Take My Hand

from new book “My Soul Cries… Glory, Glory, Glory” (2019). Copyright © Wanda J. Murry.  All rights reserved.

Matthew 18:19-20
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Although it is a story of rebellion, the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) gives an example of what can be accomplished when people stand together to work toward a common goal. Likewise, in the book of Nehemiah we find the story of the citizens of Jerusalem banding together to rebuild the wall around the city (Nehemiah 4) while warding off the naysayers and enemies that taunted them.

These stories give credence to Jesus’ statement wherein he says, “He that is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23). This truth flows into every part of life, and is most likely at the heart of everything that is broken. When people are not joined together, touching and agreeing, there is division.  A small breach left unattended in a structure, with enough pressure, becomes a gaping hole in that structure that eventually crumbles into a heap of nothingness.

We see this in companies. Staffs flourish in a company where management exhibits and demonstrates care for their well-being, praises them, and shows appreciation for their contributions.  You find the opposite in a company where management has tyrants who micromanage, criticize, and show little respect for the employee or their work. These companies will usually have a high turnover rate.

affection board broken broken hearted
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We see this in marriages. When a husband thrives at demonstrating and living the biblical command to love his wife as Christ loved the church, he lives with her according to knowledge.  A wife under such authority willfully submits to his leadership authority, and you often find a couple who genuinely adore and respect each other … they have become “one.”  But let the husband be an insensitive bully or the wife an odious (hateful) woman, and you may find a drifting apart that creates a gulf impassable, fostering outside alternatives that choke out the hope of reconciliation.

white concrete structure
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We see this in churches. Where there is a stronger presence of believers who are solely focused on giving their all to the vision and work of the ministries of their church body, there will be little posturing for position or title.  This church body is grounded and fortified for the service of God with servants able to withstand the attacks of the enemies. The flip side of this is a cluttered mess of individualized, spiritual separatists vying for dominance and recognition while the work of the ministry falls into stagnation and apostasy.

What is your point,” you may ask?  It’s simple … don’t aspire to join the Tower of Babel!  Look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you and look behind you, then look within/without the body of Christ…

Take A Hand–Walk beside each other so we can hold each other up in the times when the battle and weight of our trials are too much to bear…even for the strong.
Take A Hand–She’s young and without knowledge of her virtuous treasures which have been soiled by the world; help her exchange the ashes of her life for beauty…and love.
Take A Hand–He wants to be a man but all he knows about manhood has been derived from his dysfunctional environment absent of leadership; he’s silently afraid of the dying around him, but you can introduce him to a New Life.
Take A Hand–Whether old or young, they have been striped of human dignity at a  price of civil rights, abusive nights, or rejected by sight; rebuke them not, but in gentleness and respect teach them the ways of God’s holiness and sanctification.

Let us now agree as touching on that which is most needful for the expansion of the Kingdom of God — the gathering together in His name, the sharing of the gospel message, and the edifying of each soul through the power of the Word of God.

Take My Hand.

Blindsided by the Blind Spots in the Wall

Beware of the dust that gathers while standing still at the gate!

Copyright © Wanda Murry, Speak True Life, May 23, 2018

Encarta Dictionary: English (North America):  blind–side (transitive verb), blind–side (blind·sid·ed, blind·sid·ing, blind·sides)

  1.  Attack from blind side

to attack somebody suddenly and physically by hitting the person on a side where his or her peripheral vision is obstructed

  1.  Attack when vulnerable

to take somebody unawares suddenly, with detrimental results to that person

WebstersDictionary.com – blind spot  noun

2an area in which one fails to exercise judgment or discrimination

Your chest is on fire; your eyes burn with cloudiness; your breathing is labored.  Your head hurts as swirls of darkness envelop you like a soft glove.  You are rattled to the core and left feeling as if a sledgehammer has pummeled your chest. Surely you must be dying; surely the pain will be to your demise.

Tremors ripple throughout your body leaving you spineless.  Your body, in slow motion, crumbles into a heap upon the floor.  Using the last bit of strength you can muster, you wrap your arms around your body as you curl into a ball.  As tears fall, draining you of any coherent thought, even death becomes a welcome idea.

You have just been blindsided by the blind spots in your life.  While you were busy managing the multiplicity of life, you left yourself vulnerable to the attacks that are constant against those in Christ, and that which is common to the flesh.  Sometimes, the greatest blind spot is to believe one is exempt from the very temptations and troubles that accumulate into lusts of the flesh, the eyes, and pride, even though God’s Word speaks to the contrary.

In our failure to stay spiritually and mentally alert through God’s Word and an active prayer life, complacency creeps in like a tiny spider—unseen until its webs are anchored in the dark spaces our eyes did not see — and our lukewarm hearts did not feel.  Blind spots take many forms: stubbornness, carelessness, laziness, pride, trust issues, scriptural starvation, spouses, work, multiple endeavors (spiritual & physical), worldly lusts, fear, ministry(ies), bitterness, fatigue, children, weariness, etc., etc., etc.  Their development grows as one gets a little too comfortable in their state of fellowship and worship with the Holy God.

Old Testament stories highlight this common breach in the life of those on varying levels of relationship with God.  Nothing new under the sun, for there are many examples of strong beginnings of faithful servants who later falter and fall.  A tour of the internet provides an increasing number of moral failures in our churches for our learning in these modern days.  And, it is this faltering that creates the breach in our spiritual fortress.  The story found in Nehemiah is a welcome reminder.

worm view of concrete structure
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In learning that The remnant left of the captivity in the province … (were) in great affliction and reproach: (1:3), Nehemiah’s response provides us with a picture of one whose heart is towards God and God’s people, much like an uncompromising shepherd in this Laodicean church age.  In short, verses 3b-11 is the hope of a heart for what God loves … his people.  Note:

… the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, … Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, … 11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: … and grant him mercy in the sight of this man…”

We are warned to remember the examples in the Old Testament by 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 – to not lust after evil things, be idolaters, commit fornication, tempt Christ, or murmur. Nonetheless, when there are blind spots in our vision, the walls of spiritual protection fall, delivering our moral compasses into the hands of worldly versions of right vs. wrong, causing spiritual weakness and compromise.052418-PrideWhen I read “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” (Proverbs 30:12) or the warning cry of Isaiah 5:21-Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” it is like the slap of wet hands upon the face saying, WAKE UP!  Ignorant I am not – I have fallen into several pits with scars to show.  I suspect there may be more.  So there is a great need to minimize more damage by banishing complacency, and opening my eyes and ears.  It is as good a place as any to start – at least for me.

 

The walls are failing, the breaches are widening, and God’s people cannot afford to abandon their posts#2.

Lord, wipe away the haze from our eyes; open our ears to hear the crumbling of the walls that we may turn our hearts to you again. Though our fortresses are weakened by decay, help us arm ourselves with the building materials of your mighty sword (Hebrew 4:12) and vanquish the enemy of our flesh.  Keep us from getting lost in the fabric of a busy life, that we may fortify the kingdom of God and secure the breaches with armed watchmen upon thy walls.