Are You Facing Giants?

Recently I heard about a mirror you could buy which would make you look thinner than your actual size. While a few family members laughed about the possibility, I gave the idea some thought. Having noticed a few extra inches around my waistline recently, I began to think, Hmm…I think I’d like to try that mirror. What do you think?Wouldn’t it be great to look smaller? Then I thought, have I ever seen myself smaller than God sees me? 

In Nehemiah4:10-23, the man of God faced tremendous giants. He had been assigned the task of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem after they had lain in ruins for some time. The general mood of his workers was echoed in verse 10: “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.”Wait a minute, didn’t God call His people to build the wall? Then what was the problem? They had taken their eyes off God and looked at the situation. Ever been there? I have–more times than I want to admit.

What obstacles distracted God’s people? 1. Intimidation–they listened to “haters.” 2. They rehearsed their weaknesses–They saw themselves through the enemy’s eyes, not God’s eyes. Sound familiar? Just yesterday, my husband told me and my sister-in-law that his hips were hurting. I reminded him his brother had both hips replaced and his mother suffered with joint problems. Oops! My sister-in-law soundly rebuked me: “Don’t put those words on him. It doesn’t have to be that way for him.” Ouch!

What giants are you facing today? Does your task seem too large? Are you looking at your weaknesses or to God for the strength He promised to give?

Nehemiah strategized to get the job done. He organized the people by families, equipped them with weapons, and told them to fight for their brothers, sons, daughters, wives and houses. In verse 15, we are told God intervened and brought the enemy’s plot to nothing.  He also called for the people to come closer together to bridge the gaps by working as one. They worked so hard that they only took off their clothes to wash them and put them back on.

Is the work hard? Yes! Did you think it would be easy? Hmm…. Pray and ask God for wisdom and strength. Then get to work to rebuild the wall God is showing you.

Memory Verse: Neh.4:14b- Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”

WEEK EIGHT ASSIGNMENT: USING THE GROW METHOD (G-Ask God for understanding; R-Read the passage; O-Observe key words and phrases; and W-Write your thoughts), READ NEH. 5:1-13 AND ANSWER:

1. What were the peoples’ complaint?

2. How did Nehemiah handle the complaints?

Until next week, dig deeper!

As always,

Patricia

 

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I Almost Got Away with It

I called my daughter Christine this morning to ask her had she ever seen the TV show “I Almost Got Away with It.” She said yes and explained the basic concept of individuals who thought they had gotten away with the “perfect crime,” only to find out they were eventually caught due to some type of oversight. No, I have not committed a crime, but I almost got away with ignoring chapter 3 in our study of Nehemiah. You see, I usually ignore chapters listing genealogies–boring, boring, boring. But this time I got caught–caught by the Holy Spirit.  So today I’m delaying our scheduled assignment and backtracking to take a closer look at chapter 3. I was amazed at the treasures I found in a list of people.

You’ve heard the expression “It Takes a Village.” Our friend Nehemiah was on a “mission impossible,” or so it seemed. God had given him the vision to see the walls of the city of Jerusalem, his hometown, restored. God had supplied the necessary resources and sent Nehemiah on his way. After arriving at his destination, Nehemiah checked out the ruins. His goal? To rally the Jews, the priests, the nobles, officials and their families. He shared the vision and told them God was with them. He said, “Let us rise up and build.” Nehemiah organized the workers, assigning leaders and their families to repair sections of the wall in front of their homes. Brilliant!

Those families were listed by names. God remembered the specific gates they repaired and honored their willingness to use their gifts and talents to get the job done. No job was too small and no person was too important to serve. What teamwork! What a strong sense of community! And I almost missed it!

What has God been saying to you? Know that He honors your sacrifice, your willingness to do anything to get the job done. While we do not seek the accolades of men, know that our actions motivate others to serve faithfully. Let us look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who inspired unity through humility. 

Memory Verse: “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, have the same love, being of one accord, of one mind (Philipians 2:1-2, NKJV).

I’m glad the Holy Spirit didn’t let me get away with ignoring the long list of names and tasks in chapter 3 of Nehemiah. Now we can go back and review WEEK SIX assignment: Chapter 4: 1- 9. Continue to use the GROW METHOD in your study and go deeper through additional tools.

G- God first. Pray for understanding.

R- Read the assigned passage.

O- Observe key words and phrases.

W- Write 3-5 sentences summarizing your thoughts.

Happy studying!

As always,

Patricia

 

 

 

Are You on the Wall?

 

Has anyone ever stolen anything from you? What do you value more than anything? Your house, your car, your money, your reputation? Yesterday, while having lunch with some of my family, I looked over at my grandsons, Nicholas and Christian, and noticed a fight about to take place. You see, the server brought out Christian’s food first, the most important being a good helping of French fries. Nicholas, seeing the mound of fries, reached over and attempted to grab a handful. Christian was not having it. He stuck out his elbow and did a series of movements to block Nicholas. It was on! Fortunately, my daughter Christine came to Christian’s defense and stopped the potential thief. To keep peace, however, she gave Nicholas one fry. A few seconds later, the server brought Nicholas’s plate and all was well.

Last week we learned that Nehemiah, a servant of the king of Persia, asked for permission to return to his homeland to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Along the way, Nehemiah encountered some enemies, Sanballat and Tobiah, who mocked the plans in front of others to rally support to discourage God’s people.

Nevertheless, Nehemiah prayed to God and asked God for help.  Nehemiah reminded God that, in reality, the enemy had the audacity to come against God. Nehemiah turned his need over to God.

Nehemiah rallied God’s people by staying focused on the work, not on his enemies and the wall was rebuilt, at that time, up to half its height. The fight was not over. Their enemies increased. Nehemiah directed the people to set a watch against the enemy day and night. Prayer is our watch! God is calling us to stand in the gap against the enemy! When you awaken at night or feel that urge during the day to come aside and pray, the tendency will be to ignore the prompting. That’s what the enemy wants, but we have to resist the desire for comfort and obey the Holy Spirit. That’s when we truly say, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven!”

What is God calling you to do? Are you willing to fight for it? Know that the battle is won on your knees, in prayer.

MEMORY VERSE: “NOT BY MIGHT NOR POWER, BUT BY MY SPIRIT SAYS THE LORD! (ZECH.4:6, NKJV)

WEEK SIX ASSIGNMENT: USE THE GROW METHOD (ASK GOD, READ , OBSERVE DETAILS, WRITE RESPONSE). ANSWER:

1. What was the problem this time?

2. How did Nehemiah respond?

3. What principle (rule) do you see?

Be blessed as your grow!

As always,

Patricia