SCRIPTURE: “And I answered the king If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favour in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where many fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it. Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, How long will your journey take and when will you get back? It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.” (Nehemiah 2:5-6 NIV)
After his prayer, Nehemiah asks the king for permission to go to Judah. As soon as he got a positive answer, he began asking for additional help. Sometimes when we have needs, we hesitate to ask the right people for help because we are afraid to approach them. Not Nehemiah! He went directly to the king who could help him the most. He also asks for letters from the king to speed him on his way and give him protection as he goes.
However, he doesn’t stop there. He also asked for use of the king’s materials as well! This was extremely bold. Beloved, don’t be reluctant to ask those who are able to help. They may be more interested and approachable than you think. God’s answers to our prayers may come as a result of we asking others. Nehemiah had position, power, and many good organizational skills, but he acknowledge that God’s gracious hand was upon him. He knew that without God’s strength, his efforts would be in vain. Do we acknowledge God as our power source and the giver of our gifts!
SCRIPTURE: “Then I said: O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and obey His commands. “Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant prays before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you.” (Nehemiah 1:5-6 NIV)
When Nehemiah was faced with the news about Jerusalem he immediately turned to God in fasting and prayer for help. He repented of the sins of Israel and beseeched the Lord to help them in their plight. Notice too, when the king asks Nehemiah what he can do for him Nehemiah first voices a quick prayer to God for wisdom. He demonstrated the elements of effective prayer.
Beloved in the Lord, For the next couple of weeks, we are going to talk about the Leadership Style of Nehemiah.
Today’s focus is on SENSITIVITY!
May the Holy Spirit minister deeply into our hearts, the message He has for us for today.
SCRIPTURE: “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4 NIV)
Nehemiah broke down and wept when he heard that Jerusalem’s walls still had not been rebuilt.
Why did this upset him? Walls mean little in most present-day cities, but in Nehemiah’s day, they were essential as we would consider electrical power or a police force. They offered safety from raids and symbolized strength and peace. Nehemiah also mourned for his people, the Jews, who had been stifled by a previous edict that had kept them from rebuilding their walls (Ezra 4:6-23).
Nehemiah was deeply grieved about the condition of Jerusalem, but he didn’t just brood about it. After his initial grief, he prayed, pouring his heart out to God (Neh. 1:5-11), and he looked for ways to improve the situation. He put all his resources of knowledge, experience, and organization into determining what should be done.
When tragic news comes to us first let pray. Then seek ways to move beyond grief to the specific action that helps those who need it.
New Living Translation. When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.
By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving Him by spreading this Good News. Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.
I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept a secret from the beginning. God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display His wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was His eternal plan, which He carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.
He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature, we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!).
For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by His grace when you believed.
And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” – Hebrews 4: 12 (NLT)
Asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe in Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is His body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with Himself.
Beloved in the Lord, For the next several days, we are going to focus on the letter of Paul to the Ephesians because it has such wonderful insights into our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ll not give any comment but rather quote straight from the Bible using versions that will give us the most excellent translation of the portion to present each day.
May the Holy Spirit minister deeply into our hearts, the message He has for us for today. Enjoy!
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
SCRIPTURE: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. (Daniel 3: 16-18 NIV)
There is no other way. We may be threatened with termination of our employees so be it. We must obey God first because His laws are higher than our laws or any directive our bosses might give us. Now, let us serve our bosses well, and be ten times better (Daniel 1.20) than our peers in the quality of our work product. But also we should resolve to never defile ourselves by disobeying God.
Trust in God’s sovereignty is more important than pleasing our bosses. Holding all that we have including our job, with an open hand is equally important. Let us place our trust in God for our future even when our future is full of threats from our difficult bosses about losing our job or making sure we never find work in our industry again. God is able to make all things work together for our good (Romans 8.28).
SCRIPTURE: “And Nebuchadnezzar said to them, is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” (Daniel 3:14-15 NIV)
Power and control are high values for Nebuchadnezzar. This is illustrated by incorporating Jerusalem into his kingdom, demanding his magicians and counselors tell him his dream, not just the interpretation of it, and now demanding people worship the image he made as a test of loyalty to him and his gods. Bosses who pivot on power and control are just plain difficult people with whom to work. The way to manage yourself in this, if you choose to stay, is to be direct and non-negotiable when needed.
When these people are disobeyed or confronted, they become furious. Just like Nebuchadnezzar, who became so furious that he demanded the fire be made seven times hotter and sacrificed his best warriors to get the men who threw our three friends into the fire. These people use anger as a method of controlling others. Reacting in anger to their anger is not the way to respond. (Proverbs 15.1) says that a soft answer turns away wrath. As Christ-followers, we need to have gentleness and wisdom on our lips, understanding that man’s anger does not produce the righteous life which God desires.