Here’s your devotional to go along with Sunday’s message. To hear Sunday’s message, please visit www.ridgechurchonline.com
Monday, August 13 — Opposition = Opportunity
Think again about a time recently when you experienced opposition.
- How did you feel about God at the time?
- Did you turn to God in prayer? What did you pray for?
As we have already discussed, we shouldn’t be surprised when we face opposition; we should expect it. Unfortunately, we often let opposition turn us away, not only from the task at hand, but also from God Himself. If we do turn to God, instead of praying for a way through, we often pray for a way out.
Read 1 Corinthians 16: 5-9
Paul is writing this letter to the church in Corinth while he is living in Ephesus. What 2 things does Paul say about his ministry in Ephesus?
When we face opposition, we often take it as a sign that we are heading in the wrong direction. Like water, we seek the path of least resistance. Paul, like Nehemiah, saw opposition in a different light. To them, it was further proof that they were on the right track.
“In the meantime, I will be staying…” 1 Corinthians 16:8
Tuesday, August 14 — Remember
For the rest of this week, we will focus on the steps for overcoming opposition. The first is to Remember. Nehemiah challenged the people to “Remember the Lord.” This is a common practice throughout scripture.
Read Deuteronomy 32:7-14
When the nation of Israel faced obstacles or achieved milestones in their history, their leaders would often recount how God led them out of slavery and into the promised land. Many times they built altars as a memorial. This is a good practice for us as well.
- Can you remember a time when God provided for you in a miraculous way?
- How did you feel? How did you feel about God?
- Has God changed since that time?
“Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight…!” Nehemiah 4:14
Wednesday, August 15 — Teamwork
You’ve probably heard someone say, “I can be a Christian without being in church.” Technically, that’s true; but it’s not how God intended. Following Christ was mean to be a team sport.
Read Ecclesiastes 4:7-12
- What are some of the advantages of working together?
- What are some of the disadvantages of working alone?
Nehemiah and the Israelites overcame the opposition and accomplished their mission when everyone played their part. They had different jobs in different places at different times, but they worked together to reach their common goal. From this we see the importance, not only of being connected in community, but also of serving together.
- What is our common goal at the Ridge?
- What part are you playing?
- Is there something we can do to help you get more connected to a group or to a ministry? Let us know!
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” Ec 4:9
Thursday, August 16 — Focus
Opposition distracts us from our task. When tend to take time answering questions, arguing, or trying to make others happy (especially if you are a people pleaser). Nehemiah certainly understood the importance of focus in dealing with opposition.
Read Nehemiah 6:1-9
- In these verses, what tactics did Sanballat employ to distract Nehemiah?
- Has anyone ever used similar tactics on you?
- What can you learn from Nehemiah’s response?
“I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” — Zig Ziglar
Friday, August 17 — Perseverance
Perseverance is a matter of delayed gratification—sacrificing some present comfort for the sake of a future reward. Perseverance is the farmer working in the spring to reap the harvest in the fall or the athlete training for three years to win the gold medal in the Olympics.
Despite constant opposition, Nehemiah persevered, and the wall was finished in an astonishing 52 days.
Read Galatians 6:7-10
- Think back to a situation in your life that required perseverance. What did you gain from that situation?
- Have you ever given up on something too soon? What did that cost you?
- What are we promised in Galatians 6:9?
“When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” Nehemiah 6:16