Start 30 FOR 30 Today! Click CONNECT in the menu and start connecting with God!

DAY 17

God’s Story

[5 minutes]
Mindsetter Moment: “Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.” Proverbs 21:17

Proverbs are not promises. These sayings are not necessarily ALWAYS true. They are just GENERALLY true. This proverb is one that most of us can probably relate to personally. The reality is, typically, those who prioritize instant gratification will not be able to obtain or maintain the life they want. Isn’t it cool how God’s word speaks to every area of our life? Before self-help books were written, people following God were already way ahead in their understanding.

Is there something that isn’t sin, but it is tripping you up? We cannot live for pleasure and live for God. We cannot set the direction of our lives, based on our feelings and also make wise choices. Write in your journal the thing that is distracting you, and what you know the wise answer is. Determine to do the wise thing today.

[15 minutes]
Scripture reading:

Nehemiah 12:27-13:31
1 Corinthians 11:2-16
Psalms 35:1-16
Proverbs 21:17-18

Devotional thought
Our Old Testament portion was a bit tough to read today. Pulling out beards, cursing, and rebuking, Nehemiah seems to go on a small rampage. At the beginning of this story, we saw Nehemiah crying over the damaged temple. In his prayer, he remembers God’s promises and asks God to hear his prayers for Jerusalem and the people there. He asks for favor and refers to himself as God’s servant.

At the end of this story, we read about how Nehemiah has become physically and verbally abusive to the people who do things contrary to the rules. What happened between chapter 1 and chapter 13? We find the answer in the number of times Nehemiah references himself.

The story began with a focus on God’s mission and calling, but now the story is focused on Nehemiah. In the beginning, Nehemiah leads the Jewish people to remember God. Over and over in chapter 13, Nehemiah asks God to remember HIM. He begins the story with a heart for the temple and the people of God and by the end, he is focused on building a name for himself.

What applies to me?
We can let the struggles we go through drive us toward God, or we can let them make us bitter toward the people around us. The longer we walk with God, the easier it becomes to make the story about us. When we start walking with God, we know we are a mess and we know that God gets all the glory. Over time it is easy to forget who changed us, and we can start to take credit for ourselves.

When the people and the mission we are called to become corrupted with our own selfish ambition, we lose the plot. We can do all the “right” things but if we are doing them for the wrong reasons, we will end up hurting God’s people and missing the mark.

We are called to live out God’s mission, to be partners in God’s story. When we become jaded or bitter about the people God has called us to serve - when we find ourselves looking down our proverbial noses at others - when our stories become about what we have done rather than what God has done, it might be time to re-evaluate who’s story we are living.

[10 minutes]
Write it out: On day 10 we learned about “teshuva” the word for repent that means return. If you find yourself relating to Nehemiah today it might be a good day to “teshuva.” Return to the humble version of yourself, the one who originally partnered with God. Nehemiah turned God’s story into his story. Take a few minutes to write a reminder to yourself about whose story you are writing.

Pray it out: If you have lost the plot and made the story about yourself, return to God in prayer today. Psalm 51 shows us what a prayer of return can look like, you might want to use these words as inspiration:  

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.” Psalm 51:10-13

Live it out: Look for ways to do good for the people God has called you to.