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[Just a little side note based on Mike’s comments about Paul not expecting payment from the church at Corinth for teaching/preaching the Gospel. So too Nehemiah did not accept monies authorized by King Artaxerxes for the upkeep of the governorship and his staff:

From the day that I was appointed governor in the land of Judah, that is, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes twelve years in all neither I nor my relatives ate the food allotted to the governor. But the former governors who preceded me had burdened the people and had taken food and wine from them, in addition to forty shekels of silver. Their associates were domineering over the people. But I did not behave in this way, due to my fear of God.
(Neh 5:14-15 NET.) It seems Nehemiah and Paul was of the same spirit.]

Nehemiah 7:73-9:21

Ezra steps out with the Book of the Law at the urging of the people, the people stand up when they see him, he opens the Book and begins to worship and the people joining in bow down and worshiped also. Ezra reads the Law from early morning to the afternoon, with everyone still standing and everyone listening intently. I know that in the Greek Orthodox Church there are no seats; the entire service is conducted standing up. What would happen in today’s churches if this was implemented, no seats, standing up in a service where the bible was read for three four straight hours, maybe six, with possible breaks between significant passages for the elders to wonder through the crowd explaining the meaning of what just had been read. Then they gathered the next day to study what was in the Law. I think there would not be many people in the pews the next Sunday. Have we become a nation unwilling to go outside of our comfort zone to take part in the things of God?

Today we here a lot of talk about ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder or Syndrome and now Adult-ADD). To those who have been diagnoses with that this may grate against their nerves, but is there really such a thing or have we as a society demanded to be entertained for so long we have become accustomed to the “Give it to me with glass, glitter and a big bang” mentality? Left in front of the TV for hours at a time with commercial programming, shocking and awing, have we lost the art of listening intently? If someone put a gun to our head and said, “If you move in the next 30 to 45 minutes, I will shoot you,” would we override that disorder and stand still to save our lives? Maybe it is time for us to throw up our hands in surrender when God says, “Stick ‘um UP.”

As in true worship the participant sees himself/herself in comparison to the Awesome, perfect majestic God and that caused them sadness, but they were told to rejoice because as in everything perceived by our five senses, it is all about perspective,

(Neh 8:10 JPS) Then he said unto them: 'Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto our Lord; neither be ye grieved; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.'

Your view of God, my vies of God, who He is and His Laws and Commandments will either bury us or uplift us. If you think that you must get inline, do right, get right with God all on your own, then the Laws and Commandments will kill you. But seen from the view that God is looking out for our best interest, loves us and cares for us and had implemented these rules and regulations for our benefit, safety and success, then an Awesome and Holy God is a joy and delight to behold. We also have confirmed by the account of two and three witness that the “Just shall live by faith,” and not works, so it ain’t all bout us.

(Habakkuk 2:4 KJVR) Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

(Romans 1:17 KJVR) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written. The just shall live by faith.

(Galatians 3:11 KJVR) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

(Hebrews 10:38 KJVR) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

What I love in this passage are the last four verses of chapter nine. They let us know that even when we His people are faithless, God is always faithful and never abandons us.

17"They refused to listen and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt! But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and full of unfailing love and mercy. You did not abandon them; 18even though they made an idol shaped like a calf and said, `This is your god who brought you out of Egypt!' They sinned and committed terrible blasphemies. 19But in your great mercy you did not abandon them to die in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud still led them forward by day, and the pillar of fire showed them the way through the night. 20You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them bread from heaven or water for their thirst. 21For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness. They lacked nothing in all that time. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell!

I Corinthians 9:1-18

17If I were doing this of my own free will, then I would deserve payment. But God has chosen me and given me this sacred trust, and I have no choice. 18What then is my pay? It is the satisfaction I get from preaching the Good News without expense to anyone, never demanding my rights as a preacher.

Thus Paul concludes his defense of not accepting compensation from the Corinthians as he ministers to them. In the previous chapter Paul admonishes the church to think about the things they do or might do that are theirs to do by “right;” however, in doing them, they cause a weak brother/sister to sin. As far as Paul is concerned, everything he does and he hopes they do will be toward building up the church. The ninth chapter of Corinthians is a continuation of that theme or point with him using himself as an example.

Paul is clearly not operating out of that standard refrain, which by the way does not work, “Do as I say not as I do.”

Psalm 33:12-22

The verses in this Psalm give us reason to rejoice and revere our God. The Lord should be our strength, not our friend on the other end of the phone, not our job, our social status, our family line—all those will fail us. But it is the Lord that is our High Tower. Nothing that He has not willed for our lives because of the “purpose” and calling He has called us to do and be can happen to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28-29 NET.
(28) And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,
(29) because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Proverbs 21:11-12

Hmmm, this is becoming longer then intended but I want to address the fine line Mike’s sees between those in and out of prison. I think we are separated by a factor called control. The reason why many of us are not in prison is because of external controls and I think that is what the “simpleton” sees in action that keeps him or her in control. Prison is an extreme case of external control, concrete and steel, while, we hope. Most people are contained by external controls of family, societal and cultural pressure. External controls, except for prison, work by means of shame and embarrassment. I believe anything that keeps us in check because of external forces is a tool to teach the “simpleton.”

However, there are internal controls, which the wise use and that is called, instruction. The Book of Proverbs was written so that its readers, if diligent, will gain Wisdom, knowledge and understanding, the trilogy that brings internal controls. If one has that then there need be no written law or corrective punishment to keep them in check for the law is written on their hearts.

Proverbs 25:28, with commentary from John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible: Dr. John Gill (1690-1771).

(28) He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

(Gill) He that hath no rule over his own spirit,.... His affections and passions, puts no restraint, unto them, as the word signifies; no guard against them, no fence about them, to curb his curiosity, to check his pride and vanity, to restrain his wrath and anger and revenge, and keep within due bounds his ambition and itch of vainglory; is like a city that broken down and without walls; into which the may go with pleasure, and which is exposed to the rapine and violence of everyone; and so a man that has no command of himself and passions, but gives the reins to them, is exposed to the enemy of souls, Satan and is liable to every sin, snare and temptation.

Grace and peace,

Nehemiah..always interesting. The joy of the Lord is my strength!

Holy is the Lord is my favorite and love hearing it to remember that He is with us!! Love our Lord! Amen

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