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The Green Urn


Windsor Castle, the winter home of the Queen of England, was partially destroyed by a fire in 1992. As I walked through the rooms that had been restored, I couldn’t help but marvel at what great work they did to make it better than before. In one such room, there was a green urn. It weighed over two tons and the firemen couldn’t move it. The urn had also filled with water making it even more heavy. They were upset they wouldn’t be able to save it, but had to move on to things they could.

What they didn’t expect was that the water in the urn would preserve it. The water turned to steam and heated the urn. The malachite that covered the urn simply peeled off and dropped to the floor. After the fire was put out, they found all of the pieces of malachite laying there. They picked them up, cleaned them, and the restoration crew was able to painstakingly put them back on the urn piece by piece. It was one of the longest restoration projects from the fire.

In Mark 9:49-50, Jesus said, “Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames” (MSG). Each one of us are going to go through fires in this life. Jesus made that clear. It can destroy us or we can rebuild from it. He promised us that we would be like that urn if we have Him inside of us. The flames may scorch and mar our outsides, but what’s in us will keep us from being destroyed.

I’m living proof that you can be rebuilt after the fire. When I looked at the pieces of my life laying on the floor after the fire, I thought things were hopeless, but God saw it differently. He took those pieces and painstakingly put my life back together piece by piece. Because of the restoration He did in my life, I’m closer to Him now than ever. If you’re going through the fire now, remember it’s not the end, but the beginning of a beautiful restoration to make your faith stronger and more refined. 

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Remember To Rebuild

I love the book of Nehemiah. To me, it represents the struggle of life. It shows the emotions of a life that has its share of ups and downs. It lets us know that one person can make a difference in a city and a nation. It gives us hope that we can accomplish great things when God gives the vision and the burden. It gives a great example of teamwork and how people can work together for a common goal. It also challenges our faith and pushes us to a deeper trust in God through fasting and prayer. 

In chapter 4, the people were working to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. They were making great progress, but there were those who were angry about it. They plotted to attack and confuse those who were working to rebuild. They remind me of the people who want to keep you in a state of ruin. They fight progress in your life at all costs. The old saying goes, “Misery loves company.” Those who are miserable will do everything they can to keep you from rebuilding. They want you to stay in the shambles of your life and prevent you from moving forward. They stand in the way of what God called you to do, but you can’t let them.

Nehemiah wasn’t going to let people like that deter him. He knew God had called him to rebuild. Verse 9 tells us how he fought against those who wanted to hold back progress. It says, “But we prayed to our God and kept men on guard against them day and night.” He didn’t pray alone and he wasn’t a watchman alone. He used the word “we”. In rebuilding, you’re going to need a team around you who can pray with you and for you as well as to help stand guard over your life against those who would drag you down and slow your progress. You’re going to need someone who can be honest with you and stay up all night praying if needed.

Even though Nehemiah had the help, the people still got discouraged from the attackers. They started focusing on the work instead of the vision. In verse 10, the people began to sing, “We grow weak carrying burdens; there’s so much rubble to take away. How can we build the wall today?” When we lose sight of God’s vision in our lives, our daily work becomes a struggle. A wall or life isn’t rebuilt in a day. It’s rebuilt one bag of rubble at a time. It’s rebuilt one brick at a time. Even though it can be destroyed in an instant, it takes time to rebuild. Don’t get caught up in the burdens of rebuilding wanting quick progress. Remember God’s vision of what could be and continue the work.

Helping people remember the vision and who gave it is how Nehemiah rallied them. In verse 14 he said, “Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers and sisters, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” He had to remind them how great our God is and why it’s worth rebuilding. In the next verse, it says that they returned to their work. They quit worrying about those standing in the way of progress and quit focusing on the day to day operations because they remembered it was God who called them. That same God gives us the increase when we pick up a brick and start to rebuild.

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Made Whole Again

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It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back from all God has for you. To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of “Free To Live: The Utter Relief of Holiness” by John Eldredge. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

One of the most well known nursery rhymes in the English language is “Humpty Dumpty”. As you know, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.” I’m guessing Humpty lived out the rest of his days broken or missing pieces. All we know is that he couldn’t be put back together.

When we’ve fallen or have been broken, we are left not feeling whole. A part of us is missing. My wife and I were talking about the grieving process after a divorce where one party left the marriage. It’s very similar to grieving a lost loved one except you still know this person is around. You’ll still see them so you never get closure. You never get put back together again. We feel a similar brokenness when we’ve let down God in a major way. We can feel like there’s no going back and that our soul can’t be put back together again.

Just because all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t seem to out you together again, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. I Thessalonians 5:23 says, “May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it! (MSG)” God can make you whole again. What is impossible for man is possible with God.

While man can’t do put you together by himself, God can work in partnership with men (and women) to help restore you. When someone falls spiritually, scripture says, Galatians 6:1 says, “If anyone is caught in any sin, you who are spiritual should restore him.” God uses us to help that person get back up while He does the mending of the soul. When someone is broken from a divorce, a lost loved one or for some other reason, there are Godly counsellors who help restore you while God finishes the work inside.

There isn’t a person who has ever lived or ever will live whom God cannot restore or put back together again. Even though we feel like we are broken into a million pieces and that we will never be whole again, God is able to do it. That scripture in Thessalonians said that God makes everything holy and whole. He didn’t make exceptions. If you are broken, God can heal you emotionally and spiritually. He can make you holy again no matter what has happened to you or what you’ve done. You simply have to go to Him and ask Him to help. It may take a while, but you can be put back together again,

If you’d like to win “Free To Live” by John Eldredge, then leave a comment on this post or a Facebook post that says you’re broken right now and need prayer or that says you were broken, but now are whole. Tomorrow, September 6th, 2014, I will randomly choose a winner from one of the people who comments today. If you haven’t done so, be sure to sign up to receive these devotions by email and like my Facebook page here.

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