Category Archives: Transformed Deeper

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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I Must Obey

Just in time for the Olympics (ok that part is not in the Bible… but it is almost time for the Olympics in the twenty-first century) the Jews completed the wall surrounding Jerusalem in fifty-two days.  Working together the wall was finished in record time and had caused quite a disturbance among the enemies.  Since so much of the attention and effort went into restoring the wall other needs were neglected.  Nehemiah recognized that rebuilding the city was more than just repairing the walls… it was time to care for the poor and oppressed.  Jews were taking advantage of Jews, making it hard for some families just to get by and this angered Nehemiah.  Nehemiah demanded that this stop and commanded the Jews to make an oath before God that they would not try to capitalize on the powerless ever again.

Enemies tried to capture and attack Nehemiah and keep him from finishing his tasks but with each threat he turned to God in prayer.  With the wall completed Nehemiah longed to see the exiled Jews return to Jerusalem.  With a homecoming of sorts thousands of them relocated back to Jerusalem.  

This was a brief summary of Nehemiah 5-7 that was covered this week in Kelly Minter’s Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break study.

Kelly Minter, Transformed Deeper

Do you ever get fatigued of doing something?  You know like get half way through a task you felt like you were supposed to do and originally had excitement about and then just lose your momentum.  I do.

In fact I have felt that way lately with leading this Bible study.  My enemy has been my own self telling me I can’t do it and that this it is just a waste a time.  Sometimes I would rather count the numbers than pray for the actual hearts this post might touch.  But this week I have learned that the Enemy is lying to me… trying to keep me from finishing God’s task He has placed on my heart to do.  Regardless of whether I feel like it is successful, I heard the calling of the Holy Spirit to lead this study and I must obey.

This whole process has been very humbling for me.  In no way do I even feel capable of sharing what’s on my heart every week.  It’s so much easier for me to show you the latest project I have been working on around the house!  Writing these posts causes me to rely heavily on God and pray that His words would just speak through me.

Like Nehemiah, I don’t want to let the enemy stop me or detour me from the task I was  called to complete.  Three weeks into this study I have finally learned when the enemy tries to attack turn to God in prayer.

So praying I have been doing.  Praying for strength and wisdom to write and praying for you, all my readers.  Before this study even began I started praying for all of you.  Praying for our relationships to deepen and that God would use this study to speak to us, to draw us closer to Him.

The enemy will choose ways to attack you in your own life as well.  That’s why it’s important that we remember to respond like Nehemiah and turn to God in prayer.  Why did the enemy attack Nehemiah… because “they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”

Memory Verse

Nehemiah said, : Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.  This day is sacred to our Lord.  Do not grieve for the joy of the LORD is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)

Discussion Questions

  • In what area of obedience are you currently fatiguing?
  • Do you find that you really lose sight of the people in your life for all the lists, tasks, and busyness you’re trying to manage?  How can you change this?

* Questions taken directly from Kelly Minter’s Nehemiah: A Heart that Can Break.

For more Color Transformed Family follow me on

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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

Linking Up At:

Imparting Grace

New Life Steward

 

For more Color Transformed Family follow me on:

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or RSS.

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A Kingdom Passion

The Story

Bathed in prayer and with the king’s permission, Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem.  A city in ruins.  After touring and inspecting the wall and all it’s gates one night, Nehemiah shared of God’s plans for the walls to be rebuilt and the city to be returned to glory.  Everyone set to work rebuilding the wall, all working together. Jerusalem’s enemies threatened and planned attacks on the city. Nehemiah responded with prayer and by appointing everyone to be armed and on guard at all times.  Through all this the entire wall was rebuilt to half it’s height with all the gates reinstalled for protection.

That is a very concise summary of Nehemiah, chapters 2-4 that we covered this week in Kelly Minter’s Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break study.

Kelly Minter, Transformed Deeper

One thing I keep noticing in this study is that Nehemiah was a prayer warrior.  Prayer was his first response to everything; sharing his concerns with the king, recruiting the locals to help rebuild the wall, and dealing with accusations and threats from Jerusalem’s enemies.  I wish prayer was my first response to everything.  Do you ever have those moments when all of a sudden you hear that still small voice saying, “Why don’t you just pray about it already!”

Often times if I sense God leading me to do something, I get so excited that my mind starts racing ninety to nothing.  Then halfway through the planning process or sometimes even the action process I realize… I forgot to pray.  And not just a “God bless this idea” prayer but a “God this all yours and not about me prayer”.

Besides being an excellent prayer warrior, Nehemiah was also a wonderful leader.  But let’s not focus on that.  Instead, let’s look at how everyone worked together to rebuild the wall for good.  Everyone.  Lower class and upper class, skilled and common man, political leaders and citizens.  No one group sat out of this task.  They all united together to rebuild the wall.

We are all blessed with different skills and talents.  Each one can be used to bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31). How beautiful it is when we all come together corporately to work for the Lord.

I have had the opportunity to go on a couple of mission trips in the past few years.  Some of them have been medical mission trips.  While I have no medical training (besides being able to specify finishes for a hospital, surgery center or other medical facility) God was still able to use me on the trips.  I got to play with the children, give eyeglasses to people, and share the gospel after patients were attended to by the medical professionals.  Even though I lacked medical skills, I in no way felt like I was able to contribute less than others.  We were all there as a team.  And we all know the saying there is no “i” in team but there is a God!

Kelly stresses the importance of gates for the city and also for our own spiritual lives.  Now I don’t have any physical gates up in my life.  Although sometimes having one in the kitchen separating me from the chocolate wouldn’t be such a bad idea!  I do have areas of weakness that I feel I need a hedge of protection around.

For instance, I feel that I, like probably a majority of our over publicized to country struggles with materialism.  Show me some cute clothes, cool gadget, or great piece of furniture long enough and I’m going to want it.  When these desires begin to take over my thoughts they also begin to take a precedence over God… essentially becoming an idol.  Since I am aware of this weakness I try to limit what I am exposed to. I no longer roam the mall being enticed by all the window displays.  We really don’t watch a ton of T.V. so my mind isn’t bombarded with all the commercials and product placements of cool gadgets I might want.  And while I do love me some Pinterest I try not to keep a lot of decor magazines lying around.  Doing all this doesn’t mean I will never face material temptations though…. I still do.  It does cut down on the number though and helps me stay focused on God.  When I do stumble and convince myself I need.something, like Nehemiah I pray for strength and remind myself that Christ is all I need.

You may not struggle with materialism like I do.  Maybe it’s gossip, over eating, or who knows what.  It is important to recognize your weaknesses though.  That’s where Satan will choose to attack you most.  Turn to God for strength and remember you can’t resist the temptation alone but with God you can!

The more we realize that God is all we need the more our hearts will break for what breaks his.  As I was searching for what breaks my heart I wrote in big letters in my journal “Give me a Kingdom passion!”  Then I just allowed myself to write anything that came to mind with a question mark behind it.  Next, I prayed for God to continue to reveal to me ways he wants to use me.

If you are still searching for what breaks your heart you might want to give this a try too.

Memory Verse

Nehemiah 6:16 (ESV)

When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.

Discussion Questions:

(Please don’t feel that you have to answer all of them… one would be great though.  I love to hear what is going on in your lives.)

  • Nehemiah took time to pray and plan.  Are you the type of person who likes to dive in and get going, or do you take time to ponder and pray over your ministry plans and desires?
  • What Unforgettable memories do you have of serving God with other people?
  • How has working side by side next to people of different ages, cultures, and backgrounds both challenged and built up your faith?

For more Color Transformed Family follow me on

Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or RSS.

Want to catch up?

Kick Off of Nehemiah Study

Week One Discussion

Linking Up At:

Imparting Grace

New Life Steward

 

For more Color Transformed Family follow me on:

Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Hometalk,
or RSS.

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