VIDEO Overcoming Challenges

Overcoming Challenges

So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. Nehemiah 6:15

We gathered monthly to hold one another accountable to our individual goals. My friend Mary wanted to reupholster the seats of her dining room chairs before the year’s end. At our November meeting she wittily reported her progress from October: “It took ten months and two hours to recover my chairs.” After months of not being able to obtain the materials required, or find the quiet hours away from her demanding job and her toddler’s needs, the project took merely two hours of committed work to finish.

The Lord called Nehemiah to a far greater project: to bring restoration to Jerusalem after its walls had lain in ruin for 150 years (Nehemiah 2:3–5, 12). As he led the people in the labor, they experienced mockery, attacks, distraction, and temptation to sin (4:3, 8; 6:10–12). Yet God equipped them to stand firm—resolute in their efforts—completing a daunting task in just fifty-two days.

Overcoming such challenges requires much more than a personal desire or goal; Nehemiah was driven by an understanding that God appointed him to the task. His sense of purpose invigorated the people to follow his leadership despite incredible opposition. When God charges us with a task—whether to repair a relationship or share what He’s done in our lives—He gives us whatever skills and strength are necessary to continue in our effort to do what He’s asked, no matter what challenges come our way.

Lord, please equip me with Your strength to persevere and finish the tasks You’ve given me. May my labors bring You glory.

God equips us to overcome obstacles and complete the tasks He’s given us to do.

By Kirsten Holmberg

INSIGHT

What kinds of challenges have you faced? How has God helped you to overcome them?

For further study on the book of Nehemiah, see christianuniversity.org/OT220.


“How to Overcome Challenges in Life” Pastor John K. Jenkins Sr. (Encouragement)

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Grow A Spine: Christian Men Are Just So Soft

020718_church-sitting

I don’t think there is a nice way to say it…especially if you are not really concerned about being nice. It has reached the point where I am almost embarrassed to identify with the sissified men I see representing Christianity.

What in the world has happened to us? Why is the average Christian man so unlike the Christian men that we find in the Bible?

Pick your Bible hero…my favorite is my namesake David…and take a good hard look at him and see if you see his prototype in America today. Biblical men were real men. The fought evil, spoke the Truth, and usually ended up in trouble with the authorities of their day.

It is only modern Christian men who find solace and comfort in bowing their collective knees to the forces of darkness. Has there ever been a time in the history of the world where Christian leadership regarded compromise as a sign of Godliness?

Compromise is weakness. Jesus didn’t compromise. He didn’t go along to get along. The greater the opposition for his revolutionary message the more he doubled-down. Despite what may be modeled for you in your own church, the King of Kings was not a passive I’m-ok-you’re-ok kind of guy.

They crucified him, you know.

This topic is near and dear to my heart because I am often reminded that my “harshness” is a turnoff to some sissy Christian men who wouldn’t recognize a jock strap if it hit them in the face.

John the Baptist didn’t wear skinny jeans. Jeremiah was not into “friendship” evangelism, and Jesus did not surround himself with cookie-cutter senior pastors, ministers of music, or youth ministers that dot the landscape of America’s churches today. He went after the hard core guys…guys who knew how to get their hands dirty…as opposed to today’s Pastor/CEO’s so prevalent in Evanjellyfishism today.

Where did we come up with the idea that Jesus was a softie…a pushover…a Mister Roger’s clone? Help me here. Can you point out for me even one “hero” in the Scriptures that was a weenie?

Christianity is in dire need of a reformation. How in the name of all that is holy have we come to the point where any man who speaks his mind is un-Christian? Have you read the book of Acts? Don’t you understand that those in the Bible who are most famous are the ones who opposed the status-quo? Paul wrote most of the New Testament FROM JAIL. A jail cell was his pulpit.

Not today. No sir. Anyone who stands up and speaks out is considered a troublemaker. Challenging “the authorities” is now taboo…”sewing discord” is what the religious folks call it. Standing up for the Truth, exposing sin, pushing back against the darkness just isn’t very Christian any more.

I heard from one of the listeners to my show last week that I would be more effective in my ministry if I was more Christ-like in my approach.

“What do you mean by that?” I replied to the email.

“Well, you just seem to be so harsh in your approach. You can catch a lot more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.”

“Well,” I responded. “What makes you think I am looking for flies? Flies swarm around things that are dead. Jesus called us to be salt, not sugar.”

“Good one,” he jabbed. “Our pastor is very soft-spoken and he has built a wonderful ministry at our church. Hundreds come to hear his encouraging message every week.”

“Hmmm. It sounds like he has drawn a lot of flies.” I quipped. “I like the fly swatter approach better.”

Christian men have become so soft.

Despite what they want you to believe, it was harsh, non-compromising, Christian men that built this nation. Compromised, soft, milquetoast, Christian men are giving it away.

Christian American men are so deceived. Soft men do not fight. Soft men look to “reach across the aisle.” Soft men pride themselves on their ability to compromise. Soft men tolerate evil. Soft men have soft hands. Soft men go down with a whimper.

Harsh men say harsh things. Harsh men take harsh action. Harsh men inspire real men. The Bible is the story of harsh men taking harsh action during harsh times.

The American Left is harsh. They are Christ-less. They are intent on destroying everything that strong Christian men built. The Left advances only because the Right is soft.

Iron sharpens Iron, the Bible tells us. Well, not today. Iron SOFTENS iron. That is the message of the American church. Sit down, shut up, and get with the program. Don’t make waves. God is love. Don’t be angry.

Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. – Bonhoeffer.

America is being bombarded with evil. Why do we think submission to evil is strength? What type of man cowers in the face of evil?

Soft men. Soft CHRISTIAN men. That’s what our churches are producing.

 

https://barbwire.com/2018/07/29/grow-a-spine-christian-men-are-just-so-soft/

True Riches

Ephesians 1:1-8

Jesus willingly left behind His divinity and for our sake took on the limitations of human form. Second Corinthians 8:9 tells us that He became poor in order that we might have the riches of grace. As a result, we are …

Chosen. God made us part of His plan from the beginning (Eph. 1:5). He chose us to belong to Him even though we did not deserve it.

Redeemed. Jesus paid the price to redeem us from sin so that we might no longer be held in its bondage. The price of our redemption was His precious blood, shed on the cross (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Justified. We are all guilty of disobedience against God. However, when we place trust in Jesus as our personal Savior, God declares that we are justified, and He treats us as not guilty (Rom. 3:23-24).

Reconciled. Because of our sin, we were at odds with God. Through Christ, we have been brought back into a right relationship with Him (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Forgiven. God has already forgiven all our past, present, and future sins; it’s a “done deal.” Ongoing confession and repentance keep us in intimate communion with Him (1 John 1:7; 1 John 1:9).

Freed from condemnation. The Law was given for us to understand God’s standards, our inability to keep them, and our need of a Savior. Jesus fulfilled the law, and His finished work counts on our behalf. We are, then, free to pursue holiness without fear of punishment when we fail (Rom. 8:1-4).

True riches are spiritual in nature, and grace has made us wealthy people. Let us never forget these remarkable reasons to be thankful.

What We Have in Christ

“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:15)

The one who is trusting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord has many wonderful possessions that cannot be seen with our physical eyes but that are as real and permanent as if we were already in heaven. Many of these (only a few of which can be listed here) are noted by the present tense of the verb “have” (Greek echo).

First of all, as our text indicates (and these are the words of Christ!), we who believe in Him have—right now—eternal life. Our sins have been taken care of by the sacrificial death of Christ, “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7; see also Colossians 1:14). Our sins will be remembered against us no more, because we have already been eternally redeemed. Then, also, in spite of all our sins and failures, “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

One of the great resources we now have, but use so seldom, is the capacity to “think God’s thoughts after Him.” “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Having the mind of Christ should keep us from sin. Nevertheless, “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Not only do we have an advocate defending us, but we have a priest as our mediator. “We have a great high priest, . . . Jesus the Son of God” (Hebrews 4:14).

Finally, we already “have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). And all this is only the beginning! “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard . . . the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). HMM

Reproach that hath broken my heart

Psalm 69:1-4, 6-21

Let us read a selection of verses from the sixty-ninth Psalm, in which David was led to set forth the Redeemer’s sufferings before and upon the cross.

Psalm 69:1

Sorrows, deep, abounding, deadly, had penetrated his inner nature. Bodily anguish is not his first complaint; he begins not with the gall which embittered his lips, but with the mighty griefs which broke into his heart.

Psalm 69:2

His sufferings were unlike all others in degree, the waters were such as soaked into the soul; the mire was the mire of the abyss itself, and the floods were deep and overflowing.

Psalm 69:3

Long pleading, with awful fervour, had scorched his throat as with flames of fire:

Psalm 69:4

It may be truly said that he restores what he took not away; for he gives back to the injured honour of God a recompense, and to man his lost happiness, though the insult of the one and the fall of the other, were neither of them, in any sense, his doings.

Psalm 69:6

Our blessed Lord ever had a tender concern for his people, and would not have his own oppression of spirit become a source of discouragement to them.

Psalm 69:7

They first covered our Lord with a veil of opprobrious accusation, and then hurried him away to be crucified. They passed him through the trial of cruel mockings, besmeared his face with spittle, and covered it with bruises, so that Pilate’s “Ecce Homo” called the world’s attention to an unexampled spectacle of woe and shame. Ah, blessed Lord, it was our shame which thou wast made to bear! Nothing more deserves to be reproached and despised than sin, and lo, when thou wast made sin for us, thou wast called to endure abuse and scorn. Blessed be thy name, it is over now, but we owe thee more than heart can conceive for thine amazing stoop of love.

Psalm 69:8-12

What amazing sin that he whom seraphs worship with veiled faces, should be a scornful proverb among the most abandoned of men.

Psalm 69:20

our Lord died of a broken heart, and reproach had done the deed

the heaviness of our Lord in the garden is expressed by many and forcible words in the four gospels, and each term goes to show that the agony was beyond measure great

Psalm 69:21

A criminal’s draught was offered to our innocent Lord, a bitter portion to our dying Master. Sorry entertainment had earth for her King.

 

Behold the Man! by all condemn’d,

Assaulted by a host of foes;

His person and his claims contemn’d,

A man of sufferings and woes.

 

Behold the Man! he stands alone,

His foes are ready to devour;

Not one of all his friends will own

Their Master in this trying hour.

 

Behold the Man! though scorn’d below,

He bears the greatest name above;

The angels at his footstool bow,

And all his royal claims approve.

 


My heart dissolves to see thee bleed.

This heart so hard before;

I hear thee for the guilty plead,

And grief o’erflows the more.

 

‘Twas for the sinful thou didst die,

And I a sinner stand:

What love speaks from thy dying eye,

And from each piercèd hand!

 

I know this cleansing blood of thine

Was shed, dear Lord, for me,—

For me, for all—oh, grace divine!—

Who look by faith on thee.

 


‘Tis finish’d! all the debt is paid;

Justice divine is satisfied;

The grand and full atonement made;

God for his people’s guilt hath died.

 

Saved from the legal curse I am,

My Saviour hangs on yonder tree:

See there the meek expiring Lamb!

‘Tis finish’d! He expired for me!

 

Accepted in the Well-Beloved,

And clothed in righteousness divine,

I see the bar to heaven removed,

For all thy merits, Lord, are mine.

 


Here lies of life th’ immortal Prince,

Under arrest for all our sins;

Prisoner of death, and silent here

He lies till the third morn appear.

 

My faith with joy and wonder sees,

Jesus, thy sacred obsequies;

A burial which has power to save

From death, a burial of the grave!

 

Oh, that I now my wish might have,

And sink into my Saviour’s grave;

Then with my Head triumphant rise,

And wear his glories in the skies.

 


‘Twas not the insulting voice of scorn

So deeply wrung his heart;

The piercing nail, the pointed thorn,

Caused not the saddest smart:

 

But every struggling sigh betray’d

A heavier grief within,

How on his burden’d soul was laid

The weight of human sin.

 

O thou who hast vouchsafed to bear

Our sins’ oppressive load,

Grant us thy righteousness to wear,

And lead us to our God.

 


The enormous load of human guilt

Was on my Saviour laid;

With woes as with a garment, he

For sinners was array’d.

 

And in the horrid pangs of death

He wept, he pray’d for me;

Loved and embraced my guilty soul

When nailèd to the tree.

 

Oh, love amazing! love beyond

The reach of human tongue;

Love which shall be the subject of

An everlasting song.

 

Our Love for Our God

Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)

The taking over of the romantic love ideal into our relation to God has been extremely injurious to our Christian lives. The idea that we should “fall in love” with God is ignoble, unscriptural, unworthy of us and certainly does no honor to the Most High God!

We do not come to love God by a sudden emotional visitation. Love for God results from repentance, amendment of life and a fixed determination to love Him. Then as God moves more perfectly into the focus of our hearts, our love for Him may indeed rise and swell within us till like a flood it sweeps everything before it.

But we should not wait for this intensity of feeling. We are not responsible to feel but we are responsible to love, and true spiritual love begins in the will.

We should set our hearts to love God supremely, however cold or hard they may seem to be, and go on to confirm our love by happy and careful obedience to His Word.

Enjoyable emotions are sure to follow!

 

Promise of Future Meeting

“I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.” John 16:22

Surely He will come a second time, and then, when He sees us, and we see Him, there will be rejoicings indeed. Oh for that joyous return!

But this promise is being daily fulfilled in another sense. Our gracious Lord has many “agains” in His dealings with us. He gave us pardon, and He sees us again, and repeats the absolving word as fresh sins cause us grief. He has revealed to us our acceptance before God, and when our faith in that blessing grows a little dim, He comes to us again and again, and says, “Peace be unto you”; and our hearts are glad.

Beloved, all our past mercies are tokens of future mercies. If Jesus has been with us, He will see us again. Look upon no former favor as a dead and buried thing, to be mourned over; but regard it as a seed sown, which will grow, and push its head up from the dust, and cry, “I will see you again.” Are the times dark because Jesus is not with us as he used to be? Let us pluck up courage; for He will not be long away. His feet are as those of a roe or young hart, and they will soon bring Him to us. Wherefore let us begin to be joyous, since He saith to us even now, “I will see you again.”

 

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