Nehemiah 8:13-18 – Festival of Shelters

Read Nehemiah 8:13-18

I appreciate when I can learn more about Jewish traditions and what the Law of Moses instructed the Jewish people to do. After all, these are the traditions that Jesus would have known and participated in. This feast or festival is also known as the Feast of Tabernacles and is still celebrated today for nine days sometime during the months of September or October. It is associated with the gratitude for the bounty and provisions of God.

Because the returnees were trying to do things “by the book,” literally, reviving this festival was one of those activities being renewed. Rather than “guess” at what God wanted, the leaders met to learn more by reading the law together. When we want to know how to act in a certain situation, our “go-to” should always be, “what does the Bible say,” or “what would Jesus do?”

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Ezra 7:27-28 – Giving Thanks

Read Ezra 7:27-28

Ezra sets a good example for the people and for us. Gratitude to God should be always shown. Ezra was touched by how the Lord was moving and demonstrated his gratefulness for God’s hand of protection and provision by giving thanks.

What is the last thing that you thanked God for? Was it the sunshine, a parking spot close to the door, a good report from the doctor, another breath. Sometimes we get busy and forget to give God the nod for being in our life. Don’t forget to invite him into your everyday tasks either.

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1 Peter 5:10-14 – God’s Grace For You

Read 1 Peter 5:10-14

God’s fingerprints are all over this text. God’s kindness is the reason we have everything we have. The inheritance God is holding for us is beyond valuable. It’s all because he sent his son, Jesus, to rescue and redeem us.

How do we respond to God when he picks us up, brushes us off, and puts us back on track, on his firm foundation? Peter gives praise! “All power to him forever! Amen.” How can we help but overflow with gratitude for the grace God extends to us!

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James 5:1-6 – Rich People Beware

Read James 5:1-6

What a gloomy picture of rich people James portrays! While admittedly the description fits nicely for some, there are also plenty of “rich” people who have done very good things for the church and for the world with their wealth. James’ idea of rich people is rather tainted, isn’t it?

I found it interesting that while James harshly calls out rich people here, he doesn’t deliver any sort of direct call to change. He is simply telling them to lament their status before God. “Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you.”

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