The Ten Gates, Part 2

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THE TEN GATES (6-10)

Let’s look at the last 5 gates of the walls of Jerusalem as it relates to the gates of our own lives. Do any of these gates need to be repaired in you?

The sixth gate is The Fountain Gate.

This gate represents the refreshing and empowering of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Jesus told the woman at the well of a spring of water welling up to eternal life that comes from Him.

This wellspring is meant to not just refresh us, but to refresh others around us who desperately need it. This “river of living water flowing from within us” is the Holy Spirit. The more we give Him place in our lives the more impactful we will be to those around us.

Make sure the fountain gate of the refreshing Holy Spirit is strong in your life.

The seventh gate is The Water Gate.

Water is always a symbol of God’s Word in the Bible.

The closer in proximity to it, the greater effectiveness God’s Word has in washing us.

Ephesians 5 says Christ loves His Bride, the Church, and washes it with the water of His Word to prepare It as a radiant Bride without spot or wrinkle.

Let’s face it, our daily interaction with life, no matter what our occupation, gets us smelly, stinky, dirty, and in need of a bath. We cleanse ourselves regularly to get the smell and grime off physically. The same goes spiritually, and a daily washing in God’s Word will keep us clean and prepare us for the Day when we see Jesus face to face!

So make sure the gate of the washing of God’s Word is strong in your life.

The eighth gate is The East Gate.

The east gate faced the rising sun, which always brought with it the hope of a new day filled with God’s blessings and new beginnings.

This gate represents our Blessed Hope of Christ’s soon return.

Jesus said in Matthew that “As lightning comes from the east and is visible in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man.”

Know this – Jesus is returning for His Bride. It may not be today or it may not be tomorrow, but one thing I do know, it’s very, very soon!

The Blessed Hope of Jesus return is a tenant of our faith. A tenant is an unswerving, unchangable, foundational belief we use as an anchor for how we live our lives.

God’s Word is clear. Jesus is coming soon! The prophecies are being fulfilled daily. The signs of the times are every where. Keep the East Gate of your Blessed Hope strong and intact.

The ninth gate is The Horse Gate.

Horses are always symbols of warfare in the Bible.

In this respect, this gate represents the warfare we have with the enemy of our soul.

We are in a battle whether we realize it or not and whether we like it or not.

Us wishing it away doesn’t change the fact that satan hates your guts and has as his singular goal to destroy you.

But have no fear. Worry not! God is bigger and greater in you!

Revelation 19 describes the battle that ends all battles when Jesus gets on His white horse and, with us riding along behind, comes to defeat the enemy once and for all, setting up a kingdom that will never end wherein will dwell righteousness!

If your Battle Gate is in disrepair, if the enemy has easy and regular access to your life, if you feel like wherever you turn your walking in defeat, then set this door strongly in place and know that God fights your battles for you and you’re on the winning side!

The tenth gate is The Inspection Gate.

This is where judgement took place, where things were measured up, disputes were settled, and examinations of people’s claims took place.

This speaks to us examining our lifestyle choices.

Do your words, your thoughts, your choices, your priorities, your hobbies, your use of time, talent, and treasure, line up with what you know God’s Word says about it?

If not, be courageous enough to change. Repent. Live like Jesus did.

He’s our go-to model to compare our lives to.

This gate is the smallest of all the gates. For it’s the small gate and the narrow road leading to it, Jesus said in Matthew 7, that leads to life, and few find it.

So how are your gates? May God help you and me to get them in repair and working order, strongly installed in our lives.

The Ten Gates

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THE TEN GATES (1-5)

Nehemiah 7:1, “Once the walls were built and I had set the doors in place…”

The walls of the city had been complete, but the doors needed to be installed. Without the doors set firmly in place the city was still vulnerable to outside attack.

Same with us.

There were 10 gates or doors around the city of Jerusalem. Each had a name. You can find these names in Chapter 3. What do these doors have to do with you and me?

I believe quite a lot. Let’s look at the first 5 gates/doors and see how they connect to the doors of our lives today.

The first gate was the Sheep Gate. This gate represents the sacrificial Lamb, Jesus, and His work for you and me on the Cross of Calvary.

It all begins at the Cross. As Believers we must remain at and cling to the foot of the Cross. It is there we learn to live a sacrificial life of service to others as Jesus did.

The second gate was the Fish Gate.

This represents our Christian witness. The fish has long been a symbol of Christianity. We’ve been called and commanded by Jesus to preach the Good News.

If we struggle to open our mouth to others about the goodness of Jesus in our lives, we might need to get the Fish Gate built back up in our lives.

The third gate is the Jeshanah Gate, which means “old”.

This gate represents Absolute Truth.

Truth is old. But just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s obsolete.

We are in an age where the old truth is being pushed aside for a new, improved truth that is subjective and relative. It justifies lifestyle and morality to fit into what this age wants to do and how they want to live.

But truth has always been truth. A million years before Creation and a million years into eternity, the Absolute Truth of God’s Word will stand.

Jesus is the Word made flesh. And God’s Word says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Word will remain.”

If the Truth Gate has been watered down and compromised in your life, rebuild it and make it strong again.

The fourth gate is the Dung Gate.

This represents a daily purging in our lives. Too many Christians are spiritually constipated. We’ve allowed for too long things like unforgiveness and bitterness to stay clogged up inside of us instead allowing a daily purging to keep us clean and attractive to others.

If you feel your Dung Gate is in disrepair then allow the cleansing of the Lord to make you well again.

The fifth gate is the Valley Gate.

A valley is a low place. This represents humility.

Jesus came to serve and not be served. He’s our example. May we be a humble servant reflecting Christlike humility and reject pride in pride in our lives.

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

May we constantly check to make sure our Valley Gate is in good repair, because the enemy of pride is a relentless foe.

Those are the first five gates. We’ll look at the last five gates next time. But in the mean time, how are your gates doing?

Allow the Lord to help you build up and keep strong your Gates of Sacrificial Service, Christian Witness, Absolute Truth, Daily Purging, and Christlike Humility.

Those around you are in desperate need of these qualities. May we be examples of these things to those the Lord has placed in our lives.

The Gatekeeper, The Cheerleader, and The Head Coach – Nehemiah 7:1

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Nehemiah 7:1 “After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers and the singers and the Levites were appointed.”

The walls of the city remind me of a football stadium, secure all around with only certain predetermined access points. Let’s imagine our lives as a football stadium – our mind, body, spirit, & emotions.

As Believers in Christ we have been reconstructed in Him. We are open for business to the crowd sure to want access to our lives, but first we must, as CEO, “hire” the right staff to manage the stadium of our lives.

Three applicants with flawless resumes and impeccable references rise to the top, and we hire them – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Now that we’ve hired the management staff, we take off our CEO cap and replace it with a helmet, because now we are going be players on the field, which is the battleground called life.

Nehemiah’s 3 appointments have parallels with football and our lives. Read on and see how.

Gatekeepers – among other things, gatekeepers in a stadium are assigned security of the entrances to the stadium. They check for weapons and diligently guard the gates to keep those who want to do harm from entering.

Nehemiah appointed gatekeepers in the same way for the city of Jerusalem.

The gatekeeper of our lives, the guard at the gate of our entry points, is Jesus Christ.

He will keep us from harm, keep us in His care, and keep us to our final destination in Heaven.

Psalm 91:1-16 speaks clearly to this when it says, “The Lord is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

We must allow Jesus to do His job and not override the authority we’ve given Him by allowing anything into the stadium of our lives that would try and corrupt our souls or defeat us.

Allow Him to possess your gates to keep you safe and secure in Him until that day.

2 Tim. 1:12 says, “For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him until that Day.”

Singers- in a stadium they cheer the team to build them up against their opponents, remind them of their great ability to defeat their foe.

Nehemiah understood the importance of singers in the newly rejuvenated Jerusalem. Worship to God kept the people focused on His greatness and reminded them of their need to remain dependent on Him for their strength, protection, and blessing.

In this way, the Holy Spirit is our cheerleader. In the face of adversity, He reminds us of who we are in Christ Jesus and helps us keep our focus on the prize set before us. Regardless of the overwhelming circumstance we may be facing, His job is to encourage us.

In John 14:16-17 Jesus said He would sent us an Advocate (helper, comforter, encourager) to help us and be with us forever – the Spirit of Truth.

The word for this is “Paraclete”. So (and forgive me as I continue in this football analogy) the Holy Spirit is our “pair of cleats” that we must put on and rely upon daily to help us keep our trust in God in this world of slippery, sinking sand. He will encourage us along the way to “don’t give up, you can make it!”

Levites – at a stadium the Head coach calls the plays, manages the team, and metes out discipline. He’s the final word. He’s in control.

Nehemiah saw the need to appoint the Levites, the teachers of the Law, to remind people of God’s expectations for them. They would rehearse the Law with the people and encourage them to follow and serve God with their whole heart.

God is our Head Coach. He’s the one who calls the shots. He purposefully orders our steps, carefully manages us, and lovingly metes out discipline. He is perfectly seasoned, ultimately wise, and thoroughly experienced.

He is in control.

1 Chronicles 29:11-12 says, “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in Heaven and Earth is Yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom. You are exalted as Head (Coach) over all. Wealth and honor come from You. You are the ruler of all things.”

He’s the play caller. He knows what’s He’s doing. God doesn’t need our help in calling the plays, what He needs is our obedience in carrying them out.

So, is Jesus your guard at the gate, keeping you from all harm?

Is the Holy Spirit your cheerleader, speaking to you words of encouragement to help you remain focused on your ultimate prize?

Is God your Head Coach, trusting Him explicitly to call the shots in your life, knowing He has your best interest at heart?

As Nehemiah did in Jersusalem, assign God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit to guide you, watch over you, and encourage you on this football field of life.

The battle is before us and the victory is assured in Christ Jesus!

DO I HAVE INTEGRITY AND REVERENCE FOR GOD? – Nehemiah 7:2

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DO I HAVE INTEGRITY AND REVERENCE FOR GOD? – Nehemiah 7:2

Nehemiah 7:2, “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 reverenced God more than most people do.”

Hananiah didn’t have as the necessary qualities stunning good looks, a charismatic personality, a clever wit, or important political connections, no, he was a man Nehemiah observed as one who had the two very important qualities of integrity and a reverence for God.

I had to ask myself as I was putting this message together, “Do I have the type of integrity and a reverence for God that would qualify me to be placed in charge of some thing like a large city?”

I looked up the word integrity. It has its root in a mathematical term from the word “integer”, which means “intact or untouched.” An integer is a whole number. So if you take that and define “integrity”, it means being whole, complete, honest, sound, dependable.

Based on that definition, do YOU have integrity? In a world filled with half baked, half truths, half way, conditional, and convenient, a person of integrity stands out as an exceptional person, because that person keeps their vows & promises, is dependable, does things with excellence, tells the truth, and can be counted on no matter what.

Oh that we would be a church filled with people like that. Jesus, the perfect example of integrity, modeled for us how to live such a life. And where we lack, Jesus makes us whole. Colossians 2:10 says we are complete in Christ. Let Him make you a person of integrity.

And as far as reverence for God, may we be careful we don’t check that off our list as “done”. Do we really reverence God? Reverence means to stand in dumbfounded awe of Him. We are struck silent in holy respect for who He is. Are you that way towards God? Or has He lost His Holy luster?

Another way to say reverence is “prize, cherish, or value” and what we prize, cherish, and value we prioritize.

Do you prioritize God by valuing Him above all things in your life? Is He #1? Do you prize Him as the precious gift and jewel that He is? Do you cherish your relationship with Him above all else?

THAT’S reverence. And I believe the church of Jesus Christ is sorely lacking in its reverence to God.

The original root of “reverence” has as part of its meaning, “to become aware of”. It’s as if every day we should become more and more awestruck at God holiness, His love, His power, His glory.

Are you becoming more and more aware of these things as it relates to your loving heavenly Father?

Oh that we would stand in an ever-growing awareness of God’s awesomeness in our lives, and as a result may we prioritize, value, cherish, and treasure Him in our lives in a deeper way every day.

It’ll change how you live your life if you do.

May we be a people of dependable excellence and prioritized cherishing of our a God for the world to see.

Please listen to Sunday’s message as you click on the link below. You’ll also find a bonus part of my message that I haven’t included in these Faith Notes as I shared with the congregation something the Holy Spirit spoke to me several months ago when He told me, “Get Ready.”

Listen to the message to hear what He’s told us what we’re to get ready for.

Be a person of integrity and reverence for God. The world around you desperately needs it.

THE 52 DAY CHALLENGE

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52daychallenge

THE 52 DAY CHALLENGE

Nehemiah 6:15-16, “So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”

What could you do in 52 days?

Lose weight? Pay off a debt? Knock out all of the items on your “to-do” list?

52 days from today is December 2, 2014.

There’s much we could do in 52 days if we put our minds to it.

Nehemiah organized a group of people to rebuild a wall around a city, and in 52 days, in spite of the opposition and the size of the task, because of God’s help, he succeeded.

Aside from the personal things we could accomplish in 52 days, what are some things we could do for God’s kingdom in that many days?

Spend time in His Word? 1 chapter a day will get you through 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Titus. That’s 7 books in the Bible!

Prayer? 10 minutes of uninterrupted prayer will net you 8.6 hours over 52 days. Prayer is a crucial discipline of the faith we don’t exercise nearly enough.

Witness? Sharing Jesus with one person a day for 52 days, and them in turn sharing with their friends, and so on and so on, times 10, will result on over 52,000 people hearing about Christ in 52 days!

Beyond that, many of us have had the Lord speak to our hearts over the years to step out in faith and do that “thing”, you know what it is, for Him.

Maybe now is that time. Maybe you can make a difference in the next 52 days that people 2500 years from now will be sharing with their contemporaries.

If not now, why? If not now, when?

May it be said that satan trembled in fear and lost his self-confidence because of the work you did for God’s Kingdom over the next 52 days with God’s help!

Please click on the link below and listen to the entire message, “The 52 Day Challenge”, and then let’s pray and ask God what it is that He wants US to do for His glory and to strengthen His people.

I look forward to hearing the stories of those who accept the challenge and will step out to do something different over the next 52 days.

You are the right person in the right place and the right time to make a difference for God’s Kingdom!