Scripture reading for January 12th: Genesis 32-35, Matthew 10
Key Scriptures: Matthew 10:34-38 “”Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.””
Jesus was talking to His disciples after He had sent them out two by two to the land of Israel. He warned them of the spiritual conflict they and future generations of believers would face. Our love for Jesus must surpass all other relationships! Conflict is inevitable! God will protect and bless His own!
Genesis 32:9-11 “And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that You have shown to Your servant. . . . .Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. But You said, ‘I will surely do you good . . .'”
Prayer: Lord, we are weak when it comes to facing opposition, especially from our own family. May we be encouraged and made bold through Your Word and example. Protect our family by Your blood. Amen
Scripture reading for May 9th: Nehemiah 3-4
God’s people are wired for work! When a vision is present, focus of energy and teamwork can result in a miraculous amount of work being done and great accomplishments. It takes leadership and discipline to get people to work together. There are many hindrances that try to hold up progress and destroy the vision. The leader must assess the situation, cast the vision, organize the team of workers, and deal with the hindrances in a timely and effective manner. He can’t run a popularity contest or seek to appease those who would hinder or hold up the work.
Nehemiah was an effective leader. He was chosen by God as he prayed for the city of Jerusalem, burdened for it’s broken-down walls. Nehemiah was given favor, authority, and materials from the king to go and rebuild the broken walls of his beloved city. His plan of action was formulated as he assessed the situation for himself after arriving there. (Nehemiah 2:11-16) He decided to put families in charge of rebuilding the section of wall nearest their own homes. (Nehemiah 3) This brought personal responsibility to bear on how the job would be done and how fast they would work.
Nehemiah had to deal with opposition, both external and internal. This is spiritual warfare that is ever-present in the life of a believer seeking to do God’s will. He prayed first (Nehemiah 4:4-5) and then posted a guard. He armed half the men while the others worked. He kept a trumpeter by his side to sound the alarm if any family was attacked and needed help. (Nehemiah 4:17-20) Everyone worked together and kept ready to meet any opposition.
This is a good plan for each person in God’s family. We are each assigned work to do by the Lord. There will be opposition and it must be dealt with to avoid setback and defeat. The Holy Spirit is the trumpeter in our lives who lets us know when trouble is coming. As we work and fight together the work gets done quickly. We remember that we are fighting for our own protection and that of our family. Personal responsibility and God’s grace insure the victory!
“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14