VIDEO Emergency Power

They all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. Nehemiah 6:9

All over the world, people are adding portable generators to the emergency items stashed away in their basements or closets because power interruptions can occur at any time.

In life, we often need extra strength. As Nehemiah led the effort to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, his enemies taunted and threatened him. Local authorities tried to frighten the wall builders and make them afraid. But Nehemiah kept working, and as he worked, he uttered a prayer: “Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”

The relationship we have with God and our ability to pray to Him at any time or place is like an emergency generator that provides us with power in our inner being. We can stay strong in the Lord even when our physical strength is reduced. Even when our burdens increase. His strength isn’t diminished, and it’s always available for His children. From the Lord we have the strength needed to face each day.

Lord and Saviour, true and kind, be the Master of my mind; bless, and guide, and strengthen still all my powers of thought and will. Handley Moule


Further Oppression, Nehemiah 6 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

The Right Words

Pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan. Ephesians 6:19 nlt

In the past year or so, a number of authors have urged believers to take a fresh look at the “vocabulary” of our faith. One writer, for example, emphasized that even theologically rich words of faith can lose their impact when, through overfamiliarity and overuse, we lose touch with the depths of the gospel and our need for God. When that happens, he suggested, we may need to relearn the language of faith “from scratch,” letting go of our assumptions until we can see the good news for the first time.

The invitation to learn to “speak God from scratch” reminds me of Paul, who devoted his life to “[becoming] all things to all people . . . for the sake of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:22–23). He never assumed he knew best how to communicate what Jesus had done. Instead, he relied on constant prayer and pleaded for fellow believers to pray for him as well—to help him find “the right words” (Ephesians 6:19 nlt) to share the good news.

The apostle also knew the need for each believer in Christ to remain humble and receptive each day to their need for deeper roots in His love (3:16–17). It’s only as we deepen our roots in God’s love, each day becoming more aware of our dependence on His grace, that we can begin to find the right words to share the incredible news of what He’s done for us.

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

When have you had an experience of seeing the gospel in a new way for the first time? How can prayer keep your heart receptive to your constant need for God’s grace?

Loving God, forgive me for, far too often, taking Your grace and goodness for granted. Help me to daily grasp in new ways the depths of Your grace and love. And help me find the right words to share what You’ve done.

A Godly Response to Criticism

Proverbs 15:31-33

No one likes criticism, but since it’s inevitable, we should learn how to respond in a godly way. Our natural reaction to hurtful comments is anger or defensiveness, but there can be great benefits for those who calmly listen and carefully consider the critique. In fact, we might limit our spiritual growth if we aren’t open to reproof.

Some of life’s best lessons come through difficult words. If God allowed the situation, you can be sure He wants to use it to help transform you into His Son’s image. Whether the criticism is valid or not, whether it’s delivered with kindness or harshness, your goal should always be to respond in a way that glorifies the Lord. You are responsible only for how you handle yourself, not for how the other person acts.

Every rebuke is an opportunity from God. Ask Him if the accusation is valid. It may be time to humble yourself and accept the Lord’s correction. A moment of criticism could also be a chance to show love to your critic. If he or she is angrily attacking you, your respect and kindness become a powerful testimony. Whatever the circumstances, let the Lord search your heart and either affirm your innocence or convict you.

The Soul Exchange

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37)

The lives of many people revolve almost completely around the stock exchange, and they never stop to realize that it easily may become a soul exchange where they exchange their very souls for the imagined blessings of the great god Mammon. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Similarly, many are greatly exercised about their monthly profit-and-loss statements. But the Lord Jesus asks whether there is really a profit, even if one acquires the wealth of the whole world at the cost of his soul, and the answer to such a rhetorical question has to be: “No!” For “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:17).

Furthermore, the words “life” in verse 35 and “soul” in our text are actually the same word (psuche) in the Greek original. That is, to lose one’s soul is to lose one’s very life, for they are inseparable. A life centered around money is not only a soul lost but a life wasted as well. On the other hand, if we lose our lives in Christ, then we find true life, eternal life, beginning here and now, and continuing forever. This is a good exchange!

God may well bless a Christian with material wealth, but this should not be his motivation. “Charge them that are rich in this world,” Paul says, “that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate [i.e., share]; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). HMM

Faith and Fear

Matthew 8:23-27

IN the eighth chapter of Matthew, Jesus says to the alarmed disciples who have wakened Him in the storm at sea: “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” They had cried out in alarm, “Lord, save us! We perish!” according to Matthew; according to Mark: “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”

How true to human nature is that fearfulness of His disciples! After all the mighty works which they had seen Him do, here they could see only the immediate danger. Some have used the sleeping presence of Christ in the boat to indicate that Christ is in every believer and “needs only to be called into action by stirring up the gift of God within us.” But such an interpretation beclouds the matter. It was fear rather than faith that called upon Him here; a stronger faith would have let Him sleep. There is more faith in a quiet dependence upon the indwelling Christ than in an excitable anxiousness that would awaken Him in every storm, as though any real harm could come to us when He is within.

Many believers need to learn that faith delivers from fear. Theoretically, we believe in the Christ within, but when the crisis comes we grow panicky and cry, “Master, we perish!” But faith and fear are contradictory. In proportion as we have one we do not have the other. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). Since love is the outward working of faith, it follows that faith, working by love, drives out fear.

How the Master would cry to us timid and alarmed disciples as He did to these: “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” “How is it that ye have no faith?” “Where is your faith?” No Christian need fear anything, “for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7). We fear misfortune; we fear criticism; we fear others; we fear to undertake things, to speak for Christ; we fear for financial security; we fear sickness; we cross bridges before we reach them; we fear the future. But for every fear, “faith is the victory.”

We are not thinking of fear merely as a feeling, but as an attitude that paralyzes the will and restrains and cramps the life until one becomes a cowering slave. Neither is faith merely a feeling, but the attitude which steps forth in dependence upon God even though feelings and circumstances may point the other way. The conquest of fear is not wrought in a day. The Christian who sets out to live by faith will find many nervous qualms and inhibitions trying to choke his courage, but as he exercises faith the faith grows stronger and the fear weaker until it no longer becomes a serious problem. Here as everywhere else, the practice of His presence plays its part.

Some believers make the mistake of waiting until they feel all fear disappear before they venture forth by faith. But they never reach the high hills that way. Faith sets out in the very teeth of adverse circumstances and contrary feelings and makes fear disappear by continually assuming, asserting and practicing the attitude of faith until it becomes real and fear has been broken. Of course, it is all done through the indwelling Spirit, but still there must be practice and persistence. God will empower and sustain, but the decision of the will is our part, and all the prayers and devotional readings on earth will not make up for our definite stepping out upon the promises.

Satan’s Pincer Movement

Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.—Luke 22:31-32

One of the reasons the Apostle Paul bids us pray for one another is this: the failure of any one of us is going to have some effect upon the spiritual campaign which God is waging against the Devil through the church.

All those who have committed themselves to Jesus Christ should know that the forces of two kingdoms—the kingdoms of God and of the Devil—are locked together in mortal combat. And Christians, whether they like it or not, are thrust right onto the cutting edge of this conflict.

The battle line between the forces of God and the forces of Satan is the church—and that means you and me. What is Satan’s best tactic in attempting to bring about the church’s spiritual defeat? He probes at every point he can, looking for the weakest part. When he finds a weak Christian (or a group of weak Christians), he calls for reinforcements. Then, using what military strategists call “a pincer movement,” he attempts to break through at that point. And when one Christian fails, all of us to some extent are affected, for we are all part of the one line of defense.

How the Devil rejoices when an individual Christian falls—especially a church leader. Therefore, we are called to a ministry of prayer—not just for ourselves but for one another also—that we might stand perfect and complete in the will of God and that our faith will not fail when under attack by the Devil.

Prayer

Father, I am encouraged as I think that today, millions of Christians around the world will be praying for me. Help me never to fail in my responsibility to pray for them. In Christ’s peerless and precious name. Amen.

Further Study

Gl 6:1-10; 1Co 9:27; Php 3:12; Jms 5:16

What are we to carry in prayer?

Of what was Paul conscious?

Watching Daily

Proverbs 8:34

One beautiful moment in my life was a visit to a Moslem mosque where I sensed the deep reality and seriousness of the people’s worship. It was a dim mosque, lit with rows of lamps and filled with solemn white-clad figures, rising and falling in prostration as they worshipped. We stood and listened to the chanting of the call to prayer: “God is most great.”

These people were worshipping Allah, their God; Mohammed was his apostle. For me this did not take away from the beauty of their act, but it did make me feel somewhat ashamed. We worship the true and living God, and Jesus His Son, but how many of us are as devout as these people who pray five times a day? Their prayers were so intense as their voices rose in a kind of wail: “Allah! Allah!” One could feel the urgency in the cry.

The privilege of prayer should be one of life’s most cherished experiences. I am convinced that God does hear our prayers of faith and answers as He wills for our good. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no, but whether He gives or withholds, He knows best.

What a blessed release it is to be able to take our needs to our Lord. There are times when pain or illness afflict the human frame; even death has to be faced. What confidence comes to those who hear His voice and know that He hears their cry.

Once following a powerful prayer meeting we entered the waiting elevator. The door that should have closed automatically remained ajar and nothing happened. Quickly, someone stooped down, picked up a handkerchief that was against the door, and exclaimed, “That cuts the beam!” He then went on to explain how the electric beam from both sides had to meet to produce the power to close the doors.

How often the power of prayer in a life is cut by some obstruction. There are occasions when you sincerely enter into the attitude of prayer, you want to be lifted to higher heights in your spiritual experience, but something enters and cuts the beam, bringing prayer to a standstill.

The prophet Isaiah tells of the people offering prayers and sacrifices, but God was not pleased. Their evil ways made Him exclaim, “I will hide My eyes from you, when you make prayers I will not hear.” The beam of power was cut, for their own greed came between them and God.

Prayer is vital to spiritual health. “Blessed is the man who listens to Me, watching daily at My doors” (Proverbs 8:34).

Janet Wiseman, Watching Daily