Tag Archives: rebuilding

Genesis 14; Nehemiah 3; Matthew 13; Acts 13

Nehemiah’s construction crew is probably one of the most eclectic in history. Some names and previous employment histories stand out: goldsmiths, merchants, rulers, perfume makers and even “Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem…with the help of his daughters.”  This remnant of a nation joined forces to rebuild the wall, to “put its doors and bolts and bars in place.”  Why would a defeated people go to such effort? To what end would the soft hands of women, rulers, skilled artisans invite the callouses and splinters of hard labor with wood, stone and mortar?

It is all for hope: the dream of being the people of God once again, to see Him move amongst them, to be free from the fear of captors who can control their futures and choke out the joy of living. Don’t I long for the same things in my life?

Nehemiah (3:5) specifically mentions the nobles of Tekoa “who would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors.”  I have ask to myself,  “When has my pride and unwillingness to submit to someone I thought less noble than myself kept me from being part of God’s movement? When have I told God ‘no’ because something was outside my typical job description?”  Nehemiah’s lists encourage me to live more like a daughter of Shallum than a noble of Tekoa. God make me open and willing to do whatever He asks of me in the building of his Kingdom.

Kathy

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Ezra 3, 4; 1 John 5

Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Ezra 3:3 NLT.

Some of the biggest moments of my life were in the midst of fear. Fear is my shame, and I try to hide it by smiles, but it seeps through my pores, and keeps me up at night with worry.

My daughter and I were en route to an event and she told me she was afraid, and I understood it too well. I don’t know if my advice was the best, but it was all I knew:

“Put a smile on your face, and do it anyway,” I said. Fear stops us from living, from moving on, from rebuilding. We looked at Christmas lights at dusk along the drive and I asked her, “What are you afraid will happen?”

I don’t think that half the time I can answer this question myself.

I suppose the enemies who opposed the rebuilding in Ezra had their own list of fears; their fear masked by anger and opposition. It put a halt on another’s rebuilding.

Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work. They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans. This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia and lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne. Ezra 4:5-5.

I think on whatever it is I’m afraid of, or the effects of another’s fear on me–the very limiting force of the enemy.

19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. 1 John 5:19.

I think of the walks I took to doors with gifts and goodbyes in hand, a smile on my face and fear seeping through pores and shaking my voice. Chapters closed with trembling fingers, and new ones were yet to be opened from the oppressive weight of what-if. Fear. Sometimes plans to rebuild are halted.

18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.

20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.

21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. 1 John 5:18-21

The verses above tell me not to be afraid, for the Son of God has come and holds me securely in his hands. And though evil comes so close, and I feel its haughty eyes upon me and hear its voice in my ears, God holds me closer. I can choose to live in fellowship with God, or listen to life-limiting lies from an evil one. Which will take up space in my heart?

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament

Isaiah 9-10, Ephesians 1

“The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” Isaiah 9:10

This Scripture from Isaiah has received a lot of attention lately due to its appearance in the book “The Harbinger”. Beautiful Messianic prophecies that precede it in the same chapter are not even mentioned. The persons who quoted this Scripture in reference to the tragedy of 9/11 merely used it as a rallying cry in the face of adversity. They were likely more interested in boosting the morale of a mourning nation than pointing to Jesus Christ the Messiah.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7 
 

When Scripture is randomly pulled out of context, I wonder if anyone even understands its meaning. Of course, matters of fealty to our Creator God can not be legislated, but then one wonders why public officials drag out words from the Holy Bible to address the country, in the name of man and not in the name of Jesus.

Jesus achieved sovereignty over my heart when I embraced his death and resurrection as payment for my sins.  I know that I can’t rebuild or replant anything without his blessing.

I live in the woods. About 75% of the trees, shrubs and flowers I have planted in the last twenty five years have died, but the trees that sprung from wind blown seeds eighty years ago are still standing. That which God sows endures. That which man sows fades away.

Sometimes I think about who lived here before me. Where they are now? There is no sign of them, except for a crumbled stone foundation sleeping under moss and weeds at the edge of my property. All our rebuilding will come to this same end. In spite of all our grand proclamations, only God and his mercy endures forever.

yicareggie

 

 

 

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