Rebuilding With Nehemiah, Chapter 8 Day 7

Sunday:

Text: 18 Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. They celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly.

Teach: Ezra read and the people listened. And they celebrated.

Neh 8-7 holy habits

Take: Consistency. Repetition. The experts say it takes repeating a behavior for twenty-one days to create a habit. New habits are much easier to break than old ones. I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately, as I try to establish a healthier lifestyle. It’s much easier to be lazy and to eat poorly. But my physical body craves health and wholeness as much as my spirit craves the holiness.

Neh 8-7 spiritual disciplines

Task: Are there healthy and holy habits you want to establish in your life. God desires those things for you, too. Jesus claims he came that we would have live and life abundant. Paul teaches that God is in the business of making all things new. Let’s pray for a greater spirit of obedience and consistency.

Who Will They See?

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. (John 12:20-22)

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As I was looking for a picture to put here at the end of yesterday’s post, I started humming the gospel song, “You May Be the Only Bible Some May Ever Read.” Allowing his light to shine through our broken places and his love to spill out of our hearts is key to living so others can see Jesus in you and me. And what if our encounters are the only encounters they have with God?

People won’t be as formal in their request to see Jesus as they were with Phillip. They will watch for a long time. They want to see if what we say we believe will be consistently portrayed in our lives. They’re watching for inconsistencies and discrepancies.

But I think they want to see more. Oh, I’m not naive enough to think everyone will be hoping to see more, but there are those people out there, hungry for hope, who will be watching us. Instead of anticipating failure, they’re hoping to see that God can and does make a difference.

This is what we need to be showing. This is why the Greeks came to Jesus. They weren’t coming like the Pharisees hoping to trip or trick Jesus. These men knew Jesus had something and they wanted it.

Take care friend, you really may be the Living Word for someone today. How will they read your life?

WP only bible 2

Welcome Aboard.

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I think Lent comes at a very good time of the year.

Typically we start the year out with great resolve, high hopes, and a few plans for improving life. And we usually make it for a few days, maybe weeks…and then we peter out.

My spiritual word for this year is habits. I started out amazingly. I was exercising daily, eating well, and reading through my Bible. The only habit I have faithfully maintained is reading my Bible. Both my healthy eating and my exercise have been inconsistent at best for the last couple weeks.

What has made the difference with my reading?

I’m not doing it alone.

In my church we were challenged as a congregation to read through the Bible this year. But as nice as that challenge is, it hasn’t motivated me. It’s not personal enough.

The difference is I have an accountability partner. I have someone who not only asks, “So have you read your Bible today?” We also discuss some of the interesting, surprising, familiar, and favorite things we read.

My partner? My husband. It’s handy and it’s a blessing.

I have accountability partners for my writing, too.

Why? Do you want the long answer or the short one? You get the short one. When I’m not accountable, I can make all kinds of poor choices. When I am accountable I find I am more successful. And I want to succeed.

There are numerous examples and admonishments to be accountable in scripture.One for today as we think about this faith journey: Encourage one another and build up one another.(1 Thessalonians. 5:11)

It’s not that we can’t or won’t see Jesus on our own, but let’s look together.

There’s joy in the journey…together.

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PRAYER MOMENT: God you are our leader and guide. Your Word tells us you go before and follow behind. You led the Israelites through the wilderness with a pillar of fire and a cloud. A map or sign might be nice, but more than that we want to feel you beside us as we maneuver the hazards of life. Thank you for the encouragement we can receive from other travelers and help us to be encouragers as well. Create good habits in us this Lenten season as we seek to see you, know you, and find you daily. Amen.