To all our church family and faith-based friends,
I am sure that you have heard the phrase Beware of the Ides of March but it may not be clear to some, what it really means are where it came from. It was the soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare's play of the same name: “Beware the Ides of March.” Not only did Shakespeare’s words stick, they branded the phrase—and the date, March 15th to the 17th with a dark and gloomy connotation. It’s likely that many people who use the phrase today don’t know its true origin. This phrase came me to mind, in light of everything that is happening in the world on our watch. Shakespeare had no idea how this phrase would evolve. Ides is not a word we use at all today but in the past ancients used it as a marker in relation to lunar phases. To borrow the phrase, we can say the day in which we are living has a dark and gloomy connotation about it.
I can hear the Lord saying to His church today, “Take up your sword.” It would be nice to think that we lived in a world without storms, a world without thorns and a world without demon forms but that is not the case. In light of the fact that the spirit of the ant-Christ is always with us, there will always be on stage or in the wings waiting another Putin or Xi for mankind to face.
God plan has always had a man to rise up and face the evil of the day. God has always had someone like Nehemiah, who when he saw things as they really were could not be indifferent. Nehemiah is a good example of a leader who had a forbidding assignment. His job was to build a wall this of course is a good object lesson in the necessity to protect the sovereignty of a city or a nation.
I have found it a good practice to compare what goes on in our personal lives and our country with stories in the scripture. Nehemiah’s life is my story today. Considering his providential and life calling in tedious times we can all take a few hints from the history of Nehemiah of how we should now live. Nehemiah had a word from the Lord and against all odds he took God at his word and moved into action. I love his response to God’s voice. He activates faith in others with these words found in Nehemiah 2:20: “The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore, we His servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem”. How many years do you think the Book of Nehemiah covers? It only covers a decade and change. I want to emphasize, maybe I should say over emphasize the fact that the people had a mind to work and at the same time they were building the wall against and aggressive enemy the wall builders had masons’ trowel in one hand and a sword in the other.
One of the most important life lessons learned here is that his conflict was not only with those on the outside of the wall they were building but also with those on the inside. You may remember Sanballat and Tobiah who lived among them and caused him problems. In the book I am recommending, The Gospel in the Old Testament, pg. 156, by Joseph Farah gives the meaning of their respective names. Sanballat translates: ENEMY IN SECRET and TOBIAH translates: THE LORD IS GOOD. The Tobiah’s are the ones you need to keep your eye on because they certainly did not live up to their name. I am sure, that we all desire, to live up to our name for as Christians we represent Him. These Wall Builders would have been a good example for our military in World War II, when the Philippines were invaded America suffered bitter losses because our civilian contractors building the military base and erecting living quarters for our men, were not soldiers they were craftsmen that had signed on to build the base of operation, in the Philippines. They were not trained to fight, after learning the hard way, a new corp. was born and they were trained to fight as well as to work. They were called the Sea Bees. I am afraid that this is happening in the church at large when discipleship is set aside the church becomes more social than confrontational. It is incumbent on us today to fight the good fight of faith and to lay hold of eternal life. The day in which we live is filled with the language and rhetoric of war and we were BORN FOR BATTLE.
In the final chapter of Nehemiah after the wall had been built the builder became a Reformer. I leave you with this to think about.
“Also, in those days I saw Jews who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. Half the children couldn’t even speak the language of Judah; all they knew was the language of Ashdod or some other tongue.” They could not speak the language of the commandments or the covenant. So how could they obey, if they did not understand what was being taught? Something similar is taking place in the world today but when we forget our past there is no longer a need to exist as we were.
Keep Looking Up, God is Looking Down,
I love you with the love of the Lord and I believe in you.
Pastor Cleddie and GayNell
“HAVE A GREAT WEEK”