Daily Bible Reading

If you build it…

Many of us can quote the whispered line from Field of Dreams, if you build it, he will come. Nehemiah was kind of the Ray Kinsella of his time. God was the voice whispering to him to build it. Build what? The wall surrounding Jerusalem.

Nehemiah, however, wasn’t an Iowa corn farmer. He was the king’s cup bearer in Persia. He’d never even been to Jerusalem. Yet, when he heard of the disrepair the city had fallen to, God’s vision weighed so heavily on his heart that he had to go. He prayed for strength and courage to approach the king. No only did the king allow him to go, but Nehemiah left with letters which would allow him to pass through other lands on his way and also gave him access to the king’s resources.

Nehemiah showed up in a strange city full of distant relatives and somehow managed to get everyone working together to rebuild the wall. How’s that for a family reunion? From the lowest of the low to the city leaders, with God’s vision set before them, they all worked together.

There are those who would say that the God of the Old Testament is not the same as the God of the New Testament.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8 (NLT)

God doesn’t change. The God that stirred Nehemiah, a lowly servant, to rebuild Jerusalem is the same God who is still stirring within men and women today. He is planting vision in those daring enough to see beyond themselves and today.

Christians who did most for the present world were those who thought most of the next.

C.S. Lewis.

There are those who build for the sake of building. They want the glory that comes with a grand structure. And there are those who build for the sake of the Kingdom of God. They want the glory to go to the One who alone can fill the structure.

It is time that the Church allow herself to be stirred. Time for those who are willing to be led by the Spirit of God to build the Kingdom of God. It is time that we strive to become the Church that Christ will return for.

It’s time to sneak a peek at tomorrow’s reading:

‘In the last days,’ God says,
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit
Even on my servants—men and women alike—
and they will prophesy.

Acts 2:17-18 (NLT)

Are you ready to think less of this world and more of the next? If you build it…

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 1-3, Acts 2:1-13

Daily Bible Reading

Continually

There are few things in life anyone does continually. We all breathe. That’s a given. Most will work continually until retirement. Some talk continually. Some sleep continually. But all of these things can, and most often do, required breaks of some sort or another. There is one thing, though, that the Bible tells us to do continually.

Pray.

Never stop praying.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)

Many in the western church probably couldn’t tell you the last time they started praying let alone the last time they prayed without stopping.

One of the greatest needs of the present day is men and women who will not only start out to pray for things but pray on and on and on until they obtain that which they seek from the Lord.

R.A. Torrey (1956-1928)

We all want to see God move in church on Sunday, but who is really willing to pray on Monday? For most of us, the Great Awakenings of the last century are so far gone (and often forgotten), that we don’t realise how effective prayer can really be. I make a point (though not often enough) to go back and read of the great revivals that brought North America to its knees. You cannot learn about a great move of God without being stirred to see one yourself.

But who is willing to pray for a move of God? Who even knows what that kind of prayer looks like?

True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God. It is not the utterance of words, it is not alone the feeling of desires, but it is the advance of the desires to God, the spiritual approach of our nature toward the Lord our God. True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that—it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of heaven and earth.

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Acts 1:14 says that they all met together continually for prayer. Do you think the Holy Spirit would have shown up with tongues of fire if the group hadn’t waited? If they hadn’t been praying while they waited?

It is time that the Church look again toward prayer. Not just programs and growth strategies. I believe those things will come as the result of effective prayer.

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.

James 5:16b (NLT)

We all have a decision to make regarding prayer. We can go on with our daily lives and offer up a prayer every once in a while when we feel like it or need heavenly help out of a jam—but what’s the point of our faith at all if that’s the case? Or we can pray continually. Continual prayer will require sacrifice on our part, but the reward is great power and wonderful results.

Daily Bible reading: Ezra 9-10, Acts 1

Daily Bible Reading

Fulfilled

When I make a promise, to the best of my ability, I try to keep it. When someone else makes a promise for me, depending on what it is, I try to keep that, too. If a complete stranger says I’m going to do something, I’m not likely to do it—unless I want to or already planned on doing so.

Jesus came to earth and fulfilled every promise made about him—whether he’d met the person who made it or not. Some things just happened the way they’d been foretold centuries before.

So they said, “Let’s not tear it but throw dice to see who gets it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my clothes among themselves and threw dice for my robe.” So that is what they did.

John 19:24 (NLT)

Others made sure to record fulfilled prophecies so that we would know and recognise what had taken place.

This report is from and eye-witness giving and accurate account; it is presented so that you can also believe.

John 19:35 (NLT)

And yet others, Jesus made sure he fulfilled. Even on the cross after being whipped and beaten and nailed to a tree, Jesus knew there were a few things he still had to do so that things strangers had said about him would come to pass.

Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures, he said, “I am thirsty.”

John 19:28 (NLT)

That is the Jesus we know. The Jesus we serve. The Jesus we love. The man who, while hanging on the cross near the point of death, would make a request in order to fulfill words that had been spoken centuries before. All so that we would know who he truly was.

There was no benefit to Jesus in stating his thirst. All he got for it was a taste of vinegar. But what we get is one more prophecy fulfilled amongst hundreds of others that only Jesus could fulfill. We get to see the impossibility of one man fulfilling all those words become possible. Jesus not only fulfilled prophecy in his words and action, he is the fulfillment of promise.

Daily Bible reading: Ezra 1-2, John 19:23-42

Daily Bible Reading

Made to order

We all know that there is a certain order to a great many things in life. If you want to bake a cake, there is an order to doing things. You’d be hard-pressed to find success if you baked the eggs and flour first and then tried to add the other ingredients. Doing things in the right order will produce the right results.

Young Josiah ascended to the throne at the ripe old age of eight. It took him a few years to get the hang of things, but by the time he turned sixteen, he was ready to learn a few things on his own.

During the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David.

2 Chronicles 34:3 (NLT)

At this point, Israel had endured over a half century of pagan rule. They pretty much worshiped whatever the heck the wanted to worship however they wanted to worship it. The Temple fell into ruin. But Josiah was curious about the God that had brought his nation out of Egyptian slavery. He wondered about this God of David.

Soon, Josiah saw the grave error in the ways of his people and set out to cleanse the land of all pagan worship. He made sure that every object and priest associated with the worship of anything or anyone other than the God of David was set to ruin. Within ten years, Judah, including the Temple in Jerusalem, was idol-free.

In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purified the land and the Temple, Josiah appointed [insert a bunch of names here], to repair the Temple of the Lord his God.

2 Chronicles 34:8 (NLT)

At some point in the last decade, the God of his ancestor David became the Lord his God. Josiah now had a personal relationship with God that went beyond familial ties. And he continued in his quest to restore Jerusalem and Judah to the Lord. He tackled the Temple next.

During the restoration of the temple, the Book of the Law of the Lord that had been given to Moses was found. Josiah was both elated and in despair. They had a covenant with God! They had also completely broken their covenant with God. But because of Josiah’s humility, Judah would be spared from God’s wrath during Josiah’s lifetime. So Josiah set out to renew Judah’s covenant with the Lord. Once Israel had repented, they celebrated the Passover.

Even though he was young, Josiah was wise. The order in which he went about restoring Israel was the only way that would have been successful. By first ridding the land of pagan worship, he ensured that the Temple, once restored would not be used to worship foreign gods. The restoration of the Temple next led to the discovery of the Book of the Law of the Lord. This discovery led to the renewed covenant. Once their covenant with the Lord was renewed, they were able to celebrate Passover and their offerings were received by God because they had been offered in the fashion prescribed in the Book of the Law.

We can look at our lives the same way. Sometimes we allow so many distractions in, that we are no longer wholly committed to the Lord. We cannot recommit to God so long as those distractions remain. So get rid of the distractions first. Once the distractions are gone, we can humble ourselves and renew our own covenant with God. We can go to His Word and remind ourselves of all the things He has done for us and said about us. Once our hearts are right, our worship becomes pure and acceptable.

Though Josiah was young and had no experience to lean on from those who ruled before him, I believe that in his first step of seeking the Lord, that the Holy Spirit led him in his next steps. God can and will do the same for us. His Word says that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Seek Him first and allow His Spirit to guide you in the order of things to follow.

Daily Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 34-36, John 19:1-22

Daily Bible Reading

What is truth?

Once upon a time, there was truth. And there were lies. A great wall stood between the two and that wall could not be broken down and it could not be scaled. No one questioned the existence of the wall because it had always been there.

But one day, someone decided to build another wall. Then another. These new walls were great, but not as great as the original wall. Soon more and more walls were being built and so many walls of every shape and size existed that the original wall was almost completely obscured.

When a very wise man claimed that he was Truth, some believed him. Others did not. Truth had set out to destroy all the other walls. Those who did not believe in the Truth liked their other walls better than the original wall and they set out to destroy Truth. They brought him to a powerful man who asked, “What is truth?”

The Truth had said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

The powerful man could find no fault in the Truth and sent him away. Those who did not believe in Truth eventually won their battle against him and put him to death. But they didn’t realise that Truth had already planned for this outcome.

When Truth died, the Spirit of truth came. And the Spirit of truth did not rest on just one person, but all those who believed in Truth. That Spirit of truth guided the believers into all truth. Their eyes were opened to see beyond all the other walls and the original wall became clear.

To this day, new walls are being built. The original wall still exists, but for those who do not have the Spirit of truth, it cannot be seen. The land is filled with walls and people on every side. Only the true believers still know which side is Truth.

Daily Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 32-33, John 18:24-40