Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Remember Me for This My GOD

Nehemiah 13: 14 Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.


Another truck pulled in and I slugged over to unload it. A coworker of mine said, “Let’s hide until the next truck comes.” I thought “Good idea!” I mean it was hot and I could use a break anyway. When the next truck arrived, the supervisor met us. “Where have you been?” he questioned. I stammered over my words but could not find a good retort. “I wonder if they will hire me next summer” I thought.

  • Sometimes I’m remembered by my pitiful actions.
  • Sometimes I’m remembered by my actions that aren’t so good.
  • Sometimes I’m remembered by my sinful actions.

As I was being shaped by the wrong people I made some horrible mistakes which caused several people to remember me in the wrong way. They remember the lazy oaf who slipped off work to goof off while getting paid. If I went to them this day, they would probably say “Yeah I remember. You caused production to be low that day and we did not get the account.” While that is not true, it could have happened that way.

  • GOD wants me to grow up and be mature.
  • GOD wants my actions to be focused on HIM rather on what I can get out of the deal.
  • GOD wants me to serve not scheme.

Integrity is what GOD wants from me. Throw in a little character and fortitude to do what is right and I will have the whole package for giving GOD some great memories of me. HE wants me to serve and believe and have faith when it does not seem like the right thing to do. When all have fallen away HE wants me to stand firm for HIM, yet be graceful when HE blesses me.

These are times GOD remembers.

  • What are you doing with your life?
  • Are you doing things the GOD will have good memories over?
  • Are you doing things to get your way or to serve GOD?
  • Can you focus your tasks on pleasing GOD today?

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Time of Thanksgiving

Nehemiah 12: 43 And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.


Things seemed to break daily. Setback after setback, we kept plodding along until one day we were finished. I mean, it was over. No more extremely late nights. No more scratching my head wondering if this thing will ever be finished. All of us went out and celebrated.

  • When I finish a large project I celebrate.
  • When I get through a huge trial I celebrate.
  • When I move past a large obstacle I celebrate.

Celebration is only natural when I get over the hump, but can be quite difficult if I haven’t quite made it there. If I am still in the trial and everyone else is celebrating, I can feel a little down. BUT GOD wants me to see what HE is doing.

  • GOD wants me to celebrate HIS daily victories rather than waiting on a big ending.
  • GOD wants me to celebrate HIS moment by moment victories rather than waiting on seeing things as I expected.
  • GOD wants me to celebrate HIS tiny victories rather than waiting on the huge battle scene at the end of the movie.

Seeing GOD on a daily basis is what HE wants from me. HE wants me to celebrate HIM with praise for the mundane just as much as getting through a large trial. In fact, the more I praise HIM the easier it is to get through the trial.

  • Do you feel like pouting right now?
  • Do you think celebration is not for you right now?
  • Can you stop looking at your situation for a moment and celebrate GOD?
  • Will you slow down enough to see what GOD is doing around you and appreciate where HE has you right now?

Friday, November 21, 2014

My Community Reputation

Nehemiah 11:The descendants of Perez who lived in Jerusalem totaled 468 men of standing.


Scrawny was my description in the neighborhood I grew up in. I can think of other adjectives like “holey pants” and “Professor” although that one didn’t quite turn out to be an insult. My next neighborhood was more of an extended area known as high school. I traveled one hour by bus through many tough areas and the terms “easy target” and “punk” were hurled at me.

Tired of these labels, I decided to make my own reputation in my college neighborhood, so I collected my wit and became a jokester with a foul mouth. I always had something funny to say so my crowd soon began to degrade to those who wanted to hear that kind of humor. Soon I had a reputation of “clown” and could not be taken seriously. What reputation should I have?

  • There have been times where I wanted to be known.
  • There have been times where I wanted to be popular.
  • There have been times where I wanted to be heard.

It is easy to get a reputation that has little to no value to anyone else. Others were getting recognized for being “most likely to succeed” and I was being called out for being a “clown”.  My reputation was broken. BUT GOD said something different.

  • GOD said to me “You will be insulted, BUT I made you beautifully and wonderfully.”
  • GOD said to me “Do not be afraid of those who can harm you with words or even harm your body, but fear GOD who can harm the soul.”
  • GOD said to me “Walk in MY ways and I will always make your paths straight.”

If GOD leaves me on this earth to reach 120 years old, what do I want my community reputation to be? Do I want a legacy to myself or to be known as a clown or would my life have pointed to GOD? GOD desires that I spend more of my time with HIM so I can point people to HIM.

  • Are you trying to make a reputation for yourself?
  • How are you viewed in all of your communities?
  • Can you see if you need to move out of the complaining community and into a compassionate one?
  • Will GOD say “Well done my good and faithful servant” to you if your heart is hard?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Curse may be the Answer to Mediocrity

Nehemiah 10: 28 “The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, musicians, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand— 

29 all these now join their fellow Israelites the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our Lord.


Keeping promises to GOD is one thing but to add a curse on top of the promise seems extreme. I mean aren’t GOD’s laws meant to be broken and HIS job is to swoop in, forgive me just in time and for me to get my way in spite of my sins?

Nehemiah and the tiny remnant of what used to be a thriving kingdom, took a vow to follow GOD and they added a curse on top of it. My guess is that a curse would fall on the person who does not follow what GOD says.

  • By adding the curse, the people stated they fully understood the promise they were entering.
  • By adding the curse, the people stated they were going to seriously follow GOD.
  • By adding the curse, the people agreed not to blame GOD for their failure to follow HIM.

This act removed the safety net which is sometimes difficult. GOD’s grace is truly sufficient and HE has removed all of my sins. The battle comes in when I take sin too lightly. GOD knows how damaging sin is and desires for me to follow HIM, believe in HIM and trust HIM.

  • Are you taking a mediocre approach to GOD?
  • Do you find yourself in a rut with GOD, doing the same things from week to week?
  • Is your faith, “faith” or is it habit?
  • Can you radically follow GOD without harming others rather growing them?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Taking Grace Lightly

Nehemiah 9: 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples. 31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.


“It’s just this once, GOD won’t mind” was my thought as I chose to sin that day. When nothing bad happened to me, I decided to do it again a few months later. Then when problems hit I tried to straighten up.  I cleaned up my act for a while but soon looked over the fence at my sin and wondered if GOD would mind if I indulged.

  • Sometimes I sin knowing GOD doesn’t want me to sin.
  • Sometimes I sin and try to justify my sin.
  • Sometimes I sin and say to myself “I’ve been good in other areas of my life, I deserve this.”

Sin is a battle all humans face and lose miserable. If I say I have not sin, I am lying. GOD sees my heart and know it is corrupted with the same sin Adam was tainted with. What am I to do?

  • GOD saw my sin and forgave it through the death of HIS SON.
  • GOD saw my behavior before I was made and decided to make me anyway and die for me.
  • GOD saw my choices way in advance and removed my sins away from me through HIS SON.

Belief in JESUS is not a license for me to sin. In fact my belief says I need to focus on GOD’s ways as much as possible. I should give my thoughts over to HIM daily and move towards HIM step by step.

  • Are you sinning?
  • Are you trying to manipulate GOD by your righteousness?
  • Can you admit to GOD you are a sinner and allow HIM to guide you instead of thinking you know the answer?
  • Can you turn your life over to HIM a little at a time today?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Gain Strength Today

Nehemiah 8: 10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”


“My new car” I cried out! Someone had broken out the window and stolen items in the car. I was miserable the entire day. ”Relax” someone said to me. “Relax, what do they know?” I thought to myself. I mean this is “my” car! They are just saying relax because it is not their car.

  • Sometimes the day to day worries distract me from peace.
  • Sometimes the day to day troubles distract me from solitude.
  • Sometimes the day to day trials distract me from tranquility.

It was difficult to see GOD with joy with fresh glass on my seat. I mean I have to call insurance, police, take the car to get it fixed. This is a huge inconvenience. My mind kept racing towards calamity. BUT GOD wants something different.

  • GOD wants me to let go of my stuff so I can see HIM in the middle of calamity.
  • GOD wants me to walk in peace as a practice because trials will appear out of nowhere.
  • GOD wants me to focus on HIS strength as the center of my joy.

As I matured I saw the car situation was only a minor thing compared to what life had in store for me later. There are two things I can be sure of, life will have trials and GOD will always be there so I can have joy in HIS strength.

  • Are you in the middle of a trial?
  • Are you grieving about something?
  • Can you take a moment to enjoy a meal and feed someone who does not have the means?
  • Will you look to the LORD as your strength today rather than focusing on today’s calamity?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Basis of Choice

Nehemiah 7:I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do.


Fumbling through a book, I scratched my head teaching myself how to program computers. You would think I already knew what I was doing since that is what they hired me for. Little by little I picked up my craft, but I wasn’t very productive. I showed up to work early and stayed late trying to figure things out.

I thought I was going to be fired when the big boss pulled me in his office. “Can you handle the work?” he asked me. “Yes, I believe so” was my reply. “Great, we are going to give you more responsibility. We are going to send you to get trained and you will have more to do.”

  • Looking back I see that I was not always ready.
  • Looking back I see that I was not always equipped.
  • Looking back I see that I was not always confident in my abilities.

I had no experience, no proof and no excuse on my first job out of college. Everything just worked out the way it worked out. I was at a place where I was over my head and didn’t know what to do. BUT GOD knew what HE was doing.

  • GOD watched over me when I wasn’t the best choice.
  • GOD watched over me when I did not know what I was doing.
  • GOD watched over me when I was faced with something huge.

The big boss took a chance on me by giving me more responsibility, training and a mentor. Years later I brought this lesson with me and took a chance on the unlikely and GOD made it work tremendously time and time again.

  • Why are you choosing that person?
  • Are you and they fearing GOD rather than fearing your situation?
  • Is it more important to be obedient to GOD rather than getting your way?
  • Can you prayerfully take a chance on that person knowing it will be harder and require more patience?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Slander Strengthens

Nehemiah 6:Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter in which was written:

“It is reported among the nations—and Geshem says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.”

I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”

But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”


Careful tip-toeing around the boss’s buddy was a daily ritual. He was actually a pitiful worker who would challenge everything we were trying to do, yet did nothing himself. Finally I got tired of the charade. I did not blow up, but I did say “You are no longer going to cause confusion to my team.” I knew he would go run back and twist my words. What was my next step?

  • There are people who will cause confusion around me.
  • There are people who will slander my name.
  • There are people who will try to intimidate or even harm me.

Sometimes the situation seemed hopeless. I mean no matter what good was done I had someone twisting it for their political gain. BUT GOD wanted me to believe in something different.

  • Instead of replaying the slander in my mind GOD wants me to ask HIM for strength.
  • Instead of walking down the path of fear GOD wants me to ask HIM for strength.
  • Instead of looking around me to see what is falling down around me GOD wants me to ask HIM for strength.

Nervousness ensues when I listen to and replay slanderous words. They are poisonous and should never be uttered by anyone. BUT GOD says to me “Do not be afraid for I am with you.”  This allows me to continue my work for HIM.

  • Are you being slandered?
  • Are you in the middle of confusion?
  • Are you frightened, angry, or disappointed?
  • Can you ask GOD for strength today?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Right Motive

Nehemiah 5: 18 Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.

19 Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people.


Scratching my head over a project I worked deep in thought. Someone popped into my cubicle and asked, “Do you want to help us serve this Saturday?” I said the corporate “Yes” knowing I had plenty of other things I would rather do. I really didn’t like the people at the home office.

It was a photo opportunity and I thought to myself, “If the big boss wants this then maybe I should.” After the photographer left, I wondered how I was going to make my escape. The big boss then asked me “Would you like to run a marathon?” “Aw Man!” What does it take to move up in this company? I already served!”

  • Sometimes I serve to get my way.
  • Sometimes I serve to gain political power.
  • Sometimes I serve because I am told to serve.

I don’t even remember the causes I have supported over the years. I mean the hat is passed around at work and I dropped in a few dollars and kept going, hoping they would not come back again. Maybe if I reached a certain level then I could dictate which charity they would support. BUT GOD wanted me to think different.

  • GOD wants me to desire what is best for HIS people without me getting anything in return.
  • GOD wants me to sacrifice to ensure people are kept strong and made whole.
  • GOD wants me to seek out situations where I can serve rather than being served.

Instead of getting more, GOD wants me to give more. HE said “The poor you will always have” meaning I will always have plenty of people to give to. HE wants me to give to those who cannot give back. My only motive must be to serve those HE delivers to me.

  • Are you serving in order to get something from GOD?
  • Are you serving and complaining about serving?
  • Are you aware GOD wants you to serve out of cheerfulness and love?
  • Can you serve people today with the right motive which is to help those GOD sends to you?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Keep Going Despite the Insults

Nehemiah 4:Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”

Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.

So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.


“Hey four-eyes, you think you are smarter than us!” was an insult hurled my way as I walked on the playground. Fashionable choices in glasses were not an option for me back then and I received the basic “scientist” look. All I needed was a lab coat and a clip board and my look would have been complete.

Some of the bullies spent their time tripping people or washing their face in the snow. Was this my fate? “I’m not even smart” I thought to myself, “or am I?” As I considered what they said, I thought “maybe I am smart.” Soon the bullies were trying to copy off of my paper. I was actually getting good grades and I was being protected instead of pounced on.

  • When people doubt me, I begin to doubt myself.
  • When people insult me, I replay their insult in my mind.
  • When people blatantly oppose me, I wonder how I am going to make it through the situation.

I would love to say I was six feet five inches, two hundred forty pounds and able to fight the greatest warrior when I was born but that was far from the truth. I remained a skinny feeble sort who was laughed at for my pitiful appearance. I wanted to fit in the crowd, BUT GOD had something different in mind for me.

  • GOD wants me to accept me the way HE made me.
  • GOD wants me to understand He made me in HIS likeness so I need to act like HIM.
  • GOD wants me to treat others like the royalty GOD made them.

Despite how people treat me, GOD wants me to keep going. Insults may be hurled my way and doubts may abound. BUT GOD will fight my battles and protect me as HE always has.

  • Are you being insulted?
  • Do you feel self-conscious?
  • Can you keep going despite the insults and doubts from others?
  • Will you ask GOD to give you the strength and the resources to keep going?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Starting the Journey

Nehemiah 2: 17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.

They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.

After the interview I received confirmation that I had done well and they were “thinking” about bringing me on board. Within three days the offer went from VP to AVP to Senior Director in a midst of confusion. The organization was not organized. I realized I no longer fit in this world.

I had a friend say to me, “You have to do something.” As I studied the lay of the land I wondered what excited me. “Helping people grow” came to mind, but how do I do it? After months of prayer and a year of doing resumes for people, GOD gave me a vision that was much larger than me. No, it wasn’t a Hollywood flashback vision, but a well thought out idea.

It was huge and scary and my resources were few. “Where do I start?” was my question.

·         Sometimes GOD has a plan that seems much bigger than I can ever imagine.
·         Sometimes GOD has a plan that seems too big for me and what I can bring to the table.
·         Sometimes GOD has a plan that seems impossible so why even try.

Nervous about where all of this was going, I tried to limit GOD’s vision and so did everyone around me. I was presented with the worries of the world almost daily. It seemed like bad news kept coming out of the cracks. BUT GOD was there to patch the holes.

·         GOD said to me “Take the first step on the journey and I will make your path straight.”
·         GOD said to me “Keep going and I will bless you as I always have.”
·         GOD said to me “I am with you even unto the end of this age.”

My pride and fear had to go out the window if I was going to follow HIS plan. I took a deep breath and started by taking the first step.

·         Are you afraid to do something big?
·         Is your journey small because you are limiting GOD?

·         Can you stop limiting GOD and ask HIM to make your path straight?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Grant Me an Ear

Nehemian 1: 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

I was cupbearer to the king.


You should go see the President of the company one person suggested. My problem was I didn’t understand why or how I was going to do that. I was new in my post and trying to make my way through the fog. I timidly walked over to the administrative assistant and asked for time on the calendar. To my surprise I got an appointment.

Nervous and almost shaking, I sat outside the office of the President trying to think of what I was going to say. I honestly didn’t believe the President would want to see me.

  • Power has a strange way of blinding me of my ability.
  • Power has a strange way of deafening me to the truth.
  • Power has a strange way of dumbing my thoughts into thinking one person is “better” than the next.

GOD is “no respect of persons” meaning HE can leverage what humans would consider the lowest person to do great things. My confidence was shaken when I placed senior management on a pedestal. It’s not that I shouldn’t respect their accomplishments or their office. The problem was I put them over GOD by placing my trust in them.

  • GOD wants me to focus on HIM rather than worrying about humans.
  • GOD wants me to praise HIM rather than thinking humans can raise souls out of debauchery.
  • GOD wants me to serve HIM with acknowledgement of sin, prayer and praise.

There is no other human who can save me outside of JESUS. Yes, I need humans to survive, but my trust has to be in GOD. Those who seek power will only find it in GOD. HE repays.

  • Are you trying to gain power?
  • Do you feel like you would be better off if you aligned yourself with the “correct” side?
  • Can you stop focusing on the power of humans and focus on GOD’s great might and authority?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Am I Mourning Over the Right Things?

Ezra 10:Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles.


Pouting over my defeat, I sat at my desk moping. I was asked to be the head of one company’s multi-million dollar technology group and when asked “could you let 30% of your workforce go?” my answer was “no.” I wrestled with that. Was I being a wimp?

  • The world calls what I stand up for “crazy.”
  • The world says what I follow is absolutely “nuts.”
  • The world declares what I believe is “insane.”

“You should have had the courage to go for the money” is what I would hear other people say as they spoke of their acts of “being tough” in this setting. I mourned for a while but looking back I pray for those who fell prey to the economics of politics rather standing firm in the pasture of prayer.

  • GOD wants me to mourn over the direction the world is heading, not just the country.
  • GOD wants me to mourn over where my neighborhood is heading, not just my city.
  • GOD wants me to mourn over the state of my block, not just my part of town.

Get out and do something about it is what I hear. I have to mourn over my sins and the world around me. With absolutely no power to remove win, I need to mourn and point to the being who can do something about it, namely JESUS.

Only GOD can sustain me so mourning over the loss of my wallet, car or job should be minimized. I am not belittling the situation; BUT GOD has a way of saying, focus on ME, have compassion on those around you and you will be blessed. Stop caring about politics and start caring about people.

  • What are you mourning over?
  • What worries you?
  • Can you open your eyes to your neighbors and mourn over them until you see them understand who CHRIST is?
  • Will you add compassion for the people around you so they can come to know the living GOD?

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Little Relief

Ezra 9:“But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.


Happy with the house, we closed with a smile. All the paperwork was done and boxes put away. It was a moment of relief. At the other house a young man was dealing drugs and stealing my newspaper daily. I wasn’t mature enough to stay and fight so I moved. Now that trial was done!

I worked hard in the yard one day to get things right and I looked up and saw a strange looking cloud. It was very dark then turned green, like split pea soup. The sirens went off and suddenly my relief was over. There was a tornado headed towards the new house.

·         GOD does not want me to squander my relief periods with evil.
·         GOD does not want me to think that just because I have a moment of relief, there isn’t another storm brewing.
·         GOD does not want me to think that HE is beating me up, rather preparing me for storms to come.

The Israelites were sent into captivity for turning away from GOD. I believe HE still acts the same way. I mean I believe GOD will let me feel the consequences of my sin. BUT HE provides moments of relief when I turn my face back to HIM.  It is during those times I should not take HIM for granted.

·         GOD wants me to focus on HIM continually.
·         GOD wants me to believe in HIS ways and not take HIM for granted.
·         GOD wants me to bask in HIS relief and understand that life will have difficult times and great times.

When I have my “moments” of relief I should be very thankful and praise GOD for HIS blessings.

·         Are you in a peaceful time?
·         Do you think everything will remain peaceful?
·         Do you believe you can sin without consequence?

·         Can you stop what you are doing in your peaceful time to focus on GOD’s grace?