Friday, October 2, 2015

Persevere--With Joy

Nehemiah 1:3 - ...The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.

Just happened to bring up this old 2009 blog. After last night's and Wednesday night's Minister's Conference, the first paragraph was a reminder! Again, His Word never fails.

Back in the day Israel would have been better off reminding themselves of the blessings God had given them rather than complaining about what they wished they could have had.  Had they turned their complaining into rejoicing, their hearts, minds and attitudes would have been pleasing to God. Their trip to the Promised Land would have not lasted 40 years.  Persevering, with joy, is important. 

Has something ever happened in your life which you really did not expect?  Did it feel like the walls around you crumbled and there was no longer any protection?  Did it seem like things were being torn apart and destroyed and did you sense you were in the midst of a circumstance where others might even have looked at you with reproach?  Often God will allow destruction in order to rebuild. That's what happened to the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.  They had been allowed to return from Babylonian captivity to find the walls of their city in ruins allowing attacks from the enemy.  It was on Nehemiah's tender heart to rebuild that the people might feel safe and secure and be above reproach again.

Our walls might fall because of turning the wrong direction, perhaps out of the will of God, and in order to get back into His will, ruin must first occur.  Seeing walls of protection crumble and being laid to waste for what seems an eternity can be a painful process.  But our God is faithful to help rebuild those walls if we will only turn to Him, repent for what might have caused this and ask for His help. We need to get to the very foundation first.  And that Foundation is our first love, Jesus Christ.

God would not have us run from the process of rebuilding but rather persevere.  Running does not take away the pain but only covers it up.  Until destruction is made into construction, there will always be those underlying feelings of hurt or bitterness.  Rather than flee, despite any opposition from the enemy, we must call on the Lord for strength and continue with the work--overcome.  I thank God everything is always part of His plan and His plans are good.  He loves us, His grace and mercy are great and He will do the demolition in order to allow a new formation to emerge.

Look not at the process as being destructive or impossible.  God's ways are not like ours.  Sometimes what seems bad is really God's way of bringing about good.  We should rejoice in knowing that He desires healing and strengthening and this can only happen when we are humbled and willing to let Him take over as our Architect.  The walls that seem to have crumbled will be rebuilt if we go back to the firm Foundation.  With God's help, in time, this difficulty will pass and there will be purification and victory.  Victory is good and the cleansing will remove the hurt and bitterness that might have been wrought.

James 5:11 - Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Lord, pain can be hard and sadness great, but You will turn our mourning into dancing.  You will plunk us down once again at Your feet. You will allow us to become as little children and learn to trust again. You are God and You do not change.  You have always allowed trials to happen, from days of old to present.  You love us and want to raise up Your children like a strong army.  You provide strength to allow cleansing to take place.  We are not to lose hope.  You are faithful to provide to repentant hearts.  You allow the strong to come through and those who cannot tolerate the purifying fires will perish.  Let us stand firm and watch what You are able to do.  In that day we will glorify You.  "...this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."  (Nehemiah 8:10)

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