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Friday: Further Thought ~ Nehemiah — 5 Comments

  1. Is there a difference between stepping out in faith and being presumptuous?

    Many years ago I move to a new city and joined a Seventh-day Adventist church group that met in a couple of classrooms in the local high school. They entertained the idea that they wanted a building of their own, so they had a business meeting where they were going to vote whether they were going to move forward on this idea. I was a maths teacher at the time and was dumfounded when they raised the question of financing the building. They were going to take out a loan for $150,000 (this was nearly 40 years ago) in faith and pay it off. There was a lot of talk about stepping out in faith, but very little talk about how that faith was going to act out. At the time interest rates were more than 10%pa so I quickly did the sums on my calculator and worked out the amount that each family in the church would have to pay each week to pay off this loan. To put it simply, with the size of the congregation, it was an amount that they were incapable of paying off. Some of the congregation were a bit cranky with me for being so pragmatic but at the end of the day, most of them recognised that their dream of a new church building was not going to be realised with the loan plan.

    Stepping out in faith does not mean being stupid. God has given us brains to think and plan and work through issues. If there is one take-away lesson from the Nehemiah experience, it is that he approached the problem at hand with prayer and faith, but that he then exercised his faith in a practical way by thinking and planning for the outcome that he wanted to achieve. God very rarely performs miracles. Rather he works in ordinary ways through ordinary people to do the extra-ordinary.

    I should tell you the end of the story about the church. There was another Adventist church about 2km from the church that I attended. It had its own church building right next to a huge shopping centre. The shopping centre wanted to expand so it bought the church property for a handsome sum and that allowed them to build another larger church. The congregation chose a property only a short distance from where my church was meeting, so the two congregations merged together and the last time I visited them they were happily enjoying their new building. In a round about way their prayers for a new building were answered at no cost to them. The miraculous had been achieved in an ordinary way but surprisingly different to what had been expected.

  2. Nehemiah - The man behind the wall
    Bad News - Nehemiah turns to God in fasting and prayer.
    Prayer - If prayer is not absolutely necessary then our goal is not big enough
    Speak out - Speak only when you're spoken to especially when you're in the presence of authority.
    Sent - Answered Prayer Does Not Mean There Will Be No Opposition.
    Prepares - Three days seeing the ruins of Jerusalem Nehemiah sits in silence wrestling with God the work to begin rebuilding the city of Jerusalem.

    Nehemiah did no come to the people with an empty hand.
    Nehemiah 2:17 & 18
    17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire.o Come, let us rebuild the wallp of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.q” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on mer and what the king had said to me.

    They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.

    He told them about the leading of God and the provision and protection made by the king. Thus the people's response was let us rebuild the city.

    Gift of 4,000 Euros
    What a lesson for me! Had we stopped our work at VitaSalus because we lacked the funds, we would have lost out on a big blessing brought about by trusting in God. It was not about the railings. It was about God showing us how His work can be fulfilled when we trust in Him.

    Our God is living God.

    Proverbs 25:28 says: Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.
    A city without walls meant there was no protection for the people.

  3. Group v Individual?
    Do I need to belong to a particular community of faith to ensure my eternal salvation?
    Does the LORD often use "the group" to achieve His purpose - like building the walls?
    What are the positives and negatives of belonging to "the group"?

  4. Guidance from the Holy Spirit.

    The Lord ways are not our ways. Humans only see appropriate 7 ways of solving a problem, the Lord sees thousands of ways. But do we trust him when neither the seven ways does not work? His ways how he works and his plans are bigger than us. Humans can’t comprehend the ways of God. In so saying the Bible says if a man doesn’t work he should not eat. If someone can work but refused to, he can’t just sit back and expect faith to work for him.
    As I mentioned before, faith goes with work, he gave us the strength to work six days. Praying have its place so is work.

    • While there is some truth in what you say Lyn, it is useful to remember that God said right at the very beginning:

      Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ Gen 1:26NIV

      The implication is not just that we look like God but that we share in some of his characteristics. And while I do not pretend to understand all of God's ways, any more than some of my wife's ways, I appreciate them. God can be appreciated and understood to the extent that our minds allow us. There is a connection between us and we can work together with understanding. It should be a growing experience.


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