“We Can Do All Things…”

15 So on October 2nd the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. 16 When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.  — Nehemiah 6:15, 16 NLT

Nehemiah 6:1-9 NLT

Rebuilding the wall that surrounded Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time was a major construction project.   Although we can’t be sure of exactly how much of the wall they rebuilt, we can be sure that at the very minimum, it would have exceeded two and a quarter miles.  Compare that to how long it takes a construction crew to repair a section of interstate that exceeds two miles even with all the equipment and ready-made materials they have available to them today. Then add to that, the fact that they had to build the final portions of the wall using one hand and carrying a weapon in the other.  And the whole time, they were being harassed and ridiculed by their enemies.  It was quite a miraculous feat.  There is no way Nehemiah and his people could have even started this project without the direction and the power of God working through the people involved.  From the king of Babylon to the least of the workers in Jerusalem, God worked through each of them to provide for the people and the project.  When satan sees that God has raised up people to do a great work, he is always there to try to thwart what God is doing.  He was there in Nehemiah’s time trying to discourage everyone with bluster and lies and he is still up to his old tricks today.  We need to pray that God will raise up Ezras and Nehemiahs in our day to rebuild the body of Christ.  So that satan and his allies will once again be “frightened and humiliated” when they see God helping us.“

“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-09-2019

“Onward Christian Soldiers”

39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.— Acts 2:39 NLT

Acts2:32-41 NLT
 

The disciples had been through basic training and spent three years with Jesus.  They had peen patient, prayerful and persecuted and they had persevered through it all.  True, they had their moments of doubts and disappointments and had at one point run away and left Jesus all alone to face his killers.  But when the time was right, Jesus had brought them all back together and given them their final instructions before His departure. The first instruction was to “wait in Jerusalem”.  The basic training was over and they were about to go on their first missions without Him as their leader.  Up to now, the provisions and power had come through Jesus but He was no longer physically with them.  Now, the time had come for them to tap into the source of power through another person, the Holy Spirit.  A person just as much as Jesus, in fact, the same person but not in human form.  Jesus was God in visible human form.  The Holy Spirit is the new heart-sized version, just as powerful and able to be everywhere at once. 
The disciples now had the power and God would give them the provisions. The fight was on, the Commander had given the order– “Charge!” and the power started a great movement that is still alive today.  We are the “far away” mentioned in this verse.  It is up to us to be the hands and feet as the Holy Spirit carries on the battle.

“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, ​ ​Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-08-2019

“Wait Upon the Lord”

Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. — Acts 1:4


Acts 1:1-5 NLT

Sometimes when God first starts to reveal our part in His plan, we want to start “doing” right then.   There are times that we should move instantly because it might be the only chance we have to witness to a particular person.  But if God is calling us to do a work that requires coordination and acceptance by others, we may have to wait while everyone else involved gets lined up.  God never sends us unprepared.  Jesus was tested for forty days before He began His ministry.  Saul spent years in the desert becoming Paul.  David spent years fighting battles, running from Saul and was anointed three times before He actually took the throne.  Preparation requires patience, prayer, persecution, perseverance, provision and power. There are usually people who disagree with what we think God has called us to do and/or the methodology we use to do it.  We must not only be patient with God but with others involved as well.  We must endure the negativity and the discouraging remarks.  If we persevere, God will give us the provisions and the power.   God had prepared the disciples to “go and make” but now He has commanded them to “wait”.  Waiting can sometimes be the hardest part.  But success will only come if we adhere to God’s battle plan and His timing.  We must wait until all the ifs, ands, buts, perhaps, and maybes are gone.  Then when the Commander says “charge”, we will be successful in the war.

14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.— Psalm 27:14 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-07-2019

Dayenu

8 “Moreover, I hereby decree that you are to help these elders of the Jews as they rebuild this Temple of God. You must pay the full construction costs, without delay, from my taxes collected in the province west of the Euphrates River so that the work will not be interrupted. — Ezra 6:8 NLT

Ezra 6:6-13 NLT

In Exodus, we saw that when God brought the Israelis out of the bondage of Israel, He brought them laden with gold and the treasures of the land. God had instructed Moses to tell the people to ask their Egyptian neighbors for whatever they would give. In this way, Egypt was plundered.  God had sent the Israelis into bondage again when the Babylon army ransacked Jerusalem and took the people to Babylon.  When the time of their bondage was fulfilled, God brought them out of Babylon to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.  Cyrus had decreed that they could go in peace and do this.  He gave them the bowls and utensils that had been brought from the Temple.  Cyrus also decreed that their neighbors should “contribute toward their expenses” by giving them voluntary offerings of gold, silver, livestock and anything else they might need for their journey to Jerusalem.  The people of the provinces west of the Euphrates opposed the rebuilding of the Temple.  When Darius became king, they wrote him a letter requesting that that he, Darius, should tell the Israelis to cease and desist.  Instead, Darius had the records searched and found the decree that Cyrus had written years before.  He not only decreed that everything in that letter would be fulfilled but that the peoples of the provinces west of the Euphrates would not help the elders rebuild the Temple but they would bear the cost of the reconstruction using the tax money they usually paid to Darius.  You would need to read the whole book of Ezra to get even a small grasp of all that God provided for His people so the Temple could be rebuilt.  They received gifts worth billions in today’s economy.  God never sends us anywhere or asks us to do anything that He does not provide “more than enough’ to complete the mission.  “Dayenu” is Hebrew for “sufficient for us” and it is a beautiful Passover song that reminds us of just how great God really is. 

Dayenu

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-06-2019

Give It All Up For Jesus

even-smaller-bug-light1

28 Then Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “I tell all of you with certainty, there is no one who has left his home, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or fields because of me and the gospel 30 who will not receive a hundred times as much here in this world—homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields, along with persecution—as well as eternal life in the age to come. – Mark 10:28-30
God has nothing against rich people or people that are successful from a worldly viewpoint.  Riches, power and position are neutral and can be used for good or for evil. It is the misuse of these things that causes our issues with God.  He allows us to have those things for His honor and His glory.  We are to use whatever we have, be it little or be it much, as a means to an end, not the end itself.  We should use those things for His glory here and now and be ready to give them up completely, if necessary.  Any good thing that we have now comes from God and belongs to God.  When properly used, it will bring glory to God now.  If it is necessary for us to give it up to bring glory and honor to the Father, we will receive a return now and rewards in eternity.  It is not about the amount we give, it is about the sacrifice we make in giving to God.  The poor widow put in two small coins, others gave much more, but only she received praise from Jesus.  She gave her grocery money, they gave from their surplus. When we have the heart of the widow and give like she gave, then the blessings will come. Not because we gave a lot, but because we gave sacrificially, trusting God to meet our every need.  Don’t be concerned about the amount or the percentage, don’t quit giving when it hurts, just keep giving until it feels good.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Revive Us Again”

26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah! — John 4:26 NLT

John 4:21-30 NLT

The trip from Judea to Galilee took Jesus through Samaria.  It was a rough journey and Jesus, in His human form, was subject to becoming tired and weary, just as we are.  The Samaritans and the Jews were not on the best of terms and rarely, if ever, spoke to each other.  Yet, Jesus began to talk to this Samaritan woman and tell her things about her past and her present situation. She realized that He was a prophet and began to question Him about the difference in the traditions of how the Samaritans and the Jews worshiped God.   Jesus began to explain these things to her and tells her that was the way things were but those things were changing.  The Samaritan woman says that she knows things will change when the Messiah comes.  It is then that Jesus reveals to her that He is the Messiah for whom she has been waiting.  Jesus uses the words “I AM”.  The same words that God had used when Moses asked God, “who shall I say is sending me?”  Hearing these words, she immediately becomes a missionary and runs to tell the whole town about Jesus.  When Jesus touches us, we have to tell somebody.  Do we still have that burning desire to tell people about Jesus, the Messiah, the great “I AM” or has the fire gone out?  If we no longer have that desire to tell others about Jesus, perhaps it is time to ask God to light the fires again.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-04-2019

The Great Commission-Part 2

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.– Matt. 28:19 NLT

The Great Commission

In yesterday’s reading, we thought about how we might have reacted to the instructions of Jesus to “go and make disciples of all the nations”.  The important part for us in any work in which God asks us to participate is to agree and believe.  How do we get to that point?  We start by remembering that God never asks us to do anything that He has not prepared us to do and that He is ready to provide everything we need to complete the work. Look at the training that Jesus had given the disciples.  They had had three years of walking and talking with Him on a daily basis, observing Him as He interacted with people on all levels of society and healing them.  In today’s society, that would probably qualify them for a doctorate degree in Christianity.  God had used the evil Romans to build the roads necessary and to make the country safe enough to travel.  He had sent the disciples out once before with absolutely nothing but the clothes on their back and the sandals on their feet.  They had passed the survival test then and they would again.  When God calls us to participate in His Kingdom work, He just wants us to agree and be available,  He provides everything else.  So when you feel that little nudge, don’t doubt, don’t fear, don’t be a Zechariah and get struck dumb for nine months, be a Mary and become “blessed above all”

.Luke 1:39-42 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-03-2019