Saturday, June 23, 2012

nehemiah: a heart that can break (session two).

Week #2 of Nehemiah bible study is complete, and this one had me digging pretty deep. I actually needed to take a break mid-week because it touched upon some things that I've been struggling to make sense of recently (and yes, one of those things happens to be my desire to adopt). The Things I've Learned Lately for this past week is quite long, but bear with me because it's good stuff!

Things I've Learned Lately [Session Two]
  • Executing one's vision demands thoughtful assessment and proper planning.
  • Until you assess the damage and examine the degree of brokenness, you cannot begin to know what a job will entail.
  • Discussing things over with trustworthy people is a wonderful gift, but sometimes God drops a dream in our hearts that we must pray over and develop, that we must cultivate by His Word and direction before we share it with others.
  • Disgraces, tragedies, and abuses take place all around us - things that should not be. God's church is to work at setting things right as we seek His kingdom here on earth.
  • As New Testament believers, we recognize that our task is ... to bring restoration to people's hearts through Jesus who takes away our sin and shame.
  • Nehemiah didn't merely send help, but he chose to share in [the Jews] suffering and recovery process. We can't miss this extreme display of sacrifice as we consider how we are identifying with the poor and suffering in our own lives.
  • If we're not assured of God's presence, we will find a thousand reasonable opportunities to turn back.
  • Little is as important to a city as guarding the places where people come and go. That translates to every individual in that we need to guard our hearts. What are you allowing in and out? Are your doors open to the uplifting, truth-telling, and life-giving, or to what corrodes your soul?
  • A good leader understands that the work can't be stopped because a few oppose or refuse to be involved. Kelly says that she is that person who doesn't like to move forward without everyone's support and approval (I hear her on this, because I'm that person too!), and she states that this can be idealistic and codependent.
  • Sometimes we have to meet a need whether we're suited for the job or not. Talk about going outside your comfort zone, right?!
  • When struck by a shared hardship, unrelated people can bond in an instant over the common goal of recovery.
  • We are all called to be compassionate, kind, and zealous for the things of God, but our life experiences and gifts will naturally cause us to care more deeply about some things than others. And this is okay!! Whatever you are zealous for, work at it earnestly.
  • Sometimes you have to draw back, keep quiet, and pray, but other times God asks you to get out there and stand your ground.
  • When looking at our opposition, it's helpful to understand the reason behind their angst.
  • Words can be the most damaging thorns pressed into our hearts, often hurting far more than any physical blow. If damaging words cause us devastating pain, physical threats cause downright fear. If we need God's healing truth for the former, we need His physical defense for the latter.
  • God was always Nehemiah's first stop; action always followed, it never led.
  • When major opposition comes our way, it's essential to know we're in the right place, doing the right thing. This will give us strength in our weariness and confidence in our fear. Nehemiah's vision wasn't shaken because he was convinced of what God had put in his heart to do.
  • The difference between building and rebuilding is rubble. The problem with rubble is that it hangs around well after the initial destruction. It's important for us to deal with our personal rubble or we may find ourselves still climbing over it 30 years from now. Address it by doing something about it.
  • Even well-meaning people can unintentionally draw us away from God's will in our lives.
  • The excitement over a thrilling, even God-ordained, project can wane when you hear opposition. The rubble can get overwhelming; most of us are doing more rebuilding than building in life. Fear can pluck from the roots up the stuff God has put in your heart to do. And even well-meaning loved ones can rehearse the reasons as to why what you're doing is not a good idea anymore. Don't lose heart, and remember that "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." (1 Thess. 5:24)

1 comment:

  1. That is really good Lauren!! Thanks for sharing. I love the book of Nehemiah! Will have to go back and read it again =)
    -Melissa Grayum