Nehemiah 6:19 Good Lesson

Nehemiah 6:19 (KJV)
Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.

The threats against Nehemiah were real. There were people who would have slain him if given the opportunity. Nehemiah also had false friends, men who pretended to work along side him but had allegiance to Nehemiah’s enemies. Also, there were the letters from Tobiah that must have been of a threatening nature, because their intent was to put him in fear.

What I notice is that none of this distracted Nehemiah.

  • He was aware of it.
  • He prayed to the Lord about it
  • He kept a record of it

but he didn’t stop because of it.

Good lesson here.

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Nehemiah 6:19 Good Lesson

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1 Corinthians 11:16 Strong Words

1 Corinthians 11:16 (KJV)
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

The subject is that of authority as designated by length of hair. The apostle states that nature itself teaches men should wear short hair and women should wear long[1]. I suppose it has to do with how impractical long hair is on the working man or the warrior. Both Greek and Jewish culture insisted that, with some rare exceptions, a man should wear his hair short.

I gather that, just as today, there were some who just wanted to argue things like this. It is to them that Paul writes verse sixteen. John Gill makes the following statement regarding this verse and those to whom it refers:

“…a man that is always contending for contention sake, and is continually caviling and carping at everything that is said and done in churches, and is always quarrelling with one person or another, or on account of one thing or another, and is constantly giving uneasiness, is not fit to be a church member; nor ought he to be suffered to continue in the communion of the church, to the disturbance of the peace of it.”

My point has little to do with the hair issue and much more to do with the contention issue. Contentious people, according to Gill are, “…not fit to be a church member.”

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 11:16 Strong Words

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[1] Exactly how long or how short is not provided in the text. I would take that to be based on cultural preferences.

Nehemiah 3:5 Who’s Watching?

Nehemiah 3:5 (KJV)
And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord.

In this exceptional chapter of unity cooperation and sacrifice one group stands out for their lack of participation. The nobles of Tekoa, a city of Judah, “put not their necks to the work“.

  • There were priests at work
  • There were goldsmiths at work
  • There were apothecaries at work
  • There were rulers at work
  • There were merchants at work
  • There was even a man with his daughters at work

But these nobles, for whatever reason, chose not to join in the work.

And Nehemiah saw it.

Could Nehemiah be a picture here of God, who knows and sees all and is keeping a record of our works? The Bible says of the Christian that “every man’s work shall be made manifest … of what sort it is.”[1]

Imagine the judgment seat of Christ where we are all judged and rewarded for our service as believers. People of all ranks and races stand before the Lord to receive their rewards. But then it comes to you. The only remark is, “He put not his neck to the work.” No wonder God wipes away tears in heaven.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Nehemiah 3:5 Who’s Watching?

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[1] 1 Corinthians 3:13

Nehemiah 1:10-11 An Answer To His Own Prayer

Nehemiah 1:10-11 (KJV)
Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.
O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

What an interesting way to end a prayer. It is obvious that Nehemiah was recording this as a narrative and expected it to be read years if not generations after the fact. Is it possible that he knew this to be Holy Scripture as he penned it?

Nehemiah had heard of the sad condition of Jerusalem and prayed to God for something to be done about it. But Nehemiah knew himself to be in a unique position to be the answer of his own prayer. As the king’s cupbearer he was able to appeal directly to him for help. He was not only a king’s cupbearer but for the very king who could make a difference. From his request to the king we can see that Nehemiah had already devised in his mind a way to make that difference.

Very often when God puts a thing on our heart He has also put us in a position to be the answer to that for which we pray. We ought to pray. We ought to seek God’s answers. But as we do so we ought also to evaluate our own unique opportunities to affect the answer.

Nehemiah said, “he was the king’s cupbearer.” The answer was going to forever change his life. How prepared are we to have our lives changed, maybe even turned upside down, in order to make a difference for God?

Nehemiah’s accomplishments have been forever recorded. So may ours; no, not in a new chapter of the Bible, but in the history halls of heaven.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Nehemiah 1:10-11 An Answer To His Own Prayer

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1 Corinthians 8:13 I Can, But I Won’t

1 Corinthians 8:1 (KJV)
Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

1 Corinthians 8:13 (KJV)
Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

The student of the Bible ought to bear in mind that the church in Corinth had stretched grace to the point of abuse.

  • They knew that God is forgiving
  • They knew that salvation is forever
  • They knew that idols were nothing
  • They therefore behaved presumptuously.

This chapter addresses that presumption of grace. The Apostle began by first acknowledging their understanding concerning things offered to idols. Truly they are nothing. Then he inserts a contrast; “knowledge puffeth up but charity edifieth.”

The chapter progresses along the line of that contrast until it arrives at the conclusion in verse thirteen. I think the chapter might be summarized by a single statement, “I can but I won’t. ” That, I believe, is a quality that Christians should strive to possess; the awareness that in Christ we are perfectly free coupled with a heart that places boundaries around us for the sake of others.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 8:13 I Can, But I Won’t

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Ezra 7:15-18 When We Give

Ezra 7:15-18 (KJV)
And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,
And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:
That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.
And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.

The king’s offerings were to be used:

To speedily buy
The purpose was so there would be no hindrance in buying and doing what ought to be done in the house of the Lord. They had already waited. This offering was meant that no delays should continue.

To provide offerings of all sorts in God’s house
The work of God has many facets. We:

  • Preach
  • Sing
  • Worship
  • Evangelize
  • Welcome
  • Encourage
  • Assist

All of these in alignment with our commission. All of them require financial resources. All of them are to be supported by the freewill offerings of God’s people.

To do what seemed good
The king’s offering was generous and would certainly cover the necessary things. It was anticipated that it was also generous enough that there would be money enough for things that were unanticipated. In that case it had been released to be used at the discretion of Ezra.

See here lessons in our own offerings to God. We have been made not only priests, but kings. We give not of necessity but freely. When we give generously as we ought, our offerings are meant to meet the needs of the house of God and the rest to be used at the discretion of our preacher for the good of the ministry.

(More applications are found throughout the rest of the chapter)

 

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Ezra 7:15-18 When We Give

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Ezra 5:2 The Preacher’s Best Function

Ezra 5:2 (KJV)
Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

I have long contended that the prophets of the Old Testament had ministries comparable to that of the New Testament preacher.

  • They were not priests (though they could be from priestly families)
  • They were not regulated
  • They were not employees but Servants of God
  • They were often contemporaries and worked side by side
  • They sometimes were contemporaries but had little to no relationship with one another

Here we find two prophets who were contemporaries, knew each other and worked together for a common purpose. Could this be viewed as a rudimentary fellowship?

The Bible says these prophets instructed the people to begin work on the Temple again and that they helped them build. I have my suspicions that they picked up tools from time to time. I doubt that they were afraid to get dirty. But the most valuable help they could give, and that help that all of the commentaries point to, is help to:

  • Inspire
  • Motivate
  • Guide and
  • Maintain focus on the work

No preacher should mind picking up a hammer and saw. But the preacher’s best function (and probably most challenging) is in keeping others at the work.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Ezra 5:2 The Preacher’s Best Function

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1 Corinthians 5:13 A Severe Blow Against Sin

1 Corinthians 5:13 (KJV)
But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

We have here an example, and not the only one, in the Bible of our thin skinned, hypersensitive nature today. We would have an outcry if a preacher pointed as clearly as Paul did to this young man and called him a wicked person.

It is true that this man’s sin was exceptional but it is also true that the church had been generous with him and his sin. Their generosity towards sin compares to our own. They felt like God’s grace overruled the nature of the sin just like today’s Christian thought insists that grace overrules any sort of sin:

  • Living together
  • Homosexual behavior
  • Licentiousness
  • Abusiveness

You name the sin and there will be a church somewhere willing to overlook it, probably even excuse it. How dare we call anyone a wicked person?

Notice the hard nature of Paul’s exhortations concerning this one:

  • He was to be excluded from the church
  • He was to be excluded from the fellowship
  • He was to be delivered to Satan

I want to quickly point out that there was provision for his restoration. In the second letter to Corinth Paul will tell them to receive him back.

But the restoration likely would never have happened if there had not first been a severe blow against his sin.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 5:13 A Severe Blow Against Sin

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1 Corinthians 4:5-6 The Most Disobeyed Passage in the Bible?

1 Corinthians 4:5-6 (KJV)
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

These may be some of the most disobeyed verses of the Bible.

Paul urges us, with respect to those ministers of Christ we have come to admire, not to judge anything “before the time”. We tend to disregard this.

  • We judge which pastors are successful and which are not
  • We judge which preachers have the anointing of God and which do not
  • We judge which preachers are effective in the pulpit and which are not
  • We judge who is worthwhile to follow and who is not

We have all sorts of ways to justify this behavior; we aren’t, in our minds, calling one better than the other. We are only identifying which ones to follow. After all Paul said to follow him as he followed Christ.

Paul warns that the danger is that we would get puffed up; not in ourselves but in our favorite preacher. Tell me it isn’t true that whole fellowships of churches have been built around a favorite preacher. Tell me that those fellowships of pastors and churches have not engaged in thinking their leader (or leaders) is better than some other group’s leader (or leaders). Tell me that no one has ever been puffed up against another believer because they think the guy they follow is more of a man of God than the guy this other group follows.

I realize that false doctrine exists. I say we should carefully judge doctrine and denominations. We should and we must. However, within the ranks of sound Baptist churches, no one should ever judge one man’s ministry over another.

We do not know how the Lord will judge them in His time.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 4:5-6 The Most Disobeyed Passage in the Bible?

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1 Corinthians 3:6-8 Only Christ is Something

1 Corinthians 3:6-8 (KJV)
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

It is easy for us to compartmentalize the Bible so much that we miss its full message. We have an example of that here where Paul picks up a subject that was first found two chapters earlier. Apparently he was not finished. This tells us that any proper understanding of the second and third chapters requires that we understand it in the context of schisms and the dangers of having “favorite” preachers.

The point that our apostle was making is that only Christ is “something”.

  • Paul was nothing
  • Apollos was nothing

These two men, and countless like them over the last two millennia, were just laborers.

  • Some of them planted
  • Some of them watered 
  • Some of them harvested

In every case, however, the increase came of Christ or else it was no increase at all.

We are all equal. We are all nothing. Only Christ is something.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 3:6-8 Only Christ is Something

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