Tag Archives: perseverence

Nehemiah 4-6; Psalm 98; Revelation 6

Scoffing and mocking were just symptoms of an underlying hatred. That hatred would continue to grow into schemes to lure and lie and harm.

Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”

Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!” Nehemiah 4:1-3, NLT

So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono.

But I realized they were plotting to harm me, so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?” Nehemiah 6:2-3, NLT

13 They were hoping to intimidate me and make me sin. Then they would be able to accuse and discredit me. Nehemiah 6:13, NLT

19 They kept telling me about Tobiah’s good deeds, and then they told him everything I said. And Tobiah kept sending threatening letters to intimidate me. Nehemiah 6:19, NLT

An enemy’s agenda is always destruction.

How the Jews responded is a testimony of their faith. They worked enthusiastically. They resolved conflict between each other. When one portion was building, the other portion stood guard and protected them.

23 During this time, none of us—not I, nor my relatives, nor my servants, nor the guards who were with me—ever took off our clothes. We carried our weapons with us at all times, even when we went for water. Nehemiah 4:23, NLT

They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination. Nehemiah 6:9, NLT

Lord, these scriptures from Nehemiah, Psalms and Revelation speak of your sovereignty, might and power. An enemy is hard at work to discourage and destroy.

Sing a new song to the Lord,
    for he has done wonderful deeds.
His right hand has won a mighty victory;
    his holy arm has shown his saving power!
The Lord has announced his victory
    and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!
He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel.
    The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Psalm 98:1-3, NLT

15 Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?” Revelation 6:15-17, NLT

May I always remember the victory is yours.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chronicles 36; Psalm 126; 1 Peter 3

I spoke to a friend about a difficult time in my life from years ago that I thought could find a parallel an experience she shared. When we carry burdens we weren’t meant to carry, they can break us. And if they don’t break us, perhaps they hinder us from being effective at all.

First Peter 3:1-2, NLT,  talks to wives:

In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.

To husbands, in 1 Peter 3:7, NLT:

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

To all believers:

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 10 For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
    and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
    and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
    against those who do evil.”

Suffering for Doing Good

13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! 1 Peter 3:8-17, NLT.

From the events in the world down to a child’s poor attitude, there is nothing I can do to change things outside of my own thoughts, words, and actions–and isn’t that challenge enough? This is an opportunity to worship Christ as Lord of my life–and an opportunity to share my hope as a believer.

Lord, I want to keep my eyes on you and my focus on your kingdom. Certainly an enemy is bent on destruction–and always has been. Your word tells us to be of one mind. Oh, when things are out of my control, I want my heart to be tender, my attitude to be humble, and my retaliation to be a blessing.

Yours, Courtney (66books365)

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Ezekiel 31-33; John 11

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

10 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because Egypt became proud and arrogant, and because it set itself so high above the others, with its top reaching to the clouds, 11 I will hand it over to a mighty nation that will destroy it as its wickedness deserves. I have already discarded it. 12 A foreign army—the terror of the nations—has cut it down and left it fallen on the ground. Its branches are scattered across the mountains and valleys and ravines of the land. All those who lived in its shadow have gone away and left it lying there. Ezekiel 31:10-12, NLT.

A message of repentance.

The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. Ezekiel 33:12, NLT.

The fakers and phonies.

30 “Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what the Lord is saying!’ 31 So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. 32 You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it! 33 But when all these terrible things happen to them—as they certainly will—then they will know a prophet has been among them.” Ezekiel 33:30-33, NLT.

A bigger picture. A way bigger picture.

47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. 48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”

49 Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! 50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”

51 He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. 52 And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world. John 11:47-52, NLT.

An ongoing message to turn from sin and turn to life. Thankful for a Savior who would dare to walk into a waiting fate.

56 They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?” John 11:56, NLT.

Thankful for forgiveness of sins, a constant call to turn to life, an unrelenting teacher who tells me there is a way bigger picture than the one I see. Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Judges 20; Acts 24; Jeremiah 34; Psalm 5,6

Judges 20 stood out to me above all the readings today. With energy and conviction, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who of us shall go first to fight against the Benjamites?” At the end of the day, twenty-two thousand Israelites cut down.

Wording changes as they go before the Lord on the second day: “Shall we go up again to battle against the Benjamites, our brothers?” At his yes, met again with slaughter.

The next day, less certain: “Shall we go up again to battle with Benjamin our brother, or not?”

The LORD responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.”

It was probably hard for the Israelites to see loved ones dying. Entering into battle the third day, more lives lost. The Benjamites thought they had the upper hand. The tables turned, however, and the Israelites were victorious–but not without great loss and heartache. An obedient path can be a painful one.

They were being sent into the fight and the Lord was telling them go. And while their questioning evolved to make room for the Lord to give them an out, they did keep on when he told them to. I almost expected to get lost in the battle strategy, but I didn’t. These things stood out to me: The Israelites encouraged one another. They took up their positions as they did the first day.  They brought their offering to the Lord. They wept and fasted before him. And they sought him for direction. All the while hearts were breaking, brothers were dying, and things looked dismal.

I know in my toughest times, I cry to the Lord and want his direction. Yet there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to think that his plan is to send me into battle–let alone one that appears to be a losing battle. It makes me look at difficulties in a new way.  When I’m tempted to cower from hardship or seek deliverance by divine intervention, a part of me now sees it could be the Lord’s plan after all. That he would send me into heartache, struggle, grief–where I would reach out to him and say, “Again Lord?”

When courage and conviction wane, the Lord is still there. When he answers, “Go”, how will I respond?

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under Judges, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament