Vol. 31, No. 2 February, 2007
“LET US RISE UP AND BUILD”
I trust that each of us will take a few minutes and read through the Book of Nehemiah. There are only 13 Chapters in this small Book, but it is filled with valuable lessons for us today. In Chapter one, Nehemiah hears the report about the condition of Jerusalem. In the small Book of Ezra, at the decree of Cyrus, some of the Jews, 42,360, returned from captivity to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, (Ez 2:64). The Temple was rebuilt and dedicated, (Ez 6:15). Some 100 years after the decree of Cyrus, Nehemiah hears that the walls of Jerusalem have not been built up and the city lies in ruins with no protection from thieves and looters. This bad news report so affects Nehemiah that he seeks leave from his post as King’s Cupbearer to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. Artaxerxes, the king grants Nehemiah leave (Ch 2:1-10). Nehemiah is not a wall builder. This is not his trade. But he volunteers his service. God seldom uses the one we think that He should use. According to Ch 2, Nehemiah toured the city at night to view the walls and get a vision of what needs to be done. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” What Nehemiah sees affects his heart. As you read the Book of Nehemiah you will see how the opposition rises up. I believe that we find Nehemiah in prayer some 11 times in this book. But before us is a City, a city greatly loved, and greatly punished just lying in waste and ruins. As we read this Book, we should be reminded of the condition of our homeland. We are reminded daily that something is dreadfully wrong. Cities that once were safe havens now are war zones. Gang violence reigns on our streets. Once safe neighborhoods have been turned over to drug dealers. It is not safe to be on the streets. Women who go shopping alone stand a good chance of being robbed before they return home. Crime, violence, gangs, robbers, the list goes on every day in the news reports. School violence, unsafe neighborhoods. I suppose that each of us know that there is something dreadfully wrong here in our homeland. The places in west Jacksonville where I once roamed as a boy are no longer the same. Bars on windows, fear in the hearts of citizens tells us “something is wrong.” I believe that each of us can see, but what can we do? Where would we start? And how to start? Of course, as I have said, Nehemiah started in prayer, and continued in prayer. That’s where we start Spiritually, but physically, where do we start in rebuilding our cities? The Wall of Faith in God must be built up. The Wall of the Family must be built up, and Walls of Morality must be built up. Where do we start? How do we rebuild the family unit? Let’s take note of some of the areas of our lives and try to see. Our children, for instance. Are we trying to raise them in a Christian environment? Are we leaving things up to society? What are our children learning, and who are they learning from? The electronic media today feeds our children from morning until they fall asleep at night, (if they can sleep). Our children begin their day with cartoons, media games, and video games. They see monsters, violence, weird things and sounds. They seem to be spellbound with the things that are fed into their minds. Some of our kids know nothing but the little video game they carry with them. Did you ever watch the cartoon channel? I tried, but I can?t make much sense of the noise. Have you listened to the ideology being fed to their minds? There is no great moral story. There is much violence, and no respect for others. From the video arcades in the malls, to the TV in their rooms, our kids are bombarded with filth, violence, and rebellion. And we wonder, “What’s wrong with the kids?” I include “innocent” programs like “Sesame Street” also. Are we really aware of what our kids are watching? Or are we just glad that they have that baby sitter. that keeps them entertained? They are learning. Oh yes, when something is wrong, Let’s blame the school system. Let’s just throw more money that way. We sometimes wonder why there is so much violence in our schools. Why do we have to have armed policemen there? Where do we start? Perhaps with the H.R.S.? Not so, they are not family orientated. Do we start with the City fathers? They are interested in a new stadium, a professional ball team, or a theme park, or something to put our city on the map. Just throw some more money here, or there, “Money answers everything.” Do we start with the state Legislature? More laws? Rules? That’s not the answer. We have enough laws and rules to govern many nations. That’s not the answer. I believe that Hillary Clinton said, “It takes a neighborhood to raise our families.” We cannot look to the City Fathers, to the School Board, to the State or Federal government. We cannot look to the Liberals, or conservatives. Neither have the answer. Quite often we receive the news about “missing Children.” Upon closer observation we find “Missing parents.” Well where do we start in cleaning up, in rebuilding? Do we start at the Church? Perhaps we could attend a church where they have an energetic youth program. You know, a youth Pastor who is “with it.” That’s it. We can let our kids attend every service, attend every activity. Let them attend every “Sky Blast,” Every Theme Park labeled “Christian” Every concert, even the “Christian Rock” concert, (If there is such a thing.) “Surely these activities will help mold their lives.” Not on your life…
Now, Let’s look in our text for just a few minutes. Let us find the key, or starting place. In Nehemiah Ch 3, four times it is recorded that he repaired “over against his house.” Neh 3:10, 23, 29, 30…Let us see where they built, and what their name implies…
1. “And next to them repaired Jedaiah, the son of Harumaph even over against his house.” (Neh 3:10) Right there at his house he worked. He did not rely on neighbors, the school board, and the government. He started at his house. That’s the starting place. The Name “Jedaiah” means, “Jehovah is Praise” “Jehovah is knowing.” Let us first of all bring God back into our society. You know, IN GOD WE TRUST. Some ask, where was God in the school shootings in Colorado, in Arkansas, and in various other states. Where was God when the Trade Towers were hit by terrorists? Where was God? Right where He has always been. The problem is that He is not welcome in our schools, our courts, our homes, and our churches. He has been voted out, that is, until something happens, and then we turn to Him…for a while. I believe that since the name Jedaiah means “Jehovah is knowing that it implies that we seek the face of the one who knows. He knows all things, the beginning and the end, and all things in between. We MUST build up that WALL OF PRAYER. Let us once again invoke the name of God. His Name is NOT Allah, or Mohammed, or Buddha, or a thousand of other “gods.”
2. “And after him repaired Benjamin and Hashub over against their house..” (Neh 3:23)
Benjamin means, “the son of my right hand, ” “A Protector,” and “a helper.” What a wonderful pair. And we need that WALL OF PROTECTION around our homes again. We need all the help we can get in protecting our families from all this “stuff” that is attacking every day. Am I a protector? Do I keep my home free from fear, from worry, from friction? No home is large enough for alcohol, or drugs, or the interference of government projects bombarding our homes every day.
3. “After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer over against his house.” (Neh 3:29) Zadok means “Righteous” or “Justice.” Here is the home where honesty and integrity is practiced. Where do our kids learn what they learn? You don’t have to look any further than the mirror to find the answer. May we build up again the WALL OF INTREGITY. Our word MUST be our bond. Ask a young boy who just got into trouble, “Where did you learn that?” “From my Dad.” While other walls are down, let us build our fortress strong.
4. “After him repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah over against his chamber.” (Neh 3:30). The Name Meshullam means, “friend” or “Associate.” Every home needs a friend. There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. We need to be both Parent and Pal to our children, and there is a time and place for both. Let our kids know that in us, they have that friend.
Now, is our home a place where we seek the face of the One who knows the way? Is daily prayer sent up for our homes?
Is our home a place of protection? A place of safety and security?
Is our home a place of honesty and integrity?
Is our home a place where that Special friend is known? This is the starting place. Not City Hall, or County, or State, or Federal Government. Our Home is the starting place. Let each of us work in the place where God placed us. Dad and Mom working together, loving, caring for those whom god has trusted us with.
Of Course, without Christ we can do nothing. With Christ, we win. Do you know Him today? He is there, where you are, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Today, Just now, receive Him as your Personal Saviour. He will come into your life, forgive your sin, and make you ready for life, and for eternity. You can begin TODAY, to live FOREVER!
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.”
By Pastor George Mills
My Home is a fortress,
With walls firm and stout,
With strong pillars beneath,
And with watchmen about.
My Home is a castle,
With furnishings, grand,
Fine drapes in each window,
And servants at hand.
My Home is a Palace,
Where I live as a King,
And love is there with me,
Why, I have everything.
My Home is a Cabin,
With a warm glowing fire,
In a place of such comfort,
I have my desire.
My Home is a dwelling,
With laughter about,
And love is my refuge,
Safe within, and without.
Now the Walls of my home,
Are the Prayers that we pray,
The strong Pillars beneath,
Are His Words as our stay.
The watchmen about me,
Are the Spirit’s great care,
And the Furnishings grand,
Are Love, Faith, and Prayer.
As a King in my Cabin,
And with Grace from above,
All clothed with His Goodness,
And kept warm by His love.
My Home is a Haven,
Wherever I roam,
For wherever I am,
I’m always at home.
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS…It is no friend to the Christian. And it is no friend to the Christian home. The battle for the home is a battle we must not lose. In the beginning, Satan’s attack was against the home. The same is true in the last days. We must not give in to the ideologies of modern thinking. The Bible, (KJV) is our source, our strength, and our security. This is where we find the mind of God.
THINK ABOUT IT…Prayer still works.
By Amy Welch
IT?S FOURTH AND ONE FOR THE WIN.
Hello again! I am so happy to be able to share some things with you, the readers of the WILDERNESS.I am glad that so much emphasis is placed on family life. I love my family. I have told you about my Mom, Lucy Welch, my Dad, Ben (Bo) Welch, and my two brothers, Little Bo,and Josh. Well, just the other night we were talking about family and the problems many families are facing today. We all agreed that many families are in great difficulty. My Mom said, “Remember the other evening when we went to the concert” Well, the music was so beautiful, but the thought came to me that every Musician must play his or her part on time, in time, every time, or the music will sound awful. Family life is about like that. We all must play our part, and in the end, we will hear the concert of a wonderful family life.” My Dad “Bo” said, “Well, I see family life like a big football game. We have only one chance to win the game. We have been playing for almost four full quarters. The opposing team is ahead by four points. We have the ball, and IT’S FOURTH DOWN, AND ONE TO GO FOR THE WIN. Just one last chance. This is the last play of the game. We MUST score a touchdown, a field goal will not do.” Little Bo added, “Well, it’ s time for that ” trick play” The center will snap the ball to the Fullback instead of the Quarterback. The Fullback will then hand the ball off to a Flanker, who is in motion. The Flanker will then flip a short pass to the Tight End who is in back of the end zone. “TOUCHDOWN!” It’s the old “Bummerooski play.” Big Bo did not agree. “Too many chances for a fumble, or a motion penalty. No, It’s full power, straight ahead, right up the middle.” Then Josh began to add his thoughts. “It seems to me that if we had played harder in the first quarter, we wouldn’t have this problem now.” I think that Josh had the real solution. We MUST play the game of family life hard every quarter. I was reminded of a story that our Pastor told. It seemed that a young boy was having trouble entertaining himself after supper. His Dad was trying to read the paper, and the little lad just kept interrupting. The dad picked up a map of the world from the table and tore the map into many small pieces. “Now, here son, put this map back together.” So soon the little boy came back to his Father. “Here it is, Dad, all back together, like it was.” The Father was amazed at the speed of his son in getting the map of the world back together. “How did you do that so quickly?” the Father asked. “Well dad, when you tore up the map of the world, I noticed that on the back of the map there was a picture of a boy. I knew that if I put the boy together right, the world would turn out right.” I think that Josh had us all outsmarted. We can’t wait until it’s “FOURTH AND ONE FOR THE WIN.” There can be no “trick plays” and no short cuts. With family life, it’s first and ten. Let us make the best of every play so that at the end, we are ahead.
WE CANNOT LOSE! We have but one chance.
God Bless you and your family.
Love, Amy Welch
THE NEW BIRTH
By Pastor George Mills
“Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of god. Nicodemus saith unto Him, “how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his Mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered, verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God…Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.” (Jn 3:1-7)
The New Birth, what does it mean? When the Bible says “Ye must be born again?” It is speaking about our relationship with God. Are you born again? Are you right with God? May God open our eyes as we study God’s simple plan..
1. THE MANDATE. “Ye MUST be born again.” Jesus clearly stated that without being born again, we cannot SEE the Kingdom, meaning we cannot comprehend, we cannot grasp, or lay hold of the Kingdom. Jesus went a little farther and said without being born again we cannot ENTER the Kingdom. The MANDATE is clear, “Ye MUST be born again.”
2. THE MEANING. The New Birth is a Spiritual birth. We are Born of the Spirit. God commands us to be born again, and yet, I cannot do that. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.” The flesh cannot produce the new birth. Nothing man can do will ever produce the new birth. Not works, not baptisms, not good deeds, not religion, not joining, not stopping, not starting, or changing. The new birth is something that only the Spirit can do, or it will not get done.
3. THE MEANS OF THE NEW BIRTH. By what means are we born again? Or by what avenue are we born again? In our own natural birth, there was a seed planted. That seed produced a birth, our own natural birth. In the Spiritual real, the same thing happens. A seed is planted, and the new birth becomes a reality because of that seed. “What is that seed?” The Bible (KJV) is very clear about that seed. “Being BORN AGAIN, not of corruptible SEED, but of incorruptible SEED, by the Word of God which lievth and abideth forever.” (1Pet 1:23). The SEED that produces the New Birth is the Word of God. No one can explain it, but it happens. No one can understand our natural birth. I know, we have studied, we have explored, we can understand so much, but our natural birth is a MIRACLE OF GOD! The same is true of the New Birth. As we read the bible, as we hear the preaching, the Holy Spirit implants that word in our spirit. We hear that “all are sinners,”
(Ro 3:23) That there is a price to pay for sin, (Ro 6:23) that Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin by His death on the Cross and His Resurrection from the dead. We hear from the Word that He alone is the way to God. We hear that, we believe that, we receive that, and we are born again the moment we believe. The word “believe” means more than a belief about some facts, or a belief from our intellect. This belief comes from a commitment to, a faith, or trust in. a reliance upon, an act of the heart and will, all trusting in the finished Work of Jesus Christ. Are you Born again, or have you just had some “religious experience?”
4. THE MOMENT OF THE NEW BIRTH. How long does it take for us to get saved? Are we saved by degrees? Is there a process we must go through? Absolutely not! We are saved, Born again the instant we receive Christ as our Personal Saviour. It does not take God long to do anything. It takes God no longer to save you than it takes for you to believe Him for it. God hears the cry of the repentant heart. We are to stop trying and start trusting.
5. THE MEASURE OF THE NEW BIRTH.
The word “measure?”meaning; “to determine the extent.” How far does the New Birth reach? Is the New Birth for just a chosen few, or for some select ones? Absolutely not. Christ paid the price for man’s sin debt. EVERY SIN was paid in full at Calvary. It does not matter what your moral, or social status may be. If you are morally good, or morally bad, ALL HAVE SINNED. And all are saved in the same way. God does not have a plan for this class, and another plan for that class, etc. When you read the Bible (KJV) you read about good people getting saved. In fact, Nicodemus in our text was just about as morally good as a man can be. The next person Jesus speaks to in John’s Gospel is in Ch 4. A woman, a fallen woman, a morally bad woman. These two persons had nothing in common except for their need to be right with God. So the New Birth reaches all classes. This Publication goes into many and various places. From prisons, jails, missions, to college libraries, homes, and churches. Some in these places have the idea that they have gone too far, that they cannot be saved. NOT SO. The New Birth is for “whosoever will.” For YOU.
6. THE MERITS OF THE NEW BIRTH. There are many wonderful things that come with the New Birth. Just to mention a few…
A. SIN IS FORGIVEN..Every sin that you ever committed, every wrong, was paid in full. We are forgiven, we are justified, we are made anew. JUST-IF-I’D NEVER SINNED.
B. SEALED WITH THE SPIRIT. The Bible (KJV) teaches us that the very moment we trusted Christ alone, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in our lives and sealed us. We belong to God See Eph 1:13-14.
C. SONSHIP IS SETTLED. “NOW are we the sons of God.” (1Jn 3:2) Some teach that we are “adopted” into the family of God. That is not true. We are BORN into God’s family. We are His sons by birth.
D. SALVATION IS SECURE. Salvation is not something we have to hang on to, or to hold out for, or to endure. In Christ, our destiny is forever changed. We were on our way to hell, without any hope. Now, Heaven is our home. Christ has bought us. We are His. We are BORN AGAIN. Oh, there is so much more. Enjoy your trip from here to eternity.
How about YOU? Are you Born Again? If this issue has not been settled in your life, why not, right now just tell Christ, (His Holy Spirit is there where you are) Tell Him that you receive Him. That you believe that He died and rose from the dead for YOU. The Bible says, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” Tell Him that you receive Him. He always hears the cry of the repentant heart. Begin TODAY to live FOREVER. May God bless you is my Prayer in Jesus’ Name.