Rebuilding With Nehemiah, Chapter 9 Day 1

Monday: Feasting Turns to Fasting

Text: On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. (Neh. 1:1)

Neh 9 fasting and prayer

Teach: Fasting isn’t an easy topic to address with people, primarily because we don’t like to go without. But fasting also presupposes the awareness of need or sin, something isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Here in Nehemiah, the people had been listening to and convicted by God’s plan and purpose as lined out in the Law.

Neh 9 when you fast

Take: Jesus speaks about fasting in the Sermon on the Mount: 16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:16-18). Did you catch the implication? He isn’t commanding fast, he’s not even suggesting it, he’s assuming we will.

Task: Can you think of time when you don’t have or know of a spiritual need? Me either. Pray with me today and ask that God would enlighten us on when and how we should fast.

What do you know?

Have you ever thought about what your life would be like if you did what you know? Ate what you should. Got the proper amount of sleep. Put your money to work for you. Shopped sales. Used coupons. Exercised more and watched less TV. Spoke words of love and encouragement. Forgave. Reduced stress.

The list could go on and on.

This week my husband and I decided to get back on track with eating more healthily. We’ve taught classes on this, but tend to get lazy with measuring and before we know it seems we’re grazing from sun up to sun down. Then we feeding our depression and it all spirals out of control.

What do you know spiritually that you’re not doing?

James makes a pretty strong statement regarding not doing what we know: If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:17, NIV)

Ouch. That probably isn’t very PC. We shy away from labeling anything as sin. But it is what it is. And here’s the thing about sin: it is the thing that separates us from God.

So what I realized this week is that not making time to read the Word and dig deeper into it is sin FOR ME. I know I need to do that to keep my spiritual life healthy, just like I know eating right keeps my body healthy.

I can’t not do it. (double negative on purpose)

So I’m working on doing a better job at doing what I know–in all the areas of my life. How about you? Rate your balance of knowing and doing and then determine how to improve that score. Imagine how much better life will be…and then just do it.

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