Have You Ever Eaten a Maggot?

 

Does anybody remember the show Fear Factor, a reality contest on TV about ten years ago? The worst part about the show was seeing people eat the worst things imaginable–spiders, roaches, crickets, maggots, etc. And all for the chance to win $50,000.00. The truth of the matter is our enemy, the devil, is a master of deception. His tactics are subtle and we must be vigilant if we are to avoid falling for his FEAR FACTORS.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the qualities of a leader in the Book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah’s mission was to rebuild the ruined walls of Jerusalem. In chapter six, Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem and the rest of his enemies devised another plot to throw Nehemiah off target. Four times they sent a false prophet to intimidate him. Nehemiah refused the bait. Then he was FALSELY ACCUSED of setting himself up as king. Once again, Nehemiah recognized the enemy’s primary tool–FEAR!

You’d think the enemy would quit. Not so! When that didn’t work, the band of naysayers PLANTED AN INFORMER in Nehemiah’s camp. That person told Nehemiah that his enemies were planning to kill him that night and that he should hide in the temple. Now how can a leader accomplish a task if he or she is hiding? Once again, Nehemiah recognized the FEAR FACTOR. He called on God to help him and prayed about his enemies.

Are you facing a tremendous trial? Sickness, unpaid bills, unemployment, bankruptcy, death of loved ones, separation or divorce, or other difficulties? Has the enemy been playing FEAR FACTOR with you? Are you entertaining thoughts like these? Why me? Why now? You’ll never get through this. God doesn’t love you. Why are you wasting your time? Sound familiar? Believe me, I’ve heard them all, and entertained a few.

What can you do when these FLIES are buzzing about your head? RUN TO GOD’S WORD! FAST! FIND A VERSE OR TWO TO HOLD ONTO WITH ALL GOD’S STRENGTH!

We used to sing a line like this: “Whose report shall you believe? We shall believe the report of the Lord.”

MEMORY VERSE: Philippians 4:13- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Then picture yourself in His arms strengthening you, pouring His love into you, and lifting you up on your feet, with Him in you and behind you. Then thank Him for the victory (every day, every hour, every minute). Sing His Word over yourself!

I’M PRACTICING. Won’t you join me? For Week Eleven, read chapter 7 and use the GROW METHOD (G- God 1st, pray; R- Read; O-Observe key words; W-Write your thoughts) to answer these questions:

1. What appointments did Nehemiah make after the wall was built?

2. What do you think was the purpose of registering the people by genealogy?

Blessings to all! As Always,

Patricia

 

 

Have You Made Room for Him?

As many of you may know, I grew up in a house of twenty-one people–my grandmother, Mamie and Grandfather, Pop Pete; my father and mother and us seven children; my uncle George and Aunt Clara and their four children; my uncle Skip and his wife; and my older cousin Myrtle and her “husband.” Oh, did I tell you we had five small bedrooms in a house about 1,500 square feet? You do the math. Two couples had their own bedrooms. What about the others? You’ve guessed it right. We lived “dormitory style.” Did we have everything we wanted? No. Did we have times of hardship? Yes. But we were happy, without electronics (or electricity and running water). Some weekends we made room for Mickey, a close family friend.

When I think about the hustle and bustle of the season, I’m reminded that we have a choice to make. We can join in the “festivities” and focus on what we have or don’t have, or we can give thanks to the One who is the reason for the season. Pastor Jimmy Robinson asked this morning, “Can anybody invite Jesus to His own party?” When God gave His Greatest Gift, He made room in His heart for us. Can we make room in our hearts for Him and let the world see JESUS? If not through you and me, then how shall they know Him?

  I’m reminded that some of you may be dealing with tremendous challenges during this season: health issues, disappointments, unemployment, broken relationships, homelessness, frustration, etc. You may feel like God has forsaken you. While we all face difficulties from time to time, the bible tells us to PRAISE GOD in our situations (not FOR our situations). When we do so, we make room for Him! He supplies the grace we need to overcome.

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Who Is the Most Generous Person You Know?

 

Who did you think about when you read today’s question? Perhaps a famous person like Bill Gates, or Oprah Winfrey; or a relative, like your mother or father, or spouse or child; or friend or acquaintance or co-worker; or you might be so bold as to say yourself. The possibilities are endless! On a scale of 1 – 10 (with 10 being the highest), how would you rate yourself on a generosity scale? From time to time, my husband tests the generosity of two of my grandsons, Christian and Nicholas. Whenever he asked for a piece of their cookie, Christian always extends his hand with a portion of his treat. Nicholas, on the other hand, hides his cookie and turns away from Pop-Pop. Nick has many fine qualities, but he needs help in the generosity category. What about you?

God desires that we all be generous.  As a person who rose from cupbearer (taster for the king) to governor in Judah, Nehemiah demonstrated uncommon generosity for someone in power.

What definition of “generous” did you have in mind? Was it time, finances, knowledge, food, other goods or compliments? Or something else? The Oxford Dictionary defines “generosity” as “showing a readiness to give more of something, especially money, than is strictly necessary or expected.”

Before Nehemiah, former governors had taken advantage of the people. They levied heavy taxes and took resources like food and drink from them. In Nehemiah 5:14 – 19, we discover that God’s man could have done the same, but he remembered he was accountable to God. Nehemiah remembered his job–to rebuild the ruined walls of Jerusalem. He did not allow promotion to cloud his vision or “give him a big head.”

 We have been bought with a price. We are not our own. We have been called to reveal the One, True God. We are strategically placed to allow God to show His glory.  Let us remember whose we are and be known as people of “generosity.” Let us not be stumbling blocks to others but imitators of Christ, with His help.

Memory Verse: 1 Cor. 6:20- “For you were bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

WEEK TEN ASSIGNMENT: USING THE GROW METHOD (G- GOD 1st; R- Read the passage; O-Observe key words and phrases; W- Write your thoughts), EXAMINE NEHEMIAH 6: 1-9.

QUESTIONS:

1. What was the enemy’s next tactic?

2. How did Nehemiah handle the attack?

Until next week, happy studying as we grow together!

As always,

Patricia

I Was Arrested!

 

On April 4, 1968, I and 222 other students attending Bowie State University (College at the time) were taken into custody and carted off to the Anne Arundel County Detention Center, in Annapolis, MD, for refusing to leave the State Capitol building by 5:00 P.M., closing time. You see, we were protesting the poor conditions at our predominately black college, feeling like our previous efforts at drawing attention to deplorable conditions had been ignored. We wanted improved dormitories, equipment and other resources. That very night, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. When I watch news events from Ferguson, MO, I feel compassion for the parents and those suffering loss but am saddened by the misguided actions of some of the protestors.

History often repeats itself. In the book of Nehemiah, chapter 5, we find God’s people trying to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, a city destroyed by fierce enemies. God had provided supplies and people to get the job done.  God’s people faced many obstacles, but their knees buckled when famine hit the land. They began acting like their enemies: Complaining, charging the poor astronomical interest rates, borrowing money and using family members as collateral and treating others with disrespect.

Nehemiah was outraged and gave strong correction. He urged his brothers and sisters to stop their bad behavior and return what was stolen. The people respected their leader and gave back what they had “stolen.” Nehemiah also required the leaders to take an oath, a promise to do what they agreed upon.

At the end, the whole assembly said, “Amen, and praised the Lord.”

It’s easy to follow Christ in good times, but what about bad times? What happens when money, sickness, divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, job loss, unexpected bills, false criticism, and other unexpected events occur? I wish I could honestly say I go immediately into praise, but I often follow the pattern of my biblical friends:

1. Focus on the problem.

2. Try to solve the problem on my own.

3. Realize I can’t solve the problem.

4. Turn to God and remember what He has done in the past.

5. Go to His Word and find scriptures to help me.

6. Thank and praise Him and develop a positive outlook.

7. Worship Him for who He is!

Let’s get to number 7 faster! We can avoid a lot of misery in between.

Memory Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, IN EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

WEEK NINE ASSIGNMENT: Using the GROW METHOD (G- God first-pray; R- Read the passage; O- Observe key words and phrases; W- Write your thoughts), read Nehemiah 5:14- 19 and answer:

1. What was Nehemiah’s challenge now?

2. What did he do differently?

Be blessed and let’s continue growing together!

As always,

Patricia