Daily Encouragement

August 14 – Begging to hear the Word of God all morning?

August 14
Nehemiah 7:73-9:21
1 Corinthians 9:1-18
Psalm 33:12-22
Proverbs 21:11-12

Nehemiah 8:3 – Imagine – all the people gathered, begging Ezra to bring the book of the law, and Ezra reads it to the standing room only congregation from morning till noon!

Nehemiah 8:5 – Wondered where our modern church architecture comes from? The preacher is above the people, standing in a pulpit (Nehemiah 8:4). The preacher reads the book, and then causes understanding (Nehemiah 8:8).

Nehemiah 8:14 – Watching people obey the law is exciting! Especially when it was the most exciting Feast of Booths since Joshua almost a thousand years earlier!

Nehemiah 9:3 – What does revival look like? Reading the Word, confessing sins, worshiping God!

Nehemiah 9:5James Montgomery was inspired by this verse to write the song, “Stand Up and Bless the LORD.” Hear it recorded by the Herbster Trio

Nehemiah 9:6 – Notice how in the Psalms and in Nehemiah – the worship of God starts with the recognition of Him as Creator! They continue to recount the history of how God worked with their people.

1 Corinthians 9:11 – Paul outlines his case for the reasonableness of being paid for ministry, but then he surprises us by saying – in v.12 – “we have not used this power.” Voluntarily giving up his rights, to not hinder the gospel. Sounds like Paul is imitating his LORD – who gave up his rights to give us the Gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:16 – We need more preachers who can declare this! Matt Black recorded a song based on this verse:

Psalm 33:12 – A musical was composed based on this verse:

Psalm 33:16-17 – These are the verses that Ezra claimed – we will not trust in horses or mighty men but in the LORD! He can deliver our souls from death (Psalm 33:19).

Proverbs 21:11 – Like Zig Ziglar said, God has a plan for everyone – even the worst of you can serve as bad examples!

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

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Daily Encouragement

August 13 – The foreman who refused his pay

August 13
Nehemiah 5:14-7:73
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Psalm 33:1-11
Proverbs 21:8-10

Nehemiah 5:14 – Should Christian leaders be paid? Nehemiah had a right to eat (Nehemiah 5:15), he had an opportunity to profit off the work (Nehemiah 5:16), but he realized this would be a “heavy bondage” for the people (Nehemiah 5:18). Paul says the Christian leader has a right to be paid (2 Timothy 2:6, 1 Corinthians 9:11, 1 Corinthians 9:14, Galatians 6:6) and so did Jesus (Luke 10:5-7), but at times Paul taught it is better not to be paid (1 Corinthians 9:12-18). Les Bridgeman has a lengthy discussion on Paul’s financial sources for ministry. But it is interesting that Nehemiah, as foreman of a massive construction project, passed on some of the pay he had a claim to because of the specific needs of the situation.

Nehemiah 6:3 – I read about a pastor who had some naysayers criticizing his ministry. He simply replied to their voluminous attack with a simple reply. “Nehemiah 6:3.”

Nehemiah 6:9 – Notice Nehemiah again breaks into prayer! He has learned from the KIngs of Israel that failure to pray is the greatest predictor of failure. How many times has Nehemiah prayed in his short little book? From BridgePointe Church:

  1. Nehemiah 1:4-11
  2. Nehemiah 2:4
  3. Nehemiah 4:4-5
  4. Nehemiah 5:19
  5. Nehemiah 6:9
  6. Nehemiah 6:14
  7. Nehemiah 9:5-38
  8. Nehemiah 13:14
  9. Nehemiah 13:22
  10. Nehemiah 13:29

Of the 405 verses in Nehemiah, 51 are prayers. 12.6% of the book is about Nehemiah praying to God. In contrast, by my count only 45 verses talk about the work that Nehemiah did. Nehemiah the great builder lets us know its more important to be praying than it is to be working.

Nehemiah 6:18 – Commentators note that Shechaniah the son of Arah were one of the leading pioneer families (Ezra 2:5, and we’ll see him in Nehemiah 7:10) that returned with Zerubbabel.

Nehemiah 7:17 – Why does Nehemiah report the children of Azgad as 2,322 and Ezra 2:12 reports it as 1,222? Will Kinney thinks Nehemiah is just reporting the records he found, which were varied from Ezra’s record. CARM examines all the differences and thinks it was a copyist error. Lavista thinks Ezra recorded the departure count, and Nehemiah recorded the arrival count. GotQuestions concurs – thinking it was based on deaths/births in families. Jack Kelly addresses the subtotals but not the family discrepancies. He does give a good analysis of the bigger issue:

Skeptics look at apparent discrepancies like this and immediately conclude that the Bible is not the inspired Word of God but a flawed work of man.

But those who believe in the inspiration of Scripture assume that the discrepancy is caused by a lack of understanding on their part and dig deeper for the solution.

1 Corinthians 8:1 – Paul is asked to weigh in on the issue of meats offered to idols. He will in a future chapter give a very clear answer on this issue and make a conclusion that Jesus Christ himself will stand behind in the book of Revelation! If the question was merely theoretical, he would have gone right to the answer. But because it was rooted in a messy situation he had several other problems to work thru before he can make his point about meats offered to idols. His first point – showing love is better than having the right answer.

1 Corinthians 8:4 – The wanna be meat eaters said that idols aren’t real, so what’s wrong with meat offered to something that doesn’t exist? Paul acknowledges they have a valid point – but that is not the final point (1 Corinthians 8:7).

1 Corinthians 8:13 – Many people think that Paul’s teaching is limited to just not offending our brother. They have extended that theory to other things such as claiming that drinking alcohol is not addressed in the Bible and we can do it as long as you’re not offended by it. Contrary to their opinions, the Bible has clear warnings against the consumption of alcohol (Proverbs 20:1, Ephesians 5:18, Genesis 9:21, Leviticus 10:9, Proverbs 23:29-32, Proverbs 31:4, Isaiah 5:22, Hosea 4:11, Habakkuk 2:5, etc.). Paul’s point is something he has exemplified in his own life – even something legitimate like getting paid for ministry, I will waive and do without if it will cause problems for my brothers. Interesting that we read this passage today – for this was Nehemiah’s point in Nehemiah 5:18. Paul will continue to address meats offered to idols in the next few chapters.

Psalm 33:2 – What is a ten string instrument (Psalm 92:3, Psalm 144:9)?

Psalm 33:8 – Why should all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe? Because He made the world (Psalm 33:6).

Proverbs 21:9 – I am glad that the LORD has given me a Proverbs 19:14 wife, and not a Proverbs 21:9 wife!

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

August 12 – Five blessings of singleness!

August 12
Nehemiah 3:15-5:13
1 Corinthians 7:25-40
Psalm 32:1-11
Proverbs 21:5-7

Nehemiah 3:1 – The roll call of the faithful who were involved in rebuilding the walls! Pastor Wolfmueller has collected some maps to help explain what is going on:

Nehemiah 4:1 – No good deed goes unpunished! But Nehemiah has learned the lesson from the past – and intersperses the building project with prayer as we see in Nehemiah 4:4-5, and Nehemiah 4:9.

Nehemiah 4:16 – A most unusual church building campaign – we often see the story of Nehemiah used in church building campaigns but we can be thankful for the freedom of religion in America that we don’t have to be physically armed. But just because our enemies don’t threaten us physically – we are daily tempted with a perhaps more dangerous enemy that has lulled us to sleep – apathy.

Nehemiah 5:7-8 – Nehemiah is decrying the crony capitalism – the “war profiteering” of his day.  But note how he argued with them – Nehemiah 5:10 – he had the opportunity to but led by example!

1 Corinthians 7:27 – Paul’s advice seems to contradicts Ezra’s that he gave a few days ago ordering divorce. Ezra however was talking to Jewish men who were marrying unbelievers, while Paul is talking to Gentile men who became believers after they married other unbelievers.

1 Corinthians 7:28 – Having recently been married I am glad that Paul says I have not sinned! For those of you who are single – John MacArthur has preached on this passage and notes the five blessings of singleness:

  • pressure of the system (1 Corinthians 7:26)
  • problems of the flesh (1 Corinthians 7:28)
  • passing of the world (1 Corinthians 7:29)
  • preoccupation of the married (1 Corinthians 7:32)
  • permanence of the union (1 Corinthians 7:39-40)

Psalm 32:1 – Read how Isaac Watts set this Psalm to music (Hymnody.org)

Psalm 32:7 – “You are my Hiding Place” is based on this verse.

Psalm 32:8 – Sally Atari recorded “Be Glad“, almost word for word from Psalm 32:8 & Psalm 32:11.

Proverbs 21:5 – Aesop memorialized this truth in his classic tale of the tortoise and the hare. Or today we are more likely to remember the Disney version:

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

August 11 – What is the plowing of the wicked?

August 11
Nehemiah 1:1-3:14
1 Corinthians 7:1-24
Psalm 31:19-24
Proverbs 21:4

Nehemiah 1:7 – 1,000 years after Moses, Nehemiah is still aware of the consequences of forsaking the law, but the promise for obedience to the law (Nehemiah 1:8).

Nehemiah 2:4 – One of the shortest prayers recorded in the Bible

Nehemiah 2:18 -The energy within the crowd – “Let us rise up and build!” God’s work should result in an enthusiastic response!

Nehemiah 3:1 – Nehemiah motivated the pilgrims of Israel to follow thru on the burden that God shared with Nehemiah to rebuild the city.

1 Corinthians 7:1 – Paul picks up – having chastised the Corinthians for tolerating incest, he backs up and shows the why of sexual morality:

  • Exclusivity (1 Corinthians  7:1),
  • Monogamy (1 Corinthians 7:2),
  • Sexuality (1 Corinthians 7:3),
  • Submissive (1 Corinthians 7:4)

1 Corinthians 7:19 – Paul reiterates that circumcision is not valuable in God’s economy – in Romans 4:9-12.

Psalm 31:20 – The Psalmist knows the blessing of the LORD hiding him safely away from his enemies! Because God has been so good, the Psalmist has to shout (Psalm 31:19, Psalm 31:21, Psalm 31:23-24).

Proverbs 21:4 – What does he mean the plowing of the wicked? From Ellicott’s:

The plowing of the wicked.–i.e., their work, all they do; for it is not done to please God but themselves; nor carried on in His strength, but in reliance upon their own, and therefore it is “sin,” not pleasing to Him.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been The plowing of the wicked.–i.e., their work, all they do; for it is not done to please God but themselves; nor carried on in His strength, but in reliance upon their own, and therefore it is “sin,” not pleasing to Him.a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

August 10 – Did God order mass divorce?

August 10
Ezra 10:1-44
1 Corinthians 6:1-20
Psalm 31:9-18
Proverbs 21:3

Ezra 10:3 – Is God ordering mass divorce? In today’s culture we are told “love is love” – but Luke 10:27 reminds us the first commandment is to love God, then to love our neighbor. Sometimes following God will cause family division (Matthew 10:35). Joshua had warned the people of the curse following religious intermarriage (Joshua 23:12-13). Ezra is hyper-sensitive to violations of the law – because this is the precedent setting time! Ezra is establishing patterns that will be followed for the next 500 plus years until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. He is afraid that if the people fail at the start – how can the nation continue? Notice also that animals died for this sin (Ezra 10:19).

“First, the wives in the OT were not just “unbelievers” who were “willing” to be “sanctified” by the believing husband (1 Cor. 7:14). They were “pagans,” that is, they were probably Babylonian idol worshipers (cf. Neh. 13:25–26), who were having a pagan influence on their husbands. ” –DefendingInerrancy

“there are heart-breaking temporal consequences associated with wrongdoing, to say nothing of the potential eternal penalty.” ChristianCourier

“the special instructions to divorce non-believers in Ezra 10 must be understood from an exceptional, nationalistic circumstance during a most critical time under Jewish law and should not be looked at as objective moral law especially when considering the totality of the Bible (See: 1 Cor. 7:12ff; 1 Pet. 3:1ff).” KevinPendergrass

Ezra 10:10

1 Corinthians 6:1 – This idea has been a historical part of the American legal system. Other religions adopt similar systems – see Sharia Tribunals, Rabbinical Courts, and Christian Panels. From the Santa Clara Law Review:

At present, in the United States, agreements to arbitrate a dispute before a religious tribunal are generally enforceable in civil courts, as are awards made by religious arbitral tribunals… A Boston town in 1635 laid down an ordinance that no congregation members could litigate unless there had been a prior effort at arbitration.

1 Corinthians 6:7 – Paul says that even though we have a right to “religious arbitration” – are we willing to suffer temporally, because we shall inherit the Kingdom? (1 Corinthians 6:9).

1 Corinthians 6:11 – The encouragement following a list of convicting sins – such were some of you!

1 Corinthians 6:15-16 – Paul might have been thinking about the sins of Ezra’s day just 500 years prior. How can a follower of the LORD unite with someone following another god? Our bodies are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Psalm 31:9 – The miserable man makes much of mercy, because He trusts in God (Psalm 31:14)

Proverbs 21:3 – Samuel has stated this before (1 Samuel 15:22). God does not believe that it is better to ask forgiveness than permission.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.