Friday, February 28, 2014

Stay Focused!

As believers, it is important that we complete the work that the Lord has given us, even if we are being persecuted.


Nehemiah 6:15-16 “So the wall was completed …, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”

When God is involved in His work, His work will be successful!

As believers, we will also have enemies who will try and discourage us from completing the work that God has given us to do.

How should we respond to our enemies?

Matthew 5:43-48 ““You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem completed the task that God had given them to do. 

We too must complete the task God has given us to do.

Photo source: http://virtual-excellence.com/5-tips-on-staying-focused/

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Believers Must Help The Poor

The Jews were being taken advantage of by their own countrymen. They cried out for help and Nehemiah responded.

As believers, we too need to respond to the needs of the poor in our own community. By blessing others, we too will be blessed by the Lord.


Nehemiah 5:1-3; 6-8 “Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their fellow Jews. Some were saying, “We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.” Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.”

When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are charging your own people interest!” So I called together a large meeting to deal with them and said: “As far as possible, we have bought back our fellow Jews who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your own people, only for them to be sold back to us!” They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say.”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we too must take a stand for other believers who are under persecution and hardships.

We are to do whatever it takes to do our part! 

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are responsible for taking care of the poor and oppressed. When there is a need we should do all that we can do to meet that need. Both as individuals and as the body of Christ.

Photo source: http://phandroid.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Assorted_United_States_coins.jpg

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Never Back Down!

 When God gives us a task to do, let us do it with all our heart. However, Satan does not want God’s work to be successful, so he will do all he can to stop it. Let us not be unprepared for our enemy and know that the Lord will fight for us.
 There have always been and will always be people opposed to the work of the Lord. As believers, we must carry on with the Lord’s work and not allow others to deter us.
Nehemiah 4:1-3 “When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!””

Nehemiah prayed that his enemies would be punished for their wrong doing and insults.

Nehemiah 4:4-5 “Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.  Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.”

The enemies of Nehemiah and the Jews plotted to fight against them. Even today, God’s enemies and ours, are doing everything to take Christ out of our world completely! Notice that they prayed and posted a guard! We do not have to sit back and be defeated!

Nehemiah 4:7-9 “But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” 

The Jews were living in fear of their lives – doing God’s work is not always easy. So, Nehemiah posted guards. The workers returned to building after the enemies learned of plans.

Nehemiah 4:10-15 “Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.” Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.” Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.”

The workers never let down their sword. Nehemiah made a plan for all the men to join together to fight the enemy. So, all the people worked on the wall, but they never let down their guard. We too must be prepared to face our enemy, the Devil!

Nehemiah 4:16-23 “From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.”

Doing the work of the Lord is not always easy, but we must not stop. We will have enemies that we must fight, but we must remember, that God will fight our battles for us.





Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Have a box of chocolates kind of day!



1 Corinthians 13


If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Photo source: http://63angel.blogspot.com/2011/08/why-is-life-like-box-of-chocolates.html

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Judgment Day Is Coming!

The Inspection gate or The Miphkad Gate was located at the Northern corner of the Jerusalem Wall. This gate speaks to us of the Bema Seat of Christ where our lives are inspected and rewarded appropriately.


                     Sheep or Goat?
 


Nehemiah 3:31 “Next to him, Malkijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and the merchants, opposite the Inspection Gate, and as far as the room above the corner.”
  
“Miphkad” means “a place of meeting, apportionment, census, number.” It carries the concept of collecting things together for census or inspection. This would represent the final gathering of Christ’s saints in heaven at his judgment seat to have their works inspected and judged for rewards. The whole progression of the gates around the walls of ancient Jerusalem showed a cycle beginning with Jesus and ending with him. For he is “the beginning and the ending.”

It was a place where people drafted or conscripted into military service gathered. God had David to take a census here.

Mathew 25:31-46 (In Part) “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Hebrews 9:27 “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”

By looking at the Gates of Jerusalem, we can learn some spiritual truths that will help us as we travel through this life. Beginning with Salvation and ending with eternal life.


For those who do accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the journey of life will not always be easy, but it will end in victory. We will face times of trials, times going through the valley, times of getting out the waste, and times of refreshing in the Lord. Our ultimate goal is to experience the greatness of spending eternity with Jesus.

Photo source: http://biblefocus.net/living-word/we-like-sheep/index.html ; http://www.roysfarm.com/2012/11/alpine-goat.html ; http://eagnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/judge-gavel.jpg

Jesus Christ Is Coming Back! Are You Ready?

The East Gate is located near the top Northern part of the Jerusalem Wall across from the Old Gate. This gate leads out to the Mount of Olives, and Jesus is to return here. This gate was to never be opened, because the Lord was to enter through it. Jesus entered through it when He rode in on the donkey before His Crucifixion.



Nehemiah 3:29 “Next to them, Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his house. Next to him, Shemaiah son of Shekaniah, the guard at the East Gate, made repairs.”

Ezekiel 43:1-5 “Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.”

Ezekiel 44:1-2 “Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut. The LORD said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it.”

Zechariah 14:4 “On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.”

Matthew 24:27 “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”


Jesus is coming back! Let us all be ready for His return. He will return in the East!

Photo source: http://mydailydevotionorg.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-coming-of-lord-jesus.html

Be Prepared For Spiritual War!

The Horse Gate was located across from the Broad Wall on the East side of the Jerusalem Wall. The horse was used in warfare; the war horses would leave the city through the horse-gate to be inspected before the battle.

All the previous gates have prepared us for the Horse Gate. We as believers are in a Spiritual battle.



Nehemiah 3:28 “Above the Horse Gate, the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house.”

Ephesians 6:10-12 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

In the end, horses will represent power and victory.

Revelation 19:11-16 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.


Believers need to be prepared for spiritual war!


Photo source: http://gracecomesbyhearing.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-old-man-and-white-horse.html

Learn and Live By God's Word.

The Water Gate was located on the East side of the Jerusalem Wall across from the Valley Gate. It was north of the Fountain Gate. The Water Gate points to learning and living by the instructions of the Lord. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes the word of God alive to us personally, allowing cleansing, encouragement and direction to take place in our life.



Nehemiah 3:26 “and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower.”

2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”


Ephesians 5:26-27 speaks about the church compared to a wife, “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

Photo source: http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/35800000/the-holy-bible-the-bible-35811364-600-450.jpg

Be Empowered Through The Living Water Of Jesus Christ!

The Fountain Gate was located east of the Dung Gate at the Southeast corner of the Jerusalem Wall. When the dung is gone, removed through the dung-gate, the resources found in God’s fountain can become operative and effective. Depending on the Lord for all things. This speaks to us of the living waters of the Holy Spirit that cleanse our lives and empower us for our Christian life.



Nehemiah 3:15-16 “The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallun son of Kol-Hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah. He rebuilt it, roofing it over and putting its doors and bolts and bars in place. He also repaired the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the King’s Garden, as far as the steps going down from the City of David. Beyond him, Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of a half-district of Beth Zur, made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool and the House of the Heroes.”

John 4:13-14 “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.””

As believers, we need to be refreshed in the living water found only in Jesus Christ!

Photo source: http://www.drinkingwaterfountains.co.uk/2009/08/27/prevent-obesity-with-drinking-water-fountains-in-schools/


It Is Time We Take Out The Trash!

The Dung Gate was located due South. The experience of cleansing. All the dung and waste of the city was taken out through this gate to be burned outside.




Nehemiah 3:14 “The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Rekab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem. He rebuilt it and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place.”

Philippians 3:7-8 “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

2 Corinthians 7:1 “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

As we are saved, we must then focus on reaching others for Christ. We must have Jesus Christ as the corner stone of our faith. We must put up a thick wall of defense to be protected from our enemies. Believers must work together to accomplish the task that God has given us. There are times in our spiritual journey that we must pass through the valley, in order to be humbled by God. And we must keep on getting rid of the trash in our lives if we want to be prepared to be used by God.


Is there any “trash” you need to get out of your life?


Photo source: http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130610032728/revengeristsconsortium/images/6/6c/Oscar-can.jpg

Friday, February 7, 2014

Are You Going Through A Valley In Your Life?

The Valley Gate was located on the West side of the Jerusalem Wall. To be with Christ outside the camp. The valley speaks of the lowest points of our lives. The times of trials and testing. A time where God is trying to humble us.


Nehemiah 3:13 “The Valley Gate was repaired by Hanun and the residents of Zanoah. They rebuilt it and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place. They also repaired a thousand cubits of the wall as far as the Dung Gate.”

John 10:9 Jesus said, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”

Psalm 23:4 (KJV) “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”


When we go through the valleys of life, let us turn to Jesus. He can see us through safely!


Photo source: http://www.desertusa.com/monvalley/monument-valley.html

What Area Of Your Life Needs To Be Rebuilt?

The Old Gate is located in the Northwest corner of the Wall of Jerusalem. The emphasis for the third gate is on repair, whereas the other gates had to be rebuilt. This gate conveys the idea of what God has established beforehand.


Nehemiah 3:6 “The Old Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah. They laid its beams and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place.”

Ephesians 2:19-22 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”


What area of your life needs to be rebuilt?


Photo source: http://classic.makesweet.com/blog/2009/04/24/building-blocks/

Being Fishers Of Men.

The Fish Gate is to the west of the Sheep Gate. Through this gate the fishes were brought into the market of the city of Jerusalem. The fish gate points us the Lord’s call. The fish-gate teaches us that God wants us to make provisions so that we can bring others into His city.

Nehemiah 3:3-5 "The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired the next section. Next to him Meshullam son of Berekiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs, and next to him Zadok son of Baana also made repairs.The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors."


Matthew 4:18-19  “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.””

Are we bringing “fish” to Jesus for salvation?


Photo source: http://bobbiew.net/fishers_of_men.html

Jesus Gave His Life For Our Sins!

In the time of Nehemiah, the gates of Jerusalem lied in ruins. Nehemiah decided to take action and rebuild the walls and it gates. By studying each of these gates and their purposes, we can learn a lot about Jesus.

What do the names of each gate mean in relation to Jesus Christ?




Nehemiah 3:1-2 "Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel. The men of Jericho built the adjoining section, and Zakkur son of Imri built next to them."




The Sheep Gate was the gate through which sheep and cattle were brought to the temple for sacrifices after cleansing in the Pool of Bethesda.



Isaiah 53:7 Speaks about Jesus “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”



John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”


So, the sheep were taking into the city to be sacrificed through the Sheep Gate and our Lord and Savior sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins.

If you have never accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, please do so today!


Photo source: http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/studies/online/nehem3.htm ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dall_sheep