30 Days of Nehemiah, Esther, Psalms, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Haggai

DAYS 1-7: Two-Track Mind

If you shaved the back-right corner of many people’s heads, you’d find a small tattooed label that reads “One-Track Mind Inside.” Now if you actually go shave your head to find that label, you’ll probably find a different label there. Seriously, it seems natural to focus on one thing, yet in today’s world we’re lauded for being multitaskers. Many people have 50 irons in the fire, and their attention is spread so thin that they struggle to get anything done with the detail and passion which they want. The more that we can zero in our focus, the better it will be. Maybe you simply need to drop a few or a lot of things. When it comes to your projects, relationships, ministries, and personal devotion to Christ, robbing Peter to pay Paul just doesn’t work so well. You just need to determine prayerfully what are the non-negotiable must-haves in your life. Then do those. Spend time there. Invest in that.

After the kingdom of Judah was defeated by the Babylonians, many of the people were sent into exile to be a part of the Babylonian kingdom. Among them were Daniel and his three friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, better known by their Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Eventually, Babylon was conquered by the Persians. Then another Jewish man rose to some prominence under Cyrus the Persian. His name was Nehemiah, Cyrus’ cupbearer. Nehemiah eventually landed in Jerusalem, overseeing the construction of the wall of Jerusalem. Of course, not everyone was pleased with a new wall going up around the city, so they did a little threatening to Nehemiah and his crew. In a sense, the building crew could no longer be focused on one thing. “When our enemies heard that we knew their scheme and that God had frustrated it, every one of us returned to his own work on the wall. From that day on, half of my men did the work while the other half held spears, shields, bows, and armor. The officers supported all the people of Judah, who were rebuilding the wall. The laborers who carried the loads worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other. Each of the builders had his sword strapped around his waist while he was building, and the trumpeter was beside me” (Nehemiah 4).

It is the same with us today. There is the work which must be done. We are called to minister in the name of Christ, but there is a battle to be fought against our spiritual enemy who doesn’t relent. We must be focused yet be multitasking using a two-track mind. We must be working and warring, serving and sparring, worshipping and walloping. Don’t be caught unaware.

This week you’ll read…

2 Samuel 1-12: Remember that no one is exempt from temptation. Let’s stay on guard. “In the spring when kings march out to war, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel. …but David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and strolled around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing—a very beautiful woman. So David sent someone to inquire about her, and he said, ‘Isn’t this Bathsheba…wife of Uriah the Hethite?’ David sent messengers to get her, and when she came to him, he slept with her” (2 Samuel 11). Earlier, David declared when hearing of his friend Jonathan’s death, “How the mighty have fallen in the thick of battle!” (2 Samuel 1) Little did David know that those words would ring true about his own moral and spiritual fall with Bathsheba.

Nehemiah 1-5: Nehemiah prayed, “I confess the sins we have committed against You. Both I and my father’s family have sinned. We have acted corruptly toward You and have not kept the commands, statutes, and ordinances You gave Your servant Moses” (Nehemiah 1).

Haggai 1-2: “Now, the Lord of Armies says this: ‘Think carefully about your ways: You have planted much but harvested little. You eat but never have enough to be satisfied. You drink but never have enough to be happy. You put on clothes but never have enough to get warm. The wage earner puts his wages into a bag with a hole in it.’” (Haggai 1).

2 Corinthians 1-7: “So we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. In fact, we are confident, and we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him.” (1 Corinthians 5).

DAYS 8-14: Sufficient

Sufficient. Enough. Adequate. Plenty. God’s grace is. No matter your circumstance, believer, God’s grace will be enough for you. You don’t have to worry about running out or not having what you need.

In the middle of family turmoil—separation, divorce, infidelity, teenage rebellion—God’s grace is adequate. He will supply all that you need to deal with the situation—to heal, to forgive, to move on, to hang on, to love.

No matter what your financial worries, health concerns, and employment issues are, His grace is plenty. All that you need will be there. Trust in Him. His storehouse won’t run dry to supply all that you need at the right time. Sometimes you think that you can’t go on one more day or minute, but He gives what you need at that moment to make it through.

Even if your situation brings you to death’s door, God’s grace will be sufficient to carry you over the threshold and keep you beyond.

Rest in the all-sufficiency of Jesus.

This week you’ll read…

2 Samuel 13-24: Rape, incest, revenge, insurrection, deception, murder. The fruit of King David’s adultery with Bathsheba play out in this reading. In confronting David about his sin, God said to David through Nathan the prophet, “Now therefore, the sword will never leave your house because you despised Me and took the wife of Uriah the Hethite to be your own wife” (2 Samuel 12:10 in The Christian Standard Bible). The consequences of sin can linger, yet even in that God’s grace is sufficient.

Nehemiah 6-12: “Remember me, my God, with favor” (Nehemiah 13).

Psalm 76: “And You—You are to be feared. When You are angry, who can stand before You?” (Psalm 76)

2 Corinthians 8-13: “For if I want to boast, I wouldn’t be a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me, especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me” (2 Corinthians 12 in The New Living Translation).

DAYS 15-21: Love Is an Excuse

Love is often an excuse. People can do some pretty stupid things in the name of love. Don’t get me wrong. I like love, and I love my family and try to practice love wherever I go. However, love gets blamed for a lot of foolishness in the world.

He says, “But we’ve been dating for two years. We have so much in common. I know that she’s not a believer, but we love each other.”

She says, “I know he abuses me and the kids sometimes, but I don’t want to leave him. I love him.”

He says, “I moved in with her because we love each other.”

She says, “I don’t want a man. I want to be with her because we love each other.”

He says, “My wife is not meeting my needs. This lady at work is so understanding, and we love each other.”

She says, “Yes, we had sex because I love him. I mean, we’ve been dating for six months.”

Remember that God is love (1 John 4:8,16), so love—God’s kind of love—is submissive to God’s rule. Love gets blamed for many unwise things which are really rooted in infatuation, lust, and selfishness. God’s kind of love is interested in the best for the other person, not what’s in it for me. I definitely see my love falling way short of the ideal, but I try to let God’s Spirit lead me in the right way. I just take the reins oftentimes.

Dating non-believers, excusing physical abuse, cohabitation, homosexual relationships, and having sex outside marriage are all foolishness because they all disregard God’s express commands or wise principles.

Solomon was the wisest man in the world in his time, but He disregarded the Lord’s express commands. Solomon ignored the wise principles which God had given him. He allowed his heart to be ensnared by foreign women who worshipped other gods. He started well but ended weak, miserably weak. “King Solomon loved many foreign women…from the nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, and they must not intermarry with you, because they will turn your heart away to follow their gods.’ To these women Solomon was deeply attached in love….and they turned his heart away. When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away to follow other gods. He was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been….Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, and unlike his father David, he did not remain loyal to the Lord….The Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. He had commanded him about this, so that he would not follow other gods, but Solomon did not do what the Lord had commanded” (1 Kings 11).

Let’s not blame our lust, infatuation, and selfishness on love. So grade your love. Is it following God’s ways? Is it seeking the best for others?

This week you’ll read…

1 Kings 1-11: Solomon was a blessed king, and he had wisdom beyond compare. Sadly, however, he allowed himself to be led astray by his many foreign wives who worshipped other gods, and, as a result, the kingdom was split after his death.

Nehemiah 13: “Didn’t King Solomon of Israel sin in matters like this? There was not a king like him among many nations. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, yet foreign women drew him into sin” (Nehemiah 13).

Esther 1-6: “Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther, ‘Don’t think that you will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace. If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s family will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this’” (Esther 4).

Psalm 77-83: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. But My people did not listen to My voice; Israel did not obey Me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own plans. If only My people would listen to Me and Israel would follow My ways, I would quickly subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their foes” (Psalm 81).

DAYS 22-30: Freedom

Freedom. Liberty. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians is all about freedom. Liberty in Christ is real yet unrealized in many believers’ lives. They’re living with a mentality that they must achieve in order to receive. They’re living in a legalism—trying to gain acceptance from God by their works. The truth is that Christ Jesus has paid the price for our freedom. It’s by grace through faith that we receive full acceptance from God. All of our righteousness, Isaiah said, is like filthy rags. Faith in God is what God credits as righteousness in our account. Whatever is not done in faith is sin.

The Galatians were tempted to leave the simplicity of the gospel to follow a bound-up life of following religious rules and keeping customs. He said, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law” (Galatians 5 The New Living Translation). Paul asked them who had bewitched them because Christ had come to set them free from sin but also from religiosity.

However, Paul said to them that they shouldn’t let their freedom become a license to indulge the flesh. They shouldn’t think that Christ gave them freedom to live as they please, catering to their sinful desires. They were no longer bound by sin and the law and were free to live for Christ. He encouraged them and us to submit to the Spirit and let Him guide their lives daily and not let their sinful nature be their master. “I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5 in The Christian Standard Bible).

We must stop feeding our flesh if we’re really children of God. In this life, we’ll always struggle with our sinful nature, so we must recognize the struggle for what it is. Then we must do something about it, making some adjustments to curb the desires of the flesh and making conscious choices daily and moment-by-moment to rely on the Spirit. The following song called “Liberty” by Shane & Shane describes the truth well.

The Lord is the Spirit / Where the Spirit of the Lord is now / There is liberty / And the Spirit lives inside of me / And where the Spirit of the Lord is now / There is liberty

When the spirit of the world comes / To kill me and enslave me I will say / There is liberty / For the chains of sin that once entangled me / Have been broken now I’m singing cause I’m free / There is liberty

For freedom You’ve set me free / And, yes, I am free indeed / You rewrote my name / Unshackled my shame / You opened my eyes to see / That I am free

The storm rolled in / It was dark in the land / As the Son of Man was crucified / You don’t take His life / He laid it down / And He paid the price / And shed His blood / It is done / The veil is torn / He has won / And I am free

For freedom You’ve set me free / And, yes, I am free indeed / You rewrote my name / Unshackled my shame / You opened my eyes to see / That I am free

This week you’ll read…

1 Kings 12-22: “Elijah challenged the people: ‘How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow Him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!’ Nobody said a word; nobody made a move” (1 Kings 18 in The Message Bible).

Esther 7-10: “…‘There is a gallows 75 feet tall at Haman’s house that he made for Mordecai, who gave the report that saved the king.’ The king said, ‘Hang him on it.’ They hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s anger subsided” (Esther 7).

Psalm 84-90: “Better a day in Your courts than a thousand anywhere else” (Psalm 84).

Galatians 1-6: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2).

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the CSB: The Christian Standard Bible.

All Scripture links are to BibleGateway.com.

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not the King

recipient of grace and servant of Christ Jesus

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