FAITH BLOG

PERSIST THROUGH THE ATTACK

When we read Nehemiah 6:1-13, we see Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab’s relentless pursuit of Nehemiah.  They literally attacked him on multiple fronts.  The first wave of attack was physical.  They wanted to meet with Nehemiah, “But they intended to do me harm.”  So Nehemiah’s response was…I will not leave this important work.  Nehemiah refused to give his time to this meeting.  He continued to give his time and energy to the great work God had called him to, and although they persisted with the request to meet…his response remained the same. 

 

The next wave of attack was mental.  They sent a letter to intimidate Nehemiah.  They stated, “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel…”  In other words, the word is out on what you are doing and why you are doing it.  Just wait until the king hears about this.  Basically, you have no choice but to meet with us for counsel.  They wanted to harm him mentally and cause him to be fearful.  His response was prayer!  “But now, O God, strengthen my hands.”

 

The last wave of attack was spiritual.  They paid for a false prophecy to be delivered to Nehemiah.  How did Nehemiah handle this?   He responded with, “Should such a man as I run away?”  He was courageous, and he had discernment.  He “understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.

 

Nehemiah was hit from multiple directions, and yet God kept him through it all.  He didn’t prevent the attacks from occurring but He did give him what was needed to get through it!  No matter what you are facing, God is with you.  You can overcome it!

 

Posted by Marc Stern with

LORD, MAKE US ONE

I recently read an article that stated the number one reason that marriages fail is because of the “failure to wed.”  Marriages fail because they are not able to become ONE and maintain that ONENESS.  We have separate accounts, we have separate views on parenting, we have separate views on spending, and we have separate views on… These individual issues become just a reflection of a deeper problem… the failure to fully wed!  “To wed” or “to become one” is a lifelong, ever changing process.

This process is difficult.  So difficult that for many Christians they are satisfied with the fact that they would NEVER get a divorce, while at the same time they sleep in different beds.  Many married believers truly dislike the person they live with.  And although it is admirable and Biblical to stay married; I don’t believe this is the picture that Christ intended for us as believers.  I would venture to say this grieves the Holy Spirit.  To technically be married, but figuratively divorced behind closed doors is sad.

Jesus prayed in John 17:11, “And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”   Oneness on ALL levels is the heart of the Father, and it is what Jesus prayed for even as He prepared to go to the cross.  MAKE US ONE!

Many of us started off as ONE, but over time we lost track of the fact that we are all changing and growing.  It’s not enough to be ONE if we don’t maintain that ONENESS.   There is a responsibility that goes with marriage and that is maintaining ONENESS.   I was listening to someone’s testimony about their marriage, and they were making the point that they had changed.   And in light of that fact, she stated that it was her responsibility to communicate those changes to her spouse.  You can’t expect or assume they will just know or figure it out.  Because eventually those unmet expectations will grow into frustration.   As I change, I must intentionally and effectively communicate those changes to my spouse.  I must also accept that as my spouse changes, I must also change.  We must work together to maintain our connection and oneness, otherwise separation, division, misunderstanding, and ultimately divorce will creep in over time.

So, on this Marriage Monday, I challenge you to go to work to create, restore, reconnect, and maintain the oneness God intends for your marriage!  Lord, make us one!

Posted by Marc Stern with

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