YEAR 2, WEEK 8, Day 1, Monday, 20 February 2023

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 20 February 2023:

Nehemiah 3:1, 7, 8, 18, 34 – The high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built…. And next to them repaired… And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, the seat of the governor of the province Beyond the River…. Goldsmiths repaired…. One of the perfumers repaired…. [The] ruler of half the district of Jerusalem repaired…. The Levites repaired…. [and] the merchants repaired.

Rebuilding the wall involved tearing down the man-made socioeconomic stratifications and ‘walls’ that often divide people. In Nehemiah 3, we see people of all social groups, backgrounds, professions, and man-made classifications working side-by-side to accomplish a seemingly impossible task, united by common faith which supersedes all other identities and motivations. This was far more than a display of people united in philosophy, vision, and purpose; this was a display of people united by God and empowered by God to do what could never be accomplished through worldly causes, organizations and politics.

Throughout history, many have sought to unite diverse groups through various “isms” and organizations, but unity in anything outside of God and His will merely removes barriers to sin and expedites destruction, which is why God “confused the language of all the earth,” in Genesis 11, so the evil of mankind would have its limits – “Nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” Jesus prayed for our unity in Him, which is unity with Love, Wisdom, The Way, the Truth, The Life, and the Prince of Peace – “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:22, 23)

Faith in Jesus tears down all the walls that once divided people from God and people from each other – “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13) “For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:11-13) “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:16, 17) Supernatural unity is the mark of God’s people, our visible testimony to the world that Jesus is Lord. Do you live in the unity of Christ with God’s people?

Acts 8:3, 4 – “Saul was ravaging the church…. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.”

Saul was intent on crushing Christianity – God had a different plan. God used Saul’s persecution to scatter the church and shake out the “salt” so the Gospel would spread more broadly across many peoples. Also, God had a plan to transform Saul into Paul, “a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God… by the will of God.” (Romans 1:1; Ephesians 1:1)

Note how the apostles responded to persecution: they avoided it while continuing to proclaim Christ where they could — “And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said…. as they were going along the road…. as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.” (Acts 8:6, 40)

Some take-aways:

1) Nothing or no one can stop God’s plan.
2) God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. God has placed you where you are and in your circumstances for a reason – proclaim Christ where you are as the Holy Spirit leads!
3) There are times to stay and times to go, times to fight and times to withdraw; either way, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and proclaim Christ!
4) You never know what God has in store for the “Sauls” in your life – He may be preparing to make them “Pauls.” Don’t worry about them. Be a witness and ambassador to all. The Holy Spirit will move where the Holy Spirit moves. You communicate, and the Holy Spirit convicts. Be faithful with what God has called you to do, and trust Him with the outcome.

Acts 8:29 – And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”

Missions is God finding those whose hearts are right with Him and placing them where they can make a difference for His kingdom. Some of the great missionaries in history did not live long lives, but their lives dramatically affected eternity.

God had access to Philip, and the Book of Acts gives the exciting account of how God used Philip’s life to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Philip was preaching powerfully in the city of Samaria (Acts 8:5). So mightily did God use him that the entire city was rejoicing at the miracles God was doing (Acts 8:6-8). This would be any evangelist’s fondest desire, to see an entire city responding to the gospel through his preaching. Yet Philip was not activity-centered in his Christian life. He was God-centered. Philip was not preoccupied with expanding his reputation as a great preacher or miracle worker, he was concerned that his life remain in the center of God’s activity. When he was instructed to leave his fruitful ministry, he did not hesitate (Acts 8:27).

God continues to seek those as responsive as Philip to go on mission with Him. The reason God has not brought great revival to more places is not that He is unable or that He is unwilling. He first looks for those willing to have their lives radically adjusted away from their self-centered activities and placed into the center of God’s activity around the world. Have you seen the activity of God around you? What is God presently inviting you to do? How are you responding?

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 20 February 2023: Make Jesus’ prayer in John 17 your prayer, and pursue unity in Him with others by living the Gospel and proclaiming the Gospel. Don’t promote another ‘unity’ or another ‘gospel’ which doesn’t have Christ as central and which is really no gospel at all, offering only the illusion of peace and love.

  • John 14:27 — Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10 — I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
  • Galatians 3:26-28 — For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
  • Ephesians 4:1-6 — I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close