lead people astray and to destruction. These leaders who are not unified with God only lead followers to disunity and further separation from God. Any leader who doesn’t overtly point to Christ (no matter the justification) is a false leader. Jesus is not only “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” for spiritual matters, He is the only way for all the practical issues of life, including politics – all issues are foundationally spiritual issues. If you are not using your influence to guide people to Jesus, you are using your influence to guide people away from Jesus.

2. Jeremiah 23:4 – “I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.” Leaders are responsible for the accountability of every member of the flock. Who is now missing from your church congregation? Why? Who among your family is not saved? Who has God placed in your life, giving you the responsibility to minister to them? How are they doing tonight? Find the missing sheep, and relieve those who are afraid or dismayed.

3. Jeremiah 23:5, 6 — “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the only truly good shepherd. A leader that is not constantly pointing at Him (rather than self, party, church, denomination, or organization) is misleading, pointing to another means of ‘salvation’ or peace. Yes, God gives certain authorities and responsibilities to people and institutions, but He gives special authority to His ambassadors, priests, and saints – Christians. Follow Jesus and proclaim Jesus. You haven’t been called by God to be an ambassador to anything or anyone other than Jesus.

4. Jeremiah 23:9, 10 – “Concerning the prophets: ….the land is full of adulterers…. Their course is evil, and their might is not right…. they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil…. Don’t listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’” The adulterous teachers blend the teachings of God with worldly wisdom (syncretism), and they attach ‘spirituality’ to popular belief systems. They dilute the word of God to make it “acceptable” to the populace under the guise of “seeker sensitive evangelism.” They are very careful not to use words like “repent” and “sin,” and they use the name “Jesus” very sparingly as not to overwhelm or offend. They allow God’s people to become dependent on worldly institutions and point towards “good people” for hope rather than Jesus Christ alone. They talk about “morals, values, and ethics” rather than the Commands of God, and they seek to generate unity in ideas, programs, charities, for sake of societal stability, rather than seeking unity in the One True God. They proclaim “wisdom from the ages” rather than God’s word and offer peace to those who reject God’s’ word. These hopes are vain according to the Bible. Again, we are Ambassadors for Christ and Christ alone, not organizations or ideals. It is time for Christians to stand for Christ and nothing else. Don’t muddy the waters.

5. Jeremiah 23:11 — “’Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their evil,’ declares the Lord.” An ungodly nation has ungodly pastors with an outer shell of godliness (whitewashed tombs) who preach the word for prophet and morph it to appeal to an ungodly people.

6. Jeremiah 23:16-19 — “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’ For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened? Behold, the storm of the Lord!’”

– It is striking that as the Nation seems to unravel into moral chaos at an unbelievably rapid rate, the sermons delivered from pulpits across the country remain mostly unchanged and unaffected. Again, the pastors of an ungodly nation preach what people want to hear. In our nation, things seem to go from bad to worse. Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned both in the Old Testament and New Testament today as a warning and as “an example of what is going to happen.” (2 Peter 2:6) Who is paying attention?

7. Jeremiah 23:20 — “The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.” When we stand in judgment before God, our organizations, parties, denominations, programs, policies, projects, charities, events, and activities that did not directly, overtly, and boldly point to Christ and His commands will all seem so incredibly foolish. God has given us His word that we might understand what really matters before being surprised by judgment. We have been given the task of going throughout the world making disciples, teaching them to OBEY all the God has commanded, nothing less than that. Sometimes obedience to God’s clear and simple word doesn’t seem to make sense from our perspective. Sometimes pure obedience to God alone will be judged by the world as fanatical, judgmental, and simple-minded. However, “in the latter days, you will understand it clearly.”

8. Jeremiah 23:22 – “But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.” A theme repeated for emphasis — godly leaders only proclaim His words, not what seems right in their own eyes or what seems right to the majority (see Judges – they did what seem right in their own eyes).

9. Jeremiah 23:28, 29 – “Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” God allows deceitful leaders compete in the marketplace of ideas with His true ambassadors, and He allows people to choose who they will trust and follow.

10. Jeremiah 23:28 — “Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully.” So many people are seeking a greater revelation, a special revelation, or a fresh approach to God’s word, but so few know, proclaim, and obey God’s clearly written word. When was the last time you heard a preacher preach these words from the Bible: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done…. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them”? (Romans 1:26-32)

11. Jeremiah 24 – God will separate His people from the rest when it is time, blessing them and punishing those who rejected Him.

12. Jeremiah 24:5-7 — “I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.” God can use adversity to bring you back to Him. God is looking for a wholehearted follower, and He will remove your idols that cause you to have a divided heart. The ‘good’ things you cherish in life more than God, that influence your behavior more than your commitment to God are really ‘bad’ because they distract you from Jesus. God may have to tear down your idols.

13. Proverbs 17:1, 4, 9, 11, 14, 19-20, 23: God wants you to be an agent of peace, not anger and fighting. It is hard to share Jesus with someone you are fighting with over a fleeting issue.

14. Proverbs 17:1 – “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” God wants you to live in quiet and peace rather than self-induced chaos and stress. Better to have less in peace and quiet than to wear yourself out trying to do everything.

15. Proverbs 17:10 – “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” Wise people are self-examining and self-correcting.

16. Proverbs 17:14 – “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.” If you get in a fight with someone, you have usually failed somewhere long before the fight. Learn to identify and correct “the beginning of strife.”

17. Proverbs 17:16 – “Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense?” Wisdom cannot be bought. Unlike knowledge, wisdom cannot simply be taught in a classroom. Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied from an understanding of God’s will. Wisdom requires a heart that is aligned with God’s heart. This is cultivated over a lifetime. There is not shortcut to wisdom and no secular version of true wisdom.

18. Proverbs 17:24 – “The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.” Wisdom must be your life’s pursuit ahead of knowledge, riches, and happiness. It must be for daily focus.

19. 2 Pet 2:1, 3, 14 — But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you…. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories…. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!

– Wow! Both Jeremiah and 2 Peter have much to say today about false prophets and teachers – “shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” They lead the people into adultery (disobedience and the acceptance of disobedience) and they tell them that it is ok. They say the God approves of what God hates. They make light of sin as if God doesn’t really care. They claim to speak for God while rejecting His Word. They claim to have dreams and visions that did not come from God but rather from their own sinful desires. They tell the sinners what they want to hear and justify sin so that sinners won’t feel guilty for sinning. 2 Peter 2:18-22 says, “For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for ‘people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.’ If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.’” This is the message I hear preached often that says that “grace” is a license to sin – “God knows that I am a sinner and accepts me for who I am.” We are to “escape the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

20. 2 Peter 2:3 — “And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.” People who tell others what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear about Jesus are acting selfishly, seeking personal comfort, security, or gain. An unselfish person is willing to leave their comfort zone for the sake of others. False teachers pervert the truth in order to build a following and gain something for themselves, even if that something is only personal satisfaction, feeling good about their own apparent righteousness. God shares the glory with no man.

21. 2 Peter 2:5 — “He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness.” Noah was a herald of righteousness because He only preached God’s message, a message accepted by no one. To the world, Noah was an utter fool. Few leaders seek to be a fool for Christ.

22. 2 Peter 2:5-10 — “He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.” Lot was a righteous man, tormented in his heart by the perversion of his nation, which included rampant homosexuality, but Lot apparently did nothing to influence the culture around him and had become so connected with that culture that the angels had to actually force him out of the city before destroying it. Having assimilated into that ungodly land, he lost his wife and his in-laws, and his daughters were also trapped in perversion. How assimilated are you in our culture that is moving farther and farther away from God? How might the culture be causing you to compromise your purity and squelch your proclamation of the Gospel? What impact are you allowing to ungodly culture have on your children? What impact are you having on the ungodly culture?

23. 2 Peter 2:6 – “…if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly.” See the comments above on Jeremiah 23:16-19.

24. 2 Peter 2:9, 10 — “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.” We have adapted our laws to accommodate defiling passions, despising the authority of God. God will deal with that.

25. 2 Peter 2:10 — “Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones.” Isn’t this the norm in society today?

26. 2 Peter 2:12 — “But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction.” Those who quench the Spirit and allow the flesh to rule are no different than animals, denying their spiritual image of God.

27. 2 Peter 2:18 — “For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.” Have you noticed how loud and boastful the ungodly are?

28. 2 Peter 2:19 — “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” Our current sexual, humanist revolution which is overtaking our nation is proclaimed in the name of freedom while placing more and more people into bondage. Many are celebrating freedom from laws which once maintained a higher moral order in our society, not realizing that this freedom from law and order only serves to enslave more and more people to destructively sinful lifestyles. Popular opinion and social morality is doesn’t nullify God’s commands.

29. 2 Peter 2:20 — “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.” Many justify their worldly compromise by proclaiming ‘freedom through grace,’ but if they have asked for forgiveness for their sins through the blood of Jesus Christ and then continue in that sin, they not only trample on the blood of Christ, they also having nothing left to hold them back from the destructiveness of sin. They have denied the love of Christ through their willful disobedience, and without the motivator of love, nothing will stop their downward spiral. 2 Peter 2 goes on to say, “For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: ‘The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.’” What hope is left for the person who proclaims Jesus and yet continues in willful sin? There is no such thing as ‘cheap grace.’ Grace came at the price of the blood of Jesus and, for that, we should tremble at the thought of disobey Him.

30. 2 Peter 2:21 — “For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.” Pray that God shows mercy on the nation that once proudly proclaimed, “No king but King Jesus,” and “In God We Trust.”

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 Oct 18: Today, ask yourself how you might have compromised your purity due to the influence of the culture in which you live. Consider what you will watch or listen to for entertainment today. Does it make light of the sin God abhors and for which Christ paid the penalty? Consider how clear your message of the Gospel is as an Ambassador for Christ in this corrupt society. Are you holding back? Why? (see 2 Peter 2)

DBRP – WEEK 42, Day 2, Tuesday, 16 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 16 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 21:2 — “Inquire of the Lord for us, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the Lord will deal with us according to all his wonderful deeds and will make him withdraw from us.” The people who had chosen not to honor God by disobeying Him and living as they pleased actually thought that God would miraculously save them. The response they got from God through Jeremiah was the opposite of what they expected. They were completely oblivious to their enmity with God. Today many claim a special relationship with God while they remain in defiance of His commands. God will not be mocked.

2. Jeremiah 21:14 – “I will punish you according to the fruit of your deeds, declares the Lord.” God holds everyone accountable for their actions.

3. Jeremiah 22:3-6 – “Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people. But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation. For thus says the Lord concerning the house of the king of Judah: ‘You are like Gilead to me, like the summit of Lebanon, yet surely I will make you a desert, an uninhabited city.’” Through faith in Jesus, we are credited with the righteousness of Christ, though we did not deserve it. While we were still sinners Christ died for us; we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, through faith, not by our works. The goal of salvation (justification) is sanctification (being conformed to the image of Jesus – Romans 8:29) while we await final glorification through Christ. Through salvation, we are no longer compelled by the law to obey God but rather compelled by the love of God to obey Him, freed from the bondage of sin, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Love produces fruit naturally. Grace does not change the standards and expectations of the Holy and Just God but rather changes our ability and motivation to obey Him. Grace doesn’t remove the consequences of sin, but should change our response to sin through conviction of the Holy Spirit, genuine repentance, and a changed life. Having been justified, God expects us to live justly through love. And as the above verses demonstrate, the truth of our love for God is revealed in how we treat others. Children of God who don’t obey God should anticipate the discipline of their Heavenly Father, not in condemnation but rather in sanctification. “But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:31-32) Judge yourself truly that you would not require the Father’s discipline – “But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.”

4. Jeremiah 22:8, 9 – “’Why has the Lord dealt thus with this great city?’ And they will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God….’” Again, God will judge those who reject His commands.

5. Jeremiah 22:15 – “Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar?”

– Your great accomplishments don’t give you any more control or security than you had before. Your fate is completely in God’s hands. God honors those who honor Him.

– What makes a king a king? Is it his personal power? No, a king’s power comes from his legitimate authority. When a single police officer in uniform breaks up a mob of angry men who are physically more powerful than he, he does so by the power of his authority. It by that authority that he remains confident to command, “Stop in the name of the law!” The Bible says, that all authority is established by God. (Romans 13) The Father gave all power and authority to the Son (Mat 28:18) though the Pharisees questioned His authority. (Mat 21:23) Jesus commended the centurion above all others because he understood the power of Jesus’ authority. (Luke 7:8) Calling upon his authority, Jesus commanded us to go throughout the world and make disciples who would obey all of his commands as King of kings (Matt 28:18-20). We are called to live lives of power under the authority of the King as His Kingdom of Priests (Rev 1:6), reigning in life through Jesus. (Romans 5:17) Eternal life and our holy priesthood does not begin when we die, it began the moment we were born again (John 17:3), and the power of God flows through is as nourishment flows through a vine to the branches. (John 15) Jesus said that, under His position of authority, His every word and deed was subject to the authority of the Father. (John 14:10) Likewise, our authority as Christians is subject to the authority of the Father and Son. Let us live lives worthy of our calling. (Ephesians 4:1)

– Romans 5:17 — For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

– 2 Timothy 2:12 — If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;

– Revelation 5:10 — You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

6. Jeremiah 22:21, 22 – “I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not listen.’ This has been your way from your youth, that you have not obeyed my voice. The wind shall shepherd all your shepherds” Have you stopped to consider that perhaps the customs, traditions, and morality that you grew up with and learned might be very, very far from God’s standards and will? Many spiritual leaders in the world are only following the wind. Only those who are truly following Jesus can really preach what God wants preached.

7. Proverbs 16:2 – “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.”

– God shows the truly humble what they cannot see in themselves. God will show you the truth of your heart if you will listen, and God will draw you closer to Him if you will obey.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — How quick we are to question the motives of others, yet we are so slow to question our own! When others harm us, we may assume the worst of intentions. When we are guilty, we often excuse our offenses, concluding that others are far too sensitive! Regardless of how we monitor our motives, God weighs them in His scales of righteousness. It is futile to try to deceive God with our pious justifications, for He sees our hearts. Is it possible to do the right thing for the wrong reason? Of course! You can attend worship services with a heart that is far from worshipful (Isa. 1:10-17). Could you show concern for the poor and yet have a heart that is opposed to God? Judas did (John 12:4-8). Could you make bold statements of love for Christ and actually be aiding the work of Satan? Peter did (Matt. 16:21-23). Could you offer sacrifices to God and be in total disobedience to Him? King Saul did (1 Sam. 13:8-9). Could you pray with the wrong motives? James said you can (James 4:3). Many things cause us to do what we do. We can be motivated by good things, such as love for God, compassion, generosity, and faith. Or our actions can come from unhealthy motives such as pride, insecurity, ambition, lust, greed, guilt, anger, fear, and hurt. It is even possible to do the best things based on the worst motives. When the Lord measures our motives He looks for one thing: love. All that we do should proceed from our love for God and for others (1 Cor. 13). Take time to look past your actions to what lies behind them. Ask God to show you what He sees when He examines your motives.

8. Proverbs 16:25 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

– Again, the Bible reminds us that only God can show us the way we should go; we cannot trust in our own understanding. If you are not following Jesus day by day, you are off course and going down a path that leads to death.

From Henry T. Blackaby — Things are not always what they seem. Proverbs warns that we can be deceived into believing we are going down the right path and yet be heading toward death, the opposite direction from God’s will. People do not naturally seek God or pursue righteousness (Rom. 3:10-18). Only as the Spirit awakens our hearts to the Person of Christ are we able to desire God’s will. If we make decisions apart from the guidance of the Spirit of God, we will be like a ship trying to sail without a compass. We will do what makes the most sense, based on our own wisdom. But what looks attractive may actually lead to sin, ultimately destroying what is precious to us, for our most profound human thinking is mere foolishness to God (1 Cor. 1:18-20). Only God knows the way that leads to life, and He wants to lead us to walk in it (Matt. 7:13-14). Don’t assume every opportunity that arises is from God. Satan will disguise himself as an “angel of light,” and his invitations will seem to be in your best interest (2 Cor. 11:14). Yet his way leads only to death (John 8:44). The word of God will be like a light to your path, guiding you in the ways of righteousness (Ps. 119:105). It can be perilous to follow a path that seems right without first consulting the Holy Spirit for guidance (John 16:13). Take time to seek the Holy Spirit’s direction when you face decisions. He knows the full ramifications of your choices. The Holy Spirit will assist you to understand truth and to experience abundant life. Trust Him as He leads you.

9. 2 Peter 1:1 – “Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ….” All who are saved through Christ have equal righteousness and equal access to the power of the Holy Spirit.

10. 2 Peter 1:2 – “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” The more we truly know Jesus, the more we grow in grace and peace.

11. 2 Peter 1:3-9 – “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…. so that… you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”

– As a Christian, you have everything you need to live a holy and abundant life (2 Pet. 1:3-11). Your intelligence, your education, or your family background do not determine the holiness of your life. Everything you need to live a victorious, joyful, and abundant life is found in the Holy Spirit who resides within you. (Gal. 5:22-23) According to Peter, each Christian, by faith, has access to these qualities: goodness, knowledge of God, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. It would be of no use to inherit a fortune if you did not know it was yours. Likewise, it is of no benefit to inherit everything necessary to become like Christ if you do not claim it. If we continue to lack self-control when God has made it available, we rob ourselves and those around us. If God is willing to instill brotherly kindness into our behavior, but we never display it, people will suffer needlessly as a result. The key to all that God has made available to us is our faith. We must believe that God wants to build these qualities into our lives. In the Gospels, Jesus related to people according to their faith. (Matt. 8:13; 9:29; 15:28) He rewarded genuine faith by granting salvation and healing. If He met unbelief, He did not reward it. (Mark 6:5-6) Review the qualities that Peter said God wants to instill in you. If you lack any of these qualities, ask God to work them into your character, so that you will be more like Christ.

– We don’t obey to be saved. We obey because we have been saved and are being saved.

12. 2 Peter 1:12-15 – “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.” God calls us to remind each other to remain obedient.

13. 2 Peter 1:14 – “…since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.” God can show you your future if He wants to. However, God doesn’t show you the future to accommodate your lack of trust in Him.

14. 2 Peter 1:16 – “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” Witnesses testify to what they have personally seen or experienced, not what they have heard from others. Your witness to others is a testimony to what Jesus has done in your life and what you have personally grown to know about Him. If you have a hard time sharing your testimony, it may be that your real experience with Jesus is very limited. Don’t just read about Jesus and then try to convince people of what you have read – your heart won’t be in that. Instead, walk with Jesus in faith, watch Him work miraculously in your life, and grow closer and closer to Him in genuine relationship. If you truly experience the power of Jesus and the truth of His word in your life, you won’t have any trouble bearing witness to it.

15. 2 Peter 1:19-21 – “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” All Scripture is the word of God.

16. 2 Peter 1:21 – “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Everybody has an opinion, and many seek to use Biblical proof texts to validate their opinion. The Bible has been used to justify all sorts of thoughts and deeds; it has been used as a self-help book; a business book, and for all sorts of ambitious ends. However, true prophecy comes from the Holy Spirit and draws from God’s word to communicate what God would say on a current situation or matter, always pointing to Jesus; God’s prophet will not add, take away, or conflict with God’s written word but will place it in current context in ways that could not have discerned through mere intellect. God’s message will always be different than what we would have expected because His thoughts are farther from ours than the Heavens are from the earth.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 16 Oct 18: Journal today on how well you personally know the person of Jesus and what you have personally experienced from Him vice what you have merely read about or heard from others. Use this experience as the foundation of your personal testimony, and pray above all other prayers for a deeper, more meaningful personal relationship with Jesus.

DBRP – WEEK 42, Day 1, Monday, 15 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 15 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 19:5 – “…and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind….” God expects you to do only what He has planned and commanded, not what seems to succeed for other people.

2. Jeremiah 19:11 – “So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, so that it can never be mended.” There can come a time when God knows a person or nation will never turn to Him, when the opportunity for repentance is gone. He then destroys the worthless vessel.

3. Jeremiah 20:2 – “Then Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper Benjamin Gate of the house of the Lord.” God does not always choose to protect His faithful servant from suffering and persecution at the hands of humans who have departed from God. However, God does promise to remain faithful to His suffering servant through persecution.

4. Jeremiah 20:3 – “The next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, ‘The Lord does not call your name Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side.’” Jeremiah was God’s messenger. He didn’t hold back God’s message from those who needed to hear it, regardless of whether or not he thought they would listen and regardless of the potential consequences he might endure for delivering an undesirable message. Often, we are far too concerned about our words being accepted than being communicated in truth and love as God desires us to do. Today, most pastors in America won’t even use words like “sin,” “Hell,” or “repent,” because these words are too unpopular and considered judgmental. God calls us to proclaim the truth, regardless of how others might choose to receive it.

5. Jeremiah 20:7-10 — “I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’ For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! ‘Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’ say all my close friends, watching for my fall. ‘Perhaps he will be deceived; then we can overcome him.’” Jeremiah had a message no one wanted to hear. Not only did his message seem fanatical and foolish to others, it also seemed treasonous, a very serious matter. When they said to themselves, ‘Perhaps he will be deceived,’ these former close friends were actually looking for a way to kill him legally (Deuteronomy 18:22; Jeremiah 18:23). The fact that Jeremiah had already declared (in our readings) several times that all other prophets were ‘false prophets’ certainly didn’t add to his personal security (Jeremiah 5:31, 6:13, 8:10). Jeremiah didn’t have a death wish and wasn’t looking to be a martyr; in fact, at times he resented being put in that position (Jeremiah 20:7). Jeremiah simply couldn’t contain the Holy Spirit’s compulsion to testify to the truth, regardless the consequences. As much as he tried, he simply could not quench the Holy Spirit, and it cost him his family, his friends, and all his worldly comforts. Remember, Jeremiah didn’t choose to be a prophet; he was chosen. When called by God, what else matters? The Great Treason would be to disobey the LORD. You too have been called by God to proclaim the truth to a land that has rejected God as KING and LORD. Now what? Jesus said, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). What did he say? ‘All’ will be persecuted. All who? All ‘who desire to live a godly life’ will be persecuted. Just wanting to follow Jesus will set you up for persecution. If you are not being persecuted for the truth in this day and age, it may be because you are not living a godly life, simply because you really don’t want to. And being “persecuted” isn’t the same as being “prosecuted,” which is a punishment you deserve for your wrongdoing. Everyone suffers on this earth due to the consequences of sin, particularly their own sins. However, suffering for the truth is a much different thing. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” (1 Peter 4:12-16)

— 1 Peter 5:9 — Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

— Revelation 2:10 — Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

– “I shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’ For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.” Are you willing to be ostracized because of your message from God?

– “If I say, “’will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” Jeremiah didn’t always want to speak the truth, but He couldn’t control Himself. He had to speak the truth. Does that describe you?

– “’Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’ say all my close friends, watching for my fall.” The truth will separate close friends and family. Though others may abandon you, God will never leave you or forsake you. Remain faithful to Him, and show others what love and faithfulness looks like.

6. Jeremiah 20:11 — “But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble.” In your persecution, God is still in control and will take care of you. Vengeance is in His hands, not yours. Trust God to handle it.

7. Jeremiah 20:13 – “Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy
from the hand of evildoers.” You can rejoice in persecution. You should rejoice in persecution.

8. Jeremiah 20:14-18 – “Cursed be the day on which I was born! The day when my mother bore me, let it not be blessed! Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, ‘A son is born to you,’ making him very glad. Let that man be like the cities that the Lord overthrew without pity; let him hear a cry in the morning and an alarm at noon, because he did not kill me in the womb; so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb forever great. Why did I come out from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days in shame?” Some days you may wish you had never been born. Life is hard, even for God’s most faithful servants. Sometimes you have to praise God even when you don’t feel like it. Stay strong.

9. Proverbs 15:8 — “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.” Not everyone who goes to church and sacrifices to God is acceptable to God; not everyone who prays to God is accepted by God. God knows the heart. You must approach God with a contrite heart and with the goal of serving Him not to be served by Him.

10. Proverbs 15:9 — “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him who pursues righteousness.” The true Christian has been saved through Jesus and made righteous (or right with God) through Jesus, but the true Christian still “pursues” righteousness and holiness with all might, seeking to grow more and more into the image of Jesus. We will never fully achieve the fulfillment of righteousness, holiness, and love on this earth, but this is not an excuse to pursue that aim half-heartedly. Have a holy direction while awaiting holy perfection!

11. Proverbs 15:26 — “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure.” The Bible has much to say about the words that come out of your mouth, in part, because your words reveal what is in your heart. Words are very powerful — usually the first way your thoughts enter the tangible world and have an influential impact. Your words transmit your thoughts into the thoughts of others, transferring positive thoughts into their minds or negative thoughts into their minds. Your words will either lift others up or knock them down. They will either instruct or deceive. They will either unite or divide. They will make people feel better or feel worse. Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” (Matthew 12:36) Today, let no careless or ungracious word come out of your mouth. Speak for Jesus (as His ambassador), not for yourself. Ensure every word that comes out of your mouth is a healing word, and encouraging word, a loving word. Don’t transmit negativity into the world, only positivity. Remember, the most powerful word you can use today is “Jesus.”

12. 1 Peter 5:1, 2 – “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly.” Leaders lead by being a good example, emulating Jesus, and coaching others to Christ-like character; and they do it not because they have to or for personal gain but because they have a heart for God and for others.

13. 1 Peter 5:2-4 – “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly, not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” Sheep are smelly and senseless, doing the same senseless things over and over again. Turn your back for a minute, and the sheep are wandering again. Shepherds (which can be a metaphor for pastors, parents, employees, and community leaders) are called to eagerly, patiently, and graciously care for their ‘sheep’ without a desire for personal gain. This takes great spiritual maturity, and shepherds should not expect that sheep will have the same understanding and discipline that they do; they should expect to have to continually correct the same sheep for the same things. If sheep were as wise as shepherds, they wouldn’t need the shepherd. With leadership comes lifelong responsibility to lead the weak. If you can’t stand the smell of sheep, you can’t be a shepherd. Shepherds are not to be harsh and overly domineering but rather are to be gentle and to lead the way in example. Shepherds can lead their sheep to where they need to go only if they are following the Good Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd, Jesus. Shepherds can deal with their sheep well when they are always mindful that they themselves are ultimately just dumb smelly sheep who require the daily patience and grace of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus.

14. 1 Peter 5:5, 6 – “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

– Humility is one of the key attributes of a Christian. Is “humble” one of the first words people would use to describe you?

– From A. W. Tozer — “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5) Some time ago we heard a short address by a young preacher during which he quoted the following, “If you are too big for a little place, you are too little for a big place.” It is an odd rule of the kingdom of God that when we try to get big, we always get smaller by the moment. God is jealous of His glory and will not allow anyone to share it with Him. The effort to appear great will bring the displeasure of God upon us and effectively prevent us from achieving the greatness after which we pant. Humility pleases God wherever it is found, and the humble person will have God for his or her friend and helper always. Only the humble are completely sane, for they are the only ones who see clearly their own size and limitations. Egotists see things out of focus. To themselves they are large and God is correspondingly small, and that is a kind of moral insanity.

– 1 Peter 5:6, 7 – “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Few people recognize that anxiety is a pride problem. How can the Bible say that anxiety comes from pride? Pride leads a person to believe that they are in control of their circumstances, that their fate depends on their abilities. Anxiety is the realization that they really are not in control, that their abilities are not enough, and their hope in self is futile. The anxious person is a prideful sheep that has wandered away from the Chief Shepherd and is starting to realize that they have no idea where they are and that they are defenseless against the wolves of life. The answer to anxiety is to humbly return to the Chief Shepherd and rest in His guidance and protection. The job of the humble sheep is to trust, obey, and follow closely as the Shepherd leads to green pastures.

– “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” From Henry T. Blackaby — As you’ve no doubt discovered, becoming a Christian does not make your problems go away. But it does give you an Advocate to whom you can take every concern. The Christians Peter addressed were facing persecution. They did not know whom they could trust; a friend, a neighbor, or even a family member could betray them, resulting in suffering and even death. But Peter had walked with the risen Christ, and he had personally experienced the love that Jesus had for His followers. He knew that Christ was in control, capable of handling every trial and that He wanted to do so as an expression of His love. Casting our cares is a choice. It means consciously handing over our anxiety to Christ and allowing Him to carry the weight of our problems. At times this is the most difficult part of trusting God! We don’t like turning over the responsibility for our problems. We have been taught that self-reliance is good and praiseworthy. We may even enjoy worrying. Yet if we are to be freed from the burden of our concerns, we must choose to cast them into the strong hands of our Father. Peter does not distinguish between little cares and big cares. God does not differentiate between problems we should handle on our own and God-sized needs. He asks us to turn them all over to Him. One of our greatest errors is to assume we can deal with something ourselves, only to discover that we really can’t. God sees you as His frail child, burdened with a load that surpasses your strength. He stands prepared to take your load and to carry it for you. Will you let Him?

15. 1 Peter 5:14 – “Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” Humility is easier when you can “cast all your anxieties on Him.” Prideful people are really fearful people, people who feel as if they have to validate themselves, defend themselves, justify themselves, prove themselves, etc. Humility is proof of faith in Him rather than self.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 Oct 18: Today, whether it be in your home, your office, your church, or your community, be a good shepherd by following the Good Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd closely and modelling His example of living and leadership. Don’t be the prideful leader who considers himself or herself the example, but be the humble leader who always points to the Example and demonstrates a life surrendered to Jesus. Never think the focus is you, live a life that points only to Jesus Christ. (see 1 Peter 5)

DBRP – WEEK 41, Day 7, Sunday, 14 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 14 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 17:5 — “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.”

– Everyone places their trust in someone or something. In whom do you really place your trust? In whom does the nation place its trust?

– The Israelites of Jeremiah’s day believed they could trust in their army, the diplomacy of their king, and their foreign alliances to protect them from the powerful Babylonian empire. They gave lip service to their trust in God, but their actions showed where their faith really was: in their military and financial might. God spoke through Jeremiah to warn them that He would not bless those who trusted in anyone or anything instead of Him. Placing your ultimate trust in anything other than God is idolatry. How can you know if your faith is not truly in God? Ask yourself these questions: Where do I turn when I experience a crisis? When I am hurting or afraid, to whom do I go? When I have a financial problem, whom do I want to tell first? Where do I seek comfort when I am under stress or discouraged? Could it be that you are saying you trust in God but your actions indicate otherwise? God often uses other people as His method of providing for you. Be careful lest you inadvertently misdirect your faith toward His provision instead of toward the Provider. God may meet your need through your friends, but ultimately your trust must be in God. The Israelites were so stubbornly committed to trusting in human strength instead of God that, even as the Babylonian army approached Jerusalem, they continued to desperately seek a person, nation, or army that could rescue them. They realized too late that they had neglected to trust in the only One who could deliver them. Don’t make the same mistake as the Israelites. Go straight to the Lord when you have a need. He is the only One who can provide for you.

2. Jeremiah 17:9, 10 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.’”

– What you care about most determines what you think which, in turn determines how you act. Your actions are the fruit of your heart, but often people pretend to be something they really aren’t, fooling others and sometimes even themselves. God is never fooled though and knows your true motives. For example, people may be very impressed by the ‘good deeds’ of someone, but God knows if those deeds are merely the product of prideful self-righteousness, an attempt to gain favor from others or merely feel good about themselves.

– A person can judge another person’s actions, whether they are good or bad, but God judges the heart, and the motives behind those actions. Only God knows the ‘why’ beneath the motives – why a people think the way they do – we don’t; therefore, we can’t judge the inner person, only God can. (Luke 11:17; Mark 12:15; Acts 15:8) We can’t even honestly judge our own inner person because we deceive ourselves – only God can. I believe the Bible calls Christians to ‘judge’ behaviors within the context of God’s word without judging the heart or worth of the person, something only God can do – “Do not slander a servant to his master.” (Proverbs 30:10) When we try to play god, either in self-judgment or judgment of others, we only cause pain and destruction. C.S. Lewis makes this observation: “Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choices…. When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing, does some tiny little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God’s eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend…. It is as well to put this the other way round. Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge. We see only the results which a man’s choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it.”(C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 86-87) From our very limited position, we can only walk very humbly in forgiveness and seek to ‘abide in Christ,’ obeying his commands which are ever on our hearts, and testifying to the truth in word in deed. We must be in continual prayer to the Lord – “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!” (Psalm 119:36) And, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Be careful not to be deceived by your own ‘good deeds’ which at their root may be nourished by pride, self-righteousness, feelings of unworthiness, or fear. Pray to God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.” (Psalm 109:23)

— Romans 12:1-3 — I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

— Galatians 6:1 — Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

3. Jeremiah 18:6 — “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the LORD. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!” God knows how to bring salvation to your family, your friends, your community, and your world. Accordingly, He invites us to join Him in His divine work. Clay has no plans of its own — It is just clay to be molded by the hands of the Creator. As clay, we are to be moldable, pliable, totally submissive to the will of its master. At times we excitedly announce to God: “I’ve discovered my strengths and gifts, and now I know how I can best serve You!” At other times we inform Him, “I am aware of what my weaknesses are, so I know which tasks I’m not capable of doing for You.” Yet this isn’t characteristic of clay. God isn’t limited to working with our strengths. (2 Cor. 12:9-10) He can mold us into whatever kind of instrument He requires. When God’s assignment demands humility, he finds a servant willing to be humbled. When His work requires zeal, He looks for someone ready to be filled with His Spirit. God uses holy vessels, so He finds those who will are ready for Him to remove their impurities. If your tendency is to tell the Father what you can and can’t do for Him, repent, submit to His agenda, and allow Him to shape you into the person He wants you to be. Like clay.

4. Jeremiah 18:12 — “But they say, ‘That is in vain! We will follow our own plans….” Only the ungodly fool believes he is in control of his own life. God determines the fate of every person. Those who choose to depart from God will suffer grave consequences.

5. Jeremiah 18:15 – “But my people have forgotten me; they make offerings to false gods; they made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient roads, and to walk into side roads, not the highway.” If something has become a higher priority in your life than Jesus, you will turn and walk down the wrong path in life, away from Jesus. What is the primary motivation in your life? What is your life focus? Why do you really do what you do? Are you really following Jesus or chasing after something else?

6. Proverbs 14:5 — “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.” The truth of your words and advice is determined by in whom you have placed your faith. If you are guided by the Spirit and are following Jesus, proclaiming only His word and not your own, you speak the truth and are a faithful witness. If, however, you are merely offering your own opinion based on ‘common sense’ or the teachings and traditions of this world, you are misleading others away from the truth, despite your good intentions. The only word that is inspired, the only word that you are allowed to proclaim as Christ’s ambassador is God’s word, not your opinion. Speak God’s word.

7. Proverbs 14:6-9 — “A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving. Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance.”

– Today there are many who scoff at simple Christian faith, thinking themselves so very wise. Their false wisdom can be quite deceiving. Have nothing to do with teachings void of Jesus. The foolish scoffer mocks the need for repentance and the need for reliance on the sacrifice of Jesus (the guilt offering). However, a true teacher starts and ends with Jesus. If your counsellor isn’t continually pointing you to Jesus but rather some form of moralism, psychology, or any other idea that rests on a hope other than Jesus, walk away.

– “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.” Christians make amends for sin when it is within their power to do so. Exodus 22, Leviticus 24, and Numbers have also speak to the principle of restitution.

8. Proverbs 14:12 — “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” People don’t usually pursue what they think is wrong but rather pursue what they think is right. The problem is that their thoughts are immeasurably far removed from God’s thoughts. Many are very committed to convictions that are very moral in the eyes of society and very sinful in the eyes of God, the Author of Justice. When people do what is right in their own eyes, they perish.

9. Proverbs 14:15, 16 — “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.” Don’t believe what you hear from others; believe God and His word. Very, very few read and obey God’s word. If you choose to do that, you will turn away from evil and the majority.

10. Proverbs 14:21 — “Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.” Own this verse. If you look down on others around you, you are a sinner — it doesn’t say you are sinning; it says you ARE a sinner — it is in your character not just in your behavior. Examine yourself from this perspective. Your generosity to the needy (both physically needy and spiritually needy) reveals what is really in your heart. The problem with being generous to the needy is that they are needy for a reason. They are usually dealing with the consequences of their own sinful behavior. They don’t deserve to be treated well — this is called grace, the same type of grace you have received through Jesus and in which your hope rests.

11. Proverbs 14:25 — “A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.” Jeremiah was a truthful witness. He spoke the truth no one wanted to hear in hopes of saving lives. Are you willing to proclaim Jesus to those who do not really want to hear it?

12. Psalm 120:1 – “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.” God will not refuse those who genuinely cry out to Him.

13. Psalm 121:2 – “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Faith comes from a true understanding and appreciation of who God is and what He has promised. If you have placed your trust in the Creator of all things who has promised to love you, what do you have to worry about?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 Oct 18: Recommit to trusting in the Lord and no one or nothing else; recommit to following Jesus and no one or nothing else. Walk with Him by obeying Him and watch His fidelity revealed in your life.

DBRP – WEEK 41, Day 6, Saturday, 13 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 13 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 14:7 — “Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you.” We must approach the Lord in true humility as a repentant sinner amazed by grace, and our desire must be Him rather than merely something from Him for ourselves. Often God uses our desperation to draw us to Him, but He wants you to recognize your relationship problem with Him rather than just your physical problem. The reality is, no matter how much we are blessed on this earth, our physical life will end in death, but our relationship with Him (whether positive or negative) will endure for eternity.

2. Jeremiah 14:8-10 – “’Why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?… Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us.’…. ” Thus says the Lord concerning this people: ‘They have loved to wander thus; they have not restrained their feet; therefore the Lord does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.’” The sinful people suffering from the consequences of their sin maintained the perspective that God had abandoned them and had left them to be victimized unfairly by cruel, blind fate; however, God tells them that He did not abandon them, rather they abandoned Him. They were not suffering from mere random circumstances but by His hand of discipline. Have you ever heard someone say they didn’t believe in God or worship God because they did not believe a god of love would allow ‘innocent’ people to suffer needlessly? That is not a new complaint, and it is just as shallow, self-centered, and misinformed today as it always has been.

3. Jeremiah 14:12 – “Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them.” God knows the difference between those who are truly repentant and truly seeking Him and those who, on the contrary, merely want God to give them what they are looking for in self-centeredness. Phony religion is contractual – “God if you do this for me, I will do something for you.” True religion is covenantal – “I will love and obey you, regardless of what happens to me.” True religion places God above self through all circumstances.

4. Jeremiah 14:13, 14 – “Then I said: ‘Ah, Lord God, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’’ And the Lord said to me: ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.’” A sinful nation promotes and lifts up preachers who will say what they want to hear and who will not warn against judgment for sin. How many preachers today talk about the looming judgment of God?

5. Jeremiah 15:6 – “I am weary of relenting.” God’s patience doesn’t last forever.

6. Jeremiah 15:16 – “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.” Henry T. Blackaby — If you were to receive a note from the leader of your country or someone famous, you would probably save it as a keepsake. How much more precious is a message from almighty God! Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that are beyond our control. This was the case for Mary and Martha as they were grieving the death of their brother Lazarus. At these times a word from Jesus can bring much rejoicing (John 11:41-45). Other times when Jesus speaks, His words bring correction. “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matt. 16:23) and “O you of little faith” (Matt. 14:31) do not seem to bring joy. Yet Jeremiah said that God’s word brought him joy. It is overwhelming to consider that holy, almighty God would speak directly to us! What a privilege that He would care enough to challenge our destructive thoughts or practices. No matter whether His words are praising us or chastising us, we ought to consider it joy to receive life-changing words from our Master! Every time we prepare to worship the Lord, we ought to do so with anticipation that almighty God may have something to say to us. Whenever we open our Bibles, we should expect that God has something to tell us in our time with Him. We ought to be far more concerned with what God will say to us during our prayer times than with what we intend to tell Him. When you receive a word from your Lord, whether it be of praise or of correction, consider it joy that almighty God would speak to you.

7. Jeremiah 15:17 – “I did not sit in the company of revelers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone, because your hand was upon me, for you had filled me with indignation.” Holiness can be lonely like leadership. When you are leading the race, you are often running harder than everyone else and running alone. It takes great physical and moral courage to be a faithful Christian. Few are willing to persevere on the hard road.

8. Jeremiah 15:19 – “If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them.” We are called to be Ambassadors for Jesus, to speak on His behalf. We are not called to represent ourselves on this earth but to help reconcile the divide between God and men. Who will influence who? Will you influence the world around you, or will the world be more of an influence on you? Is the spirit in you really greater that the spirit in the world? Will you be bright and salty today or dim and tasteless?

9. Jeremiah 16:16 — “Behold, I am sending for many fishers, declares the Lord, and they shall catch them.” Compare this prophetic verse with the call from Jesus to his disciples: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) Are you a good fisherman?

10. Proverbs 13:5 – “The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.” The righteous will desire obedience.

11. Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm in the Bible and uses each letter of the Hebrew alphabet to teach a spiritual lesson. Psalm 119 is a great Psalm to review regularly. Read the whole thing and see if it does not inspire you to diligently study and live by God’s Word.

12. Psalm 119:5 – “Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!” Is this your earnest desire?

13. Psalm 119:9-16 – “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” A wholehearted seeking of the Lord requires fully committed Bible study, memorization, and application. It also requires evangelism. Are you a wholehearted follower of Jesus?

– Psalm 119 is my favorite Psalm – it is also the longest.

14. Psalm 119:18 – “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Anyone, through intellectual knowledge, can know what is in the Bible, but it requires the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit to truly understand what it means, and it takes the power of the Holy Spirit to live it. Godliness is much more than an intellectual pursuit; it is a spiritual endeavor. Some of the most influential atheists in the world can quote the Bible better than many Christians; in fact, Satan tempted Jesus with Bible quotes. Spiritual discernment however is available only to those saved through Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

15. Psalm 119:20 – “My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.” Is this your consuming longing today? You might say, “I don’t want rules; I want Jesus.” Good, but understand that the rules of God are the application of His desires and intent, a reflection of what is on His heart; they are His perfect will. Shouldn’t you care most about what Jesus cares most about if you are desiring to be His real friend and to walk with Him? Or, do you want a relationship with Him only on your terms?

16. Psalm 119:30 – “I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.” Love and faithfulness go hand-in-hand. Have you chosen the way of love and faithfulness?

17. Psalm 119:36 – “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!” Selfishness is what separates you from God. This is why Jesus said the first step to coming after Him is to deny self.

18. Psalm 119:46, 47 – “I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.” Testifying about Jesus is not hard at all for someone who truly loves Him and knows His word.

19. Psalm 119:51 – “The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law.” Throughout all of history, God’s people have had to endure ridicule from the ungodly. This is inevitable. Rejoice if you find yourself in the company of the many faithful who have suffered before you as you carry on the torch of the Good News.

20. Psalm 119:72 – “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Something will have priority in your life, God or something else. Most people who claim to be Christian are actually influenced day-to-day by a higher priority than Jesus, usually something connected to self-preservation or self-fulfillment. Following Jesus will always be a leap of faith and love, requiring you to give up your life that you may have real life in Him.

21. Psalm 119:90 – “Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.” Opinions about God change from generation to generation, but God doesn’t change. Your personal opinion matters little unless your opinion is God’s unchanging truth revealed through His word and the Holy Spirit.

22. Psalm 119:99, 100 – “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.” The learned scholars are but blind guides as are the theologians with seminary degrees who do not live out the words of Jesus and glorify Him alone in absolute humility. The greatest spiritual leader in your community may be the man on the street corner who no one notices. Man-made positions and recognitions are not God’s measure of success. Find and surround yourself with the true followers of Jesus.

23. Psalm 119:129 – “Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.” Ultimately, obedience only comes from love. If you are trying to obey from a position of fear, self-righteousness or duty, you will still fall short because anything other than love is self-centered.

24. Psalm 119:136 – “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” When was the last time you were consumed in sorrow by the sins of others?

25. Psalm 119:147, 148 – “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.” Do you begin and end each day with dedicated time with the Lord?

26. Psalm 119:160 – “The sum of your word is truth, every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” To know God’s whole truth, you must know His whole word; you must study the Bible in total, not just bits and pieces of it.

27. Psalm 119:175, 176 – “Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.” We were created to love, obey, worship, and praise God. However, we were also created to be totally dependent upon Him, powerless, and defenseless in our own strength like sheep. We must follow the voice of the Shepherd and remain in His protection. We must follow the Shepherd not trusting in our sheepish knowledge. Sheep like to wander off to their own peril. We must understand that we are just like sheep. Stay as close as you can to the Shepherd.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 13 Oct 18: Read Psalm 119 carefully, meditate upon it, and apply it beginning today to your daily walk with Jesus. (see notes above)

DBRP – WEEK 41, Day 5, Friday, 12 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 12 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 12:1-3 – “Righteous are you, O Lord, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before you. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive? You plant them, and they take root; they grow and produce fruit; you are near in their mouth and far from their heart. But you, O Lord, know me; you see me, and test my heart toward you. Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and set them apart for the day of slaughter.” God may allow the wicked to prosper for a time, which may cause you to question Him, even complain. He understands you don’t understand. Go to Him in prayer, and He will guide you into greater understanding and into closer relationship with Him.

2. Jeremiah 12:5 — “And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” If you won’t trust and obey God when things are relatively easy, you certainly won’t trust and obey God when things are really hard. God uses hard times to prepare His minister for harder times.

3. Jeremiah 12:6 – “For even your brothers and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; they are in full cry after you; do not believe them, though they speak friendly words to you.” God can show you who to trust and who not to trust.

5. Jeremiah 12:10 — “Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard; they have trampled down my portion.” Ungodly leaders, whether they claim to be religious or not, can lead a whole nation astray.

6. Jeremiah 12:11 — “The whole land is made desolate, but no man lays it to heart.” God’s unchanging word testifies against ungodly leaders and against ungodly society, but people choose to ignore the truth of God.

7. Jeremiah 12:16, 17 — “And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people. But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the Lord.”

– God expects obedience from all people.

– We are engaged in a global competition of ideas and beliefs. In this battle, who is most influencing who? God intends for His people, as His ambassadors to foreign lands, to teach His enemies His ways and to turn their hearts towards Him. He intends for us to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded.” (Matthew 28:18, 19) This is our primary purpose on earth – as servants of Christ, we do not pursue our own desires but only the will of our Master, “no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:2). As a very visible example to the world, we are to have NOTHING to do with sin, displaying grace, and speaking only godly words. All of our words and deeds should glorify God (not ourselves) and draw people to Him (1 Peter 4:7-11) From a position of holiness, as “priests,” we proclaim the Gospel that sinners might turn to Jesus and be saved – “For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.” (1 Peter 4:6) However, if God’s people become influenced by the world, they become “spoiled [and] good for nothing.” (Jeremiah 13:7) If God’s people, who bear the name, ‘Christian,’ make light of the sin from which Christ suffered the cross to save us, then they must be punished. (Jeremiah 13:15-27) For the sake of His glory, God will very visibly punish His adulterous people (who partner with the world) “with tears because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.” (Jeremiah 13:17) “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (Matthew 5:13)

— Hebrews 10:26-36 — For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

— 1 Peter 4:17-19 — For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

8. Jeremiah 13:10 — “This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own heart and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing.” God’s word will often go against what is in your heart, because you are not perfected in love, and God’s thoughts are far from your thoughts. You must choose to follow God’s word instead of what you would prefer. If you will not submit your will to God’s will, you are essentially “good for nothing.” What good is a disobedience servant, and untruthful witness, or a disloyal ambassador?

9. Jeremiah 13:11 – “For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.” God wants people to depend on Him and on nothing else.

10. Jeremiah 13:17 — “But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.” God’s true servants are heartbroken when God’s people refuse to repent. God wants that no one should perish in their pride but that all would turn to Jesus.

11. Jeremiah 13:18 – “Say to the king and the queen mother: ‘Take a lowly seat, for your beautiful crown has come down from your head.’” No one is exempt from God’s judgement.

12. Jeremiah 13:22 — “And if you say in your heart, ‘Why have these things come upon me?’ it is for the greatness of your iniquity that your skirts are lifted up and you suffer violence.” The one who receives the consequences of his decision to ignore God should not be surprised or blame God for his decision.

13. Jeremiah 13:23 — “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.” Sin can become a habit which eventually shapes your character and the truth of who you are. You must develop habits of goodness rather than habits of badness. You become more and more what you repeatedly choose to do. Your character for formed from your habits over time. It is very hard to change character quickly, perhaps impossible.

14. Jeremiah 13:26 — “I myself will lift up your skirts over your face, and your shame will be seen.” There are ‘natural’ consequences for your choices and actions, but God is not just a bystander. God Himself is the author of your circumstances and determines your fate.

15. Proverbs 12:8 — “A man is commended according to his good sense, but one of twisted mind is despised.” Many will hate you because you obey God, but those same people resent you when you act as the world does. The world does not really know how to love because it doesn’t really know the God who is love. Focus on your relationship with Jesus who loves you faithfully.

16. Proverbs 12:26 — “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Compare this verse to Jeremiah 23:1 above. Do you guide your neighbors towards Jesus or away from Jesus? Do you give them ‘good ideas’ or the Gospel? Do you encourage them to rely on their own abilities or Jesus? Do you tell them to have a positive mental attitude or to humbly repent and surrender to Jesus? Do you quote popular gurus of the day or Jesus?

17. Proverbs 12:2 – “A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of evil devices he condemns.” You cannot partner with God and expect blessings from Him while you are in disobedience to His word.

18. Proverbs 12:9 – “Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread.” Don’t boast of your gifts and talents but rather let them reveal themselves.

19. Proverbs 12:11 – “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.” Don’t waste your time on things that don’t matter.

20. Proverbs 12:15 – “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” The ability to be humbly self-aware and self-correcting is critical to life success.

21. Proverbs 12:25 – “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Most people are struggling with anxiety. Do your words make them glad?

22. Proverbs 12:26 – “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” A good leader leads people to where they need to go. Christians are leaders who lead people to righteousness because that is where everyone needs to go. But Christians can only lead if they are followers, followers of Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate leader.

23. Proverbs 12:27 – “Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.” The lazy person has everything they need but refuse to do anything with it.

24. 1 Peter 4:1, 2 — “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” These are powerful verses calling us to do away with self-centered emotions that would impassion us to respond to others from a position of pride, self-righteousness, fear, anger, or judgment. When we have learned how to suffer persecution in love, to “take up our cross,” we have learned to deny self, truly love Jesus, and trust in Him.

25. 1 Peter 4:1-6 — Worldliness and godliness head in two opposite directions. It is impossible to partner with and walk with ungodly people and with Jesus at the same time.

26. 1 Peter 4:7 — “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit that is founded on the perspective of your world view, your faith, and your hope. Self-control is not hard when you really believe Jesus is Lord, when you really love Him, and truly desire to please Him. It is about perspective and focus, about what really matters most at the moment of decision, about what is most “real” in your mind, the instant, momentary pleasure of the temptation at hand, or the inevitable consequences. The unseen must be more real to you than what is visible. For example, the person who struggles with a diet craves certain foods. These foods are very appealing, accessible, and pleasurable, and the consequences associated with eating them are inapparent, distant, and questionable – the visible is more powerful than the invisible, and for most people, the visible usually wins. However, some have the ability to focus on the consequences of their actions, perceiving that “the end of all things is at hand.” They are able to focus on what really matters to them rather than instant gratification. What is your focus? Have you ever noticed that when you are extremely busy doing something that really matters to you, you sometimes forget to eat? Likewise, when you are fully committed to serving God with a sense of urgency, many temptations in life become irrelevant.

27. 1 Peter 4:7-11 — End times call for prayer to God and love within the church.

28. 1 Peter 4:8 — “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” If the Bible says, “above all,” then it should be clear that love is your life priority, but not just a casual ‘love’ but “earnest” love which implies significant, sincere intensity. If it is hard for you to sincerely and intensely love others, particularly those who are hard to love, you must “above all” other priorities in your life, search your heart and understand what it is about your relationship with Jesus that is making it hard for you to obey His top command.

29. 1 Peter 4:9-11 — “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 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.”

– The Bible tells us to be hospitable without grumbling because the expectation is we will show hospitality to inhospitable people and in such a way that is difficult for us. How should we act while we are being taken advantage of? We should be good stewards of grace (giving people what they don’t deserve); every word that comes out of our mouth should mirror the word of God, and we should serve with all of our might through the special empowerment of God — all this to glorify God.

– We should speak God’s words in love. What you do is essential but not enough. You must proclaim Jesus, clearly, with your actions demonstrating the truth within you.

30. 1 Peter 4:12-15 – “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.”

– Suffering is a reason to rejoice.

– Life is hard in this sinful, broken world. And the Bible says to Christians, “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Peter 4:12).” Just as Jesus was persecuted by the world, his true followers will also be persecuted from the dark world that hates the light. In this we are to rejoice that we have been afforded the opportunity to “share Christ’s sufferings.” When God called you to proclaim Jesus to the sinful, hateful world, he knew you would get hurt; but in that suffering, He is drawing you closer to Him. However, the Bible also warns that living foolishly only causes pointless, needless suffering. As the saying goes, “Life is hard, but it is harder when you’re stupid.” How much pain in your life is really self-induced? How many times have you heard Christians complain about “attacks from Satan” or “spiritual warfare” when what they are really dealing with are the natural consequences of their own careless behavior? Obedience to the word of God will not take suffering out of your life, but it will remove the self-inflicted pain which is usually our biggest problem. Walk in the light of God’s word that you may live in as much peace as possible.

31. 1 Peter 4:18 – “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” No one deserves salvation. Thank God for grace, and don’t take grace lightly.

32. 1 Peter 4:19 — “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

– It takes faith to suffer and to return good for evil. Do you trust God enough not to vindicate yourself or demand justice for yourself? “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”

– It is sometimes hard to do what is right when everyone around you is doing wrong, but obedience is an act of faith and love. Obedience is a commitment to pursue faithfulness out of gratitude and reverence to our “faithful Creator” who hates sin of all kinds. The key to overcoming temptation is not developing greater will power but growing in greater love and appreciation for Jesus. Keep your eye on the prize, and you won’t see anything else.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 12 Oct 18: Today, show hospitality to others, particularly to the inhospitable by focusing intently on the reality of Jesus and the grace He shows you. When you notice that you don’t feel hospitable, take time to reflect upon that and truly consider what your feelings say about the condition of your heart. Pray for the love of Christ to compel you to greater love. (1 Peter 4:9-11)

DBRP – WEEK 41, Day 4, Thursday, 11 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=jer+10%2C+11%3B+proverbs+11%3B+1+pet+3

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 11 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 10:13-14 — “Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion.” The secular humanist’s knowledge of the world and men’s efforts to create their own kingdoms and security systems on earth are a delusion, based on false perception that they are in control and God isn’t. If God isn’t the author of what you are doing, it is more than a waste of time, it is a major setback, regardless any apparent near-term success.

2. Jeremiah 10:21 — “For the shepherds are stupid and do not inquire of the Lord; therefore they have not prospered, and all their flock is scattered.” Nations are destroyed when the political and religious leaders stop really listening to and following God. If a person isn’t following Jesus, they are leading everyone behind them astray.

3. Jeremiah 10:23 — “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” The Christian understands that God is in complete control of His life and determines His steps.

4. Jeremiah 11:3, 4 — “Cursed be the man who does not hear the words of this covenant that I commanded…. Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God.” God’s people cherish and follow His word. How you approach Bible study says a great deal about your actual relationship with God. If you can’t seem to find time for God’s word, what does that say about your actual life priorities and about in what you are actually placing your trust?

5. Jeremiah 11:14 — “I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.” If you don’t listen to and obey God, don’t expect Him to listen to your prayers.

6. Jeremiah 11:18 — “The Lord made it known to me and I knew; then you showed me their deeds.” God gives you His word and then reveals His truth in your life. You have to choose to what you pay attention.

7. Proverbs 11:3 – “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” A set of rules won’t help the person who doesn’t have the character to follow them.

8. Proverbs 18:9 – “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.” Likely we all spend too much of our time trying to fix what someone else messed up or broke due to pure negligence, complacency, or laziness. Small, seemingly insignificant, decisions to cut corners or disregard fundamentals have a huge ripple effect that affects many and can become catastrophic. Truth be told, too much of our time is also wasted fixing what we messed up or broke because of our bad habits: we don’t put something away where it goes, then later spend hours looking for it — hours which could have been used doing something productive, hours we will never get back. When we are not disciplined and diligent in our basic habits and practices, we suffer a huge opportunity cost and destroy our productivity; this is a sin that we must work on daily. God is very interested in our attention to detail in all that we do. Our professionalism ultimately glorifies Him. Lack of discipline, diligence, attention to detail, and professionalism dishonors Him.

9. Proverbs 11:18b – “…but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.” From Henry T. Blackaby — There are many ways to invest our lives, but none offers greater reward than devoting ourselves to the pursuit of righteousness. Every area of our lives should reflect the holiness of God that is ours by salvation: our thoughts, so that nothing we think about would be inappropriate for a child of God; our actions, so that our lives demonstrate that we serve a holy God; our integrity, so that we are above reproach in all our relationships. Are you taking God’s righteousness in your life for granted? Righteousness is something you must allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. Instead of sowing holy thoughts, are you allowing evil and sinful thoughts to grow in your mind? Are you allowing lust to grow unchecked within you? Does enmity, bitterness, jealousy, or unforgiveness remain in your life? Jesus said if we seek first God and His righteousness, everything else will follow (Matt. 6:33). There is great reward in sowing righteousness. What are you presently doing to plant holiness in your life? (1 Pet. 1:15). How are you putting righteousness in your mind so that your thoughts are holy? How are you cultivating righteousness in your relationships so that you maintain your integrity? Are you instilling righteousness in your activities so that your life is above reproach? If you want to harvest righteousness in your life tomorrow, you must plant seeds of righteousness today.

10. 1 Peter 3:2-4 — “…they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external… but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” Character is far more important than personality, popularity, and image. God judges character and the heart, not presentation.

11. 1 Peter 3:4 — “…a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
A gentle and quiet spirit is “very precious” in God’s sight, but is not the way of culture today. At one time not long, men of respect were called “gentlemen,” and women of noble character were referred to as “ladies.” Now these words are virtually meaningless. Who today prides themselves on a “quit spirit?” Note in 1 Peter that even when we are defending the faith, we are called to do it “with gentleness and respect.” You might recall that in Proverbs, Folly is described as “loud.” Proverbs also says, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit (Proverbs 15:4).” Of Himself, Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29).” Do you want to be like Jesus? You must be gentle with a quiet spirit.

— Galatians 5:22-24 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

— 1 Timothy 4:11 — Aspire to live quietly….

12. 1 Peter 3:8 — “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” The Christian promotes unity, not disunity. However, unity must be unity in Jesus. Read John 17 again.

13. 1 Peter 3:9 — “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” You are called and commanded to bless those who curse you, to return grace for abuse. This is a test of your faith.

14. 1 Peter 3:10-12 — “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” The Bible is so very clear, but we tend to create complex philosophy to explain away God’s clear commands and to justify or excuse our disobedience. Do you desire to see good days?

15. 1 Pet 3:13-17 — “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”

– No one likes a zealot, except God. Always stand for the truth, but do it respectfully, not to be liked but to reflect the character of Jesus.

– We are saved by faith, not by works. Obedience is the product of our faith, is how we show reverence for God, and is a testimony before the world. Our obedience is an act of love toward God and toward man; obedience is an instrument through which to build our character. Someone once said, “Pain is God’s chisel.” When I consider the pain I have had in my life, I realize that most of it was self-induced. My own sin has caused most (not all) of my pain. Even when I was the victim of others’ sin, my inappropriate response to their actions caused most of my suffering. Why suffer needlessly by walking outside of God’s Word? “Better… to suffer for doing good that for doing evil.”

16. 1 Peter 3:20 — “…when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.” God’s patience endured until only eight godly people remained. God displayed similar patience in Sodom and Gomorrah. We now live in a time of God’s patience. Will you be one of the few who remain faithful when everyone around you turns away from God? Remember, during the time of Noah, plenty of people were going to church, but their religiosity was empty.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 Oct 18: Today, focus on how you treat those who frustrate you. Make it your aim to show them mercy, grace, peace, and love. Seek to be a reconciler. (1 Peter 3:9)

DBRP – WEEK 41, Day 3, Wednesday, 10 October 2018

https://esv.literalword.com/?q=Jeremiah+8%2C+9%3B+proverbs+10%3B+1+peter+2

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 10 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 8:5 — “Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding?” Continually repeating sin signals a lack of genuine repentance and true fellowship with God.

2. Jeremiah 8:6 — “I have paid attention and listened, but they have not spoken rightly; no man relents of his evil, saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turns to his own course, like a horse plunging headlong into battle.” A person who is not guided by the Spirit is much like a senseless animal, goaded by an evil master, oblivious to the demise that awaits them.

3. Jeremiah 8:6 — “I have paid attention and listened, but they have not spoken rightly; no man relents of his evil.” The prayers of an unrepentant sinner are not effective, not because God can’t hear them but because He doesn’t honor them.

4. Jeremiah 8:7 — “Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD.” All of God’s earthly Creatures obey God and server their created purpose except people. People were created to love and serve God, but mankind has rebelled and subjected all of creation to the consequences of disorder and sin. God has given us His written word, further revealed by the embodiment of His perfect word in Jesus, along with the Counsel of the Holy Spirit, yet, we can’t seem to even find the time to read His word that we would even understand how to fulfill our earthly purpose. If we don’t even know what God’s word requires, how can we possibly serve Him? If God’s commands revealed in His word are not priority in our lives, we will not serve Him, and we have reckoned Him something less than God — this is cosmic treason.

5. Jeremiah 8:8 — “How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie..” You don’t really know God and don’t really have wisdom if you don’t obey God. To know God’s word and then disobey God’s word is far worse than having never known God’s word, and far worse still is teaching others to disobey God through your example of sin. Jesus said, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:1, 2)

6. Jeremiah 8:9 — “The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom is in them?”

– Proper respect for God and His word is the foundation of wisdom. Those who obey God’s word in love are wise. Many people are searching for some higher truth, endeavoring for more education, or seeking some special revelation beyond God’s written word, but they have rejected the most basic truths of God revealed in the Bible. For many Christians, the issue is not in the knowing, it is in the doing. If they would faithfully obey what they already know, they would be ready to receive more, and they would be on the path of wisdom and godliness. God’s word is easy to understand but hard to follow because the issue is not with the head, it is with the heart. The Biblical scholar, the academic, the mystic, the inspirational orator, they are no match for the simple, humble, obedient follower of Jesus who likely goes unnoticed by most.

– Any “wisdom” that deviates from the word of God is, in fact, a lie and sin. Contrary, to what Jeremiah prophesied against, 1 Peter calls us to live up to our calling as Priests. That’s right, you are a priest:

— 1 Peter 2: 4, 5 — As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

— 1 Peter 2: 9-12 — But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

– If you have ever asked “What does God want me to do with my life?” you need not ask anymore – as a Priest, “proclaim the excellence of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

7. Jeremiah 8:12 — “Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among the fallen; when I punish them, they shall be overthrown.” We don’t even realize how calloused our hearts have become and how desensitized we have become to sin. What is shocking is what is no longer shocking to us.

8. Jeremiah 8:14, 15 — “Let us go into the fortified cities and perish there, for the Lord our God has doomed us to perish and has given us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against the Lord. We looked for peace, but no good came; for a time of healing, but behold, terror.” The sinner will perish in his false security.

9. Jeremiah 9:1 — “Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!”

– A true prophet speaks from a heart of overwhelming compassion and concern for the sinner.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — Jeremiah was invited by God to be a weeping prophet. His call came during turbulent, agonizing times as his society suffered from pervasive moral and spiritual decay. The nation of Judah had turned so far from God that it was soon to face His fierce judgment. This was not a time for merrymaking but for weeping. God looked for someone He could mold into the kind of prophet needed for such a bleak time. He found Jeremiah. The cost to Jeremiah was intense; he sacrificed much of the freedom of his youth in order to be God’s messenger. He forfeited family and reputation. He endured misunderstanding, ridicule, and persecution. He was imprisoned and mocked by those to whom he had come to warn of God’s impending judgment. Satan will try to convince you that obedience carries much too high a price, but he will never tell you the cost of not obeying God. If you are to be used in God’s service you must expect to make adjustments in your life. Can you measure the distance between the throne room of heaven and a cattle shed in Bethlehem? How far is it from the Lordship of the universe to the cross? Don’t be deceived into thinking there is no cost involved in obedience. What adjustments is God asking you to make? Will you face the hardships and opposition that will come when you align your life with God’s will? Jeremiah had the deep satisfaction of knowing he was a faithful and beloved servant of God. Your reward will be the same when you choose to fully obey Christ, regardless of the cost.

10. Jeremiah 9:4-6 — “Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. Everyone deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves committing iniquity. Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit, they refuse to know me, declares the LORD.” Without God all relationships are doomed. Without God, society is doomed. God is love. God is the only source of love. Love is the foundation of trust. All relationships are based on trust. Where God is absent, love is absent, trust is unwarranted, and relationships are unstable at their foundations. A divided nation is full of people with divided hearts.

11. Jeremiah 9:13, 14 — “They have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice or walked in accord with it, but have stubbornly followed their own hearts… as their fathers taught them.” Your heart is inclined to selfishness; it is in your nature and has been taught to you since your childhood. God’s word reveals to you the difference between your natural inclinations and the will of God, and God’s word reveals our total dependence on the grace of God through Jesus as well as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, which is Jesus. As you walk in God’s word, you slowly develop a Christ-like character.

12. Jeremiah 9:23, 24 — “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.’” What is the measure of your success? It is truly knowing God and conformity to Christ in love and righteousness. All of your earthly accomplishments that aren’t inspired by love for God and that are truly intended to glorify God will be used by God for His purposes, but don’t bring credit to your life.

13. Proverbs 10:5 – “He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.” You build wealth when you don’t need it for the days ahead when you will need it. Likewise, you should build your spiritual strength for the days you will really need it. If you don’t build in advance, you won’t be prepared for the rainy days.

14. Proverbs 10:8 – “The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.” Some people want to say what they think; but wise people want to hear what God has to say about a matter. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. Trust in God, not in your own understanding.

15. 1 Peter 2:2, 3 — “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” A real encounter with God leaves you craving more, never fully satisfied.

16. 1 Peter 2:5 — “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.”

– You are a stone that can’t fulfill its purpose unless it is connected and oriented to the Cornerstone (Jesus) and unless it is also connected tightly to the other stones (fellow Christians). The isolated Christian who is not united with the church is also not joined with the Cornerstone of Jesus, regardless of what they might tell themselves. We learn to love Jesus more and more primarily through family and the church. No temple stone is independently special but rather gains value with the others. Every stone in the temple has its unique place, and they are all required for the integrity of the building. A stone that is missing or out of place is a sore sight to the architect.

17. 1 Peter 2:6 — “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious.” Unity is only possible when all of the stones are aligned with and connected to the Cornerstone, Jesus. Today, many people seek unity — unity in principles, ideas, culture, creed, nationality, etc., in order to achieve peace, but true unity can only be achieved around the Person of Jesus Christ (see John 17), and apart from Jesus, there can be no peace.

18. 1 Peter 2:8 — “They stumble because they disobey the word.” Don’t let anyone tell you that obedience to the word has been nullified by grace. Grace doesn’t cancel God’s word but rather empowers you, for the first time, to truly obey it in love rather than seeking to justify yourself through prideful obedience or self-justified disobedience. In fact, if you pursue obedience pridefully, you have already disobeyed the Great Commandment and the First Commandment.

19. 1 Peter 2:9 — “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

– You are a priest on earth. Are you a good priest, or do you still think that is someone else’s job? Priests may benefit from more education, but seminary is not a prerequisite to fulfill your calling from God.

– The Bible redefines race. Do you see yourself as part of the Christian race? Do you see yourself as a priest? Do you, first and foremost, identify yourself as part of the ‘holy nation’? Do you see your primary calling on earth as proclaiming “the excellencies of him who called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light”? Are you united with the people of God? Do you see Christians as ‘your people’, regardless of man-made social stratifications? If not, why not? God has called you to “seek first the Kingdom.” God’s Kingdom is now. Today, in Jeremiah, God says, “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23) Likewise, Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) Do you not understand that eternal life does not start when you die but rather started the moment you first knew Jesus? Do you not understand that the Kingdom of God is, in part, His people on earth awaiting for the triumphant return of Jesus from the Kingdom of Heaven to reign on a new earth with his servants?

— 2 Peter 3:13 — But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

— Revelation 21:1-4 — Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

— 2 Timothy 2:12 — if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;

— Revelation 20:6 — Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — If you are a Christian, you are a priest, chosen by God. As a member of the royal priesthood you have constant access to the King. If there is ever a need in your life, you don’t have to find an intermediary or enlist another priest in order to gain a hearing from the King. Your position as a royal priest allows you direct access. This privilege describes your position as a priest. However, priests also have a function. It is the responsibility of a priest to work within a priesthood. Scripture does not promote the practice of individual priests, each with a separate ministry. Rather, priests function together (Lev. 9:1). An unbiblical sense of individualism can isolate you from functioning within God’s royal priesthood as He intended. The priest represents God to the people, but he also takes the people’s concerns to God. Is there someone around you who desperately needs the intercession of one of God’s priests? Perhaps someone will only come to know God by seeing Him in your life. Our world hungers for an expression of Christ as He really is, living out His life through His people. It is dangerous to put our job above our calling by God. We are called to be priests first, and to hold a job second. When we get these out of order, everyone around us is denied access to the Father through us. God may have called you into a secular job as a vocation, but more importantly He has appointed you to be one of His royal priests.

20. 1 Pet 2:10-12 — “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people…. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

– Again, our nationality is Christian; our race is Christian. Our national mission is the proclaim Christ. We are strangers and ambassadors to earthy kingdoms.

– How you act either brings credit to God or discredits God. How terrible is it to misrepresent the God you were made to serve and to reveal to others?

21. 1 Peter 2:17 — “Honor everyone.” Honor who? Everyone. This is not hard to understand.

22. 1 Peter 2:19 — “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.” When we suffer maltreatment from the unjust, we demonstrate the grace of God which is the foundation of our salvation. Don’t resent persecution but consider it an act of worship and an opportunity to fellowship with Jesus.

23. 1 Peter 2:22-24 — “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” Jesus said that if we truly wanted to know Him, to “come after” Him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. This means we remain pure and obedient through life’s trials, and that we trust God with our fate through persecution, retuning only love, mercy, and grace to those who mistreat us, always pointing the offender to Jesus. Your goal for an offensive person is to show them Jesus with true love in your heart. Jesus is our example, and we must always remember as we are being persecuted that Jesus died on a cross for us though we did not deserve and though we had not even repented yet but rather remained in our sin. It is one thing for someone to dishonor you; it is quite another thing for you to dishonor the Creator of the Universe, the LORD Almighty, something you have done time and time again and continue to do. Jesus died on a cross for you. Are you more deserving of justice than Jesus? How can you demand justice for yourself while relying on mercy and grace from God? Think deeply on this today, and “live” by grace by showing grace.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 10 Oct 18: See number 23 above.

DBRP – WEEK 41, Day 2, Tuesday, 9 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=jer+6%2C+7%3B+proverbs+9%3B+1+pet+1

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 9 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 6:10, 11 — “To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it. Therefore, I am full of the wrath of the Lord; I am weary of holding it in.”

– The rebellious see God’s word as offensive. However, God’s messenger can’t contain the Spirit inside that must proclaim the requirement for repentance and salvation from God’s wrath. The messenger doesn’t seek to tone down God’s message or make it more accommodating to those engaged in sin. On the contrary, the prophet is tasked with testifying to the truth in stark contrast to the message of the world — “from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall.” (Jeremiah 6:13-15) God’s messenger can’t remain silent before sin or make like of what God considers detestable. Additionally, in response to God’s word, God’s people “conduct [them]selves with fear… holy in all [their] conduct, remembering that they “were ransomed from the futile ways.., not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:13-19) It is an unthinkable thing to treat to blood of Christ carelessly. The repentant will respond to God’s word without the aid of marketing schemes, sales pitches, big bands, or light shows. The rest won’t. It is the role of the messenger to be faithful to God’s word, regardless the response.

2. Jeremiah 6:13-20 — “For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’ Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them. Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it. What use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba, or sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing to me.”

– God’s people had become wholly corrupt while the religious leaders preached a “feel good” message. Abominations had become acceptable to God’s people, while God’s word was deemed outdated and irrelevant. God’s written Law had been rejected and replaced with religiosity. Social tolerance became more important than obedience to God’s word. This Old Testament prophecy is a warning to the church today as is 1 Peter that calls us to, based on the grace we have received, remain holy, fearful, pure, and obedient to God’s word which remains unchanged forever. This is not hard to understand. We are called to obedience without excuses. Many sins are now celebrated in our culture but must be rejected by God’s people.

— 1 Peter 1:13-25 — Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 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, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever. And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

– “Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown.” The more people practice sin, the more insensitive they are to their sin. What once would have shocked them no longer shocks them, and they lose all shame. Just look at what people accept today as entertainment.

3. Jeremiah 7:4 – “Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’” Claiming to be religious and going to church doesn’t make up for a person’s behavior which is a better revelation of what is truly in a person’s heart. God is not at all moved by unrepentant worship.

4. Jeremiah 7: 8-10 — “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations?” If someone thinks that grace through Jesus frees him or her to continue in sin without concern, that person may never have really received salvation through Jesus. Love is more powerful than the law and compels the Christian not to sin. (2 Cor 5:14) The only response to grace and saving faith is obedience, holiness, and joy. Any response to the sacrifice of Christ other than humble obedience and holiness leaves doubt as to what was actually received.

5. Jeremiah 7:16 — “As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.” God doesn’t honor the prayers of the unrepentant.

6. Jeremiah 7:23 — “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.” Jesus said it like this: “If you love me, you will obey me.” Obedience isn’t the path of salvation – we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus – obedience is the evidence of salvation, the fruit of salvation.

7. Jeremiah 7:24 — “But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.” To be your Savior, Jesus must be your Lord and Savior. It is impossible to both humbly surrender to Jesus and also to take Him for granted or to treat the blood of His sacrifice carelessly by continuing in sin.

8. Jeremiah 7:27 — “So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you.” Often, such as was the case with Moses, God sends His messengers to speak to a people He already knows will not listen. His word becomes a testimony against those who refuse to accept it. God’s word never returns void; it always accomplishes its purpose, whether to bless or to curse. You are Christ’s ambassador in this generation, called to proclaim the word of God, whether people will listen or not. Success for you is not measured in conversions but rather in commitment, in fidelity to your calling. Only the Holy Spirit can convict a person’s heart to receive salvation.

9. Jeremiah 7:27 — “This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.” There is no political hope for our nation apart from repentance and revival.

10. Proverbs 9:1 – “Wisdom has built her house.” Wisdom is orderly and industrious.

11. Proverbs 9:13 – “The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing.” Fools are loud, driven by emotion and passion, and lacking in self-control and gentleness.

12. Proverbs 9:17 — “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” Fools want something for nothing, take pleasure at the expense of others, seek self-gratification, have a weak sense of responsibility, and tell themselves that their selfishness can be kept to themselves without consequences. There is no such thing as secret sin, and everything done in the darkness will be exposed by the light.

Note: Here is a link to a short video overview of 1 Peter: https://youtu.be/WhP7AZQlzCghttps://youtu.be/WhP7AZQlzCg

13. 1 Peter 1:1 — “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.” Peter’s identity was in Jesus, not in what he did to make money or what he did as a hobby. He introduced himself as an apostle of Jesus. How do you introduce yourself to others?

14. 1 Peter 1:2 — “May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” Peter’s ambition was to multiply the Grace of Jesus on earth. What is your ambition?

15. 1 Peter 1:8 — “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” Your daily endeavor must be to grow in love for Jesus. You can’t obey who you do not trust, and you cannot trust who you do not know. The more you know Jesus, the more you will love Him, and love will impassion you to do far more than what you would do from mere duty based on rules. Only love can truly change your heart and life. A person close to Jesus is not only marked by obedience but also by great joy.

16. 1 Peter 1:14-16 — “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, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

– God calls you to a much higher standard than mere moralism — He calls you to holiness, Christ-likeness. This endeavor must be inspired by love.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — Your mind is a wonderful thing! You can memorize life-changing passages of Scripture that can undergird you in your daily life; you can meditate upon God’s Word, discovering His magnificent truths; you can discern between truth and falsehood; you can recall God’s past blessings. Some of God’s most effective servants were those who disciplined their minds for His service. Moses, educated in the best schools of Egypt, assembled the books of the Law for the Israelites. Isaiah used his scholarly mind to write an exalted prophetic book in Scripture. Paul learned under Gamaliel, the outstanding teacher of his day, and it was through Paul that God presented much of the theology found in the New Testament. Sadly, many Christians today do not exercise their minds to be of service to God. They allow others to do their spiritual thinking for them. If they can find their theology from a book, they will not bother to study God’s Word themselves. If a speaker makes an authoritative statement, they readily accept it without verifying whether it is biblical. Paul urged Christians to strive for maturity in their thinking (1 Cor. 14:20). He said there was a time when his spiritual thinking was immature, but he had prepared his mind to know and understand the great truths of God (1 Cor. 13:11). He had not allowed others to do his thinking for him. When you became a Christian, God renewed your mind (Rom. 12:2). Be certain to use your mind in a way that brings glory to God.

17. 1 Peter 1:22 — “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” Love comes from a pure heart. We are not perfected in purity or love, but this is the goal. Remember, God IS Love. We grow in love only by growing closer to Jesus, and we love others only as much as we emanate the love of Christ by our proximity. Read Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17. He desires us to become one with Him and the Father that we can love and become one with fellow believers. Your ‘oneness’ is the measure of your success on earth. Judge the fruit of the love in your life and meditate upon what it tells you about your oneness. Consider the level of your purity and holiness and meditate upon what that tells you about your oneness. Rather than simply trying to change your behavior today, focus on growing in oneness with Jesus, loving Jesus today with more of your heart.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 Oct 18: Endeavor to see yourself, first and foremost, as an ambassador for Christ, entrusted with the message and ministry of reconciliation, a multiplier of God’s grace and peace. Don’t allow yourself to lose spiritual perspective during your physical walk today. Be guided by the Spirit. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14; see 1 Peter 1:1, 2)

DBRP – WEEK 41, Day 1, Monday, 8 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 8 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 4:1 – “If you return, O Israel, declares the Lord, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable things from my presence, and do not waver, and if you swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.” For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: ‘Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.’”

– “If you return, O Israel, declares the Lord, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable things from my presence, and do not waver….” You are either going to follow Jesus or not. If you have decided to be a follower of Jesus, then do it; remove the things in your life that are compromising and do not waiver.

– We make light of sin. We make excuses for sin. We act like God doesn’t really care about sin. We think the grace of God makes sin a non-issue. We view sin as uncontrollable. But God’s word in Jeremiah and James holds us accountable for sin and challenges us to take a hard look at what is really in our hearts. James calls us to choose between friendship with the world or friendship with God. If you are a Christian and choose to “love” the world, the Bible calls that adultery! James says that in grace, we are to submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, and make the choice to draw near to God – this is an action. We must make the choice to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. To call yourself a Christian and live in casual sin is to be double-minded. “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.”

— “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded (James 4:1-8).”

2. Jeremiah 4:9, 10 – “’In that day, declares the Lord, courage shall fail both king and officials. The priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded.’ Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,’ whereas the sword has reached their very life.’”

– God holds BOTH religious leaders and political leaders accountable for the sins of the nation. We have much to say today about the state of our political leaders, but what about our religious leaders?

– The nation who has turned from God has filled itself with religious leaders who tell them what they want to hear instead of the truth and therefore are surprised when judgment comes.

3. Jeremiah 4:19 – “My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart!” God is pained by your sin, and punishes in anguish.

4. Jeremiah 4:22; 5:2, 5, 6, 12, 21, 22-24, 30, 31 — “’For my people are foolish; they know me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are ‘wise’—in doing evil! But how to do good they know not…. Though they say, ‘As the Lord lives,’ yet they swear falsely…. They know the way of the Lord, the justice of their God. But they all alike had broken the yoke; they had burst the bonds…. their transgressions are many, their apostasies are great…. When I fed them to the full, they committed adultery…. They have spoken falsely of the Lord and have said, ‘He will do nothing; no disaster will come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine….’Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not. Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me…. But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God….’ An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their own direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?”

– The ways of the world appear wise to the ungodly. They are out of touch with the wisdom of God. Many ‘religious’ people see themselves as good when God sees them as evil. Statistically, when looking at unbiblical social trends, those who sit in pews on Sunday, don’t look much different than those who don’t.

– God says that only fools don’t have a love relationship with Him.

– Jeremiah was not prophesying about non-believers, people who didn’t believe in God, didn’t have God’s word, or didn’t have the ability (spiritual eyes and ears) to understand God’s word. He was prophesying judgment upon God’s “people” and “children” who claimed to be godly but were living as they pleased rather than in love and obedience to God. They were committing spiritual adultery and telling themselves that God was good with it. There was no genuine reverence for God, and the church leaders were all preaching what made the people feel good about themselves rather than preaching repentance. What should we do in times like these? Today’s readings from James say, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19, 20).” Again, James’ comments are not directed at people outside of the faith but rather those who have the truth and have wandered from it. We desperately need Christians who are willing to bring lost sheep back into the flock where the Shepherd leads.

5. Jeremiah 5:2 — “Though they say, ‘As the Lord lives,’ yet they swear falsely.” Jesus said it like this: “Why do you call me Lord, and do not do what I say?” Talk is cheap. Obedience is the demonstration of faith, hope, and love.

6. Jeremiah 5:3 – “You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent.” God’s discipline is an opportunity to repent. Don’t continue to resist God’s discipline.

7. Jeremiah 5:19 – “And when your people say, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.’” God fits the punishment to the sin.

8. Jeremiah 5:27 – “Like a cage full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich.” Wealth does not prove you are in good standing with God.

9. Jeremiah 5:31 – “…the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?” God wants His messengers to deliver what He says, not what people want to hear.

10. Proverbs 8:12, 13 — “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” Wisdom is greater than knowledge – wisdom is knowledge rightly applied, which requires the Holy Spirit’s counsel. Wisdom involves not only knowing what is right but doing what is right; it involves self-control, self-discipline, and willing obedience. Many know what is right, but don’t have the heart to do what is right. You will only be willing to do what is right when God Himself is your goal, your prize, your crown, your greatest love, your life aim. Pride and arrogance are the product of a heart that places self over God, and your mouth reveals whether you love God and others most or yourself the most. God hates perverted speech, yes, hates.

11. Proverbs 8:17 – “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” If love for Jesus is not your motivation today, you won’t see what God wants you to see today. Your goal, whatever it is, influences how you see and judge everything else. For example, a parent who has lost a small child in a large crowd, will frantically search for the child, paying little attention anyone or anything else, with the exception of those they think might be able to help them find the child. When you are seeking a closer relationship with Jesus, worldly distractions become irrelevant.

12. Proverbs 8:34-36 – “Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.” You must learn to see life from God’s perspective, to be guided by His word, and to be of one mind with Him. We must learn to do what God would have us do rather than what we would desire to do. Often, we must dutifully obey God’s word until our desires more and more become His desires, until our heart truly desires to do what He desires us to do. This is a daily growth process. If we refuse to do what we know God has told us to do, our hearts will harden, and we will lose the desire to obey more and more.

13. James 5:5 – “You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence.” Self-indulgence is ungodly and worthy of God’s judgment.

14. James 5:7, 8 – “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” The Christian life is a lifetime of cultivating a godly heart, one day at a time, patiently waiting for the Day of the Lord.

15. James 5:7-11 — Patience is a godly virtue. When the Bible speaks of patience, it is talking about patience that waits beyond natural life if necessary.

16. James 5:9 – “Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.” Do you grumble? This is a sign of distance from Jesus.

17. James 5:11 – “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast.” A mature Christian is consistently Christ-like over time, steadfast, regardless the circumstances and with no need of praise.

18. James 5:14 – “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” Do your elders pray for you when you need it?

19. James 5:16b – “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” – From Henry T. Blackaby — God promises all believers that if we live righteously and pray fervently, our prayers will be effective and produce significant results. How do we treat a promise like this? We might argue, “But I do pray, and nothing happens!” Our problem is that we do not hold ourselves accountable to the Scripture. God’s Word says that prayer ought to accomplish much. If our prayer life is not accomplishing much, what should we do? If we are praying but seeing no results, should we conclude that this promise is untrue? Should we excuse this Scripture as impractical and unrealistic? Or should we examine ourselves to see if we meet its conditions? James says that fervent prayer avails much. Could it be that we are not as fervent in our praying as we should be? Fervent prayer means we do not quit easily. Fervent prayer means we purposefully spend sufficient time in intercession. Fervent prayer means we cry out to the Father, sometimes in tears, with our heart and soul. Fervent prayer comes as the Holy Spirit assists us in praying with groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26). According to James, our righteousness will ensure effective prayer. God’s standard of righteousness is different from ours, for He looks beyond our actions, even beyond our thoughts, directly to our hearts. How then should we hold ourselves accountable if our prayers are accomplishing little? If nothing happens when we pray, the problem is not with God. The problem is with us, for God’s word is absolutely reliable. If we adhere to what God requires, He will lead us to pray for things that align with His purposes, and God will answer our prayers in a mighty way.

20. James 5:16a – “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” – From Henry T. Blackaby — Confession is God’s provision to clear obstacles that hinder our relationships with God and with others. Confession is not just for those who don’t mind admitting their faults. Confession is a command, given to every Christian. James advised that when we sin, it is important for us to confess not only to God, but also to our fellow Christians. There is a tremendous freedom that comes as we openly acknowledge the sinfulness of our actions to others. If confession does not come out of repentance, it is merely admission, and not true confession. It is important to confess your sins specifically and not hide behind generalities. It is one thing to pray, “O Lord, forgive my sin.” It’s quite another to identify specifically in painful honesty. Whenever possible, confession ought to be made directly to those whom your sin has hurt. You are not to confess the sins of others but only your offenses. Confession is not a sign of weakness; it is evidence of your refusal to allow sin to remain in your life. Significantly, James linked confession with prayer. Your prayers will be hindered if you hold on to unconfessed sin. When James promised that the “effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” he did so in the context of confession. If you wish to have a powerful prayer life, you must regularly confess your sin. Only when there are no obstacles separating you from God and others will your prayers be effective. Pride will discourage you from admitting to others the sinfulness of your heart. A desire to please God will compel you to confess your sin and rid yourself of its oppressive burden.

21. James 5:19-20 – “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

– Saving a sinner from sin is one of life’s greatest accomplishments. You can be a hero today by bringing back a wanderer. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (Jude 1:20-23)

– From Henry T. Blackaby — One of the Christian’s greatest deterrents from sin is the life of another Christian. Some Christians maintain that it is none of their business if another chooses to sin. They are convinced that they are being judgmental if they respond to someone in sin. The world persuades them not to get involved, but this inaction prevents them from being an effective intercessor. As Christians we are aware that sin brings death (Rom. 6:23). Sin kills relationships, dismantles marriages, stifles joy, and destroys peace. When we see someone wander from the truth into error, how should we respond? When Jesus saw sin it broke His heart. He wept over entire cities as He saw them rejecting the truth (Matt. 23:37-39). He prayed fervently for His disciples to be strong when they were tempted (John 17). He warned those who were heading toward spiritual failure (Matt. 26:20-25, 34). Jesus was even willing to die to save people from their sins because He knew the devastation that sin causes. Jesus never stood idle as those around Him were led astray by their sin. He always took an active role in turning them back to God. “Minding your own business” will save you some discomfort, but it will not help a brother or sister who needs to return to the Lord. If you are truly aware of the grave consequences for those who continue in sin, you will be moved to weep even as Jesus wept. Pray fervently for your friend. That will safeguard your motives and prepare you to minister to him. Be alert, in the event that God asks you to confront your friend. If you do so, be loving and gentle lest you, too, be tempted (Gal. 6:1).

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 Oct 18: Focus on not grumbling today. (James 5:9)

DBRP – WEEK 40, Day 7, Sunday, 7 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 7 October 18:

1. Jeremiah 1:5 — “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” God had a plan for you before you were even born. When, where, and how you were born was providential. As with so many we read about in the Bible, you might have been born into unfortunate conditions, but consider Romans 8:28. John 9 tells the story of a man who was born blind and had spent his life as a beggar. The disciples question Jesus on whose sin was responsible for this man’s terrible fate. Jesus explains, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Jesus miraculously heals this man who ends up proclaiming truth to the Pharisees, glorifying God, and becoming an important part of God’s eternal word. You are special to God. Likewise, God cares about every unborn child and views them as equally valuable as anyone else, as evidenced in Exodus 21:22-25, where God’s law establishes the penalty for causing the death of an unborn child — “life for life.” Christians have a responsibility to protect the defenseless unborn.

– Psalm 139:13-16 – 13 — For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

– Jeremiah 29:11 — For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

– Psalm 82:3-4 — Give justice to the weak and the fatherless…. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

– Proverbs 31:8-9 — Open your mouth for the mute….

– Proverbs 24:11-12 — Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?

2. Jeremiah 1:7, 8 — “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. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.” God will take you out of your comfort zone and empower you to do what you couldn’t normally do because He wants to show both you and the world what He can do, not what you can do. He wants to bring glory to Himself, not to you.

3. Jeremiah 1:7, 8 — “…and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,” You have nothing to worry about if God has sent you; you have everything to worry about if He hasn’t.

4. Jeremiah 1:9 — “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.” God gave you His word to share with others. Proclaim Jesus, not morality; and use His words, not your own words.

5. Jeremiah 2:1 — “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride.” The Bible continually describes our relationship with God like a marriage and our sin like adultery. We tend to downplay our sin, but God doesn’t. When we downplay our sin, we downplay our grace, and we harden our hearts to the love of God. Are you still ‘Amazed by Grace’?

6. Jeremiah 2:2 – From Henry T. Blackaby — Even when our hearts grow cold toward God and our devotion to Him weakens, His love remains steadfast. We may forget God, but He remembers us. God was concerned because the people of Judah had allowed their hearts to drift far from Him. In a powerful moment, God shared His heart with His people, recalling what it was like when they first began loving Him. He remembered how they had loved Him, as a new bride loves her husband, with excitement and enthusiasm for the future. He recalled the kindness they had expressed as they willingly followed Him wherever He led them. God reminded them of the love they had once had for Him, so that the memory might rekindle feelings of devotion and their hearts might return to Him. If you do not guard our heart, you will grow cold in your love for Christ. A time may come when He approaches you and reminds you what your relationship was once like. Do you recollect the joy that permeated your life when you first became a Christian? Do you recall the youthful commitments you made to Him, pledging to do anything He told you to do? Do you remember the thrill you experienced each time you came to understand a new dimension of His nature? Spiritual memory is important. You may not realize how far you have drifted from God until you contrast the love you are expressing to Him now with that of earlier days. God has not changed. He is the same Person you gave your heart to when you became a Christian (Mal. 3:6-7). If your love for God is not as intense as it once was, return to Him. He will restore the intimate fellowship you once shared with Him.

7. Jeremiah 2:3 – “Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the Lord.” How do loving, protective parents act when strangers mistreat their children? How will God treat those who mistreat you? God watches over His children. Leave it to God to deal with those who mistreat you.

Jeremiah 2:6 – “They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, no man dwells?’” From Henry T. Blackaby — Christianity is an intimate, growing relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. It is not a set of doctrines to believe, habits to practice, or sins to avoid. Every activity God commands is intended to enhance His love relationship with His people. God designed worship for us to see Him in His glory and to respond appropriately; for many it has degenerated into “religion,” one more meeting to attend out of habit. God established the sacrificial system so that we, His people, could express our love to Him; but we often diminish our gifts to our Lord into futile attempts to appease Him and to pacify our guilty conscience. God gave us prayer so we could have conversation with Him, but we often distort this by “saying prayers” and hurrying off without ever listening to what is on our Father’s heart. God instituted His commandments as a protection for those He loves, but the commandments can become a pathway to legalism rather than an avenue for a relationship with our Father in which He protects us from harm. Religious activity apart from fellowship with God is empty ritual. The people of Jeremiah’s day were satisfied to have the ritual without the manifest presence of God. They became so comfortable with their “religion” that they didn’t even notice God’s absence. Is it possible to pray, to attend a worship service, or to give an offering yet not to experience the presence of God? It certainly is possible! And that has been the sad commentary on many a Christian experience. Don’t settle for a religious life that lacks a vital relationship to Jesus Christ. When God is present, the difference will be obvious.

8. Jeremiah 2:8 — “The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me.” Nations fall when the political leaders and the religious leaders stop fearing, honoring, and glorifying God. We tend to point the finger at politicians for our national decline. What about the pastors and priests? By the way, the Bible says that all Christians have the responsibilities of a priest. When the priests (Christians) transgress against God in disobedience, the salt loses its saltiness, and the light grows dim; the world decays and grows dark.

9. Jeremiah 2:13 — “For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Much of America has replaced God with secular humanism, a “cistern” philosophy that replaces hope in God with hope in an “enlightened” man. Too often, Christians, rather than proclaiming Jesus, proclaim a “Christian lifestyle” of morality and good deeds. Rarely will a Christian use the Name of Jesus in normal conversation, even more rarely the word repent. Our approach cannot hold water.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — There should never be “dry spells” in the Christian life. God said that He would be like an artesian well in the life of a believer. Artesian wells bubbled forth with a cold, fresh, never-ending supply of water from the depths of the earth, quenching any thirst and always satisfying. This is the picture of the spiritual refreshment that belongs to the person in whom the Holy Spirit resides. Have you ever heard people say they are experiencing a dry spell in their Christian life? What are they saying? Are they saying that the Lord ran out of water? It should never cross your mind that the fountain of living waters residing within you should ever be reduced to a trickle. You don’t need to run all over the country trying to find sources of spiritual refreshment. Conferences, retreats, and books can all bring encouragement, but if you are a Christian, the source of living water already resides within you. Have you exchanged the living fountain for man-made cisterns that cannot hold water? Why would you exchange an artesian well for a broken water tank? Artesian wells do not dry up. Broken cisterns do. If you are experiencing spiritual dryness right now, is it because you have been attempting to find your source of spiritual refreshment from man-made sources, which will fail you every time? Jesus extended an invitation to you when He said: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37). Have you been refreshed by the living water only Jesus can provide?

10. Jeremiah 2:20 — “For long ago I broke your yoke and burst your bonds; but you said, ‘I will not serve.’ Yes, on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed down like a whore.” In one sense, the sinful Christian is worse than the pagan because He has been forgiven, freed, and empowered and yet chooses spiritual adultery against the perfectly loving, faithful God – all this before a watching world.

11. Jeremiah 3:6-11 – Unrepentant people influence others to rebel and to remain unrepentant.

12. Jeremiah 3:12 – “Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the Lord; I will not be angry forever.’” God’s mercy and love give you reason and opportunity to repent. People are without excuse.

13. Jeremiah 3:15 — “‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” If a nation returns to the LORD, God will give them good political and religious leaders. Leaders are appointed by God, and He gives to glorify Himself.

14. Proverbs 7:2 — “Keep my commandments and live.” God pleads with people to obey Him, in part, for their benefit. Why choose to suffer needlessly?

15. Proverbs 7:6, 7 — “For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple.” God’s truth is revealed every day in the lives of people around you if you are paying attention and viewing life from the perspective of God’s word. Likewise, your life should reveal to others the truth of God’s mercy, grace, love, and holiness.

16. Psalm 117:1, 2 – “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!” Psalm 117 is the shortest Psalm in the Bible and is also the middle chapter of the Bible – short, succinct, powerful! Are you exited to praise the Lord this morning? It is all about perspective, your perspective on God and His love.

17. Psalm 118:5, 6, 14, 15, 17-24 – “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me…? The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous… I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord. The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” How wonderful that we have received the salvation of which the Psalmist could only prophesy! Now, how should be live? “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by… the builders, which has become the cornerstone (Acts 4:11).”

18. Palm 118:9 – “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”

– During a period of political rivalry, it is important to explain to people that the hope of the nation is God, not politicians. No matter who is elected, how strong the economy is, or how strong the military is, nothing can protect the nation that isn’t protected by God. National defense is best achieved through repentance and revival.

– Jeremiah answered God’s call to prophesy against his own government. His faithfulness to God appeared to be treason to his earthly king, and he was imprisoned, persecuted, and exiled; yet Jeremiah pleaded with his country to follow God’s ways, not the politicians. Jeremiah was just a young man who initially lacked confidence, but God said to him, “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. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord…. Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah was not called to act under his own wisdom, strength, talent and skill; he was called to act under the power and authority of God. Under the authority of God, Jeremiah was “set… over nations and over kingdoms… to overthrow.” Likewise, Jesus gave us the Great Commission to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you;” and Jesus placed these two bookends on that commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Like Jeremiah, we, as a ‘priestly kingdom’, have been set over the nations by the authority of the KING of kings and through his power, not ours. The Ancient Prophets had a glimpse of us long before we existed – “Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the children of man. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver. Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off.” (Micah 5:7-9) Like Jeremiah, using weapons that are not of this world (not of flesh), we are called to “destroy strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4) It is a global insurgency as we transform hearts across the planet, destroying “arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and [taking] every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) Our message as Christ’s ambassadors is the same as it has always been — “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) Are you ready to join in the Great Victory? Or will you be like the tens of thousands who walked away from Gideon’s Army in the face of seemingly impossible odds only to miss out on the incredible experience of the power of God at work? God is inviting us to be a part of what only He can do, to step in faith, knowing that our power is wholly insufficient (the definition of faith). This is what Jesus did with the disciples when he sent them out to heal – “And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.” However, when they proved unable to heal (despite the power and authority given to them), Jesus explained the problem — “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?… Because of your little faith [you could not heal]. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (see Matthew 17) If we fail to rise up like lions, it is not because we lack the authority and Holy Spirit power; it is because we lack the faith. Faith grows every time to take another step in faith. Through baby steps, we eventually learn to stride.

19. Psalm 118:18 – “The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.” God disciplines but never gives you what you really deserve, which is death, eternal death. Don’t despise the Lord’s discipline, which is the loving Father’s way of maturing you and conforming you to the image of His Son, Jesus.

20. Psalm 118:19 – “Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.” Only God can open the gates of righteousness to you; give thanks for the grace you have received in Jesus.

21. Psalm 118:22 – “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Again, this is Jesus.

22. Psalm 118:29 – “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” Salvation should make you rejoice every day.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 7 Oct 18: Dedicate today to giving thanks for all that God has done for you, and proclaim His love and faithfulness to as many as you can today.

DBRP – WEEK 40, Day 5, Friday, 5 October 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 5 October 18:

1. Isaiah 63:8, 9 — “And he became their Savior. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” Jesus was afflicted for the afflicted, offering salvation, redemption, love, and the hope of restoration and eternal life for those who would turn to Him. Let Jesus carry you.

2. Isaiah 63:10 – “But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.” They had access to the Holy Spirit, but grieved the Holy Spirit, becoming enemies of God. Horrifying!

3. Isaiah 63:14 — “So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name.” Never forget that, ultimately, it is not about you. Your purpose is to glorify God, and you do this by displaying a relationship with Jesus to others. If you focus on your relationship with Jesus, you won’t have to worry about proving it — it will be self-evident.

4. Isaiah 64:3 — “When you did awesome things that we did not look for….” God will bless you far beyond your imagination. God will answer your prayers far beyond your requests. He knows what is best for you; you don’t. Trust God to surprise you with more than you imagined.

5. Isaiah 64:5-7 — “You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.” Even what we believe is pure is filthy in God’s eyes. We are totally dependent on God’s grace. We are not capable of righteousness apart from salvation through faith in Jesus and the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

6. Isaiah 64:6 — “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” Key to our relationship with God is understanding how wholly unworthy we are of His love, mercy, and grace; how insignificant we are before His Majesty; and how Magnificent He is. The greater you understand your own humility compared to His Majesty, the greater you will appreciate and glorify His love.

7. Proverbs 5:23 — “He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.” The first level of leadership, the foundation for all other leadership is leading self (which is actually demonstrating fidelity in following Jesus). Another word for self-leadership is discipline or self-control (a spiritual fruit). Self-leadership must be continuous, and if it fails, the person fails in all leadership at the foundational level. A person without self-control is completely untrustworthy and cannot lead others. Good leaders know the way and show the way. God leaders know Jesus, follow Him, and show others how to know Him and follow Him. If your leader is not following Jesus, he is leading you astray. If you are not faithfully following Jesus, you are leading others astray. As a leader, you are either with Jesus or against Him.

8. James 4:1-8 — “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

– Again, James reinforces the theme of self-control that comes through the Spirit. Jesus calls us to deny self, but quarrels always include a degree of selfishness and a lack of self-control which is evidence of your submission to the Spirit within you (see Galatians 5). James challenges you to consider the selfishness you display in quarrels. Your responsibility is not to control the other person or their actions. Your responsibility is to control yourself by being one with Jesus. Warning, self-examination is important and Biblical — “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5) Test yourself, but do not judge, or condemn yourself — “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself” (1 Corinthians 4:3). You can’t fix what you aren’t willing to be honest about, and you must strive to be conformed to the image of Christ, but in the process, don’t focus on the reality of who you are, focus on the reality of Jesus, the grace you have received through Him, and the unimaginable love God has for you, just as you are. Fix your eyes on Jesus more and more – only by seeing Him clearly can you even hope to rightly see self, and only by seeing Him clearly can you rest in His love – inspection not introspection.

– “You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” Do you ask God for what you want? If so, what is the motivation behind your requests? Are you still selfishly motivated though Jesus tells you that the first step towards following Jesus is to deny self? Again, James is challenging you to consider your heart and relationship with God, rather than blaming circumstances or others on your lack of peace. Make Jesus your true passion, and replace your worries with joy in Him.

– We often fight with others because we are actually fighting against God and the calling He has given us. As a priest on this earth, do you take responsibility for maintaining peace and interceding for those who sin? Do you understand that you walk as Christ’s ambassadors and that ambassadors never represent themselves? You can’t proclaim the gospel of grace while you aren’t displaying the gospel of grace when offended. God knows He is sending you out to hurting people who hurt people, and He knows that they are going to hurt you. His charge for you is to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him in the moment. God is giving you an opportunity to fellowship with Christ in His suffering for the sinful. Don’t get in arguments because of your pride; your pride is always counter to God’s will for your life of surrender and humility. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, God has empowered you to overcome your natural passions that war within you, but you must “submit yourselves to God [and] resist the devil.” Part of the reason why God intentionally places difficult people in your life is to reveal the truth of what is in your heart, to give you a greater appreciation of the grace you have received, and to teach you how to love others. No one can cause us to be angry, bitter, or jealous; we do that to ourselves. We may be tempted outwardly, but we don’t have to be tempted inwardly. Quarrelling is foolish and makes you or the issue at hand the focus rather than Jesus. God has called you rise above it to win souls.

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

— Proverbs 16:32 — Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

— Ecclesiastes 7:9 — Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.

— 2 Timothy 2:23-24 — Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.

— Matthew 5:22 — But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
— Philippians 2:14-16 — Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

— 1 Corinthians 6:7 — To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

9. James 4:4 — “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” God compares the worldly Christian to an adulterer. Love and fidelity are inseparable. Will you be faithful to Jesus for faithful to the world? Who will you REALLY follow today? Will you chase after what everyone else is chasing? Will you get consumed in the worries of the world, or will you walk with Jesus? If you walk with Jesus you will have to walk away from the crowd.

10. James 4:7-8 — “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Submit, resist, draw near! Purify your heart! Be double-minded no longer. This is a life choice. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) Being close to God is a choice that takes effort on our part.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — There may be times when God seems far away. You may feel as if your prayers go unheard. James said there is a simple reason for this and a solution. If you are far from God, it is because your sin has separated you from Him. God is unchanging. His character stays absolutely holy. His faithfulness remains constant; it is we who change. We allow sin into our lives. We choose our own direction. We spend less and less time with Him in Bible study and prayer. Then one day we realize that we have gradually grown distant from God. The solution, according to James, is straightforward. We are to draw near to God. As we realize our need to be closer to the Father and we begin to return to Him, He meets us even as the father hurried to greet his prodigal son (Luke 15:20). Drawing near to God requires you to take two actions. First, you must cleanse your hands (Isa. 1:15). You must cleanse your way of living. If you have been actively engaged in sin, you must renounce it. If you have done anything to offend or hurt someone, you must make it right. Second, you are to purify your heart (Ps. 51:10). You must make certain your attitudes, thoughts, and motives are right in God’s eyes and are in harmony with God’s word. Jesus warned that you cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). It is impossible to love anything else as much as you love God and still please Him. If God seems distant, do what is necessary to cleanse your hands, purify your heart, and draw near to Him.

11. James 4:11, 12 — “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” Your mission is to bring others closer to Jesus, not to drive them away. God has a heart for every sinner. Show no partiality to anyone. Share the Good News to everyone in love. Speak the truth about sin, but speak the truth in love — this is true love. Your job is not to promote condemnation but rather reconciliation.

12. James 4:13, 14 — “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Today is the day to submit, resist, draw near, purify, and glorify Jesus to others. Today is the day to love others as an act of love for Jesus. Don’t count on tomorrow or put off loving others today in hopes of doing it tomorrow.

13. James 4:16, 17 — “As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” All sin involves thinking more highly of yourself than you ought, placing your own wants and desires ahead of the commands of Jesus. Using the word of God, the Holy Spirit convicts you of what you ought to do. If you choose instead to do what is most comfortable, convenient, or desirable to you, you sin, and you risk hardening your heart to sin.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — It is never a minor thing to know God’s will and not do it. God calls this sin. We can make excuses for our lack of obedience: “I’m just not ready yet” or “I’ll do it later!” or “I don’t think it will make a difference” or “I can’t afford to!” We rationalize, we procrastinate; yet, in God’s eyes, rationalization and procrastination are nothing more than disobedience. At times we deceive ourselves into thinking that good intentions equal obedient actions. They do not. A good intention without corresponding activity is disobedience. When we encounter God and He gives us a direction, it is not enough to write down the date in our spiritual journal, or even to tell our friends and church of our “decision.” God’s call is not to “make a decision” but to obey! Deciding to obey is not equal to obeying! (Matt. 21:28-31). Loudly affirming the necessity of obedience is not the same as obeying (Luke 6:46). Making commitments, even publicly, is not the same as obeying our Lord. Substituting our own good works is not the same as obeying. God told King Saul to wait until the prophet Samuel arrived. Instead of waiting, Saul took matters into his own hands and offered a sacrifice. Saul discovered, to his deep dismay, that other acts of supposed piety do not take the place of obeying a clear command from God (1 Sam. 15:22). As with Saul, God expects you to obey everything exactly as He tells you. Only obedience satisfies God’s desire for obedience!

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 Oct 18: Meditate upon today’s readings and endeavor to surrender the day to Jesus, doing only what He would have you do, for Him and not for yourself.

DBRP – WEEK 40, Day 4, Thursday, 4 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=isa+61%2C+62%3B+proverbs+4%3B+james+3

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 4 October 18:

1. Isaiah 61:1 — “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

– See Luke 4:18 where Jesus proclaims that He is the fulfillment of the prophetic verses of Isaiah. Jesus later tells His disciples (including today’s disciples) that they have been given the Spirit and have been anointed to continue brining the Good News, to bind the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty through Jesus, and to set the captives free. With all power and authority, Jesus called us to the Great Commission of making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey. You have been anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power.

— 2 Corinthians 1:21 — And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,

— 1 John 2:20 — But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

— 1 John 2:27 — But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

— Revelation 3:18 — I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — God’s timing is perfect! When He speaks, the time to respond in obedience is now. We often act as if we have all the time in the world to obey Him, but history doesn’t wait on our commitments. There is no such thing as postponing a decision with God. Either we obey, or we disobey. It is either faith or unbelief, obedience or disobedience. When God announces that now is the acceptable time, what you do next is critical. How often people have been unprepared when a word came to them from the LORD. God said, “Now is the time for you to respond to Me” and their response was, “But I’m not ready. I have some things I need to do first. I’m too busy!” (Matt. 8:21). God’s timing is always perfect. He knows you, and He is fully aware of your circumstances. He knows all that He has built into your life until now, and He extends His invitation knowing that His resources are more than adequate for any assignment He gives you. That is why Scripture tells us God is concerned with our heart. If we do not keep our heart in love with Jesus, our disobedience when God speaks could affect the lives of others. When God speaks it is always out of the context of eternity. We don’t have to know all the implications of what He is asking. We just have to know that it is a word from almighty God. “Now” is always the acceptable time to respond to the Lord!

2. Isaiah 61:3 — “They may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD.” Be a mighty oak of righteousness in the LORD.

3. Isaiah 61:8 — “For I the LORD love justice;” We forget this sometimes. Through grace, we have received freedom as described in Isaiah 61:1,2, but this isn’t a freedom to sin but rather a freedom to live justly, to live obedient, holy, and pure lives that serve others and glorify God. We have been given the freedom and authority to defend justice.

– Romans 8:21 — that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

– 2 Corinthians 3:17 — Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

– Galatians 5:1 — For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

– Galatians 5:13 — For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

– 1 Peter 2:16 — Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

– 2 Peter 2:19 — They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

– Titus 2:15 — Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

– Colossians 2:10, 15 — and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority…. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

5. Isaiah 61:8 – “I hate robbery and wrong.” You cannot love Jesus without hating sin.

6. Isaiah 61:10 — “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” Jesus covers over your sin, and clothes you with His righteousness so that you can stand before the judgment of the Father, acceptable and approved.

7. Proverbs 4:2 — “Do not forsake my teaching.” Many pray, seeking a word and direction from God, special revelation, but they have not taken seriously and to heart the word God has already provided in the Bible, general revelation. Be faithful to what God has already said, and watch God work in your life.

8. Proverbs 4:7 — “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.” If you want to be wise, you have to work at it through the disciplines of discipleship. Your daily disciplines reveal what you really want. God does not just drop wisdom into the lap of the half-hearted.

9. Proverbs 4:14-15 — “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.” Dedication to God is a complete life change that is as much about what you choose not to do as it is what you choose to do. You will have to walk away from the things everyone else accepts as normal and acceptable — God’s standard for you is much, much higher. God’s word says that all Christians are clergy, priests, and saints, but we don’t act like it.

10. Proverbs 4:18, 19 — “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” Each day, people are going further down that path they have chosen, whether on a journey closer to Jesus or a journey further away, a journey closer to light or a journey closer to darkness, closer to life or closer to death. Those being sanctified shine brighter and brighter until death or Christ’s return. Your last day on earth should be your best day – strive for that.

11. James 3:8 — “No human being can tame the tongue.” The tongue reveals the heart. Only God can change the heart; only God can tame the tongue. Your will power will never be enough. Self-control is the last listed fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5. It is not the fruit of intellect or personal will power. If you have trouble taming your tongue, it is a problem with your relationship with Jesus, not a problem with your education, your upbringing, or your force of will. You can try to wrestle yourself; theoretically, that would be an even match, but the sinful you has had far more training, practice, and development than the virtuous you. Turn that fight over to the Holy Spirit – no contest.

12. James 3:9-12 — “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” How you treat others reveals how you really feel about God. You can’t honor God while you are dishonoring others. God is the God of truth, not merely words. What you say and what you do both must be true, flowing from a heart of genuine love. If your fruit is wrong or your ‘water’ bad, you need to go to the source — examine your relationship with Jesus. Many people consider themselves to be ‘spiritual,’ and ponder and pontificate on spiritual things, but Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) The truth of your heart is revealed in what you say and what you do.

13. James 3:13 — “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” Understanding is not measured in book knowledge, oratory skills, dissertations, or titles, but rather in the nine fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23): love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness [gentleness] and temperance [self-control], along with the absence of the works of the flesh which are manifested in the three areas of sex, religion, and relationships with others — “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” (Galatians 5:19-21) Today, James points out that teachers should be model fruit bearers rather than mere scholars. Unless you have proven your understanding by your fruit, your gentleness, and your self-control, you should not be teaching, regardless of how much Bible you think you know and how smart you think you are. Jesus called the fruitless herald of Bible knowledge a “false prophet” whose fruit would eventually reveal the truth of the person. James says that what comes out of our unguarded mouths is usually the first indicator of what is really in our hearts, then our deeds will follow suit. Today, James, when discussing true understanding, first calls out the fruit of ‘meekness’ in contrast to ‘jealousy’, ‘selfish ambition’, and ‘boastfulness’. Meekness is not weakness; it is inner strength which flows from God. The word ‘meek’ comes from the Greek word prautēs (prah-oo’-tace). Prautēs is used in the New Testament to describe three attitudes: submissiveness to the will of God (Colossians 3:12), teachable-ness (James 1:21) and consideration of others (Ephesians 4:2). It is an inwrought grace of soul, a temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. It is that humble and gentle attitude that is patiently submissive in every offense while being free of any desire of revenge or retribution. It is that inner, ‘gentle strength’ that cannot be taught that enables us to deny self, carry our cross, and follow. It is applied humility. Of the nine fruits of the Spirit, this is one does not apply to God the Father. The Old Testament never refers to the Father as being meek, and in the New Testament only the Son is spoken of as meek, and that only in His incarnation. Jesus was “gentle [prautēs] and humble in heart.” (Matthew 11:29; 21:5; 2 Corinthians 10:1) Like their Lord, believers are to be meek and gentle (1 Timothy 6:11) and to wear these attributes like a garment (Colossians 3:12). By definition, prautēs has nothing to do with ‘jealousy’, ‘selfish ambition’, and ‘boastfulness’. The meek teacher never draws attention to himself but always points to Jesus. It is never ‘I’ or ‘me’; It is always ‘He’.

14. James 3:14-18 — “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” Again, notice that bitterness, jealousy, and selfishness are heart issues that corrupt behavior. Heart issues are spiritual issues resulting from a relationship problem with Jesus. Also, note that wisdom comes from above. Earthly ‘wisdom’ is actually demonic, a false, deceptive substitute for the wisdom that can come only from God through Jesus. How do you know if you have real wisdom or demonic wisdom? Real wisdom honors God, not self, and produces purity, peacefulness, gentleness, reasonableness, mercy, impartiality, and sincerity in your life. Use these attributes to test your own wisdom and the wisdom of others. The world is full of smart, talented, funny, attractive, and powerful people, but the world is desperately lacking truly wise people. You can help fill that void by committing to be a true follower of Jesus. What is the first step to following Jesus? Jesus answers that question: “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself….'” (Mark 8:34)

15. James 3 — “Not many of you should become teachers.” Everyone wants to be a teacher. Best to point to God’s word, and let the Holy Spirit be the teacher. We tend to interpret God’s word distorted by our own motives, often without even realizing it; and we like to glorify ourselves when we teach rather than focusing all attention on Jesus — we want credit and honor. Even Moses, the humblest of men attempted to share glory with God when He struck the rock twice. His pride made him an unworthy teacher at that moment. Just communicate God’s word directly, pointing solely to Jesus, and trust the Holy Spirit to convict hearts.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 4 Oct 18: Today, test your ‘wisdom’ by evaluating your selflessness, purity, peacefulness, gentleness, reasonableness, mercy, impartiality, and sincerity. (James 3:14-18)

DBRP – WEEK 40, Day 3, Wednesday, 3 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=isa+59%2C+60%3B+proverbs+3%3B+james+2

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 3 October 18:

1. Isaiah 59:1, 2 — “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation, between you and your God.” Sin separates, gets in the way of a right relationship with The Holy God. If you are a Christian, you have been saved by faith in Jesus, your sins have been forgiven, “and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” (Acts 13:39) However, in salvation, you were called to sanctification – “because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13) “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” (1 Timothy 4:10) Obedience to God isn’t the condition for salvation it is the fruit or evidence of salvation, not the path to salvation but the path of sanctification, being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) and knowing Him more and more each day (John 17:2), that we would have the fullness of joy in Him (John 15:11). In our fellowship with God, the Bible says our sin can grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesian 4:30), quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19), and cause us to get out of step with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Do not let sin separate or get in the way of your fellowship with God.

– John 3:36 — “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

– Galatians 5:16-26 (Keep in Step with the Spirit) — But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

2. Isaiah 59:8-13 – “The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace. Therefore, justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men. We all growl like bears; we moan and moan like doves; we hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: transgressing, and denying the Lord, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.”

– It is our own sin that denies us peace, blinds us, and separates us from God.

– “We hope for justice, but there is none.” A person or nation cannot expect blessings from God while remaining in disobedience.

– “For our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: transgressing, and denying the Lord.” When we sin, we are in essence denying the LORD at that moment.

3. Isaiah 59:15, 20 — ” The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. and turning back from following our God…. ‘And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,’ declares the Lord.” No one could save the world trapped in the guilt of sin but God Himself, Jesus, the One without sin. Jesus is the only Redeemer, the Redeemer to those “who turn from transgression” as the evidence of redemption. Those who habitually and willfully continue in sin do not know Jesus as revealed by their behavior. Christians still sin but continually bear the fruit of sanctification, not holy perfection but holy direction.

– Luke 6:43 — For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,

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

4. Isaiah 60:2 — “For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.” Jesus is a bright light in a very dark world.

5. Isaiah 60:15 — “Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic forever, joy from age to age.” The age of persecution is temporary, followed by majesty in Jesus. Will you be worthy of majesty after persecution for the name of Jesus?

6. Proverbs 3:3-7 — “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” Simple and powerful words from today’s Proverbs. Ecclesiastes 7:29 states: “This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.” Our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, but we chase after folly so easily and cause so much unnecessary pain for ourselves and others. Today, recommit to being faithful with every moment, driven by love for the Lord rather than anything else. When you inevitably fall short, give thanks that you remain in a state of grace, get back up, try again, and grow in spiritual maturity (sanctification). Babies fall a lot before they learn to walk, and walking is simply controlling a continual fall forward. Learn more and more to walk with God.

7. James 2:1 — “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” Partiality is a sin because it involves viewing others from your selfish perspective rather than from God’s perspective. It is the first form of judging others wrongly.

8. James 2:10 – “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” Only by seeing lawlessness from God’s perspective can we get a true sense of how terrible sin is before a Holy God. Only by understanding how guilty we are and how hopeless our condition as sinners do we truly appreciate the Cross of Christ and the mercy that we have received. Only then are we inspired by grateful love to truly obey from the heart and to show grace and mercy to other hopeless sinners.

9. James 2:12, 13 — “So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

– Many ‘Christians’ act like grace is freedom from the consequences of sin rather than acting like grace is the freedom not to sin. It is a much graver thing to be judged under the law of liberty rather than to be judged under the written law. What is left to be said of the person who accepts the sacrifice of the Son of God for their sins and then turns around and sins unremorsefully? The unsaved cannot help but sin and haven’t the power of the Spirit and of love, but the saved who live by faith also live by love which by default hates the sin that God hates. No one should be more horrified by sin than the Christian.

– “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” God will treat you the way you treat others. Do you rely on mercy from God for your transgressions while demanding justice be imposed on those who have offended you?

10. James 2:19, 20 — “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!”

– Many who claim to be Christian don’t even have a demon-level of faith — they don’t even shudder. Believing in Jesus isn’t the same as having a saving faith in Jesus, trusting, following, and loving Jesus. The Great Commission does not call us to go into the world and make “believers”; it calls us to make “disciples”, disciplined, followers of Christ who obey Him out of love. Obedience is not the path to salvation but rather the evidence of salvation. “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.” (Proverbs 20:11)

11. James 2:26 – “Faith apart from works is dead.” True faith is revealed by its fruit. We are saved by faith, not by works; but a faith without works is no faith at all. We are saved by faith alone, but not a faith that is alone.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 Oct 18: Today, focus on showing no partiality to anyone for any reason, whether it be status, personality, attractiveness, likeability, influence, etc. See everyone through the eyes of Jesus. Everyone needs Jesus equally, and you are His Ambassador. Don’t short change anyone the message of the Gospel for any reason. (James 2:1)

DBRP – WEEK 40, Day 2, Tuesday, 2 October 2018

http://esv.literalword.com/?q=isa+57%2C+58%3B+proverbs+2%3B+james+1

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 2 October 18:

1. Isaiah 57:1 – “The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity.” A corrupt nation turns it’s back on religious persecution.

2. Isaiah 57:5 — “You who burn with lust among the oaks, under every green tree, who slaughter your children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks?” The unrighteous nation that uses abortion as birth control will be judged by God in a terrible way.

3. Isaiah 57:15 — “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Relationship with God starts with a contrite heart.

4. Isaiah 57:21 – “’There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’” God said it; that settles it. Peace only comes from God, period.

5. Isaiah 58:2-4 – “Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God. ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.”

– God does not bless or draw near to willful disobedience. Why is the church so powerless today? Disobedience. Why does revival tarry? Disobedience. God will not be mocked by those who claim to seek Him but don’t obey Him.

– “Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure.” God knows what self-centered religion looks like – He is not fooled.

– “Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.” How you treat others reveals the truth about how much you love and honor God. Following Jesus requires denying self and taking up your “cross” in relationships.

– “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” (John 4:23) “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27) “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) There is an appearance of godliness that has no power – among those who claim to seek the Lord daily but, in reality, are only pursuing blessings from God for their own prideful purposes. These are they who pain themselves in pursuit of religious activities with the wrong heart and wrong motives, believing that their self-glorifying piety will earn them favor from God (not to mention the respect and praise of men). Self-righteous acts of self-denial (like fasting with the wrong heart) are presented as holiness. However, God sees beyond the deeds into the heart. And eventually a person’s deeds will expose the truth of their hearts even to men. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7, 8) Those who proudly proclaim the name of Christ, actively participate in their church activities and yet fail to keep themselves “unstained from the world” are “double-minded… unstable in all [their] ways… [and] must not suppose that [they] will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:7) Jesus gave us the steps to discipleship: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23) This is an all or nothing proposition.

— Matthew 6:24 — No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

— Luke 11:23 — Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

— Revelation 3:16 — So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

— Mark 10:21 — “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

— Luke 9:62 — Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

6. Isaiah 58:5, 7 – “Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself?… Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house…?” Once again, the first step to following Jesus is denying self. The next step is sacrificing for others daily, sometimes tangibly and sometimes emotionally. We demonstrate our love for God by how we love others, particularly those who can’t or won’t reciprocate. We received unmerited grace from God as the supreme act of His love. When we give unmerited grace to others out of love, we are living out the Gospel.

– Matthew 25:40 — And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

– Matthew 25:45 — Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

– 1 John 2:10 — Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.

– 1 John 3:10 — By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

– 1 John 3:16 — By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

– 1 John 3:17 — But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

– 1 John 4:20 — If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

– 1 John 4:21 — And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

7. Isaiah 58:9 – “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer.” When you truly call to God from a humble, repentant heart, He will answer.

8. Isaiah 58:6-14 — God demands obedience before sacrifice and religion.

9. Proverbs 2:1-6 – “… then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God….” Read Proverbs 2:1-5 and find out how to understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

Note: Here is a link to a video overview of James — https://youtu.be/qn-hLHWwRYY

10. James 1:1 – “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…” James identified himself as a servant of Jesus Christ. How do you identify and introduce yourself?

11. James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Wisdom comes only from God.

12. James 1:8 — “He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” The sinful Christian is double-minded.

13. James 1:12 — “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.̶