February 4, 2014
In todayâ€™s society, not many of us have experience as shepherds. We many have seen shepherds in movies or while on holiday somewhere, but shepherds arenâ€™t a part of our every day life here in Dubai. Reading John 10 and the way Jesusâ€™ teaching centers around the sheep fold and the role of the shepherd might be as confusing for many of us today as hearing Him speak about applied physics or advanced calculus. Shepherding isnâ€™t the field of expertise for many of us and so we must approach John 10 carefully to understand what Jesus was saying to His first century listeners.<<>>
September 26, 2013
Before we dive in to a Bible study, we should ask ourselves, â€œWhy?â€ Why do we daily read and study our Bibles, and why do we gather together to talk about what we have learned?
The answer is simply that we believe this book to be the very words of God, as 1 Timothy 3:16 says, â€œBreathed out by [Him].â€ We were created to know and enjoy the God who spoke the universe into being, and we know him by reading what he has revealed about himself in the Bible. >>> Continue Reading >>>
May 15, 2013
I love reading, there is something just so satisfying about a well written story. Sometimes, you can read a book and the story will be written so beautifully, that it's like the author is painting a picture with words in your mind. But I suppose what I like most about a story, is the happy ever after. What makes a story worthwhile is that it should have a good ending. One that resolves all the plot lines and brings everything to conclusion. As we have read the narrative of Nehemiah, having learned many excellent lessons from him, how wonderful if at end of this narrative we could have concluded, â€œAnd they lived happily ever after.â€ But the history of mankind is unfortunately not a fairy tale. Nehemiah had done what he set out to do - the wall was rebuilt! He had appointed men to all the various positions of responsibility. The people had committed themselves through oaths to keeping the Laws of God and they were contributing to the work of supporting the Levites, singers and gatekeepers. Nehemiah thought that his job was done. I suppose he thought he was heading for a happy ever after. >>> Continue Reading >>>
April 23, 2013
â€‹Do you remember the story of Balaam from Numbers? King Balak of the Moabites hired the pagan prophet, Balaam, to curse the Israelites, but Balaam was unable to pronounce a curse on Godâ€™s people. God stopped his mouth and then opened it with a blessing on the people. The account of Balaam is in Numbers 22-24, but the very next chapter, Numbers 25:1-3, we read:
â€œWhile Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor.â€ >>> Continue Reading >>>
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 >>>
April 10, 2013
How did you get on with studying Nehemiah 7 and 8? Did you enjoy it? I mean, chapter 8â€™s pretty exciting stuff" but chapter 7? We all have favourite bits of the bible, but I doubt that Nehemiah 7 would make it into anyoneâ€™s Top 10. When you were doing your homework, perhaps you were tempted to just skip over the list of names and numbers. >>> Continue Reading >>>
April 4, 2013
If someone asked you 'whatâ€™s your problem?', something would automatically pop into your head. We all have problems. Some problems are physical like sickness, pain, stress, or monetary issues. Other problems are emotional like loneliness, fear or anxiety. Whether big or small, problems are a part of everyday life for everyone in the world. And, if weâ€™re really honest with ourselves, weâ€™ll admit that we have even bigger problems ~ we all suffer from heart problems as sin rears its ugly head in our lives and attempts to distract us and pull our attention from God to the world.
March 25, 2013
What should God's people do when they are serving God faithfully, building up His kingdom - and opposition comes? Nehemiah gives an outstanding example for us to follow in his narrative in chapter 4, on standing firm during times of opposition. Charles Simeon is another example of someone standing firm. He was appointed (by the bishop of York) to be the vicar of Trinity Church in Cambridge, England from 1782. Unfortunately, the parishioners did not want him as their pastor as they preferred the assistant curate, Mr. Hammond, and so Simeon offered to step down. However, the Bishop of York refused Simeonâ€™ offer, saying that he will not place Mr. Hammond in the position of vicar. And so Charles Simeon stayed on. The parishioners were still unhappy and started an all-out attempt to remove him from office. As they had the authority to choose who preached Sunday evening service, they assigned this service to Mr. Hammond. After 5 years, when Mr. Hammond moved on, they invited other preachers to preach Sunday evening service for another 7 years. Can you imagine, serving a church for 12 years that would not even let you preach on Sunday evenings. >>> Continue Reading >>>
March 5, 2013
â€œNehemiah was a godly and wise leaderâ€, â€œNehemiah was building a city within a cityâ€ are some obvious, true and helpful points that we can deduce from the study of Nehemiah 2:11" 3:32. However, some pressing questions like â€˜whatâ€™s the connection between walls and reproach or what is God doing through Nehemiah?â€™ and â€˜how does it apply to us today?â€™ need answering! >>> 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.
>>> Continue reading >>>