Lead Me Not Into Temptation

I can resist everything except temptation.” – Oscar Wilde.  

Perhaps you have heard the idiom that opportunity only knocks once, but temptation knocks continually. Temptation never seems to stop knocking. It never stops trying to find a way into our lives. We have the choice to resist and persevere through them, or we can give into them. And temptations are heightened in the midst of setbacks.  Is it possible to eliminate temptation from knocking on our door?  The short answer is no. Sorry if you were hoping otherwise. 

There is often a disconnect between what we know about God and what it means to truly know Him. As a result, we find it difficult to understand why God does not eliminate or at least reduce the temptations that always seem to be popping up. When we continually face temptations we wonder why God isn’t willing to help us. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God wants to help us overcome our temptations. What we need is the involvement of the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit takes everything God has given us in Christ Jesus and makes them a reality in our lives today.  He empowers us to walk in our new lives in Christ. Although God has already given us the Holy Spirit who lives and dwells in us, we will not live in victory here on earth until we walk, or engage with Him. 

When you’re facing some sort of temptation, it can feel like you’re being tempted beyond your ability. If you are looking at your individual ability to deal with temptation, you probably are right. But you are never tempted beyond the Holy Spirit’s ability in you. People will not give in to temptation when you are in tune with the Holy Spirit, seeking His wisdom and strength to help you overcome the temptation you are facing.  Paul said it quite simply: if you want to conquer temptation, walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5:16 (TLB): “I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to.”

When Paul tells us to “walk by the Spirit,” he’s saying to let everything we do be guided by the Holy Spirit’s influence. The Holy Spirit will empower us to accomplish everything God created for us. The Holy Spirit will not force His desires on us. Although His power is freely available to us, it will make no impact in our lives unless we acknowledge His presence and yield to Him by faith.

Temptations that expose our human imperfections are certainly among the most trying hardships we can endure. To struggle courageously against temptation is one of our biggest challenges. We can only triumph over temptation with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How is a temptation different from a trial?
  2. What can we do this week to improve our walk with the Holy Spirit? 

Excuses, Excuses, Part 3

“But Moses pleaded with the LORD, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” – Exodus 4:10

The next excuse Moses used was he was neither a gifted or eloquent speaker. That was probably fair. Moses understood that speaking was not a strength of his. In fact, Moses said that he gets tongue-tied and his words get tangled. Given that, Moses had to be thinking to himself, “Why God, would you choose a guy who has a tough time speaking to be your leader? You know how painful it is for me to speak in front of crowds, to pronounce the words correctly, to think and say, just the right thing.” He had real doubts he could pull this off. 

Don’t we all.  Sometimes, we are like Moses thinking, “God there must be someone better than me to lead this small group; somebody who is funny or more intellectual; a deeper thinker; someone who commands the presence of people. I can’t be the best You have.”

But listen to what God says after all the excuses have been given: “Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” God is once again sharing with and assuring Moses that He will be with him. I will help you with the words to say. I will teach you how to inspire people. I will be with you Moses. What do you say, Moses? Are you ready to lead? Are you done with these excuses? Are you willing to trust and put your faith in me? 

Moses decides to summarize his doubts: “…Lord, please! Send anyone else” (Exodus 4:13) God, I am begging you! Please, send anyone other than me to do this job for you. I really don’t want the job. Moses could only see himself as a nobody, a person who lacks answers, a person that is not believable, and someone who is slow to speak. Moses is telling God, I am no leader. I tend to sheep. 

God sees something else. God sees the final product in Moses. God knew Moses was the right choice in spite of his flaws. God had been preparing Moses his whole life from the time he was a baby and was scooped out of the Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter. Yet Moses gives one excuse after another culminating in his pleading to send someone else. In the end, Moses went and with God’s help did a great job. 

When God calls us to do something, it takes faith and belief on our part. Moses was full of excuses as to why he could not lead. All God wants from us is to put our faith in and believe in Him. Often we won’t have all the answers. But we need to exhibit faith in God to overcome those obstacles. Philippians 1:6 says “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever made excuses to not do what God asks you to do? Why do you think it’s so easy to make excuses to God?
  2. Before we judge Moses, we each need to look inward and ask ourselves how many excuses we have given God the last few days, weeks, months, or years. Are we making some of the same choices that Moses made? Are we making excuses so we don’t have to do what you know God wants us to do? Are you making excuses for why we will not trust Him?

Excuses, Excuses – Part 2

 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” – 2 Peter 2:4.

God answers Moses’ first excuse with “Who am I?” But that doesn’t seem to cut it for Moses. Moses is still worried. Moses is still worried about all that could go wrong. Moses is worried about things going south because of him. So he takes the position he doesn’t have all the answers. How does God respond? Exodus 3:14, “God replied to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.” 

God’s response to Moses’s second excuse is if somebody asks you who sent you, you can tell them “I AM” sent you. I AM is the Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—The Almighty and Eternal God. God is re-assuring Moses that He will be with him. God is willing to answer the questions. God just wants Moses to trust Him and believe in Him. 

It can be difficult in the middle of a setback to feel like God will have our backs. We can focus more on the fear or on our own insecurities rather than on the promises of scriptures.

Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” This scripture reminds us that God is someone that is here to strengthen us, help us, and give us victories. But staying focused on the Lord can be hard. The flesh prefers to seek security by thinking through all possible angles. Like Moses, our tendency is to weigh what we think could happen against what “experts” say will happen and then to evaluate possible ways of preventing our worst fears from coming true. Instead of becoming more confident, we begin to realize how powerless we are. Thankfully, we serve an almighty God who says, “I will strengthen you.” Through every setback and comeback, there is nothing to fear, no need to be afraid. God is always with us.

Someday when you have some time to burn do a search in the Bible for verses that say: “He is above all things,” and “He is in control of all things” and read them slowly. You will find verses like 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 which says, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.”

God is with us and He is a big God. If you have a small God, you will always have big, overwhelming problems and setbacks. But if you have a big God, then little by little, those problems you face — won’t necessarily be less painful — but they will become smaller and smaller.

Discussion Questions:

  1. List the benefits of God’s presence and leadership in our lives.
  2. What can we do this week to trust God in all circumstances? 

Excuses, Excuses

“But Moses protested to God, ‘Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?’ God answered, ‘I will be with you.’” – Exodus 3:11-12.  

People have been making excuses since the beginning of time. Moses was no exception. Moses was one of the top excuse makers of all time. 

Moses is tending sheep and minding his own business, when he comes across a bush that is burning. What made this bush so remarkable was that it was on fire, but it was not burning up. This intrigued Moses and Moses moved forward. Then God called to Moses from within the bush. God shares with Moses His plan; how Moses was going to lead his people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.

Have you ever felt like God was calling you to do something difficult? Something that seems over your head.  Maybe God is calling you to be a small group leader in the church, but you fear talking in front of people and you worry about the depth of your bible knowledge. God may be calling you on a mission trip but you’re nervous about going. What could I possibly contribute on this trip and how am I going to pay for it. God may be calling you to take a promotion at work but you feel like it’s out of your league. 

God is speaking to Moses through the burning bush. God has a plan for Moses. Here is the big problem for Moses. Moses really did not want any part of God’s plan. I can only image when Moses hears what God has for him, it brings back painful memories. Egypt was a place Moses had left on the run. He was running away from Pharaoh. I believe Moses wanted to forget that part of his life, so he starts making excuses.  His first excuse is: who am I? I am a nobody; I am a has-been. I am old and wrinkly; I am past my prime. I am just a shepherd over sheep; I am not a leader of people. God’s response: I personally will be with you – God is giving Moses assurance. Yes Moses, you are the right guy for the assignment. I know you fled from Egypt. But I am calling you. I am calling you, Moses. I want you, Moses. Are you up for the challenge Moses? I know you have insecurities. I know you have a past. I know you are past your prime. I know all these things about you. God is saying, I still believe in you, Moses!

Before we judge Moses, we each need to look inward and ask ourselves how many excuses we have given God the last few days, weeks, months, or years. Are we making some of the same choices that Moses made? Are we making excuses so we don’t have to do what we know God wants us to do? Are you making excuses for why we will not trust Him?

Here’s the bottom line: If we want to be greatly used of God, you must be willing to follow wherever He leads us. And that means that we need to stop hiding behind the excuses, stop resisting and start following.  

Discussion Questions:

  1. Which times in your life do you find yourself making excuses?
  2. Have you ever sensed God calling you to a task and found an excuse not to respond?
  3. Pray and ask God to help you put away any excuses and trust Him.

The Power Of Faith

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – 1 John 1:8-9.

In Matthew 7, Jesus was traveling to the territory of Tyre. He was trying to be incognito. Jesus had been spending all of his time ministering in Jewish provinces, and that ministry was drawing overwhelming crowds, and He was exhausted. So Jesus left the Jewish provinces and went into Gentile territory, Tyre, in order to get some rest.

But it doesn’t work. A woman hears of His arrival and makes her way boldly to Jesus. She enters the house without an invitation, falls down and begins begging Jesus to exorcise a demon from her daughter. She’s pleading with Jesus—she won’t take no for an answer. She is also expressing a certain amount of faith that Jesus has the power to cast out demons.  But Jesus replies to this faith with a glass of cold water: “…First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” (Mark 7:27)

He basically called her a dog. She could have been insulted and stormed away. But she was not deterred at all. She immediately came back with: “…That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.” First, notice that she addresses Him as “Lord.” She gets His parable and then she goes on to make her own point. Even though the dogs eat later, sometimes the children drop crumbs and thus the dogs eat at the same time as the children.

Her statement demonstrates her bold and persistent faith. She did not allow Jesus’ “answer” to stop her. Rather, she continued to make the case for her daughter. In response to her humility and faith, Jesus heals her daughter. Mark 7:30 confirms the miracle: “ … when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.” (Mark 7:29-30)

This is an interesting story. God is capable of making the impossible possible.  But our fears and doubts sometimes get in the way. We can stop looking at our circumstances through a lens of fear if we have the faith in God to trust Him no matter how bleak the picture looks.  The Greek woman believed that Jesus could change her circumstances. Faith overcame her fears. Faith is the alternative to interpreting our lives and life events through the lens of fear.  Instead, we have Someone in whom we can place our trust and to whom we can submit our fears and anxieties. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what ways does this woman demonstrate humility? Faith?
  2. In what specific ways can you grow in and exercise faith, humility, and persistence this week?

Blessed Assurance

Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”  – John 20:27. 

Several thousand years ago, Thomas was distraught. Jesus, His Rabbi and Messiah was gone. A cross had turned his world upside down. His days and nights were filled with horrific images of Jesus’ wounds. Three days later there was a knock on the door. Peter, James, John, and the others had come to visit. But it was not an ordinary visit. The other disciples told Thomas they have just seen the Lord. He lives.  

Thomas probably wondered if this could possibly be true. He saw the wounds. John told Thomas that this morning, Mary Magdalene came to us and told us she had been to the tomb and that Jesus’ body was gone. Peter and I ran to the garden to see for ourselves. We found the tomb empty.  Later in the day, Cleopas and another person were walking to Emmaus when they were joined by someone who at first seemed a stranger. As we walked, He began explaining how the prophets had foretold all that would happen to Jesus. When they arrived home, they asked Him to stay for dinner, and He agreed. When they sat down to eat, He took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it. Suddenly, their eyes were opened. It was Him — Jesus. 

Peter continued the narrative. “We were all gathered together with the doors locked, for fear of what the Pharisees might do next,” he said. Suddenly Jesus was standing right there in the room with us. He said, ‘Peace be with you’ (Luke 24:36). We were frightened, I tell you. Jesus said, “Why are you frightened? Why are your hearts filled with doubt?” (Luke 24:38).

Thomas desperately wanted it to be true. But He was a man of facts. He could not reconcile the horrors of the cross and the crucifixion expertise of the Romans with the news that Jesus was alive. Unlike the others, Jesus had not shown Himself to Thomas. Thomas wanted some proof. He looked at the other disciples and said, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” – John 20:25

On the evening of the first day of the week, the disciples were together and Jesus came and stood amongst them. He said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19) John 20:27 says, “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 

When Thomas finally did believe, the words that came out of his mouth formed one of the greatest confessions of faith in the entire Bible. He said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”

Just as Jesus understood Thomas’s doubts, He understands our questions as well. But rather than admonishing us, He invites us to rediscover him in ways that reassure us. When we turn to Him, He gives us exactly what we need in order to have our faith reconfirmed and our doubts banished.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you think Thomas’ doubt is somewhat troubling? Why or why not?
  2. How would it change things if you saw your doubts as opportunities to grow deeper in your relationship with Christ, and not a reason for alarm?

Walking With The Holy Spirit Every Day

“Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.” – Luke 1:34-35. 

I can only imagine what was going through Mary’s mind when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and said,“Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28)  Gabriel went on to say, “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High…” (Luke 1:30-32)  She asked the obvious question: How is this possible?  The answer…the Holy Spirit will come upon you.  

While many people have heard a lot about God the Father and Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit often remains an unknown “entity”, an “it”, and can often cause lots of confusion. There is a tendency to go in one of two different directions: either people have a daily relationship with the Holy Spirit, or we tend to forget about the Holy Spirit because we don’t know exactly what His role is in our lives. Francis Chan said this in his book, Forgotten God; Reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit; “I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn’t be doing this by my own power.” Of all the gifts given to mankind by God, there is none greater than the presence of the Holy Spirit.

John 16:7 (ESV) says “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” What? Jesus says it is better for them that He goes away. That is because the Holy Spirit has come to empower you to live the life that Jesus did. He came to empower you to do the things Jesus did. He wants you to love the things that Jesus loved for the same reasons Jesus loved them.  

The Holy Spirit is a person who knows you and loves you. Have you ever needed direction? Have you ever wanted answers to do whatever it is that you are doing? Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would come to be a counselor, one who would come alongside, and help you navigate through the decisions you are making in your life. Scripture says He comforts the saved.  He convicts the lost.  He conveys the truth. He points people to Jesus. 

Developing a relationship with the Holy Spirit is crucial for those who desire to discover and fulfill God’s will for their lives. A relationship with the Holy Spirit starts like any other true friendship. We must respect, love, and make time for Him.  The Holy Spirit is waiting right now to guide you. He’s excited about the idea of pouring out his love and affections on you. He longs to lead you away from the sins that hurt you and grieve Him. And he longs to guide you toward a life of walking with Him in a relationship.  

Discussion Questions:

  1. We think that it would be so great to get to be with Jesus in the flesh—to see him face-to-face, listen to His voice, and walk side-by-side with the Son of God. Every day would be a life-changing, history-making day. He’d be there to teach you, and help you live for God. But Jesus taught that we’re better off when He is absent and the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. What do you think about Jesus’ statement?  
  2. With the Spirit in us, we can do what Jesus did and more. What do you think of Jesus’ bold statement in John 14:12? What keeps us from experiencing that?   

The Promises Of God

“ And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” – 2 Peter 2:4.

Not many things are more comforting than a promise made and kept. And not many things are more hurtful than a promise broken. The Bible is a historical record of the absolute reliability of God’s promises to His people. The Bible reveals the Lord as being utterly dependable and true to His Word…forever faithful to His promises.  

 Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Joshua 21:43-45 adds, “So the Lord gave to Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors,..And the Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had solemnly promised their ancestors… Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.” Joshua reiterates in chapter 23, verse 14: “…Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!”

Psalms 119:140: “Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much.” Then there is Psalm 145:13 which says, “For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations.The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24 talks about the faithfulness of God: “God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”   

Romans 4:13:”Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith” And then verse 16 adds, “So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s….”   Romans 4:19-21 says, “…Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” And finally 2 Corinthians 1:20 which says, “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.”

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “yes” in Christ. The Bible’s promises have always been and always will be trustworthy. We can count on them. Don’t allow the times when you are discouraged or experiencing setbacks in your life make you give up on God’s promises for you.  Even if you do not see what God is doing he is active behind the scenes. He is there, He will fulfill His promise. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. We can trust God, no matter how impossible the situation, because God always keeps His promises. Agree or disagree and why? 
  2. If you completely accepted God’s promises, how would that change the way you look at fear?  

The Crossroads Of Fear And Faith

“Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” – Luke 1:29-33

What do you picture when you think of Mary and Joseph?  One of the first things that would come to mind is the Nativity scene looking lovingly over their newborn baby, Jesus. Though Joseph and Mary would’ve certainly been filled with joy at Jesus’ birth—particularly with their knowledge that He would save His people, the nativity scene does not tell the whole story. 

The gospel of Luke tells the story of Mary. In Luke 1:28-34, we learn that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, and she was “confused and disturbed.” The ESV says “greatly troubled.” The angel reassures her by saying, “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” After listening to Gabriel’s words and absorbing their meaning, Mary surrendered to the will of God completely.

Likewise, Joseph was troubled about the situation with Mary. Can you imagine the conversation between Mary and Joseph? Mary probably told Joseph to sit down, and then blurted it out: “Joseph, I am going to tell you something and I don’t want you to go off the deep end, okay… I’m pregnant…by the Holy Spirit.”  Joseph is calm on the outside, but his mind is racing on the inside. Either Mary was not pregnant, but crazy; or she is pregnant and she’s lying. Joseph must have anguished over the best lawful way to respond and decided to divorce Mary quietly unwilling to expose her to shame. But an angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph and again we heard, “Do not be afraid.” Joseph, too, surrendered to the will of God and immediately did as the angel commanded. (Matthew 1:24)

No one had ever faced this kind of dilemma before. There was fear and doubt. But their faith and trust in God quickly overcame their fear and doubts. With each new encounter with fear, God is teaching us more faith and more trust. Jesus wants us to turn our fear over to Him.  Replace that fear with the love, power and promises of God. His presence is the answer to our fear.  Fight fear with a faithful God.

Fear is a feeling, and it will pass if we address it for what it is.  The reality is that Christ is with us and He is at work in and through us. He is on our side, protecting us always just as He did with Joseph and Mary.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When worry, fears, and concerns try to overwhelm you, what do you do in response? 
  2. Can you recall times in your life when you gave an all-consuming worry to the Lord? What happened?

Are You Discouraged

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  –  Joshua 1:9 (NIV). 

The Bible has a lot to say about discouragement. Many great men and women in the Bible had to deal with discouragement such as Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Nehemiah. One of the great examples is found in the life of Nehemiah. Nehemiah sets out to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and faces increasing opposition. It is halfway through the project that the enemies intensify their opposition and discouragement hits the people.

Most people will be discouraged from time to time. Sometimes we get discouraged because of past regrets, and sometimes we get discouraged because God has not answered our prayers and cries for help, when and the way we want Him to. We get discouraged when we put too much trust in people and expect them to do what we want them to do.  Sometimes this discouragement feeds frustration and fear about the future.

When we get discouraged, we have a tendency to mimic a turtle and retract our heads safely inside shield-like shells. But that is not the answer. The story of Nehemiah gives us some ways to deal with discouragement.  First look up rather than look around for answers. It should be the first thing that we do instead of the last thing we often do. Nehemiah 4:9 says, “But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.”

Second, continue doing what God gives you to do. Nehemiah 4:6 says, “At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked with enthusiasm.” It is easy to pause or stop when we are discouraged, but Nehemiah wouldn’t let his enemies distract him from his work. Nehemiah would keep on working. The time you feel like doing it the least is the time when you need to do it the most.  

Third, concentrate on the big picture. Because people were working on little sections of the wall, it was hard to get any perspective. When you can only see what is going on in your life, it is easy to be discouraged. Nehemiah rallied them around so that they saw the bigger picture. We can lose sight of God’s purposes and we get out of perspective if we forget that God has control of our piece of the wall and the bigger picture. 

And last, remember God’s promises. Nehemiah 4:15 says, “When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall.” There are times when you need to get your Bible out and start reading it. Find scripture that encourages you in the Lord. Find out what God says about any given situation. “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” (Psalms 34:17-19)

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever become discouraged in some aspect of your life and thought about quitting? Think back on what made it so discouraging and how you dealt with it at the time.
  2. How can the story of Nehemiah help you deal with discouragement this week?