Daily Bible Reading

Proof

Life is all about proof. We all need to prove ourselves. When you’re looking for a job, you need to prove that you’re qualified. When you want to buy a house, you need to prove you can make the mortgage payments. When you want to cross a border, you need to prove who you are.

When he [Abraham] had proven himself faithful, he [God] made a covenant with him…

Nehemiah 9:8a (NLT)

Abraham had to prove himself worthy before God would cut a covenant with him. God wanted proof that this guy was going to be faithful before He bestowed blessings on him.

Many Christians are still acting like Abraham, trying to prove themselves worthy of a covenant with God. While Abraham was required to offer proof of faithfulness, God cut a covenant with us knowing full well we were all unfaithful. He knew when He sent Jesus to the cross that He was making a covenant with generation after generation of unfaithful people.

There is nothing that we can do to prove ourselves worthy of the covenant God has made with us. Our worth comes when we accept the gift God has so freely given to us.

Under the old covenant, the priest stands before the altar day after day, making sacrifices that can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as one sacrifice for sins, good for all time. For by that one offering he perfected forever all those whom he is making holy.

Hebrews 10:11-12, 14 (NLT)

Our proof is in Jesus’ sacrifice. In his blood. It is the only proof of worth we need when we come to stand before the throne of God. Works will not make us more or less worthy of the covenant, because by that one offering Jesus perfected forever all of us whom the Father is making holy.

There’s your proof.

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 9-11, Acts 4:1-22

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

Uncategorized

Rejoice

I’ve had people look at me strangely when I’ve discovered something in the Bible I’d never seen or noticed before.

Do you ever have those moments? Where God’s Word truly comes alive and you feel as though God is pulling words of the page for you so that you can see and understand them in a different way?

Israel had this experience. Once they returned to Jerusalem from exile, they took the time to read the Book of the Law in the presence of everyone who was able to understand it. Not only did they read it, but they presented it clearly and with interpretation so that every would understand it. Men, women, and children stood for hours listening to scripture.

What’s your response when you’ve grasped a new revelation from scripture. Do you tell someone? Do you pause to think about it? Or do you do like the people in Jerusalem?

And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

Nehemiah 8:12 (ESV)

When you understand more than just the literal meaning of the Word, rejoice! When you’ve taken hold of a deeper meaning in scripture, see it for what it is – God personally revealing Himself to you.

These are God’s words. Living words. Active words. And He has given them freely to you.

For the word of God is living an active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of the soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 7-8; Acts 3

Uncategorized

Prayer for the Church

I don’t know about you, but I have a very difficult time reading the news these days. When it comes to politics and law, a lot of changes are being made. A lot of changes that – whether you realise it or not – affect the Church. And by church, I don’t necessarily mean individual churches or organisations, I mean The Church. The global Church. A group of individual believers striving together for the Great Commission. There are individual churches that I do no include in this group.

But the church is the church, isn’t it?

Is it?

Reading through the book of Nehemiah, I am struck by how relevant the prophets words are even today. Nehemiah has taken on the great task of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem and at every turn, he’s met by resistance.

And they plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.

Nehemiah 4:8 (ESV)

Does this sound like anything that’s happening right now? Government officials along with public opinion are pushing against the church trying to cause confusion. Telling half-truths (which are really lies) or outright lies insisting this is the way things are and that to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ is considered hateful.

In the fifty-two days it took to rebuild the wall, the Jews banded together. Not only did they work together, they fought together. There were workers and their were soldiers. And even the workers had swords strapped to their sides while they worked.

Do no be mistaken, Christianity is not for the faint of heart. We are not called to a happy little hippy community to sit around draping each other with daisy chains. There is a war and it is real and it’s not just being fought in the Middle East. It’s a war that is already in our schools, our churches, and our homes.

My prayer for the Church is this:

God, let us stand strong.
Set a guard of protection around our hearts and minds.
Lead us in the Truth.
Your Truth.
And only Your Truth.
Help us to stand when the world would see us fall.
Give us strength when the world sees us as weak.
Make our mind and path clear.
Go before us.
Victorious.

If you’re Canadian, remember this: engraved on the tower of Parliament is Psalm 72:8 – He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.

If you’re American, look at the change in your pocket. In God we trust.

The founders of our countries knew what they were doing even if many of our current leaders don’t. These ideals were firmly set in the foundation of our nations and, if we don’t stand up and fight for them, they will be removed and anything and everything that was built on them will crumble.

I leave you with Nehemiah’s words:

Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.

Nehemiah 4:14 (ESV)

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 4-6; Acts 2:14-47

Uncategorized

No Exceptions

When there’s work to be done in the church, are you the person who jumps right in and joins the crew or are you the one hanging back making the excuse that you’re not the expert, this isn’t your “thing”?

When it comes down to it, it’s not about the work at all or whether it’s your area of expertise or not. It’s about service. As Christians, we too often wait to feel called to something. Do you think that’s what the disciples were doing on their boats? Waiting for their calling? No! Of course not. That was their livelihood.

I’m not saying that Jesus is calling you to drop everything, leave your job and family, and join the full-time ministry. Maybe he is, but that’s for another day. What I’m saying is that every Christian is called into service in one way or another. If you wait until you feel called to something, you’ll be waiting a long time. Sometimes the service that needs to be done is cleaning the toilets (I’ve done it – dudes, your bathroom is gross). Sometimes it’s being at the front door of the church greeting people with a smile. Sometimes it’s demolition and sometimes it’s rebuilding.

In Nehemiah, we see people from pretty much every walk of life joining in the work of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah had a burden on his heart to do the work, but there was no way he could have done it on his own. When the work got going, we see goldsmiths and perfumers. These people were not your general labourers. If you were working with gold and perfume, you had a highly praised skill set. Along with these men were local rulers. Men repaired the sections of the wall that were near their homes. And yes, according to Nehemiah 3:12, women worked, too.

The only verse that mentions people not joining in is this:

And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.

Nehemiah 3:5 (ESV)

To me, this is a bit of an oxymoron. They would not stoop to serve their Lord. Is there no greater work than to serve our Lord?

So the next time you have the opportunity (yes, service to God is always an opportunity) to serve in any capacity. Serve. Don’t wait. The greatest satisfaction in service comes when you do it with a joyful heart full of thanksgiving.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)

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