April 15, 2013
From my bedroom window I can see the rugged mountains that separate the UAE from Oman. The view is beautiful. We live near the beach, and Godâ€™s creation is on powerful display when you survey the ocean contrasted with the desert against the imposing rocky mountains. But as summer marches towards us and the temperatures have begun to rise in the past few weeks, my ability to see the mountains has gotten worse. What I have since found out is that the high humidity in the UAE is in part to blame. It causes water vapor to linger in the air. Lots of water in the atmosphere makes our visibility hazy. Add to this humidity sand stirred up and smog lingering around, and as a result Iâ€™ve lost my beautiful view of the mountains for the next 7 months or so. >>>Continue reading >>>
February 21, 2013
Kathleen Nielson writes, â€œNehemiah is not only telling the story of the Jewish people. He is telling above all, the story of God at work among His people, accomplishing His sovereign plan to preserve them and bless the nations through them, as He promised Abraham.â€ (Nehemiah Rebuilt and Rebuilding" page xiii.) At the time of Ezra, the Jewish remnant has re-established the temple, but the rest of the city still remains in ruins. We now meet Nehemiah, the man God used to lead the rebuilding of the city wall. Who was Nehemiah? Unlike Ezra, who was a priest, Nehemiah was a lay-person. He could have been born and raised in Persia. In chapter 1 verse 11, Nehemiah tells us that he was a cupbearer to king Artaxerxes. He protected the kingâ€™s life with his own life, tasting the kingâ€™s wine for poison. He was trusted. He was in a very influential position. He had access to the king, yet it was also a very dangerous job. >>> Continue Reading or Listen to it>>>
February 13, 2013
The book of Ezra is no less than history, but it is also more than history. We can learn from it. When reading Old Testament narrative, we should always ask ourselves what we can learn from it today? We should ask what was the purpose of the temple to the Israelites and what does rebuilding it have to do with us today? Should I, as the wife of the church planter, read about the rebuilding of the temple in Ezra and draw a direct correlation to building our church building? Are Ezra and Nehemiah lessons for church planters and pastors on how to deal with rulers, how to rally their church members to work hard, how to find financial resources from unexpected places, and how to deal with opposition inside and out the church? >>> Continue Reading >>>
January 29, 2013
History is God's story. It is His-story. In the book of Isaiah God says "...I am the Lord, and there is no other, I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord who does all these things." (Is 44:6-7.) God clearly orchestrated events in the time of Nehemiah and Ezra. But he orchestrates the events of our lives also. God has written each person into His story. To gain a deeper understanding of events in Nehemiah's time, we will look at three things: the past, the present (Nehemiah's time) and the future (our time). >>> Continue reading >>>
January 22, 2013
The first Friday Magazine in the Gulf News 2013 was full of encouragements to make this a better year. In fact, flashed across the cover was â€œ2013: Why it will be your best year yet!â€ Inside the magazine there were articles on people who achieved great things in 2012, like conquering a shopping and hoarding addiction, giving up binge eating, quitting smoking and losing 52 KGs.
As inspirational as those stories are, studying the book of Nehemiah is perfect for the beginning of a new year. Nehemiah is a man who accomplished great things and the book is the story of a new beginning for his people, the people of Israel. While the book doesnâ€™t end on a triumphant note, we can be encouraged by Godâ€™s mercy and kindness towards his people, and Nehemiahâ€™s faithfulness to his God. Before we decide what will make 2013 our best year yet, we should consider what this short book has to teach us about being the people of God.
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