Better a Neighbor Nearby

I’m a mom of three. I love to watch my kids in their activities. I frequent dance and vocal recitals, as well as music and worship nights. I do have a sense of pride and joy in my heart when I see them express their love for God through their gifts. When I watch Jaden Stanley lead worship, I feel the same way. When I see a friend’s kid dance and lead across the stage with joy in her heart—and I know her heart—I feel the same way. Yet I know so many mothers who do not have the same kind of love for anyone else’s kids or grandkids that they have for their own. I don’t understand it.

I think that having the same love for other people that you have for your own natural-born children is the love found in the spirit of adoption. How can you not celebrate every life? God does. I think sometimes we elevate the bloodline family so high that we miss the bloodline of Jesus’ family. We don’t step into the roles we need to because there might be a missing link. We don’t step into the roles where we truly love each other. 

John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV). The world will know we belong to Christ by the way we love each other in the body of Christ—not by the way we love our own family or strangers or lost people. It’s not by the way we serve the homeless. They will know us by the way we take care of the body of Christ.

My kids have been without a grandma for almost ten years. One year, a friend’s mom stepped in and blessed them with the voice of a grandma in their life. She met once a week with a little group of girls just to pour the Word into them. It was so precious. I loved her so much for doing that. I have also had an aunt step in who never forgets a birthday. She always remembers them. They feel dearly loved by her. Sometimes I have so many friends who could step in and I ask the Lord why someone hasn’t. Why hasn’t someone nearby stepped in?


“Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you—better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away,” says Proverbs 27:10 (NIV). I believe our family is supposed to be nearby, but it’s the family of God who fills those shoes while our family is away. When our family is together, we can take on the roles we were naturally born into. When we are far apart, it seems we should fill those places with spiritual roles. I should be a spiritual mother to somebody when his or her natural mother is not present. Someone should be a spiritual grandmother to my children because their natural grandmother is not present.


I think life is too busy. We’re too busy. It’s too easy to travel and fill those roles on a periodic basis rather than filling them where you are. I went through a season where I really grieved that loss for my family. It has made me realize that if something ever happened to me, I would pray to God that someone would fill that spiritual role of mother in my kids’ lives.


I wonder today if you have in your heart that love—that spirit of adoption—you need to give away to someone. Do you need to step into a spiritual family role and be a love bug to someone in your life?


When I was a little girl, I had a home with a mom and a stepdad, but I went to church all by myself for years. I went alone from the time I was ten until I was seventeen. I wonder why no one ever really adopted me and had the spirit of adoption to bring me into her family. Why didn’t anyone ever pick me up and take me to dinner or get me off of the church bus and start inviting me over for lunch? Why didn’t anyone start investing in me and teaching me the word of God? The only conclusion I can draw is that the people there didn’t have the love in their hearts to give away.

That is why we don’t step into a role where we may be needed. We don’t have the love in our hearts, or we don’t have the time. The enemy will do anything to keep us too busy to demonstrate the love Christ put in us to show the world, “Hey, look how the people in the family of God take care of one another. Isn’t it awesome how this family cares for these children?” 


As long as the enemy can keep us busy—too busy to love—the love of God will not be on display. It’s easy to love your own family, but it’s hard to find time to love others. I encourage you to look around in your life and see how you can truly love others today.

The Compounding Effect of God

How do you make a big impact in the kingdom of God?
                                                           
In Nehemiah, they rebuilt the wall that had been torn down for 150 years. They had actually tried to repair the wall but failed. Have you ever embarked on a really large project that was bigger than you and anything you could have imagined? Did you start working on it, but it ended up being too big for you to overcome?
Well, the only way to accomplish a huge project is to break it down into the smallest of baby steps that anyone could carry out. That’s what Nehemiah did. He had people repair the wall outside of their own home. 

The city walls are torn down. Repairing the whole thing looks like a huge undertaking. But what if each of us repairs the portion of the wall between his two next-door neighbors, one to the left and one to the right? What if we just work on that bit? That doesn’t seem so bad.

What they found out is that the enemy doesn’t like restoration. The enemy doesn’t want us to repair broken-down people or repair and take away strongholds. No, the enemy wants us with our defenses down so we are easy to attack. He wants our neighbors to stay in bondage. To that end, he sends obstacles and threats and all kinds of barriers into our path.
Nehemiah knew they needed to find a way to fight against the enemy who was trying to come in and keep working at the same time. A lot of times, we are either all throwing down in fighting or all working. We need to do what Nehemiah did. He made sure that three hands were holding a weapon and fending off the enemy so that the worker could keep busy with his free hand and continue the work (Nehemiah 4:16–18). For every four hands, three hands defended against the enemy, and one hand did the work.
If we want to see the compounding effects of God’s work in our world, we need to have three hands holding swords and one hand doing the work. What that means for us today is that in our session praying, those people who are praying continuously are holding back forces of darkness we can’t see in the spirit realm for those doing all the labor. They are clearing the roadway, if you will. Let’s say your car is stopped on an interstate because there’s a major traffic jam, but you can’t actually see what the problem is. That’s like the spirit realm. There’s a traffic jam, and the only way to clear it is through prayer because God’s angels will come and push back that darkness.
When we want to see the compounding effects of God’s work in the things we are doing, we need to assign people who are called, gifted, and equipped with prayer and have them intercede on our behalf while we are doing the work.

Compounding effect of God

How do you make a big impact in the kingdom of God?
 
                                                           
In Nehemiah, they rebuilt the wall that had been torn down for 150 years. They had actually tried to repair the wall, but they failed. Have you ever embarked on a really large project and it’s really just bigger than you, bigger than anything you can imagine? You just start working on it and it’s too big to overcome.
Well, actually the only way to overcome a huge project like that is to break it down into the smallest steps. The baby-est steps that anyone can carry out. That’s what Nehemiah did. He had each person just repair the wall outside their home. “So our city walls are torn down. What if we repair the walls just in our two next door neighbors? One to the left and one to the right? What if we just worked on those?”
What they found out is the enemy doesn’t like restoration. The enemy doesn’t want us to repair broken down people or repair and take away strongholds. No, the enemy, in fact, wants us with our defences down and easily attacked. He wants our neighbours to stay in bondage; and because of that, he sends in obstacles and threats and all kinds of barriers into our path.
So what Nehemiah did was say, “Hey we gotta fight against the enemy who is trying to come in, but keep working at the same time.” A lot of times we’re either all throwing down in fighting, or we all have our tools and we’re working. So what we need to do is do what Nehemiah did. What he did was he said, “Hey. I need to have three hands holding a weapon and defeating and fending off the enemy so that the worker with one hand can keep busy and continue his work.” So for every four hands, four hands defended against the enemy and one hand did the work.
If we wanna see the compounding effects of God’s work in our world, we’ve gotta have three hands with a sword and one hands doing the work. Today, what that means is in our session praying, those people that are praying continuously without stop, they’re holding back forces that we can’t see in the spirit realm—darkness—for those doing all the labor. They’re actually kind of clearing the roadway if you will. If there was a major traffic jam on an interstate but you couldn’t see it—let’s just say your car stopped and you can’t actually see that there’s a major traffic jam. That’s like the spirit realm. There’s a traffic jam and the only way to clear it is through prayer because God’s angels will come and push back that darkness.
So when we wanna see the compounding effects of God’s work in the things that we’re doing, we need to assign people that are called and equipped and gifted with prayer and have them intercede on our behalf while we’re doing the work.