W: 1/26/20: “20/20 GRIT (V. THE ENEMY)”

20/20: His Vision Our Focus

“When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones” (Nehemiah 4:1-3 NLT)

When you have a God vision know….

1. Opposition is inevitable.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12 NIV).

Segway from PLori:  Knowing very well that there is gonna be opposition, what can we learn from Nehemiah?  We all going get the Sanballats and Tobiahs in our lives.  There are gonna be those voices that will try to squash us down, talk bad about what we are trying to do cuz we heard from God.  So what are we gonna do when garans going face opposition?

Let’s learn from Nehemiah!

2. God battles on your behalf.

“Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders. So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart”  (Nehemiah 4:4-6 NIV).

After hearing those negative voices of Sanballat and Tobiah, Nehemiah cries out to God.  And he didn’t let that stop him from doing what God asked him to do!  And he believed like Moses 

(Not in notes) 13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 

“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm” (Exodus 14:14 NLT).

Don’t you think that if God gives us His Vision/his Plans, God’s gonna do everything in his power to make that plan work.

Whenever you have a God sized Vision and you respond in obedience to carry out that plan, have a focus on what to be done, know that you can turn to God to help you fulfill that vision that he gave you.  

How many of you have a clear idea of the God Vision for you in 2020?  Let me ask it another way?  Maybe because of a Holy Discontent that PLori spoke about a couple of weeks ago, now you know what God wants you to focus on!  

Do you have a God vision for you to focus on? 

In your personal life?  Get healthier God says, say no to something that’s not good in your life!, use more of your time/talents/treasures for God,

How about a God vision for your family?  Relate with your spouse and kids with more love, more time, more intention? 

How about with your work or another relationship?  

Has God shown you his Vision for what you need to focus on?  If so, you need to hear the rest of this message as Nehemiah will show us what’s required to be successful for his Vision for your lives.  

But first “no foget” what God has envisioned you to do, he’s gonna be with you to fight your battles!  Why, because his reputation is on the line!  And he wants to show how awesome he is in and through your life!  

Let’s read more in chapter 4 about how the people accomplished their God vision of rebuilding the wall! 

15 When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall. 16 But from then on, only half my men worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. The leaders stationed themselves behind the people of Judah17 who were building the wall. The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon (Nehemiah 4:15 – 17 NLT).

Do you know what this is?  It’s a trowel.  What is a trowel?  It’s what is used to put mortar on brick so you can build up a wall.  I’m pretty sure when they were rebuilding the wall, they weren’t using ready mix concrete or super mortar mix.  But today, when we build walls, we have the right tools to do so.  And God has given each of us the right tools to build what he’s envisioned for us to build. 

We need Grit (That’s our part) Using well what God has asked us to do.  

And we need God (That’s his part).  Knowing that God will battle on our behalf, we need to hold a sword to fight our battles at the same time.  We need to be good at both.  

As we are focusing on rebuilding our walls, whatever that is, we also gotta have our swords in hand.  

What a great picture of how the people worked hard in the midst of opposition.  They continued to work hard, but at the same time they were sure to protect themselves with their sword.  

What can we learn from this as we do what God has envisioned us to do?  

What is our present day sword as we are not fighting a regular kine war although some of what you are going through may feel like a war.  This is what Paul says:

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 

And the passage goes on 

v.17 and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

God has equipped us to do battle.  The question is are we gonna take up all his resources to do battle well?  We wonder why we don’t always feel victorious.  Maybe it’s because we are not prepared well with knowing how to fight our battles with God’s promises in his Word, God’s wisdom in his Word, God’s examples from his Word, God’s warnings from his Word.  

Your God sized Vision requires us to be good with our God sized weapon.  

I wanna urge you to get around others who are committed to growing and training.  Where do you get sword training at NHW?  Get connected with a group beyond weekend services.  Many of you are doing battle with a pocket knife, but God wants to equip you with a samurai sword.  Does that make sense?

Personal example:  When I first yes to Jesus at 18 at U.H, the best next step was to grow in a group, surrounded myself who knew their bibles better than I did, knew how to pray, knew God’s promises, and most important, helped me to walk with Jesus through all the battles I’d face.  

Get around others that want to sharpen their sword skills, others who would handle their swords well.  

I commend all of you for committing yourselves every week to attend this worship service.  But if this is the only setting for your group in swordship training, you’re only gonna some, but there are more settings of sword training available.  

Ohana Groups, Transformation Academy (I’m coteaching this class on Reading God’s word and Journaling what he talks to us about (Th) from the end of Feb. through March.  I wanna invite you to sign up.  

Lastly, When you have a God vision know….

3. You must respond not react.

Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained—though we had not yet set up the doors in the gates. So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono.

(in your notes) But I realized they were plotting to harm me, so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?” Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply.

Nehemiah knew his priorities.  Yes, he knew that Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem didn’t want to discuss ideas for partnership in rebuilding the wall. They wanted to stop it!  Nehemiah could have said, “I’ll come down later”!  But he didn’t.  He said this wall building is so important, I can’t get down.  I can’t get distracted from going what God has asked me to do.  

Don’t you feel at times you are doing something good and then something comes up and threatens to change the plans.  

We’ll all have the Sanballats, Tobiahs, and Geshems in our lives that will distract us from what God has asked us to do.  That’s why we gotta be gritty!  Focused!  And wise

Personal illustration: I’m a sports guy and I’ve been in sports so long that I’ve had to learn how to respond and not react.  In baseball, if you don’t react quickly to a ball hit to you, you’ll not make the play, or you might just get hurt!  You’ll not do well if your reaction times are slow!  If you go diving, and one big fish swims your way, gotta react well or else your chance of spearing that fish will be lost.

But spiritually speaking, our spiritual lives are exactly like baseball or spearfishing where you gotta make split second decisions.  We have the time to respond well to whatever comes our way, especially when God gives us his Vision.  We have the time to pause and pray and seek God and others for wisdom.  Not need just quick kine react.  

Priorities.  Do you know how long it took for the wall to be built?  52 days!  I think H.R.T, Hawaii Rail Transit, can learn a lot from this project!  This God sized mission could only be done with focused effort.  

Some things in our lives will need focused effort.  It will take Grit!  Perseverance, Passion, that will focus your purpose to accomplish a long-term achievement!  The vision of what God is asking you to do is not an overnight achievement.  It will take time, commitment, Grit as PLori mentioned.  

I don’t know if you know that I’ve been a part of this team that has been together for 31 years translating the bible into Hawaii Pidgin.  In 2000, the team celebrated the completion of Da Jesus Book and this years of translating the O.T, and revising Da Jesus Book, the Good an Spesho Book, Da Jesus book and da Befo Jesus Book was sent to the publisher and by early summer going get the printed bible.  But before that, we getting the digital version ready.

This God Vision for me to be da head local translator guy for help da local peopo fo trus God an come solid wid him cuz get one da good news a Jesus in our language, Hawaii Pidgin, didn’t come without obstacles and challenges, and battles.  Part of it was, would I be committed for the long haul not just to meet with the Hebrew and Greek translator guy every Wed and sometimes Fri mornings at first at Zippys and then over the computer.  It felt like an never ending project.  Yes, there were other translators too, so it was tempting for me to say, nuff already, let other guys finish em. But God said no stop.  No make half ass job!  What you wen start, no quit now!  No give up! See em through! 

What has God Envisioned you to do?

Maybe parts of our walls have been buss up for too long.  Or maybe only half built and you’ve been content with that, but God is saying, finish the work that you’ve started.  You may have started well, but God says finish well what you started to build.  At the end of our lives, God will judge us not on what we hoped to have started, or started but didn’t complete, he’ll judge us by all that we partnered with him to build.  Is it God’s vision for you to have a strong marriage?  How about your being a fully engaged father or mother? How about being an excellent worker in the place God has you at?  

I’m pretty sure God won’t say, my great son, daughter, you started so many projects, that’s ok you didn’t finish em well.  He’ll want to see how you did with what he’s asked you to build?  

So know when God gives you a God sized Vision, he’ll be there to fight your battles with you, and never forget to use what he’s given you, your trowel and your sword to accomplish that Vision, and ask God for that Grit to do what he’s asked you to do so that the world can see how awesome God is in your life and the world around you!

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