Hedging my bet?

Hedging a bet?

“They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.  But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.”  Nehemiah 4:8-9.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Nehemiah 3-4, and Luke 23.

Trusting God requires action on our part.  Sometimes that “action” is inaction…….let go, let God.  Other times that “action” is some direct involvement.

In today’s verses the action is direct involvement.  They prayed and then they posted.

Earlier in Ezra there was a story of how on the trip back from Babylon to Jerusalem, they did not request that the Babylonians provide protection.  Why?  Because Ezra believed that the Babylonians would lose respect for his God if his God couldn’t take care of them.

In the Nehemiah story, the protection was put in place.  As it turned out, that “protection” was never called into play.  Maybe if the builders in Jerusalem had trusted God, they wouldn’t have had to worry so much about protecting themselves?  Were they trying to “help” God?  Maybe they were hedging their bet?

Maybe, in the Nehemiah story, God expected them to post guards.  And maybe God knew that if guards were posted the enemies wouldn’t bother them.  Therefore, He offered the Jews that solution.

The ultimate keys for me are that I must trust God and then do whatever He wants.  One size does not fit all when it comes to solutions.  I must be willing to do His bidding, not my own.

“Father, protect me from choosing my own ways.  Your Ways must be my ways.  Open my senses to catch what You want me doing.  Empower me to get those deeds done.  I love You, Lord.”

The closer I am to God the more likely I will know what He wants me to do.

 

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What should I say?

“The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’  Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king.”  Nehemiah 2:4-5.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Nehemiah 1-2, Psalm 133, and Luke 22.

This is a favorite verse of mine.

I find role models good and bad in reading Scripture regularly.  Nehemiah comes out on the good side in this one.

I want to use God’s Words in every conversation but how often do I turn to Him, as Nehemiah does, before speaking?  Not often enough.

Some of my recent Bible readings have referenced commitment to God.  A full commitment is the coveted standard.

A full commitment to God would produce a steady stream of His Words in my conversations.

I like the way Nehemiah made a quick consult to God before answering the king.  I am quite certain that Nehemiah didn’t kneel, or close his eyes when he prayed.  He prayed to himself and then gave an answer.  I must do the same thing.  “Lord, help me,” is a wonderful prayer to give prior to conversations and even during interactions.

“Lord, I want Your Words in every conversation I have.  Forgive me for using my words.  I need Your’s in every one of them.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Your Words must be the foundations of every verbal interaction.

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God is always with me

“Though we are slaves, our God has not forsaken us in our bondage.” Ezra 9:9.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Ezra 9-10, Psalm 131, and Luke 21.

I often live as someone aware of God’s presence when things are going well and less aware of God’s presence when they aren’t.

I worry when there is trouble because I forget that God is my God in all seasons.

The minister I heard this AM used this line: “This is more than I can handle but He will not give me more than He can handle.”

I look at things through godless eyes and wonder why my reactions are messed up.  God doesn’t ever leave me.

In today’s verse, Ezra speaks words of hope in a hopeless situation after he learns of the exiled Jews blatant disobedience.

Ezra has no hope of a “happy” ending but he understands that God is with His people no matter what they’re going through.  And I need to have the same disposition!

I frequently question my connectedness to God.  I worry that distance develops during my “awayness.”  But it doesn’t.  God is nearby even when I ignore Him.  It is never a long journey back to His presence.  That, my friend, is a great comfort.

“Lord, You are with me.  My mind is stirred by the thought.  Forgive me for believing that You are ever distant from me.  You aren’t.  I love You, Father.”

You cannot be separated from the love of God.

 

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What is the good news?

“One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news…..” Luke 20:1.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Ezra 7-8, and Luke 20.

What was the “good news” that Jesus was proclaiming?

The good news was that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah that the Old Testament referenced in a number of places and ways.

Jesus was the fulfillment of the OT prophecies.

Could it be true that Jesus was the Messiah? Even John the Baptist wasn’t sure that Jesus was who He claimed He was.

But there was the Messiah in the flesh…..in their midst.

How could they be confused about Him?  This has everything to do with preconceived notions.  Many of the Jews thought of the Messiah as a military leader.  They expected the Messiah to use force and put an end to all of the Jews’ problems.  This Jesus in their midst displayed no military qualities.  So instead of suspecting that their vision of the Messiah was inaccurate, they dismissed Jesus as not being the Messiah.

I don’t know how things will go in the so-called end times but I have a suspicion that there will come a time when the Jews will realize that Jesus is the Messiah and act accordingly.  What a day that will be!

“Lord, You are the Messiah.  Thank You for entering my world and taking care of my sin problem.  Thank You for the promise of an after-life with You.  How glorious!  You are indeed ‘Good News.’”

Jesus is all the “good news” you and I will ever need.

 

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Celebrating God

“’I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’”  Luke 19:40.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Esther 9-10, and Luke 19.

Flooded areas tend to overflow into other areas.

I have God in my life but am I anywhere near overflowing of Him?

To overflow, my enthusiasm for Him will show up in other areas of my life.

Do I credit God for the visuals that I take in?  I just finished moving to a new location yesterday (Hence the missing entry) and things are very different here visually.

The place I moved from has plenty of trees.  In the new spot, things are wide open.  Last night I got a good look at a full moon reflecting on a river.  Wished that I had brought my tripod from the other place so that I could have pictured it clearly!

I need to have all my senses open to God in my midst so that my praise of Him will be ongoing.  I go to church and sing numerous praise songs.  It is uplifting, and I like it during the away-from-church time, when those songs are running through my head.

“Lord, You are worthy of praise.  Forgive me for missing what You have done in my midst.  Thank You for loving me.  For taking care of my sin problem.  I love You, Father.”

I must notice God’s workings in my midst.

 

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Will I work for free?

“Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?”  Luke 17:9.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Esther 1-2, Psalm 150, and Luke 17.

How many times have you done something special but ended up a bit disappointed because nobody noticed?  I’ve been there.

What I fail to remember is that Someone did notice?  How can I forget Him?

I find it easier to remember the good things I’ve done.  I imagine God, who sees EVERYTHING I do, could well think, “It’s about time he did something right!”

I often think in sports’ terms.  Players crave the applause of the crowd.  That applause, however, is often misconstrued.  In baseball, the home-run hitter gets the large ovations.  I, however, prefer the player who defends well and gets on base consistently.  He scores ahead of the home-run hitter.  He moves base-runners along.  But I digress….

I must be that consistent “player” that I admire.  I must get done the expected day-to-day things.  Keep things neat.  Look for ways to help.  React to situations positively.  God’s watching.  He’s the Ultimate One I’m trying to serve by my actions.

“Lord, I love You.  Lord, I want to serve You in whatever capacity You have for me.  Open my eyes/ears so that I catch what I need to do.  Forgive me for messing up the little things and craving recognition.  Your love is all I need.”

Will I work free of praise?

 

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I am in His sight always

“Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar.”  Psalm 138:6.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Ezra 5-6, Psalm 138, and Luke 16.

God knows all that I do.

His awareness must put me on notice.  Everything I do is done before a divine audience.

I did not reach his awareness because of any accomplishment.  He has chosen to watch me.  It is an honor but it also generates a need for Godly behavior on my part.

God will see my good days and my bad days.  He will see when I have honored Him and when I have dishonored Him.  There is no corresponding distance from Him based on my behavior.  He always has me in His sights.

I am comforted to know that He is with me.  I rejoice that I can interact with Him.  I can complement Him for things He gives me.  I can also ask for forgiveness when I mess up.

A God in my midst.  What an awesome thought.  May I live accordingly.

“Lord, thank You for being where I am.  Thank You that I am not alone.  That I have Your glorious nearness.  Help me to live in a way that always pleases You.  Forgive my rationalizations for dishonorable behavior.  I love You, Father.”

God will never leave me.  Hallelujah!

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