Moving Forward With Greater Determination!

The fifth time, Sanballat’s servant came with an open letter in his hand, and this is what it said: “There is a rumor among the surrounding nations, and Geshem tells me it is true, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king. He also reports that you have appointed prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim about you, ‘Look! There is a king in Judah!’ “You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me.” I replied, “There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination. Nehemiah 6:5-9 NLT

Most Believers know the story–Saballat’s envy and deceptive ploys to stop Nehemiah from building the wall. And for those who don’t know–any good translation of the Bible will reveal the plot to deceive and thwart, but when God has put something on our hearts to do–nothing the enemy does, will matter. When Nehemiah, the king’s cupbearer, prayed and repented for the people, he went before the king with his request to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. “And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests.” Nehemiah 2:8 NIV.

The first chapter of Nehemiah contains his prayer and why he was praying. The second chapter reveals his requests and the king’s response. After that–the story unfolds as the challenges, the belittling and persecution those who were working on restoring the wall endured. And when Sanballat conspired to stop the rebuilding, God strengthened all the workers involved and by His spirit–kept Nehemiah encouraged and determined to complete the mission.

Perhaps, there are some people today who want to have something restored in their lives and need the courage to complete the mission–regardless of the challenges set before them. Perhaps, there are some already in the process of completing a mission and need encouragement to keep going to finish the task.

Perhaps, what is getting in their way, is the lack of repentance and submission to God’s Will. Prayer–for all involved in the task–and repentance is in order. When we speak to God in sincerity, recognizing our shortcomings and the wrong paths we’ve taken, He is faithful and just and will hear and honor our requests.

Now, we have a job to do. God has put on our hearts a variety  tasks that only we can do and those tasks vary for every individual. Hear God and know what He wants done in your life and then–be determined to move forward. When obstacles get in the way, pray–asking God for strength to endure and move forward with greater determination to get the job done to the glory of God.

Gather your courage, pray for endurance, and keep moving forward with greater determination to do all God has put on your heart to do!

 

Surrounded With His Favor!

“Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12 NIV)

The fact that being in right-standing with God puts one in position to be a recipient of His favor should not surprise or amaze anyone. Everyone wants to walk in His favor, but how many are willing to do what is right in order to be in right-standing with God? The amazing fact is that so many either do not have a clue as to what it means to be in right-standing with God or they do not care and refuse to do what is right.

Let’s face it–there are a lot of people who believe they are in right-standing with God because of their own “self-righteousness.” These are the people who take it upon themselves to judge (unjustly) everyone else who is not living according to their standards. For some reason, they feel they have the right to set standards for others when in fact–their own relationship with God is non-existent–they have a relationship with religion, not with God. The real problem is–they do not know the difference.

When people are in right-standing with God and have an established, maintained relationship with God–not only do they know and understand The Word–they live it. They are loving, forgiving, full of mercy and compassion and yet they tell people the Truth about God’s Word without condemning them. When people only know how to spew The Word at others because of what “they see” they are extremely judgmental and quick to send people to hell, without realizing the danger which they put themselves of ending up there.

Not one of us walking on the face of the earth can “send anyone to hell.” If a person ends up in hell it is because of their choices, not our decisions. If those “hell-senders” really had a relationship with God and not religion, they would know that God doesn’t intend for anyone to be in hell other than Satan, but the provision was made for those who “choose” to follow Satan.

Okay–so there are consequences for our behavior–that determine where we spend eternity–heaven or hell. While I cannot speak for others, I can say with assurance that I am heaven-bound; not because of any righteousness that I have attained, but because of my relationship with God and being in right-standing with Him. I have received His love, know how to give love and to love all, forgive, have mercy and compassion for others and can and do teach the uncompromised Word of Truth. Whether people receive The Word of Truth is up to them–it is my responsibility to teach it, not to make others receive it and live it. That is being in right-standing with God.

Therefore, I am surrounded with His favor because of my willingness to be in right-standing with Him. Glory to God! I pray all get into the position to know–with assurance–what their standing is with God.

Getting into The Word for yourself puts you into good position to know and receive all God has for you!

Grace Teaches!

“It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”(Titus 2:12 NIV).

One of the most difficult things I try to get across to students is to never start a sentence with “it” unless they can explain what the antecedent is. The antecedent (the noun for which the pronoun is replacing) in this passage of scripture is found in the verse eleven–the Grace of God. The same grace that opens the door to salvation, the same grace that provides us with opportunity to do what is right at all times, the same grace–the favor we receive from God when we could not earn it–teaches us to say, “no” to ungodliness-when we have a teachable spirit!

I have often heard people (men and women) say, they would live right if the temptations were not in the picture. Some have tried to excuse their behavior by saying, “I’m a preacher, but I’m a man first” (D. Haddon from “Preachers of LA”) as if this gives them permission to sin. I can only conclude that he forgot that Jesus–the man–was tempted just as he was and did not give into it or make excuses. I’m not judging; I’m simply emphasizing what has been made public. No one is perfect but The Lord, certainly not I, but I don’t make excuses for giving into temptation when I fail to do all things well. I repent and thank God for His mercy, giving me another chance to get things right. That is what our attitude should be when we “fall from grace.” We should repent and keep seek God’s mercy, thanking Him for forgiveness, not bragging about what we do because of our “gender.”

If grace teaches us to say no, when we fall from grace–are we listening or do we not have enough of the Word hidden in our hearts so we won’t sin against God? Or do we simply make a mockery of grace when we boast about openly living a sinful life?

I am convinced that when we allow The Word to dwell in us richly, that when we “think” we want to do something that does not demonstrate godly behavior, we are convicted in our spirits “before” we “do anything.” Now, in order for us to hear our spirits speaking, we must make sure that we have teachable spirits. Perhaps then, the reasons for falls from grace could be that many do not have teachable spirits.

Father, in the name of Jesus, speak to our hearts and soften them to hear You. Help us to set flesh aside and allow our spirits–so entangled with Holy Spirit–we hear and obey–Holy Spirit and not flesh.