Rebuilding with Nehemiah, Chapter 4, Day 5

Friday: What to do with the Whiners
Text: 12 The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!”[e] 13 So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.
14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” (Nehemiah 4:12-14, NLT)

SP Neh 4 frustration wall

They were surrounded. The situation looked and felt grim. And I’m imagining there were many who were feeling hopeless.

So Nehemiah recruited more people to protect the vulnerable spots. And then he called them to remember.

“Remember the great and glorious God who has called you to this task, who has protected you and provided everything you need.”

“And remember why you are doing this. This is no mere exercise in futility. We’re not looking to win a beautification award. No, we are building this wall to protect ourselves and make a better life for our wives and children.”

SP Neh 4 Remember stone

We read the stories in the Old Testament where the people were called to remember what God had done. They rehearsed and reminded themselves regularly. Then when they found themselves in a difficult situation the truth was not a far off concept, but one upon which they could depend.

The same holds true for the writers of the New Testament. Paul was clear on this with the Philippian believers. “It’s no hardship for me to write of these things again,” he told them. He knew the power of remembering what God has done and what he promises to do.

Perhaps you know what it’s like to feel surrounded and hopeless. Remember God. Remember he has called you to the task. Remember he promises to not just give you life, but joy.

WP Neh dev 4-5 thrive

A Letter to Christian Fiction Writers

(Please read with the awareness that in part it was tongue-in-cheek and partly the sorry plea of an overweight grandmother. I have hesitated to post this because I’m not really the complaining type…I just had these thoughts and threw them into a letter…so here it is)

Dear Inspired Author.

For many years I avoided reading fiction. I was a pastor/counselor and all my reading was associated with my work. In my mid 40’s, I found myself working outside of those fields, with time to begin reading for pleasure and edification. Friends introduced me authors like Dee Henderson and Karen Kingsbury. Soon I was devouring everything in our church library and then the public library. The purchase of a Nook opened even more opportunities to become acquainted with new authors.

Recently I have been feeling discouraged by my reading. A few months ago I turned 56, but I don’t feel old–certainly not like a senior citizen which I’m finding in more books lately. I have also struggled with issues related to my weight since I was in high school. I was never a single digit size, but it seems to be a prerequisite in every book I pick up. Which is odd since I did a Google search and learned that the average woman in the US is a size 14. The women have perfect hair and green eyes, while the men are all runners with sculpted bodies worth drooling over.

I can understand secular authors feeling the need to appeal to sensuality due our over-sexualized culture. I’m just getting really tired of this emphasis taking up so much space in Christian fiction. I just keep hearing Mary Poppin’s description of “practically perfect people” and feel more and more discouraged.

Oh I’ll keep reading and struggling through my Zumba dvd, and maybe someday I’ll even get close to a size 14 again. In the meantime, I’ll keep hoping. Hoping that someday I’ll read a Christian mystery or suspense with real people, people who might even look like me and carry an AARP card without needing a cane.

Until then, I remain your faithful reader,

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