By Rev. Juliet Schimpf
Sunday, 26 July 2015
LINK to CFRA broadcast of Sunday, July 26th, 2015)
THANKS for the generosity of the anonymous donors,
who made today’s broadcast possible.
'Nehemiah: "Don't vacillate, perpetuate!"'
Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden Pond, "If I seem not to keep step with others, it is because I am listening to another drum beat."
Nehemiah listened to another drum beat—that of God.
We learn from Nehemiah how to persevere in the face of opposition. Three times Nehemiah’s enemies test him. Here is how Nehemiah responds:
1. “Don’t choose the good over the great!”
2. “Don’t take the bait!”
3. “Don’t underestimate!”
1. DON’T CHOOSE THE GOOD OVER THE GREAT!
· In 587 B.C., the Babylonians invaded and destroyed the city of Jerusalem.
· context: wall is almost complete—enemy’s last chance to strike
· The enemy approaches Nehemiah like an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14 “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”)
Nehemiah6:1 “When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates— 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages[a] on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.”
· Nehemiah was invited to attend a conference of sorts in a neutral location near Joppa, outside the boundaries of Judah
· On the surface, this seemed to be a plan to achieve a peaceful coexistence (but it was actually a trap to kill Nehemiah)
· Satan sent the message 4 times to instill a false sense of urgency--hold your ground!
· DON’T CHOOSE THE GOOD OVER THE BEST--THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE MOST TALENTED BUT THE MOST DETERMINED
2. DON’T TAKE THE BAIT!
· Satan (the enemy) next appears to Nehemiah like a “roaring like” (1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”)
· An open letter, written on leather or papyrus, and left unsealed so message become public:
Nehemiah 6:5 “Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter 6 in which was written: “It is reported among the nations—and Geshem[b] says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king 7 and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.” 8 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”
· Letter contained 3 charges:
1. Nehemiah and the Jews were plotting treason(goal of rebuilding was supposedly to rebel against persina government)
2. insinuated that Nehemiah had pretensions to the throne (king of Jerusalem) (v. 6)
3. Nehemiah was charged with bribing some enthusiastic prophetes to support him in his quest for kingship (v. 7)
· Don’t get distracted from God’s vision for your life: 1 Cor. 15 “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”
· HOLY PERSISTENCE!
· Churchill: “The reason a bulldog’s nose is backwards is so that he can breathe while not letting go of anything.”
Nehemiah 6:9” They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
3. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE!
· Lastly, the enemy appears to Nehemiah like “the serpent of old” (Revelation 12:9 “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”)
· Nehemiah’s enemies turned to “inside connections”—a false prophet!
Nehemiah 6:10 “One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.” 11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” 12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.”
· prophet (enemy) mixed truth with lies
· know your enemy, but know the Word best of all (The Bible cautions: Numbers 18:7 “You shall guard your priesthood for all that concerns the altar and that is within the veil; and you shall serve…and any outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”)
· Nehemiah and the workers complete the wall in 52 days!
· But Nehemiah does not underestimate the enemy! He does not let down his guard!
Nehemiah 7:1 “After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the Levites were appointed. 2 I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do. 3 I said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses.”
Our Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your word, which is a lamp unto our feet. It guides us, instructs us, encourages us, challenges us.
And today, I pray for the listener who’s given up a God or a main task. Would they know that it’s not too late? They can begin anew to finish what they set out to do.
Or, I pray, that the person listening today, whether they be a pastor or a lay person involved in ministry, who’s near burnout, near quitting, near despair; would they rest in You, and revitalize in You, but would they not give up.
You will see them through, just like You saw Nehemiah through. We thank you Lord that You are greater than our adversaries, that You will help us withstand our enemy, that You will help us to prevail, and that it is always only for Your glory.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, AMEN.
Rev. Juliet Schimpf
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:http://proxy.autopod.ca/podcasts/chum/6/34164/good_news_167_july26.mp3
Sunday, 19 July 2015
By Rev. Brian Wilkie
Pastor of St. Andrew's Christian Community
PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, July 19th, 2015:
Welcome to Good News In the Morning a program of words and music bringing a Christian message of hope and encouragement to those who are looking for intelligent meaningful and spirited approach to faith and to life.
This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries PO Box 184 Rideau Ferry, Ontario K0G 1W0. I'm your host today, Brian Wilkie of St. Andrew's Christian church in Rockland. As always I want to start by thanking you our listeners. We are so grateful for your encouragement and support. Please remember that you can always visit our website for materials to encourage and support you in your Christian walk.
If you miss an episode of the show you can go to our website and download the podcast or the MP3 of our broadcast. Details can be found on our website. The website is www.GNCM.ca.
Today I want to thank an anonymous sponsor: someone who doesn't want her name to be used but who has donated in order to pay for the broadcast of this show. we thank her so much for that support
For today's topic I want to speak about the new heart that God promises to those who believe in Christ. This is the Scripture from Ezekiel 36:20-30 where that idea of a new heart is introduced in the Old Testament:
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
“ ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine.
This is the word of God. Today we are going to consider the new heart that God gives to us when he brings us to new life in Jesus Christ, but first here's a song on that very topic, which is the song Change My Heart Oh God which is sung by the Maranatha Praise Band from their album The Top 25 Worship Songs Of The 1990s. would you listen to this with me?
As we go into the message about a new heart, it's a message that has a secondary meaning for me, because I've just recently gone through a little bit of heart trouble in the physical sense. In fact back in October 2014 I started to suffer shortness of breath when I was bicycling, when I was carrying luggage, when I was just walking up the stairs a couple of times quickly. I realized something was wrong about the second or third time I experienced that and it turned out to be what you probably already know. It was angina. It meant that my heart wasn't getting enough oxygen. I went to my doctor and she set up the tests. In mid-December the cardiologist confirmed that this was heart trouble. Heart trouble I expect that many of you listeners have had that. I talked to my friends in Capital City Chorus, in my church, in my neighborhood - and it's a surprise to me how many people have had physical heart trouble. I certainly wasn't expecting it at 51 years of age, but I guess that it comes as a surprise to each of us doesn't it?
That physical trouble caused me a great deal of difficulty and a fair bit of worry, I might add. It was reassuring once I was in the cardiologist hands to know that they could take care of this, that they would to keep me safe through the procedure and they'd fix up my heart. I was very fortunate to get the warning signs of angina instead of a heart attack.
When you compare the experience of heart trouble in the physical realm to the idea of heart trouble in the spiritual realm there is a great deal of similarity as it turns out. I guess I've had some cause to think about it.
Remember that the people of Israel had heart trouble in their relationship with God. They had known God's saving power in so many different ways from the very beginning of their existence: when Abraham and Sarah who were unable to have children were miraculously given the son Isaac, and throughout the generations: their deliverance from famine through Joseph, and their deliverance from slavery in Egypt under Moses. They had many Judges and Kings that at various times and places lifted them out of trouble, but every time they got into trouble it was their own doing. I've got to admit that part of the problem with my physical heart was my own doing: there are several causes for spiritual and physical heart trouble that are very similar.
The one that we can't do much about is inheritance. Sometimes our family passes down the history of heart trouble. Physically I didn't have that history, my parents and my grandparents didn't have heart trouble, but spiritually we all have that history. We were born into a world which is separated from God, in which is often even hard to recognize that there is a God because of the cloudiness of sin in our perception of the world. Sin is something that is part of our experience from the very beginning. One psalmist even writes that he was sinful from his mother's womb. Right from the beginning we started out separated from God and need to be reintroduced to God before we can begin that journey to him again. it's God's work when his spirit and when his word start to teach us about his great love for us, but we come into the world with a problem in our spiritual heart.
Another cause of the of physical heart trouble is appetite. Now I wasn't greatly overweight but my doctor and been telling me for some time that I needed to lose a few pounds and I needed to cut down the cholesterol in my diet. Have you heard that before? I think that's the first and last thing they teach them in medical school isn't it? But I did need to do that and you know what? I really wasn't listening. I was thinking about changing my eating habits but it hadn't happened yet. You can be sure that once I started feeling the symptoms my eating habits changed dramatically.
What are the spiritual appetites that get us into trouble? You know the heart trouble with God has a lot to do with our spiritual appetites. Sometimes it's as simple as physical appetites like food. When we are so concerned about what we eat. Sometimes people enjoy eating so much that they don't think about the needs of others. They are selfish in their eating and they experience both physical and spiritual consequences from their gluttony. Sometimes people are so concerned about eating right these days and we've got so much contradictory ideas on the Internet, some supported by science and some just made up on the spot. People get obsessed with their food and eating a particular diet that can sometimes cause physical harm.
But is there spiritual harm from our appetites? The root of all spiritual harm in appetites is selfishness. when we indulge our appetites purely for our own pleasure some people take comfort in food and they comfort themselves to the point where they have difficulty physically but as they comfort themselves with food their also missing out the opportunity to seek God's comfort in their lives. How much better if we found peace through God then peace through Cheeto's?
Now there are more dangerous appetites, or more commonly problematic appetites. sometimes the appetite of desire - lust, or sexual appetite; sometimes materialism just the covetousness and greed that causes us to pursue anything at any expense.
These appetites cause our heart to harden with regards to God. Isn't it funny that in this physical world we talk about the hardening of the arteries, while in the spiritual world we also talk about the hardening of the heart towards God. Similar language to speak about very important problems.
Finally along with the appetites comes the behavior With spiritual heart trouble there's all kinds of sins that cause problems. The people of Israel had a huge problem with idolatry, putting their trust in things that were not God, putting their trust in false idols and false prophets. Because these idols and these prophets, the needs that they claimed to meet where the very selfish needs of the people of Israel. They looked for advantage in unjust trading, and they look for their protection from gods that claimed to protect them from the results and consequences of their injustice. God commanded them to live justly. They would've had much less heart trouble spiritually if they listened to the word of God. God commanded them to behave with compassion. In Micah chapter 6 verse 8 he tells them, "This is what I have required of you - to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Now there is behavior that mitigates spiritual heart trouble!
Now that I've had double bypass surgery and am on the mend, I'm feeling actually much better than I felt for years. I am able to go to an exercise program and hopefully learn some new habits that will help me stay healthy. Now spiritually we talk very much about the importance of that initial time of putting your trust in Jesus Christ, but Jesus Christ also calls you to continue in the right behavior, in the right activities that keep your heart spiritually healthy. He's shown us how to live, not simply how to say of some magic words and become saved, but to draw near to him in prayer and to follow him in the life we live.
The change from death to life, the change from darkness to light, is very, very dramatic I found in my physical heart repair that I've got more energy than I had for years and I wonder how long with my heart struggling? Perhaps when you put your trust in Jesus Christ some years ago you had that same feeling. You wondered, "How long have I been missing this? How long has my life been dragged down? How long if I have I been failing to experience the peace and the joy and the love that God has for me? What impact did that have on me before I knew Jesus?" It's a dramatic change from death to life, from tired to energetic, and from despairing to joyful.
Now I do want to encourage you to listen with me to one of those great hymns of the faith Joyfu,L Joyful We Adore Thee as it is sung by the a cappella group Glad from their album A Cappella Hymns.
Before the last song I told you that when I had the heart surgery and got through the brief recovery period, that I had more energy than before. You know what? This is reflected in my spiritual outlook right now. My physical health was dragging down my optimism, my physical health was dragging down my emotions. It's helping now to look back and see what spiritual factors have been dragging me away from the initial joy of my salvation, because along with the physical there is a spiritual.
Was their time in your life when your faith in Jesus Christ brought you much more joy, much more enthusiasm, much more motivation? What is it that steals away that joy? Has our heart grown a little harder after being fixed by the Holy Spirit and trust in Jesus Christ. We need to go back and do the things we did at first, like the church in Ephesus was told to do when the spirit of God told them that they had lost their first love.
Restoring the joy of your salvation is something you can do. If you've known Christ and if you've trusted in him maybe it's time to spend bit more time trying to renew that joy, remembering what it was to confess your sins, trusting him again to receive his forgiveness and to go forward in his way. If you're someone who hasn't ever put your trust in Christ, what would it mean for you to gain salvation in Christ? Scripture tells us that it's a new life ,that you become a new creation when you trust in Christ. Why is this? Not because of your work but because when you let God into your life Jesus Christ begins to work in a powerful way. Confess your sins and turn from them, trust in Christ, let him change your life and his joy will fill you over time. It's as easy as, at least to begin, it's as easy as praying. Even as we continue, we continue in prayer. so as we conclude this message let's continue in prayer.
Almighty God, now I come before you and I ask you to take a look at our hearts. Create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. Search our heart ,O God, and see if there be any wicked way in me. Lord cleanse us from every sin. Give us that promised new heart, give us that promised new life. Lord lead us in this new life to practice our faith and become strong and energetic in your service and in your love. We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.
Well thank you again listeners for your encouragement and support. We do thank you for keeping us on the air week by week. We are making a special appeal these days to some of our international listeners. We have hundreds of visits to our website daily and we are so thankful that the message is getting out into many different countries: Russia, France, China, all over Asia! We are glad that you're able to hear us! There are many people who need to hear this message who don't have many opportunities in their own circumstances to hear it. If you have the opportunity to support us you your gift can help us to continue this important ministry. If you can make a check payable to Good News Christian ministries and send it to PO Box 184 Rideau Ferry, Ontario K0G 1W0, we will be happy to send you a Canadian tax receipt at income tax time. Now you can also donate through our webpage at http://www.GNCM.ca or http://www.GoodNewsChristianMinistries.ca.
Once again I do want to thank the anonymous sponsor whose generous donation has made today's broadcast possible. Now as for you please, please find yourself a gathering of other Christians: a church where the gospel is soundly proclaimed and lived out with compassion, integrity and resolve.
For one last song before we go I'd like to have you listen to this song called Lord You Have My Heart which is sung by the band delirious? from their album Cutting-Edge.
I do pray the Lord will hold your heart and you would know Jesus personally and profoundly. May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart, may the heavenly Father surround you with his constant and abiding and accompanying love.
Good News In The Morning is produced in the Studios of news talk radio 580
In The Morning is produced in the Studios of News Talk Radio 580 CFRA.
- Rev. Brian Wilkie
St. Andrew's Christian Community, Rockland, Ontario
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link: