For about a month now, I have had the privilege of reading through the Bible with my good friend, Tracey Tiernan. She has been doing an FB Live reading using her gift of speaking and reading to share this experience with everyone who wants to meet at 5 pm daily. It’s really an enjoyable time and Spirit-led. Check her out on FB every evening at 5 pm.
About a week and a half ago, we were reading the book of Nehemiah. This is one of my favorite books of the Bible because Nehemiah shows us what it means to be a Godly leader. He does several things that I could write an entire chapter about:
He prayed consistently and waited for the Lord’s direction. (1:4-9, 2:4-6, 8:9 & 10)
He was not afraid to ask for what he wanted with confidence in God. (2:7-9)
He planned strategically and kept his plan to himself until the time was right. (2:11-18, 3:1-32)
He was compassionate. (5:1-19)
He inspired those who followed him. (2:17-18, 4:11-14)
He didn't back down to opposition, instead, he put his confidence in the Lord. (4:11-14)
He was purposeful! (the entire book)
Not to mention, he was an awesome story-teller. I love his style of writing. I hope that he is okay with me doing a bit of retelling here in this blog. We’ll find out when I meet him after the resurrection. :-)
Before I get into the verse that stood out to me during my most recent reading of Nehemiah, I want to ask you something. Have you ever been so busy leading in ministry or following God’s call or doing the work of the Lord that you left yourself vulnerable to the enemy? Have you ever left yourself exposed?
God put in Nehemiah’s heart a purpose and a plan to lead His people in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. It had been in ruins for far too long after the Israelites had survived being exiled. This grieved Nehemiah, the cupbearer of the king, so much that after praying fervently for forgiveness on behalf of his people, he built up the courage to ask permission of the king to rebuild the wall. It was in God’s plan because not only did the king say YES, he gave Nehemiah the resources to build it, and a letter officially announcing that his permission was granted.
Of course, wherever God is working, there is opposition. There were a few racist officials who felt threatened by the progress of "these people". They tried every tactic they could think of to slow the progress of the wall; they mocked the workers, they threatened them, they schemed, they even lied and started rumors.
At one point, they plotted to fight against God’s people, I mean physically fight them! But Nehemiah didn’t stop the work, he prayed and posted a guard day and night. The people became tired, though, and discouraged because their enemy was plotting to kill them. So Nehemiah stationed guards in several areas surrounding the workers. Then he encouraged the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Once the enemy heard that the people of God were aware of what they were doing, the people of God were confident once again and returned to their work.
Here is the first verse that caught me in this chapter, “From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows, and armor.” (4:16)
Now, think about the work that you are doing for the Lord. Do you have people around you who are using the power of prayer and praise to protect you from the enemy?
Here’s the next verse that stopped me in my tracks, “Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked…” (4:17-18)
Think about this, the enemy does not want you to accomplish the plan that has been given to you by the Lord. His goal is to stop your progress by any means! If you are busy being fearful, he sees that as a win. If you are busy being anxious, he sees that as a win. If he sees you put down your weapon, he sees that as a win. If he sees that you no longer pray and that nobody else around you is praying, he sees that as a win. If he sees that you are so caught up in doing the work of the Lord that you neglect your time with the Lord, he sees that as a win.
Let us not give the enemy any inclination that the work will not go forth in Jesus’ Name! Here is what you can do:
Pray to the Lord for wisdom and strength to move by His power and might.
Declare to the enemy that God’s will WILL be accomplished.
Always keep your SWORD by your side as you work!
What is your sword? In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul describes how we should put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the schemes of the enemy. One piece of that armor is the Sword of the Spirit which is THE WORD OF GOD! If you want to continue in the work of God, if you want the enemy to back down from the progress of God, then, Sis, you need to keep the Word of God. Read it, meditate on it, recite it, pray it, discuss it, and study it. Why? Because it will remind you and the enemy of this,
“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
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