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

August 6

Ezra 3:1-4:23; 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4; Psalm 28:1-9; Proverbs 20:24-25

Whenever you set out to do good, there is a force of evil that attempts to stop you. We would all like for our road to be covered with rose petals and confetti. After all, if we are trying to do good, why would it be resisted?

The truth is: as much as God wants you to do good, there is a devil that wants to “steal, kill and destroy.” How happy the Israelites must have been that they had a commission to go home and rebuild the Temple. They also received the funding so that it was not a financial strain.

Israel busily started work and opposition arose. It literally came from every side. The key to handling opposition is to expect it, but yet don’t let it overwhelm you because when you are working and living for God, then whenever someone comes against you, they come against God. God will protect you and He will be your vindication. Opposition can actually be a sign that you are on the right track!

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

August 5

Ezra 1:1-2:70; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:7-14; Proverbs 20:22-23

You have often heard it said that “Where God guides, He provides.” This is such a true statement yet so many of us don’t trust that God can really take care of us. Rejecting a truth like this puts us in a position where we try to earn a living instead of letting God lead us to where His provisions are.

Cyrus gave a command that Israel could go home. He knew that they had been exiled as slaves in a foreign country and had no resources. God spoke to a foreign king to give them safe passage back home. He then encouraged their neighbors to give them what they needed to being the rebuilding process back home. This is not unusual because when Israel left Egypt, God had the Israelites ask the Egyptians to give them precious metals, jewelry and linens. They left Egypt with as much wealth as they could handle.

Time and time again God shows that He can take care of His children. In times of financial upheaval, we tend to allow human economics to trump God’s promises. However, if you will trust Him, He will provide for your every need (national, spiritual and social).

Tomorrow’s Reading: Ezra 3:1-4:23; 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4; Psalm 28:1-9; Proverbs 20:24-25

August 4

2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Psalm 27:1-6; Proverbs 20:20-21

When things are taken from us, we try with all of our might to hold on to them. Our lives can become so cluttered that we have no room for God. When a purging happens it is not always bad– even though at the time it feels bad! 

Israel had been through several kings. There were kings who did evil in the sight of the Lord and Kings who followed after the example of David. Back and forth the people endured the steady flow of good kings and bad kings. At some point the people and the land had become so cluttered with false gods, pagan rituals and disobedience, that the land needed a rest. Jeremiah said that there would be 70 years of rest for the land. Foreign Kings invaded and took everyone and everything until no one was left! 

If people leave your life, or things leave your life, you may want to take it as a sign that God is giving you rest. There are things that compete against our relationship with God. We may not be aware but those things could be poisoning our future and their removal can keep us on the right road. See if there are areas in your life where you need rest. If so, plan it and get rest in that area so you can keep moving forward, drawing closer to God. When Israel returned to their land, they came back stronger and more determined to live for God. You will too!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Ezra 1:1-2:70; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:7-14; Proverbs 20:22-23

August 3

2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33; Romans 16:10-27; Psalm 26:1-12; Proverbs 20:19

If you come from a godly heritage, you have been bequeathed a priceless treasure. To have Christ-followers in previous generations sets you up for the blessings of God to flow down to you. Even the unclaimed promises of God that other generations did not enjoy, you have a right to them. 

When Josiah became King, he had a heart to obey God. Scripture records that he, “began to seek the God of his ancestor David” (2 Chronicles 34:3). Even though he was several generations removed from David, he went back to King David because he was a devoted example of following God. He did not look to his father or grandfather, but he went all the way back to the one to whom God made the original promise. 

Do you have godly people in your family line? If so, take some time to discover the God of your ancestors. Claim every promise that may have been left unfulfilled. Claim every blessing and favor that God has for your family. Claim blessings that even those who would not follow God left unclaimed. There is value in knowing that God’s faithfulness passes from one generation to another. If you do not have godly people in your family line, then thank God that you are establishing one and those who follow you will one day seek for the God that you serve!

Tomorrow’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Psalm 27:1-6; Proverbs 20:20-21

August 2

2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13; Romans 15:23-16:9; Psalm 25:16-22; Proverbs 20:16-18

What some people think is a weakness can actually be a strength. The King of Assyria mocked Hezekiah for his intense devotion to the things of God. Even when Hezekiah gave the people hope by telling them that the Lord would fight for them. Sennacherib made it sound like his acts of obedience to God were futile. 

In the world in which we live, the respect for God is waning. People find great comfort in spirituality but not in complete commitment to Jesus! Those of us who call ourselves Christian and seek to live out our faith daily are often seen as strange and out of touch with the “real world”. The only time that changes is when a crisis arises!

You see, when a crisis hits, that’s actually God’s time to show who He really is and those who have been faithful to Him have credibility because they were consistent to serve God even when things were going well. There is great value in your faithfulness. Your faithfulness will get you out of situations when your faith is failing. Faithfulness will open doors even when you haven’t done everything well. Be faithful to honor God everyday and even when people mock you for your commitment, whenever a challenge arises, God will show them how blessed it is to be on His side because He always wins and so do we!

Tomorrow’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33; Romans 16:10-27; Psalm 26:1-12; Proverbs 20:19