Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God that He does love us, and that we can experience the blessings of that love in terms of peace, joy, and increasing holiness as we dwell in His presence.
- Confess the sin of not always owning the fact that God does love us, and as a result seeking satisfaction in the idols of the heart.
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 36 – What benefits in this life accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification?
Answer – The benefits in this life which accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification are: assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, progress in holiness, and perseverance in it to this life’s end.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – To know that we are loved by God is a phenomenal thing, and a proper understanding and grasp of that fact is critical to our lives as Christians, for everything else that God blesses us with flows from that.
Memory Verses to lay into your heart and mind.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
Philippians 4:6,7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Please ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 7:1-3.
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
Fearing the Lord.
The second man appointed by Nehemiah to govern the city of Jerusalem was Hananiah, the commander of the fortress, and the reason for his appointment is extremely significant. There is almost nothing known about him, but what is said of him is the best thing that could be said about anybody, 'a faithful man and feared God more than many'. It is the fear of God that makes men faithful and trustworthy, and safe for public life.
God is absolutely holy and true, and has revealed His holy and unchangeable law to men. He demands from men that they obey every precept, and also that they not only have an outward obedience to his commands, but that they maintain heart purity. Not only must their actions be upright, the thoughts and intents of their heart must also be pure. To fear God is to honour Him and His Word, and seek to submit to Him in every part of life, both internal and external. The fear of God must have an impact upon how a person lives out his daily life, how he does his work, how he treats other people, his thoughts, his words, and his actions. The governing principle of his life will not be what is expedient, but what is right.
It is sometimes said that 'every man has his price', but the man or woman who truly fears the Lord cannot be bought, not with money or prospects of promotion or advancement; they will never do what is dishonourable or self-serving because they are conscious that they ultimately serve the living and the true God.
To have such a person in a position of authority in civic society is truly a great blessing from the Lord, and so the choice that Nehemiah made of Hananiah was truly wise and for the good of the people of Jerusalem.
The wall around the city had been completed, provision made for public worship, and the governing authority put in place, but Nehemiah was very much aware that the city was still not safe from the attacks of their enemies. A great victory had been achieved, but it is precisely at the time of victory that the greatest danger is present because the guard tends to be relaxed.
Nehemiah was very well aware of that, and so he issued instructions that, unlike the common practice in most middle Eastern cities when the gates of the city were opened at sunrise, the gates of Jerusalem were not to be opened until later in the day. This was to ensure that no surprise attack could be mounted using the cover of dawn, and it would also ensure that the defenders would be wide awake! During the time that the gates were open, they were to be guarded right up until after they had been closed and bolted. Nehemiah also instructed that those who guarded the city would have responsibility to be vigilant for the area around their own homes.
What a great lesson this teaches for both church and home! In the spiritual warfare there is a need for constant vigilance, for the enemy of souls is constantly on the prowl seeking to attack the believer and the church of God, 1 Peter 5:8. Great watchfulness is especially needed after a period of great blessing or success in the work of God. Nehemiah realized how important it was for each family to protect and strengthen their own home, and so it is with regard to the spiritual life. The church is strong when the individual families that make up the church are constantly on the alert to identify and to resist the attacks of the devil.
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 102A. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God that He does make demands on our lives, otherwise in the deceitfulness of our hearts we would not pursue after Him and so miss out on all the blessings He has in store for us. Pray for the Lord's help as we do so.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC