August 16

Nehemiah 11:1-12:26; 1 Corinthians 10:14-33; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 21:14-16

Service to God is the highest form of living. We were created to serve God by serving others. This is where we find purpose. Nehemiah had a mammoth task of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. His role was more than construction. He was also charged by God to reinstitute authentic worship.

Authentic worship includes not only honoring the Word of God but also yielding your time to serve God. Here are some aspects of our service to God. First, everyone has a role to play. God never expects us all to do the same thing but He does expect us to do something. There is a place for you in the service of the Lord. Next, everyone is a master at something. In the same way that you don’t have to do everything, you also don’t have to do everything well. But, there is one thing that you do well and that one thing is needed in God’s Kingdom.

Lastly, It takes everyone doing their part to make everything run smoothly. The Temple was a massive building and the work that needed to be accomplished was huge. It took people who were willing to do their part and do their part well because every “job” is important. Whatever you are called to do for God is important in God’s eyes. It may not be a visible position (it does not have to be) but it will be important to God and to fulfilling His will on earth.

Are you serving in God’s house? If not, you should, because the reason you were born will be found as you faithfully serve.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Nehemiah 12:27-13:31; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 21:17-18

August 15

Nehemiah 9:22-10:39; 1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13; Psalm 34:1-10; Proverbs 21:13

God’s mercy cannot be comprehended! It literally makes no logical sense. We live in a culture that constantly cries for “getting what we deserve.” We have been trained to think that there are certain things that we ought to have for whatever the reason. When you receive mercy and recognize it, you are glad that you did not receive what you deserve. 

That’s exactly what mercy is: not getting what you deserve. If the truth be told, when we look at our positives and negatives, it is clear that we do not deserve the unfailing love of God which He shows to us. The children of Israel knew about the mercy of God. As soon as they received one blessing, they turned their backs on God. Yet, God never gave up on them. And, God never gives up on us. 

God’s mercy always trumps judgement. Receive His new mercies every morning so that you can see how much He loves you! Don’t fight for what you think you deserve. Receive God’s mercy and you will not get the judgement and consequences that you do deserve! 

Tomorrow’s Reading: Nehemiah 11:1-12:26; 1 Corinthians 10:14-33; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 21:14-16

August 14

Nehemiah 7:73-9:21; 1 Corinthians 9:1-18; Psalm 33:12-22; Proverbs 21:11-12

What is your view about the Word of God and its effect on your life? When you hear its words read or taught, what is your response? As Nehemiah restores true worship to Israel, Ezra brings the Book of the Law of Moses and reads for about 5-6 hours to all the men, women and children who were old enough to understand. The Levites were dispatched among the crowd and helped the people understand as the Law was read.  

As they heard the Word of God, they were so moved by it, that they wept. We are not told why they wept. It could have been from conviction about their sins or confidence in a God who loved them enough to give them clear instructions. Nevertheless, Nehemiah tells the people that on the day that they hear and understand the law, it should bring joy and celebration! 

God’s Word is so vital to our lives and it should never be taken lightly. If Nehemiah encouraged the people to have joy from just reading the Law of Moses, how much more should we who have the New Testament be filled with joy knowing how much God loves us and has a purpose and plan for us. It is this joy that strengthens us to keep moving forward towards our destiny. “The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.” (Psalm 119:130)

Tomorrow’s Reading: Nehemiah 9:22-10:39; 1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13; Psalm 34:1-10; Proverbs 21:13

August 13

Nehemiah 5:14-7:73; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Psalm 33:1-11; Proverbs 21:8-10

Integrity has often been described as what you do when no one is watching. Some things may be legal but they may not be moral. What serves as the umpire of your life so that you can distinguish between the two? Just because we can do something does not mean that we should do it. Every believer needs some code or standard that helps him or her make these crucial decisions.

There was a custom that governors and political leaders would get generous perks because of their service. Nehemiah, though he was entitled to these benefits, forfeited them because of the harm that it would do to the people who were already struggling. Was it his right? Yes. But, was it moral? No! Why would Nehemiah make a decision like this, which put a greater burden on him and a lesser burden on others? It’s simple: The Fear of the Lord.

You see, when all is said and done, we will have to stand before God and give an account of our actions. Nehemiah understood that even though he was a servant of the king, he answered to a higher authority. How about you? If your position affords you certain inducements that unfairly put a strain on others, will your fear of God cause you to forego them? It may not be a benefit but an action that you take. Whatever it is, even if it is legally right, you have to ask, “Will it please God?”

One day you will have to stand before God and tell Him why you took certain actions. Keeping this in mind will always keep you in line with God and His purposes.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Nehemiah 7:73-9:21; 1 Corinthians 9:1-18; Psalm 33:12-22; Proverbs 21:11-12

August 12

Nehemiah 3:15-5:13; 1 Corinthians 7:25-40; Psalm 32:1-11; Proverbs 21:5-7

Being a person of integrity means that you stand up even for those who are being mistreated. Nehemiah had enough going on with his project to rebuild the walls. They were under major threats to disrupt their work. They were so concerned about the enemy that they were rebuilding the walls with one hand and holding a weapon in the other.

While all this is going on, Nehemiah learns that the people were being oppressed because of the urgent need for food. They were selling their children into slavery in order to get basic necessities. Nehemiah could not allow this to continue because he knew that rebuilding the walls meant nothing if the people who dwelt within the walls were bound and oppressed.

He confronted the injustice and established a new way that people should be treated. Do you have a heart to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves? We can build great structures but there is nothing more important than building people.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Nehemiah 5:14-7:73; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Psalm 33:1-11; Proverbs 21:8-10

August 11

Nehemiah 1:1-3:14; 1 Corinthians 7:1-24; Psalm 31:19-24; Proverbs 21:4

When you have a calling to fulfill, don’t be surprised that everyone does not share your passion! As noble as Nehemiah’s quest was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem there were detractors who wanted nothing more than to see Nehemiah and his people fail. 

When opposition arises, we all have to make up our minds how we will respond. Often we view those against us as a sign that we are not on the right track. However, the opposite is true. Resistance only comes because you are trying to take off and fly. While I am not a scientist, I have always marveled at the law of aerodynamics. 

There are 4 forces that enable a plane to fly: lift, thrust, weight and drag. In this list is drag. It is the force that is working against the plane taking off. The thrust has to overcome this force. If it doesn’t, the plane will never get off the ground. 

So, opposition/drag are necessary for you to soar at the heights that God has planned for you. Don’t see those against you as obstacles. See them as a force that must be overcome so that you can accomplish what God put you on this earth to achieve! A plane is not fulfilling its destiny when it is on the tarmac. It was designed to be in the sky and so were you. With God on your side, all negative forces can be overcome.  

Tomorrow’s Reading: Nehemiah 3:15-5:13; 1 Corinthians 7:25-40; Psalm 32:1-11; Proverbs 21:5-7

August 10

Ezra 10:1-44; 1 Corinthians 6:1-20; Psalm 31:9-18; Proverbs 21:3

People need help when they are trying to make a change to live for God. Ezra cried out to God for the sins of the people. The leaders among the people agreed that a clear break with the past had to take place. But, they did not know how to do it.

Ezra had fallen on the ground in prayer and repentance. Once the people decided they needed to change, the leaders said to Ezra, “Please get up and show us the way.” True transformation takes place in the context of relationship.

There are people around you who need help in making changes to their lives. Will you be the one who can help lead them on the right path? God has placed people around you that need your help and you are around people who God has placed there to help you. Let the relationships that you have make you better for God.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Nehemiah 1:1-3:14; 1 Corinthians 7:1-24; Psalm 31:19-24; Proverbs 21:4

August 9

Ezra 8:21-9:15; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Psalm 31:1-8; Proverbs 21:1-2

As Ezra continued to put the affairs of Israel in order, he knew that prayer alone would not be enough. He knew the enormity of what God wanted him to do and he did not want any interference from his own emotions or satan. 

He called the people to fast in addition to pray. Fasting is a powerful addition to our spiritual lives. Fasting in the Bible consisted of going without all food or types of food for a specific period of time to draw closer to God. Fasting does not bring God closer to us but it brings us closer to God. Why?

Because our lives can become so cluttered that we have interference in our relationship with God. When we take some time to fast, this interference reduces and our spiritual senses are heightened. Live a fasted lifestyle where you regularly take some time to fast, and you won’t have “low spots” in your relationship with God. Ezra found that after they fasted, God answered. God will answer you too!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Ezra 10:1-44; 1 Corinthians 6:1-20; Psalm 31:9-18; Proverbs 21:3

August 8

Ezra 7:1-8:20; 1 Corinthians 4:1-21; Psalm 30:1-12; Proverbs 20:28-30

Everything should start with the Word of God. With the Temple rebuilt, there were many commandments from the Lord that Israel needed to know so that they could obey Him and allow His blessings to flow.

Ezra enjoyed great favor and the King gave him everything he needed. Just like those who came before him, Ezra had a specific task to reestablish worship in Israel. He had all the financial support and food that anyone could want. But, what he knew they needed more than that was the Word of God. So, before he even returned to Israel, Ezra spent time learning God’s Word.

Is the Word of God truly the foundation of your life? God has given us everything we need to succeed. He has forgiven us, made us righteous, given us His Word and filled us with the Holy Spirit. Now that we have everything we need to succeed, what will we do with it? To have the Word and not live by it would dishonor all the grace that God has given us. If you want to build your life on something that cannot be shaken, then build it on the Word of God and you can never fail.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Ezra 8:21-9:15; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Psalm 31:1-8; Proverbs 21:1-2

August 7

Ezra 4:24-6:22; 1 Corinthians 3:5-23; Psalm 29:1-11; Proverbs 20:26-27

Our God is a Great God! The exiles who returned to Israel to rebuild the Temple were under attack by the political leadership. They had threatened to temporarily halt work on the Temple. Even though the governor had the power to stop them, he didn’t. Why? “Because their God was watching over them.”

Aren’t you glad that the God we serve is not so distant that when we need Him, we cannot reach Him? Our God always protects and perfects all those who are associated with Him. When these Jews were asked who gave them permission to rebuild the Temple, they were very clear: “We are servants of the God of Heaven and earth.” Even though these men were given permission by King Cyrus, they ultimately knew that it was God who had commanded them to return and rebuild the Temple. Everything they did was as God’s servants.

They never lost sight of who they were and whose they were. God gave them such favor. Their work was never halted but continued with the blessing of King Darius. I cannot stress enough that our God is a Great God and He knows how to handle His Business. If you are living for Him, then He will always come through for you! Regardless of the opposition, you will come out on top!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Ezra 7:1-8:20; 1 Corinthians 4:1-21; Psalm 30:1-12; Proverbs 20:28-30