Faithlife Sermons

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!!! Arise And Build!
All Things Are Possible With God’s Help
!!! Let Us Arise And Build!
Nehemiah 2:11-20
       The California Coast was shrouded in fog on the 4th of July morning in 1952.
Twenty-one miles to the west on Catalina Island, a 34-year-old woman waded into the water and began swimming toward California, determined to be the first woman to do so.
Her name was Florence Chadwick and she had already been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.
The water was numbing cold that July morning and the fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her own party.
Millions were watching on national television.
Several times, sharks which had gotten too close had to be driven away with rifles to protect the lone figure in the water.
As the hours ticked off, she swam on.
Fatigue had never been her big problem in these swims—it was the bone-chilling cold of the water.
More than 15 hours later, numbed with the cold, she asked to be taken out.
She couldn’t go on.
Her mother and her trainer alongside in a boat told her they were near land.
They urged her *not* to quit.
But when she looked toward the California Coast, all she could see was the dense fog.
A few minutes later—at 15 hours and 55 minutes—she was taken out of the water.
It was not until hours later, when her body began to thaw, that she felt the shock of failure.
To a reporter she blurted out, “Look, I’m *not* excusing myself.
But if I could have seen land, I might have made it.”
*/She had been pulled out only a half mile from the California Coast!
Later she was to reflect that she had been licked not by fatigue or even by the cold -- the fog alone had defeated her because it obscured her goal./*
It had blinded her reason, her eyes, and ultimately her heart.
It was the only time that Florence Chadwick ever quit.
Two months later, she swam that same channel, and */again/* fog obscured her view, but this time, she swam with her */faith/* intact—somewhere behind that fog was land.
Not only was she the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, but she beat the men’s record by some two hours!
*/How do you respond to discouragement?/*
How do you respond when Satan is doing all that he can to fog you or stop you from reaching a certain goal or pursuing the purpose of your life?
How should we respond to the challenge to become the spiritual family God wants us to be?  How do we respond to the challenge to complete The Elder Johnson Family Life Center, new office space, new parking, the remodeling of the Shopping Plaza to house extension ministries, the Learning Lab, the café, and new classrooms?
*/We can respond in perseverance, when we can see the goal.
We can respond in faith, when we realize that God has put that goal in our hearts.
We can better maintain our focus, when we have a God-given purpose!/*
\\        The Bible records a similar story in the book of Nehemiah.
“There is a period of twelve years after the book of Ezra closes before the book of Nehemiah begins its story.
Then Nehemiah records the events of the next twenty years.
The background up to this point includes the following:
Artaxerxes I was king of Persia when Nehemiah ministered.
2.     A second return of the Jews to Jerusalem, led by Ezra.
3.     The enemies force the Jews to cease building the walls, and virtually destroy the parts already built.
News of this reaches Nehemiah.
4.     Nehemiah leads a small group of exiles to Jerusalem to organize the Jews already there to rebuild the walls.”[1]
/(Now let’s pick up the story in Nehemiah 2:11-20.
Let me read this aloud for us.
Okay, let’s consider first:)/
The Reconnaissance (vv.
This was a big step in Nehemiah’s life.
He had been in Susa, but God had brought him to Jerusalem.
He had progressed from working for the boss to being the boss.
*/It is sometimes tougher to handle a promotion, than it is to handle trials./*
Can you handle the new season?
How are you handling the promotion that God has given you through the new season and the breakthrough?
*/We have become so used to rejection, failure, and poverty that it is difficult for us to handle God’s promotion!
Stop the negative!
Focus, accentuate, and speak the positive!!!/*
/(In the passage before us, I can see:)/
The season (vv.
Notice that Nehemiah was there for three days before he did anything.
Perhaps Nehemiah needed some more think time?
Or perhaps he was waiting for the right time or /season/?
The writer of the Ecclesiastes said in
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT), “There is a time for everything, a *season* for every activity under heaven” (/emphasis mine/).
There is a season, an opportunity, an appointed period or fullness of time for certain things that God is doing.
*/We have got to know the season!!!/*
\\ The Bible states in
1 Chronicles 12:32 (NLT), “From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives.
All these men understood the temper of the *times* and knew the best course for Israel to take” (/emphasis mine/).
This is the same word that is translated “season” in the Ecclesiastes 3:1.
*/Leaders understand the temper or emotional condition of the season!/*
*/Leaders also understand that a season is preceded by preparing the soil and the planting of seed./*
They understand that a new season is preceded by rain and plowing!!!  */They understand what Nehemiah understood and are willing to rise at night for prayer, Bible study, and to travail for souls!/*
       Jesus encourages us to work while it is day, because the night is coming when *no* man can work!
There are certain kinds of work that *can’t* be done at night.
*/Then, on the other hand, there are certain kinds of work which can only be done at night./*
At night God puts into our minds the ideas and plans that he wants carried out, in the day.
I have gotten some of my best ideas at night or in prayer early in the morning.
You are away from the hustle and bustle of the world where God can have your full attention.
The staff (vs.
Nehemiah only took a few men with him.
These men were faithful followers.
They arose in the night.
Nothing was explained to them and they walked while Nehemiah rode, but we do *not* see one word of discontentment being murmurred.
*/Evidently they were committed to their leader and to the vision of seeing the walls restored./*
I can only do what God has put into my heart with men, women, boys, and girls who are willing to arise at night with me.
Only those who have the heart that God gives to them at night!  */It is not going to be the multitude, but just a few; a few who will walk with me without excessive talk, complaining, and negativity!!!/*
\\ /(It is also interesting to note:)/
The secrecy or secretness (vs.
*/Sometimes it is unwise to tell people what you are doing./*
They may *not* understand and they may discourage others.
I love to share exactly what God is doing, but I have learned that *not* everything can be shared with everybody!!!
Perhaps another reason for Nehemiah’s secrecy had to do with the fact that a vision and a conviction were being formed in his heart.
*/A vision is a mental picture of what God wants to accomplish in the future./*
Conviction is “the beyond the peradventure of a doubt knowledge or faith concerning what God wants to do in the future.”
*/Conviction comes from the heart.
Both, vision and conviction are formed by spending time alone with God in His Word!!!/*
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