Author Archives: flasky10

Nehemiah 4-6; Psalm 98; Revelation 6

Nehemiah 4 stood out to me from all of these passages because of the encouragement it provides for Christians facing opposition or discouragement. In chapter four, the Jews were facing opposition as they rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem. The Sanballat heard the Jews were building the wall and mocked them. Nehemiah cried out to God saying,

“Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives”

Nehemiah 4:5

In the face of opposition, Nehemiah cried out to God and trusted in God as his validator rather than those around him. Nehemiah’s response seemed to be the general response of the people. The Jews remained faithful and trusted that God would also remain faithful to them. The Jews continued to build the wall. Opposition continued as the Jews’ enemies heard of their success; however, the Jews endured in their work.

“So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work”

Nehemiah 4:6

In spite of the opposition and lies that could have filled their minds, the Jews were focused on the task that God had given them. Rather than let the voices of their enemies fill their minds, they listened to God’s instruction and completed the wall. Their minds were set on the will of God.

I may not be called to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem; however, I still found powerful truth in this passage for contemporary believers. We will face opposition in our walks with God, yet God is faithful to complete the work he started in us (Phil 1:6). I sometimes struggle to hold fast to the Word of God and the call He has placed on my life. I am prone to dwell on the discouragement I feel or the lies I believe. I can allow opposition to hinder me from doing the work of God. This passage exemplifies a healthy way of facing opposition. I must surrender my doubts and fears to God and trust that He is caring for me and that He is faithful. Additionally, this passage challenged me to consider if I am walking in God’s will and living out His word. The Jews were not passively standing by rather they were working for God where He had them. Overall, this passage encouraged me that I can trust God in the face of opposition and challenged me to pursue God’s will wholeheartedly.

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Ezekiel 43-45; Psalm 135; John 15

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

Recently, I have found myself doing a lot of things without abiding in God. I have gotten used to my routine at school and going through my daily to-do lists without seeking God in each of my tasks. This verse states that we can do nothing without God. Let the weight of that sink in. There are many times that I get to the end of the day and realize that I forgot to pray, I forgot to abide, and I forgot that I can do nothing without God. I go through days relying on my own strength and striving to be enough as a student, friend, and Christian. I fall into the pattern of trying to please God rather than abiding in Him and asking Him to transform me.

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” 

John 15:8-10

While this chapter frees us from striving, it still calls us to obedience with the goal of glorifying God. Our love for God and our discipleship is reflected in our obedience in fruit-bearing but again apart from God, we can do nothing. I often separate abiding and obedience in my mind because they feel like contradicting terms; however, it is through abiding that I am able to obey and it is through obedience that I abide in God’s love.

Dear God,

Sorry for the days I forget my need for you. I am sorry that I forget your grace and strive to earn your love and to deserve righteousness. I am sorry for the times that I get caught up in the anxiety of all I have to do and forget to rest in your love. Thank you for being the source of my strength, righteousness, and worth. Thank you that I can run to you in the busyness and abide in your love. Thank you that your love is not based on my achievements but on Jesus’ death on the cross. Please help me to abide in you and to rely on you daily. Please help me not to forget the call to obey.

~ Faith

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Isaiah 41-44; 1 Corinthians 12

As I read through Isaiah 41-44, I noticed a cycle of God declaring His character and then Isaiah calling the people to respond in worship; however, Isaiah does not point out the typical characteristics of God associated with worship. Often in scripture worship of God correlates to God’s holiness, but Isaiah emphasizes God’s care for His people.

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on bare heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”

Isaiah 41:17-18

God is powerful even in the situations that seem the most hopeless such as deserts and valleys. Another repeated theme in these chapters is that God does not forsake His people. This is one of the declarations made by God in these verses. In contrast, God condemns the idols of the people declaring them useless. It is easy to turn to things of this world to satisfy us or bring comfort in moments of hardship; however, when confronted with the power and care of our God, the uselessness of our idols is exposed and the worthiness of God is highlighted.

Next, the passage goes on to describe the future Messiah, Jesus, by saying,

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a fainting burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.”

Isaiah 42:3-4

How compassionate is the God that we serve? Even in our brokenness and weakness, he will not desert us. He is faithful!

In light of all of this, Isaiah calls the people to respond in praise.

“Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.”

Isaiah 42:10

We serve a God worthy of all praise. He is above everything in heaven and on earth. His name is above every other name. Not only does Isaiah declare the truth of who God is, it also declares the truth of who we are.

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name and you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.”

Isaiah 43:1-4

Let that truth lead you to worship. Remember who God is and who He says you are. God is compassionate and gentle. We serve a God who brings redemption even in the midst of our brokenness and never forsakes us. 

Faith (Flasky10)

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Hosea 14; 2 Chronicles 26-27; Psalm 61; Matthew 20

As I read Hosea 14, I was confronted by God’s loving and merciful response to the unfaithful Israelites. We are quick to label ourselves as unworthy of grace or too far gone, yet God continues to love us and call us to repentance. God does not respond to our cries with condemnation, distance, or rejection rather he shows mercy.

“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God for you have stumbled because of your iniquity”

Hosea 14:1 English Standard Version

In our weakness, God calls us to return to Him for He is our strength! Psalm 61 is another example of the nearness of our God and His attentiveness to our prayers. 

“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the ends of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge a strong tower against the enemy.”

Psalm 61:1-3

The psalmist says he cries out when his heart is faint. I am all too familiar with this prayer. The prayer of a person in need of rest in the midst of their struggling. The prayer of one aware they need someone higher than themselves. This psalmist is aware of his dependence on God and responds in prayer. 

Similarly, Matthew 20 tells of two blind men sitting on the side of the road, who cry out to God for mercy. I am so encouraged by their faith despite the opposition. 

“And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”

Matthew 20:29-31

These men were aware of who Jesus was. Therefore, they called out to Him despite the crowd trying to silence them. Unlike the crowd, Jesus stopped, listened to them, and healed them. Jesus does not ignore the cries of his children and he is not ignorant of their needs. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, God’s character is displayed and He is a God who hears and responds. 

A month ago I served as a camp counselor and the pastor preached on prayer. He said when we pray we must come to God with humble hearts and honest words. I love that! Prayer is not about perfection or strength. God already knows our weaknesses and our needs. Go to Him as you are, cry out to Him with honesty and humility, and trust that He is listening. 

Faith (flasky10)

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Proverbs 14-15; Romans 14

Honoring God requires loving and living in unity with believers. I have frequently heard Christians summarize the greatest commands given by God as love God and love people. This command is presented with so much simplicity, yet the more you read the Bible the more depth is added to the command to love. As I read Romans 14, I was confronted by the motive of love and obedience presented in this passage. The author called believers not to judge since they are the Lord’s and commended them not to cause others to stumble because Christ died for them. Believers should walk in love.

“For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”

Romans 14:8 ESV

“For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.”

Romans 14:15 ESV

In verse fifteen, the author commands believers not to grieve others by what they eat; however, this does not just apply to food but more broadly to every conviction that is not foundational to salvation. The church is called to unity as we read in verse 19:

“So then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding”

Sadly, when I look at the church and believers, I usually find divisions, judgement, and comparison. This is not what the church is meant to be. The church should be unified in love and believers should be pursuing to build each other up. The trinity provides a beauty example of unity and God desires his church to display that unity, which is why we find the commands in Romans 14 not to judge or cause others to stumble.

Ultimately, I was struck by the weight of verse 15 when the author said, “. . . do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.” This is such a powerful statement. When I am tempted to judge my brothers and sisters in Christ, I must remember that Christ died for them too. If there is anything I have learned from this passage, it is to not forget the price that Christ paid for other believers and the weight of his love for them because that reality humbles me and reminds me to love them.

~ Faith

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