Just picture this scene happening. Nehemiah has clearly been lamenting over what is happening in his homeland. Now it’s starting to affect his work. His boss, the king, can see his sadness and inquires with compassion. It sounds like Nehemiah was shocked by the inquiry, not sure how much he should share.
With boldness after his initial fear, Nehemiah shares his desire to return to his homeland and make a difference there. Without hesitation it seems, the king granted Nehemiah’s request. God’s hand was working it all out. That had to be a great relief as well as inspiration to Nehemiah. Being used by God is exhilarating!
Continue reading “Nehemiah 2:1-10 – Ask Boldly”
Meet Bartimaeus, the blind beggar from our reading. We don’t often get an introduction by name to those whom Jesus healed. There must have been something special about Bartimaeus that stood out. Forever we will remember Bartimaeus and his bold faith.
What can we learn from Bartimaeus or how Jesus responded to him? Bartimaeus was determined. He knew what he wanted and was insistent. He knew Jesus was the answer. He didn’t let the people trying to keep him quiet win, he only shouted louder. Jesus rewarded this man’s persistence, called out his great faith, and healed him.
Continue reading “Mark 10:46-52 – I Want to See!”
None of us looks forward to suffering. However, when we suffer on account of our faith in Christ, it is so much better than the alternative of being lost in our sin. Our suffering will not last forever, but our future with Christ never ends. If we chose to stay stuck in our sin, carousing with our friends like we used to, we would miss out on the great inheritance Jesus is preparing for us.
When we live for God, Peter tells us we’ll need to expect suffering, just like Jesus did. This isn’t the only passage in the Bible that warns us about suffering and staying strong. I appreciate that we are told up front what to expect. Nobody can claim to be surprised when we encounter suffering.
Continue reading “1 Peter 4:1-6 – When Suffering is Better”
What a great trip down memory lane this has been! The common denominator for all the hero stories we’ve been reminded of is faith. Bold faith. These people were not always popular, but putting their trust in God was what they valued more than anything. “By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them.” Don’t ever forget to look back and take note of others who have gone before you! There is a lot of encouragement and wisdom there!
Now for a startling reality! Without God, we are weak. Thankfully, in our weakness, God steps in and gives us strength. Do you have faith enough to believe that? Think about the examples the Preacher has given us. “Their weakness was turned to strength.” How did that happen? Bold faith in a God that loves to provide for his faithful children!
Continue reading “Hebrews 11:32-40 – Bold Faith”
When I started reading this passage, I immediately remembered my first memories of hearing about Jesus as a wide-eyed child. And then the Preacher yanked me into a dark place, recalling the persecution the faithful endured in his day. That was a profound moment to reflect on the differences in how we first experienced Jesus.
It’s certainly a good reminder to count our blessings. It’s way too easy to take the love of God for granted and forget he wants to be in relationship with us. The more we learn about God through his word, the more confidence we have in him and our faith is strengthened.
Continue reading “Hebrews 10:32-39 – Confidence in God”