A Fresh Revelation of God’s Love Is Coming

 

One of my grandsons often asks me if I still love him whenever he feels he’s disappointed me. My natural tendency in the past was to withdraw from God when I felt I had disappointed Him. Even today, I have to remind myself to go to His Word for the Truth when my attitude stinks. It’s very easy to look at our faults and mistakes and feel unworthy of God’s love, but the truth is God’s love is unconditional. He does not condemn us. He desires that we run to Him, press into His presence and admit our need. Oh, how great is His love toward us!

At the end of Nehemiah 9, God’s people realize they’ve fallen short of the Law of Moses. They call out with these words: “Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and awesome God, who keeps covenant and mercy; do not let all the trouble seem small before You….” In Chapter 10 some gather together and make a covenant (a promise to God) to faithfully obey the law. But guess what! They fail Him over and over again.

What about us? The enemy of our soul, Satan, desires to keep us under condemnation. He wants us to question God’s love for us. Contrary to the lies of the enemy, here are reminders of God’s everlasting love:

Ps. 6:9

     “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace.”

Ps. 105:8-10

     “He remembers His covenant forever, the word He commands for a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the oath He swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant.”

John 3:16-17

     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. Only one person, the Lord Jesus Christ, fulfilled the requirements of the Law. The Bible says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus paid it all!

Because of Christ, we have full access to the Father. He invites us to come and sit at His feet and be loved. Let us draw near to God, for God is Love and His love is everlasting. Wrap your arms around us, Father. Let us pour our hearts out to you and shower you with our affections. As we do so, we find unconditional love in You. Abba Father! Help us to live in Your presence and daily gain a fresh revelation of Your love!

NEXT WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT: Read and study Nehemiah 11 and focus on the importance of the people finding DWELLING PLACES.

Be encouraged! As always,

     Patricia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

I’ve Got a Secret!

I pulled a friend aside at church last week and told her I had a secret to tell her. God had shown me something and I was about to explode with the news, or so I thought. When I got home I realized that out of my excitement I had shared the information prematurely. Have you ever opened your mouth too soon and wished you hadn’t? Fortunately for me, my friend is a woman of integrity. The lesson was not about her; it was for me. When I later read Nehemiah, I began to understand the importance of timing and keeping my mouth shut.

Last week we learned Nehemiah had asked the king of Persia for permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. In chapter 2:11-20, we discover his PLAN OF ACTION once he arrived at Jerusalem:

1. He waited three days before he did anything. We need to be still and allow God to speak to us.

2. He got up at night. He acted when God showed him to move, not when it was convenient and not when others could see you. 

3. He only took a few “good” men with him. Some people can’t go where God is taking you. They’re just not ready.

4. He checked out the Valley Gate, the Serpent Well, the Refuse Gate and the Walls of Jerusalem. He also examined the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool. In our own lives, we’ll have some valleys, we’ll get bitten by events, we’ll need to let go of some trash and our walls will seem broken down from time to time. But “there is a Fountain, filled with blood, born from Emmanuel’s veins, and sinners plunge beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains!” Hallelujah! We can wash in the King’s Pool!

5. The officials–Jews, priests, nobles, officials, or others–did not know where he had gone or what he had done. Are you a secret agent, C.I.A? Are you CALLED IN ANONYMITY? Or do you want to be seen?

6. He finally went to his people, gave a report and invited them to join the cause.  A passionate leader imparts vision after assessing the situation.

7. He faced opposition from three enemies: Tobiah, Sanballat, and Geshem and answered them with confidence in God. WHEN THE ENEMY COMES IN LIKE A FLOOD, GOD IS OUR DEFENSE!

Memory Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jer. 29:11, NIV).”

WEEK FIVE ASSIGNMENT: Read Neh. 4:1-9 and answer:

1. What were the enemy’s tactics?

2. What was Nehemiah’s prayer?

3. What was the result?

Until next week, stay on the wall and GROW!

As always,

Patricia

 

 

AWAKE!

A loud knock startled me from my sleep this morning. What in the world was that? Eyes wide open, I lay in bed a few more minutes, thinking that someone was trying to get my attention. I never went to the door, but I knew the Holy Spirit was calling me to prayer. With so many crises in the world–disease, famine, hurricanes–God is calling His people to get up and listen to His instructions for the day. He is praying for us and we, in turn, are to take our assigned place on the prayer wall. I desperately wanted to go back to sleep but wondered what would happen if I didn’t heed the call. No doubt, Nehemiah felt the urgency of his hour.

In Chapter One of Nehemiah, we find him faithfully fulfilling his job as cupbearer for the king of Persia. While there, he got word that his hometown, Jerusalem, was in shambles–walls broken down, gates burned, survivors hopeless. As Chapter Two opens, Nehemiah decides to approach the king and ask permission to go back home and do something about the problem. The king was not a “happy camper” when Nehemiah approached him with a sad face. But he went afraid. IS GOD ASKING YOU TO DO SOMETHING AND ARE YOU AFRAID? THEN WELCOME TO NEHEMIAH’S WORLD! AND MINE. WE can not let fear stop us from fulfilling the call on our lives. Have I done that before? You bet! More than once. But thank God for second, third, and fourth chances. IS GOD CALLING YOU TO LAUNCH OUT?  The very person Nehemiah feared was the person who provided the resources he needed to get the job done.

The king gave Nehemiah letters for safe passage through enemy territory, strong men to accompany him and a “coupon” to get enough wood to repair the gates, the city wall, and BUILD A HOUSE FOR HIMSELF. GO figure! The dude promised the king he’d be back and planned to build a house there. That brother had FAVOR!!!!!!!!

Whatever your assignment, know that God has prepared the way and the resources. Go forth and stake your claim! It’s already done!

Memory Verse: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory through CHRIST JESUS (Phil. 4:19).”

As you read the next assignment, remember to use the GROW METHOD:

G- GOD. ASK HIM TO OPEN YOUR EYES.

R- READ.

O- OBSERVE KEY NAMES, PLACES, AND REPEATING WORDS.

W-  WRITE 3 – 5 SENTENCES WHICH SUMMARIZE WHAT YOU READ AND HOW IT APPLIES TO YOU.

WEEK FOUR ASSIGNMENT: Read NEH1:11-20 and answer these three questions:

1. What was Nehemiah’s strategy when he got to Jerusalem?

2. How did he motivate the people?

3. Explain how he faced opposition.

Until next week, happy reading!

As always,

Patricia

 

 

Take Me to the King!

What do you do when somebody sends you a text or calls with bad news? A few months ago I was sitting in a restaurant with my husband Willie when a text came from my sister: “I’ve got bad news. Call me when you get the chance.” Right away I got a sinking feeling in my stomach and my mind began to take different routes trying to figure out what the news might be. Had somebody been in an accident? Had somebody died? Was it a friend or relative? How was I going to handle it? Right away, I made a conscious decision to do something “highly spiritual.” I texted her back with this plan of action: “I’m at dinner. I’ll call you when I finish eating.”

Now I consider myself to be a woman of prayer, but my default mode was “have something to eat.” Last week we looked at a person named Nehemiah, a “cupbearer” for the king of Persia. His job was to taste everything to test for possible poisonous drinks or food. As you remember, he was a stranger in a foreign land.  One day some friends came with bad news about his hometown: “The survivors who are left from the captivity…are in great distress, the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned.” How do you think Nehemiah felt about his kinsfolk and home? Right, devastated! He, no doubt, remembered the good times when all was well. 

  Chapter One, verses 4 – 11 sum up the steps Nehemiah took when he heard bad news:

1. He cried and mourned for many days, fasting and praying before God. His crying had purpose.

2. He reminded God that He was a Covenant Keeper.

3. He asked God to listen and keep His eyes open.

4. He confessed his own sins and the sins of his people.

5. He reminded God about the importance of repentance and God’s response.

6. He asked for success and mercy from his captor.

What about us? I believe God establishes patterns that can bring about powerful answers to prayer. As we follow Nehemiah’s journey, remember to use the GROW Method of study.

G- God-Ask Him to open your eyes.

R- Read the assigned passage.

O- Observe key words (Names, Places, Repeating Words)

W- Write 3- 5 sentences to sum up what you read, the principle or rule, and your application.

WEEK THREE ASSIGNMENT: Read Nehemiah 2: 1 – 10 and answer these three questions.

1. Explain how Nehemiah approached the king?

2. What specific things did Nehemiah request?

3. What do you learn about approaching God?

MEMORY VERSE: Philippians 4:19 “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus .”(NKJV)

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your faithfulness in teaching me to seek you before I take action. Help me to release all my cares to you, knowing that you hold the world in your hands. I trust myself to your care. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Happy reading! As always,

Patricia

P.S.  A change: I’ll be posting on Mondays.

 

 

 

Are Your Stakes Being Removed?

I recently picked up a copy of HGTV magazine and read a column entitled “How Bad Is It?” For those unfamiliar with this magazine, the letters stand for Home and Garden Television magazine. A reader asked if it was bad to put stakes around a newly planted tree. The expert, Felicia Feaster, gave an immediate response: “Don’t spring for the extra support. Trees grow best when they can move naturally against the wind.” The bottom line was that a “tethered” or supported tree doesn’t allow the tree to develop a strong root system. The expert further suggested that, if used, stakes should be flexible and short-term, not used “more than a few months.”

I thought about that article and had to admit I don’t like it when God removes my stakes. It’s often uncomfortable, painful and frightening. Some of those stakes might include jobs, health, family, friends, church, reputation, and the like. Nobody wants to admit he or she is depending upon those things like a comfort blanket. Not until we find ourselves hanging by our fingertips do we realize just how much we’ve been holding onto these stakes when we should be holding onto God. While we’re busy pointing out the defects in our sisters’ and brothers’ trunks, branches and leaves, we forget God is pruning us as well.

Have you been experiencing the discomfort of pruning or having your stakes removed, remember God is preparing us for our next season. We can’t go to our next carrying excess baggage. He loves us too much for that. A friend recently told that airport personnel had told informed her that her luggage was five pounds over the maximum fifty pounds. She would have to pay $100.00 for the extra five pounds. She immediately pulled out enough to meet the requirement. God does not want us to suffer the consequences of being over our weight limit. The cost may be more than we’re willing to bear.

John 15:8 declares, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

Pray with me: Father, help us to live with our hands open, trusting that you know what’s best because you are all-knowing, merciful and loving. We submit to your pruning and trust ourselves to your process of removing the stakes so that we can be strong and fruitful in our next season. Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen.

     Have you recently experienced any stakes being removed? How has God supported you in the process? Your example may be an encouragement to others. I would love to hear from some of you who regularly read my blog or those who may have “stumbled upon” this entry for the first time.