Friday, January 20, 2012

No empty word

“For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”  (Deuteronomy 32:47)(NIV)

The word of God is a light to guide my feet in the Enterprise.  It is also food for my soul and a rich resource for my insatiable mind for truth.  But can the word put food on the table?
"When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, Take to heart all the words that I am giving in witness against you today, words you should command your children, that they may observe carefully every word of this law. " (Deuteronomy 32: 46)(NAB)
Why did I include Deuteronomy 32: 46 – 47 as my rhema in the Enterprise?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Delight in the Lord

“Find your delight in the LORD who will give you your heart's desire.” (Psalm 37:4)

God’s word is filled with sweet promises of the Father to His children.  I am fascinated with the above promise.
How do I find my delight in the Lord?  I yearn for the Lord to grant me my heart’s desires. 

I find my delight in the Father when I love the Son.  I delight in the Son when I keep His commandments.  He who loves the Father loves the Son.  He who loves the Son loves His mother.  I find my delight in the Lord when I love His word and dwell in it.  I love the Son when I love His body, the Church.

There is no one way to find my delight in the Lord.  But all these various ways add up to one big way: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all you soul, all your mind and all your strength.  Love you neighbor as yourself.  If you do this, you have fulfilled your part of the Covenant of Peace. 

A covenant is usually made up of two parts:  promise and fulfillment.  God promises that if I find my delight in Him, He will grant me my heart’s desires.  Now what are my heart’s desires?

My heart desires pardon for my sins, peace of heart, inspiration and power in my daily life; awareness of my purpose and means of pursuing it, protection from evils, enjoyment of the constant presence of God and provision for my daily necessities.   My heart also desires faith, patience, wisdom, humility, courage and a spirit of contentment and good health.

In sacred scripture, we find God’s covenant of peace expressed in so many passages in scripture.  My favorite is Matthew 6: 33-34:

“But Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  (Matthew 6:33)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spiritual Warfare 3

"1 When it had been reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and our other enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and that there was no breach left in it (though up to that time I had not yet set up the doors in the gates), 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us hold council together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono.” They were planning to do me harm. 3 I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am engaged in a great enterprise and am unable to come down. Why should the work stop, while I leave it to come down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me this same proposal, and each time I gave the same reply. 5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent me the same message by one of his servants, who bore an unsealed letter 6 containing this text: “Among the nations it has been reported—Gashmu is witness to this—that you and the Jews are planning a rebellion; that for this reason you are rebuilding the wall; and that you are to be their king. 7 Also, that you have set up prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim you king of Judah. Now, since matters like these will reach the ear of the king, come, let us hold council together.” 8 I sent him this answer: “Nothing of what you report is happening; rather, it is the invention of your own mind.” 9 They were all trying to intimidate us, thinking, “They will be discouraged from continuing with the work, and it will never be completed.” But instead, I then redoubled my efforts. 10 I went to the house of Shemaiah, son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his house, and he said: “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple building; let us lock the doors of the temple. For they are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.” 11 My answer was: “A man like me take flight? Should a man like me enter the temple to save his life? I will not go!” 12 For on consideration, it was plain to me that God had not sent him; rather, because Tobiah and Sanballat had bribed him, he voiced this prophecy concerning me, 13 that I might act on it out of fear and commit this sin. Then they would have had a shameful story with which to discredit me. 14  Keep in mind Tobiah and Sanballat, my God, because of these things they did; keep in mind as well Noadiah the woman prophet and the other prophets who were trying to intimidate me. 15 The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul; the work had taken fifty-two days. 16  When all our enemies had heard of this, and all the neighboring Gentiles round about had taken note of it, they were very discouraged, for they knew that it was with our God’s help that this work had been completed. " (Nehemiah 6: 1 - 16)

The Book of Nehemiah strikes me as a great book to study the tactics of spiritual warfare.  I note with admiration how Nehemiah handles his numerous enemies whose sole objective was to prevent the completion of the wall of Jerusalem.  First, they employed lies to delay the job.  When this does not work, they used threats.  Nehemiah has the wisdom and courage of God on his side.  He was able to discern the tactics of his opponents and had effective answers to them.  This is a book and lesson to remember if God gives us a task to perform.  Reading and meditating on the Book of Nehemiah will bring some godly insight and wisdom to help fulfill our task.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Eternal Vigilance

"From that time on, however, only half my work force took a hand in the work, while the other half, armed with spears, bucklers, bows, and breastplates, stood guard behind the whole house of Judah 11 as they rebuilt the wall. The load carriers, too, were armed; each worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other. 12 Every builder, while working, had a sword tied at his side. A trumpeter stood beside me, 13 for I had said to the nobles, the magistrates, and the rest of the people: “Our work is scattered and extensive, and we are widely separated from one another along the wall; 14 wherever you hear the trumpet sound, join us there; our God will fight with us.” 15 Thus we went on with the work, half with spears in hand, from daybreak till the stars came out. 16 At the same time I told the people to spend the nights inside Jerusalem, each with an attendant, so that they might serve as a guard by night and a working force by day. 17 Neither I, nor my kindred, nor any of my attendants, nor any of the bodyguard that accompanied me took off our clothes; everyone kept a weapon at hand." (Nehemiah 4: 10- - 17)

What was I thinking of when I included the above passage as one of the PL scriptures?  Was I thinking of the diligence of Nehemiah as a virtue that is worth emulating?  Was I attracted to his wisdom and leadership skills?  I cannot remember but I know how the passage strikes me here and now as I opened it to blog on it.  I remember instantly what Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the necessity of putting on the full armor in the battle for life:

"10 Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. 11 Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. 13 Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. 14 So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,15 and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones 19 and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must." (Ephesians 6: 10 - 20)

Nehemiah 4: 10 – 17 foreshadows in practice the lessons that Paul teaches the Church in theory.  The Christian life is warfare between the forces of darkness and light.  It is a serious business.  We must be fully armed and fully prepared.