It’s that time again. The weekend comes to a close, the grind of the week begins again. For many of us the autumn activities are back in full swing and life is beginning to pick up speed. I want to encourage you to find some margin in your life where you can be in the presence of God. As the week gears up, make sure you find some time of peace in which to reflect.
I confess that I preached on Nehemiah 4 today. Our church has been working through the book of Nehemiah together. Ruth has taken chapters 1 and 3 while I have taken 2 and 4. The book of Nehemiah is an opportunity to learn how we can trust that God is in the business of working through his people to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. Chapter 4 is no different.
The chapter starts off with a man named Sanballat who is the acting governor of the region of Samaria. He teams up with a few other people and they oppose the building of the wall that Nehemiah and the Jews are working on. Nehemiah and the Jews turn to God and ultimately are able to remain faithful and continue working on the wall until its completion.
Sanballat opposed the Jews in their quest to serve God. God allowed for the opposition because it allowed the Jews an opportunity to remain faithful to Him in times of difficulty. Fortunately for the Jews, God had already defeated the opposition before it began. And fortunately for us, when we live in the redemption that is the blood of Christ we are able to share in the victory. In fact we learn in John 17:20-23 that Jesus is fighting for us. Jesus is praying for us:
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Praise God that our wonderful conquerer has come and won the battle! No opposition can stand before God. Today, lets practice the art of celebration and live joyfully for the Conquering King!
We were blessed to go see Rend Collective play live in Bangor last night and I think this song captures the celebration of joy we can find in our Father. Take a few minutes and listen.
I confess that I have forgotten to post the last couple weeks. We’ve been away a bit and I’ve been focusing on school, finishing up one class and beginning another. I confess I’m actually very nervous about this upcoming class. It’s a pilgrimage around Ireland and Northern Ireland to see various holy sites. I’m really excited about the course content and the opportunities presented. I’m nervous because Abigail and the boys will not be going on the 10-day journey. I have spent `a grand total of two nights away from Abigail in the five years that we’ve been married, only one away from Hosea, and 0 away from Moses. I am, at my a core, a family man. I love my family, and I love spending time with them. It hurts me to think about spending that much time away from my family.
I confess that I plan on using this time of pilgrimage to seek God’s will for our family and what our next steps will be. When Abigail and I returned to the States from Haiti in 2012 we had a hard time adjusting. I didn’t realize why I was having a hard time until I heard Pastor Tim Suttle preach on the importance of finding margin in your life. Just carving out time for God. We had done it without thinking in Haiti because often, there wasn’t anything else to do some days. I would find myself sitting on the roof of the hotel reading my Bible in the warm Haitian sun. I had concentrated time of margin where I sought the Lord. It was so good. I hope to use the time during the class as a bit of margin. A time when I can pause and pursue and be refreshed.
I want and crave that time of renewal and refreshment, but I can still feel a bit of clinging sadness for leaving my family for a time. I will desperately miss my boys. I always put my boys to bed at night, I read to them and then pray with them and rock Moses to sleep. It has become part of the rhythm of my life and I think a part of me depends on it. Bed time at our house is a calm time, and its typically a time when I can really have some of my best conversations with Hosea. So I will miss my boys. I will miss my wife as well. I will miss making her breakfast in the morning and I will miss lying in bed next to her.
I know I will only be gone for a few days, but I’ll miss doing life with my family. I cherish the everyday moments leading up to these 10 days away.
I confess that I am both anxious and excited for this course.