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Friday, February 21, 2020

Brick wall
A view of the three courses of brick on an old farmhouse.

"A Lesson From Bricklaying"

Message summary: Genuine faith often has a cooperative element that is expressed as we trust God and are obedient using the resources that He has given us. Today in your walk of faith you will likely face opposition of some type, perhaps even within the ranks of your own family. We urge you to remain steadfast and ever prayerful as you follow the example of Nehemiah, no matter the test you face! Keep building, one brick at a time.

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"But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat" (Nehemiah 4:9).

Our friend Jesse is a stonemason, a trade which includes bricklaying. We visited a home where he had been doing brick work on a new addition and the older part of the home that had three courses of brick which provided the structural strength.

Bricklaying Most modern brick homes, including ours, are frame constructed, and then have a single course of brick veneer which serves as the siding. There are fake brick veneers that come as a sheet but Jesse told me that genuine brick is always laid one brick at a time. However there are now brick-laying machines or robots! (see below for video)

A Scriptural principle is that growing spiritually is similar to bricklaying. This can be applied to marriage. Like building a brick home we build a strong, lifelong marriage one brick at a time. Over the years those single bricks become solid layers with the Lord Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.

Today's Scripture verse suggests a cooperative arrangement of faith and action that applies to many issues of life. In fact there's an application for each reader.

The setting for the book of Nehemiah takes place during the rebuilding of the long neglected walls of Jerusalem after the return from the Exile, "which had been broken down, and its gates which had been destroyed by fire" (Nehemiah 2:13b,14). These walls were vital for security reasons. They had been destroyed by the Babylonians some 150 years earlier. Now they were being rebuilt.

As with any major endeavor those with a heart to move forward in obeying God usually face opposition. As we seek to build our lives for Christ we will face opposition. Are you facing any opposition today? If so, you're in good company with many other believers who are engaged in conflict with the spiritual forces of evil.

The specific opposition in today's passage was led by a character by the name of Sanballat. This pesky fellow was persistent and creative in opposing the advancement of God's work! Perhaps he earned the unenviable title of "Mr. Discouragement."  It seems that he gained many followers in his attempt to foil God's plan of rebuilding the ruined walls. Unfortunately some of his descendants remain to this day such as Danny Defeatist, Helen Hindrance, Oliver Obstacle, Patty Pessimist, Fanny Fatalist (you get the picture). We mingle with them regularly and we must be on guard or we will join their ranks.

In the immediate context of today's verse the opposition was threatening a physical attack, but there are many ways we will be opposed; if not in the physical, the spiritual. Paul reminds us that there is much unseen by the naked eye, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms"
(Ephesians 6:12,13).

Trust and obey Nehemiah writes about his God-given vision that included faith, prayer, sacrifice, hard work, tenacity and common sense. "We prayed to our God and posted a guard". Nehemiah led the people in both spiritual action (prayer) and practical action (posting a guard). We place a high value on common sense which there seems to be a great lack of these days. As followers of Christ we believe God can help us develop Biblically informed common sense measures in our daily lives when confronting the many challenges we deal with regularly. It's not "unspiritual" to use this sense given to us by God!

Our Christian walk, ministry, marriage, vocation, childrearing and many other vital issues of life are much like building a house one brick at a time. This building project will continue all through life until we are called home.

Genuine faith often has a cooperative element that is expressed as we trust God and are obedient using the resources that He has given us. Today in your walk of faith you will likely face opposition of some type, perhaps even within the ranks of your own family. We urge you to remain steadfast and ever prayerful as you follow the example of Nehemiah, no matter the test you face! Keep building, one brick at a time.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You that You have promised to be our faithful Shepherd leading us in the paths of righteousness for Your name's sake. We are guided, not by our own strength or wisdom lest it be inadequate or faulty, but in the knowledge and wisdom of our all-knowing, all-powerful God. It is not by might, nor by power but by Your Spirit that we can stand against the tactics of the enemy. Like Nehemiah, may our first impulse be that of prayer and our second impulse be that of using the sense you have given us. In the name of Jesus we ask these things. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Solid Rock"  Video  The Hymns Project This is the way I like to hear a hymn sung!

The Solid Rock

"My Lord Is Taking Good Care Of Me"  Video  The Detty Sisters  Last night Tim, a friend from one our companies, came over for dinner and he shared this video of the Detty Sisters singing. It will bring a smile to your face!

Detty Sisters

"Meet SAM, the bricklaying robot"  Video

Finally today:

Lapp labor certificate
This Christmas I received this blessing from Jesse and his two older sons. He teaches his boys to work and I am sure I will get some work done. We hope to replace my utility barn roof over the next several weeks!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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