Nehemiah 5:14-7:73 ~ 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 ~ Psalm 33:1-11 ~ Proverbs 21:8-10
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Old Testament - It is great to see Nehemiah's strong character in today's readings! As governor, he could have taken full advantage of collecting food allotments from the people. But he didn't, as he knew these allotments would have been a burden on them. Then, Nehemiah sticks to leading the people in the goal of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem - which was an incredible feat that was pulled off in less than 2 months through God's grace. And this is a wall that was down for 150 years! Is there anything you can apply to your life through today's readings about Nehemiah? Are there areas of your life where perhaps you are taking advantage of a situation you shouldn't? Is there a goal in your life that you're not moving on that you should? Will you pray to God like Nehemiah did in 6:9 - "But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands.""
Below is an image of Nehemiah in chapter 6 verses 4 through 7: "Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply. The fifth time, Sanballat's servant came with an open letter in his hand, and this is what it said: "Geshem tells me that everywhere he goes he hears that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king. He also reports that you have appointed prophets to prophesy about you in Jerusalem, saying, `Look! There is a king in Judah!' You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me."
New Testament - Paul's teachings today about food sacrificed to idols in First Corinthians chapter 8 should be considered along with chapter 10 verses 14 through 22. In particular check out 10:19-21 - "Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons." Food sacrificed to idols was a major issue for Christians in Corinth to consider, so they wrote Paul asking about this issue. Paul in chapter 8 hones in on the point that even though it may mean nothing to eat meat sacrificed to idols - which are nothing - it may mean a lot to some and cause some to stumble. Then in chapter 10 Paul hones in on the point that sacrifices to idols are really sacrifices to demons. This all makes me think about are world today. As Christians, in our freedom in Christ many things are permissible. But not all things are beneficial - to ourselves or to others that see us participating in some activities. So, are there any areas of your life where perhaps you are participating in worldly activities that really don't mean anything - they're okay in our freedom - but that perhaps could cause others to stumble in some way? Or, perhaps those activities could even cause you to stumble if you're not careful? Will you leave these activities by the wayside? Related to that activity, would you be willing to say as Paul did in First Corinthians chapter 8 verse 13: "So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble."
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "The Great Divorce - Separating Truth From Love" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 33 verse 11 is powerful: "But the LORD's plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken." I think the thing that stands out to me about this verse is that it is God's plans - not our plans - that stand firm forever. Therefore, it's only logical in my mind that we should align our lives such that they are part of God's plan - God's Kingdom. I think reading the Bible each day is one excellent way to discern what God's plans are. And then - once we know what God's plans are, will we then align our lives with his plans? Knowing that his intentions can never be shaken? Or will we keep trying to forge out on our own...
Proverbs - Proverbs 21 verse 10 teaches us today: "The guilty walk a crooked path; the innocent travel a straight road." How is the course of your life path these days? Is it a straight road? Or is there perhaps some crookedness in your path? If so, will you repent of whatever is leading you to crookedness and let God lead you along the straight road?
Worship God: Today's readings in First Corinthians today reminded me of the Newsboys song song "Shine." Here's a great live high energy version of this song!
Do you want to shine? Click here and Shine!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak." 1 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that the exercise of your freedom on Christ does not become a stumbling block to weaker brothers and sisters. Pray that your life and actions grow brothers and sisters to be more godly in character and lifestyle.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!