Tag: God turns hearts

Pray and work!

Scripture reading for May 7th: Nehemiah 1-2

Sometimes prayer is used as an excuse for doing nothing.  “I’ll pray about it” is an easy answer when asked to serve in a ministry or do a project.   As we pray, God often moves on our heart and turns it to do His will and want what He wants!  (Psalm 37:4)  We have the choice of following His leading, or just continuing to pray and hope the prayer will be answered.  One choice leads to amazing journeys and seeing the desires of our heart (and God’s) fulfilled while the other produces little in the way of results.

Nehemiah was an Israelite who was cup bearer to the king of Persia.  He held a position of trust and would have been a close adviser and bodyguard for this king.  He heard a report from those who had returned to Jerusalem earlier to rebuild the temple.  They told how the work was at a standstill and the walls were broken down and gates were burned with fire.  This report disturbed him greatly.  He began to weep, fast, and pray before his God, the God of heaven.  (Nehemiah 1:4-11)  Nehemiah, in faith, prayed and confessed the sins of his own people.  He reminded God of His covenant with Moses to bring the people back if they would call on Him.  He asked for favor to approach the king. (Psalm 5:11-12)

As he was doing his job before the king, God opened the king’s heart to ask him about his sad countenance.  Nehemiah again prayed quietly and asked for help in rebuilding Jerusalem and it’s walls.  God granted him favor and his prayers were answered.  He, himself, had been used by the Lord because he fasted and prayed and allowed God to move him into place to do something to bring the answer!  (Nehemiah 2:7-9)  Note that Nehemiah continues to pray about everything along the way.  There are 10 recorded prayers of his in this book.

Is there something that really moves your heart with pity?  Is there a need that you see that is not being met or an injustice that is calling to you for help?  Why not begin praying and fasting and opening your heart to the Lord about that situation?  As you do, be open for action that you may be able to take to bring about change, healing, or a godly answer.  The Lord wants to move our hearts through prayer to godly work.  The result will be a joyous celebration when we realize what the Lord has accomplished as we prayed and worked!  In the end of this story, Nehemiah has rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days!

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The trap of discouragement!

Scripture reading for May 4th: Ezra 4-6

In today’s political climate, Christians often feel that elected officials are against them and hinder the work that they are called to do.  For example, Christians in America  have been working to reverse the law concerning abortion for many years.  Our current administration seems to want to reverse the progress and make abortion on demand available to anyone and everyone.  It is easy to get an attitude and loose heart!

Ezra records the spiritual battle for the rebuilding of the temple.  When the Jews came to Jerusalem armed with the orders from Cyrus, they were immediately opposed by local political enemies.  These enemies offered to help with the work but were really intent on hindering it.  Their help was refused.  They changed tactics and wrote a letter to King, Artaxerxes.  This letter brought accusations against the builders and caused the work to cease.  (Ezra 4:18-23)   In this battle, discouragement set in because of political and spiritual opposition!

God’s word cannot be hindered, however. God had spoken through Cyrus that His temple would be rebuilt!   God raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people.  (Ezra 5:1-2)  God removed Artaxerxes from the rule of authority.   The eye of their God was upon them and another letter was sent to the new king, Darius.  Darius made a search, found the decree of Cyrus, and enforced it!  (Ezra 6:6-12)   God truly knows how to change attitudes in political power!   Where He guides He also provides;  Darius even ordered the bills paid by the royal treasury!  (Ezra 6:8)

We must be careful to not become discouraged or let our poor attitude show.  God is in charge and can change the hearts of those in authority.  God’s people must heed the prophetic word to continue the work on His house!  Our focus must not change and our attitude must be positive!  God watches over His word to bring it to pass!

“For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.” Ezra 6:22

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