Features

NEHEMIAH – GOD’S CALL TO BUILD THE WALL (Part 7)

(September 24, 2022) Hope Flinchbaugh, sharing more insights on Nehemiah’s commission from God, now reminds us of A Leader’s Response to Opposition’ (Part 1).

Nehemiah was called by God to rebuild and restore Jerusalem. He had the king’s permission and visas to pass through all the territories on the way. He even had a letter from the king that gave him permission to order a supply of the best lumber for the rebuilding – (all paid in full!).

On his way to Jerusalem, two men tried to stop Nehemiah.

Resistance
In Nehemiah 2:9-10NKJV we read, ‘Then I went to the governors in the region beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of it, they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.’ 

Verse eleven says that Nehemiah made it to Jerusalem despite the resistance of Sanballat and Tobiah and he stayed three days.

Interestingly, he didn’t tell anyone in Jerusalem why he was there. Imagine being this important in the kingdom and embarking on this amazing prophetic journey and yet not letting everyone know the importance of your mission when you arrive!

Nehemiah was definitely working for heaven, not seeking permission from people. His responses to opposition?

Response 1 – Trusting God
Verse 12NASB tells that ‘… I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. I did not tell anyone what my God was putting into my mind to do for Jerusalem and there was no animal with me except the animal on which I was riding.’

  • Nehemiah didn’t blow a trumpet he wielded a flashlight.
  • He only took a few trusted men with him – and scouted out the land.
  • He went out at night without fanfare – but with the presence of God.

We might wonder why he so casually points out that there was no other animals along with them. Think about it. Sanballat and Tobiah, his opposers, couldn’t have been that far away. Nehemiah was keeping things as quiet as possible that night, avoiding any unwanted noise, until he had seen for himself the damage of the Jerusalem walls, what he was up against.

Well, that’s like you or I writing, ‘I went out to check out an old, abandoned building in the ghettoes of Los Angeles in the middle of the night, but I didn’t bring the police, my wallet, or my cell phone! I don’t have an escape route planned, I just need to get out there and see what God says to me.’ 

Nehemiah was determined not only to be unobserved, but that he would do some observing! And, in seeing what lay ahead of him… hear from heaven regarding his challenge and commission!

‘The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work’ (Nehemiah 2:16).

Response 2 – Choosing the right moment!
We don’t know if Nehemiah reported his mission to the men who were with him that very night or if he waited until morning. But while inspecting the walls that night, he knew what they didn’t know – the king had given him permission to rebuild.

Imagine holding that secret! But there are times we must hold such a secret until the moment that God releases us to explain our purpose and bid others to join us. Finally, that moment came.

Nehemiah records: ‘Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.” I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work’ (Nehemiah 2:17-18NASB).

Response 3 Refusing to cower
And so Nehemiah dives in! He and his friends are making mortar, finding new stones and recovering old ones, some of them burned and not usable. Even then, his enemies immediately reproach him!

But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?” So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem’ (Nehemiah 2:19-20).

When faced with opposition, Nehemiah did not cower. He did not explain that he carried visas, he had the king’s lumber, and he definitely had the king’s favour.

Response 4 – Knowing your authority
In fact, Nehemiah didn’t even mention King Artaxerxes! The first statement he made was that he was there under the authority of God Himself! Boldly he declared, ‘The God of heaven Himself will prosper us, therefore we His servants will arise and build.’

Can you sense the confident tone of his voice here? You too can be confident in building your ‘Jerusalem wall’ if you really know that God Himself is your covering, your source, your authority!

My friend, whatever God has called you to do, go fearlessly and do it under the authority of God. You may have permission from a committee or from a king, and you will have opposition – but ultimately your authority comes from heaven. Hallelujah!

___________________________________________

Hope Flinchbaugh, editor-in-chief of Hope Editors, a special team helping publishers and authors, has written three historical fiction novels and two nonfiction books. Hope’s love for children is evident in her delightful Baby Babbles series… available from Amazon Author Page or International Orders Here.  

I Come to the Garden Alone… Jesus is waiting – come and talk to Him, is Hope’s inspiring daily devotions booklet. Hope’s Amazon Author Page. Link: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com
____________________________________________

WHY DID QUEEN ELIZABETH WANT TO SEE JESUS RETURN IN HER LIFETIME?

(September 17, 2022) Charles Gardner reflects…

Queen Elizabeth based her entire life, and her extraordinary 70-year reign, on Jesus, the Jew, the rock and guide of her long reign. Yet though she has travelled the world more than most, she never set foot in Israel, the land which gave birth to the Christian faith she so devoutly followed.

Every year at Christmas, in a broadcast to the nation watched by millions worldwide, the Sovereign shared her personal Christian faith as key to all she does.

Some years ago, for example, she quoted a verse from the Christina Rossetti and Gustav Holst carol, In the Bleak Midwinter:
‘What can I give Him, poor as I am,
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man, I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him, give my heart.’

(more…)

STORMS OF LIFE…

(September 13, 2022) Brian Bell shares comforting words to those troubled in these uncertain times…

Think for a moment on Psalm 107:23NASB, ‘Those who go down to the sea in ships…’ What one natural element of creation did Jonah, Jesus’ disciples, and Paul experience in their lives?

  • Jonah…

The Lord had called him to go to Nineveh, but Jonah had other plans and took a to go in the opposite direction. A fierce storm beset the ship and caused him to end up in the belly of a great fish.

  • Jesus’ disciples…

They were quite familiar with the Sea of Galilee, yet while crossing the sea in their boatone day a great storm blew up causing even those hardened fishermen to fear for their lives.

  • Paul…

The apostle was on his way to Rome under Roman guard when the ship in which they were sailingwas caught in a severe storm and they were shipwrecked on the shores of the island of Malta.

Yes… storms! Contemplating vessels and storms, makes me think about sea and other disasters…

(more…)

3 REASONS WHY I’M DELIGHTED BEING UNSETTLED

(September 8, 2022) Mama Lava encourages us to be at peace, especially ‘unsettled peace’…

It’s September! For most people on this side of the globe, September means summer holidays have been taken, kids are back in school, routines have been implemented, and plans have been settled for the next several months. This can be a major transition… but often settles into cosy anticipation once it’s all arranged.

Is that how you’re feeling? To be honest, I feel something much deeper this year. I feel overwhelmed by unsettled peace. And I’ve come to view major transitions differently than expected… I’m actually delighted to be unsettled!

Delighted to be unsettled?
Yes, ‘unsettled peace’ sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Yet the two are coexisting easily in my heart! Here’s why…

I know that I know that I know that God is on the throne! He’s bigger than anything that would trouble me and in charge. Nothing gets by Him without His permission.

  • I know He is with me.
  • I know He is for me.
  • I know that nothing can stand against me.
  • I know this is unquestionably my peace!
(more…)

WHEN TO KEEP A SICK KID HOME FROM SCHOOL

(August 27, 2022) America’s Mercy Health releases good info each month as part of their concern for everyone in showing the compassion of Jesus, such as the following…

When the school year rolls around, there is one thing all parents can be certain of: your kids will probably get sick at some point.

It just happens. And when it does, you’re often left wondering when to keep your child home from school or day-care.

The following are eight instances when you should definitely keep your sick child home.

A fever
Anytime your child has a fever of 38c or greater, you’ll want to keep them home. This is because a fever is a sign of an infection which may be something contagious.

(more…)

SPELUNKING!

(August 9, 2022) Richard Winter shares timely advice…

Let me share something from my childhood days.

I grew up just a few miles from the caves where a famous Australian Bushranger – bandit – hid while robbing gold carrying stagecoaches coming from the rich goldfields the state of Victoria. And my best friend and I often went splelunking together.

Splelunking? That’s going down holes in the ground, exploring caves that lead under the earth. Yes, it can be quite dangerous and it worried our mothers! But the nearby Captain Melville caves were just the start for us. Soon we heard about other places where we could go spelunking.

Then came Queen’s Scout days. That was a life of adventure and danger – isn’t that what all boys long for? Well, we did. There were no computers back then and life was best lived outside home – so off we went.

I loved those caves! In most cases you were exploring not only what’s under the earth but what was inside you! No mobiles in those days and one could be easily troubled by thoughts such as –

  • How will we get back?
  • Could we turn around the tight cavern corners?
  • If we need help, how can we get some way down here?
  • Do we have a plan for the worst-case scenario?

Entrapment caves
I’ve found that many people don’t like certain caves… but they’ve learned to dwell in them mostly by themselves or with a few family members or friends to help.

(more…)

SET YOUR HEART ON THINGS ABOVE

(August 5, 2022) Carol Round encourages us to think deeper about life…

‘O Lord,’ I cried out, ‘be with him in this heat. And Lord, if he doesn’t know you personally, please place someone in his path who can lead him to you.’

My prayers were for a man who was striding across the bank’s parking lot toward a large grocery store.

What stirred my heart to pray for him was the heavy backpack he was toting and the sweat pouring down his face. In my heart, I was almost certain he was homeless.

As I drove away from the bank, I thought about the backpack weighing him down in the triple-digit heat. Was he toting all his worldly possessions with him? What was his story? Why was he out in the daytime heat? Where was he headed?

Where our heart leads us
Our hearts can lead us astray when we value worldly things over a relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s so easy to be seduced by today’s latest gadgets which can distract us from a simple life lived for Him.

(more…)

NEHEMIAH – GOD’S CALL TO BUILD THE WALL (Part 5)

(July 23, 2022) Hope Flinchbaugh shares some more insights about Nehemiah’s wall building journey, challenging us to know that God has a plan for us…

Economists predict that our world may be headed for monetary collapse. As Christians called by God to build or finance a ministry in this decade, we’ve all certainly had to, or will have to, ask God for His provision. But in doing so, we must remember that if we don’t approach God with faith, it is impossible to please Him!

The writer of Hebrews made this clear, pointing out the reward of believing faith:  ‘… without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him’ (Hebrews 11:6NASB).

Boldly believing
We have faith for our eternal salvation in heaven, but do we have faith for provision here on the earth? And let’s include finances. Finances? Yes… finance is needed to fulfil many a ministry and such could be very tight during this particular decade! Let’s learn from Nehemiah about boldly asking for provisions, and God ensuring such are arranged as His reward for our believing in faith.

(more…)

SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

(July 12, 2022) Richard Winter brings a timely challenge…

History records both good and bad times that humanity lives through! And we don’t need anyone to tell us that were living in difficult days today… we know! Indeed, bad times these days offer us a perspective of worse times to come!

This was true in the times of Jesus too! And one day He gave His disciples ‘a scripture memory test’ about Noah’s times, linking it to the end of time and His return from heaven.

Most people know the story of Noah and the ark Jesus referred to. Indeed everyone should take note of His Matthew 24:37-38 warning, ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood took them all away.’

(more…)

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE AUDRAS

(July 8, 2022) Carol Round challenges us to shine God’s love in these dark times …

Her bright, sequined clothing captured my attention. So did her jewellery. Wrapped around her left arm had to be at least a half-dozen sparkling bracelets.

A little along on my left in church, this precious girl was seated in a wheelchair. A man, whom I assumed was her father, sat in the pew next to her.

During our church’s short ‘meet-and-greet someone you didn’t come to church with’ time, I met them. When I walked over to shake their hands, the girl looked down, as if she were shy. She didn’t even acknowledge me when I said, ‘I love your glittery clothes.’

I introduced myself to her father. He then introduced me to Audra, saying, ‘She’s hard of hearing.’ Leaning down so I could get closer to Audra, I repeated my words, adding her name this time. Raising her head, she smiled at me.

(more…)