Sunday, August 9, 2015

it takes family (part 2 of when I heard these words)

My last post "when I heard these words,"  is about the response Nehemiah had upon hearing about the devastation of Jerusalem and the captives that were returning there. This post will continue with this theme.  Basically, from the last post, I believe God is wanting a response from His people of mourning and weeping over the current devastation within His body and within this world. Fasting and prayer are appropriate responses and very needed.

Upon entering Jerusalem, Nehemiah, went out alone at night and surveyed the situation. He gained an understanding of what needed to be done. There was opposition from Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem.  These men were not helpful and they were discouragers. They were nay-sayers and those that carry around the bitter attitude of the world. They are those that try to convince God's people that it is futile to even attempt prayer.
Nehemiah gave them this response in chapter 2: "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem."

Then in chapter 3, the people that were living in Jerusalem began to build. As I read this chapter, each man took a section of the wall to rebuild. Most men took responsibility for the wall in front of his house.  Not just the man, but his family got out there and worked on the wall. Each family took a section and gave it all they had to make that wall functional and proper. If there was a gate near them, they placed the gate back on the hinges. The priests and Levites, the leaders of the day, came from the regions around and took up the sections that others did not.  Do you see the significance of this?

Nehemiah was the catalyst that started a movement to rebuild. The people, the families, the religious leaders took up that call of rebuilding. It became important to them. They did the 'job'., not just Nehemiah. They did not leave it up to him.  They realized that the concerns and the situation were their responsibility too. They realized they too had to get involved in the rebuilding of Jerusalem.  Not just some of them, but the entire family was needed.

Our families are important to God.  If we are not building the spiritual lives of our families, then it is time to start. If we have backed off or turned from building our families spiritually, it is time to start rebuilding. What does that mean?  If families fall, the church will fall. Families need to be strengthened from within and from one another. God ordained the parents to teach the children the commands of God.
Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren,
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

God is interested in seeing us following his commands and really wants us to teach them to our children.  If you want to see your children living a good, God-fearing life, teach them how by living it yourself, have bible study with your children, and pray with them.  It is time for families to get the word of God back as the priority of the family. Not the video games, and other things that take up our time and distract us from our true purpose.

God is also wanting families to come together and connect. As they built the wall in chapter 3, each man connected it to the part of the wall his neighbor was building.  When we come together as the family of God in unity and in service to God, we can become a unified force.

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!

Hebrews 10;25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

God is not pleased when we forsake other Christians or the assembling together to lift one another up.  I have talked to many people who do not find it important or valuable to go to church.  They have many reasons, such as,"I don't need to go to church to be a christian,""they are all hypocrites," " I don't like the music," or "I got hurt and I'm not going back."  While these may be true reasons, it is still hindering you from obeying God.  God wants a body that works and flows together. That is why he also commanded his body to love one another, be kind to one another, forgiving one another, even as he forgave us. (Ephesians 4:25). He does not want a disjointed, sick, hurt body that cannot function.  If you are to be part of a body, you must come together for the body to function.  My leg cannot function properly without my foot, toes, hips, torso, brain, etc.  It has to function in accord with the rest of my body.  When we make excuses for not being part of the body, while they may be valid to you, it does not please God.  He wants one body!   The body of God can move and operate together to fully function if we would obey Him.  I am talking about the entire body.  God does not want us arguing with one another over differences that have nothing to do with His purpose.  He does not want to hear his children fighting and arguing when they should be listening to His voice instead.  We think much too highly of ourselves.  Most of us, think we know the truth and everyone else needs to get on board.  Maybe we need to humble ourselves and pray rather than spending so much time on what we think we know or spending so much time looking at what everyone else is doing and really find out what God is doing.  Again, this will mean prayer and fasting just like Nehemiah.

The leaders, the priests and Levites, got to fill in and rebuild the sections that were still needed to be rebuilt. This tells me that our Christian leaders have the job of seeing needs and meeting them.  When families and churches can't do something, they need a leader who can.  A leader who can connect those families and churches together in the body through preaching and edifying, building up the body of Christ. There should be a connection of ministry to the very purpose of God. Pulling down another part of the body, is not pleasing to God.  God does not need us to criticize other parts of the body.  We are to build them up, even if we don't agree with how they do things or even how they might believe doctrinally.  If God speaks to them, saved them and is working through them, it is time to embrace them and recognize their importance to the body of Christ. Unity!

If we are to see the changes in our churches, in our world and in our communities, it comes down to this.
There needs to be a catalyst, followed by families rebuilding, leaders who lead and true unity in the body of Christ.  It is time for the body to move and operate as one in Christ.  Cast aside the pride, hurt, self-righteousness and humble ourselves through prayer and fasting.  Seek the face of God. Seek His purpose and will.  We need to really listen.  I wonder how we would have responded if Nehemiah showed up today. Could he have accomplished much if he were coming to today's church.  Would he have found more opposition and less willing workers? May we get on the side of Christ and be a willing worker; A willing re-builder for the Kingdom.

Read Nehemiah.  Then respond to the call of rebuilding.

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