Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Over the last few weeks I’ve been listening to a study on the book of Nehemiah. I have learned about the history of Jerusalem, one man’s vision for a broken city, and the perseverance that carried out the rebuilding of the crumbling walls. I have learned how Nehemiah and the people responded to the Lord’s call and it has been such a blessing to observe.
I was especially touched by a verse that I thought encompassed the spirit of the project in Nehemiah:
“So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.” Nehemiah 4:6
I love this verse. I have written it on the chalk board in my bedroom to remind me that I should always have “a mind to work”. To help me understand this verse, I have imagined that I am one of the Israelites that was lost in the wilderness, and if I am to please the Lord I must have a mind to work. I can’t be one of the Israelites that complains to Moses that life was better in Egypt --- I must be willing to work while I am in a difficult terrain. I can’t be one of the Israelites that quarrels to Moses when there is no water to drink --- I must be willing to work even when conditions are not ideal. I must not be one of the Israelites that turns on God and worships an idol when my spiritual leaders are not looking --- I must have a mind to work even when the consequences for my laziness are not apparent.
The Lord’s work is accomplished by those who have a mind to work, by those who do not look at circumstances or feelings to determine if they are equipped for the job at hand. Many men and women of God had very little resources but accomplished what the Lord was asking them to do simply because they had a mind to work. One moment after another, one hour after another, one day after another. The Lord Jesus is the ideal resource, as well as the only resource, that must fuel our mission, whatever it may be.
It is worth remembering that the Lord gave the Israelites in the wilderness every resource they could possibly need --- yet still many times they failed to please God in their actions. He has also placed before us every possible resource we could need to foster spiritual growth, but those who don’t reach will never reap the benefits simply because they do not have the mind to work. We have the Living Word of God available every moment of the day, church available every night of the week if we so choose, sermons online, sermons on our smart phones, spiritual books, spiritual leaders, and many other resources that would foster spiritual growth. But sometimes it is as if we are dying of starvation while sitting at a table filled with foods and drinks of every variety. We starve ourselves because we do not have the mind to work that will pick up the fork, so to speak, and bring the food to our mouths. His word is there. God the Father is there. The Lord Jesus Christ is there. The Holy Spirit is there. The church is there. Every possible means of spiritual growth is available to us, but if we do not have the mind to work we will suffer from starvation.
Of course none of this is in reference to salvation; for that we cannot work because the Lord Jesus did the work and freely gives us that gift. I am only referring to our desire to grow to please the Lord and fulfill His plan for our lives. The Lord is pleased when we do not throw our hands in the air and complain when the going gets tough. He is pleased when we do not whine (even silently in our hearts) about difficult circumstances. I know that he must love it when we roll up our sleeves and heartily labor until His work is accomplished.
It is this that keeps me going. I will not grow if I do not eat and I will not eat unless I have “a mind to work”.
IT COULDN’T BE DONE
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied,
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried;
So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried, he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed, “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you;
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it!
Written by Edgar A. Guest, 212 Victory Poems.
Posted by R.E.H. at 12:10 AM
Sunday, September 27, 2015
For those out there who are not Christians, who are not religious, for those who don’t often consider what will come after this life: please take a moment and consider the consequences of not asking yourself what may come when you die. For those who are Christians, for those who are confident that you will be going to heaven when you die: please take a moment and consider that this life is fleeting and you never know when your time may come; is your life sanctified, separated from this world and given over to the Lord, ready to serve him?
After losing control of my car on the freeway this week and narrowly escaping the oncoming traffic, I can’t help but think of how urgent it is to live for the Lord; I can’t help but think that boldness, tempered with love and consideration, is sorely needed from those who are able to speak; I can’t help but suddenly feel an intense burden to share the gospel with those who may not know the Lord.
The Lord rescued me from so much danger this week, yet He is ready and willing to rescue you from the greatest danger you could ever face: an eternity separate from the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other place that is darker, no other place that causes more fear, no other place that is more empty than the place that is without Christ. He is the light, the love, and the joy that saves us; there is no one like Him and no one who is more ready and willing to save those who are unable to save themselves. His goodness is sure, His love is unwavering, and His salvation is ready for those who would go to Him and ask.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10: 27-30
Posted by R.E.H. at 8:29 PM
Sunday, May 3, 2015
I have been reminded of what is important in this life. My Savior is important to me; the people He has put in my life are invaluable; the tasks He has given me are of tremendous importance; His voice, His love, His leading - these are all important to me.
There is something I have come to realize: there is always a battle being waged on some front of our lives. When one ends, another begins. Throughout the course of this life we will face unfavorable odds in many different situations, while in others we may feel our victory secure. Yet in each the outcome is not the most important aspect. It is the way in which we fought that is most important; it is the similarity to Christ we displayed in our character; it is the humility we demonstrated when we lost and the grace we exhibited when we won.
Here is one certainty with which we can comfort ourselves: Christ will have the victory in the end. There is no one more powerful than He, no one wiser, and no one more capable. Some of our battles will be lost, some won, but in the end He will prevail and those who believe will be resting in His arms, no longer tasked with participating in the battles that are inevitably inherent to this life.
I am grateful to know the Lord and the love He has for me, and I am grateful that He has been thus moved to remind me of the blessings I have in Him.
When I Think Of His Love
When I think of the cross where my Savior died,
‘Neath the frown of darkened skies,
When I hear the groan of the Crucified
And I look on those death-closed eyes,
When I know that for me He the anguish bore,
From sin He might set me free,
Oh, I know that I’ll love him forevermore,
When I think of His love for me.
When I think of the grave where they laid my Lord,
And they sealed Him within the gloom
When I think how according to His Word
He arose from that vanquished tomb,
Oh, I know that for me He endured it all,
My eyes with tears grow dim,
While low at His feet in love I fall
Whenever I think of Him.
Written by Louis Paul Lehman, Jr. 212 Victory Poems, page 23.
Posted by R.E.H. at 9:35 PM