Friday, January 1, 2016

Renewed to Rebuild

The more we teach and talk about the spiritual battle over our families, the more we realize that God has placed us behind enemy lines like a covert special force unit of the military. He has placed us in one of the fiercest battles in our nation today. It’s a battle for the hearts and homes of America.

We have come to the end of the holiday season, a time that focuses on family. We want to start the new year by talking to you about the internal battles we face within our families.

As you know, we’ve been following the story of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls. After the reconstruction began, several enemies conspired together to attack them. Immediately after receiving the threats from Sanballat, Tobia, the Ammonites, the Arabs and the Ashdodites, the Israelites took a quick inventory to assess their ability to keep working under this threat of attack.

Here is the report that was brought to Nehemiah:

Then (the people of) Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.” And our adversaries said, “They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.” So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, “From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.” Nehemiah 4: 10-12

The FIRST problem: The strength of the laborers was failing. In similar ways, our strength is failing. Many husbands, wives, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, and grandparents have just grown tired of trying to build the family any longer.

Have you ever said, ‘I’m tired of trying in this marriage’ or ‘I’m tired of trying in this relationship’? Many times, it’s not that you’re not willing to work at it. It’s just that it never seems to get anywhere when you try. That’s what the people were hinting at when they said, “There is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.”

The SECOND problem: It’s one thing to rebuild a marriage, a relationship, or anything you’re trying to reconstruct in your life, but there’s another level of discouragement when all you have to work with is rubbish. The rubbish, in Jerusalem, was the burned out stones and almost worthless material that was left behind from the devastation the city had suffered years earlier.

It’s the same for many of us today. God wants us to rebuild the wall of our city (our families and households), but all we have to build with is the leftover shattered, battered, burned up stones, bricks and timber from years of family heartache and heart break.

The burned out stones look like this: The unreasonable demands, the bullying, the lies, the deception, the dishonesty, the disrespect, the nagging, the insensitivity, the carelessness, the discontent, the unmet expectations, the silent nights (that were not holy nights), the fierce arguments, the horrible fights – and we mean the physical, fist-flying stuff, too; the four letter explicative, the feelings that had no words, and the words that had no feelings.

The burned out stones represent our broken dreams, our failures, our shame, and our secrets. They are the ashes of our grief; the only thing left after our sorrow. They are the heaviness we carry around inside of us in our perpetual state of mourning.

Question: How can you repair the walls for your family when the only material that you have is rubbish and burned out, brittle, crumbling stones?

Answer: God says in His Word: Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31 (NKJV)

This Hebrew word for WAIT means: to look for, hope, expect, look eagerly for, or to linger. One word picture is to be like a waiter or waitress: To stand and wait for the order, request, words, and direction. The person who stands like a servant and eagerly lingers, with hope and expectation, for the order, word, and directions from the Lord, will renew their strength.

Renew means to go through, grow up, change, to go on from where you are now. This means your strength is going to carry you through this time. It’s going to grow up. It’s going to go on from where it is right now.

We did a quick study about the bald eagle and learned something special about part of its life span. In their five-year development to adulthood, bald eagles go through one of the most varied plumage changes of any North American bird. During its first four weeks of life, an eaglet’s fluffy white down changes to a gray wooly down. At about five weeks, brown and black feathers begin to grow. It becomes fully feathered at 10 weeks of age. In its first year, the mostly dark-colored bald eagle can often be mistaken as a golden eagle. However, the bald eagle progressively changes until it reaches adult plumage at five years. Its dark eyes lighten throughout its first four years of life until it becomes yellow. They are constantly renewing as they get older.

If you and I wait upon the Lord; live expecting God’s word, live receiving God’s word, live obeying God’s word, we are renewed as we grow in His Word like the eagle is renewed as it grows to maturity. God can renew the material within us as we seek to rebuild our families. We won't have to build with burned-out stones. We can build with spiritual, mental, emotional, and relational material that has been renewed. We can build with strength that has been renewed.

We cannot rebuild our families and households until we get renewed in our hearts. So let’s remain consistent and persistent in our pursuit of God. Wait on Him daily. He will give you the strength to rebuild, in spite of the rubbish and in spite of the threats of the enemy.

It has been our honor to serve you these many years with these weekly words of inspiration and encouragement for your hearts and homes. May you have a blessed New Year!

We are overcomers, under orders,

Chris and Carol Green