Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God for that the fact that He has given you life to live for His glory today.
- Acknowledge the sin of a lack of thankfulness for life and new life in Christ.
Truth for the Mind and Heart
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 31 – What is effective calling?
Answer – Effective calling is the work of God’s Spirit, by which he convinces us of our sin and misery, enlightens our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renews our wills, and so persuades and enables us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – God calls people to believe through the preaching of His Word and enables them to respond though the inward call of the Holy Spirit. This effectual call leads the person to experience the reality of their sin and see what they could not see before – the way of salvation, and then makes them turn from sin to willingly trust in Christ.
Memory Verses to lay into your heart and mind.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
James 1:2-5, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life,”
Please ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 6:1-4
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
One of the great characteristics seen in the life of Nehemiah is spiritual discernment. He could quite easily have accepted at face value the invitation made to him by Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem. It would have been easy to think that they were sincerely seeking to mend relations with Nehemiah, especially when they issued the fourth invitation. After all, they must have been serious when they came back a fourth time!
The discernment that God gave Nehemiah enabled him to see things as God saw them. The enemies were out to stop the re-building of the walls, a task that had been given to Nehemiah by God, so what was there to talk about? Sanballat and his friends had been trying everything they knew to stop God's work, and the only way to mend relations with Nehemiah was for them to repent of their sin of opposition to the work of God, and to fully support him in the enterprise.
Discernment is the ability to judge matters according to God's view of them, and not according to their outward appearance. We are often deceived by outward appearances: “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). Many Christians fall into sin or error because of a lack of discernment, a failure to seek to look at things from a Biblical perspective. Discernment can be developed by:
a. A thorough understanding of the Word of God. The Bereans were commended because they even tested the teaching of the apostle Paul by the Scriptures, Acts 17:11.
b. Growth in grace and knowledge of the Lord – spiritual babes believe anything, but the spiritually mature test all things, Hebrews 5:12-14.
c. Asking God – wisdom is to be asked of God, James 1:5, and discernment is given as a gift of the spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:10.
Not only did Nehemiah have great discernment, but he also had a great commitment and focus on the task he been called upon to undertake. "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?" Even if the invitation from Sanballat had been benign, which it wasn't, it would still have been a distraction. Nehemiah understood that, for the time that he would be away from Jerusalem, the work would effectively cease.
Distraction is a great weapon in the hands of the devil to interrupt the work of God. Commenting on this passage James Philip says, "he saw, as many today in the Church do not seem to, that certain things, however plausible or well-meaning, however laudable in themselves, simply get in the way of the work being done, and he refused to have anything to do with them".
The task that Nehemiah was doing may have seemed somewhat mundane; a job that many other people would have been able to do, and yet for him it was a great work because it was the work that God had called him to do. This is how it is for Christians – you are where you are because that is where God has placed you, and you have a great work to do. Every Christian is given the task of living for the Lord Jesus Christ and demonstrating that, no matter what the trials or the inducements that may cause him to waver or to change direction, he knows that he is doing a great job and will not be diverted from it.
The story is told of a missionary in China, a very talented linguist, who was offered a job by a company in China at a vastly expanded salary. He rejected the offer with the words, “It's not your salary that is too little. It's the job that's too small!”
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 27D. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God for the place he Has blessed you to be in, in your life. Ask God to enable you to focus on what He has given you, and not to become distracted by thoughts of where you might be able to serve Him better.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC