GETTING THE MOST FROM GOD'S WORD:

"Do NOT labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting LIFE..." - The Gospel of John 6:27 (NKJV)
A systematic and daily reading of the Word of God is important in maintaining a strong Christian life. Establish a daily quiet time with God and His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand what you read. By following our daily Bible reading schedule through this blog, you will be able to read the Bible through in a year. Please note that you may utilize the ‘BIBLE READER’ app that is installed at the bottom of this webpage to assist you in reading the specified scripture portion for today.

To get the MOST from God's Word, please do the following intentionally:
1. REQUEST God to connect with you as you read the word of God with FOCUS and OPENNESS to see what God wants to speak with you.
2. READ the selected sections of Scripture slowly as you mark the words and phrases that intrigue you, even reading them the second time to get a better understanding.
3. REFLECT on what God is communicating to you; stopping long enough to let the seed of God's Word take root in your heart.
4. RESPOND to the passage speaking directly to God about what is in your heart, and then look out for ways to live out what you find - individually, and to others within your church and elsewhere.

As you read and meditate, ask yourself the following three questions:
a) What is God speaking to me through this passage?
b) Is there a command, a promise or a warning for me?
c) Is there an example for me to follow?

Please POST your comments below if there is a thought or message that the Lord has spoken to you through the passage that you are reading and meditating today. Please make sure that your post is aligned to the scripture passage mentioned at the header. All comments should pertain to the relevant scripture portions only, and should be aimed to glorify God (the true author of 'The Bible') & edify everyone who visits this blog site daily - both young and old. May God bless you abundantly for encouraging others through your comments!

Let's PRAY...
LORD, give me the desire to take a little time out of my busy schedule today as I read and meditate on Your Word. Give me this day MY DAILY BREAD. Speak to me clearly & lead me today as my Good Shepherd. Help me to be a blessing to others who interact with me as I attempt to be a living witness of Your Word today. In Your Name I pray, AMEN.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May 18 Bible Reading: Nehemiah Chapters 4-6

EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES to CONFRONT the ENEMY ATTACKS: "Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night." (Neh. 4:7-9)

As the reconstruction work of the wall of Jerusalem progressed, Nehemiah and his fellow workers started facing the formidable opposition of a few people who were very upset that the gaps on the Jerusalem walls were being closed. Among these people were Sanballat (4:1, 7; 6:1), Tobiah the Ammonite (4:3, 7; 6:1), Geshem the Arab (6:1) and the Ashdodites (4:7).  What all of these people had in common was that they had remained in Palestine during the period of Judah’s exile, and over the years, they were dominating that Palestine region. Just like the slumlords and petty politicians who maintain control over the poor by keeping them weak and powerless, these dubious characters were controlling the economy in the absence of the wise and strong people who were either killed or, captured and taken captives, by the Babylonians.

Now when Nehemiah entered their territory both unexpected and uninvited, he represented an unwelcome threat and a change that was imposed from the outside. Even though Nehemiah’s plan to rebuild the wall offered long-term benefits for the people of Jerusalem, it also threatened the immediate interests of these local thugs who were exploiting the local population. These changes even made many of the residents uncomfortable, for they too had started to exploit each other by acting as loan sharks (see 5:1–5; Hag. 1:7–11). So, while Nehemiah faced the enemy attacks to stop the reconstruction work, he also had to deal with the selfishness and greed of the local residents in Jerusalem (4:10-11).

In spite of all these different opposing forces, Nehemiah responded with his resolute faith in God and constant intercession to God to confront the enemy attacks that included ridicule (4:1-3), resistance (4:7-8) and rumor (4:11-12). Instead of overreacting to his opposition, he adapted to adversity, set up plans to defend themselves against the attack of the enemy and kept on working. In fact, Nehemiah responded to his enemy using righteous anger (5:6), deliberation (5:7), resolution (5:7-13) and by setting himself as an example (5:14-19). We should note that there were nine effective strategies that Nehemiah used to confront the enemy attacks that are listed below:
  1. He relied on the power of God to save him from the attacks of the enemy (4:4-5).
  2. He prayed earnestly to God and watched out for the impending attack (4:9).
  3. He created a plan to guard themselves effectively against the enemy (4:12-13).
  4. He challenged the people to rise up to the tasks ahead of them (4:14a).
  5. He reminded the people that God would fight for them on their behalf (4:14b).
  6. He formulated a new work/war strategy that would gain them the victory (4:16).
  7. He provided both tools and weapons to work as well as guard themselves (4:16-17).
  8. He created an effective communication (sound of trumpet) to alert everyone of an actual enemy attack so that they could rally and fight together (4:19-20).
  9. Finally, he kept his course and was on high alert day and night until the work was completed (4:21-23).
God eventually rewarded Nehemiah’s perseverance by helping him to complete rebuilding the wall (6:15). One of the highlights of the strategies that Nehemiah used for the people was that "with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon" (4:17). We also have an enemy Satan, who "walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). We must resist him (v. 9a) using "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17) while doing the labor for our Master daily. Our Lord Jesus resisted the attacks (temptations) of Satan only using God’s Word (Matt. 4:1-11). Let us follow His example and resist the attacks of Satan using God’s Word that we can hide in our hearts as well.

"How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!" (Psalms 119:9-11)

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