What I Learned From Nehemiah

Book of Nehemiah

Last Sunday, we touched on the book of Nehemiah. Since I wasn’t as familiar with his story, I felt moved to study who he was and oh did he inspire me.

Nehemiah was the king’s cup-bearer which meant that his job was to serve  drinks at the royal table.

He had heard that the wall of Jerusalem had been torn down and it caused him to weep….fast and pray.

Why is the wall important? The wall represented protection from their enemies. Therefore those who had returned to Jerusalem were not safe. Without this wall, they were defenseless and could be exposed to their enemies.

Nehemiah saw a need in the city and couldn’t just be a bystander, he needed to do something about it; so he cried out to God.

“Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.Put it into his heart to be kind to me”-Nehemiah 1:11

And the king granted his request to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city where his ancestors had died. Nehemiah worked diligently for his people. His enemies did not like what they saw, so they crafted a plan to try to get Nehemiah and his team to stop. But we read of Nehemiah’s determination:

“The God of heaven will help us succeed.”-Nehemiah 2:20

Even though there was much work to be done, he needed to restructure his team due to the enemies attempt to construct a plan against them, so now only half worked while the other half were on guard (4:15-16).

His enemies tried to distract him but he proclaimed “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come.”(6:3)

Because his enemies were trying to get to him, it made Nehemiah work with greater determination (6:9).

After 52 days, the wall was built with the help of God. The people of Jerusalem were now better protected. And the enemies were frightened because they knew Nehemiah had the help of God by his side (6:16).

I am so inspired by Nehemiah’s diligence. He didn’t allow himself to get distracted from the task at hand. He worked to make things better for the people he loved.

I believe with all of my heart that God is with each of you. I believe that he wants to empower you to build up his kingdom but it will take determination. I know that distraction can make us procrastinate the tasks at hand but there are some people waiting on you to complete the work that God has assigned for you to do.

How beautiful would the world be, if we had more Nehemiah’s who would stand up for the cause and pray for the favor to see it come to pass. Lord, change the heart of our leaders so that more people can go and help others.

I think many times, fear keeps us from what we are really called to do on earth but then distraction is close by. You see the devil will try to use people and things to keep you from fulfilling your purpose but God needs more people like Nehemiah to be unshakeable and declare that they are doing a great work and cannot shift gears.

I pray that whatever God has placed on your heart that you work on it diligently until you see it come to pass. It is my hope that you don’t allow fear or distraction to keep you from God’s will. People are counting on you to take position and help them so that they can in return help someone else.

 

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God Sees the Heart

God is Love

I have always considered myself to be one who enjoys the new testament stories so much more than those stories in the old testament but lately some of my best quiet times have shown a new appreciation to what I once never took the time to comprehend. Yesterday was no different as I studied 1 Samuel.

Specifically, it was 1 Samuel 16 and 17 that really stirred my heart. Before chapter 16, Saul had been king of Israel. I love how the previous chapters mentioned how God changed his heart but later he disobeyed God to the point where he no longer could hold this position which meant it was time to appoint a new king.

God sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king. So Samuel obeyed. The scripture tells us that when he saw Jesse’s first son, Eliab, he immediately thought based on outward appearance that he looked like he was the one that the Lord would choose but he was wrong.

The Lord said: “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.“-1 Samuel 16:7

Samuel saw the other sons and they didn’t seem fit either but then he asked for Jesse’s youngest son who was busy watching the sheep and goats which shows how Jesse didn’t even consider him initially but as soon as he came up, the Lord spoke to Samuel, “This is the one; anoint him.” -1 Samuel 16:12

David, a young boy, who wasn’t even considered by man to be ready but the Lord knew his heart. He went on to defeat Goliath even though others initially discounted him.

The story of David’s heart shows how people can easily disregard you because of your youth or appearance but because his heart was right, David was able to see himself the way God sees him. He was able to silence the voice of others in order to conquer the job that needed to get done.

I’m comforted to know that I serve a God who looks beyond the eyes of man. For him, it’s more than looks, strong personalities, he sees your heart.

I’d like to encourage you to focus more on having a pure and cheerful heart than on being  outwardly adorned. God wants to use those whose heart is right for him.

Don’t ever allow the opinions of others (or even yourself) keep you from fulfilling your purpose. What if David would have allowed the perceptions of other people to keep him from facing the giant? David had confidence in knowing that God was with him so he could do not fail.

I want confidence like David that regardless of how many may discredit me, I am confident of the task I’ve been assigned. But even more, I want the ability to see people the way that God sees them. To be able to look beyond their outward appearance and focus on what matters most…..their heart.

 

Quiet Time

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I can not express to you how important it is to be spend time with God. He tells us to “seek first His kingdom and all things will be given to you”-Matthew 6:33. Whatever you may be going through, my friend, it is important that you allow God to move in your life.

In order to seek His kingdom, you have to get in His presence. In order for Him to speak, you have to know Him for yourself. You can only know Him by spending time with Him. fBelow is an outline of how I utilize my quiet time.

  1. Find a time of the day that you are the most alert-I like to spend time with Him in the morning before I leave for work. I don’t want to leave the house without being in His presence. Maybe for you, the evening works better. Whenever you are the most alert, you should devote time to be in His presence.
  2. Study a chapter/verse-Maybe you are struggling with a particular area such as worry, find the verses of worry and take time to understand what the Lord says about that subject. Make an effort to learn a new verse a week (or whatever timeframe you need to really get that verse in your heart).
  3. Pray-Allot time to pray over that verse and how it is applicable in your life. God wants to meet you exactly where you are.
  4. Be still-This is by far the one that has taken the most practice on my end but it is so important. In order for God to speak to you, you have to be still. Quiet your mind for a moment after prayer and truly allow Him to comfort you during this time. It may be hard at first but it is important in your walk with Him.

I have made this a routine in my life. Yes, there are certain days where I try to skip over a step to rush and get my day started but honestly I do not feel complete. God wants us to devote time with him, uninterrupted (phones off, TV off and away from any distractions).

It is my hope that we all get to a point where we feel incomplete without being in His presence. Before you run to your friend for help or act in your own will, seek Him first.

 

 

Can a Sister Get Some Sun?

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This picture was taken in 2014 and has always been one of my favorite sunsets

This week has been filled with dark, dreary weather. As much as we have been in need of cooler temperatures and a little bit of rain, I can honestly tell you that I’m over it. I’m over the dark clouds and rumblings of thunder. I’m over the rainy commutes. I remember someone telling me the importance of including more vitamin D in your diet during these times and I’ve yet to confirm that it is indeed true. This weather has made me unproductive, many things I had planned this week went unaccomplished because I had no motivation. Has this ever been you? Please tell me I’m not alone here.

As the weekend arrived, I was immediately hit with the realization of it all. I believe time is the best gift that you can give as we don’t know how much time we have here on earth and we don’t want to waste it. I believe that we all need to take moments to recharge from work and the challenges of life but if God has given us a new day, why would we ever take it for granted? Yes, I want some sun in my life but the truth is the son of God is all I really need. He is sufficient.I need Him to get through the days in this challenging world.

I’m encouraged by Matthew 5:16 which says “Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Regardless of the forecast, we can be a light in the dark world. There is someone out there waiting to hear your testimony, someone in need of your wisdom, someone in need of your smile. Let it shine today in their lives. It is so important that we position ourselves to be a light. This world is dark and scary things happen every day but God can use you to be a light to motivate others during their journey. Let’s get in position and not allow our motivation to be based on this world but on His Word.