What You Should Covet

Psalm 19:10, culminating the chapter’s description of God’s word, says, “More to be desired are they than gold, yes than much fine gold.” The Hebrew word for “desired” is “hamad”, which means “desire, take pleasure in; covet” — in fact, lexicographers note that it is most often used in the negative sense of coveting. The details of this verse remind us of a great truth:

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His Judgments Are Right

Psalm 19:9 ends: “The judgments of the Lord are true, they are righteous altogether.” This verse should give us confidence both in the Word of God, and in the way that God deals with us personally:

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The Little Condo on the Prairie (10-28-14)

We enjoy our family’s fantasy football league, “Try Ruling the World Some Time”, named after the phrase from the movie, “The Princess Bride.” Each of our teams also has a “Princess Bride” name — for example, mine is “Wait Till I Get Going”, Cheryl’s is “Humiliations Galore”, and Paul’s is “Cummerbun.” We all get a kick out of following the games, and it bring us all together — well, for the most part, as you can see in our first couple stories from this week’s “Little Condo”:

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Dealing With A Hostile Environment

Today we call it “living with stress.” In Nehemiah 6:17-19 the godly governor Nehemiah lived in a very difficult environment: the very nobles of Judah who were at court with Nehemiah were in constant communication with his enemy Tobiah; they were also related to Tobiah; and “were speaking of his good deeds in my presence and reported all my words to him.” (:19) Added to this, it says “Then Tobiah sent letters to frighten me.” How do you deal with such a poisonous environment? Nehemiah gives us a great model of how to succeed in a stressful atmosphere:

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“The Discipline of Fasting” (Ezra 8:21 sermon)

(Preached at First Baptist, Pauls Valley, OK 10-26-14)

A Christian disciple from India came to the United States a few years ago, and made the tour of a number of our Baptist churches, both observing and speaking. After a few weeks, he asked a question of his host. He said he had enjoyed the worship services, and the preaching, and the fellowships, and he noted all the good food they had eaten together at their Baptist churches. “But,” he asked: “When do you fast?” That’s a good question. When DO we fast?

As we continue our series, “The Disciplines of Disciples”, we have seen that Jesus commands those who would come after Him to deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him. And we have seen that there are a number of spiritual disciplines which we are to adopt as His disciples, including daily time in God’s word & prayer, spontaneous praying throughout the day, and scripture memory. This morning we will look at another discipline, but one which has received scant attention from most Baptists, and that is the discipline of fasting.

I will say up front that I am not the world’s greatest authority on fasting. I grew up a Southern Baptist, and we are much more famous for our fellowships than our fasting! But I have fasted some in recent years, and God has been speaking to me more about it. In fact, a few weeks ago, I was considering fasting about something important to me, and then in the course of my daily Bible reading I came across a passage in Ezra which speaks about fasting, and it confirmed some things in my heart about it. I think it would be good for all of us to look at this passage together. Ezra 8:21 will be our text this morning as we consider “The Discipline of Fasting.”

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Watch Out For This Trap!

Nehemiah’s enemies tried to trap him in Chapter 6 of that book, using a ploy which seems to be a common type of temptation used by the enemy. Perhaps it has been used against you — or may be soon?

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As Persistent As They Are

Some people do not give up easily. Unfortunately the wicked often display more persistence than the people of God. It is revealing that in the Book of Nehemiah, Sanballat, Tobiah & Geshem, who were opposing Nehemiah’s work of rebuilding the Temple, did not easily give up their plan to lure Nehemiah out to the plain of Ono.

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