The Journey with Ron Moore

Do you desire to be a godly mom or dad and just need some scriptural guidance to help you along the way?

Ron Moore shares some practical, biblical steps that will direct you and your family in the paths of righteousness.

Children are a gift from God. Sometimes we doubt that. Especially when parenting isn’t going the way we thought it would.

With that in mind, today, Ron Moore offers some relief from those expectations and scriptural encouragement for moms and dads.

They are the people we work with. They are friends and family. Many are living lives of quiet desperation, hiding a secret from the world.  Some have come out of the closet. All are people whom God loves.

Today, Ron Moore talks about their struggles and the design for biblically approved sexual expression.

Marriage is a package deal. The Bible details the three key ingredients of that package and why they cannot be successfully separated.

Today, Ron Moore shares those ingredients and what they mean to couples considering cohabitation.

How do the children of divorce process the confusing and conflicting emotions that tear at their hearts? What can you say to them that will restore a lost relationship and keep them close to God?

With those questions in view, Ron Moore continues a conversation with special guest Gretchen.  In the story of her troubled marriage, you’ll learn how God shows up in the most unexpected ways.

Any way you slice it, divorce is painful. It cuts deeply into both partners and even deeper into their children.

During this half-hour, Ron Moore begins a two-part examination of those wounds in a conversation with one who bears the scars of divorce.  In her story, you’ll find a gracious Lord who binds up our hurts.

What is marriage, really?  What great purpose does it serve?  What should your marriage focus on in order to find that purpose? And what do you do when that bond is severed?

Ron Moore explores those questions in this broadcast. In that exploration, you’ll discover your marriage made better, and hopefully, unbreakable.

What makes sex biblical, beautiful, and fun? More importantly, how should we honor it and experience it?

That’s Ron Moore’s engaging topic this half-hour. Listen and find joyful treasure.

Inside your home, nearer than you may have imagined, the greatest threat to your marriage is lurking.

Today, Ron Moore unmasks that threat and provides scriptural countermeasures to defeat it.

The foundations of our culture are under siege. From the intact family to sexual expression, society is chipping away at God’s design for stable homes.  Even the Church is groaning under the onslaught.

In this half-hour, Ron Moore begins an examination of God’s plan for marriage, family, and sexuality. In this series will be clear instructions on what you can do to protect the underpinnings of your home.

For the last twenty years, my wife Lori and I have participated in the March for Life in Washington D.C. When our children entered the sixth grade, we started taking them with us. We live in Pittsburgh, so the bus pulls out at six in the morning and we are home around midnight. It means a day from work and out of school, but we believe that is a small investment. For some of you, the trip may be much longer. But here are three reasons why we believe it is important.

  1. We want our children to understand why we believe in life.

We believe that life begins at conception. Life is not a political issue in a political platform of a political party. It is a moral issue embedded in Scripture. Man is made in the image of God. Each life deserves to be treated with honor and dignity until the last breath. Technology has taken away the argument that a fetus in the early stages is simply a blog of tissue. These are truths that parents (not the youth pastor or Christian school teacher) must teach their children.

  1. We want to show our children the power of their participation.

There is power in one voice. And that power is magnified when it is joined with others. It was reported that between 400,000 and 500,000 people attended this year’s march. That strong showing was dependent on one person at a time making a decision to show up. We want to show (not just tell) our children that their voice is important and powerful when joined with others.

  1. We want to show our children that they are not alone.

Our children may be one of the few in their classroom or at the lunch table who believes in the sanctity of life. But as they march with hundreds of thousands of others, they are reminded in a vivid way, that they are not alone. We pray that the experience of having them involved in the march gives them the confidence to speak out on this important matter.

  1. We want to show our children that we must speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.

After World War II, German citizens living around the Nazi concentration camps were required to visit the facilities to witness the atrocities they had permitted to occur.  Though it was technically legal to kill Jews and political prisoners, these citizens were still blamed for remaining silent and not living by a higher moral code.

Many German citizens did speak up. One was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. For his decision to take a stand, he was put in prison. Bonhoeffer was put to death just days before the end of the war.

One of the prisoners who survived was Elie Weisel. Later in his life, he was awarded the Nobel Prize. In accepted the award, Weisel said this:

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endured suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps oppressors never victims. Silence encourages tormenters not the tormented.

Scripture says, Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8). It’s one thing for parents to read that verse to your children. It’s another thing to show them that you mean it.

 

 

Today many people are living in fear. For some, the fear was brought on by post-election disappointment or disillusionment. Some are filled with anxiety as cable news commentators proclaim that our country is near economic collapse. Some are terrified at the news coming from the Middle East. But we are not the only generation living in uncertain and challenging times. Since the Fall of Man in Genesis 3, this world has been broken and messy. It was an especially bleak time when God entered the pool of humanity.

When Jesus was born Rome ruled the world. After Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, his two sons, Octavian and Anthony shared the throne. But co-rulers never work out well. Anthony soon fell in love with the Egyptian Queen named Cleopatra. They married and decided that Octavian was an unnecessary third wheel. So they went against him for sole power of the throne.

In the Battle of Actium in 33 BC, Octavian’s armies defeated Anthony and Cleopatra. Remember what they did? The hightailed it back to Egypt and in fear and desperation committed suicide. That left Octavian as the sole ruler of the Empire—The Caesar.

Four years later Octavian named himself the chief citizen of the Roman Empire and took the name Augustus. Caesar Augustus ruled the world.

The poet, Virgil, called Caesar Augustus the “present deity,” the “restorer of the world.” Augustus built roads throughout the Empire. Great buildings were constructed. Magnificent coliseums were built to entertain the people with sport. Circuses traveled throughout the country. Under Caesar Augustus, the world experienced Pax Romana—The Peace of Rome.

Things were going well in the Roman Empire except for this little piece of land called Palestine. In this little strip of land lived the Jews. They served one God named YHWH and their daily practices came from His instruction. They would not bow before Caesar. They would not follow the Roman customs.

The Jew’s hatred for the outside world started years earlier when a Greek ruler named Antiochus tried to force the Greek culture on them. They refused and things got messy. Antiochus flogged a 90-year-old priest to death for refusing to eat pig’s flesh. A mother and her seven sons refused to bow before an idol, so the soldiers killed each son…one by one. They killed the mother last so she would have to endure the unimaginable. She died seven deaths before they took her life. And in an act known as the “Abomination of Desolation,” Antiochus took a pig into the holiest part of the temple and sacrificed it on the altar in honor of Zeus and smeared the pig’s blood on the sanctuary.

That was the last straw. The Jews revolted. In 164 BC Judas Maccabee led a successful revolt to take back the temple and rededicated it to the Lord. The Jewish celebration of Hannukkah comes from that victory. Hannukkah—which means “dedication” or “consecration”—will be celebrated by Jews this coming week.

Amazingly the Jews held their independence for almost 100 years. Then the Roman army marches into town. It took around 30 years for the Romans to crush all signs of rebellion. But crush it they did. One commentator (Barclay) said that between 67 BC and 37 BC, no fewer than 150,000 Jews died at the hands of the Romans.

During this time, the Romans installed Herod as their puppet king. It is said that as he watches the Romans crush the rebellion—killing men, women, and children in their homes, in the marketplace, and those who took refuge in the temple, he asked a Roman general,

Would the Romans deprive the city of all its inhabitants and possessions and leave me a king of the wilderness?

Around this time, a Jewish rebel broke into an arsenal in the city of Sapphirus to arm his followers. Sapphirus was about 3 miles from Nazareth. The rebel was caught, the city of Sapphirus burned, and 2000 Jewish rebels crucified. And if the killings from the rebellion were not bad enough, in 31 BC an earthquake hit the area killing an estimated 30,000 people.

It was during this time—with people living in oppression, political unrest, poverty, their country in ruins—that God sent His angel Gabriel to a broken and messy world to make an announcement to a young woman named Mary.

Jesus did not come to overthrow Rome. His kingdom is not of this earth. He came to fix the problem of man’s sin, fear, and brokenness one person at a time.

Can you imagine a salesman who never sold a product … a surgeon who never performed a surgery … a trial lawyer who never tried a case … an interior decorator who never decorated the interior of anything … a teacher who never taught … a preacher who never preached … a congressman who never wrote one piece of meaningful legislation? Maybe that last one is a bad example, but you get my point. A profession demands evidence. And so does a profession of faith. Someone has asked, “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” That’s a great question, isn’t it? The purpose of this booklet is to show that true faith produces “convicting” evidence.

Does the Bible teach “faith by works,” “faith plus works,” or “faith that works”?

In the history of the church, there has been a variety of teaching regarding the issue of faith. Many have taught that a relationship with God must be earned by good works. You have to go to church, say your prayers, give a certain amount of money, take communion, be baptized and help little old ladies across the street. Then, when your time is up, God will take out his eternal balancing scales. He will place your good deeds on one side and your bad deeds on the other. With heaven and hell in the balance, you will stand before God and hope against hope that your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds by at least a nanogram. Talk about stress!

Others teach that a relationship with God is all about faith … plus the things you need to do in order to complete your relationship. It’s kind of like taking out a loan to buy a house. You can live in the house as long as you make the payments. But, if your missed mortgage payments pile up, you will risk foreclosure and losing your home. Talk about pressure to perform!

But faith is not by works or plus works. Scripture clearly teaches that an eternal relationship with the holy God is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. There is nothing we can do to earn or complete our standing before God. Salvation is a free gift. The Apostle Paul made this clear when he wrote, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

But God does not stop at simply making us his child. We are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). God has graciously gifted us with a faith that works. So, here’s the question. What does a faith that works look like in the life of a true believer? How can we know beyond any doubt that we possess such faith?

Saving Faith

Let’s make sure we are on the same page when it comes to a genuine relationship with God. A faith that works begins with saving faith. Let’s use the acronym “KAT” (Knowledge, Agreement, Trust) to help us understand what saving faith is all about.

Knowledge: Saving faith begins with an understanding of what the Bible says regarding my sinful state and God’s gracious remedy. Scripture says that I am a sinner and cannot save myself. My best effort on

my best day falls short of God’s holy standard. Because of my sin, I will be separated from God for eternity. So God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. He sent his Son to die on the cross as a perfect

sacrifice for my sin. The Bible says that I can trust in Jesus as the One who paid the penalty of sin for me and enter into a relationship with the living God. But this knowledge alone is not saving faith.

Agreement: Not only must I know what the Bible says about my condition and God’s remedy, but I must agree with what Scripture says. I must agree with God’s Word that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I must agree that Jesus came to pay the penalty for my sin. I must agree that my trust in Jesus places me into an eternal relationship with the living God. So far, so good … but knowledge and agreement are not saving faith. There is one more essential step.

Trust: I must place my trust in Jesus alone as the One who died for me and the only One who can place me into an eternal relationship with God. The Bible says that Jesus died for me. I agree that Jesus died

for me. I trust in Jesus alone as the One who died for my sins.

When you hear the word “hospitality” it is often in terms of a person having people over for dinner capped off with coffee and dessert. That’s a great thing to do, but biblical hospitality goes much deeper. Someone has well said:

Hospitality is not having someone into your perfect home; it is allowing someone into your imperfect heart.

The word translated “hospitable” is made up of two Greek words, philo and xenos. Philo means “love” and xenos means “strangers.” Biblical hospitality refers to a person who demonstrates acts of love to those who can’t pay them back. It is one-way giving.

In the Old Testament, God’s law instructed the Israelites to not harvest the corners of their fields so foreigners in need of food would have something to eat. God’s law instructed the Israelite to provide food to the hungry and clothing for the naked (Ezekiel 18:7).

In the New Testament, this characteristic of hospitality continues to be driven by one’s love for God and it takes on a very practical purpose.

The first practical purpose of hospitality was persecution. Christians were being captured and killed. Some were forced from their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Others were forced to run for their lives. Those fleeing had no money so they couldn’t stay at the inns. Even if they had money the inns and taverns were immoral places populated by hardened, drunken men. Not a place you wanted to take your wife and children.

Therefore, it was critical for Christians to take in the persecuted and provide a room, food, clothing and needed staples to help them continue their journey to safety. Hospitality was a sacrificial and costly endeavor, and it was dangerous.

In 209 A.D. there was persecution under the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus. A Christian priest was being pursued and was running for his life. For some reason, the priest was given shelter by a soldier in the Roman Army named Alban. In the next few days, the two talked at length and Alban became a Christian. When the officers were tipped off as to the location of the priest, Alban came to the door dressed in the priest’s clothes while the priest escaped. Alban became the first Martyr in Britain when he refused to renounce his newfound faith and was beheaded.

Another reason that hospitality was so important in the New Testament church was mission work. As Paul and others traveled around starting churches and sharing the Gospel they needed a place to stay. Again the inns of the day were out of the question, so Christ-followers housed traveling evangelists.

When the Apostle John was sending out missionaries to either start or support churches in Asia he learned of a certain man in one church who was wreaking havoc. He addressed this issue in 3 John and then praised Gaius for his kindness and support of the traveling preacher. Now certainly the kindness of hospitality can be abused. One early Christian writing—the Didache—says that the traveling preacher should stay one day, two days at most; and if he asked for money you knew he was a fraud.

Certainly, biblical hospitality can be costly and inconvenient. That’s why Peter reminds us to be hospitable without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9). The writer to the Hebrews says that the strangers to whom we show hospitality may even be angels in disguise (Hebrews 13:2).

Here are a few ways to demonstrate biblical hospitality.

  1. Work with a local church or pregnancy resource center to house a pregnant girl who has no place to go.
  2. Give clothes to a local mission. I bet your closet is full of clothes you seldom wear.
  3. Prayerfully consider foster care or adoption.
  4. Get involved in prison ministry.
  5. Get involved in mentoring children from single-parent families.
  6. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter.
  7. Get involved with international ministries committed to helping the needy.

Joshua, the Old Testament leader of Israel, was given a heavy assignment. Following the great leader Moses, God charged Joshua to lead Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua knew the challenges and risks. Seven groups of people inhabited the Canaan and there would be many battles to fight. Right after crossing the Jordan when Joshua looked at the walled city of Jericho, he had to be asking: How in the world will we conquer such a fortified city? How would he lead God’s people to take the land? How many husbands, fathers, and sons will give their lives for what God has called us to do? Joshua asked the same question we do: Are the battles worth it?

You tell me. Our ministry is one of leading people—empty, hurting, broken, fallen—to inherit the eternal promises of the eternal God. Jesus has gone before, fought and won the battle. He is the One who leads us into the eternal promised land. And as those called to proclaim his message, we get to follow him and simply encourage others to come along and follow us as we follow Christ.

When we are following Christ we can be sure that every battle is worth it. We are leading people to an eternal inheritance. And one day . . . if we do this thing right . . . we will look into His face and He will say, “Welcome home, good and faithful servant.” Yeah, every battle is worth it!

The great pianist Paderewski was holding a concert in a grand hall. A mother took her young son to the concert and, while she was talking to friends as the hall filled with people, he slipped down the aisle, crawled onto the stage, made his way to the piano . . . and started playing Chopsticks. The crowd, waiting for the great pianist, was aghast. From the wings, though, Paderewski saw what was taking place, slipped onstage behind the boy and whispered in his ear, “Keep playing . . . don’t stop . . . keep playing.” Paderewski accompanied the boy’s Chopsticks with a brilliant harmony that turned this simple piece into a masterpiece.

That’s what God does for us. When we are filled with fear, doubt, and discouragement, he puts his arms around us and says, “Don’t stop . . . keep playing . . . Don’t stop.” When we trust him, he strengthens our frightened hearts, bolsters our feeble efforts, and chases away the discouragement. He can turn a life of Chopsticks into a brilliant masterpiece.

Believers know that following Christ involves sacrifice. There will be battles to fight. We want to know if the battles will be worth it.

Joshua knew that they would not enter the Promised Land the next day or the day after that. There would be many battles to fight. Seven groups of people inhabited the Promise Land. When it was all said and done Joshua conquered thirty-five cities. Husbands and fathers, sons and brothers, would die on the battlefield. And he had to know if the sacrifices would be worth it. God answers that question with a rich theological truth.

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.

-Joshua 1:6

The inheritance of the Promised Land for the nation of Israel takes on a spiritual significance in the New Testament. Peter tells us that through Christ we have,

an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade– kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

-1 Peter 1:4-5

Are the battles worth it? Every one of them! At the end of the day, they will pale in comparison to our great inheritance through Jesus.

Recently I used a story from Philip Yancey’s book, What’s So Amazing About Grace, in a sermon. The story was told by a pastor who had a prostitute come to him for help. She had been “renting out” her two-year-old daughter in order to support her drug habit. In the story, the pastor asked her if she had gone to church for help. “Church!” she said, “I was already feeling bad enough about myself. Why would I want to go there? They would simply make me feel worse.”

I used the story to focus on grace—the grace we receive from God and the grace we should extend to others. I noted that it is easy for me to see some sins as worse than others, but that Jesus paid for all sins on the cross and his forgiveness extends to the “worst” of sins and sinners. I did not have time in the sermon to run down all the implications of this truth, and afterward, received some great questions about how to apply to this all-encompassing grace. Following is an attempt to address some of the questions. Let’s consider grace, the Law, and common sense.

Grace

Grace is the free gift of God. It is an undeserved favor. It cannot be earned, bought or bartered for. The Apostle Paul clearly said that grace “cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” (Romans 11:6). Until we understand that grace covers the greatest sin, we will not be able to understand that grace covers our sin. Yes, God’s grace covers even the despicable sin of the prostitute who sold her two-year-old.

Grace and the Law

In a discussion about grace, we can’t forget about the laws we live under. In Yancey’s story, the pastor said that he was legally liable to report this woman for child abuse even as he offered her God’s grace. King David was forgiven for his sin with Bathsheba, but he and his kingdom experienced consequences resulting from his sin. The thief on the cross, forgiven and headed to heaven, still died for his thievery. God can forgive the repentant murderer, but he will still receive the legal penalty rightfully due to him. The man who leaves his wife and family and runs off with his mistress can receive God’s forgiveness and may, in time, receive the forgiveness of his wife and children. But things will never again be the same between them. Grace does not negate the laws we live under. Grace does not negate the consequences of our sins.

Grace and Common Sense

When we extend grace, we must also use common sense. For instance, even though grace should be extended to the prostitute in Yancey’s story, we would be foolish to let her babysit our two-year-old. We must forgive those who hurt us. But this doesn’t mean that we put them in a position to hurt us or those we love again. If an alcoholic spouse leaves home, I can and should forgive him, but I am not going to let the children stay the weekend during his drunken stupor. Grace does not mean we put those we love in danger just for the sake of grace.

The right thing to do is always to do the right thing. Obedience is always the path to take. The road of obedience always leads to the desired destination. But…let’s face it…obedience is hard. Even Jesus learned obedience “from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:7-8).

I have listed below several life situations when obedience is hard. I’d love to hear your response to these and your stories of when obedience has been hard for you.

  1. Purity
  • When teenagers are suffering from exploding hormones and their minds (especially boys) are fixed on one thing, they are called to be pure.
  • When a single is following God’s path for purity and his/her friends are sleeping around.
  • When a spouse has saved himself or herself for the right mate and now the mate is not meeting his/her needs.

 

  1. Relationships
  • When a single is waiting (and waiting) on a Christian mate and is tempted to begin “Evangelism Dating.”
  • When a couple has vowed before God to be committed come hell or high water and now they are hanging on to a hellish relationship feeling like they are drowning emotionally.

 

  1. Parenting
  • When your kids think your standards are too strict.
  • When other Christian parents seem to be more lenient.
  • When you feel peer pressure to have your child overly involved.
  • When the child you have prayed for goes astray.

 

  1. Career
  • When others get ahead by cutting corners.
  • When you begin to wonder if honesty really is the best policy.
  • When you are tempted to “beef up” your resume.

 

Those are some of my thoughts. What about you? Have you experienced a time when obedience was really hard? I would love to hear your thoughts.

As Christians, we are going to be faced with doubt, fear and discouragement. We live in a culture of greed. There will be those who threaten us, intimidate us and try to distract us from following hard after Christ. How do we deal with these things that try to tear us down and paralyze us? Here are five things we need to do.

 

  1. Understand your position in Christ.

In times of doubt, fear and discouragement the enemy will try to distance us from God. If you are a Christian, understand that you are a treasured child of the living God. That is something you need to remind yourself of constantly. Every thought that contradicts the truth of God’s love needs to be corralled and aligned with the truth in God’s Word. Heed the words of the Apostle Paul, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of Christ, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Doubt will come but, by God’s grace, you will not turn into a doubter. Things will come into your life that will cause fear but, through Christ, fear will not be paralyzing. As a human living on this earth, there will be times of discouragement but, by God’s grace, you will not lose your eternal perspective and will evaluate your heart to make sure discouragement has not been aided and abetted by spiritual compromise.

 

  1. Understand the power of prayer.

Nehemiah was a man of prayer. Before he went to King Artaxerxes to ask permission to return to Jerusalem, he petitioned God (Nehemiah 1:5-11). Nehemiah continued to pray as he faced opposition from Sanballat and his men (Nehemiah 4:4-5, 9).

There are many things in our life that we cannot fix. But we can turn them over to God. Paul gave this reminder to the Philippians:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:6-7

 

  1. Trust God.

There are two questions that every believer must ask. The first one is, “Can you trust God?” emphasis on trust. The second question is, “Can you trust God?” emphasis on you. The first question is philosophical. The second is rubber on the road practical.

Fear will come. It did for David, the man after God’s own heart. But when anxiety came David made a decision. He said,

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

-Psalm 56:3-4

The prophet Isaiah made the same decision. He wrote,

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.                                                                                            -Isaiah 12:2

Fear will come. We must decide to trust.

 

  1. Be Prepared!

While we understand our position in Christ, prayer and trust; Nehemiah reminds us that we need to be prepared. Notice the details of Nehemiah’s preparation.

Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.” Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed

places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember

the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had

frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work. From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God

will fight for us!” So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside

Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day.” Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.

-Nehemiah 4:12-23

 

Here are some lessons we can learn from Nehemiah’s preparation.

  • They acknowledged the threat.

Acknowledge what causes your fear, doubt and/or discouragement. When we acknowledge the issue, we can begin to deal with it. Peter wrote,

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith….

-1 Peter 5:8-9

  • They stood guard.

Nehemiah’s men were ready for the battle. Whether day or night, they did not take off their clothes. Even when they went for water, each man carried his weapon with him. We must stand guard.

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

-Mark 13:22-23

  • They stood together.

There is nothing that weakens an army like division. Nehemiah and his men stayed together. And so must we!

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

-Hebrews 10:24-25

 

  1. Read the Word of God daily.

God’s Word is the inerrant instruction manual for our life. It tells us the paths to take and the paths to avoid. It transcends culture. God’s Word is just as relevant today as it was when the ink was still wet on the parchment. But Scripture is more than just a manual; it is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12). Through his Word, God teaches us, encourages us, inspires us and shows us how much he loves us. The Apostle Paul says it this way,

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

-2 Timothy 3:16-17

If we are going to be thoroughly equipped for the voices of opposition, we must read and meditate on God’s Word daily.

 

Do you hear voices? Voices of fear, doubt and discouragement? Voices of greed, distraction, threats and intimidation? It’s easy to allow these voices to turn up the volume and drown out the focus, peace and confidence that God desires. But from Nehemiah we learn that God always gives us the strength to do what he calls us to do. Whether riding high in success or experiencing failure, the Heavenly Father will always be present with you. His help was not unique to Nehemiah. He is ready and able to carry you today.

Everyone hears voices … voices trapped in our mind…voices of criticism…voices of ridicule…voices aimed to hurt. The voices you hear may have come from the lips of a parent, teacher, coach, spouse, child or friend. These voices spring from our memory when we least expect them and can knock us for a loop.

Sometimes the voices are not trapped in our mind but projected from the person standing next to us. They are words that pierce like a sword, as the Proverb says, and after the attack we are left emotionally bruised and bloodied.

Sometimes the voices come from Satan himself. He loves to remind us of our past sin—How do you think you could ever be worthy of God? He loves to bring up our past failure—See how you failed in the past? Don’t you dare try anything worthwhile again, don’t take any risk. See how God let you down? You’ll fall flat on your face again. And he loves to keep us focused on our weaknesses—How could God ever use you?

Do you hear voices of opposition? If so, keep reading. Let me introduce you to a man named Nehemiah. Let’s identify some voices of opposition that he heard. Through Nehemiah’s experience we can learn to deal with our voices of opposition.

Nehemiah was the cupbearer of King Artaxerxes, a privileged position in the powerful Persian Empire. He pre-tested the king’s wine (If Nehemiah clutched his throat and dropped dead the king knew not to drink it). His responsibility also included keeping things merry and lively during dinner. But as Nehemiah’s story begins, he is having a hard time wearing a smile. Nehemiah was a Jew and had just been given a discouraging report about his homeland. Jerusalem, the center of the Jewish nation and religion, was in ruins. The people were living in disgrace. And the God he loved and served was being mocked. Nehemiah desired to return to Jerusalem to bring honor and dignity to God and his people by rebuilding the city walls.

By God’s grace, King Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah permission to return and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. But soon those working on the walls started hearing voices of opposition. Some of the voices were purposed to implant doubt, fear and discouragement in the hearts of those working on the wall. Other voices came to distract the builders from their great endeavor. Let’s consider these voices and Nehemiah’s response.

A man named Sanballat had a vested interest to keep the walls in shambles and the discouraged Jews under his thumb. Keeping the Jews down allowed him to maintain economic and political power. So, when the re-building began he pulled out all his verbal stops.

Sanballat questioned the builders’ strength—What are those feeble Jews doing? He questioned their ability—Will they restore their wall? He questioned their spiritual preparation—Will they offer sacrifices? He questioned their planning and wisdom to take on such a project—Will they finish in a day? He questioned their resources—Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble, burned as they are? Sanballat’s friend Tobiah joined in as well. He questioned the Jew’s ability to build a lasting final product—If even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!

Maybe you have a Sanballat in your life. Ignore him! If it’s a Janballat, ignore her.

Listening to voices, whether from the past or in the present, will paralyze our spiritual progress. Plug your ears to voices of doubt and keep building the wall!

 

Voices of Fear

Sanballat, Tobiah and their allies decided to join forces to attack Jerusalem. The fear of attack, they thought, would certainly take Nehemiah’s mind off the building project. The Jews in the area got wind of the attack and informed Nehemiah of the plans:

Also our enemies said, “Before they know it

or see us, we will be right there among them

and will kill them and put an end to the

work.” Then the Jews who lived near them

came and told us ten times over, “Wherever

you turn, they will attack us.”

-Nehemiah 4:11-12

 

Fear spreads, doesn’t it? Like a disease it is transferred to those around us. Moses knew this well. Once before a battle he gave the instruction, “Is any man afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his brothers will not become disheartened too’” (Deuteronomy 20:8).

How do you handle voices of fear? Are you listening to the rumors around you or the certain voice of God?

Prayer

Do you need prayer?

Email prayer@ronmoore.org.

RON’S SERMONS

Categories