Job 41:8 Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more.
About six weeks ago my pastor asked if I could preach sometime in September, using Ezra 4-6 as a base text. I felt compelled to say 'yes' and subsequently spent the next six weeks with butterflys and jitters. But in the end, it was worth it to have experienced the hand of the Lord working in my life.
For about five weeks, my studies focused on spritual warfare as that is a primary topic of that passage. It is also what we have been studying as a church, so it seemed a natural fit. But I knew the whole time that I wasn't getting 'it'. This was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the right direction. I mentioned this to a few people by last Tuesday night- because I was starting to get frantic. That night at prayer the Lord finally gave me peace about the topic.
Studying was difficult. We had an enormously busy week and I had a zillion thoughts flying around my head about what to say. It wasn't until Friday night that I was able to sit down and get the rest of this pulled together. God was faithful to give me direction and show me some cool things from His Word! Once I had peace about what to say I started to get excited, and that definitely helped to calm the nerves.
It was also on Friday that I got some un-cheery news from my Dr. regarding low testosterone levels. Yikes! I spent the day wondering if that made me a lesbian (my wife assures me it does not) and finding out all the possible side effects of taking testostorone supplements. I decided the best course of action was not to regard this for a few days. There would be time to worry come Monday!
On Saturday our church had a work-day with some friends from other churches. What an amazing day! The amount of work that got done in such a short time frame was astounding to me. It couldn't all be chalked up to the number of people either. Every person who was there was busting their arse to get things done and it really added up! But also, for me, swinging a pick-axe and using a shovel all day was really exhausting as I am primarily an angry coder, and not an angry digger. After eleven hours of work, I was already sore.
On Sunday morning I was extremely sore- head to toe. My wife asked me where I hurt and I just replied "In my body", which was totally accurate. My hands were swollen and itchy, too and I really don't think I ever arrived at full consciousness. I was pretty out of it!
Thanks to all those who were praying me through this! While I'm sure this wasn't the best message people have ever heard, I am confident it was from the Lord and that's what it's about. I definitely would not have been able to sail through this without those who were praying, and that really was the biggest lesson I got from it. We need to pray for our pastor and for each other in the work of the Lord.