Saturday, August 14, 2010
Ok, so i am going to stop talking about how each blog entry is taking longer and longer to post! However, life has been very eventful and i think we found out Nyle had mono since i wrote last (Linen had mono in May/June and now Nyle is about 4 or so weeks into his recovery:)) This has made life a little more stressful than usual. We also just decided to put our older boys in public school. We have praying about this decision for a while, but it all seemed to happen so quickly. We finally made our decision the day before their open house. So, we have all been in a bit of shock trying to adjust to our new schedule! They have been real troopers this first week of school but i still have some issues to work through:) The Lord has been so gracious and confirming during this process so i wanted to share some of the things that have happened to encourage you.
We decided on Wednesday, August 4 to put the boys in school. However, on Monday night i was praying with a few other moms about our children and one of my friends read Isaiah 54 over me which says, “ All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children's peace”. This verse is now so powerful to me!! Then, on Tuesday morning, the Lord spoke to one of my sweet friends and told her to tell me that He is watching over my kids wherever they go, HIs angels are surrounding them. On Wednesday, another friend emailed me a vision the Lord gave her earlier in the week but she knew she wasn’t supposed to share it with me yet. However, when she heard the transition we were going through, it all seemed so clear, and she knew it was time to share. I just love how the Holy Spirit is so sweet and wants to walk us through each decision and affirm us and encourage us! Thank you Jesus! Thank you also for using the body of Christ to work together to bring encouragement and support. I am so thankful for my friends who pray for me and share the things the Lord is telling them with me. I pray you will pray for your friends and boldly and lovingly share Truths that the Holy Spirit shares with you.
Read Nehemiah 2 (biblegateway.com)
In Chapter 2 Nehemiah goes before the king and the king notices he is sad and says, “Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart”
I believe the king recognizes something that we often overlook. When our heart and soul are sad, it physically affects us. I think often times our bodies are sick and we don’t think to look into our hearts and ask the Lord to reveal emotions/lies/sins that are actually affecting our well being. Even if our minds are unaware of this connection, it still happens.
Take a minute to read these verses Psalm 31:10, Proverbs 14:30, Proverbs 15:30, Proverbs 16:24, Proverbs 17:22 (go to biblegateway.com)
Pay attention to how our physical bodies are affected by our heart condition, our words, and even our expressions/looks.
Of course God’s timing is always perfect. As i am reading back over this post that i had written several weeks ago but not posted yet, i am laughing. These past few days have been very difficult for me. I have been so sad and tense and said several times that i have never felt such a connection between my emotions and my physical suffering. I have been sick at my stomach, unable sleep, and had headaches and neck pain. Now, this sounds ridiculous, and its not something i am proud of, but i am just being honest. Deciding to send our boys to school last week was so difficult for me. It has been a whirlwind of emotions preparing for this new season.
Ok, so king Artaxerxes knows something is up! He then asks Nehemiah in verse 4, “What would you request?” The next line says “So i prayed to the God of heaven”. I love that the Bible records this thought. I am assuming it wasn’t an action that the King or anyone else could see, but obviously it is important for us to note. Nehemiah knew he must pause and take a moment to pray to God and quickly receive direction and wisdom before he presented his request to the King.
We have to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit and ready to quickly discern and hear His voice. We have to spend time with Him to recognize his character and the way He talks to us. I recently heard this illustration about how people who are trained to recognize counterfeit dollar bills only study the real thing, not the counterfeits. I think this makes such a great point for us to study the ways of the Lord and His Words so we know His voice and recognize when He speaks to us.
What moments do we need to just pause and have a quick, private conversation with our Heavenly Father? At work standing before a client? In the office sitting in front of a patient? Standing before our spouse or child? Lord remind us to pause and communicate with you continually. Remind us to rely on your wisdom and fresh revelation instead of leaving you at church or in the Bible.
Let’s look at the process Nehemiah goes through before the king in Nehemiah 2: 5-8. I want to look at the way he presents his requests and see if we can learn how to better present our requests before the Father.
In verse 5 Nehemiah says, “send me to Judah....that i may rebuild it”.
Here Nehemiah asks to be sent and he tells why he wants to be sent.
In verse 6 the king asks , “How long will your journey be and when will you return?”. Nehemiah then gives the king a definite time. I do find it interesting that in this verse he doesn’t tell us exactly what time he told the king. It just says that Nehemiah gave a definite time.
Exodus 9:5 “The Lord set a definite time, saying “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.”
Psalm 102:13 “You will arise and have compassion on Zion: For it is time to be gracious to her for the appointed time has come”
Nehemiah had a plan. He figured out how long his journey would take. So looking at Exodus 9 and Psalm 102, we see that the Lord sets definite times for things to take place. Do we ask the Father what His timing is for us as we set out on new journeys? If we ask, do we believe that Holy Spirit will share His timing with us?
In verse 7 Nehemiah asked for letters to be sent to all the governers so they would allow him to pass through. He was really asking for the king to use his authority and power to keep him safe and protect him on this journey.
Our good Daddy wants to protect us and take care of us as we step out in faith to journey with Him. Fear is a paralyzing scheme of the enemy that keeps us from moving towards our destiny. Read Psalm 91! “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty....He will cover you with his pinions and under His wings you may seek refuge....For He will give HIs angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.”
Is fear holding you back from something you believe the Lord has told you to do?
In verse 8 Nehemiah asks for supplies that would help him build the wall and other things on his journey. He wasn’t afraid to ask for what he needed. I love that he didn’t say, “if its your will or your desire to give me these things....” He knew that this was a journey he was supposed to be on and was confident in asking for the things he needed to make this journey successful. Then at the end of verse 8 Nehemiah says, “And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me.”
How do you ask for things that you know the Lord has already put in your heart to do?
He knows he was granted these things because of the Lord. He knows that God is in a good mood and wants to give us more than we can ask for or imagine.
How do we ask the Lord to direct us? Once we have heard His voice and direction do we stop there? Do we continue to ask with confidence for everything we need on the journey?
A fun story to leave you with:
Aaron and i have so many fun stories showing the Father’s abundant blessing, but one that i want to share is about the home we live in. A few years ago when we knew we had to move out of the house we were staying in, we began to ask the Lord where He wanted us. Then we started dreaming about what our next house would be like and ministry things we could use it for. We made a list of things that we wanted in a dream home, not even our next home, but a home we could only dream about in the future. Well, you know how God works and after the Lord worked out miracle after miracle we currently live in a home that has almost everything we had written out on our “dream” list. We are able to host so many people in our home for events, studies, worship nights, worship school, etc. He receives so much glory and honor and praise each time we get to tell about His provisions in our life. We are in awe of His goodness and love towards us.
Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Saturday, July 24, 2010
A quick update on the family... For some reason, the fever virus the kids had decided to make a second round! We also shared it with our cousins in Greenville (sorry guys:). Cooper accidentally scratched Judah's cornea which had to be treated and Linen has a double ear infection. It really is comical at this point! I am very thankful for my sweet family and great friends who have helped me stay sane while Aaron is away! He has had a wonderful time on his journey through Italy and England but will return soon! We are all looking forward to that!
So this post is not about Nehemiah but i wanted to share a special prayer with you. A few months ago, several members of the worship/production team at Grace came over to our house. We wanted to have a night to reconnect and share the things the Lord had put on our hearts. A few minutes before everyone came over, i was praying about the night and asked the Lord what He wanted me to pray for this group. Immediately i felt like the Lord was telling me to pick up a pen and start writing ( when i say i felt like the Lord told me this, i mean i had this thought and i haven't had this thought before when asking the Lord how to pray, so i assumed it was a thought from the Holy Spirit). I waited for a minute and then again it just seemed clear that i should step out in faith and pick up a pen and see what happened. So, immediately thoughts started coming to my mind as i wrote. It was such a fun experience. By the time i was close to the last sentence the doorbell rang and the first guest arrived. As we were worshipping that night i felt lead to read this prayer over the group. This made me very nervous since i hadn't even had time to read over it or share it with Aaron. However, you know when you really feel prompted to do something, its like if you don't you will just be sick at your stomach :0 So, i took a leap of faith and read it out loud over the group. It seemed to be the perfect prayer for this time. Since then, i have read it many times and shared it with a number of people. I hope that you are able to read these words as if the Father is reading them to you! Enjoy! I will try and post Nehemiah 2 in the next few day!
I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father except by me. Do you know me? Then come and dine with me. I delight in you, I know all of your ways! I am overwhelmed by you, my child, my beloved! You are my joy! My joy is your strength. Do you believe this? Then be more joyful! Practice laughing louder and harder. You are complete in me. You have everything you need when you rest in me. Dine with me, spend time with me. Turn off your TV, turn down your radio. I promise I am the best date you could ever imagine, my beloved, my child. You are My joy! My joy! My joy! I delight in you and your delight should be in me and My word. I have so many secrets to share with you and you alone. You have a purpose, a destiny that belongs to no other. I have a purpose and a plan just for you and the time is now. Awake, awake my daughter, my son. Do not sleep these last days away. Go for it, you can do the things which i've put in your heart. Yes, they are from me - your dreams, your goals- the time is now! Don't wait, don't waste another minute. Reach out, love well, serve more, forgive quicker. I have given you everything you need, the Kingdom is at hand. Don't question or doubt just remain faithful. Turn your face to me, look at me- focus- the time is now! Your part is important, you have kingdom purpose and kingdom impact. People are waiting on you- go for it! Do it! Don't hold back. I can handle it, I will catch you, I will go before you, I support you, it doesn't matter how silly you may look or what your parents or your boss say- come on! I am your biggest fan- trust me! I created you, I formed all of your parts! I know you better than any other. I love you, my child. I love YOU, yes you. I know your imperfections but you were created in my image. I have gone before you. i have prepared the way, now its your turn to step out and trust me. Come dine with me my daughter, my son, my love. I'm waiting!
Friday, July 16, 2010
I can't believe its taken so long to get this third blog posted! We have been traveling with Aaron and life has been a bit crazy! The boys have all passed around a fever virus so most of my time the past few days has been nursing everyone back to health. So, i thought i had already posted my thoughts on the end of chapter one, but i had not so i hope these last verses encourage you. I am really excited about chapter 2 and look forward to sharing my thoughts on that in a few days! Thank you again for your encouragement! I do pray that you receive insight and encouragement as you read this today!
Previously, in Nehemiah 1:1-6, we looked at how Nehemiah wept and fasted and mourned for days but then he turned to the Lord with praise and adoration. We looked at how we need to be broken for the things/people that concern the Father! We also need to confess our sins and speak Truth back to the Father so the enemy does not get a strong hold in our lives. Today lets finish looking at chapter one.
7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.8 "Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.'
Nehemiah refers to the commands, decrees, and laws that were given to Moses. Obviously, he knows the words that the Lord had previously spoken. We have The Bible, the precious word of God, that we have free access to, but how much time do we spend reading it and meditating on it? Do you know the Word? What treasures are hidden in His word that He wants you to discover? How can you consistently spend time reading scripture and listening to the Holy Spirit?
Holy Spirit guide us today in your Word. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear Your Truth and insight for us today.
11"O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man " Now I was the cupbearer to the king.
I love that Nehemiah is bold in his prayers. When he says, "i beseech You" he is asking urgently and fervently. The dictionary says to beseech also means to implore or entreat. Can't you hear him crying out to the Father with such passion and purity!
This is the second time in this chapter he says, “may your ear be attentive”. He is saying, Listen! Listen! He is just making sure Holy Spirit is hearing his prayers. I think this delights the Lord when we come before him with this longing and urgency.
He then says, “make your servant successful today and grant him compassion” This is another bold prayer that we should pray. I think early in my relationship with Jesus i felt too guilty to pray like this because i believed it was selfish. Have you felt that way before? However, the more i understand the Father's heart and his desire to bless his children this prayer becomes easier to pray. I want to bless my children, don't you? Read Matthew 7:11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"
Lord give us compassion and success today! Help us to be attentive to your voice and your guidance! Give us courage to pray bold prayers today!
1 Chronicles 4:10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement from my first blog post! I have so many things i want to share with you, but i am trying not to make my posts too long. Today i wanted to share a few thoughts from Nehemiah 1:5-6. I hope you are able to take time to read each verse and listen to the things the Holy Spirit wants to speak to you about. I would love to hear your comments too!!
Read Nehemiah 1 (www.biblegateway.com)
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..."
In Nehemiah 1:4 we read about Nehemiah weeping and praying. Then here in verse 5, Nehemiah begins to worship and adore God and remind him of His character.
I think its important to look at how he came before the Lord. First in a posture of surrender and humility and sadness but he didn't stay there. He then moved into a place of worship and adoration.
Have you been stuck in a season of sadness? I don't think we are supposed to stay in that place long! Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you about the condition of your heart. Is there a lie you believe that is keeping you in this sad place? What is His Truth?
Take a minute to speak Truth back to the Lord. Even if you don't yet feel like it, praise Him for His characteristics. Look at Psalm 103 where David is telling his soul to praise the Lord. Speak these verses and eventually your feelings will follow!
Psalm 84:4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
Psalm 103 :1-4 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,Isaiah 61 :10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
If you need to stop here and think through the previous questions please do!
6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying 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.
After praising the Lord, Nehemiah begins to confess his sins and the sins of the people.
Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to any areas in your heart and mind that you need to confess. Ask him to reveal sins in your community that need to be confessed to the Lord. Take a minute to listen and then *confess.
*CONFESS: Stating the Truth back to the Lord. (like when a police is trying to get a criminal to confess) It is not begging the Lord for forgiveness or saying i am sorry. Secrecy and shame are marks of the enemy on us, so when we confess we need to do it out loud so the enemy hears us. Don't just think it, say it! (Donna thank you for sharing this insight during listening prayer training)
Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts
Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
A little history:
I have been meeting with a group of prayer warriors for the past 7 years. I have been immensely blessed to be surrounded by women who boldly bring requests and praises before the Lord. These women have impacted the Kingdom more than we will ever know this side of heaven. Their faithfulness to the Lord and the body of Christ has inspired me and spurred me on. We have studied many books together but recently i felt like i was supposed to share these thoughts on Nehemiah with them and get their input. They graciously listened, studied, and prayed and have shared wisdom and insight with me as well. So, this blog began mainly because of their encouragement to share my heart with others, (My sweet husband first suggested i start a blog but i strongly disagreed! Then, after my friends suggested the same thing i thought i should at least consider:))
I long to walk in more and more freedom and wholeness in Christ! I continue to ask the Lord to give me the opportunity to help others do the same! So, if the Lord suggests i do something as crazy as this blog, i am willing!!
If you get a chance read Isaiah 58: 6-12 and Isaiah 61: 1-7. I love the freedom that is ours in the Lord!
A few disclaimers about this blog:
I am not a big fan of blogs. I honestly have read very few! (Sorry if you are reading this and you blog. I do love you:)).
I do not claim to be a writer or a theologian!
I just love the Lord and try really hard to obey His voice. I feel like the Holy Spirit has been prompting me to share my thoughts on Nehemiah for several months now so i am trying to be obedient:) It is actually quite a struggle for me to find the time, energy, and focus to get my thoughts written out!
My goal is to share my heart in a simple and concise manner with the hopes of unifying and strengthening the body of believers at Grace, in our community, and beyond. I would also love for you to share the things the Lord shows you about Nehemiah so we can learn from one another.
I pray you are encouraged and strengthened as you journey through Nehemiah. I pray the Holy Spirit brings you great revelation and insight. I pray for the rebuilding of your soul (mind and emotions) which leads to loving yourself and others well and pouring out into your community!
I know there are several different ways to look at Nehemiah but I have been looking at how the Holy Spirit rebuilds and restores the walls of our soul . I love how Jon Courson puts it, "When we were saved, our spirit is rebuilt/reborn but our soul (mind and emotions) can still lie in ruins. Our mind doesn’t think like it should and our emotions are unstable so we are vulnerable to attack unless the Holy Spirit rebuilds the walls of our soul" ( see Jon Courson commentary)
I am only going to share a few thoughts on the beginning of Chapter 1 today.
Read Nehemiah 1 ( go to www.biblegateway.com)
As i was reading through Nehemiah 1: 3-4, I began to ask the Lord to give me his heart for those in distress, those who are broken down (in body and soul). Nehemiah wept and fasted and prayed for days when he heard that his people were suffering. Do we do anything more than briefly feel sorry for others in distress and then move on?
Who is broken and hurting in your life today? Your mom, your spouse, your roommate, your neighbor, a stranger in the grocery store? Maybe its you! Ask the Lord to start restoring your brokenness. How can you pray for others and serve them today? Ask the Lord for very specific details on how to pray and serve today! Now listen!! He wants to use you today!
Lord Jesus give us your heart for the hurting. Remove our selfishness. Give us compassion. Give us energy and strength and boldness to step out in faith and serve someone else today.