October 13, Tuesday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from October 12-18 are provided by Cami King of Journey Community Church.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Ezra 4:11-16

“To King Artaxerxes, from your servants in Trans-Euphrates: 12 Now let the king be aware that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and odious city. They are completing its walls and repairing its foundations. 13 Let the king also be aware that if this city is built and its walls are completed, no more tax, custom, or toll will be paid, and the royal treasury will suffer loss. 14 In light of the fact that we are loyal to the king, and since it does not seem appropriate to us that the king should sustain damage, we are sending the king this information 15 so that he may initiate a search of the records of his predecessors and discover in those records that this city is rebellious and injurious to both kings and provinces, producing internal revolts from long ago. It is for this very reason that this city was destroyed. 16 We therefore are informing the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, you will not retain control of this portion of Trans-Euphrates.”

“No project that seeks to honor God and advance His will in the world will go unopposed by Satan and his agents.” (Dr. Thomas Constable, Th.D.)
Devil2We read Dr. Constable’s quote above yesterday when we talked about the temptation to compromise that comes to those who seek to follow the will of God. Today we read it again as we learn about the opposition that Israel continued to face as they followed God. The basic point for this morning is this: opposition will not only come, it will persist as we follow God’s will in our lives.  Biblical scholars and historians believe that the letter contained in these verses was actually written well after the temple had been rebuilt (the story we learned about yesterday). This tells us that the opposition to the Israelites persisted for many years and well after they began to rebuild God’s temple and follow His will. Not only did they face opposition when they built their house of worship, but right down to their construction of the city wall (a basic need for any city at that time), as the surrounding cities tried to thwart their efforts by writing to the current king and slandering the Israelites’ intentions, hoping he will step in and oppose them.

As a seminary student I talked to many believers, particularly those in ministry, and one thing I found, one constant thread in all their lives, was difficulty. It’s natural to assume that the longer we live for God and the more we do for God, the less struggle we will have and life will get easier. But the opposite is true. And any believer who has been in the “game” for a while probably knows by experience that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12); in fact, “we were destined for them” (1 Thess. 3:3).

So, if you are facing opposition and difficulties today as you strive to live for the Lord, take heart in knowing that you are not alone and all God’s people (as we see in scripture and in the lives of saints around us) face opposition in many ways as the enemy, through circumstance and people around us, tries to thwart God’s work in and through us. Take heart and don’t give up. May we not allow opposition and difficulties to hinder us from faithfulness to the will of God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the good work you’ve prepared in advance for me to do. Thank you for empowering me through your Holy Spirit to be participate in your coming Kingdom. As I seek to follow you today and everyday, please help me to remain faithful in the face of any opposition. Help me to rely upon you and trust you when you say that no weapon formed against me will prosper. In Jesus’ name.

Bible Reading for Today: Daniel 10

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Lunch Break Study

Ephesians 6:10-18
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Questions to Consider

1. What does Paul teach us about the true nature of opposition we face in our lives?
2. What does Paul encourage us to do in the face of this kind of opposition?
3. Where might your “armor” need to be strengthened? Where are you vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks? Identify from Paul’s teaching some areas that you need to surrender to God, asking Him to give practical steps to position you to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit in those areas so that you can stand firm when facing opposition.
Notes

1. Paul teaches us that our opposition is ultimately a spiritual one and reminds us of the reality of a spiritual battle      happening in the unseen. Too often we forget that various circumstances, emotions, experiences, and difficulties in our lives are not just coincidence or wholly material, but there is a spiritual component, that is, a crafty enemy who scheming and using these things to try to steal, kill, and destroy us.
2. He tells us to take up the “whole armor of God” so that we are able to stand firm in the face of opposition. He calls us to take up:
– Truth (to be people of integrity and not hypocrisy)
– Righteousness (to be people with a strong moral compass and a track record of right actions)
– Readiness given by the gospel of peace (to be people who constantly preach the gospel to themselves, remembering the peace we have in Christ and being compelled to share it with others)
– Faith (to be people who trust in God’s promises, even without having yet seen them come in their fullness)
– Salvation (to be people who yield our lives to God, acknowledging our need for him and receiving his aid to us)
– The word of God (to be people who know God’s word – allowing it, and it alone, to inform us of what is true – about God, ourselves, etc.)
Then and only then will we be able to stand firm in the face of opposition. And finally he calls us to pray not only for ourselves as we face battle, but for all saints around the world who too will face opposition as they seek to do God’s will.
3. Personal response

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Evening Reflection

Are you facing opposition today? Spend sometime asking the Lord to strengthen you in the face of difficulties so that you can continue to fight the good fight. Reflect on previous times of struggle in your life where God demonstrated His faithfulness. Thank Him for those moments and declare your trust in His promises.

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