VIDEO A Founding Foundation

So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it . . . from morning until midday.
Nehemiah 8:2-3

In the prestigious American Political Science Review, a study surveyed the political literature from the era of America’s founding. Which writings did the Founding Fathers consult when establishing the new nation? The study showed that the Bible was cited more frequently than any writings of European political theorists—especially the book of Deuteronomy.[1]

The beginning of any endeavor requires a firm foundation. When the nation of Israel sought to regain their nationhood after the captivity in Babylon and Persia, the leaders did what the Founding Fathers of America did: They made the Word of God as their guiding source of spiritual and moral light. The leaders called the people into the center of Jerusalem and had Ezra read the Law from daybreak until noon. The people wept as they remembered that it was their disregard for God’s Word that had sent them into captivity seventy years earlier.

Whether you are beginning or continuing, a major endeavor, keep the Word of God central as you go. And don’t deviate from it.

The Word of God is either absolute or obsolete. Vance Havner


Nehemiah 1-13 – The Bible from 30,000 Feet – Skip Heitzig – Flight NEH01

Resilient Faith

Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. Matthew 7:26

Towering dunes along the north shore of Silver Lake put nearby homes at risk of sinking into shifting sands. Though residents tried moving mounds of sand in efforts to protect their homes, they watched helplessly as well-built houses were buried right before their eyes. As a local sheriff oversaw the cleanup of a recently destroyed cottage, he affirmed the process couldn’t be prevented. No matter how hard homeowners tried to avoid the dangers of these unsteady embankments, the dunes simply couldn’t provide a strong foundational support.

Jesus knew the futility of building a house on sand. After warning the disciples to be wary of false prophets, He assured them that loving obedience demonstrates wisdom (Matthew 7:15–23). He said that everyone who hears His words and “puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (v. 24). The one who hears God’s words and chooses not to put them into practice, however, is “like a foolish man who built his house on sand” (v. 26).

When circumstances feel like shifting sands burying us under the weight of affliction or worries, we can place our hope in Christ, our Rock. He will help us develop resilient faith built on the unshakable foundation of His unchanging character.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How does obedience demonstrate your trust in God? In what areas of your life are you standing on the shifting sands of disobedience to Him?

Jesus, please help me develop resilient faith. Empower me to demonstrate my trust through loving obedience to You.

The Body of Christ

The body of Christ—also known as the church—is made up of all who believe in Jesus

Ephesians 4:11-16

As we saw yesterday, the body of Christ is made up of all people who worship Him, no matter where they are. The head of this body of believers is Jesus Christ, whom Paul described as “the beginning, the first-born from the dead” (Col. 1:18). 

At salvation, you become a part of the body—regardless of what the membership rules may be at your local church. Therefore, if you’re a believer, you are a breathing and active part of Christ, who is at work on earth through His followers. The church acts as Jesus’ feet to carry the gospel message, His hands to care for those in need of love, and His arms to uphold the weak. 

But being Jesus to the world isn’t easy—it means making sacrifices, accepting ridicule, and loving our enemies (Heb. 13:16; Matt. 5:44). God may have called us to spread the gospel, but that doesn’t mean people will necessarily like what we have to say. Regardless, we’re to carry out the work of God, even when doing so is uncomfortable. 

The gospel is spread through the strength and wisdom of Jesus Christ. And for this task, He has also chosen to use the body of believers united by His Spirit’s indwelling presence. What an honor to be used to reach the world for our Savior.

There Shall Be No Night

“And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:5)

In the account of the creation, we read that the first word from God was “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). He did not actually create or make light, as He did everything else, since God is light (1 John 1:5). He did create darkness, however (Isaiah 45:7), and then divided the light from the darkness. “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” (Genesis 1:5).

Although the darkness of night can be a time of blessing through rest and sleep, it also soon came to symbolize spiritual darkness. Most evil deeds are done at night, and Christians are warned to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11). God has called us “out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

In that wonderful age to come when we go to dwell in our eternal home in the Holy City, the city gates “shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there” (Revelation 21:25). “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23).

The sun and moon will still be functioning in the heavens, however, for “he hath also stablished them for ever and ever” (Psalm 148:6). In fact, all the stars will also shine “for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). Our God is the Creator, not an uncreator. As wise Solomon noted: “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever” (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

The sun and moon will still be there, but their light will not be needed in the Holy City where we shall live, for the Lamb of God will also be the Lamp of God. He is the Light of the world and where He is, in His eternal glory, there can be no night. HMM

Recapitulation

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin (Psalm ν. 6).

This psalm presupposes two destinies: the destiny of the righteous and the destiny of the unrighteous. The godly person, living on the basis of the law of the Lord, ends up holy and happy. The ungodly person, living on the basis of a secular environment, ends up condemned and doomed. The Lord deeply cares about both. We will hear a lot more from this righteous person. He is the man of prayer who speaks most often in the Psalms.

Personal Prayer

Lord, remind me of life’s destinies.

Help me choose righteousness over unrighteousness.

A Contemporary Lyric

My Everything

Lord, You are my everything,

My highest joy and prize;

You meet my needs in every way with

grace that satisfies.

Lord, You are my everything,

My food and drink today;

You lead to brooks and meadows green

and guide in a special way.

Since I am your own precious sheep, You

watch me even when I sleep;

You have become my All-in-all,

You always lift me when I fall.

Lord, You are my everything,

My highest joy and prize;

You meet my needs in every way with

grace that satisfies.

Lord, You are my everything,

My highest joy and prize;

You meet my needs in every way with

grace that satisfies.

Lord, You are my everything,

My Shelter, Refuge, Friend;

You are my great Inheritance,

Whose blessings never end.

You give me wisdom in the night,

You fill me with complete delight;

Your presence fills my heart with joy,

Which nothing ever can destroy.

Lord, You are my everything,

My highest joy and prize;

You meet my needs in every way with

grace with satisfies.

Words and music by Don Wyrtzen © 1981.

Influence or Intelligence?

Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written …“—Matthew 4:10

Some of the names given to the Devil in Scripture show him to be a real personality. In the passage that is before us today, Jesus is seen in direct confrontation with the Devil, even engaging in conversation with him. Some liberal theologians explain this in these terms: Christ was having a conversation with the dark thoughts that arose within His nature, so any “devil” that was present was subjective, not objective.

If we allow the notion that Christ had dark thoughts within His nature, then the whole scheme of redemption tumbles like a pack of cards, for a Savior who is not perfect could never fully atone for our sins. As Dr. Handley Moule puts it: “A Savior who is not perfect is like a bridge broken at one end and is not a reliable passage of access.” Once we try to get around Scripture, create endless difficulties for ourselves and end up looking foolish. Far better to accept the Bible as it stands and believe its testimony on everything.

It is actually to Satan’s advantage to get us to believe that he is not a personal being, for if there is no personal devil, there can be no personal resistance. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived into thinking that the term devil is a synonym for the evil influence that is in the world. The Devil is more than an evil influence; he is an evil intelligence. Only when we recognize this fact will we be motivated to take effective steps to resist him.

Prayer

Father, help me see that the first step in spiritual warfare is to “know the enemy.” For until I know and understand my enemy, I will not be able to defeat him. Deepen my knowledge of these important truths, I pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

1Jn 3:1-8; Heb 2:14; Jn 12:30-31

Why was Jesus made manifest?

What did He declare?

The Word of Life

Psalm 1:2

God has most commonly and most powerfully spoken to me through the words of Scripture. Some of them stand out to my mental and spiritual vision like mighty mountain peaks rising from a vast, extended plain. The Spirit that moved “holy men of old” to write the words of the Bible has moved me to understand them, by leading me along the lines of spiritual experience first trodden by these men, and has taken the things of Christ and revealed them unto me, until I have been filled with a divine certainty as altogether satisfactory.

I am not sure that I lived so intimately with my darling wife as I have for many years lived with St. Paul. Far more constantly and intimately than he lived and traveled with his friend Barnabas and his young helpers, has he lived, traveled, slept and talked with me. Paul has been my greatest mentor.

If you want to hold the truth fast and not let it slip, you must read and read and re-read the Bible. You must constantly refresh your mind with its truths, just as the diligent student constantly refreshes his mind by reviewing his textbooks, just as the lawyer who wishes to succeed constantly studies his law books, or the doctor his medical works.

The “blessed man” of David is not only a “man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but [notice] his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law does he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2 KJV).

The Bible is God’s recipe book for making holy people. You must follow the recipe exactly, if you want to be a holy, Christlike person.

The Bible is God’s guidebook to show men and women the way to heaven. You must pay strict attention to its directions and follow them accurately, if you are ever to get there.

The Bible is God’s medical book, to show people how to get rid of soul sickness. You must diligently consider its diagnosis of soul diseases, and its methods of cure, if you want soul-health.

Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4); and again He said, “The words I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

Samuel Logan Brengle, Helps To Holiness