Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nehemiah 10: Nehemiah Renews the Covenant

Nehemiah leads Israel in specific commitments, renewing the Covenant God gave to Moses. God requires of leadership to lead not only in vision but also in holiness. Here is an example of revival and renewal led by Nehemiah. Chapter 13 tells us that when he left there were lapses in covenantal faithfulness that Nehemiah corrects when he returns. In chapter 13 he is no longer the Governor of Jerusalem but he still has influence which is evident in his reforms in chapter 13.
Leadership must set the pace in our pursuit of God and holiness. Robert Coleman in his little book, Master Plan of Evangelism, makes a statement that has stuck with me for over 20 year. From observing the life of Jesus, he says that, “More is caught than taught.” If we want a church that has direction but also that is passionately pursuing Christ then our leadership must set the pace not only in vision and mission but also in holiness.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nehemiah 6 and oppossition

Nehemiah 6:14,19 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid. . . . Also they spoke of his good deeds in my presence and reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to make me afraid.

Whenever a leader faces opposition in making progress, they will have enemies from within and enemies from without.  Those who are in the community of faith and those outside the community of faith that will seek to bring them down.  Here, Tobiah and Sanballat are from without and Shemaiah (v. 10) and a number of prophets are from within.  Both groups are trying to intimidate him into quiting his call to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.  Fear arises when we are not certain of the outcome and expect the worst or at the least unfavorable results.  In this way Nehemiah's enemies were seeking to intimidate him into quiting.  They were attempting to convince his mind that God was not with him and would not help them to finish the rebuilding - walk in unbelief.
Yet God promises that he did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self control (2 Tim 1:7).  We are not to walk in fear because God’s Spirit in us is a Spirit of boldness not cowardliness.  There was a time last year when I was questioning my call to CCC.  After my resolve I got an anonymous email that did not have a return address nor could I trace with the words, “Quit!”  Was it a fluke or by evil design to intimidate me, question God, and my ability to hear the voice of God?  I think the latter!  Evil was trying to intimidate me to cower and walk in fear and insecurity rather than allowing God's spirit to spirit rise up in boldness and in the confidence of him who called me!

Friday, September 18, 2009

God's resources are withheld to starve us out of prayerlessness.

I read through a teaching outline by Mike Bickle this morning on prayer.  I have never been enamored with his teaching but I know he is a man of prayer so I decided to look at this teaching someone sent me.  He had the following quote that caused me to ponder:
God's resources are withheld to starve us out of prayerlessness.
He goes on to say that God jealously protects His relationship with us by not answering our need until we ask for them.  He says there are blessings that God has chosen to give, but only as His people ask Him in faith.  I am reminded of many scriptures that encourage us to persevere and persist in prayer, the friend at midnight (Luke 11:5-13) or the Peristant widow (Luke 18:1-8).  The purpose of God withholding his resources toward us are to starve out of us prayerlessness.  The very means by which he starves prayerlessness is withholding his resources!  Yet the ultimate reason for prayer is not the resources we request but the resources - God himself.  Too often we go to God in prayer to get what we need and more often what we want.  How often do we go to God to get more of Him?  To connect with Him, to experience His presence, to be intimate with Him?  I do not want to be like either of the brothers in the parable of the Prodigal who did not want their Father but wanted his wealth.  
Father, incline my heart to you so that I want you more than I want something from your hand.
Thanks!  David