Tag Archives: A Heart That Can Break

Finding Joy

The Story

The wall was completed and the gates were installed and the Jews were guarding their city.

There was still one thing lacking though… people. Jerusalem was a large city with lots of land and few people living inside the city walls. Nehemiah found the genealogical records and decided to invite all the Jews back to live in Jerusalem… provided they had the papers to prove their Jewish heritage. Many chose to uproot their families, jobs, and culture and return. After gathering all the people together Ezra read aloud (one morning) the first five books of the Bible (The Law). As Ezra read the people praised God and began to weep because they realized that they had not been obeying the laws. The Levites jumped to action though and began to explain the law to the Jews and followed up with them to make sure they understood it. The Levites also commanded them not to weep but to instead be filled with joy because of the bondage God had brought them out of.

Trucking along in the Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break series this is a summary of Nehemiah chapters 7-8.

Kelly Minter, Transformed Deeper

This week God really brought to life the similarities between Jerusalem and me.

  • God dwelled in Jerusalem
  • God dwells in us (Christians)
  • The city had to be rebuilt to bring him glory
  • Our bodies must be rebuilt to bring him glory
  • Only Jews could reside within the city to preserve their heritage and beliefs
  • As important as it is to minister to the lost and hurting It is vitally important as Christians that we surround ourselves with other Christians (spouse, friends, family, etc.)
I’m the nerdy type that likes to see comparisons like this. More often than not it ends up being a humbling experience for me as God reveals how glorious and perfect He is to me and how much I fall short of Him. As Christians CHRIST DWELLS IN US. I think I could just repeat that over and over and let that become a worship service in itself. As that becomes my focus, my own selfish dreams and desires start to diminish and my thoughts begin to align with His. I think this in essence sums up the purpose of Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break.
How can our heart not break if it aligns up with Gods?
God revealed to the Jews through the reading of the Law their disobedience to Him. This broke their hearts because they had such an intense and restored love for God. The Jews remembered God’s deliverance of their ancestors from slavery in Egypt and found joy because the LORD was their God.
As Christians under the New Covenant we remember God’s deliverance of us from our sins and find joy knowing the LORD is our God.

“If you’ve lost your joy over God’s amazing grace in your life, maybe you’ve lost the remembrance of your past captivity and His remarkable deliverance of you.” – Kelly Minter in Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break

Do you ever lose or forget your joy? I’m not talking about, “I am so excited that I lost five pounds” joy or…”Yay, we get off work early today” joy. I’m talking about the fact that God cannot look at any of us because of our sins. His holiness can not be in our sinful presence but because Christ died for us and took on the wrath that was due us as believers in His resurrection we can stand boldly in the presence of God. That is joy!

But sometimes I forget that. I forget how much God loves me. I forget that Christ died for my sins… all my shortcomings from today, tomorrow, and yesterday. But what joy it is to know that God has delivered me from sin!  Lately, I have been working to memorize scripture. Not just because it is important for me to be able to recall Bible verses but because I want to be able to work it into my conversations with Noah as she gets older and parent her through scripture. Being able to recall even small bits of scripture is a great reminder of who God is ahow to love Him.

Do everything for the glory of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 10:31

The heavens declare the glory of God. Psalm 19:1

Other times I find it helpful to listen to Christian music as I get ready in the mornings. Normally my thoughts are swirling a mile a minute so it’s great to have something to calm and focus them on.

The Jews found this same joy as they remembered their ancestors deliverance from slavery. No wonder they chose to sing praises to God and weep because of their disobedience. Through the breaking of Nehemiah’s heart God had also broken all the Jew’s hearts and restored their love for Him!

Memory Verse

Nehemiah 9:5b

Blessed be your glorious name and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.

Discussion Question

Do you ever lose or forget your joy?

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Want to catch up or start from the beginning?  It’s never too late to join the study.  Below are the links to the previous weeks or just check out the Transformed Deeper tab at the top of the page.  I would love for you to join the study!

Kick Off of Nehemiah Study

Week One Discussion

Week Two Discussion

Week Three Discussion

Linking Up At:

Imparting Grace

New Life Steward

 

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Freedom in our Hearts

Happy 4th of July

 

We don’t have anything super special planned for today so I though I would share this simple patriotic table setting that I found on Pinterest instead.

Now… on with the rest of the post.

The Story

A man weeps, fasts, and prays for a city in ruins. Not the city he lives or works in but the city of his relatives, Jerusalem. After confessing his sin and his people’s sin, he prayed for strength to approach the king with his concerns and plans from God.
Despite all the odds being against him…
The king gave permission to Nehemiah to travel to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and its walls. King Artaxerxes even gave him letters that gave him the ok to travel through foreign lands along the way. Nehemiah began his journey to Jerusalem to help his relatives but not without some resistance from Sanballat and Tobiah.

This is a summary of the first chapter and a half of Nehemiah. I am blown away by the compassion Nehemiah had for Jerusalem. Sometimes, I feel like it is so easy to become immune to the poor, weak, or suffering in our world. All most of us have to do is turn off the t.v., stay in the comforts of our own home or never reach out to those in need. But we must remember that behind every news story, every face and need, is a person. A person equal in the eyes of God to you and me.

And because as Christians, we are filled with the love of Christ, our hearts should weep for them. We should devote prayer time to the poor, weak, and suffering.

To be honest I haven’t been doing a good job of this. Often times I find my thoughts centered around me. I mean wouldn’t life be easier if all we had to do was pray and plead with God to make our lives easier… to bless us more. That’s not how it works or what prayer is intended for.

Nehemiah heard about the weak, poor, and suffering, and his first instinct was to pray. Pray fervently, pray scripture. Often times when faced with a problem or stressful situation, I forget that prayer should be my first mode of operation. I long to be able to pray scripture… to weave scripture throughout my speech during the day. What greater way to talk and hear from God than from the Word He has given us.

One of my friends (Mary Beth of New Life Steward) wrote an excellent post on how to pray scripture. I am going to go back and read and work to apply it to my prayer life. I challenge you to do the same.

Do our hearts break for the poor, weak, and suffering? Many times mine does not, and there is no excuse for this. As Kelly says in Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break,

“Though many of us do not have unlimited wealth or descend from royalty, most of us dwell in a far wealthier state than the rest of the world. This is not a truth meant to paralyze us beneath the weight of overwhelming guilt but an urgent call for us to stop and ask the Lord, “What have You put in my heart to do?

I fear that while much of the Western church slumbers in its palace of comfort, many who desperately need our resources, both spiritual and material, are suffering greatly. Like David and Nehemiah, we must be willing to sacrifice our own comforts and protections for the sake of others. Here’s the wonderful news: neither of these men dreaded the thought of making sacrifices. Their hearts were so taken up with God’s that they prayed and planned and dreamed about how they could quench the need that so troubled their souls.”

I hope you have enjoyed this first week of the study… I have. Kelly says so many great things that I wish I could share them all with you. I wish we could sit next to each other, so we could see each other’s favorite parts and all our comments we have written all over the pages. Instead, I listed a few questions below from the Leader Guide. Don’t feel that you have to answer all of them, but I would love it if you would answer just one. You may not have an answer for all of them. God works in His own timing and will reveal it to you in His timing.

Week 1 Questions

  • What was the most impacting moment for you this week? (It may be a Bible verse, principle, prayer experience, revelation, new understanding, conviction, or other.)* When I realized how self centered my prayers normally are. I hardly ever intercede for others or pray scripture.
  • Nehemiah’s heart broke for the suffering in Jerusalem while living in a Persian resort. How did discovering this impact your own heart for the poor, suffering, sick, or a family member?* Nehemiah left his home of luxury to help those his heart hurt for. God may not call us all to leave our current homes but we must be willing to. Everything we have must be available for Him to use for His glory! Joy comes from giving.
  • How did the study on prayer this week cause you to think differently about prayer and/or encourage you to persist in prayer? In what ways is prayer difficult for you?* This week has really challenged my prayer life with my lack of intercessory prayer. God is the Creator of everything and who am I to just blow Him off as if it’s nothing. I think I make prayer difficult. I don’t allow time in my day for it, and when I do I am easily distracted. I want to challenge myself to pray more and to pray for more than just myself. Through this I know God will break my heart for what breaks His.
  • Nehemiah 2:12 says that God put the desire to rebuild Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s heart. What do you believe God is stirring in your heart to do for someone?* I have spent a lot of time praying about this. I mean I know God has placed on my heart a desire for adoption, but besides just perusing the actual path of adopting a child, what more can I do? Finally, I sensed God revealing to me His desire for me to help with a local ministry here in town, Jessie’s Place. I can minister and serve women and children who are working to get their feet back on the ground. And the best part is that Noah can do this with me… children are welcome! After watching the Tyler Perry movie, Good Deeds, I was just broken by the thought of children being physically taken away from their mothers because she couldn’t provide for them. I want to help these women gain control of their life (or give it to God) and keep the custody of their children.
* Questions taken directly from Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break Leader Guide

Memory Verse Nehemiah 4:6

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Kelly Minter, Transformed Deeper

Do you want a heart that can break?

There is a little less than two weeks before we begin Kelly Minter’s study of Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break on June 26.

Kelly Minter, Transformed Deeper

I am super excited but a little bit nervous too. This will be my first Bible study to lead, but regardless of my ability/inability to lead, Kelly does an amazing job of walking you through the scripture and challenging your heart. So I guess what I am trying to say is, “It’s going to be amazing Y’all!”

Here’s a little snippet of what the study is about:

Nehemiah’s heart broke so deeply for the suffering Jews that he left the comfort of his Persian palace to restore their desolate community.
. . . Nehemiah will inspire you to listen to what God has put in your heart to do. Let God break your heart for the hurting because he often uses a breaking heart to restore the broken.” (back cover) Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break

And for an even deeper look at what the study is about check out this video:

Oh and don’t worry if your not sure where Nehemiah is in the Bible. I didn’t really know either until I started this study. A lot of the Old Testament books just run together in my head sometimes. Nehemiah can be found nestled in between Ezra and Esther… just remember, it’s between the E’s.

Previously, I had mentioned that I would be leading discussion through Twitter using the hashtag #TransformedDeeper. Don’t let that stop you if you’re not on Twitter. It is looking like most people will just be responding through the blog post I will do once a week, and that will be fine. Even if you don’t feel like posting your responses as a comment, don’t let that stop you from doing the study. Just read and be encouraged by what others have to say.

If you don’t already have a Bible study this Summer and are looking to be Transformed Deeper, join us as we begin this study. Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break is available at Lifeway online and in stores. We will start June 26. You don’t need to have the first week’s reading done by then; just come ready to begin our study. I hope you will join me and want you to know I have been praying for you and praying that God would give us all “a heart that can break.”

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