ASK FOR RAIN!

[SW177] 03/20/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Ask for Rain”
Word:  The Lord is setting the stage for revival. It’s time to pray!

Text: Zechariah 10:1ff

Spoken to: The remnant that returned from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Zechariah and Haggai prophesied to the rebuilders, encouraging them (Ezra 5:1, 6:4), for their natural AND spiritual restoration!

v. 1 Ask rain from the Lord at the time of the spring rain — it is spring, as of today!

— Ask rain not from man, but from the Lord! He is the only One who has what we need — His life, His heart, His love and His power in us!

— So if we ask the Lord, He will give us showers of rain

Joel 2:23 NIV    Be glad, O people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given you
the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.

Showers of blessing (Ezekiel 34:26)!

— And we who are His people will be fruitful and have abundance once again. What abundance? The Holy Spirit. What fruit? His fruit. When His fruit is manifested, many souls will be saved.

Rain represents blessing and revival. The need to pray for it means something has been amiss between God and us. The next verse tells us what is amiss.

v.v. 2-3a False gods, false shepherds

— We have looked to dead, inanimate things that cannot answer us (Psalm 115:4-8), rather than to the living God. We have listened to ear ticklers, so we are wandering sheep without a shepherd. We have not heeded the voice of the Good Shepherd.

v. 3b But the Lord has visited his flock! He is our true Shepherd!

— Why does He use the past tense? Because in heaven, where He dwells, He sees the end, and He sees the beginning. He sits above time, so He says He has visited, even before we see that He has visited.

— Visit means He will go to see, avenge, care for, deliver to keep, and remember!

When we went astray, He left us to our own devices. But He has not forgotten us. At the appointed time, He returns to us — that’s what “remembered” means.

— He will make us like HIS majestic horse in battle.

— Horses were a superior instrument of warfare battle in those times.

— They were a symbol of swiftness, sure-footedness, power.

— No longer will we trust in men or natural horses. Instead, we will be like the Lord’s horses! Swift. sure-footed, powerful in His power! And He never loses a battle!

v. 4     His Cornerstone —  His Christ
His tent peg — His support
His bow of battle (He trains our fingers for battle, and makes us able to bend               a bow of bronze (Psalm 144:1, 18:34)
His rulers — no longer chosen by men, but by Him

v. 5     We will be as mighty warriors (2 Cor 10:5)
We will tread down the enemy (1John 4:4, James 4:7)
We will fight, for the Lord will be with us (2 Chronicles 20:15, 20)

v. 6    The Lord will strengthen us (make us firm so we prevail against the Enemy)
He will deliver us (save us out of the miry clay we’ve been in)
He will bring us back to Himself
He has racham toward us (tender mercy, like a mother toward her child)!

It will be as though He never rejected us (cast us off, moved us away from Him), though He did reject us when we followed false gods and false shepherds.

Why? Because HE is our God.

He will visited us, go to see  us, avenge us, care for us, deliver us to keep us, and remember us!

v. 9 Our exile from His presence caused us to remember Him, and now, He will remember us.

v. 10 He will bring us back from sin (Egypt).

v. 11 We will cross over and out of the sea of distress (trouble, anguish) and not drown in it.

He will strike the waves in the sea, as in the Exodus, so that even the mightiest waters dry up.

The scepter will depart Egypt — sin will no longer rule us.

Assyria’s (in this case, a typology or symbol of Satan as well as a real kingdom) pride will be cast down, it will fall down, Satan will fall down.

v. 12 Again, He says I will strengthen you in Me.

— Not in our own strength

— And He says, “They will walk in My name,” as representing Me, having My character and nature. He declares it!

We will, indeed, become partakers of the divine nature, and that will permanently repair the rift between us and our God. HALLELUJAH!

Beloved, a warning from the Lord — when He sends the rain, do not try to manage it or manipulate it. Just stand by and let Him work in hearts. Simply rejoice as you watch Him!

And remember, it will no longer be necessary to work real hard to be like Jesus — He will do the heavy lifting. All we have to do is agree with Him as we walk with Him!

Ask rain from the LORD at the time of the spring rain! He is coming to visit us once again, to free His people and bring them back to Himself!

Come back to Him even now, this very moment! Cast away your idols and false shepherds to the moles and the bats! Now is the time!

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GIVER OF ONE HEART

[SW164] 12/12/2014 message notes by Sister Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Giver of One Heart”

The Lord God will give us one heart and one way so that we will not turn away from Him any more. He is the Giver of one heart!

Text: Jeremiah 32:37-41

I love to subtitle this section “I will,” because only God can do what He prophesies through Jeremiah in this passage! [In no way can we do it on our own or “work it up.”]

What will He do?

Verse 37 — Gather us from the place He put us in His anger, wrath, and great indignation, and bring us back to an intimate relationship with Him! And we will dwell in safety (a place of refuge and trust)! Selah!

Verse 38 — We will be His people and He will be our God (Him alone!).

How will He keep us from straying again? He tells us in Verse 39 and forward.

NOTE: This prophecy was fulfilled at the time of Nehemiah, in the natural. But the people still strayed afterwards, even in Nehemiah’s day (see Nehemiah 13). So this prophecy must go beyond Israel at the time of Nehemiah. Indeed, it is a Messianic prophecy as well — a prophecy of what God will do through His Son’s sacrifice and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

It is then that . . .

Verse 39 — He will give us one heart (echad leb), “one” meaning united, alike. He will give us one heart — HIS.

He will give us one united, alike way (derek), “way” meaning path or road — HIS way. This way is the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8), the narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14). Beloved, all of us have gone astray, everyone to His own way, but GOD will give us HIS way, if we ask Him! But to ask Him means we have understood that our own way is wrong and leads to disaster and death.

Why will He do this?

Verse 39 — So we fear Him (revere and are awed by Him and hold Him above all other things). Fear also pertains to worship. We will worship Him and Him alone — not ourselves, and not the world. We will do this ALWAYS! Our fear of Him will not diminish. It is for our own good and the good of our offspring.

Verse 40 — He will make an EVERLASTING covenant (the first one was broken by Israel, per Isaiah 24:5), promising that He will  not turn away from us and promising to put the fear of Him in our hearts (second mention, so this is extremely important), so we will not turn away from Him. We must enter into this promise through Jesus Christ! It was established in His blood, on the cross! You were bought with a price so high we will never be able to fully comprehend it. You are not your own.

This covenant is not like the old one (Jeremiah 31:32, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 8:8, Hebrews 12:4).

It is established through Christ’s death (Luke 22:20, 1Corinthians 11:25).

It is for Israel by faith and not works or genetics, and also for all of us who are not Jewish but become Abraham’s offspring through faith in Christ (Romans 9:6-8).

Christ took our sin on Himself on the cross, and when He was glorified, He made  the Holy Spirit available in a whole new way — the Holy Spirit does not simply “come upon” us so we can be used by God, but fully dwells “in” us when we are filled with the Holy Spirit!

If we ask our Father, He will give us the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) and we will become united in heart and in way with our God.

This unity of heart and way is exactly what Christ prayed for in John 17:20-21! Jesus was saying, “Now, Father, I pray You fulfill what You prophesied through Jeremiah!”

It is so much more than miracles (Acts 1:5, 8), because the disciples already had been given authority by Jesus to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons.

It is the power to obey, power over sin, the power to walk as Jesus walked (Acts 4:13) — the greatest of miracles!

Will you believe it? Jesus Christ says you will either come into the light of His truth, or you will hate the light (John 3:19-21). It is time for you to come into the light, time to become united in heart and way with God.

Do not delay, for the hour is late! Agree with God that your heart and your way are not right, and He will bring you into His presence, into holy intimacy with the God the Father and God the Son, by the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

[SW161] 11/14/2014 message notes by Sister Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“The Word of the Lord”

As I wrote in a recent blog, the Word of the Lord (the Bible) is like a diamond — turned in His light, rays of revelation shoot out! Today, I celebrate the Word of the Lord!

But you are bent down today, struggling, downtrodden, depressed, oppressed, or distressed, stuck in sin, which destroys you and those around you — or all of the above.

You are unsure, you hesitate, you doubt, and thus are like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6).

Meanwhile, your Bible — the Word of the Lord — sits on the shelf in your home, collecting dust (just as mine did for the first 45 years of my life)!

Let me tell you about this Word of the Lord!!!

Psalm 33:4            Right!

Psalm 33:6            The heavens made, by it

Psalm 107:20        Sent to heal you (also, Mt. 8:8)

Psalm 119:83        Settled (established and stands) in heaven, FOREVER

Psalm 119:105        A lamp for your feet, a light for your path

Psalm 119:40        Very pure

Psalm 130:5          A source of hope

Psalm 138:2            Magnified above His name

Psalm 147:15        Runs swiftly

Psalm 147:18    Melts cold things

Isaiah 30:21        You will hear it, “This is the way, walk in it.”

Isaiah 40:8        Stands forever

Isaiah 55:11        Will not return to Him void

Jeremiah 23:39    Shatters hard things like a hammer

Ezekiel 37:4        Even dry bones hear it!!!

Matthew 13:8    When sown on good soil, fruitfulness results

John 1:14        Became flesh, and dwelled among us .  .  . and you will see His                 glory!

John 5:24        When believed and heeded, makes you pass from death to life!

John 8:31-36     The way to the truth that sets you free from the power of sin.

John 8:51        If obeyed (kept), you will never die!

John 12:48        If rejected/disobeyed, it will judge you, in the last day.

John 15:7        If it abides in you, then you will ask whatever you wish and it                 will be  one for you

2Corinthians 4:4, 6        A mirror through which you see Christ  . . .
the more you look AT the Lord,
the more you look LIKE the Lord!

Acts 6:2        Must not be neglected in order to serve tables!

Acts 6:7, 12:24    Keeps on spreading, when it is boldly spoken (Acts 4:29)

Acts 8:17, 11:1    Must be received, taken in, accepted, and submitted to

Romans 10:17     When heard and heeded, faith springs up!

1Corinthians 1:18    Foolishness to those that are perishing, but to those who are                 being saved, it is the power of God.

Ephesians 6:17    Is the sword of the Spirit

Philippians 2:16    Is the word of life that you are to hold out in the darkness, so                 you are like a star in the universe.

Hebrews 4:12    Living and active . . . judging the thoughts and attitudes of your             heart.

Let the Word of the Lord have its way in you. Submit to it, let it convict you regarding sin and righteousness and judgment, and the Lord will change your heart, and you will see Him!

This is not a suggestion, but a command from the Lord today!!!

Lift up your heads, and the King of glory will come in, and dwell within you (Psalm 24:7, John 14:23)!

Seek (search out, strive after, beseech, beg) the face, the presence, of the Lord!

Then you will be prepared to ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place. (Psalm 24:3) Once you have truly seen Him, you will never look away again!

REWARDS TO THE STEADFAST

[SW146] 07/18/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rewards to the Steadfast”

There are great rewards if we remain steadfast in Christ. But I must warn you of the dangers you face and exhort you to baptized in the Holy Spirit so you may stand!

NOTE: Please go to the link to the video sermon to get the message; the following is an outline.

The rewards:

Even now —

Fellowship with Father and Son (1John 1:3)

Father and Son indwelling us (John 14:23)

His peace (John 14:27)

His actual love inside of us (John 17:26)

Clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49)

Baptized in the Holy Spirit, receiving power (Acts 1:5, 8)

And yet to come —

2Timothy 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

James 1:12    Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has  been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord  has promised to those who love Him.

1Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

2Peter 3:13 But according to His  promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord  Himself  will descend from heaven with a  shout, with the voice of  the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

The dangers:

2Peter 2:1   But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even  denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

Matthew 7:22 “ Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many  miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;  DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”

Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.”

1Timothy 1:18   This command I entrust to you, Timothy,  my  son, in accordance with the  prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight,  19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

The exhortation:

2Peter 3:11-12, 14, 17-18 [NOTE: v. 17 unprincipled = lawless = sinning, per 1John 3:4].

1Corinthians 15:58    Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

Colossians 1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —  23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the  hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed  in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

How can you stand steadfast if you do not know the Word? How can you stand steadfast if you have no intimacy with God? How can you stand steadfast if you are not clothed with power from on high?

The means to prevent us from falling:

2Peter 1:2  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in  the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;  3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and  excellence. 4  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent  promises, so that by them you may become  partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in  the world by lust.

Romans 12:1   Therefore  I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,  acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the  renewing of your mind, so that you may prove [1381, in this context, to experience the truth of] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Be baptized in the Holy Spirit, filled with God’s love so that your only desire is to obey Him. He will give you the power to obey and the power to be steadfast!

Be steadfast, beloved, regardless of the pressure to conform. You will surely reap the rewards! The Lord led me to end with this:

Revelation 3:11 “‘ I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”

GO TO THE LOST

When Jesus says, “Go to the lost sheep,” it is a command, and we are compelled by the power of His words to do it!

[SW144] 07/05/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Going to the Lost”

Text: Matthew 10:1-8, 14-15, 40-42

We are compelled to go after a single lost sheep until we find it, and then bring it back, rejoicing. We are compelled to light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully for a single lost coin until we find it (see Luke 15). Then we and all heaven rejoice!

Going to the lost. Many in today’s church think He is saying, “Go to those who do not believe in Me,” but Jesus says, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel!”
God’s people? Lost? It is the same now as it was then. Many of God’s people were and are lost sheep.

Today, Jesus not only commands us to go to the lost sheep of Israel who do not see that He is their Messiah, but also to go to the lost sheep of the church.

Notice that the disciples did not question Jesus (What do You mean? We do not see any lost ones!). Nope. They knew there were lost sheep in Israel.

What signs do I see that there are lost sheep within today’s church? Many sheep in the church are:
— distressed     — oppressed     — depressed
— confused        — compromised     — afraid
Or worse:
— lulled to sleep OR
— slaves to sin, when Jesus came to set us free, indeed!

Why are the sheep lost? Do they not have apostles and prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11)?

Israel had priests and experts in the law of Moses, but Jesus found fault with them. He declared to them that they did many things to misguide His people.

He finds fault with the leaders of today’s church, too, who do many things to misguide His people.

Lamentations 2:14  Your prophets have seen for you
                False and foolish visions;
                And they have not exposed your iniquity
                So as to restore you from captivity,
                But they have seen for you false and misleading  oracles.

We should not be surprised. Jesus spoke of false shepherds, wolves among the flock (Verse 16). There were wolves in sheep’s clothing within the fledgling church (Acts 20:29-31).

But we in today’s church have not been on guard as Paul commanded by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Acts 20:29.

And the people are biblically illiterate and therefore cannot discern — few know the Word of God. They are sheep that do not know the Good Shepherd’s voice.

As a result, they follow the voice of strangers, and even love it, as in Jeremiah’s day:

Jeremiah 5:31 The  prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so!

What can be done? We obey the command of Jesus Christ, and go to them!

What does He give us as we go to the lost sheep of the church?

(Not as we sit, but as we go!)

In Matthew 10:1, He gives us authority over evil spirits to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness (also see Luke 10:19).

Why does He give us such authority? So people will know the kingdom of heaven draws near!

He commands us that as we go, we are to preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He commands us to preach repentance (Mark 6:12).

Then the authority comes into play, as the evidence that the kingdom of heaven is near: we heal, raise, cleanse and cast out.

These are the accompanying signs (Mark 16:17), the attesting miracles that show the lost sheep that God and Christ are the true reality and not just philosophical ideas to which they give mental assent.

But we cannot preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand unless the kingdom of heaven is in our midst — within us. And when the kingdom of heaven is within us, we will have His authority, and we will heal, raise, cleanse and cast out.

FREELY we have received, and FREELY we give (Verse 8).

What do we FREELY give? FREEdom to the captives (Isaiah 61), to the lost sheep of the church!

We do it not give in our own power or by man’s wisdom, but in God’s power and wisdom and might! The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us!

What will be the result of our going to seek the lost sheep of the church? One of two things will happen, Jesus says:

#1 — We will not be received, and so we must do as He commands in Verse 14. Beloved, this will happen much in today’s backslidden church. It happened to Christ Himself, as He walked the earth! The consequence:
15 “Truly I say to you,  it will be more tolerable for the land of  Sodom and Gomorrah in  the day of judgment than for that city.”

#2 — We will be received, welcomed, accepted, and those who do it will receive a reward:
Matthew 10:40   “ He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
41 “ He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet [that is, as a prophet sent by the Lord] shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man [that is, a righteous man made righteous by the Lord] shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 “And  whoever in the name of a disciple [as a disciple of Christ] gives to one of these little ones [prophets and righteous men] even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” [my interpretation in brackets]

Beloved, I am praying for today’s church to receive those whom Jesus is sending out even now.

I am praying that the lost sheep of the church will be found and carried back with rejoicing.

I am praying that the lost coin will be found and cause great rejoicing, in heaven and on the earth!

I am praying that many in the church will ask for the kingdom of heaven to be within them — that is, asking for God the Father to fill them with His Holy Spirit.

THEN they will receive authority. THEN they will proclaim that the kingdom of heaven has drawn near and their hearers must repent.

And I am expecting to see the attesting signs.

Amen, Lord. Let it be so!

REBUILDING THE CHURCH — DISCERNMENT

Beloved, if we ask, the Lord will give us discernment, and with that, we will be one step closer to a rebuilt church!

[SW141] 06/14/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — Discernment”

Jesus is showing me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:

Chapter 1 — Intercession

Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision

Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength

Chapter 4 — Spiritual Warfare

Chapter 5 — Conviction of sin

Chapter 6 — Discernment

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance/Public Confession of Sin

Chapter 10 — Consecration

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

First we intercede standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild.

Then we act upon the inspiration of God, the heart of God which we have sought and got!
But in the midst of the building, the Enemy who is Satan will mock, despise and attack us.
How do we defeat him? Spiritual warfare! 

Remember that we cannot blame Satan for the sin that has caused the church to become broken down. Our own lust is at the root of all sin. Our leaders must convict us of our sin, so we will turn from it.

The next element necessary to the rebuilding is discernment.

Discernment. Daniel had it, and refused to eat the king’s unclean delicacies (Daniel 1:8). Jesus had it, and refused to listen to Satan’s entreaty to worship him. Paul and John and Peter had it, and knew how to identify false teachers and false brothers (2Timothy 6:3-5, 1John 4:1ff, 1John 1:6 and 2Peter 3:17ff, to name just a few references)! Discernment. It comes from the Lord, and not the world.

Nehemiah 6

When all of  Israel’s enemies heard that the wall had been rebuilt and no breach remained in it (though the doors had not been set in the gates), they used Satan’s favorite weapons: deception, slander and fear.
They sent a message to Nehemiah. “Come, let us take counsel together.”

“Let us take counsel together.” The Lord asks, “Who have you taken counsel with lately, beloved?”

Or do you say, like Nehemiah did, “I am doing God’s work here. Why should I stop to meet with you?” The message was sent four times, and four times, Nehemiah responded that way.

From the beginning, Nehemiah DISCERNED that his enemies could not have a part in the rebuilding (2:20). He heard of their  mocking, how they despised Israel. They had plotted to fight Israel, and the people feared, but Nehemiah heard of it and equipped the people for battle, and so their plans were frustrated, broken and annulled (4:15).

And these say, “Come let us take counsel together?” They must think Nehemiah has a very short memory! How is your memory, beloved? Do you remember what Satan has said of you? Do you remember his mocking and how he despises you? Have you heard of his plans and asked the Lord to equip you for battle by filling you with His Spirit so Satan’s plans are frustrated, broken and annulled? Why, then, would you take counsel with him now? Why does the church join hands with those who hate Christ?

Our word to Satan must be, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” per Matthew 4:10. And we must know God’s Word and thereby, God’s heart and God’s nature, in order to DISCERN Satan’s nature. And we must DISCERN that it is necessary to have Christ’s nature in us in order for Satan to have to obey when we say, “Begone!”

When you refuse Satan, he will slander you, just as Sanballat and the rest did to Nehemiah (6:6-7). “You seek power, you seek to rule, you’ve appointed your own prophets to say you should lead.” But Nehemiah said, “These accusations are from your imagination.”

Satan is a liar and the father of lies. There is no truth in him. For him, to lie is to speak in his native tongue, it is to speak from his own nature (John 8:44).

When Satan’s lies come at you, do you run to your Good Shepherd? Do you run from the stranger’s voice (John 10), or do you listen to him? Run from the stranger’s voice! Know and believe the Word of God (in your heart) and you will be able to DISCERN!

Nehemiah DISCERNED that his enemies were trying to use fear, which births discouragement. Then the work stops. Nehemiah DISCERNS this truth. So what does Nehemiah do? He prays, “Now, O God, strengthen my hands!” What do you do when Satan tries to make you fear? Are you discouraged? Then you have fallen for his tactics. Stand up now. Cry out to the Lord, “Strengthen my hands!”

Strengthen (2388 chazaq) to fasten upon; hence, to seize, be strong (figuratively, courageous, causatively strengthen, cure, help, repair, fortify). O God, fasten upon my hands and seize them, making them strong so the rebuilding may be completed in YOUR strength!

Next, Nehemiah DISCERNS that one of his fellow Israelites, Shemaiah (ShemaYAH, which means “he hears from God”), is trying to bait him, to make him sin.

O beloved, beware! Even from those who call you brother, those who call themselves Christians, who say they hear from God, you may hear Satan speak tempting words.
The Enemy will say, people seek your life — run and hide in the temple! Sounds like a good idea. What better place to hide than in the Lord’s house? But if you are hiding, you do not trust God.

Nehemiah DISCERNED this, and he also knew the Word of God. He could not go into the temple and live (6:11). Beloved, he was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. It was the custom of pagan kings to castrate any men who worked closely with them, so the men would have no sexual desire toward the king’s wives and concubines. Nehemiah was an eunuch. He was emasculated (Deuteronomy 23:1), and thus barred from the temple. To go in would be a sin against God. So he refused.

[NOTE: Praise be to God, since His Son Jesus Christ came and died and rose and ascended, He has now lifted that ban (Isaiah 56:3-5). “To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial.”]

Nehemiah DISCERNED that God had not sent ShemaYAH, for he encouraged Nehemiah to sin!

O beloved, are you with people who say it’s alright to continue to sin against God once you have come to Christ? Do these say they hear from God? If you have asked the Lord for His DISCERNMENT, you will not listen to them.

Satan hires people like ShemaYAH for this reason: that you may become frightened and act accordingly so that Satan is able to say you feared and hid, so he can reproach you (6:13).

Remember Satan, O God, for what he has done. And beloved, remember that we do not war against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities:

Ephesians 6:12 For our  struggle is not against   flesh and blood, but  against the rulers, against the powers, against the  world forces of this  darkness, against the  spiritual forces of wickedness in  the heavenly places.

What is the result, when we have DISCERNMENT? The wall is finished (6:15-19) the worship begins (7:1ff), and God is glorified, for He promised and it is DONE, and has proven Himself faithful to His Word (Psalm 138:2)!

EXHORTATION TO BELIEVERS AND THE CHURCH-AT-LARGE:

Do you have discernment from God and therefore refuse Satan’s invitation to take counsel with him?

Do you have discernment from God, so you know the Good Shepherd’s voice and run from the voice of the stranger?

Do you have discernment from God, so you know Satan’s tactics?

Do you have discernment from God, so you ask Him to clothe you with His armor and fill you with His Spirit and His Word, so Satan cannot harm you?

Do you have discernment from the Lord, so you refuse to sin, even when a brother, one who calls himself a Christian, says, “But I hear from God, and He says it is alright”?

Do you have discernment so you know whether you may test the spirits of men?

1John 4:1    Beloved, do not believe every  spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because  many false prophets have gone out into the world . . . 5  They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.  6  We are from God;  he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Through this message, you are convicted that you have sinned, that you have taken Satan’s bait, that some hireling has spoken and you have believed him. If you will agree with God, He will cleanse you of your sin and fill you with His Spirit so you have DISCERNMENT. And He will rebuild your wall and set its gates in place.

But there is yet more — there must be revival with public confession of sin(Nehemiah 8-9), then dedication and purification (Nehemiah 10). These must happen in you individually, and also in today’s church-at-large, so we may be rebuilt to be the church of the Book of Acts, and the world may know that the Father sent His Son:

John 17:23  ” in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected  in unity, so that the world may  know that  You sent Me, and  loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 “Father, I desire that  they also, whom You have given Me,  be with Me where I am, so that they may see My  glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before  the foundation of the world. 25   “O  righteous Father,  although  the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that  You sent Me; 26 and  I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that  the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
 

REBUILDING – HIS INSPIRATION AND STRENGTH

First intercede, then seek provision, then act on the inspiration of God, the heart of God that we have sought and got!

[SW138] 04/26/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — His Inspiration and Strength”

First we intercede, standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild. Then we act upon the inspiration of God, the heart of God which we have sought and got!
Jesus has shown me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:
Chapter 1 — Intercession

Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision

Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength

Chapter 4 — Defeating the Enemy

Chapter 5 — Conviction regarding sin

Chapter 6 — Discernment

Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance

Chapter 10 — Consecration

Chapter 13 — Cleansing

Ezekiel 22:26-31 describes the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel). Judah had sinned greatly against the Lord, and refused to listen to the prophets the Lord sent to them, who warned them to repent. And so God sent them into exile in Babylon for 70 years.

Nehemiah 2:11-20

Nehemiah interceded for Jerusalem after his countrymen brought him the sad news that the city was in great distress and reproach, with its wall broken down and its gates burned with fire.

He asked the Lord for favor with King Artaxerxes, and reminded the Lord of His promise to return them to Jerusalem if they returned to their God.

He found favor, indeed! The king sent Nehemiah with authority, timber, officers of the army and horsemen to rebuild Jerusalem.

Nehemiah now arrived in Jerusalem. After three days, he and a few men secretly went out under cover of night to survey the damage. He likely rode a horse.

He told no one “what my God was putting on my heart to do for Jerusalem.”

That’s the key scripture for this message. All that Nehemiah did was inspired by the Lord! All Scripture is inspired by Him (2Timothy 3:16, 2Peter 1:20-21). All men and women must be, to rebuild Jerusalem then and to rebuild the church now.

And when it is truly the Lord’s inspiration, He will give you His strength, and many will join hands with you to rebuild, just as with Nehemiah. Not all will join you. But many will.

Not all followed Jesus, and ultimately, even His closest disciples abandoned Him. He would like a pretty poor leader, by today’s standards. So would Paul, who lost his head for Jesus, and Peter, who was crucified upside down. What failures, some said. But they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, shepherding the church faithfully and teaching believers that they needed to be filled with all the fullness of Christ. That’s how to rebuild — not by might, not by power, but by the Holy Spirit!

Beloved, beware of who you follow. Many leaders are leading people through the broad gate, and many follow them down the wide path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). I say this because I love you.

Nehemiah did not look to Egypt:

Isaiah 30:1   “Woe to the  rebellious children,” declares the LORD,
    “Who  execute a plan, but not Mine,
    And   make an alliance, but not of My Spirit,
    In order to add sin to sin;
2 Who  proceed down to Egypt
    Without  consulting  Me,
     To take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh
    And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
3 “Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be  your shame
    And the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation.

I tell you, beloved, we have been looking to Egypt. We have been looking to business practices, making our pastors CEOs, and we have been trusting in Management by Objectives (MBO) — Peter Drucker has become our advisor! We consult “pop” psychology instead of our Father in heaven. How do I know this? Our great ideas are not scriptural. Therefore, the Lord has humiliated us and made us a reproach.

Nehemiah did not trust in horses and chariots:

Isaiah 31:1   Woe to those who go down to  Egypt for help
    And  rely on horses,
    And trust in chariots because they are many
    And in horsemen because they are very strong,
    But they do not  look to the  Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!

Nehemiah did not seek the support or assistance of the pagan nations around him, but rather, spurned it:

Nehemiah 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite  official, and  Geshem the Arab heard it,  they mocked us and despised us and said, “What is this thing you are doing?  Are you rebelling against the king?”  20 So I answered them and said to them, “ The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build,  but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.”

Nehemiah did not forge ahead under his own inspiration. He interceded, got the heart of God, and God inspired him.

But if our leaders are blind to the spiritual condition of the church, they will not intercede for her. If they seek worldly ways to grow the church, they will ultimately fail:

Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are  wise in their own eyes
    And clever in their own sight!

So Nehemiah told no one what his God had put on his heart to do for Jerusalem, until he had inspected the damage. In some spots, the wall was so broken down that he could not pass through on his mount.

Then he returned and spoke to the people:

Come, let us rebuild
The hand of my God has been favorable to me
The king supports us

I tell you, beloved, they will say, “Let us arise and rebuild” and will put their hands to the work!

The Enemy will mock, despise and accuse. But like Nehemiah, who sought and got God’s heart, we will say to the Enemy:

Nehemiah 2:20 So I answered them and said to them, “ The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build,  but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.”  

The sheep gate will be consecrated, and there will be no bolts or bars. Access will be free for every sheep of the Good Shepherd!

Side by side, the people will work, united in purpose.

The gates and walls will be rebuilt!