Friday, May 31, 2013

Consuming Passion

Consuming Passion
Read: Nehemiah 1:1-11
When I heard this, I sat down and wept.  In fact, for days I mourned, fasted and prayed to the God of heaven.  (Nehemiah 1:4 NLT)
            One thing I admire about Nehemiah is his consuming passion for the people of Israel who were under extreme distress.  They were in danger from neighboring enemies because of the broken down walls and gates surrounding the city.  If something wasn’t done, the work on the temple would come to a screeching halt.
            John Wycliffe was another man with a consuming passion.  He wanted the common people in England to have a copy of the word of God in the English language.  In 1382, he began to translate the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English.  In the process, he gathered some poor priests (called Lollards) to preach the word to the masses.  He also used them as scribes to make copies of his English Bible beginning with the gospels.  It took them one year using a quill pen and ink to complete one copy.  The Roman church opposed his work and severely persecuted the Lollards.  Many were captured, tied up in chains, and burnt at the stake.  Wycliffe’s English Bible was completed early in 1384 whereupon he was condemned by the Roman church as a heretic.  John Wycliffe died on 31 December 1384 at Hipswell near Richmond, in Yorkshire, England.  He was so hated by the Roman Catholic Church that forty years later his bones were exhumed, burnt into ashes, and tossed into the river Swift. 
            Nehemiah’s consuming passion was to get the walls and gates surrounding Jerusalem rebuilt.  He prayed and made plans to execute his heart’s desires.  The biblical text reveals that Nehemiah’s desires were in line with God’s desires.  That is a sure fire recipe for success.
            What is your passion?  Everyone has one, you know.  Is it to gain fame and fortune, sports, reading, traveling, or Is it to reach your neighborhood, family, fellow workers, and those you meet in the marketplace with the gospel of Christ? 
Jesus said, “You will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)
            Wherever you live is your Jerusalem.
Thought for the Day: Jesus’ passion was to “seek and save those who were lost.”
Prayer: Dear Lord, instill within me the passion to reach out to those around me with the good news of the gospel.
To do: Spend some time writing out your testimony; it is your greatest witnessing 

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