~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Nehemiah 3:15-5:13 ~ 1 Corinthians 7:25-40
Psalm 32:1-11 ~ Proverbs 21:5-7
Old Testament - Today in Nehemiah chapter 3 we read about the Israelites involved in the various segments of the wall of Jerusalem being rebuilt. Below is an image by C.F. Vos titled "Rebuilding the Walls of Jerusalem" -
New Testament - First Corinthians chapter 7 verses 32 through 34 are intriguing words from Paul - "An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord's work and thinking how to please him. But a married man can't do that so well. He has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided." I see his logic of these words - and these words have often rung so very true in my own life. But, I also see the blessing of the family. Of marriage. Of being part of a Holy Family. Obviously each of us came into this world because of the union of a woman and man. There are obviously some strong reasons of why marriage is important - why the family is important. It produces people like us! :) Unfortunately in our world today I am afraid the concept of the "Holy Family" is not so strong. Family can turn into a negative word for many people, instead of the holy word it should be. All this to say - I believe many of us are called to family life - to marriage and to kids. But I also believe that many of us are called to singleness. I really do. And I do believe being called to singleness is truly a blessing - just as being called to marriage is a blessing as well. Have you spent much time in your life discerning whether God has called you to singleness or to marriage? I think it's worth reflecting upon periodically - but not to dwell on / stress out about. It's better to ultimately remember Paul's words in verses 29 through 33 - "The time that remains is very short, so husbands should not let marriage be their major concern. Happiness or sadness or wealth should not keep anyone from doing God's work. Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away. In everything you do, I want you to be free from the concerns of this life." Whether you are single or married, do you believe these preceding verses are true for you? What does it mean to you that "the time that remains is very short"? How might this affect how you live your life?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "Undistracted Devotion" is at this link.
Psalms - Today we read Psalm 32, which is a wonderful testimony of joy for God’s gift of forgiveness to us when we confess our sins to God. In Psalm 32 verses 1 & 2 we will read – “Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” Do you agree with this Psalmist that there is joy in forgiveness? Have you confessed your sins to God? Do you make a regular habit of examining your conscience and confessing your sins to God? After confessing your sins, do you continuously pray to God to heal you of sins that may be gripping you? Will you then move forward on the actions or corrective measures that God leads you to - to truly be healed of addictive sins? Will you seek the joy of God’s forgiveness? Below is the famous painting titled "Forgiven." Please take a few moments to meditate upon this painting. How does it speak to you?
Proverbs - Today in Proverbs 21 verse 5 we read – “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” This is quite a convicting Proverb for me, as I often find myself acting very hastily. I like to hustle and move fast all too often. I had a great conversation over lunch yesterday with a friend who recently completed a 5 year strategic plan on her own life. I have one other friend that does this type of significant planning in his life as well. Now, I don’t know that all of us are called to have 5 year strategic plans for our own lives! :) However, I do think this Proverb advocates planning. Planning is diligent. And planning leads to profit – whereas haste leads to poverty. So, how do you plan in your life? Do you pray to God regularly to show you what His Plan is for your life? Do you then seek to follow what God’s plan is for you? Do you set goals and plans based on where you believe God is leading you? Do you think there would be value in setting goals and plans in your life?
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!