SCRIPTURE FROM: Job 1:4-5 (CEV)
TEXT: 4 Job’s sons took turns having feasts in their homes, and they always invited their three sisters to join in the eating and drinking. 5 After each feast, Job would send for his children and perform a ceremony, as a way of asking God to forgive them of any wrongs they may have done. He would get up early the next morning and offer a sacrifice for each of them, just in case they had sinned or silently cursed God.
OBSERVATION: The first three verses of this book introduces Job as an honest and upright man of God, then immediately goes into these two verses. I would say that this is a strong indication of the special kind of man that Job was. When we say that we are followers of the Word of God, wouldn’t it be awesome if we took to heart some of the great things spoken of by precious saints of God in the Bible? What a better world this would be….
APPLICATION: I’ve heard people say that they would attend church with, or listen to one preach, if this certain old gentleman was speaking, but if it was going to be this other person, whom they classified as a ‘hypocrite’, then they will stay far enough away from that church. So what is it that turns a man’s head toward you, and willing to listen to your testimony, or turn away from you because of the stench of deceit, sin and disregard? Well, I wouldn’t dare say that there are many of us that could live up to the qualities of Job, but I am convinced that each of us could quickly size up an individual in the first few minutes of speaking with them, or being around them. After all, think about Job and try to place yourself in his shoes. Try inviting your kids over each morning after their late night of partying the night before, and have you a good old prayer meeting over those kids! There is no indication that Job criticized his children, nor accused them of any wrongdoings, for anything they may have said or done, but he simply took them before the throne of God and asked Him for forgiveness for his kids, in case they did anything that displeased God the night before. Friends, what if we cared for our neighbors like that, instead of cursing them for all the noise they made the night before? What if we called over that disrespectful teen and showed some godly interest in him, rather than constantly putting him down before our kids? What if we duplicated some of the things that Jesus did, instead of allowing our anger to build up inside because they may act, or speak differently to our kids? Do you suppose that we may eventually get the opportunity to pray with the neighbors, or possibly share the Good News of Jesus with them? Dear ones, this concept of ‘neighbor’ carries over to our ‘neighbor’ at the restaurant, or at work, or while camping, etc. May I encourage you to read the first chapter of Job to see how highly God thought of him? I believe this would give you new strength for your Christian walk!
PRAYER: Often we feel like no one ever had it quite as challenging as we do Lord, but as we read Your Word, we could see where many had it a whole lot worse. Please Lord, with the same power and grace that You gave to saints we read about in Your Word, please give us the grace, boldness, determination and encouragement that we need each day, to be a living example of You. People need the Lord, may they see You in every phase of our life today precious Lord, AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Romans 14:17-20 (MSG)
TEXT: 17-18 God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you. 19-20 So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.
OBSERVATION: Paul was dealing with issues of Christians getting distracted from serving Christ, to instead meddling in the business of others. This was not only pulling down the other person, but also disappointing to believers and also to God, I believe. Anything we do in love, for the benefit of the other person, and for the glory of God, is most often done through the strength and encouragement of God so that the believer can please Him. Let’s apply that dear friend…..
APPLICATION: In my days of growing up, I would hear adults talking about a neighbor being on their ‘high horse’ again, while they are busy putting someone else down. I struggled to understand that, but now I do! Today, I believe it’s more about us looking down our proud noses at ones that may not be as well educated as we are, or could verbalize their feelings as good as we feel we could; or perhaps about our desire to excel, while we look around us and watch others gaining ground. When these things happen to us, unfortunately, I believe, it’s a ‘red flag’ to show us that we are drifting further away from God’s Word, for these verses today, and others very similar to them, teach us that God prefers that we seek ways to bring Him praise, and there is nothing in our jealousy, retaliation, envy or pay-back that brings glory to God. Please read the verses again friend, and when you get to the sentence that is bolded, repeat it several times. Our single most important task to achieve while here on earth, is to serve Christ. Lift Him up, bring Him glory! Shout to the mountain tops ‘What A Mighty God We Serve’! Show so much love to others that they will mistake you for Jesus, the Son of God! These are the things that will bring God glory, friends! These are the things that we must be busy doing til Jesus comes!
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for showing us what humbleness is all about. Thanks for setting the example for us to follow. Your commands are therefore very reasonable when we reflect on how You first exampled them, before ever asking us to be the humble one and let our actions still bring You glory. Oh, Lord may we be imitators of the One that we love, the One that we adore, the One that we long to see in Heaven one day! AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Romans 12:3 (The Passion Translation)
TEXT: 3 God has given me grace to speak a warning about pride. I would ask each of you to be emptied of self-promotion and not create a false image of your importance. Instead, honestly assess your worth by using your God-given faith as the standard of measurement, and then you will see your true value with an appropriate self-esteem.
OBSERVATION: Paul had encountered Christians who were so proud of their gifts and God-given abilities, that they were almost useless for kingdom work. Furthermore, I’m sure that Paul saw the need for us to measure our worth by something, otherwise everyone would be off the charts in their view of themselves. However, I found it very sobering at the command by Paul to assess ourselves based on the faith we feel blessed with. Let’s dig into this some more in the Application…..
APPLICATION: I believe that each of us can think of times that our faith was put to the test. So based on this Scripture, let’s now evaluate how well we did in that test, because after all, that determines our worth to God! I believe that Paul is telling us that we should never think more highly of ourselves than we should, but to always use sober judgment in evaluating ourselves. The faith referred to in this verse refers to the view that we take of our abilities. Friends, we are to always remember that the gifts we possess are God-given. So if there would be any glory due, we owe it all to Him. Furthermore, these gifts are given to bring blessings to others. Any gifts that we fail to look at in this way will bring pride to the individual, and will either not be used to bless others, or we may use them very selfishly and seek personal praise whenever we do use them. A good case in point might be a time when you acknowledged the talent of someone and saw so much pride in them that may have caused you to remark – if only they would use those gifts to the glory of God!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for forgiveness of sin, and thank You for seeing enough value in us to bless us with gifts that could be used for Your glory. Lord, please give us strength to remain humble and to pass any glory and praise straight up to You. Lord, please use us in miraculous ways so that others may see You, and learn about Your power and Your strength. We are mere vessels Lord, and we ask You to fill us and use us so that You may be glorified. AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Romans 11:25-26; 33-34 (TLB)
TEXT: 25 I want you to know about this truth from God, dear brothers, so that you will not feel proud and start bragging. Yes, it is true that some of the Jews have set themselves against the Gospel now, but this will last only until all of you Gentiles have come to Christ—those of you who will. 26 And then all Israel will be saved…..
33 Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his wisdom and knowledge and riches! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods! 34 For who among us can know the mind of the Lord? ……
OBSERVATION: In our first few verses, Paul showed the people how God had turned some of the Jews off from the Gospel, so that the Gentiles would have a better opportunity of accepting Him. And although that was only temporary, it served the specific intention of God. In the latter verses Paul is celebrating the wisdom of God as he reflects back. Could this be what God is doing to the church today?
APPLICATION: As I meditate on the Word of God, it never ceases to amaze me on His great wisdom, and His awesome power to fulfill His Godly purpose. This particular Scripture has reminded me of a sad story that brought awesome results. Many years ago, my cousin, a young man about 35 years old, was electrocuted and fell to his death from a roadside electric pole. The mourning of that mother, my aunt, could be heard over most of the small town. However, before the sun set the following day, my dad (brother to the grieving mother) had surrendered his heart to Jesus! He then became a Godly influence to his five children until the day he died. What happened in this Scripture today, also reminds me an awful lot of America today, for it almost seems like the movement of Christ has been slowed down and possibly even dwindled some, and I wonder if it is not God dealing more intensely in the hearts of so many that are totally lost. I know, it doesn’t seem to make sense to you, right? Well friend, I hate to say it, but our wisdom is nothing compared to the wisdom of our awesome God. The Bible reminds us that His ways and thoughts are way beyond our own, so that tells me that I can’t possibly understand all that He is up to. However, I know from the Word that God made us all to worship and adore Him, yet we hate to look at the evening news for all of the crime and acts of hatred that fills our news portals, while churches are closing their doors because of non-attendance, lack of giving and leadership. Friends, we know that Jesus is coming back soon to collect His church. Can you even fathom how few will be taken up to glory with Him, compared to the huge population of earth? To the church, I would say with great urgency that people need the Lord. The Gentile population has grown, and unless we who are Christian, stand firm in our faith, lift up the banner of God so that the lost may recognize God in His greatness and accept Him as Lord, then there will be a massive divide on the day that Christ returns to take His bride away with Him. I have family and friends that I believe will be left behind if they remain unchanged. Assuming that many of you are in a similar position, I would encourage you to join me in praying to the God of this universe for a great movement upon our land. Oh that Jesus may rule and reign in our personal lives, our families, our churches, our communities and in our nations around the world. May the God of this universe become known as Everlasting King of this universe!
PRAYER: Lord You are good and Your mercies endureth forever! In our Scripture today, we are reminded that although You created us to worship You, there are few who meet to worship You. You created us in Your likeness hoping that we would live in similar fashion to Your example while here on earth, yet there are many who mock and scorn You and Your children, much like what occurred in times past. Lord, all of these denials are evident in spite of the many warning signs that were left as reminders for us of Your great power. Heavenly Father, please soften the hearts of Your children this weekend, so that Your churches may be filled to capacity with worshipers longing to draw close to their Creator, our Everlasting God. AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: James 4:7-10 (Msg)
TEXT: 7-10 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.
OBSERVATION: It appears like James may have been dealing with a group of believers just like many of us, where we accept Jesus as Lord, but still hang on to portions of the world that tickle our fancy. James declares that we will never get totally aligned with God as long as we are hanging on to our past and giving Satan his claim on portions of our life. Please read on as we discuss the seriousness of this matter…..
APPLICATION: I often compare marriage to our Christian life, for both involves total commitment to someone else. So with that in mind, imagine for a minute a young couple that marries, and after their honeymoon, you spot the groom at the movies with an old flame, and they are all over each other. After calling him several different names, you may stop and ponder what on earth is he trying to prove. For he married your best friend and has turned his back on her already….. So now switch to a friend with a new found relationship with God. Wouldn’t you advise them to daily seek God’s face as you try to know more about Him and His character? Wouldn’t it be important to remind them that the tempter will continue to knock at their door, but because of the strength and courage of the One who lives inside of them, they must quickly shoo Satan away, as they are not the man/woman that they used to be? It is so serious for your friend, and for each of us to quit playing the field. If we have truly surrendered our life to Jesus Christ, then leave the things of this world alone. Say a loud ‘NO’ to Satan and tell him outright that you’re a Jesus’ kid now, and your desire is to serve only Him, from this day forward, and depend on His strength to help you fight away every temptation.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we are reminded again to be the person that looks most like our Creator, our Savior and our Lord. There are many who are struggling today, and many of these are Christians. Oh that they may see Jesus today because they have associated with us in some way. May they be drawn to Jesus, because of the difference they see that He has made in our lives, fellow believers. To God be the glory! AMEN!