Sunday, September 28, 2014

Swords and Shovels

During the night, he walks around the city to examine the evidence. (Nehemiah 2:12)  Although he doesn’t want anyone to know why he is present, the evidence couldn’t be dismissed.  It was truly apparent the enemy was real, his plan was to ruin, and the destruction was un-believable.  If he didn’t see with his own eyes, he couldn’t have understood the need.  Although the news broke his spirit, it touched his heart.  

We don’t have to look far to see the destruction of the enemy, we see the rubble.  It’s under our shoes, it’s in the stench of our nostrils, it's before our eyes, and so close to touch.  Yet, our eyes can’t believe what we see.  We pick up the rubble to try to image what it is or who it belongs too.  Destruction doesn’t just touch cities, it destroys lives.  Although the rubble proves life once existed, where are they?

Satan’s method hasn’t changed, he desires complete annihilation.  Annihilation of dreams, families, and God’s promises.  Keep in mind, Nehemiah was a patriotic Jew.   So, this was his homeland, his people, his history, and where he worshipped God.  No longer is there any security for the people, the walls have crumbled.  The gates are twisted metal, completely destroyed by fire.  Someone had a purpose, it’s evident.  What do we do when the enemy attacks our families, our cities, or our nation?  Either we can be silent or desire to change the situation.  We can only change the situation if we allow it to touch us, we allow it to break us.

“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 1:4

If we don’t allow the brokenness of our people break our spirit, cause us to pray, or mourn our godly history; we walk callused.  Can we truly leave our heritage, our people, and our nation in this situation?  Our children deserve a heritage of God’s truth, so they have an example to follow.  Yet, who’s willing to take the sword or shovel to rebuild?  If we long to rebuild this nation, we have to get our hands dirty spiritual and physically.  Faith isn’t just what we believe, its proof of our calloused hands.  Our hands bleed, have blisters, and covered in dirt because we understand the need.  Love lifts people out of the rubble, it helps rebuild what was lost.  It doesn’t leave the rubble for others to clean up, it’s willing to take a shovel or a sword or whatever is needed to rebuild a life.  Either our hearts are calloused or our hands, it shows who we are and what we really believe.  Faith demands actions toward the broken, it brings healing.

With the Word (the Sword) it’s the only way our hearts can be truly healed from the brokenness.  We are anointed to bring good news, bind up the brokenhearted, and release those bond in darkness.  Yet, we have to use our hands to rebuild the walls, so we can rebuild our life.  It will restore income, a place to live, and a place to worship with God's people.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”~ Isaiah 61:1

Understandable, it can be quite overwhelming when we examine the evidence-it beyond our abilities.  Fear focuses on my abilities; faith focuses on God’s.  Your faith will be challenged but it will NEVER BE defeated!  It’s only when we seek the Lord’s face with diligence, we get the answers.  Nehemiah prayed for three months before entering the king’s presence.  Although Nehemiah felt overwhelmed with the burden, God was working behind the scenes to fulfill His will-to rebuild.  It’s interesting how a cup-bearer who had no carpentry or architect knowledge was used to bring security, restoration to his people, and reclaim a heritage near extinction.  God’s plan for our lives, our cities, and our nation will only be discovered if we seek His face.  God’s the only One who has all wisdom, knowledge, and power to help us.  Honestly, let’s admit we lack the wisdom but we don’t lack the knowledge who to seek! 

In our natural eyes it may be overwhelming but we need to look at it through God’s eyes, it’s an opportunity to show the love of God.  May we remember who we are, call upon the name of God, and repent.  It’s only when our hearts restored, we are willing to restore the life of others.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Faith Conquers Cities

When I grew up in Maryland I truly loved the mountain-view surrounding my home, its beauty would always take my breath away.  Usually upon the front porch or staring out my bedroom window, I enjoyed watching the seasons change.  Change always brought about hope, expectation, and beauty to behold.  Yet, it's not so easily viewed beautiful in my life, honestly it's difficult.  We can't have transformation without a change, so why do I fight it so?

 As the mountain stands perfectly still; it’s quite intimidating.  It’s massively large, beyond my ability to move, and it’s preventing my view of the Promise.  Honestly, I don’t desire to sing again, “She will be coming around the mountain.”  It seems to have become my theme song.  Although God’s calling is clear on my life, the directions right now are foggy.  I can’t seem to find the road map to get to the mountain trail.  God’s silent.  So, in His silence, I admit I have felt abandoned in the process.  With no reception, no response, and I am in a state of panic!  I feel as if I am screaming, “Is anyone out there?”

Don't allow God's silence to prevent your heart from staying obedient.  Stay faithful to His Word, it will shine the direction for your steps.  Maybe the direction isn't what YOU WANTED but God's still working.  Yet, our expectations have been shattered, our desires have faded, and our hope is slipping away so we hide.  It’s easier to withdraw into the night, so our hearts can’t be revealed.  Fear is a prison; faith is the only key to fit the lock to open it.  God’s promises don’t come without a challenge of faith.  Oh, it’s God’s Word pure and true.  It’s tightly held in my fist to claim but our foot is still locked.  Doubt, insecurity, and fear have flooded our mind, it's hindering the voice of God from being heard.  God’s silence isn’t punishment; it’s a test of faith.  Our faith will be tried, no one is exempt from being tested.  Yet, it’s only when we are tested, we will be shine as gold. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. ~ Job 23:10

At the moment the mountains may stand tall, so tall you can’t see.  Yet, may I remind you who created the mountains, the ocean, and who created you!  God doesn’t give us a mountain to conquer in our own ability but His.  Keep in mind, the children of Israel wandered in a desert but they had to CONQUER a city before entering the Promised Land.  A desert will cause us thirst for God’s will but the city will be overthrown by faith in God.  Only when we walk in faith will God part the waters of the Jordan. 
We won’t see the miraculous of God’s hand until we take His hand by faith.  God’s will never abandon or misled His children to the place of unknown; He leads us to place of His own.  So, hopefully the first step will not be hard to take, God’s awaiting your move.  Besides God’s already melted the hearts of your enemy, they heard God’s coming!  So gird your weapons, blow the shofar, and start walking around the walls of Jericho!  Get ready to shout!  No wall or mountain can stand against the presence of the Lord!  Mountains melt like wax in the presence of the Lord. (Psalm 97:5)

"When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” ~ Joshua 2:11 

God’s already intimated your enemy, so don’t fret.  Your enemy has no courage to attack, God’s fame has been heard!  No one is able to stand against Him, nobody!  Yet, only the redeemed will be able to see the beautiful place He has prepared for them.  A promise of God is worth waiting for, standing for, and walking in!  Don’t allow your mountains to intimate you; introduce your mountain to God.