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What’s Your First Thought When You Hear the Word “Discipline?”–Hebrews 12:6

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:1-12:29

What’s your first thought when you hear the word discipline?

  • Pain
  • A spanking as a kid
  • Self-control or the  lack thereof

How about extreme love?

Love = discipline

Discipline = love

…that’s what the Bible says.

God’s discipline proves His love for us.

For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one

he accepts as his child.  —Hebrews 12:6

So if…

  • God doesn’t give us everything we want, exactly when we want it, and allows hard things to come into our lives to make us strong
  • Parents hold their children accountable to daily chores, respect for adults, and keeping their word
  • Employers expect an honest day’s work for a day’s pay, which includes completing tasks on time with a high degree of excellence
  • Humans push away from fleshly addictions (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, food, caffeine, T.V., Computers, etc) and implement healthy habits such as exercise, life-long learning, and helping others

…we are somehow loved by God, others, and ourselves?

Hummmm…

What are your thoughts on the connection between love, discipline and a healthy, productive life?

Heavenly Father, the average person in today’s world doesn’t want to discipline themselves or others and they certainly don’t want to be disciplined by anyone, including You.  Holy Spirit, show us the importance of loving and being loved through discipline. Help us to hold out for the greater good rather than settling for a mediocre life.  Help us to follow your example Jesus. Lord, help us to accept Your discipline.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Hebrews 13:1-25, 1 Peter 1:1-2:3

What Happened to Our Checkbook?—1 Corinthians 16:1-2


Today’s Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 16:1-24, Acts 19:21-20:6, Romans 1:1-32

“I don’t understand, there should be more money than that; we haven’t even written our tithe check…”

That’s the way I felt a couple of weeks ago.  My husband and I had traveled for almost three weeks.  I hadn’t been home to reconcile our account.  I had been using the scientific approach of “guessimating.”

That is not normal for me.  Can I say Quicken®, categories, files, reports, etc.?  I’m one of those people.

The REAL problem wasn’t my lack of financial organization.  On second thought maybe that was part of the problem. 🙂

The real problem was the order in which we dispersed our money.

Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia.  On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once. —1 Corinthians 16:1-2

This isn’t some big theological essay on tithing (Malachi 3:10-12), it’s just something I’ve personally experienced.  I’ve been a tither my whole adult life.  Here’s what I know to be true:

EVERY TIME I have ever waited until last to pay my tithe, there was never enough left, but EVERY TIME I paid my tithe first, there was more money, it seemed to  s-t-r-e-t-c-h.

Why?

The principle of first-fruits…

God wants our best:

•         He wants our obedience

•          He wants our trust

•          He wants to provide us with a blanket of protection

In 1 Corinthians 16:2, Paul was reminding the Corinthians about first-fruits. There wasn’t a need for anymore to be said because the principle of first fruits was common knowledge, not only in Hebrew culture but in other cultures of that day…they just needed a reminder.

I guess those three weeks of traveling and not writing out our tithe first was our reminder…

Waiting to write out our tithe check until last is a bad idea.  I know this isn’t logical, but there is more money when we give God His first-fruits–our best.  No, it doesn’t make sense on paper, but we serve the one, true, living God who stands by his Word.

Oh, by-the-way, this works with your time and talents as well, but that’s another post!

Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. —Psalm 37:25

I can’t wait for our next pay-day.  I can’t wait to give God our best!

What have you experienced in giving God your best?

Heavenly Father, You’ve set a plan in place to bless your people.  Teach us, show us, reveal to us Your Best for us.  Help us to offer our BEST to You; You deserve it!  Help us to trust You and Your ways.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Additional Reading on First Fruits:

In the Hebrew Bible every firstborn, human or animal, belonged to the Lord (Ex 13:2), so the “firstfruits,” or initial yield of every crop, were set aside as a sacrificial offering (for example, Lev 2:9-14; Neh 10:35-37). God’s portion of the harvest was given to God up front, as it were. In the New Testament, “firstfruits” is used as a metaphor for something given in advance, anticipating a greater benefit or “harvest” to come. This can be the resurrection of Jesus anticipating the resurrection of believers (1 Cor 15:23), the Spirit as a gift from God pointing to future resurrection (Rom 8:23), the first converts in a particular region holding out the promise of more converts to come (Rom 16:5; 1 Cor 16:15) or reborn Christians offering hope for the rebirth of God’s creation (Jas 1:18).  Bible Gateway

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Romans 2:1-4:25

My Prized Possessions—Mark 13:31, Matthew 24:35, Luke 21:33

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 13:1-23, Matthew 24:1-25, Luke 21:5-24, Mark 13:24-31, Matthew 24:26-35, Luke 21:25-33

My oldest and most precious material possessions are my antique dining room table, china cabinet, buffet, and my piano.  All are over a hundred years old.  All were bought by my parents when I was a little girl.  When I look at these “things” my mind is filled with great memories of my childhood with my parents and brother.  And now my husband, children, and grandchildren and I are making new memories with these special “things.”

I hope my children and grandchildren continue to enjoy these “things” for many years to come. But there are some material possessions I will be handing down to them that are more important than my antiques…

These most important, most precious, special “things” are displayed in our shadow box coffee table.  At first glance, some of them aren’t much to look at; old, tattered, and falling apart.

But when I look at them my eyes fill with tears, my heart beats faster and my hands immediately move to touch them.

These special “things” are the ONLY things I know that are guaranteed to never disappear.

Actually they’re not things at all; they are diaries, historical journals, living love letters, and prophetical guides to the future; supernaturally written by the God of the Universe.

In this shadowbox are seven Bibles that God has used to communicate His love, promises, comfort, peace, direction, discipline, and holiness to me over the past 30 years.

Theses Bibles and God’s Word have help me to make it through times I literally thought I could not survive.

Three times in today’s reading God tells us that heaven and earth will pass away, but His words will never disappear (Mark 13:31, Matthew 24:35, Luke 21:33). I think He wants us to know…

His Words

His Words

His Words will never disappear…

As today’s reading tells us there will come a time when everything including heaven and earth will pass away.  My antiques won’t be around anymore, but the Word of God that I’ve hidden in my heart through Bible study, meditation, and daily devotions will last forever.

What are your most important “things”?

Will they last forever?

Pick up your Bible.

Take some time to think about the fact that you’re holding the Words of God and those Words will last forever.

Do you want something special to hand down to your family?

Give them a love for the Word of God.  It will out-live you, your money and your things!

Heavenly Father, help us to spend our time focusing on what will last forever; Your Word. Holy Spirit, draw us to Your Bible like a magnet!  Open our eyes Lord, we want to see you in and through Your Word.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 13:32-37, Matthew 24:36-51, Luke 21:34-38, Matthew 25:1-46

And Jesus said, “Your Mistake Is_____________.”–Matthew 22:29


Today’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:28-32, Mark 12:1-12, Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 20:9-19, Matthew 22:1-14, Mark 12:13-17, Matthew 22:15-22, Luke 20:20-26, Mark 12:18-27, Matthew 22:23-33, Luke 20:27-40

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life…

some were because of ignorance, some because hasty decisions, and some because of plain, old selfishness.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry He was constantly tested by the Jewish religious leaders.  In Matthew 22, the Sadducees made up a scenario trying to trap Jesus.  Not only did he answer their question, He pointed out their mistake:

Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. —Matthew 22:29

  • You don’t  know the scriptures
  • You don’t know the power of God

Jesus was talking to religious people, church leaders, preachers and teachers. They certainly should have known God’s Word and His Power.

In our year-long journey through God’s Word we’ve talked many times about the importance of knowing God’s Word, but have we ever really said that NOT knowing God’s Word is a mistake?

Maybe

It could be

The biggest mistake of our life.

I’m afraid when we get to heaven and the Lord shows us the plans that were made for our lives before the world began, plans to bring Him and His Kingdom glory, we’re going to say, “But Lord, we just couldn’t do it, we didn’t know how…”

Then our Lord is going to say…

“The mistake you made was–

  • You didn’t know the scriptures
  • You didn’t know my power

So you lived a life below the life I had planned for you.”

Friends, we do not want to make this mistake.  We do not want to see the disappointment on our Heavenly Father’s face or hear the sadness in His voice when He says, “I gave you My Word and My Power and you didn’t appreciate it or have knowledge of it.”

As I read yesterday’s scripture reading this particular passage jumped off the page.

Jesus was telling the disciples:

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.  You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”  –Matthew 21:21-22

I prayed and said, “Lord, I know there is so much more of Your power available to me as Your child than I’ve ever seen or experienced.  Teach me Lord about Your Power.”

I believe today’s scripture reading is the first lesson the Holy Spirit is teaching me as I pursue His Power.

God’s Word and His Power go hand-in-hand.

Amazing!  He’s already answering my prayer!

Heavenly Father, I don’t want to get to heaven and find out I made a huge mistake, a mistake that caused me to live a “less-than” victorious  Christian life.  Holy Spirit, draw me to Your Word, help me know You more each time I pick up Your Bible.  Jesus, I ask you to fill me with Your Power to get Your Will accomplished in my life.

In Jesus’Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 12:28-34, Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:35-37, Matthew 22:41-46, Luke 20:41-44, Mark 12:38-40, Matthew 23:1-12, Luke 20:45-47, Matthew 23:13-39, Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4

This is Something Worth Arguing About?—Mark 9:16

 

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 9:14-29, Matthew 17:14-21, Luke 9:37-43a, Mark 9:30-32, Matthew 17:22-23, Luke 9:43b-45, Matthew 17:24-27, Mark 9:33-37, Matthew 18:1-6, Luke 9:46-48, Mark 9:38-41, Luke 9:49-50, Mark 9:42-50, Matthew 18:7-35

I am so sick of turning on the T.V. and seeing two people with opposing views screaming at each other…

But

The same kind of thing went on in Jesus’ day; they just didn’t have the media to show it to the world a hundred times a day.

In today’s world we call that entertainment.  From today’s reading we see that the crowd was entertained by a good argument in Jesus’ day as well.

In Mark 9, Jesus and three of His disciples walked up on an argument between a huge crowd of people, the local religious leaders, and nine of His disciples.  Jesus immediately asked what all the arguing was about (Mark 9:16).

Most likely the religious leaders were pointing out to the crowd that the Jesus’ disciples weren’t able to heal the demon-possessed boy.  They were probably getting louder and louder, with the noise of the crowd adding fuel to the fire. If I were one of the disciples I would have definitely felt the need to defend the healing power of Jesus.

Can you just imagine the shouting match that must have gone on?

Jesus, Peter, James, and John had just come down from the mountain where they had heard the voice of God…

Talk about going “back to the real world!”

What happened next will probably be a surprise, if you think Jesus would have run away from an argument!

Jesus got right in the middle of mix, raised His voice and addressed all of them, including His disciples:

Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” —Mark 9:19

It seems that lack of faith is one of the few things that frustrated our Savior to the point of asking, “How long must I put up with you?”

In almost every miracle Jesus did He either praised great faith or corrected the lack of faith.

Faith is important to God:

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. —Hebrews 11:6

How do we get more faith?

That’s where the problem lies.  There’s a price to pay for great faith.

The disciples asked this same question when they talked after Jesus healed the boy.

Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”

Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer. —Mark 9:28-29

Most versions of the Bible say it can only be cast out by prayer AND fasting.

The spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting are crucial to live a life of faith in this fallen world.

Can you see why your humanness fights so hard when you set aside time to fast and pray?

I’m sure if Jesus were here He would be frustrated by our lack of faith.

I challenge you to find some time right now to spend with God in prayer!

Heavenly Father, help us to see the importance in doing our part to strengthen our faith.  Lord, we say with the father of the demon-possessed boy, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  John 7:1-9, Luke 9:51-56, Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62, John 7:10-8:20

What Does Jesus Think of Your Church Traditions? –Mark 7:6-8

 

Today’s Scripture Reading: John 6:22-71, Mark 7:1-23, Matthew 15:1-20

I’ve always gone to church. One of my earliest memories is being in church with my mom and brother. I’m in my 50s and I’ve only been a member of 5 different churches and 2 different denominations in all those years. I said that to say I’m not a fad chaser when it comes to choosing a church.

But, I’m sure there have been times when Jesus has included me in this message…

Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” –-Mark 7:6-8

I can remember a time in my life when I literally thought that if I didn’t go to church 3 times a week I was going to miss Jesus when He returned. Now I know that was absolutely crazy; there’s nothing mentioned in God’s Word about how many times we go to church a week.

But, the Bible does say this…

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.  –Hebrews 10:25

Why do we exchange God’s Word for the traditions of man?

Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • We don’t read God’s Word, so we don’t know the difference between Truth and traditions.
  • Human beings would rather have a list of dos and don’ts than to develop the discipline of meeting God daily through His Word and prayer.
  • It’s easier to follow a tangible person or doctrine than an intangible god.

What are your thoughts?

 

Lord, I want to follow You, not the traditions of man!

 

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 7:24-30, Matthew 15:21-28, Mark 7:31-37, Matthew 15:29-31, Mark 8:1-10, Matthew 15:32-16:4, Mark 8:11-21, Matthew 16:5-12

 

4 Ways to Make the Bible Easier to Understand—Matthew 13:18-23

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Matthew 13:10-23, Luke 8:9-18, Mark 4:21-29, Matthew 13:24-30, Mark 4:30-34, Matthew 13:31-52, Mark 4:35-41, Matthew 8:23-27, Luke 8:22-25

Are you struggling to grow in your knowledge of God?

Are you having difficulty developing a relationship with Him?

When I read the parable of the sower in today’s reading I saw something I have not seen before.  Classically we think of this parable as an explanation of how the message of Christ is received in the hearts of unbelievers, but as I read it today I thought about something else.

Could this parable apply to people who have accepted Christ as their Savior and are attempting to read His Word, develop spiritual disciplines, and grow in their relationship with their Savior?

Think about the times you spend reading the word; do any of the following scenarios describe those times? (Matthew 13:18-23)

  • You read a passage but don’t understand it (Matthew 13:19)
  • You read it, understand it, but have difficulty applying it to your life (Matthew 13:20-21)
  • You read it, understand it, but it is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth (Matthew 13:22)
  • You read it, understand it and share the good news of Christ with others (Matthew 13:23)

I can relate to each of these scenarios.  Sometimes when I attempt to read my Bible it seems like words on a page and other times those same words come alive and I get so excited and can’t wait to share them with others.

Why does this happen?

Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. (Matthew 13:18-19 NIV Emphasis mine)

What do we do about it?

  1. We pray before we begin reading and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us, speak to us and remind us of the things we’ve learned**
  2. We become sensitive to the thoughts going on in our minds and recognize when “the evil one” is trying to distract us from hearing, understanding, and sharing God’s Word***
  3. We  literally take our thoughts captive and force them to align with the Word of God***
  4. We read God’s Word expecting Him to teach us

**But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. –John 14:26

***For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. –2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Heavenly Father, our desire is to know You more.  We know we have an enemy who doesn’t want that to happen.  Teach us how to take our thoughts captive and force them to align with Your Word.  Teach us Your ways, illuminate Your Word, and stir us up so we will share it with others.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Mark 5:1-20, Matthew 8:28-34, Luke 8:26-39, Mark 5:21-43, Matthew 9:18-26, Luke 8:40-56

Pass Me the Duct Tape—Matthew 12:36-37

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Luke 8:1-3, Mark 3:20-230, Matthew 12:22-45, Mark 3:31-35, Matthew 12:46-50, Luke 8:19-21, Mark 4:1-9, Matthew 13:1-9, Luke 8:4-8, Mark 4:10-20

And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.  The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you. Matthew 12:36-37

Every idle word…

Lord help me!  I’m in trouble.  Where’s the duct tape?

I looked up the word “idle” in Word Studies in the New Testament hoping for a reprieve, but none was to be found…

Idle (ἀργὸν). The word is compounded of ἀ, not, and ἔργον, work. An idle word is a nonworking word; an inoperative word. It has no legitimate work, no office, no business, but is morally useless and unprofitable.

Friends, Jesus wasn’t just talking about profanity, He was talking about gossip, criticism, whining, complaining, etc; anything that isn’t adding value to people’s lives.

Let’s look at the context in which this verse is written (Matthew 12:22-37).

Jesus was getting it from all sides:

  • The crowds were following Him everywhere; He couldn’t get enough time to Himself to grab a bite to eat
  • His family was trying to pull Him away from the crowds saying, “He’s out of his mind”
  • The teachers of religious law were saying He was possessed by Satan

When the teachers accused Jesus of being possessed by Satan He took great offense, not because they were doubting Him, but because they were speaking against the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit; which the religious leaders should have recognized.  Jesus gave a timeless warning that had grave consequences against speaking against the power of the Holy Spirit.

It was in this serious setting that Jesus warned us about idle words.  He prefaced His warning with a word picture, which was the common way to communicate in Jewish culture.

A tree is identified by its fruit.  If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. –Matthew 12:33

If our heart is good our words will be good.  If our heart is bad our words will be bad.

In Jesus’ day the only words they dealt with were spoken words; very few people could write. Fast forward 2,000 years…how many words to you speak, write, type, or text in a 24 hour period?

Before you run to the garage and get your duct tape, remember Jesus sees and know our heart, so even if we keep our “idle” words from coming out, we’re still accountable for them.

What can we do about our idle words?

Don’t focus on the words…

Focus on getting your heart tuned into the Holy Spirit; ask Him to create in you a clean heart (Psalm 51:10) and your words will follow.

Heavenly Father, we want our words and our heart to be pleasing to You.  Lord, You made us, You know our human failings. Please forgive us when we fail; speak loudly to us when we do.  We say with David, create in us a clean heart.  Jesus, make us like You!

In Your Holy Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Matthew 13:10-23, Luke 8:9-18, Mark 4:21-29, Matthew 13:24-30, Mark 4:30-34, Matthew 13:31-52, Mark 4:35-41, Matthew 8:23-27, Luke 8:22-25

There’s Something You Need More Than Sleep—Mark 1:35

Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 4:12-17; Luke 3:23a; John 4:46-54; Luke 4:16-30; Mark 1:16-20; Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37; Mark 1:29-34; Matthew 8:14-17; Luke 4:38-41; Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44; Matthew 4:23-25

Are you a morning person or a night person?

What’s early for you?

For Jesus, it “a great while before day” (KJV) meaning between three to six a.m. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)

Before daybreak, the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. —Mark 1:35

The amazing thing about Jesus rising at such an early time of day is the fact that the previous day was very busy; He preached in the synagogue and had a huge healing service.

I know, Jesus is God, but while He was on this earth He was fully man and experienced the same physical and emotional limitations you and I do today.

Friends, there is nothing as tiring as preaching, teaching, and praying for people.  Literally, your passion, enthusiasm, and anointing from God are flowing out of you to those with whom you are ministering. I love people. I love ministering to others. But I can’t give out what I haven’t taken in!  This holds true in any area–ministry, family, friends, career, or community.

When you are called to give to others there’s something you need more than sleep; it’s emotional and spiritual restoration.  If you aren’t being filled and refreshed spiritually you will have nothing to give and eventually burnout.

Why did Jesus get up so early?

  • To be alone with God
  • To get away from people
  • To pray and receive strength and guidance for the day

Do we have to get up between three and six a.m. each day?  Of course not, but getting up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do to read your Bible and spend some time with the God of the universe  will

  • Set your priorities for the day—  God first!
  • Refresh and restore your emotions so you will be able to give to others
  • Give you the strength and wisdom to face whatever the day holds

Are you running short on time and energy at the end of each day?

What would Jesus do?

  • Get up a little earlier
  • Get alone with God
  • Pray for strength and wisdom for the day

Experts agree that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

30 minutes a day X 21 days = an emotionally and spiritually stronger YOU!

Will you accept the 21 day challenge?

Heavenly Father, help us to make our time with You a top priority in our life.  Help us to be determined to set aside time to spend with You.  Honor the efforts of each person who accepts this challenge.  Holy Spirit, draw us to You like a magnet.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Luke 5:1-11, Mark 1:40-45, Matthew 8:1-4, Luke 5:12-16, Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 9:1-8, Luke 5:17-26, Mark 2:13-17, Matthew 9:9-13, Luke 5:27-32, Mark 2:18-22, Matthew 9:14-17, Luke 5:33-39

3 Reasons Why We Don’t Volunteer in Our Local Church–Nehemiah 11:1-2

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Nehemiah 11:1 through Nehemiah 12:26

As I read today’s passage, my western mindset was surprised that most Jews of that day did not want to live in the Holy City.

Here are 3 Reasons the Holy City Wasn’t Their Neighborhood of Choice:

  1. Because a greater strictness of conversation was expected from the inhabitants of Jerusalem than from others, which they were not willing to come up to.
  2. Because Jerusalem, of all places, was most hated by the heathen their neighbors, and against it their malicious designs were leveled, which made that the post of danger (as the post of honor usually is) and therefore they were not willing to expose themselves there.
  3. Because it was more for their worldly advantage to dwell in the country. Jerusalem was no trading city, and therefore there was no money to be got there by merchandise, as there was in the country by corn and cattle. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible

In Nehemiah 7:4-5, God gave Nehemiah an idea to get the population up and the houses rebuilt.  In today’s reading we see that idea:

The leaders of the people were living in Jerusalem, the holy city. A tenth of the people from the other towns of Judah and Benjamin were chosen by sacred lots to live there, too, while the rest stayed where they were.  And the people commended everyone who volunteered to resettle in Jerusalem. –Nehemiah 11:1-2

Some of these citizens volunteered willingly while others had to be “drafted” (Neh. 11:1–2). The people had promised to tithe their produce (10:37–38), so Nehemiah decided to tithe the people; and 10 percent were chosen by lot to move from the villages into Jerusalem.

In today’s world most churches are in critical need of volunteers to work in all areas of ministry.  You would think that people who have been redeemed, rescued, and know the Lord would be thrilled to serve in any capacity.   But most don’t…

Why?

  1. Because leaders are held to a higher standard and most are not willing to come up to that standard.
  2. Because being a leader puts a target on our backs for criticism and judgment by family, co-workers, and friends.
  3. Because being a leader takes time, energy, and money and most would rather use those valuable resources for their own personal wealth and pleasure.

Very interesting…

The reasons why today’s church is low on volunteers are very similar to the reasons Nehemiah was having trouble getting the Jews to move back to Jerusalem.

Never underestimate the importance of simply being physically present in the place where God wants you. You may not be asked to perform some dramatic ministry, but simply being there is a ministry. The men, women, and children who helped to populate the city of Jerusalem were serving God, their nation, and future generations by their step of faith.

Heavenly Father, help us to commit to serving others through our local church.  Holy Spirit, show us how our talents, gifts, and time could make an eternal difference in the lives of people who don’t know you.  Jesus, stir us up, make us aware of the needs of a lost world.  Use us for Your Glory.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen.

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Nehemiah 12:27 – 13:6; Nehemiah 5:14-19; Nehemiah 13:7-21; Malachi 1:1 – 2:9

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