Your Place In This World – Nehemiah 9:3

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Do you ever ask yourself, “Where do I belong? Where do I fit in? What’s my purpose in life? Where’s my place in this world?”

Michael W. Smith wrote a song back in 1991 called “Place In This World” that was a huge hit, crossing over into the secular Billboard Hot 100, making it all the way to #6.

It spoke of the angst many people feel as they go through life. “Why am I here?”

“The wind is moving, but I am standing still
A life of pages waiting to be filled
A heart that’s hopeful a head that’s full of dreams
But this becoming is harder than it seems
Feels like I’m…

Looking for a reason,
roaming through the night to find my place in this world, my place in this world.
Not a lot to lean on, I need Your light to help me find My place in this world, My place in this world.

If there are millions down on their knees
Among the many can You still hear me?
Hear me asking where do I belong
Is there a vision that I can call my own?
Show me, I’m…” (chorus)

This song obviously resonated with a generation looking for a reason for being. Every generation, every person, has this heart cry.

We see this restless searching played out in so many ways.

We see it in our world today in the pursuit of elicit relationships, power positions, abundant possessions, & fancy titles.

We see it in the embracing of causes, in the fighting for ideals, in the search for significance.

And while relationships, positions, possessions, and titles are not bad in themselves to pursue, if that is where your identity, your security, and your purpose revolves around, then it’s misplaced and will never, ever be satisfying.

Many folks go through their entire lives never finding that place where they belong. They never truly discover their purpose. They live year after year going through the motions, treading water, doing a lot of activity but getting absolutely no where for all their effort. And at the end of their life they look back with “what ifs” and regrets and “if onlys”.

I don’t want to live my life like that. I don’t want you to live your life like that.

I want to live with no regrets. How about you?

God has an assignment for you and me. God has a place for us. God has a purpose for our existence.

You are wanted and you are needed. Did you know that?

You might say, “God can do whatever He has planned to do without me. He doesn’t need me.”

Can God do anything? Yes. Can He do it without you and me? If He wanted to, sure, He’s God.

BUT HE CHOOSES NOT TO.

God’s plan includes you and me. God’s fulfilled purposes on this earth require as part of His plan our obedience and engagement.

He has a place for you. He has a plan for you. He has a purpose for you being born on this earth in this generation in this place for such a time as this.

He’s placed in you desires and abilities and placed before you opportunities for a reason. And that reason is for you and me to join in fulfilling His master plan.

If you don’t show up, it won’t get done. If you don’t engage, there will be a hole where you didn’t do your part.

Let me say this very clearly today. You are important. Every single one of us are an integral part of the overall effectiveness and impact of the church to the world.

You have a specific assignment and destiny in Christ. You were created on purpose to fulfill a unique assignment that only you can fulfill. And that fulfillment can only be fully realized as you stand in your place before God and never, ever move from it.

Nehemiah 9:3, “The people of God stood in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day (3 hours), and spent another quarter of the day (3 hours) in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.”

They stood in their place and did three things. These three things, when done in our lives on a regular basis, will keep everything in perspective, our walk, our purpose, our reason for being.

At the end of our lives and when we stand before our Maker, if we do these three things while on the earth on a consistent basis, we’ll have no regrets, because we will have fulfilled our purpose for being, our assignment, as these three things will keep us standing in the place for which God has created us to make the difference we are intended to make on this earth for His glory.

The first thing they did was read aloud His Word.

A Jewish day is divided up into 4 segments of three hours each. It begins at sunrise, or around 6am, and ends at sunset, or around 6pm. The evening is divided up the same way.

This special day was a culmination of an eight day celebration, the Feast of Tabernacles, where the people lived in temporary shelters, feasted, and gave thanks to God for His faithfulness and blessings, all revolving around God’s Word.

The Feast was to be a yearly event, one of seven holy celebrations established by God for His people, this being the last of the year, specifically to give honor to God for His goodness in providing for their needs and redirect their hearts back to Him for the upcoming new year.

This eighth day of the celebration was a solemn assembly, where the people removed themselves from the festival atmosphere and moved into a place of solemn reverence at and around God’s Temple. Nehemiah 9:1-2 says they separated themselves from the world, fasted, and humbly wore sackcloth and ashes as they cried out to God.

There was as a regular activity a morning and an evening sacrifice. An animal acceptable to God would be presented by the priest as a sacrifice at the first watch of the day, between 6-9am, and again at the last watch of the day, between 3-6pm.

The events listed in Nehemiah 9:3 therefore occurred in between these two daily sacrifices, roughly between 9am-3pm.

The people were coming from witnessing the morning sacrifice, being reminded that their sins were being covered by the shedding of the blood of a sacrificial lamb, which was required by God.

In our NT context, this practice is no longer needed, because Jesus took care of that once and for all. His shed blood, His perfect, holy blood, Him being the once and for all sacrificial Lamb for all of mankind’s sin, satisfies God’s holiness.

As born again Believers who have placed our trust in Christ, we are covered by the blood of Jesus. God no longer sees our sin, but only sees the perfect, holy blood of Jesus who has covered our sins and washed us clean.

We are new creations in Jesus Christ.

The challenge we have is that this truth becomes old hat, common place, and not as powerful and special in our lives as it once was or needs to be.

We take for granted the beautiful thing God has done for us. We abuse the grace that was so painfully and horribly and freely provided for us and we cheapen it by our choices, actions, and lifestyles.

His grace, His work, His blood is no less powerful and deserves no less reverence and absolute gratitude than when we first was made known of it and applied it to our hearts.

As we daily re-embrace the work of the cross, as we remind ourselves of it as the people back then were twice reminded of it on a daily basis in the morning and evening sacrifices, it will give traction to the two things we are called to do that will elevate us to God’s purposes and plans for our lives, living with no regret, fulfilling all that He has for us to do.

Through the lenses of His shed blood and our absolute gratitude of His amazing grace, we revolve our lives around God’s precious Word.

Why do this? Why prioritize God’s Word in our lives? What will this do for us? What will this do in us? What will this do around us?

First, let’s just establish this. 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed…” Everything in the Bible is from God, not man. The Holy Spirit breathed His Word into and through men.

The Word can be counted on. Psalm 119:89, “Your Word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” Jesus, the Word made flesh, said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” You can stake your life on His Word. Deuteronomy 32:46-47 says, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.”

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been at a crossroads in my life only to find an answer in God’s Word. His Word has brought to me strength in times of weakness, guidance when I needed direction, correction when I was straying, clarity in times of confusion, hope in times of discouragement & peace in times of stress.

Throughout my life His Word has been an anchor for me & a solid foundation. I’ve been able to encourage others with His Word, reminding them that His Word trumps circumstances, feelings, or what we think.

There have been times in my life when His Word has been less precious to me & less of a priority. I’ve gotten busy, taken It for granted, and allowed It to become common place.

It’s a lot like a marriage relationship. We get comfortable in it and begin to coast. After a while we ignore the warning signs of inclement weather ahead and begin to loose traction on the slick roads and get in danger of sliding off into a ditch.

The tow truck of God’s powerful Word comes and pulls us out, sets us aright, and instructs us to use precautions going forward.

The people in the days of Nehemiah were in such a ditch. God was pulling them out of the ditch of exile and reestablishing their lives to again revolve around an abiding, ever-growing relationship with God. And as they began to read the Word two more things happened.

The first was a confession of their sins.

His Word exposes our motives, lays bare our shortcomings, and reveals our lack. His Word shows us our inability to live a holy life on our own and our utter lack of being able to earn salvation, while at the same time reminding us of God’s faithfulness, mercy and love revealed to us through Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

As the people listened to the Word being spoken, their hearts were convicted and broken. They realized the error of their ways and how they had strayed. Their only response was to confess their sins to a Holy God.

As we approach God’s Word, whether it be corporately or in our individual quiet times before God, we should do the same.

His Word bypasses our justifications. His Word exposes our compromise. His Word reveals the blindness of our self-deception. His Word gets to the truth. Witnesses may lie, but the evidence never lies.

Our flesh doesn’t like this. Our flesh enjoys justifying, compromising, and living in self-deception. That’s why many run away from the truth of God’s Word, because it challenges our flesh to die.

The Bible warns us in the last days that people will run to where they can get their ears tickled. Modern day interpretation, they’ll go where they’ll hear what they want to hear to justify their lifestyles and surround themselves with people of the same bent as to not live in conviction, but compromise in those areas their flesh wants to embrace.

Our flesh makes a great slave but a horrible master.

Our flesh, when we allow it to rule us, will lead us down all sorts of paths, all, why seeming to start out fun and enjoyable, will eventually lead to sorrow, destruction, and death.

Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

In my years of ministry I’ve seen this happen time and time again. People justify their choices, think they’re exceptions to the rule, rely on God’s mercy and grace to trump His righteous judgment and Holy anger, and think there will be no price to pay for their rebellious choices.

But there’s ALWAYS a price to pay. We will always reap what we’ve sown, in kind and in greater proportion, as we continue down our selfish, fleshly, rebellious paths. It may not happen right away, or even in our lifetime, but one day there will be a price to pay.

We convince ourselves that we’re an exception to the rule. We justify that surely God understands and will give us a pass. He DOES understand, that’s why He’s given us a way of escape, through the blood of Jesus. That is our only pass, as we pass through the blood that cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

Our price was paid only through Jesus blood. All other debt in our lives that we don’t submit to the covering blood of Jesus is a debt we will have to pay with our very souls for all of eternity.

That’s why it’s important to be reminded every day as the folks in Nehemiah’s day were at the morning and evening sacrifices of the cleansing, redeeming, life giving blood of Jesus in our lives, and apply it every day to our hearts, and daily take up our cross and submit to follow Jesus.

And while the fleshly path that seems right at the beginning eventually leads to death, God on the other hand promises to lead us well if we’ll delight in Him. Psalm 37:23-24, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

And not only will He make firm our steps and lead us well, He will keep us all the way to glory. Jude 1:24 says , “He is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy.”

Listen, I don’t know about you, but this is enough to make me want to shout, “Hallelujah, thank You, Jesus, Lord You’re worthy of all the glory, and all the honor and all the praise!”

Think of this sweet deal. Jesus takes our sin and replaces it with His holiness. Jesus takes our curse and gives us blessing. Jesus takes our filthy rags and robes us in His righteousness. Jesus takes our sickness and gives us healing. Jesus takes our lack and gives us His abundance. Jesus takes the sting of death and gives us eternal life.

And all because He loves us! He loves you and me so much that He did this for us without any guarantee that anyone would take Him up on it.

Jesus has given us all we need to live a life of joy, victory, peace, effectiveness, and purpose.

These folks back then realized this as they heard God’s Word. Their confession and repentance led them to the next thing, they worshiped.

They saw their lack and rejoiced in God’s provision. His Word not only exposed their sin which led to confession and repentance, but it caused to flow out of them rivers of rejoicing & thanksgiving through heartfelt worship.

When was the last time you allowed a song to get beyond your mind and absorb into your heart? When was the last time the lyrics of a Holy Spirit inspired worship song moved you to fall to your knees, lift up your hands, raise your voice, bring tears of gratitude to your eyes, & soften your heart?

When was the last time you got lost in His presence?

Music is merely a vehicle to transport us into God’s presence. But worship isn’t only just music. Worship is prayer, worship is an intimate time of loving and thanking Jesus through personal heartfelt expressions. It’s a corporate experience as well as an individual one.

And it’s so necessary in our walk with Christ.

Christian Author David Hunt says, “Worship is not a repetitious exercise of rituals and formulas. These create a veil that actually prevents us from enjoying the presence of the Lord. Worship is the heart poured out in gratitude and awe, expressing our appreciation of who He is and what He has done for us by His grace through Jesus Christ.”

The people in Nehemiah’s day expressed their gratitude and awe for God’s mercy, faithfulness, and love. Their response to God’s Word was one of repentance and worship.

We have a reason to rejoice. We have a reason to be thankful. We have a reason to worship.

This reason gives us purpose. This reason gives us direction. This reason explains why we are here and how we can live with no regrets, because we will have fulfilled our purpose for being, our assignment.

We asked at the beginning of this message, “Where do I belong? Where do I fit in? What’s my purpose in life? Where’s my place in this world?”

The answers- you belong to God. You fit within His master plan. Your purpose is to have relationship with Him and out of that relationship fulfill His plan in and through us. And your place is walking out your God-given purposes with no regrets until He returns.

Let’s live our lives before Christ with no regrets. Let’s live on purpose. No more coasting. No more delays. You have a God-given assignment. Find it, then stand in it and walk it out. THAT’S why you’re hear. It’s a relationship with God that leads to your God-given destiny in Him. That is your place in this world. How about it?

Be Ye Separate – Nehemiah 9:1-2

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Be Ye Separate – Nehemiah 9:1-2

Opening Video – Carter Conlon (Full Sermon)

9/11 was a horrible day in our country, and for several weeks our nation made a slight but noticeable turn back to God. Churches were packed, the fragility of life became pronounced, and people for a moment reevaluated their lives as it related to God.

Fear will do that. Foundations being shaken will do that.

That’s why I’ve found that folks are so much more open to eternal things, salvation, where we go after we die, stuff like that, when a tragedy or a death occurs in a family.

All of a sudden the urgent and busy things of life take a back seat to the truly important, the foundational, and the eternal things of life. “Why am I here and where am I headed? And how does God fit in to all of it?” It brings a soberness and clarity to what’s really important, at least for a time.

My job and privilege as your pastor is to love you and to shepherd you.

I’m to point you in the direction of refreshing green pastures. I’m to protect you from the predators who would desire to devour you.

I’m to speak the truth in love to you. I tell you not what you WANT to hear, but what you NEED to hear. I’m not here to feed your flesh, but to destroy it.

I’m not here to entertain you. Church is not a TV variety show and I’m not a contestant hoping to get a good score and your not my judge giving me points on a scale of 1-10 on how well things went in service.

I preach the Word. And may those that have spiritual ears hear. My job is to encourage you when you’re down, fan into flame the embers of godly holiness in your heart, challenge you in your areas of compromise, and get you ready for the Rapture and an eternity in Heaven, all the while inspiring you to pursue fulfilling your God-given destiny on the earth and impacting souls for His kingdom! I point you in the right direction, but only you can walk it out.

If you’re living in sin and compromise in some area of your life, my job is to call it out based on what Scripture says and trust that the Holy Spirit relentlessly makes you feel extremely uncomfortable, with a conviction leading you to repentance.

My job is to not just provide head knowledge information, but to expect a Holy Spirit transformation of everyone who comes to this church. Romans 10:14 says, “How can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

I preach the anointed, never changing, life giving Word of God. I plant and water. God brings the increase. And that increase looks like this – my expectation is that each one in this place is growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ, and out of that growth impacting our world for the cause of Christ.

Each one of us should be in a constant state of intentionally, aggressively, whole-heartedly separating ourselves from evil, from flesh, from wickedness, from the sins that would so easily entangle us, not looking to the left and not looking to the right, and running, running, RUNNING, to Jesus!!

That’s what our text is all about today.

Nehemiah 9:1-2, “On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors.”

These people had for many years allowed the culture to influence them. They became more like the culture around them rather than the culture becoming more like them.

Complacency had set in. Compromise was embraced. And lifestyles became less and less set apart. No more black and white. Gray was the color of choice. I think it’s appropriate that one of the most popular and vile X rated novels of the last couple of years, which now has been made into a raunchy movie, is entitled “50 Shades of Gray”.

That’s where we are as a culture. There’s very little absolute truth, very little black and white. It’s 50 shades of vile, raunchy, X rated gray, and the Church is not far behind, because the Church is not leading, it’s following.

Complacency has given place to compromise, and compromise has given place to ineffectiveness because absolute truth has been replaced with subjective truth and God’s Word has been allowed to gather dust as just a relic from a narrow minded, intolerant past.

In the churches attempt to remain relevant, we’ve become LESS relevant because of our embracing of the supposed new, enlightened, inclusive morality that is being heralded loud and long and crammed down our throats at every turn. We adjusted the standard of God’s Word to fit the morals of the day, making the standard the test. We’ve cut the ropes from the moorings and foundations of our faith and are aimlessly drifting whichever way the winds of moral decay may blow.

But listen to me today, Church, be separate! Run! Run, Church, away from the feel good, watered down, compromised preaching of today! Hold fast to the foundational teachings and eternal truths of God’s Word! Reattach yourself to the absolute, eternal, unchanging truth found in the Holy Bible. Don’t believe the world’s lies. Don’t be influenced by the shifting of the winds. Hold steady!

Church of Jesus Christ, stop following the world’s ways. Stop embracing the compromised culture, stop validating by your lifestyle choices that the direction the world is choosing to go is the right way.

It’s a path that is leading to destruction! So, repent, turn, and run to Jesus!

The generation who came out of 400 years of Egyptian bondage were on the very cusp of entering the Promised Land. Miracle after miracle from God Almighty had brought them to this point. Numbers 14 tells us how the land was theirs for the taking as God was going to make it happen, but out of fear and doubt they shrunk back, rebelled, and were cursed to roaming 40 years in the wilderness until that generation died away.

A trip of a few days took 40 years to complete. Why?

The people chose to believe less of God and His ability. They brought God down to their level. They didn’t account that past miracles from His hand would convey to future continued miracles. As far as they were concerned, God was done doing supernatural stuff. They chose to take matters into their own hands and run the show.

But humans driving the car that was only meant for God to drive never ends well. We drive it into the ditch. We crash. We are too proud to ask for directions and end up in the completely wrong place. And before you know it we’ve driven around in circles for the proverbial 40 years.

Imagine the conversations that took place between the generation who had come out of slavery and their children. I imagine some were bitter against God, but I would think that maybe most of them spoke into their children’s lives hope and encouragement.

“Don’t think like we thought and do what we did. Don’t doubt God. Don’t take matters into your own hands. Don’t be afraid. Trust Him. Believe Him for the supernatural. Believe His promises to show up and do great things in your midst. God did show up for us. I’ve told you of the wonderful miracles He performed for us. But we rebelled, took matters into our own hands, jumped in the drivers seat, and this is the result. It’s too late for me, but it’s not too late for you. Look towards the future with great hope and expectation. Run back to God and never, ever run away!”

Let me ask you a question today. Looking back on the last 40 years of Church history (and let me be clear, we are all individually the Church), have we grown closer to God or further away? Have we been a greater impact on our culture or less of an impact? Are we more relevant or less relevant than 40 years ago?

The answers are obvious as we see the results of what the Church has done to take the steering wheel from God and slowly but surely impose our own will upon what should happen. This generation hasn’t seen the miracles. This generation hasn’t experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This generation has been offered far less than what God’s Kingdom is all about.

And at the same time this generation is being offered such an overwhelming variety and onslaught of distractions and entertainment choices that feed the flesh and starve the Spirit man that it has exponentially sped up the process of joining together with the world in such a way that there is very little distinction between Believers and unbelievers.

But God’s Word says, “Come out and be ye separate!” Run, Church, Run away from the sinking sand of sin and run back to the solid rock of Jesus!

2 Corinthians 6:14-18, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial (satan)? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

The people in Nehemiah’s day stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They wore sackcloth and ashes and fasted. They humbled themselves before a mighty God and repented. They recommitted themselves to honor Him, serve Him, obey Him, and trust Him.

They put Him back in the drivers seat.

Isaiah 52:11, “Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the articles of the Lord’s house.”

This was a plea to God’s chosen people living in Babylon to not be part of the whoring that was taking place in that culture. “Your in it, but don’t be of it”, was the warning. Don’t wink at it. Don’t give it place. Don’t touch it!

We are in a modern day Babylonian culture of filth and decadence, of sin and perversion, of every vile evil thing imaginable.

We, too, have been called to come out from among them and be pure Believers. How? By the renewing of our minds by the washing of the Word. By inviting the Holy Spirit to take the central spot in our lives once more. By moving aside and letting God drive. By not trusting in the ways of man, but wholly leaning on Jesus.

The way we “do church” just isn’t working. The New Testament is replete with testimonies of “signs and wonders following those who believed”.

The signs and wonders attracted people who then heard the Good News, were saved, filled with the Spirit, and went out to tell others, repeating the cycle until the whole world heard of the saving, rescuing power of Jesus Christ.

God wants to do miracles. God wants to reveal Himself to this generation. God wants to pour out His Spirit on ALL flesh as it says in Joel Chapter 2.

But we’re rebellious and doubtful and in the driver’s seat. This will never cut it.

We’ve roamed around in the wilderness for a proverbial 40 years now. Our man driven ways have become the accepted norm. Our way isn’t working. But God is speaking to His Church today. Can we believe Him again for the supernatural? Can we trust Him again to move by His Spirit in our midst and not be afraid? Can we allow Him to drive this thing knowing the destination is going from glory, to glory, to glory?

He has a Promised Land for us. It’s just over the next hill. But I’m tired of just looking over at it, I want to live IN it! I’m tired of hearing stories of past generations where God showed up. I’m tired of reading stories in the Bible of how He moved back then. I want to see it and experience it in the here and now!

Listen, God is always doing a new thing. God is not a static God. He’s always on the move, doing a new thing in the lives and the midst of those who would simply believe and let Him do the driving.

Yes there are giants in the land. Giants of doubt, giants of format and tradition, giants of fear, giants of complacency, giants of fleshly desires. Yes the walls are ominous and seemingly insurmountable, but nothing that can’t be laid to dust with a march and a shout and a breaking of some pots as they did in Jericho!

Caleb and Joshua said to the fearful in Numbers 14:9, “Do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

Do you know that there were 600,000 fighting men in the army of Israel at that time? Even a portion of that army would have been enough to destroy any foe. But they didn’t look at the size of their God, but the size of the opposition. They brought God down to their level and said He wasn’t able to come through. God help us to not do the same!

Let’s not be the doubting, rebellious generation who didn’t possess the land, but their children who shouted at the walls of Jericho and they came tumbling down!

Listen, God has a plan for His Church, and it’s not for us to walk in fear. It’s not for us to lean on our own strength and ability. It’s not for us to control. And it’s not for us to turn and run from.

God’s plan is for us to move forward as He drives, because He is with us and He intends for us to swallow up the enemy! Don’t look at the size of the enemy, look at the size of God who is on our side!

Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

We love the new things. This excites us. We’ll take the blessings all day long. But there’s a price to pay first. Isaiah 43 continues with God imploring the people to seek Him, return to Him, and pursue relationship with Him again. It requires a separation, a setting apart, a repentance, a recalibration, a renewal, a confessing of sins, a humbling of ourselves before a Holy, Mighty, loving God.

Nehemiah 9:1-2, “On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors.”

Be ye separate, set apart. 1 Peter 2:9 declares us to be a “Chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

The children of Israel in the days of Moses decided to do it their way, to their demise.
We’re in a generation who follows God corporately and individually on their own terms, safe, predictable, controlled.

Let’s bust out of that box! Let’s be the generation who takes the land He’s promised and trusts in Him to do the unbelievable, extraordinary, and supernatural in our midst.

To bring glory to His name and strength to His people!

Let me challenge you today to consider who’s in the driver’s seat of your life. What of the world have you embraced as acceptable practices in your life that the Holy Spirit is convicting you of?

Be separate from it. Be set apart. Run away from those things that are sinking sand & deadly, and run back to the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. Do it today.

Then watch what God will do in our midst.

The Feast of Tabernacles & The Millennium

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One day soon an event is going to take place that will effect everyone who is reading this.

Jesus is coming back very soon for His Bride, the Church, in what we all know as the Rapture.

This event will throw the world into instant chaos and confusion. Rising up from all of this confusion will be a man of “peace”, whom we know as the Antichrist. He will rally the world around him and promise peace and safety, which will actually be experienced for 3 1/2 years. But the next 3 1/2 years his true colors and motives will be revealed and literally all hell will break lose, as God pours out His wrath of righteous judgement on sinful and rebellious mankind in what we know as the 7 year Great Tribulation.

At the end of this most devastating time the world will ever know, Jesus will return to the earth and set up His earthly kingdom, what the Bible describes as the Millennial (1000 year) Reign.

As we learned in church this past Sunday, the Millennial Reign has many parallels with the Feast of Tabernacles, the last of the 7 yearly feasts the Jewish people celebrated as designed by God.

Let me quickly list the 6 parallels that we looked at that point not only to God’s faithfulness in the past, but prophetically to what will soon occur in the world.

First, there will be a Harvest and a Crushing. Before the Feast of Tabernacles could begin, there was a harvest of wheat and a harvest of grapes. Only then could the festival begin.

Revelation 14 describes the same thing happening. An angel will come down and harvest souls of the obedient for rescue (The Rapture), and another angel will harvest souls of the rebellious for crushing in the vat of God’s wrath (The Tribulation).

Second, the place of the Feast was of God’s choosing. This place was Jerusalem, where God chose to build His Temple. In the Millennium Jesus will set up His earthly reign in Jerusalem.

Third, everyone was required to attend. The men were required every year, but every seventh year everyone was required. In the Millennium everyone will also be required. Zechariah 14 says those that don’t come celebrate the Feast will be punished with no rain and experience plagues as punishment for their rebellion (keep in mind there will be those who survivor the Tribulation who will still have the sin nature and will rebel against Jesus reign during the Millenium).

Fourth, there are Bookend Sabbaths. Leviticus 23:39 says the first day of the Feast is a Sabbath rest as well as the eighth day. The Millennium will be the same way. At the beginning satan will be bound for a thousand years. The world will experience a rest from the Tribulation that they had just gone through. For most of the next thousand years we will work in the Lord’s administration. Satan will then be released for a short time at the end of the thousand years before he’s permanently disposed of, which will bring another rest. Bookend Sabbaths.

Fifth, there was a solemn assembly. Nehemiah 8:18 describes it. At the end of the Feast there was a gathering for people to repent and recalibrate their lives back to God, to worship Him and renew their covenant with Him.

At the end of the Millennium there will be the most solemn of assemblies the world has ever known, called the Great White Throne Judgement, where everyone will be judged according to their works.

Revelation 20:15 says, “Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

And sixth, there will be an end and a new beginning. Exodus 34:22 describes the Feast as being celebrated at the “turn” of the year. So it was not only the end of the year, but simultaneously the beginning of the new year.

The same with the Millennium. 2 Peter 3 describes a new Heaven and a new Earth being created at the end of the Millennium, after the Great White Throne Judgement, where righteousness will dwell, satan will be permanently disposed of, sin will be no more, and Jesus will reign supreme!

The question God will ask of each of us on that solemn day is, “What did you do with My Son?”

The answer to that question will determine your eternal destiny.

So, what have you done with Jesus?

The only answer God will accept that will usher you in to Heaven will be, “I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior and have served Him all of my days.”

Are you ready? These things I’ve listed will take place.

Make sure you’ve made your life right today with God. There are a million ways to run away from God, but only one way to run to Him, through Jesus Christ.

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Joy In The Journey – Nehemiah 8:17

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Do you remember the day you accepted Jesus?

Do you remember the complete relief, the joy, the peace that bathed over you because you knew you were finally home?

Do you remember the commitment you made to serve Him with all of your heart all the rest of your days?

Along the way, has that joy faded? Has the commitment wained?

The people in Nehemiah 8:17 were ecstatic over God rescuing them from their (70 year) exile and made a recommitment to serve God with all of their heart.

Let us do the same. Let’s recalibrate our lives back to God’s Word in every area we’ve strayed.

There’s truly joy in our journey with Christ.

Double Fruitfulness – Nehemiah 8:16-17

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Would you like to be doubly fruitful? In all you do would like to have double fruitfulness in your life?

If so, read on.

We learned that people in the days of Nehemiah revived the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. Part of this revival was to build temporary shelters out of specific materials, namely branches from 4 trees. We learned these branches represented God’s blessings (connected directly to our obedience to His Word), our fragrant witness of Christ to the world, God’s keeping us through His Holy Spirit until Christ returns, and our long term fruitfulness all of the days of our life.

So we know WHAT to build it with (these temporary shelters called our life here on earth), but WHERE do we build them?

Nehemiah 8:16 tells us. These people built them at 5 different places.

First was the roofs of their homes. This represents our families. Parents, are you modeling for your children how to live a godly life? Children, are you honoring your parents? Are we taking these materials listed above and building them into the fabric of our families?

Second was their courtyards. This represents our communities. Where we live desperately needs the sweet fragrance of our witness of Christ, among the materials listed above. Let’s make sure we’re making available these materials in our communities and make a difference where we live.

Third was the courts of the House of God. This represents our coming together in corporate worship in God’s House. Church is a powerful place where we can God’s presence, God’s people, and God’s Word. It’s a place that God designed for us to grow into the likeness of Christ. Let’s not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but build the temporary shelters of our lives centered around God’s. House.

Fourth was by the Water Gate. This represents staying in close proximity to God’s Word where we can be constantly washed from the filth of the world and keep ourselves re-calibrated back to what God has called us to be. His Word is our standard for living. We would be wise to make sure the temporary shelters of our lives were constructed by the Water Gate.

Finally the fifth gate was the Gate of Ephraim. Ephraim was Joseph’s youngest son, and his tribe set up camp north of Jerusalem. This gate faced that direction, thus the name.

You know what Ephraim means? Double fruitfulness.

Let me clarify something here. When we read this we think, “blessing”. But blessing means “coming in”. Fruitfulness means “going out”. God wants us to be fruitful. This means we’re impacting others, not looking for the good stuff just for us. It’s a selfless approach to life. “What can I do be to be fruitful?” Not, “what can I do to be blessed”.

God wants to bless us, of course, but we are blessed to be a blessing.

These first four, families, communities, Church, and God’s Word, are powerful places to build our shelters, but God wants you to be doubly fruitful in all you do as well!

So, let me declare over you today that as you construct the temporary shelters of your life with the materials listed above in your families, communities, churches, and God’s Word, that you can get the bonus of double fruitfulness, in all you do that God would bless you to be a blessing!

Please click on the link below to listen to the podcast entitled “Double Frutifulness”, as well as others you may have missed from previous Sundays.

May God bless you this week to be a double blessing to others!