Focal Point

But the earlier governors–those preceding me–placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. Nehemiah 5:15 (NLT)

Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land.
Nehemiah 5:16(NIV)

This verse is written after Nehemiah has begun the work of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls and gates, that God placed on his heart.(Nehemiah2:12)  As cupbearer to the king, Nehemiah gained favor and his requests were granted to the point of fulfillment. Now he is Governor and is working on the wall.

In Nehemiah 3  we see the listing of people and their roles in rebuilding the gates or walls of Jerusalem. You also see who is working next to who.

Verse 16 is a response to what we read about how other governors have acquired land and wealth, and then “lorded it over the people.” in Verse 15. Nehemiah is saying that he devoted himself to his work, rather than getting distracted by wealth or being greedy like the previous governors. He did not like how those governors had been a burden or treated the people, he saw it as a lack of respect for God. Some translations say Nehemiah didn’t act like the other governors because of his “fear of God” (ESV).

Wow. Character.It is disrespectful to God to disrespect people. People are the most important priority to God and if we as leaders cannot control ourselves with how we treat others, or ourselves, then we are disrespecting God. There is thus, a lack of reverence for God due to our lack of reverence for His creation.

It is easy to say that God is first in my life, but if there is greed or pride or showing off,  or promoting self over others… it is a distraction from putting your hand to the mill … or rather, getting the mission done! Do not become distracted and make other things in life more important in your own mind.

Later in the day, after writing the above post, I was speaking with a close friend and she shared how a pastor had inspired her when he had spoken of how God should be seen all over our day. Having kids and being married, and wanting nice things is- all fine …but our focal point should be God and painting that across our day!

Dear Lord, keep me humble in heart and mind, and my eyes on You. I desire to show you respect through my daily actions and words to those around me.  You are my example of love, peace, grace, and joy.  May my focus be on being a better vessel for you. Keep me from being distracted, and thank you for helping me to get Our work done. Give me vision Lord, open up my mind to see more than I already do, yours, 

The Strength of Love

Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned.
Song of Songs 8:7 (NLT)

Song of Songs or Song of Solomon is a romantic book of the Bible. Charles Swindoll describes Song of Solomon here. He writes how it is a poem of the beauty of a marriage relationship, which is increasing in depth. Also, some see it as a relationship between God and His people, in a more general way.

The first half of the PerspectiVerse is intense. The fact that this love is so strong.

The word used for love is ahabah : love (noun) [Strong’s #160)

Original Word: אַהֲבָה

Transliteration: ahabah
Phonetic Spelling: (a-hab-aw)
Short Definition: love

This morning, the Lord spoke to me of this love. That, when there is truly love…it will stand. How strong is this force of love? We see God’s love so powerful and strong. Many know the verses: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,k neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

The strength of love … is it in .. faithfulness? We see “faithful love” often in the Word. The faithfulness of God’s love is spoken of many times in the Bible. And may you have the power[strength] to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.  (Deuteronomy 7:9)

 But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in God’s faithful for ever and ever. (Psalm 52:8)

 But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth. (Psalm 86:15)

 In Your abundant, faithful loveGod, answer me with Your sure salvation.  O God,
because of your great loyal love, answer me with your faithful deliverance! (Psalm 69:13)

A list of the meanings of Faithfulness (Merriam-Webster)

1.   obsolete :  full of faith
2:  steadfast in affection or allegiance :  loyal
3:  firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty :  conscientious
4:  given with strong assurance :  binding faithful promise>
5:  true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original faithful copy>

Faithful love. Faith meaning loyal … wow! A fullness of Loyalty. .. imagine .. marriages that are full of loyalty. I am honored to say that I have some examples of this, even in my own parents.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledgethat you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)

Again, Verse 19 in the NLT translation : May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Whoa!

My husband (Adrian) and I have been finding a depth in our marriage that we had not known before. All the things that we have been through, are coming to completion, in terms of our understanding and ability to communicate with each other. I love him .. and I can only say, that I hope you too would have vision for the kind of love that we see in the PerspectiVerse.

How Deep the Father’s Love For Us (Listen Here)
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

So true is it… that His love is faithful. His faithfulness and love surpass our ability to understand. As Jesus said:
“I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”

God. I seek Your face. Your faithfulness, in my life. I seek Your Faithful grace and LOVE. Thank you! I receive it. Thanks for Your patience with me. I am in awe.

Peace and Unity

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
Eph 2:17-20 (NIV)

 

The PerspectiVerses come half way through a chapter which is describing the grace of God to mankind, though every person deserves His wrath. It describes how we recieve life, and at the same find unity created between the Jewish people and gentiles. Then we have this verse!

Christ came and shared peace with everyone and anyone. Near and far. And then, because of Christ, everyone CAN now access God our Father directly, through the Holy Spirit. Verse 14 says “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.

Unity. Christ broke down the barrier that separated Jews and Gentiles. Jews had a connection to God due to their physical birth and then circumcision. Gentiles had no connection to God until Christ came and died so that Jews and Gentiles might have the opportunity to choose a relational and eternal connection to God.

Once the opportunity is taken, and a person chooses to accept Christ into their heart or life, s/he is welcomed as a member of God’s house, as a fellow citizen. No longer a stranger, or a foreigner. Christ is at the center of that…more specifically : the cornerstone.

God’s love is so wonderful..Thank you Lord, for Your awesome goodness! I am grateful for all you have done for me. Not only do I recieve eternal life, but I also have been welcomed into your spiritual family. I love and appreciate, and am so humbled by Your mercy.

Hearts .. better and better

Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.
Mark 4:16 (NIV)

Many of us know the parable of the Farmer sowing seed, and how it lands on different kinds of soil. The seed represents the Word of God, and the soil represents hearts. The verse after this one, says “But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.Mark 4:17 (NLT) 

Every person has been through difficult things in life, maybe people have hurt you, or a situation occurred which brought you out bitter. Whatever the difficult circumstances you have been through, God can bring you out better. However, that is not an automatic. You have to choose that you WANT God to help you. That is the beginning of receiving it with JOY! Then you tell God that’s what you want.

Accepting is a process. You choose to begin the journey, and you can stop at any point. The path is often full of growth, healing, and change. You might not end up where you thought you would, be if you diligently listen as He leads, you will come out stronger … “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Rom 8:28 (NIV)

The result of walking in obedience with God will be better than you imagined it ..and it might look completely different than you expected. (Enjoy my post on Obedience with Truth in Love – it is there to encourage you).

Each of us has our own path; some things are our choices. The soil of our own hearts is our responsibility…your actions and your responses count. Choose to not allow the enemy to use negative experiences from your past as power over you. So .. hand them over to God, and take your life back! .. give your LIFE back to Him! For we know Him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.Hebrews 10:30

Identity is so important, and knowing who you are on the inside is so important. If you hold onto Christ’s truth about you, you will get through. The real you…the core of you .. .the one He created and formed in the womb .. can come through! And when you do, you will be able to give God the glory! Just hold on .. and keep your head up. He’s with you  … believe me, you’re not alone.

My prayer today:
Thank you for bringing this to light for me .. I have been wanting a way to express the feeling in my heart where I desire Your truth for me, and those around me. Teach us, teach me how to taste and see more …and better. Your servant, now friend .. :). Thank you that You protect and love me, and will walk the whole journey with me. Amen.