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

 

 

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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.