The Rebuilder

Saturday, February 2, 2008   3:30 a.m.

Dear Diary,

Nehemiah was the king’s cup bearer. One day when his countenance was sad, the king asked him what was wrong. Nehemiah was never sad in the presence of the king before. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful testimony to have never been seen as sad before? Nehemiah told the king that he was sad because Jerusalem, the city of his father’s, laid in waste and was consumed with fire. The king told Nehemiah to go and repair the walls of Jerusalem. The king even gave him letters to give to the governors and to the keepers of the King’s forest requesting them to give him timber in order to rebuild the walls. In other words, God sent Nehemiah out with authority. When he arrived at Jerusalem he went out by night to view the ruins of the walls. I can just visualize him alone, riding his horse slowly through the city with only the sound of the clip clop of his horses’ hoofs. His heart was rent when he viewed the extent of it all. He told no man what the LORD had laid upon his heart. He went out by night to the gate of the valley before the dragon well. Then he went to the dung gate. Next, he went to the fountain gate, and then up to the pool of Siloah, which used to be beside King Solomon’s garden. But it was in such ruin that there was no place for his horse to pass. Sorrow gripped his heart as he sat on the hill and viewed the destruction. But God encouraged Nehemiah and told him to rebuild the walls. God is a healer of broken hearts. He is a repairer of broken dreams. He is a rebuilder of lives. If your life is in ruin allow God to rebuild it. (Nehemiah 1:1 – 3:20)

Thought for Today: “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.” (Joel 2:25).

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Jesus Expounded

Sunday, January 27, 2008   4:00 a.m.

Dear Diary,

Luke 24:13-45 talks about the Road to Emmaus. Verse 27 says, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all scripture the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27). I wonder what things Jesus would have expounded about himself? It had to have been from the Old Testament because the New Testament hadn’t been written yet. I started thinking about what Moses said about Jesus. Numbers 21:9 says, “Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” The brass serpent was a “Type of Christ” who was made sin for us. Then Jesus most likely reminded the disciples of the first Passover where an innocent lamb had to be sacrificed and how Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God. Then, of course, He would have told them about Isaiah 53:3-12, and the prophecy of how Christ was to suffer and die. How inspiring it would have been to have walked with those disciples on the Road to Emmaus and been able to listen to Jesus expounding all the scriptures about Himself.

Thought for Today: “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32).

Believe, Go and Do

Monday, January 21, 2008  4:20 a.m.

Dear Diary,

John 9:1-7 tells us how Jesus put clay on a blind man’s eyes. “…he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.” (John 9:6). Then Jesus told the blind man, “…Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.., (which is by interpretation, Sent.)” (John (9:7). Jesus could have just said, “Open your eyes,” and the blind man would have been able to see. But, instead He said, “Go!” Jesus did not lead the blind man to the pool of Siloam. He, himself, had to believe, go and do. This was a trial of believing and a test of obedience. The blind man had to struggle to find his way to the pool of Siloam. He couldn’t just walk there because he was still blind. But his “going” demonstrated his belief and obedience. Had he not gone he would have remained  blind. But John 9:7 says, “…He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” Things don’t just happen, we must first believe, go and do. It is through the “doing” that we are given. Jesus says, “…Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” (Matthew 8:13). Lord, may we believe, go and do.

Thought for Today: “…According to your faith be it unto you.” (Matthew 9:29).

Not Even a Cup of Tea?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008  4:00 a.m.

Dear Diary,

William Penn, who lived from 1644-1718, wrote, “Though some men should not find it relish’d high enough for their finer wits, or warmer pallats, it will not perhaps be useless to those of lower flights.” Somehow I feel that my thoughts are those of lower flights. They are not high and lofty, but small and simple. Still, I pray that they will touch someone’s heart. Yet, sometimes as I’m flying low my heart becomes disquieted within me. Then the Lord comes softly and whispers in my ear, “Child, why art thou disquieted? Is not there blue skies after the rain, and even a rainbow to make you smile again? Is not there a flower blowing in the wind with a heavenly fragrance that you can sniff in? Is not there a bird singing somewhere to lift you spirit till you don’t have a care? Hast thou no pleasure or time to feel free, not even a cup of tea?” As I gather up all the pleasant things God has given, my soul is lifted once again and my fight soars.

Thought for Today: “He sets on high those that are low, And those who mourn are lifted to safety.” (Job 5:11).

Drink It In

Friday, January 4, 2008   3:00 a.m.

Dear Diary,

I drove the car feeling empty. My soul longed to be filled with the joy of scripture. I turned on my Bible CD. It started in book of Matthew. That was okay, but it was not what my ears longed to hear. Quickly I removed that CD and put in the CD of the book of John. However, it started at the end of Luke. Frantically, I fast forwarded it to John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” I drank it in as if it were a cold drink of water satisfying my thirsty soul. I breathed a sigh of relief as one sighs after his thirst is quenched. My soul was fainting until it was revived by God’s life giving Word. That God-shaped hole in my soul was dry and only God could fill it. Finally, my soul was satisfied as I drank in the refreshing, soothing scripture.

Thought for Today: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6).

This is Life

Sunday, November 4, 2007  4:30 a.m.

Dear Diary,

We must get up, collect the manna, grind it, mix it, build a fire and bake it. Life is work – day after day, month after month, year after year. We all hate to think of “going back to the grindstone”; but this is life. We would rather stay home, but if we want to eat we have to work. We would rather do whatever we want, but we have to march to someone else’s drum and jump through someone else’s hoops. This is life. We all must eat, sleep, work and die. What matters is that we collect the manna God sends without murmuring and longing for leeks, onions and garlic. The Israelites, while wandering in the wilderness, longed for the leeks, onions and garlic of Egypt. Numbers 11:5 says, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic…” God provided food for them everyday, but they were not content and murmured. May we not murmur, as the Israelites did, but be content with what God provides.

Thought for Today: “And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, and beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it…” (Numbers 11:8).

God’s Outlaw

Thursday, November 15, 2007   5:35 a.m.

Dear Diary,

I watched a movie about the life of William Tyndale. He lived from 1494-1536. William Tyndale’s life was as the life of an outlaw. He translated the Bible from Latin to English; but, because it was against the law to translate the Bible in those days, he had to make many daring escapes by night. Sadly, they finally caught him and burned him at the stake. When the movie was over I grabbed my Bible, ran to the bathroom holding it tight, sat on the floor and just bawled. Thank God for people like William Tyndale who gave his life in order for people, like me, to be able to read God’s Word. Here we have the Bible at our fingertips and we don’t read it, study it, and cherish it. Yet, I know, that if it were outlawed and taken away it would become precious. I sat on the bathroom floor and read from the book of Psalms. How soothing it was to me. We take the Bible so lightly, when people, like William Tyndale and others, gave their lives to bring it to us. We, also, take the privilege of attending church and the freedom to worship God lightly, when right now, people around the world are being persecuted and put to death for their faith. May we ever cherish the Word of God and hide it in our hearts.

Thought for Today: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11).

Cast Down

Monday, October 22, 2007  4:00 a.m.

Dear Diary,

Depression is real and it comes to us all. Even David wrote, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 42:11). David, like the rest of us, got depressed and his soul became cast down, but God was his helper. There are three things you need to do when you become cast down.

Pray – Psalm 55:16-17 says, “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, I will pray, and cry aloud; and he shall hear my voice.” Prayer lifted David, and prayer shall also lift you.

Be Thankful – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18). Nothing happens by chance, all is of God. He is in every detail. Thank God for His ever-lasting love and mercy.

Surrender – Accept God’s will for your life. Surrender to His will. Only then will the peace of God come. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

  1. Thought for Today: Pray, be thankful and surrender, and God will comfort your soul. “In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.” (Psalm 138:3).

All We Like Sheep

Tuesday, October 16, 2007   4:00 a.m.

Dear Diary,

I heard a sermon on sheep. Jesus compares us to sheep. Sheep can not sleep standing up. They must lay down. David took care of the sheep and he knew this. That is why he wrote, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…” (Psalm 23:2). There are four things that sheep must be free from in order for them to sleep.

  1. They must be free from fear. David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” (Psalm 23:4).
  2. They must be free from rivalry. There is to be no fighting within the flock. David wrote, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3).
  3. They must be free from parasites, poisonous plants, and things that will make them weak. A shepherd would have to clear the field of these harmful things before he could allow the sheep to enter the field. David wrote, “They rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4).
  4. They must be free from hunger. David wrote, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…” (Psalm 23:5).

David kept the sheep and knew all this. That is why he could write the twenty-third Psalm with the wisdom of a shepherd. We are the sheep of God’s pasture and Jesus is our Shepherd.

Thought for Today: “I am the good shepherd: and the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11).

A Stone

Saturday, October 6, 2007   7:40 p.m.

Dear Diary,

God told Joshua to have the priest carry the Ark of the Covenant to the Jordan River. When the soles of the priest’s feet were dipped into the brim of the water the waters stood and rose up, and the priest stood on dry ground. (Joshua 3:15-16). Then Joshua told each tribe to choose a man to carry stones and make two piles of stones for a memorial. One pile of twelve stones was to be left in the Jordan River, and another pile of twelve stones was to be piled on the shore where they passed over. I bet each tribe chose the strongest man and the largest stones. I can just imagine these men struggling to carry huge stones, but how important it was that they got it to the pile. That is the way our life is. We are to leave a memorial of our journey. It is to be a testimony that God helped us all the way. Is it going to be easy? No, we are going to struggle, but how important it is that we make it to the end. When the Israelite children saw the pile of twelve stones they said, “What mean ye by these stones?” (Joshua 4:6), and their father’s answered, “These stones shall be a memorial.” (Joshua 4:7). Likewise, when our children ask, “What is the meaning of your life?”, hopefully we can answer, “It is a memorial that God lead us all the way.”

Thought for Today: Joshua said, these stones remain so “That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD…” (Joshua 4:24).