Build Your House

Nehemiah 7:4
“Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt.”

By this time, in the Nehemiah’s story, much has been accomplished. He has experienced the call of God that took him from a highly coveted position in the kings court to becoming a leader among the congregation of Israel. He has seen God provide for his personal needs as well as the needs of his new found ministry. He has seen the people who had been both divided and discouraged rally together to accomplish the work of God and build the city wall. With all that Nehemiah came to realize that the work was still incomplete. There was much more that God wanted to do in and through his life and ministry. As he looked out over the city he discovered that the people had yet to build their own homes.

Consider for a moment the ministry of Joshua. He gathered the tribes of Israel together and drove the Canaanites out of the land. Under his leadership the enemies were defeated and each tribe was given their allotment of the land. As time went on it became clear that the people were neglecting to fight the battles necessary within their own territories and needed to be encouraged to get to the task at hand. A very similar problem is taking place here. The wall is built around the city by the combined efforts of those from every tribe, but the necessary work for the homes to be built has been neglected. The reason given is the limited number of people.

It is not uncommon for people who come to Christ to have victory in a lot of areas of their lives and still neglect to fight battles on the home front. A person might be hailed as a great employee and church member, yet still not treat their family members in a way that brings glory to the Lord. Regardless of how far you have come in your relationship with Christ, allow me to encourage you to consider  how much your relationship with Jesus is affecting your marriage and your family. Are you taking your Christianity home with you and focusing on building up your family? Whether you are a son, daughter, mother, father or grandparent it is time to build up our homes for the sake of the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.




Numbers 25:1-3
“Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.”

A dangerous and all too common cycle is exposed in these verses. Some of the men of Israel were drawn into unhealthy relationships, which led to ungodly practices. Their sin led them out from under the blessings of God and into a place where they were chastened by the Lord. Unhealthy relationships are one of the chief causes of sin throughout Israel’s history. Whenever they were drawn to the nations around them, it was not long before they were involved in the practices of those nations. After years of this cycle repeating itself, Solomon wrote,

Proverbs 12:26 “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

There is another cycle that we also see repeated in Scripture and in life. When a person chooses to surround himself with those who are committed to, and living for, the Lord, he will find that he grow more quickly and serve more faithfully. Joshua found that to be true by spending time with Moses, David was bettered by his relationship with Jonathan, Timothy developed into a mighty man of God, through the time he spent with Paul.

The relationships we choose to invest in are the ones that will forge us into the person we become. While it is true that we live in the world, and God wants to use us to bring others to himself, it is also true that many Christians have slipped away from the Lord because of the worldly friendships they have chosen to keep. If you are involved in a relationship that is pulling you away from the Lord, perhaps it is time to establish some new relationships, with those who are committed to following after and serving Christ.

Pastor Jim


Giant Killers 

2 Samuel 21:22
“These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.”

In middle school, I could always be found hanging around with my friend Sean. We spent so much time together, we soon walked and talked the same. Truly, we had a walk; it was more like a strut. If you can imagine two 12 year old kids, 4’10″ tall, weighing in at 80lbs, strutting their way from class to class on the middle school campus, then you have a good idea of what that looked like. My point is, hanging together, we soon became like one another. This principle was true of those who hung around David, and is true of us today.

When we are first introduced to David, he is stepping into a valley to fight a foe that can only be described as a giant. Over 9ft tall and weighing well over 300lbs, stood a warrior that put fear into the hearts of all who saw him. The greatest champions of Israel cowered in their tents at the sound of his bellowing voice. Then came David. A young man, undaunted by the boastings of this giant, boldly approached, and in poetic fashion, defeated Goliath. There is little doubt, being around this young man would have a tremendous effect upon your life. It seems almost predictable, that we should read of David’s friends also conquering giants.

Solomon would later exhort us to choose our friends wisely. One reason is, we become like those with whom we spend time. It is so important to find others who will challenge us to press onward and upward in Christ. I personally want to be around men who will challenge me to be more holy, loving, and bold in my service of Christ.

Look around, are you surrounding yourself with those who influence you to become more like Jesus? Or are you settling for those who will allow you to be comfortable in compromise?

Pastor Jim


Strong Hands 

1 Samuel 23:16
“Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.”

Things seem to be going from bad to worse for David. Saul’s rage forced him to flee the palace, and live the life of a fugitive. For safety sake, he dwelt in caves to hide from the king and his spies. He and his men came out of hiding at the command of the Lord, and risked their lives to rescue the city of Keilah from Philistine invaders, only to find the citizens of Keilah had sold them out to Saul. It is easy to see why both David and his men could become discouraged by their circumstances.

It is during this dark hour that David receives a visit from his closest friend. This visit will prove to be a source of great strength for David, and a powerful example for all who walk with Christ down through the ages. We read that Jonathan arrived and “strengthened the hands of David.” This figurative term speaks of encouraging him in such a way that David is able to step back into life and prevail over his difficulties. It is vitally important that we learn how to have our own hands, and the hands of others strengthened.

1 Samuel 23:17 “And he said to him, ‘Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.’”

Notice Jonathan did not encourage David by simply painting a rosy picture of life. He did not give the patent “everything will be OK” speech. Platitudes and empty promises of hope are of little value in the real world. Jonathan gave David a true source of strength, reminding him of the promises of God. No matter what his circumstances said, the Word of God promised David would sit upon the throne of Israel. Jonathan brought David back to the unshakable promises of God, which brought strength to his weary soul. No matter what you are facing, you will find great encouragement in the pages of your Bible. Promise after promise is given, to strengthen our hands for the journey we are traveling, as we await the coming of the Lord.

Pastor Jim


Parting Words

Joshua 23:2

“And Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers, and said to them: ‘I am old, advanced in age.'”


The sun is about to set in the life and ministry of Joshua. After spending years being mentored in ministry by Moses, he ventured out as Israel’s leader. He led the nation as they furthered the kingdom of God, and became established in the land. Now that his time is coming to an end,  Joshua will give his final message to the people he has so faithfully served. His message could be divided into four main points of exhortation that would lead to their continued success. 


Joshua 23:6

“Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left.”


Step one, they needed to read and obey the Scriptures. Clearly, the lifestyle, as well as the daily struggles of an agrarian society of thirty-five hundred years ago, would be drastically different than the challenges we face today. However, regardless of what we face, reading and doing what the Bible says is the secret to success. Set aside a time, daily, to be in the Word. 


Joshua 23:8

“But you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.”


Step two, cling to the Lord. Clinging implies closeness; it is impossible to cling from a distance. The secret to clinging to Christ is to remove anything from our lives which creates separation. David learned that compromise placed a wedge between him and the Lord. The one who once experienced sweet fellowship with God, found that unconfessed sin put a distance between him and the Lord. If you are hiding some sin, it is time to bring it into the open. Tell the Lord about it, and confide in a trustworthy believer who will pray for you.


Joshua 23:11 

“Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God.”


Step three might be step one. God created us to be in a love relationship with Himself. Jesus told us the most important of all  commands is to love God. We love Him by placing Him above all else. When my desire is to please God above even my desire to please myself, I am expressing true love and devotion. When we allow other things to stand on the same platform as the Lord, those things will begin to vie for our time, devotion, and obedience. Perhaps it is time to take inventory and remove anything which has been exalted to that place in life which only God should have. 


Joshua 24:14

“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!”


Step four is to serve the Lord. Without a doubt, there is a common denominator in the life of every successful follower of Christ. The common denominator is that they have gone from simply believing, to beginning to serve. This was true of the original followers of Christ, and it is equally as true today. If we want to see our Christian life begin to take off, we need to get involved in regular service. It is there, we will find healthy relationships that will encourage our growth, and where we will find ourselves in daily dependance upon the help of the Lord. 


The generation that heard Joshua, continued to follow and serve the Lord. Sadly, his exhortations were lost on the next generation, and they soon began to drift from God and experience defeat in life. 


Pastor Jim