Tag: Nehemiah

Aug 14 Do not grieve

person-joyjumpPsalm 33 tells me, “Blessed [joyful, happy] is the nation whose God is the Lord. The people He chose for His inheritance.”

When Ezra read Your Word to the Israelites assembled, they knew that You were their God and they were Your people. And today, any who believe in You as Savior are also Your people. Believers have an inheritance with You. And we are blessed as a nation when we call You our Lord.

The Israelites mourned and wept as they heard Your Word because it convicted them of their sin. As a believer, I also mourn and weep when I read Your Word, because of my own sin and the sin of my nation.

But Nehemiah told them “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

In happy times it is easy for me to say this. When things are going well, I can be joyful. I feel strong. But in this context, the people are not happy. They are grieving, ashamed, broken by their sin. This is when they are told “the joy of the Lord is your strength”.

It is when I have no strength of my own because I am broken, or sad, discouraged, overwhelmed, or depressed – that I look to You and receive Your strength.

I can know that whatever is going on in my life, there is joy when I remember that You are my God, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Comforter, my Friend. Your presence gives me joy and strength. Even in the face of trials, I can look to You.

Your Psalm reminds me I will not be saved by the size of an army, or personal physical strength, or even by a mighty horse. But my hope is in You, my help and my shield. “In You my heart rejoices, for I trust in Your holy name.”

Remind me Father, the next time I am downcast, that my joy and my strength are not based on my circumstances. But are found, sure and steadfast, in You. Amen

Nehemiah 8:1-12; Psalm 33:12-22

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Aug 13 Plans

puzzle-394144_640Father, You gave Nehemiah the plan to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall. And met his needs as he accomplished it. You brought the people needed to do the work. And You provided abundantly for them all to eat. You brought all the pieces together for Your plan to be accomplished.

Show me where You are working. Let me see how I can be a part of Your plan to accomplish something You bring into my life. Bring all the pieces together so I can be part of Your work.

You also provided for Nehemiah and the Israelite’s safety. Some might guess he was lucky, or say that he had a sixth sense about the plots against him. But he was a praying man who looked to You for guidance and protection. He fasted and prayed to accomplish the work You gave him to do. With five attempts to lure Nehemiah away from his work to harm him, he stood his ground and did not go. When one of his own plotted to discredit him, he refused to be party to the sin.

Father, protect me as well. Direct me away from harm. Stop me from sinning against You, even if it would seem to safeguard me. Sharpen my spiritual discernment so I can see through any plots to harm, or intimidate, or discredit me. Strengthen my faith so I count on You and trust only in You for my deliverance.

You created all the heavens and the earth. By Your very word, Lord, You spoke the world into existence. You planned and created all that is seen, and all that is yet to be discovered in the universe. As far as can be reached with eyes and technology, all this is within Your hand’s grasp.

Your purposes and Your plans Lord, stand firm. And will be carried out throughout eternity, by generation after generation.

“Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him.” Help me set aside time to praise You. Not just at a formal church service, but often; worshipping from my heart.

I acknowledge and honor Your Lordship. Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your righteousness, Your justice, and Your unfailing love.   Without it, I would not be here. You are my Lord. And my hope is in You! Amen

Nehemiah 5:14-6:19; Psalm 33:6-11

Aug 12 Working together

hands-1939895_640

Father, what a lesson from Nehemiah!

Two things stand out for me that apply to Your people today.

One: that sometimes there is opposition when we are doing Your work, such that we must work with one hand on the task and one hand on the sword.

And two: that we must not take advantage of or hinder our own people.

Father, whatever task, circumstance or relationship I’m involved with, help me see spiritual opposition. It may appear as overt resistance or an obstruction to what I’m trying to do. Or be an invisible undertone of grumbling, complaining, discouragement or division. Whatever the case, remind me that Your Word is my Sword – my weapon.

Your Word has power. It can overcome discouragement and repair disunity.   It can change my focus, reveal truth and tear down the lies of the opposition; even change the hearts of those against me. Ready my mind, Lord, to prepare me to fight the battle however it presents itself.

As the Jews were hindering their brothers, I see that sometimes I work against myself and may not realize that what I am doing is preventing someone else from doing their job. Show me from Your perspective if I am in any way, hindering a brother or sister. Show me how to encourage them and free them up to do what You have called them to do. As we work alongside each other for Your purpose, free us all to do our best.

I trust that You have prepared me for whatever comes against me, and for whatever task You have purposed for me to do.   Open my eyes to see it all clearly. Strengthen my arm to do the work. Sharpen my mind to know Your Word.   Embolden my Spirit to go forward. “Instruct me and teach me in the way I should go; counsel me and watch over me.” And “I will rejoice in You and be glad. And “Shout for joy!” Amen

Nehemiah 3:15 – 5:13; Psalm 32:8, 11

Aug 11 Building with God

picture by Sweet publishingNehemiah wall built

Father, I remember a time You put in my heart to have a women’s Bible Study for our church. Without a building, we needed a location. Other times, other churches and places had said no, so our people told me it would be impossible. Adding there would never be enough workers to come and do all the tasks needed to run it. A prior study began with 25 women but dwindled down to only three by the end.

Undaunted, I prayed, seeking Your wisdom to know if I should give up in response to my own church’s “wisdom”. Knowing You would have to open the doors, I went forward.

Believing You were leading me, I went first to the church where our boys were in a Scout Troop. They said yes! When I asked, they told me they believed the blessing of the building You had given them should be shared with the community!

Obviously, You had gone before me and prepared the way. They gave us access to a large meeting hall, the kitchen and their nursery! Including all the toys, beds and changing tables!

That very day, a woman from our church called and said if I found a location, she would love to run the nursery to care for the children who came, and make nametags! She helped me get other volunteers for the children’s’ area and brought refreshments that first week. By the time we started, we had a greeter, a setup person, a clean up person, kitchen and children’s workers, and beautiful ribbon nametags.

It was an amazing victory! And the most successful study we had for several years! You provided an amazing answer to prayer and response to obedience in going forward. Remembering Your faithfulness has encouraged me often.

Just like You brought workers from many places to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem, each doing a small part; You brought people to support the work You wanted to do in our church. Both jobs were too big for one person. But You are bigger than any job. And You have the resources to accomplish anything in Your plan.

Father, I believe You place in each believer a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. I know during that time I felt completely empowered.

I can’t describe the joy it gave me to feel, to know, I was in the center of Your will. You had opened doors.   You brought people to help. You brought women to attend. What a blessing to be part of something You were doing!

Father, show me what comes next. Give me that blessing again.  Amen

Nehemiah 1:1-3:14