Tag Archives: lessons from nehemiah

Reset And Restore


I remember as a kid trying to sell my parents on letting me get a puppy. I told them, “I will feed him, play with him, and care for him. You won’t have to do anything.” I brought Spike home and put him in our back yard. I did everything I told my parents I would do… for a while. As Spike got bigger, he got harder to care for. My parents had to pick up the slack. Before too long, I didn’t even look out the back window. Then one day when I did, he was gone. I neglected my responsibilities and as a result, my parents gave away my dog.

That was a hard lesson to learn as a kid. I did love that dog, but I didn’t comprehend the long term commitment to him I’d made. It’s like in the Old Testament when Nehemiah rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem. Soon afterwards, people moved back into the city for protection. Nehemiah called for a meeting at the Temple to read the law written by Moses. In Nehemiah 10, they promised to obey the law. When it came to the portion of the law regarding the temple in verse 39, they said, “We promise together not to neglect the Temple of our God” (NLT)

In Nehemiah 13, It was about 20 years later, and they fell into the same trap I did. They began to neglect the Temple. Nehemiah had gone back to his job in Babylon, but had now returned to Jerusalem. In verse 11 it says, “I immediately confronted the leaders and demanded, ‘Why has the Temple of God been neglected?’ Then I called all the Levites back again and restored them to their proper duties.” Instead of getting rid of it (like my parents did to Spike), he restored order and reset expectations.

I’ve found that his method is useful to all of us in the parts of our lives that we are neglecting. When we neglect our prayer time, our Bible reading, our service to others, our going to church, or any other area of our life, we need to confront the situation, reset expectations, and restore the things in our lives that helped us to do those things before. Over time we can slip away from the positive things we were once doing, but we will have consequences just like the Israelites did. Having a Nehemiah in your life who can point out the areas you’re neglecting and help you to reset and to restore things is a must.

Today’s a good day to look in the mirror of your life and ask, “What have I been neglecting? What do I need to do to reset and restore?”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How To Fulfill Your Purpose

Over and over again as I talk to people, I hear the same thing. They say, “I want to do something that matters. I want to be fulfilled.” I think God put in each one of us the desire to live a life of significance. He designed each one of us for a purpose. You can always tell when people have found theirs. They have passion and vision. People want to help them accomplish it too. I’ve met people whose passion is waiting tables and others whose passion is rescuing orphans in third world countries. God gives different passions to different people. 

In reading the book of Nehemiah, I found three questions we can all ask ourselves to find our purpose and to start fulfilling it.

1.   What breaks your heart?

God often uses brokenness to deliver His purpose. For Nehemiah, it came when he heard that the walls around Jerusalem were torn down. Nehemiah 1:4 says, “When I heard all this, I sat down and wept. For several days I mourned and did not eat. I prayed to God” (GNT). When God breaks our heart, He’s preparing us for our purpose. I’m not sure Nehemiah understood why He was weeping at the time, but He knew God was doing something in Him. God was planting a dream in the broken soil of his heart.

2.   What inspires you?

After his brokenness, he prayed for several weeks about it. In our brokenness, we need to ask God, “What do you want me to do?” God put it in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the walls. I’m sure he struggled with thoughts like, “I’m the king’s cup bearer, not a construction worker.” While the inspirations God gives us are usually different from our current occupation, God uses where we are to give us what we need to accomplish our purpose. For Nehemiah, God used the king to fund his inspiration. 

3.   Who do you need to tell?

God often puts great dreams in our hearts that we could never accomplish on our own. God rarely gives us something we can accomplish on our own. Nehemiah had to tell the king. Then he had to tell the leaders of Jerusalem. Before he shared his vision with them, he showed them the problem. Afterwards, in Nehemiah 2:28, they responded, “Let’s start rebuilding!” Because he shared this impossible vision with others, they caught it and rebuilt the walls in less than two months. You can’t find people to help you unless you share your purpose.

I don’t know what God has put in your heart to do, but I believe He has a purpose and a plan for each of us. He makes no accidents. He formed you in your mother’s womb, called you by name, and creates you for a purpose. If you will find what breaks your heart and ask God what He wants you to do about it, I believe He will inspire you to accomplish His will. You’ll need to share that vision with the right people, and God will help you accomplish it. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized