Sleep; June 11, 2021

Psalm 4:4, 8 In your anger do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

In my experience, there are three common hindrances to getting good sleep. One is simple jet lag, being physically out of sync with your body’s natural rhythms because of the speed of modern transportation. When you think about it, that’s very much a luxury complaint! Another hindrance is physical pain or discomfort. My wife is all too familiar with that, and she’s not alone in that situation. However, by far the most common source of insomnia seems to be mental or emotional distress, and that’s what David is touching on here. It’s interesting that the Japanese renders the first line of verse four as, “Be respectfully fearful. Do not commit sin.” Paul certainly agreed with how the NIV renders it, when he quoted it in Ephesians 4:26! With either rendering, however, the point remains that when we lie down we need to release things to God, letting Him be the arbiter of everything and not trying to impose our will and desires on situations that concern us. We can get really worked up about a lot of things, and when we essentially try to wrest control away from God, that’s sin. Getting proper sleep is a major factor in our general happiness. The devil wants to steal or destroy that happiness, so he works to disrupt our sleep. As James said, we are to submit to God and resist the devil. (James 4:7) Submitting to God specifically includes releasing to Him all the issues we are worked up about. This sort of thing is why we speak of “sleeping like a baby.” Any parent can tell you that babies don’t necessarily sleep through the night, but if they are in a warm, peaceful home environment, they at least don’t worry about anything, and so generally sleep easily and well. The better we realize that we are children of our heavenly Father, the more we can do that as well.

I have had my times of insomnia, certainly. I’ve had a few times of sleep-inhibiting pain, from broken ribs, kidney stones, and surgery, but those have been a marginally small percentage of my life. Going back and forth across the Pacific, I’m certainly very familiar with jet lag! However, it’s the emotional turmoil I have dealt with most often. Anger is no friend of sleep! As Don and Katie Fortune pointed out to me, we tend to think that “sleeping on an issue” can resolve the anger involved, but it actually just lets it migrate to our subconscious, to build up and come out later. The second half of Ephesians 4:26, where Paul quotes verse four here, says, “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” I have learned that is superb, practical advice that avoids a lot of trouble down the road. Individuals I can choose to forgive, but when it is societal issues that have me upset, I’ve simply got to release them to God. Things may be a mess now – and they are – but He’s not through! He told me several years ago to rest, relax, and rejoice. That’s in perfect sync with this passage, and will give me the sleep I need.

Father, thank You for this very practical reminder. I was talking with my students just yesterday about their need for sleep. I don’t want them to try to get it in class, but at their age, they tend to prioritize all sorts of things ahead of sleep. I pray that I would always speak the truth in love, so that the devil’s works may be destroyed right and left, (1 John 3:8) for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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Bold Prayer; June 10, 2021

Psalm 2:8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.

The Creator is speaking to the Messiah here, the Father to the Son, but there is still a principle that we, the Father’s much lesser children, need to learn. That is, our prayers should be bold and big. A song has been written that combines this verse, Isaiah 6:8, and 2 Corinthians 5:20, inspiring many people to go to foreign nations as missionaries, Christ’s ambassadors. Some people react negatively to that, saying that it it is self-centered pride that asks for nations. I don’t think so, but then I’m a missionary! I think the world might be a much better place if more people were to ask God for the nation where they are, or the company where they work, or even their own family, not as a personal trophy but for the kingdom of God. When we do that, we have to offer ourselves to God for Him to use in accomplishing that for which we are praying. That’s why the second verse of the song I just mentioned goes, “Here am I. Send me to the nations as an ambassador for You.” If we aren’t willing to be Christ’s representatives, speaking His truth in love regardless of any fears or obstacles, then such bold prayers are just words. We are to pray boldly, speak boldly, and act boldly, not for our personal benefit but so that God’s name may be acknowledged as holy and His kingdom come as His will is done, specifically by us first, for His glory and not ours.

Most people consider me a “foreign missionary” but I wonder about that designation, not only because I was born and raised here but also because I have no “sending body” to which I report. As my wife very wisely said when we were in seminary in the US, we’d rather be Lord sent than board sent! The IRS doesn’t consider me a missionary because my income has been from teaching in secular schools, rather than from “missionary work.” However, I have indeed asked the Lord for Japan, the nation of my birth, and specifically for the city of Omura. He has given us the vision of Omura again being the foremost Christian city in the nation, as it was 450 years ago. That is absurd from the human perspective, but nothing is impossible for Him. I cannot possibly make it happen in my own strength and wisdom, but I can keep myself available to Him to be used however He pleases. To this point that has meant simply being here, establishing myself as a part of society for the past 40 years. I have gained a voice that I would not have had otherwise, and I pray that my voice, and my life itself, would be fully useful to the Lord in fulfilling the vision He has given us.

Father, thank You for Your calling. Thank You for Your patience with me and for using me, in spite of myself at times. I do ask afresh for this city and this nation, that multitudes would be brought out of the traps of the devil and into Your family, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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Forgiveness; June 9, 2021

Job 42:10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.

We are often very slow to realize that blessing others results in our blessing. Here, Job’s full restoration came when he prayed for his friends – the very friends who ridiculed him and put him down to the point that they became proverbial. The more we get caught up in “What’s in it for me?” the less we are able to grasp the true blessings God has for us. I am constantly telling couples that the more each of them chases their own pleasure and happiness, the further it goes from them. It is when we focus on blessing each other that we discover the riches God has prepared for us. Of course, marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships, but that applies to a lesser degree to all of our relationships. That very much applies in the area of forgiveness. When we focus on how we have been hurt, wronged, or whatever, the pain and destruction of that injury just keeps going deeper. When we release that injury to God and choose to forgive the person who inflicted it, then healing begins. We say, “Time heals all wounds,” but that isn’t necessarily true. If those wounds aren’t released to God, then time tends to just drive them deeper and cover them over so they manifest differently. It’s said as a joke, but flipping that around to, “Time wounds all heels,” is if anything actually more accurate! When we are being heels, that is, self-centered jerks, we are ignoring and refusing the blessings God intends for us as His children. We all tend to be self-centered, but recent studies have shown that little children have an innate tendency to altruism, desiring to help others and offering help, often to the great surprise of adults. Sadly, that tends to get trained out of them rather quickly.

I am often quite aware of my own self-centered tendencies, but I have learned the blessing of blessing others. I just need to seek that blessing a bit more consistently! I’m very grateful that forgiveness comes much more easily to me that it seems to do for many people. Taking offense has never been a hobby of mine! I think that has been key to the high level of happiness I enjoy. I do get worked up about various things at times, but I have learned that holding onto them benefits no one, least of all me. Along with that I have learned that forgiveness is not at all the same thing as giving permission. That is a major issue in Japan, because the two words, though written differently, are homophones, and the average Japanese isn’t even aware of the character that means forgiveness as the Bible speaks of it. There are people who have wronged me and/or this church. I believe I have forgiven them, but I would not put them again in any position of responsibility until they showed concrete evidence of repentance. Some have, but some have not, and I need God’s wisdom and guidance in each case.

Father, every time I come around to this subject I am reminded of how incredibly forgiving You have been of me. Thank You. My response has not been adequate, because I keep doing things that need forgiveness! Help me remember that in my dealing with others, so that I will indeed forgive them from my heart and pray for their blessing, allowing Your grace to flow to us all, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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Fellowship with God; June 8, 2021

Job 33:26 He prays to God and finds favor with him, he sees God’s face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God to his righteous state.

This passage (14-30) is one of my favorites in the whole Book of Job. I have written about the many different ways God speaks to people, and that His purpose is always redemption. Right now I want to focus on the joy of fellowship with God. Elihu is a unique character in Job, because he is not one of the original three friends and he is not included in God’s strong words about them in the last chapter. That leaves open the interpretation that his words are fully accurate, and indeed, some have postulated that he is a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. Here he is speaking of the blessings of redemption, and they are indeed magnificent. The following verses make it clear that there has been genuine, humble repentance, but this verse hones in on the joy of re-connection to God. We do not see God’s face physically in this life, but He does grant awareness of Him that can be absolutely overwhelming. “Shouting for joy” isn’t the half of it! That’s a major reason the devil tries so hard to keep people from discovering genuine praise and worship. We certainly need the foundation of taking in the Bible regularly and frequently, and we need the freedom of opening our hearts to God in prayer, but the clearest awareness of His presence generally comes through praise and worship. The danger in that is that focusing on the feelings eventually leaves us empty and open to deceit. I cannot say enough that we need the foundation of God’s Word in our hearts and lives, and a hunger for more of Him through His Word. On top of that, failure to pray betrays a failure to believe. A prayerless life is certainly a powerless life. With those elements in place, God indeed reveals Himself to us, both tenderly and gloriously. Our physical bodies can’t take a full revelation of Him, (Exodus 33:20) but He shows us as much as we can handle, and nothing on this earth can compare. I really think that may be why God allowed the addictive response in us when He created us, because we certainly need to be addicted to His presence!

As I have written many times, I grew up loving Jesus, but I didn’t experience Him in glory until after I had repented of my spiritual pride. Even then it took time for me to learn the joys of praise and worship. At this point I can say that I have had moments of being more sure that God was real than that I myself was real. I have shouted for joy, I have danced in ecstasy, and I have wept in total awe. It’s exactly as the song, I Can Only Imagine expresses it. At the same time, I will confess that in this life, those things fade. We cannot live on that sort of peak in our physical state. Even having tasted God like that, I have sinned again, repented again, and been restored again. God’s grace is beyond amazing! That’s why I have such a sharp anticipation of heaven, where we will be freed from the very presence of sin and nothing will get in the way of our total fellowship with our Creator and Lord. Meanwhile, it is a joy to introduce others to such a gracious God. As a pastor I seek to encourage all of the believers to lay the foundation of Scripture, pray without ceasing, and delight in the fellowship that stems from that, in praise, worship, and obedience.

Father, thank You for this clear reminder. Help me indeed walk with You consistently, drawing many to join me, for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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Values; June 7, 2021

Job 21:16 But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked.

Job here touches on an issue that comes up in the Bible many times and is still common all around us: envy of those who ignore God and still seem to prosper. The thing is, a shallow person would rather have things easy here and now than have a guarantee of eternal life. Not many come to the realization King Hezekiah did: “Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.” (Isaiah 38:17) We look at wealthy people of all sorts and would like to change places with them, not realizing that their life choices may well have condemned them to an eternity too horrible to imagine. It is true that a certain level of income correlates to less stress in life, but people who fixate on that lose sight of what is genuinely valuable, both on this earth and for eternity. Someone who worked several years as a Hollywood script writer has commented that the most miserable people they knew were what they called “trust fund kids,” people who never had to work for anything and so never had any real sense of accomplishment. The vast majority of Americans live in what would have been extreme luxury for most of history, but that makes them all the more prone to the attitude expressed in the verse just before this: “Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?” (Job 21:15) When you’re only focused on “What’s in it for me,” you miss out on the whole point of existence.

Like Paul, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12) I will certainly concede that having sufficient funds is much easier than not, but I have learned that isn’t what determines true happiness. Material things, specifically including money, are entirely temporal and thus temporary. I’m not 100% there yet, but I’m drawing closer and closer to the attitude Paul described: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18) It is one of the paradoxes of God’s economy that the visible is ephemeral! I have found that the more I focus on the values of the next life, that is, God’s kingdom and His righteousness, (Matthew 6:33) the happier I am in this life! That is at complete odds with the values of the world around me, and sadly, too many Christians haven’t updated their value systems. When we’re more concerned with the latest in social media than we are with what God is saying to us, we are being deceived.

Father, it’s easy to be tempted to feel holier-than-thou when I look at the world around me, but that is a major trap. Thank You for the memory I have of my own failures before You, reminding me of my own need for Your grace. Help me be an open channel of that grace so that Your Spirit through me may open people’s eyes to You and to what is genuinely valuable, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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Suffering; June 6, 2021

Job 16:19-21 Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.
My intercessor is my friend
as my eyes pour out tears to God;
on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as a man pleads for his friend.

Comparing the English and the Japanese there are obviously some difficulties in translating this passage, but any way you cut it, there is some serious theology here. The NIV says, “My intercessor is my friend,” saying what we would like this passage to say, but the Japanese goes with what the NIV gives as a footnote, “My friends treat me with scorn,” which certainly reflects Job’s experience. Likewise, the Japanese renders “he pleads with God” as a request: “may he intercede with God.” Even with all of that, however, this passage presents the idea of an intercessor in heaven, and that is something we tend to think of as a New Testament concept. Both Paul (Romans 8:34) and the writer to the Hebrews (Hebrews 7:23) speak of Jesus as our heavenly Intercessor, but here, hundreds of years, at least, before Jesus was born, Job is bringing up the concept. Job thinks that it is God personally who is bringing all his suffering onto him, but even so he doesn’t abandon his conviction that God is ultimately just. In our modern luxury we have developed an “easy street” theology, teaching and preaching that since God is both good and omnipotent, everything should be sweetness and light. It’s not that God isn’t good or that He isn’t omnipotent, but that flies in the face of human experience throughout history. Jesus Himself told us clearly, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We live in a fallen world that has lots of suffering in it. We aren’t to be all doom and gloom, expecting suffering at every turn, but we aren’t to be surprised by it either. There are many, many things we don’t know or understand, so we need to anchor our hearts in the awareness and conviction that Jesus is on our side, and in Him, we win!

I was recently impressed to read that Andrew Brunson, the missionary who was freed from a Turkish prison by Donald Trump, has said that modern Charismatic theology has left believers unprepared for the persecution that the Bible is clear is coming, and that he thinks is imminent. I think he has a real point. I don’t feel like I personally have suffered very much, but my wife has a list of medical conditions, with Parkinson’s Disease currently being prominent, that have made her entirely too familiar with pain, both physical and emotional. By extension, that is my suffering as well, since over 52 years of marriage we are indeed one. I don’t blame God, but I do know that nothing can happen without His permission. At the same time I also know that “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I have no question that Cathy and I both fit into that category, so I am also convinced of the truth of something else Paul wrote: “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) I am to look forward to unspeakable glory, but not to be surprised at any bumps along the way, no matter how severe.

Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Thank you for getting us through the long, but very productive, day yesterday. Thank You for Your plans for today, and for the message You’ve given me to share. I pray that I would do so by Your Spirit, to produce Your desired results in all who hear, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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False Religion; June 5, 2021

Nehemiah 6:14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.

It is interesting that there was a group of “spiritual” people in opposition to Nehemiah. That includes Shemaiah, talked about in the four verses just before this, who had been hired to “prophesy” against him! This is just one of many examples of this sort of thing in the Bible. Just because someone puts on pious airs doesn’t mean they are following the Spirit of God! I am reminded of Bibi Netanyahu, and before him, Donald Trump. Anyone who is actively promoting things that thwart the devil’s activities is going to have some religious people arrayed against them. Religion is no guarantee of a genuine connection with God! It is very dangerous to forget how devious our enemy is. We need humility as well as conviction, seeking our Father’s will by His Spirit so that we won’t be deceived. One of the clear lessons of the Bible is that false religion is a major trap, and that’s not limited to things that are clearly pagan. There are many places where religious leaders of all sorts were distracted at best, and completely co-opted at worst, by the devil, and that’s not limited to the Old Testament, either. And the difficult thing is that the same person can be on different sides of the fence from one moment to the next. Jesus told Peter on one occasion, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Mark 8:33) and even Caiaphas gave an accurate prophecy of the redemptive work of Christ Jesus. (John 11:50) We need discernment so that we won’t be among those deceived. We need to let God show us people and events through His eyes so that we will know what He is doing and what He wants us to do. That again is why familiarity with the Bible is so essential, because as Paul reminds us, even the devil can seem like “an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

I must not get holier-than-thou about this. I have doubtless been a purveyor of false religion at times myself. The more I am used by God, the more I must do so in absolute humility, not trying to bend things to suit me. I took part in a discussion just yesterday in a Missionary Kid Facebook group, involving those who have given up on church and those who haven’t, and even some who have given up on faith. I have certainly been burned by false religion with a Christian label, but I must not let that turn me away from my devotion to the Lord. I must not allow myself to get “hired” by those who might sound noble but who aren’t seeking God and His will. I am to speak the truth in love at all times, even when people insist that my words are “hate speech.” I must never presume that I have a monopoly on God’s truth, but be willing to hear Him any way He wants to speak to me, allowing Him to show me when it isn’t Him speaking.

Father, thank You for this encouragement and caution. Help me indeed discern whether something is from You, and follow You alone, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!

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Prayer and Action; June 4, 2021

Nehemiah 4:9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.

People who never pray are making a huge mistake, but people who only pray and never act are likewise making a big mistake. As I tell people frequently, genuine prayer involves offering yourself to God as an instrument for the answer to that prayer. Nehemiah and those with him were facing an existential threat from Sanballat, Tobiah and crew, so they prayed to the One who could help them, and they also acted in expectation of His help. I have encountered people who thought that human activity was an indication of a lack of faith, but failure to act is often an indication of laziness and presumption. Strictly human activity is a waste of time and energy, and we indeed see a lot of that in churches all the time. However, some people act like they’re too spiritual to work, and that’s the height of foolishness. The problem is, we aren’t very good at discerning what is really going on, and sometimes someone who seems inactive is actually being very faithful in the tasks the Lord has set for them. I have a pastor friend serving in a very difficult location. I first met him at a Christian meeting where he gave a testimony, and it impacted me greatly. He said, essentially, “I have resolved to do nothing.” What he meant was, he was through with humanistic programs, and was committing himself to to do only, but fully, what God showed/told him to do. He has won several of people to faith, and more importantly, he has led them into genuine discipleship to Jesus Christ. He isn’t inactive, he just isn’t going by some humanistic playbook. He has sharpened his spiritual ears to listen to listen to the Lord, and in my opinion, he’s doing a pretty good job of it.

This is something I’ve really struggled with. Japan is very understandably known as a “graveyard of missionaries,” not because of active persecution but because the low “rate of return” causes so many to give up. I have seen program after program generate expectation, only to produce next to no fruit after consuming lots of time and effort. That’s why my friend’s testimony resonated so strongly with me. Going on 40 years of ministry in Omura, our weekly attendance average is certainly less than 20. However, we have had several people commit to full-time ministry (though not all have followed through) and this month we will finish paying off the land the church building sits on, leaving our solar panels as the only financial debt. I don’t know any details of the Lord’s plans for us, but I do see some encouraging signs, and I want to be active in my obedience. I have accused myself of laziness and being off focus many times over the years, at times with real justification, but God is faithful. My “Sanballat” isn’t anyone I can see with my physical eyes, but he is certainly real. I am to be strong in my Lord, and faithful to Him.

Father, thank You for this reminder, and this encouragement. Help me indeed do everything You desire of me, both in terms of prayer and in terms of physical activity. The attacks, particularly on Cathy’s health, are unrelenting. I ask for wisdom, faith, and faithfulness, so that like Nehemiah, we may push through to the victory that You have prepared for us, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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Emergency Prayer; June 3, 2021

Nehemiah 2:4-5 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king.

This is a perfect example of what has been called a “telegram prayer.” However, with current technology it might better be called a “prayer tweet.” The idea is the same in either case: a brief, emergency prayer, basically along the lines of, “Help!” The thing is, God hears those prayers too. However if that’s the only kind we pray, we don’t have much of a relationship with the One to whom we are praying. Nehemiah was obviously a very devout believer, very familiar with as much of the Bible as he had. We tend to forget that the people recorded in the Bible didn’t have the Bible to read themselves! We have the luxury of the full Bible, giving us a wealth of instruction and inspiration and admonition, teaching us the heart and ways of God. Taking it lightly is the greatest foolishness. Nehemiah was in a unique position to teach him about prayer, because he was a close, and obviously trusted, servant of a very powerful monarch. He knew what King Artaxerxes could do, even on a whim, and he knew that the God of heaven was even more powerful. He related wisely to Artaxerxes, but but his true allegiance and dependence were on God. We too deal with all sorts of people, some of them very powerful in this world’s sight. (The really powerful ones we generally relate to only at a great distance, and/or by proxy.) We must never think that any human individual, or, for that matter, any government or nation, is more powerful that our Creator, who loves us enough that He sent His Son to die in our place so that we might have life in Him. When we have a right relationship with our Creator, nothing can shake us because we are “seated with Him in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 2:6) From that position, every prayer, short or long, is heard instantly.

This is something I know but I’m still learning. This morning a song by a friend who was one of my daughters’ teachers, Tim Johnson, has been running through my mind: “Believe in the dark what you know to be true in the light.” There’s a lot of truth in my head that is still “on the way” when it comes to being in my heart. I am continuing to grow in my relationship with my Lord, but I’m no more “there yet” than Paul was. (Philippians 3:12-14) I too need regular reminders, which is why this habit of morning devotions is so vital to me. Prayer comes easily and naturally to me, but I must never take it for granted, much less downplay its importance. The purpose of my existence is wrapped up in the God who created me, so without question the wisest course for me is to be in a close, obedient relationship with Him.

Father, thank You not only for this reminder, but also for making it clear what I’m to share this coming Sunday. I ask for clear guidance and anointing as I prepare those notes, so that everyone who hears, both in person and electronically, may be drawn into a closer relationship with You, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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Biblical Prayer; June 2, 2021

Nehemiah 1:8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses.”

This whole prayer could hardly be more Biblical. It is entirely focused on God and what He has said, rather than on some sort of wish list. It also definitively answers a doubt I will confess to having had even as a boy. I first read through the Bible by the time I was 10, and pretty early on it struck me that what Moses said about the Israelites going into exile and repenting was remarkably specific and accurate as to the historical facts as we know them, and I thought they might have been added by a later editor after those things came to pass. However, here we have Nehemiah quoting that very passage, (Deu­teronomy 30:4) asking God to fulfill what He had promised. The Bible is remarkably consistent, confirming itself in various ways, even though it was written, and yes, edited, by many different people over many centuries. God has kept watch over His Word, and that’s all the more reason to receive and believe it. Those who love to quibble and split hairs do so because at heart, they don’t want to obey it. It is far wiser and more fruitful to do what Nehemiah did, taking it to heart even when it calls for repentance – or especially then – so that we may also enjoy the gracious promises of blessing. It may seem like the Bible isn’t very specific to us today, but that is hardly the case. Human beings haven’t really changed! We need to realize that it is talking about us and to us, and that there are many prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled. Many people today feel we are at some stage of the events described in the Revelation to John, but that’s far from the whole picture. We need to take the Bible in as God’s Word to us right now, and even pray it back to Him as Nehemiah did, so that we may participate in His plans for us, for our great blessing and His glory.

It’s interesting to realize that even with my background I have “put asterisks on” some places in the Bible. I am not to be legalistic, but I am certainly not to place myself above the words of Scripture. We indeed live in “interesting times,” as the saying goes, and it could well be the culmination of all things. That’s all the more reason to be faithful to God and what He has already said. He does speak to us daily in many ways, but a deep familiarity with what He has already said is one of the best defenses against the various lying spirits that are certainly infesting society. I am never to think I know the Bible well enough! As Paul said, I need to let it dwell in me richly (Colossians 3:16) so that it may accomplish in and through me that for which God sent it out, (Isaiah 55:10-11) for His pleasure and glory.

Father, thank You for this powerful reminder. Help me indeed let Your Word operate in and through me more and more, by Your Spirit and not by my intellect, so that Your rule and reign may be established and Your will be done, as perfectly here as it is in heaven, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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