REFINED BY THE WORD: 2ND QUARTER, 2023

Before you read the Word: Put away all distractions; find a quiet place; pray for The Holy Spirit to take control of all your being; ask for a seat at the foot of the throne of God for this fellowship; plead for spiritual understanding and your cleansing by His Holy Word.

Read the Word as prayer and as a two-way communication between you and The Lord. You read as you evoke His Character and ask what you seek according to His Truth. Allow His Word to correct, comfort, convict, and restore you.

This week’s challenge: Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before The Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His Hand (Psalm 95).

WEEK 1

Exodus 15

Deuteronomy 27

Psalm 10 and chapter 76

1 John 2

Hosea 8

Isaiah 60

Revelations 16

Practice: But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless (Titus 3).

WEEK 2

Psalm 33 and chapter 134

Numbers 23

Matthew 3

Jeremiah 4

Colossians 3

Exodus 33

Malachi 4

Practice: 11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age (Titus 2).

WEEK 3

John 16

Psalm 14 and chapter 69

Proverbs 2

Numbers 16

2 Peter 2

Leviticus 10

1 Samuel 2

Practice: 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3). 

WEEK 4

2 Thessalonians 1

Isaiah 42

Matthew 8

Ezekiel 28

Acts 8

Job 36

Psalm 30

Practice: 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My Name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16).

WEEK 5

Acts 9

Jeremiah 5

Matthew 10

Isaiah 5

Psalm 100 and chapter 104

Romans 11

Hosea 9

Practice: Seek The Lord, all you meek of the Earth, who have upheld His justice.
Seek righteousness, seek humility.
It may be that you will be hidden,
in the day of The Lord’s anger (Zephaniah 2).

WEEK 6

Romans 9

Jonah 2

2 Corinthians 6

Psalm 15

Galatians 6

Genesis 19

Philippians 3

Practice: 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the Will of God, you may receive the promise (Hebrews 10).

WEEK 7

Isaiah 54

Revelations 19

Ezekiel 36

Galatians 1

Deuteronomy 10

2 Samuel 7

Romans 9

Practice: Therefore humble yourselves under the Mighty Hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5).

WEEK 8

Revelations 21

Amos 8

Acts 13

Psalm 36 and chapter 143

Hebrew 11

Isaiah 52

Matthew 13

Practice: And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous (Exodus 23).

WEEK 9

Habakkuk 3

Exodus 19

Romans 6

Isaiah 2

Psalm 67 and chapter 102

Hosea 10

Job 38

Practice: Thus says The Lord of hosts, The God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of The Lord, the temple of The Lord, the temple of The Lord is this” (Jereimah 7).

WEEK 10

2 Peter 3

Genesis 4

Matthew 24

2 Corinthians 5

Deuterenomy 24

John 2

Psalms 13 and chapter 27

Practice: A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished (Proverbs 22).

WEEK 11

Psalm 27 and chapter 77

1 Peter 4

Jeremiah 10

Colossians 4: 1-6

Luke 20

Daniel 4

Ephesians 5

Practice:  47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I Am the bread of life (John 6). 

WEEK 12

Luke 21

Exodus 39

Psalm 113

Isaiah 56

Matthew 17

Amos 6

Jeremiah 11

Practice:  I, therefore, the prisoner of The Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4).

REFINED BY THE WORD: 1ST QUARTER, 2023

Before you read the Word: Put away all distractions; find a quiet place; pray for The Holy Spirit to take control of all your being; ask for a seat at the foot of the throne of God for this fellowship; plead for spiritual understanding and your cleansing by His Holy Word.

Read the Word as prayer and as a two-way communication between you and The Lord. You read as you evoke His Character and ask what you seek according to His Truth. Allow His Word to correct, comfort, convict, and restore you.

This week’s challenge: Bless The Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His Holy Name (Psalm 103:1)!

WEEK 1

Jeremiah 4

Deuteronomy 4

Acts 14

Psalm 103

Hosea 3

Numbers 16

John 10

Practice: 12 “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the prophets” (Matthew 7).

WEEK 2

Isaiah 1

Psalm chapters 29 and 118

2 Corinthians 12

Jeremiah 12

2 Chronicles 32

John 12

1 Samuel 2

Practice:  ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know’ (Jeremiah 33).

WEEK 3

2 Peter 3

Hosea 7

Psalm 102

Genesis 31

Nehemiah 10:28-39

Titus 3

Isaiah 4

Practice: “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it” (Luke 18).

WEEK 4

Acts 9

James 2

Amos 8

Deuteronomy 6

Romans 8

2 Kings 17

2 Thessalonians 1

Practice: 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). 

WEEK 5

Isaiah 59

Matthew 6

Deuteronomy 23

1 Peter 4

Psalm 50

Acts 17

Genesis 18

Practice: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6). 

WEEK 6

1 Timothy 6

Luke 17

1 Chronicles 29

Galatians 1

Matthew 24

Psalm chapters 75 and 27

Job 22

Practice: Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17).

WEEK 7

Isaiah 13

Revelations 3

Hebrews 6

Ezekiel 30

Genesis 28

Matthew 4

Judges 6

Practice: 34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8). 

WEEK 8

1 Peter 5

Proverbs 24

Psalm chapters 27 and 78

Romans 13

Genesis 49

Habakkuk 3

Deuteronomy 32

Practice: For all people walk each in the name of their god, but we will walk in the Name of The Lord our God, forever and ever (Micah 4).

WEEK 9

Jeremiah 25

1 John 3

Hosea 14

2 Corinthians 10

Acts 19

Isaiah 58

Psalm 35

Practice: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things(Philippians 4). 

WEEK 10

1 Peter 1

Jeremiah 33

Luke 6

2 Chronicles 16

Leviticus 19

Mark 3

James 3

Practice: 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by The Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by The Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Romans 8). 

WEEK 11

Philippians 2

Job 15

Acts 24

Revelations 6

Isaiah 40

John 17

Psalm chapters 5 and 14

Practice: Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1).

WEEK 12

Zechariah 13

1 Corinthians 8

Ezekiel 16

Revelations 16

Exodus 7

John 8

Galatians 5

Practice: 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2).

SUSTENANCE IN THE WORD: FOURTH QUARTER, 2022

Before you read the Word: Put away all distractions; find a quiet place; pray for The Holy Spirit to take control of all your being; ask for a seat at the foot of the throne of God for this fellowship; plead for spiritual understanding and your cleansing by His Holy Word.

Read the Word as prayer and as a two-way communication between you and The Lord. You read as you evoke His Character and ask what you seek according to His Truth. Allow His Word to correct, comfort, convict, and restore you.

This week’s challenge:
16 How much better to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver (Proverbs 16).

WEEK 1

2 Chronicles 15

Genesis 7

1 Corinthians 1

Isaiah 53

Psalm 37

Acts 20: 7-38

Amos 2

Practice: 20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days (Proverbs 19).

WEEK 2

Genesis 13

Judges 3

John 6

Amos 6

Deuteronomy 20

Matthew 5

Psalm chapter 41 and 115

Practice: 17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul (Proverbs 29).

WEEK 3

Psalm 76

Jeremiah 21

3 John 1-11

Isaiah 54

2 Timothy 3

Job 38

Zephaniah 2

Practice: In mercy and truth, atonement is provided for iniquity. And by the fear of The Lord one departs from evil (Proverbs 6).

WEEK 4

Exodus 14

Ephesians 4

Hosea 8

1 Timothy 2

Isaiah 55

Matthew 7

Zechariah 2

Practice: 17 Do not be overly wicked, nor be foolish; Why should you die before your time? (Ecclesiastes 7)

WEEK 5

Luke 13

Psalm 33

Revelations 17

Acts 24

Gen 11: 1-9

Matthew 13

Job 31

Practice: 12 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace (Proverbs 11).

WEEK 6

Numbers 9

1 Timothy 6

Jeremiah 15

Hebrews 3

Deuteronomy 17

Matthew 18

Psalm chapter 92 and 112

Practice: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1).

WEEK 7

Jeremiah 24

I Corinthians 5

Isaiah 65

Ezra 8: 17-34

Psalm 34

Ezekiel 16

2 Thessalonians 1

Practice: 23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles (Proverbs 21).

WEEK 8

Psalm 76

Exodus 20

Romans 15

2 Samuel 7

Job 36

John 14

2 Corinthians 13

Practice: 23 The fear of The Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction. He will not be visited with evil (Proverbs 19).

WEEK 9

Matthew 27

Exodus 34

Colossians 2

Psalm 50

2 Kings 7

Ephesians 5

Genesis 32

Practice: Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him (Proverbs 26).

WEEK 10

Isaiah 29

Amos 8

John 8

Job 21

Psalm 94

Deuteronomy 33

1 Peter 3

Practice: 12 “If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you will bear it alone (Proverbs 9).”

WEEK 11

Isaiah 2

Revelations 18

Ezekiel 7

Romans 3

Hosea 13

1 Corinthians 14

Genesis 43

Practice: 18 Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored (Proverbs 13).

WEEK 12

2 John

Isaiah 60

Numbers 21

Psalm chapter 22 and 107

2 Corinthians 11

Habakkuk 1

Deuteronomy 24

Practice: He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends (Proverbs 17).

Repent

Make a clean breast of things.

13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy (Proverbs 28).

The true son and daughter of God loves their Father and Lord, and will be troubled by their rebellion against Him. Sin is rebellion against God. He is not just God, but He is our Everlasting Father, Savior, and Lord. A father’s relationship with their child is founded on love. Any rebellion threatens that relationship because it creates a rift. The guilt we feel about sin is innately purposed to restore a broken relationship; it is not meant to destroy our relationship with our Loving Father. Love admits the truth that engenders reconciliation.

“The one who rejects Christ will not make repentance a necessity.” 

18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the Presence of The Lord. 20 And that He may send Jesus Christ, Who was preached to you before, 21 Who Heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3). 

Is there a remedy for our sin? What is the price we can pay to be reconciled to God? He is Holy and He created us for a relationship with Him. But we can never be holy at all times. He has saddled all our sins on His Beloved Son so that we don’t have to incur the consequence of our sins: which is eternal separation from Him. Christ suffered for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to. So the recourse is Christ. Repentance acknowledges our sin before God, and our need for Christ to live through us. Repent and be converted into the likeness of The Savior, by living in Him, and not on fleshly lusts. Begin by ardently listening and learning about Who He is and who you are. Repentance must be accompanied by a conversion or transformation, that becomes a new, daily lifestyle.

To be converted, we must be trained in righteousness by abiding in the Presence of The Lord—in a perpetual fellowship with Him. Times of refreshing are times when we can bask in the ambience of the Presence of our Father and Lord, in communion with Him, without shame or guilt. When we are reconciled to our Lord, His Mercy, Grace and Love comfort us with peace. Peace with God gives us peace within. We repent so that we are converted in Christ. We come boldly to receive Mercy because we believe that we will be forgiven in Christ. We confess and turn away from our sins so that we can spend all our days in the joy of His Presence. 

“Sin is rebellion against God.”

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your Lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender Mercies, blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge (Psalm 51).

Repentance is humbly imploring God to forgive us, while we come clean about our sin. We plead for His Mercy even as we admit that He is well within His right to judge us according to the sin. We repent so that we will not repeat the offense. We must first be forthright about what we have done or failed to do. Forgiveness is granted when we are truthful. Against God and He only have we sinned because we don’t live by anyone else’s standards. God forgives us according to the multitude of His Mercies and not according to the multitude of our sins. He will wash us thoroughly with His Grace and will not remind us of our sins. When He sets us free, we are free indeed. 

“Forgiveness is granted when we are truthful.”

40 Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to The Lord. 41 Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in Heaven (Lamentations 3).

We sin by doing what is evil in His sight. We might think our sin is just a “small sin” but sin is abominable in the sight of The Holy One. He is Merciful to those who understand Who He is. He must judge sin because He is God; whether we like to admit it or not, God does not brook or wink at our sin. Everyone will come before the judgment seat of God and will give account of their ways; whether they do it now or later, they will bow before Him and confess. We should repent daily because we want to be righteous, and continue in an unbroken relationship with God our Father. 

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the Name of God’s One and Only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed (John 3). 

Whoever does not believe that Christ came to die on their behalf will not accept God’s Love and Mercy. The one who rejects Christ will not make repentance a necessity. Christ died so that He could save us through Himself. The penalty for sin is death. In order to receive Grace, we must come to the light so that our deeds are exposed. We must allow God to show us our sin, and be earnest to be saved through Christ. 

Those who are condemned are not the ones who repent, but the ones who have rebuffed God’s One and Only Son, Who takes away their sins. They have denied the truth about their sin: by not coming to the light, they embrace their rebellious ways. But God loved the world so much that He wanted to offer all of us, sinners, a new life in Christ—eternal life. There’s hell and there’s eternal life in Christ. You must make your choice. Eternal life is life that begins here on Earth by exchanging our sinful nature for Christ’s Nature.

1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God…10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to Salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death (2 Corinthians 7). 

Godly sorrow is brought on by the heaviness of guilt and shame because of our sin. It gravitates us to The Mercy Seat for forgiveness. Godly sorrow causes us to grieve over our sin, and even be repulsed by it. We find hope in God’s promises that reassure us of His Love and Mercy, when we repent. 

Worldly sorrow leads to guilt and shame, with no hope of forgiveness and reconciliation. It enshrouds us with darkness, hopelessness, and loneliness. Beloved, as one loved by God, be cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and inner passions by learning to fear God. Holiness is nurtured by fearing God. Fear of God should cause us to steer away from the unclean, and want to be cleansed of it. Fear of God should not cause us to hide from Him. Godly sorrow should lead us to repentance that restores and renews us by His Grace.

“We repent so that we are converted in Christ.”

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, Who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5).

When we repent and ask The Lord to forgive us, He gives us a new nature; we become a new creation in Him. This is only if we are willing to turn away from sin and be saved through Him. We become completely new. The old nature is done away with because we now abide in Christ. His Spirit becomes our new nature. His Spirit becomes our guide, and access to God. Now all things are of God; our identity, roles, responsibilities, and passions become patterned after God’s Ways. 

Repentance reconciles us to God, Who was already reconciling us to Himself. He initiated it all through Christ. God’s intention was not to consume us with wrath because of His displeasure for our sins. No, He was reconciling the world to Himself. He was willing to completely wipe the slate clean and start over our relationship with Him. So why is it that so many have turned their backs on Him, and spurned His Kindness and Love? Because rather than see His Love, they focus on their iniquities; yet He is calling them to be reconciled and not imputing all their sin to them. He has not meted to us what we deserve. He is still reaching out with Grace. But when the clock runs out, He will be justified to deal with sinners who have opted out of His Son’s offer. 

16 “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4).

Blessed are those who were in the darkness of sin and saw the light that drew them to repentance. Blessed are those, who, in the heaviness of their guilt, came to the light, saw their sin for what it was, and understood the Power of God’s Grace to make them new and whole. They were enlightened and the light was the hope of their Salvation. So repent and don’t wallow in the shadow of death, but see The Great Light, The Lord Jesus, who drives out the darkness. 

12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. 13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. 14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer (Psalm 19).

We don’t know how much we have offended God and how. So we repent by asking Him to cleanse us of all sin, whether we know of it or not. We should not be so enslaved to sin that we can never break free. When we desire to be righteous and blameless before God, we submit to Him to show us the error of our ways. Sin is not just what we do; it is what we feel, desire and meditate on. It is also what we say. So we confess our words, thoughts and actions so that we remain in God’s good graces. He is our strength to motivate us and our Redeemer, Who continually forgives us.

For any relationship to last there must be love, honesty, loyalty and honor. We learn about God and we begin to do what pleases Him. Our Heavenly Father and Lord created us for a relationship with Him. If we love Him, we will allow Him to reveal to us our sin. We will be truthful and sorrowful about what we have failed to do, and repent. God wants us to be reconciled to Him. In Christ, we are forgiven and converted. He makes us a new creation in Him. We resolve and commit to be acceptable before God through daily repentance and obedience. His Spirit becomes our new nature. He will continue to teach us and bring us into The Presence of The Holy One, Our Savior and Redeemer. Fellowship with God is a companionship that should never be broken. Our relationship with Him guarantees us eternal life in Christ. 

“We repent so that we will not repeat the offense.”

5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us ((1 John 1).

Justice

Don’t neglect justice.

Everyone should be treated fairly, with respect and dignity, regardless of their race, age, gender, appearance or socioeconomic status. God created us all in His Image, and He wants us to coexist with each other. He wants us to be considerate, without putting our own ambitions or desires ahead of others. Being just ensures that no one is exploited, mistreated, or disenfranchised even by those in power or authority. Justice protects and defends the vulnerable. God commands us all to be just because He is Just.

“Justice gives others what is acceptable to God.”

11 Therefore, because you tread down the poor and take grain taxes from him, though you have built houses of hewn stone, yet you shall not dwell in them. You have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink wine from them. 12 For I know your manifold transgression, and your mighty sins: afflicting the just and taking bribes; diverting the poor from justice at the gate (Amos 5).

There’s nothing hidden from God; He sees all that is done in secret. He knows of all the riches that have been gained by extortion and fraud. It is sinful for leaders to lavish on themselves what is not theirs. Those entrusted to hold and manage the purse strings should not use taxes for personal gain. They collect what is needed to meet the needs of the people, and the community includes the poor and less fortunate, whom they take from. God abhors all who despise justice, who take bribes while depriving the poor of what is just. Though they may glory in their stolen riches they will not escape God’s Judgment. Their great sins have been recorded by God. 

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of The Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the Earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; yet he does not resist you (James 5).

The rich who have kept back the fair wages of their laborers will succeed to live in pleasure and luxury, but for a time. They will continue to increase, while those who work for them struggle to make ends meet. They fatten themselves and amass all sorts of wealth, while they oppress those who depend on them for a living. Venal leaders will do anything to hold on to their power and wealth, even kill those who get in their way. God hears the cry of the afflicted. The Lord of hosts will prevail against the corrupt and greedy. Their wealth will not sustain their health. The money and possessions will not deliver them on the day of their calamity; it will be a witness against them to testify of their wickedness. In the end, misery will become their portion. They are God’s enemies. He will do what is just for those who can’t defend themselves.

“Being just is motivated by the fear of God to do the right thing.”

Now these are the last words of David. Thus says David the son of Jesse; thus says the man raised up on high, the anointed of The God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel: 2 “The Spirit of The Lord spoke by me, and His Word was on my tongue. 3 The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the Earth, by clear shining after rain’ (2 Samuel 23).

The God of Israel spoke by His Spirit to David, by putting His Word on David’s tongue. The God, and Rock, of Israel gave David his parting shot as the king was being succeeded by his son, Solomon. The most consequential words are those of The Spirit, when we are beginning or are ending our journey. David spoke of the qualifications that God wanted of all leaders. Those who take the responsibility to rule and lead others must be just, and must do so out of the fear of God. Their rule should not be driven by fear of losing their grip on power or the support of the masses. They must rule in the fear of God so that they can do what is just. Those who rule with justice, by keeping God’s Ways, will have a far-reaching impact on the lives of others. They will be unimpeded in executing the duties that benefit others; they will be like the light shining in the morning with no clouds to obscure it. 

“Righteousness and justice put us in right standing with God.”

22 “Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. 23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. 24 But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5).

Those who are unjust are apathetic about the needs of others. They are callous because they are full of their own importance. They think that they can worship God with false humility by appeasing Him with their offerings. God will have none of it.

Thus says The Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My Salvation is about to come, and My Righteousness to be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it. Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil” (Isaiah 56).

Blessed is the one who executes justice and does what is righteous. The Lord will reward them with His Salvation and clothe them with His Righteousness. The one who practices justice and righteousness worships God with a heart that is undefiled. Justice gives others what is acceptable to God. Justice is doing what God would do for others. God wants justice to abound to others like water. Being just is being motivated by the fear of God to do the right thing. Righteousness and justice put us in right standing with God.

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Lord of Glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2)

Are you unjust in your thoughts about others? How often do you form an opinion of others based on their appearance? As those who have faith in The Lord of Glory, we must remember He loves all people, from all walks of life. We should not approach or treat others with disdain merely because of their appearance or status. God knows our thoughts before we act upon them. Evil thoughts are hatched by a misconceived perception of others. We should be kind and helpful to everyone as best as we know how. Our faith in The Lord is put to practice by how we relate to others.

“Justice protects and defends the vulnerable.” 

6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out. When you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you. The Glory of The Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and The Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I Am’”(Isaiah 58).

The fast that God desires is not just one that deprives us of our pleasure, but deprives us so that someone else can have what they need. God also wants us to let go of the wickedness that holds others under a weight that is too heavy to bear. What might this wickedness be? Bitterness, pride, resentment, and begrudging the good that we know we should do. Relieve the oppressed and the afflicted of their troubles. Give to the poor and provide for the less fortunate. This is true fasting: doing what is just and right, that mitigates the suffering of others, and lightens their heavy burdens. 

When we do what is just, it becomes our righteousness. God will give our life direction and purpose. He will heal our diseases so that we can continue to be effective and productive. His Glory will be our protection to guard us at every turn. Most Christians fast so that God can hear their prayers for a pressing issue. When we give sacrificially for the needs of others, we will call and God will answer. We will cry out to The Lord and He will say, “Here I Am”. Why? Because we have not just been concerned about our needs, but those of others. 

6 With what shall I come before The Lord, and bow myself before The High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will The Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you: But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6)

What fasting, offerings, songs, and prayers are most pleasing to God? What does God require of us? What is good and acceptable as a token of honor in His Presence? He has shown us Who He is: The Lord, The Most High God. So we must not just approach Him or live before Him so flippantly. He has also shown us what He requires of us: to do what is just, love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him all the days of our lives. What else is there to do? but to be humble, just, merciful and compassionate, and spend all our days with God? 

“When we do what is just, it becomes our righteousness.”

39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. 40 Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.m42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Luke 11).

God is the Supreme Ruler of the Heavens and Earth. He expects rulers of people to be just and righteous in reverence to Him. Leaders who are corrupt and unjust are imperious, and apathetic to the needs of the people. They impoverish their people, while they amass wealth by fraud and violence. Their days are numbered, as God has recorded all their deeds. We must show compassion and mercy by not putting heavy burdens on others. We should be just in our thoughts about others, and be faithful to Christ, by offering others what is acceptable to God. True worship is not just defined by our church offerings, songs or fasting; it is also honoring God daily, by fearing Him, being just and righteous. When we lay this to heart, we prevail upon God to hear us when we call upon Him, and to answer, “Here I Am”. 

23 Thus says The Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24  But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I Am The Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the Earth. For in these I delight,” says The Lord (Jeremiah 9).

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