Nehemiah Devotions Chapter 2, Day 7

Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.
They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work. (Nehemiah 2:18, NLT)

Nehemiah had been in town for a few days. The people had seen him walk around. Some had probably bent his ear about the deplorable situation.

WP Neh 2 vision

And now it was time to let them know what God had in mind.

The response was overwhelming. Vision is contagious. The people were moved and committed.

Nehemiah laid out. He showed them God could be trusted because he is God and he will keep his promises.

It’s time to step up, catch God’s vision, and commit to his plan.

His Word tells us that we will do even greater things than have already been recorded.

What will be your part in rebuilding and building for the Kingdom?

WP Neh 2 do your part

Nehemiah Devotions Chapter 2, Day 6

Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.
They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work. (Nehemiah 2:18, NLT)

Nehemiah had been in town for a few days. The people had seen him walk around. Some had probably bent his ear about the deplorable situation.

WP Neh 2-6 God has a plan

And now it was time to let them know what God had in mind.

The response was overwhelming. Vision is contagious. The people were moved and committed.

Nehemiah laid out. He showed them God could be trusted because he is God and he will keep his promises.

It’s time to step up, catch God’s vision, and commit to his plan.

His Word tells us that we will do even greater things than have already been recorded.

What will be your part in rebuilding and building for the Kingdom?

WP Neh 2-6 catch the vision

When Will I See You Again?

For we walk by faith, not by sight, (2 Corinthians 5:7)

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I’m at Florida Christian Writers Conference. It’s a great place to be on so many levels. For one thing, the weather here is delightful. I’m also improving my craft, networking, and making new friends.

So, it might make more sense to you when I tell you I walked out on my balcony and prayed: Lord, where will I, when will I see you again? (And then I started singing, “When will I see you again?” by the Three Degrees…it’s on youtube if you need an earworm)

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I love my regular times with the Lord. Morning routines of prayer and attention to the Word can put such a positive energy into the beginnings of my day. If there’s a sunrise or a sunset filling the sky, it feels like God is tapping me on my shoulder reminding me he’s still there.

I have an “unscheduled” personality. When I take personality trait inventories, I come out on the side of less consumed with calendars and organization and with a far greater need to “fly by the seat of my pants.” (Ok, in MBTI terms, I’m off the scale P.)

Maybe that’s why I find it much easier to walk by faith. Sure, I’ve had to learn my God will provide and he has a plan. Trust often comes slowly. But I don’t need to know exactly how he’s going to do it. I’ve read the end of the Book, I know how things are going to end—we win! (Hope I didn’t spoil it for you.)

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Walking by faith doesn’t mean I’m walking blindly. I know how God operates. And I’ve learned I can trust him.

Walking by faith means I expect to see God at every turn, around every corner, in every encounter.

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And when I chose to walk this way, it is amazing what I see!

PRAYER: When will I see you again? Oh God, those words do not come from a doubting heart, but a heart believing you can be found all the way throughout my day. Those words come from a heart anticipating you will show yourself in amazing ways. Looking forward to seeing you.

Lenten Preview

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It’s been a couple years since I wrote an entire devotional series for Lent. Lately, I have felt a gentle nudge to do so again.

As the nudge became a clearly undeniable push, I asked the Holy Mover what direction to take. I keep coming back to Resurrection morning and Mary’s encounter the unrecognizable Jesus. Jesus asks her, “Who are you looking for?” (John 20:15a)

In Advent I focus on being prepared, being ready for the coming of Jesus. Lent is a time for focus, but for me it is also about surrender, giving, and working to deepen my faith relationship. That fits so well with the question Jesus asked of Mary.

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Who am I looking for?

How am I looking? Am I satisfied with a glance? A nod in God’s direction?

In Proverbs we read: without vision the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18)

Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. (Ephesians 1:18)

WP Refuse to look

We cannot see what we don’t look for.

This Lenten season I want a vision. I don’t want to mistake Jesus for a gardener. I want to see Jesus all the way.

Will you journey with me? We’ll start on Wednesday morning.

WP Journey path

(Having difficulty adding pictures. I apologize for the initial absence of visual prompts…somehow seems ironically appropriate. Helps to read the instructions. Also a multi-level lesson learned. T)

20/20 Vision

In the first four chapters of Deuteronomy we find the account of the people of Israel poised at the edge of the Promised Land and their resulting fear. Several times Moses reminds them that God had promised them the land so they should act on the promise. The people lacked the faith to do so. Instead they asked Moses to send some scouts in to the land and come back to report what they saw. The plan seemed to make sense to Moses because he figured that the report would remind them of what they stood to gain and reinforce the need to act on the promise and take the land.

Reading about the tension that was rising between Moses and the people reminded what a difference perspective can make. Moses seemed incredulous that the people were so reluctant to move forward when God, the God of the universe, the God who had parted the Red Sea and cared for their every need in the wilderness, would fail to come through for them now. The people were equally mystified in Moses’ obvious lack of understanding regarding the impossibility of the situation. Sure, the land looked good, but the giants loomed that much larger. The two perspectives couldn’t be more diametrically opposed.

The whole thing sounded like the old proverb that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. God can lead you to his promise, but he can’t make you believe it. The people were looking at the situation through the lenses of “what is” and it resulted in great fear. Moses was looking at the situation and seeing the great potential that awaited them.

What happens when you look at what is going on around you? When you consider the circumstances where you find yourself are you overwhelmed by what you see, or hope for what can be? In terms of MBTI, are you more of an intuitive or sensate? Are fixated on what you can draw from you situation with your senses, or do you find yourself stuck on the potentialities? Certainly we need balance in the two dimensions, but we will always more naturally lean to one response or the other.

So what about God? My first thought was that He must be a strong iNtuitive. After all, the grand quote about God is that with Him “all things are possible.” That, in fact, we can do all things through Christ (God incarnate) who strengthens us. Talk about potential!
But what about those of us who were born in Missouri? You know us, we are the descendants of Thomas: we need to see it to believe it. God created us with our wiring as it is, so there must value to be a sensory oriented person, one who makes decisions based on what ‘is’ not the illusive “what might be.” Here’s what I think. I believe that God created both ends of the spectrum not only so that we would balance each other, but so that we could be more balanced individually. One is no more valuable or “right” than the other. While understanding our personality is helpful to getting a handle on our behavior, it seems to me it would best to understand God better. We need to learn to take Him at His word, that we can trust Him to come through on His promises.

Here’s what I suggest you do if you find you’re coming up a little short in the trust department, if the task God is asking you to face seems full of giants. Flip to the end of the book. It’s okay. God won’t mind. When you read the end you find that we win. Now turn back to Romans, and catch how Paul describes your position: In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37, NRSV) Oh, and here’s the one I really love. Find 2 Chronicles 20:20. Ezra leads up to this great verse by telling the people in verse 15: Do not fear or be dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s. Then he reinforces this with verse 17: The battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf. Then the 20;20 moment comes the next day when they get up and go out to battle, he tells them: Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.

Our dependence on God results in 20:20 vision. So whether you more naturally get focused on what is right in front of you or you jump into all the potentiality of the moment, your vision will be perfect when you trust God and take him at His word. That’s the response that makes the most sense, because if you read on in Deuteronomy you’ll find that it really didn’t go very well for those who gave into their fears. For them it was back out into the wilderness and they never were able to experience the blessings of the Promised Land. And all the possibilities of that kind of experience make me want to be sure I’m holding onto God’s perspective. How about you?

Reflecting:
-Are you struggling with a difficult situation? Are the Giants closing in?
-What promises are you clinging to? What promises do you need to find to hold on?
-You may not feel like a winner right now, but keep reminding yourself that the battle is God’s and he sees you as more than a conqueror!

Wondering and Wandering: A Prayer for New Seeing

“Lord, the calendar calls for Christmas. We have traveled this way before. During this Advent season we would see what we have never seen before, accept what we have refused to think, and hear what we need to understand. Be with us in our goings that we may meet you in you coming. Astonish us until we sing “Glory!” and then enable us to live it out with love and peace. In the name of your Incarnate Word, even Jesus Christ. Amen. From The Unsettling Season by Donald J. Shelby

The world we live in refuses to be seen with old eyes, in olden ways. What once might have brought comfort, pales before the high speed gods and goddesses of this age.

The RHWC (red-haired wonder child) and I spent a lot of time cuddling this weekend. I think he was getting sick and I need to hold onto him. He is 6yrs old and turning 7 in a little over a month. Everytime I thought about one of those kids in CT, I wept. I have three grandchildren who just turned 7 or will turn 7 next month. They may be onery, and frustrate their mommies, but they are innocent and I cannot fathom anyone thinking they would need to die.

In addition to hugging, the RHWC and I had a conversation about God. He has only recently begun to be open to matters of faith. Before we started attending our current “turch” (that’s how he pronounces it), he pretty much refused to go. This was very disconcerting to us. We are people of faith and we have prayed long, hard, and often for our children, grandchildren–our families in general. The RHWC turned a corner when he started to develop friends at our “new” church.
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On Saturday evening, we were cutting out paper snowflakes, and the RHWC asked, “Mema, don’t you think it’s weird to believe in God? I mean how can we believe in something or someone we can’t see?” “Oh buddy,” I thought to myself, “that is the million dollar question.” So after a brief discussion of faith, he weary of waxing theologically, and decided to watch some TV instead. The yellow theologian, Spongebob, I believe…

So it has been a week. I’ve been fighting illness and fatigue…please excuse my absense. I did call the doctor’s office, but there must be a lot of sickness going around, because I still haven’t heard back.

I love the prayer we started this post with. It’s one I could easily say everyday. I pray that what astonishes you is the goodness and grace of God and not the seemingly overwhelming power of evil. I pray that not even illness, evil, or fatigue will keep you from seeing his wonder, or finding him in all your comings and goings. Amen.