New & Improved:
Part Three – Return from Exile
Prayer & Reflection
This Sunday, Steph Littlejohn brings us the latest of our short video talks. Once you have watched the video, we encourage you to reflect on the bible text and join us in the prayer that follows below.
To listen to the talk click here.
Whilst in lockdown we have time to spend improving our homes and gardens. We need to think about how we can immerge from this with new and improved spiritual lives.
Steph read from the first chapter of Nehemiah. Nehemiah is in exile but receives word from his brother on his return from Jerusalem…
Nehemiah chapter 1, verses 3 to 4 (New International Version)
“Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah is appalled, this is God’s city and his name is brought low by the state of the holy city. He sets things right.
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Questions to Consider
1. How do you FEEL when people in our culture belittle the name of God and what can you learn from Nehemiah about what to do about it?
2. Everyone joins with the rebuilding of the walls (chapter 3) Rebuilding means that EVERYONE has a role. What is yours?
3. In Chapter 4 we read about the opposition that they faced. So they armed themselves and protected each other (verse 16). Do you recognise the opposition from outside and inside? How are you arming yourself and how are you defending others?
4. In chapter 5 Nehemiah is faced with issue of exploitation of the poor. Rather than seeing this as a distraction from the task he sees it as vitally important to deal with it. How do you respond to issues of injustice?
5. Nehemiah leads by example. Rather than exploit his position for gain he is generous. How are we leading by example?
6. In Chapter 8 the people hear the word of God. They listen to the scriptures and respond in weeping. They repent of how far they have fallen. When you read the Bible or hear it read what attitudes and actions does it challenge in you?
7. They hear the word of God, pray, worship, give for the upkeep of the temple and priesthood, observe the sabbath and festivals. These are practices that help us to grow closer to God. What are we putting into place to help us grow in these things? Which ones are we choosing to ignore?
8. They Recognise, Repent, Return. During this time what is God revealing to you about your life with Him? What needs dealing with?