Word for the day day by Christian Education Forum

 Sanctification Of the Church

 Nehemiah 1 :1 - 11
V4 : "As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven."

Even though it happened in the 5th century BC, the book of Nehemiah is still just as relevant today.

The Babylonians had taken over the Jerusalem temple and razed it to the ground. In the book of Ezra, we learn that King Artaxerxes had given permission to the Jews to rebuild the temple. However, even after many years, the walls of the temple were still broken down and there were no secure gates to the city. Nehemiah was a God-fearing Jewish official in the Persian king’s palace who had risen to the trusted rank of his cupbearer. When he learnt about the dire state of Jerusalem, he was devastated. He was burdened and was greatly concerned about his people because he cared deeply for his nation. He wept and mourned for Jerusalem. But Nehemiah wasn't just stuck in his grief. He fasted and prayed about it for days, to see what God wanted him to do. Instead of focusing on the challenge before him, he focused on God and brought his grief before Him. He prayed fervently, praising God, confessing the sins of both himself and his people, and acknowledging God's faithfulness. He knew God had promised to restore the nation if the people turned away from their sinful ways and came back to God.

God's calling to any ministry begins in the heart of the individual. His calling moves us and breaks our heart. Do you feel challenged and utterly insufficient for His cause? Like  Nehemiah, first and foremost, bring it to God in prayer. One of the best ways to seek the Lord’s guidance is to pray and listen. I Chronicles 16:11 says, “Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually.” 

Prayer is important, not only because it strengthens our relationship with God, but also because it connects us spiritually with Him and the world around us. When you aren’t in a committed relationship with God and don’t value the importance of prayer, it’s easy to get distracted by everything going on in the world around you. When you routinely pray, and listen to what God is saying, our focus shifts from our personal needs to the needs of others, and you’ll better understand what God is trying to tell you.

The biggest problem in the modern-day church is that we have lost our focus on God and a sense of worldliness and passivity has crept in. Even so-called Christians live their lives with the assumption that they can function adequately without God. Even more disturbing is the finding that more adults (25%) believe that eternal salvation can be earned through good works than believe that salvation can’t be earned (20%). And among those who qualify as born-again Christians, 19% strongly believe salvation can be earned through goodness, while only 39% reject works-based salvation. 

When he heard about Jerusalem's plight, Nehemiah didn’t wait for someone else to fix the issue. On the other hand, he was willing to commit himself to the task and to stick with it in spite of numerous difficulties. As believers in Christ, we need to not only take responsibility but also, grieve and repent for the sorry state of the church today. We must be ready to be 'the vessel' to be used by God for whatever purpose He has in mind. We must love God's creation and tend to its needs, just as a shepherd tends to his sheep. We are challenged to become instruments of God, loving the world as He loves the world.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the example of Nehemiah who not only grieved for the sins of himself and his people, but also trusted in your faithfulness, and offered himself to be used by you. Help us to rebuild a wall of righteousness around our broken world, family by family, just like you led Nehemiah. May we learn to approach you on our knees in utmost confidence and reverence, whenever we are confronted with difficulties, and not rely on our own abilities. All this we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thought for the day
"I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer" - Martin Luther King Jr.

Redeemer Mar Thoma Church

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