Breaking Free from Lesser Things

April 18th, 2014 No comments

“I am doing a great work….” (Nehemiah 6:3)

nehemiah building the wallThere are many people who meander through life as though it were a flea market, browsing the bins for the deal of a lifetime, but only coming home with someone else’s junk.

Others are a bit more like the crazy rabbit in Alice’s Wonderland, always on the go for something that is always somewhere else; and never getting there.

Some people set in the stands and watch others play the game, and reassure themselves that they could do that if they wanted to.

Others see a great opportunity of some kind, and console themselves with a reflective sigh, “I should do that.” But, of course they never do.

And then there are those who wistfully say, “I would do that,” hinting by their tone that it’s somebody else’s fault if they don’t.

Could do, should do, and would do never do. The only thing that works is when you find the thing that you must do.

God uses the inner pull of that upward call to free you from the gravity of lesser things. There is a resolute power inherent to any great work, and once you become involved in such an enterprise, you are virtually unstoppable.

Nehemiah undertook the great challenge of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, and was constantly opposed by enemies who sought his ruin.

First they tried ridicule; it didn’t work. Then they made overt threats of hostility; it was, as they say, water off a duck’s back to Nehemiah. Next they attempted covert sabotage; but he foiled their plot. Nothing fazed him. Finally they tried the diplomatic approach, seeking some sort of compromise. Nehemiah’s answer stands to this day as one of the greatest closers in any conflict:

“I am doing a great work,” he said, “Why should the work stop while I come down to you?”

Nehemiah’s passion for answering the upward call, minimized the effects of those who were always seeking to drag him down to their level. They lost; he won. The same will be true of you.

The words of this old hymn say it best –

“I am resolved no longer to linger,
charmed by the world’s delight;
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.

I am resolved to enter the kingdom,
leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me;
Still I will enter in.

I am resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay.
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We’ll walk the heavenly way.”

Palmer Hartsough, 1896

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The Unhurried Savior

April 17th, 2014 2 comments

“But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” Luke 8:15

oak tree 2If there is one lesson that stands out in life it is that good things take time to come to fruition. Nothing worthy ever happens quickly.

Years ago as a young and eager aspiring preacher, I remember hearing an older sage of God say, “When God wants to make a squash, He takes six months. When He wants to make an Oak tree, He takes twenty years. Which do you want to be?”

I’ve been around long enough now to have seen for myself the truth of his words. I’ve seen young upstarts come and go, like fireworks on the Fourth of July. A big bang, a pretty splash, lots of ooohs and aaahs — and then nothing. Nothing but the same dark sky that was there before they popped.

And then there are the others; those bright-light souls that are not really noticed by most people at all, simply because they are always there like the sun in the daytime or the moon and stars at night. Just there, doing what God ordained them to do — shining.

I’ll take steady over quick every time. I’ll take shine over flash as well. God give me grace to bring forth fruit with patience. Prove that I’m built for the long haul!

Remember the children’s song?

“He’s still workin’ on me to make me what I oughta be. It took Him a week to make the sun and the stars; Venus, Mercury, Neptune and Mars. How lovin’ and patient He must be! ‘Cause He’s still working on me!!”

Jesus is the unhurried Savior. He’s working on a truly great masterpiece that will be displayed in glory. That masterpiece is YOU.

For your part then, be an unhurried soul; keep an honest and good heart into which you may hear His word and treasure it; and then bring forth fruit with patience all the days of your life.

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The Unchangeable Truth

April 16th, 2014 1 comment

“The Beast is no longer…and headed for Hell!” Revelation 17:11 (The Message)

What the devil cannot achieve in one disguise, he will attempt in another, and another, and another — until he has gained his ground.

He first arrived on the scene in the form of a serpent; here in John’s Revelation we see him strutting about as an exalted king, and a beastly one at that. Indeed, over the course of human history the devil has been both serpent and king — and many things in between.

But whatever he may feign to be in his vain imagination, we hold one thing certain and undeniable, unchanging and reliable — he is doomed to destruction. He will not prevail. Indeed, he cannot.

And, furthermore, he knows it.

Christ Has Conquered Sin, Death, and the Devil!

Christ Has Conquered Sin, Death, and the Devil!

That glorious Morning when death lost its grip upon our fallen Lord, the good news spread to all worlds everywhere — heaven, earth, and hell — that Satan’s power was naught!

Having already unleashed the full fury of his rage against Jesus on the Cross, he now pressed the total weight of his dark estate against that stone sealing our Savior’s tomb — desperate to prove God a liar.

But the promise of the Third Day held true, and (in the words of the old spiritual), “up from the grave He arose with triumph over all His foes! He arose the Victor from the dark domain; and He lives forever with His saints to reign! He arose! He arose! Hallelujah, Christ arose!”

Satan is defeated. He is disgraced. And he is damned. O shout it out loud, “The Beast is no longer; He is headed for Hell!”

Whipped by Jesus and put to an open shame, the devil now thrashes about in desperation — especially against those who are followers of the Lamb.

We, being flesh and blood, are indeed targets of his demented hatred. And should the Lord Christ grant that we receive a blow here, or a burn there, then we may indeed count ourselves doubly blessed.

First, for having been found in His sight as those permitted to share in the fellowship of His sufferings. And, second, for having been such a nuisance to the devil that his strike against us was targeted rather than random; specifically aimed with intent to take us out of the way, for we pose such a threat to his dark enterprises on earth.

Nevertheless, we know the certainty of this unchangeable truth — the Beast is no longer, and is headed for Hell!

Go tell it on the mountain!

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