In the beginning God…Genesis 1.1

God is self-existent, he has always been and will always be. This is the foundational belief that we hold to be true and from this we understand our place and purpose. The only other option is to believe that matter has always been and somehow this matter came into being and had inherent power to change and create life. An impersonal substance somehow was able to create personal beings. If we hold this to be true there is no need for God and our lives can be lived by our own desires because we are free to act as we want. We are not accountable to anyone ,there is no moral code that we must submit to. Once we acknowledge that there is a God then we also must acknowledge that we are accountable to him. Our Creator is a kind and benevolent God who created human beings for his pleasure and to be the objects of his love. He is a good God and everything he does is based in his goodness. True life begins when we understand the first sentence of the Bible and place our lives under the rule of our Creator.

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Lose the wonder begin to wander…Nehemiah 13:17-18

17 So I registered a complaint with the nobles of Judah, saying to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day?

18 Isn’t this the way your ancestors acted, causing our God to bring on them and on this city all this misfortune? And now you are causing even more wrath on Israel, profaning the Sabbath like this!”

Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem after several years of absence and discovered that many of the reforms he instituted to conform to the laws given to  Israel had been abandoned. He was very upset and immediately took action to restore the laws. Israel needed a strong leader like Nehemiah to keep people accountable and to preserve the nation from the influence of the heathen nations and the proness of people to disobey the laws of God. When people lose their wonder and awe of God they begin to wander away from him and do what they want to do. We all need leaders who will keep us focused and inspire us to always keep our wonder and amazement that God so loves us and he is worthy to receive our complete devotion.

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A God who pursues us…Nehemiah 9.31

31 However, due to your abundant mercy you did not do away with them altogether; you did not abandon them. For you are a merciful and compassionate God.

The love of God and his kindness toward Israel in its rebellious condition reveals the true character of God. He made a covenant with Israel and he faithfully kept it in spite of their constant falling away from him. They were his chosen people whom he used to be an example to the world of his forgiveness and compassion. The history of Israel is marked by many failures and severe consequences that resulted. But even in these times of failure God continued to send his prophets to warn and admonish them to return to him. His heart is always to bless his people and demonstrate his loyal love. He is a God who does not give up but continues to pursue us with his kindness and compassion that will draw us back to him.

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The fear of the Lord…Nehemiah 5.9

9 Then I said, “The thing that you are doing is wrong! Should you not conduct yourselves in the fear of our God in order to avoid the reproach of the Gentiles who are our enemies?

Nehemiah listened to the complaints of the people and took action to bring correction. He reprimanded those who were violating the laws against usuary  among their own people. When people lose the fear of God and begin to do whatever they want they will begin to oppress people and use them to gain wealth . God does not want his people to treat each other in this manner and it is an offense to him when his justice and mercy are are violated. When there is the fear o of the Lord  there will be a hatred of anything that will violate his holiness and justice.

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Restoration of a nation…Nehemiah 1:4

But if you repent and obey my commandments and do them, then even if your dispersed people are in the most remote location, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen for my name to reside.’

The city of the Great King was described by David as the joy of the whole earth. It was the where the temple of God was and considered the place of his dwelling. The beautiful city was completely destroyed by the Babylonians and it became a city that was scorned and ridiculed. Nehemiah was deeply affected by the report of its condition and sought God in prayer. He repented for the sins of the people that brought on the captivity and destruction. He remembered the promise God gave that he would allow the people to return and reside in the city. Nehemiah wanted the nation to be restored in order to give God the worship he deserved from the people he had chosen and rescued. We need to be like Nehemiah who saw the horrible condition of his people and the spiritual demise that had happened that had brought on the destruction. We need to be praying for repentance and restoration of God’s people so that God will be worshipped and glorified among the nations.

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The courage of Jesus…John 18:4-5

Then Jesus, because he knew everything that was going to happen to him, came and asked them, “Who are you looking for?”

5 They replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He told them, “I am he.” (Now Judas, the one who betrayed him, was standing there with them.)

We witness the courage of Jesus when the Roman soldiers came to arrest him. He knew what was going to happen and did not try to run and hide. He identified himself as the one they were looking for and submitted himself to the leader. Jesus was prepared for the events that would quickly take place. He submitted his life to his father and carried out the mission for which he was sent. He did not try to defend himself even though he was not guilty of any of the charges they would bring against him. He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us that we would become righteous in the eyes of God. He willingly and courageously gave his life for us.

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Accountable to the truth…John 15:22

22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. But they no longer have any excuse for their sin.
Jesus did not come to judge people but he repeatedly said that his word what be the judge. Those who believed that he was speaking the truth and that he was the truth were saved from their sins. But those who heard and rejected him were destined to be condemned. When we proclaim the truth it will be the judge of the hearts of those who hear. The hearers will be held accountable for their reaction and response to the truth. We do not condemn people but they will condemn themselves if they deny the truth.

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The anger of Jesus…John 11:38-39

38 Jesus was still ◊ angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39“Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.

The death of Lazarus deeply affected Jesus. He wept with the family and friends of Lazarus because he saw the results of man’s sin that brought death to the human race. Jesus was angry because he saw the consequences of sin and the torment that it brought to mankind. Man was originally created to be an eternal being that would never experience death. Death was now an enemy of God that angered Jesus. Jesus is the resurrection and the life eternal to all who believe in him. He conquered death and restored man’s original design. Death to the believer has now lost its sting because we have the promise and assurance of eternal life. We still mourn the death of loved ones because of the earthly separation that it brings but we can also rejoice knowing that the deceased has entered into the resurrection life Jesus made possible for us.

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