Posted in Uncategorized

Nehemiah and a Cool Vacation

Do you ever feel discouraged? Discouragement is something I find myself battling lately. The Bible says that David dealt with this too. To work through it he “encouraged himself in the Lord.” I’ve been desperately trying to learn how that works. If you know please tell me but in the meantime found this interesting.

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The following comes from daily devotional email from Rick Warren:

Discouragement is curable. Whenever I get discouraged, I head straight to Nehemiah. This great leader of ancient Israel understood there were four reasons for discouragement.

First, you get fatigued — You simply get tired as the laborers did in Nehemiah 4:10. We’re human beings and we wear out. You cannot burn the candle at both ends. So if you’re discouraged, it may be you don’t have to change anything. You just need a vacation! Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is go to bed.

Second, you get frustrated — Nehemiah says there was rubble all around, so much that it was getting in the way of rebuilding the wall. Do you have rubble in your life? Have you noticed that anytime you start doing something new, the trash starts piling up?

If you don’t clean it out periodically, it’s going to stop your progress. You can’t avoid it, so you need to learn to recognize it and dispose of it quickly so you don’t lose focus on your original intention.

What is the rubble in your life? I think rubble is the trivial things that waste your time and energy and prevent you from accomplishing what God has called you to do.

Third, you think you’ve failed — Nehemiah’s people were unable to finish their task as quickly as originally planned and, as a result, their confidence collapsed. They were thinking, “We were stupid to think we could ever rebuild this wall.”

But you know what I do when I don’t reach a goal on time? I just set a new goal. I don’t give up. Everybody fails. Everybody does foolish things. So the issue is not that you failed – it’s how you respond to your failure.

Do you give in to self-pity? Do you start blaming other people? Do you start complaining that it’s impossible? Or, do you refocus on God’s intentions and start moving again?

Finally, when you give in to fear, you get discouraged — Nehemiah 4 suggests the people most affected by fear are those who hang around negative people. If you’re going to control the negative thoughts in your life, you’ve got to get away from negative people as much as you can.

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So may or may not work but think I will give it a shot… going to start by reading Nehemiah and planning a cool vacation (and soon).

Posted in prayer

Don’t abandon ship; someone has to throw the life-preservers

Interesting things have been happening in prayer these days. God has spoken about revelation driven prayer and hearing His voice through the things that He brings to my mind during prayer time. I have been given confidence that some things I have for so long excused as just my imaginations are one of the ways He uses to speak to me. This was made very clear for me during our prayer meeting yesterday.

We came into prayer last night feeling very discouraged. Everyone. We were tired and everything seemed the same old, same old. Even our conversation was frankly boring. Someone asked God to help the people get into his Word (fairly common prayer, I guess) but just like that I heard God say, “You first.” It was so clear that it couldn’t be ignored so I immediately relayed what I heard. We opened our Bibles and began to pray the scriptures. During this time we asked God to show us what was on His heart. To have us pray His heart, His prayers. We have said this prayer many times before too but yesterday things just were different.

Immediately I saw the hill behind the church and from the very top of the very tallest tree on down all I could see was the blood of Jesus running down it like rivers. Maybe more rushing down it and the blood was covering absolutely everything in its path. Every corner, every crevice…everything. I began praying this scene and declaring this scene but admittedly I started feeling awkward because it was a different kind of prayer for me and I became aware of those around me and so I stopped, it ceased – the prayer and the flow of what I had been seeing. I knew that I had stopped what God was trying to do.

But toward the middle of our time I was asking God for salvations and He gave another “scene.” Don’t you just love second chances? I knew immediately that it was connected to the the Full Flame Evangelism course (Reinhard Bonnke). In that course we watched a short movie about a group of people on a ship that ran across some that were overboard. The message was that people are drowning and we have the ability to rescue them but we each must decide if we will risk our own lives to do so or not by jumping in. What God gave me was just a bit different though…

There was a ship with many, many people beside it in the water. People were floating around and drowning but it was as though they were very comfortable and didn’t know that they were drowning. There were a few that were fighting for their lives but they were for the most part ignored by those floating. Those floating had no idea they were getting ready to die. Some people were still on the ship and they each had a stock of life preservers. When they could get someone’s attention, they were throwing them out into the water and then dragging them into the boat to safety. Those aboard the ship faced two obstacles. They had to find a way to get the people to pay enough attention so they could warn them of their impending death and they had to avoid the lure of jumping into the water themselves. See no one fell off the ship. There were no problems with the ship. The problem was that the people were lured to jump. Some had jumped with good intentions of helping but for most something of the water had enticed them and I heard God say to me, “Don’t abandon ship. Someone has to throw the life preservers.”

Just like that discouragement was gone and I settled into what I had been asked to do in prayer and intercession…and definitely not feeling the same old, same old.