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DAY 12

Perseverance

[5 minutes]
Mindsetter Moment: Read Proverbs 21:5-7 first today. In our microwave, high-tech, fast-paced culture we have more easy options than in any other culture in history. In spite of these changes, this Proverb remains true. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit…..” Doing good work, and not giving up when things get hard, this commitment will take us farther than any shortcut ever could. Trust the process and stay consistent, the reward will follow.  

[15 minutes]
Scripture reading:

Nehemiah 3:15-5:13
1 Corinthians 7:25-40
Psalm 32:1-11
Proverbs 21:5-7

Devotional thought
The imagery of the writing in our Nehemiah story today is captivating. Can you see it? Standing at the temple mound you turn in a circle and see workers on every side, laboring sun-up to sun-down, day after day, desert dust clinging to faces and arms. Baruch “zealously” repairs his section while even priests join in the work, alongside friends and neighbors.

It’s like we are right there in the story. The passion of Nehemiah has rubbed off on the people who are making huge personal sacrifices to see the temple rebuilt. The last temple was built by artisans and slaves funded by the opulence of Solomon’s court. This time it is the people themselves who are putting in the work.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a realistic story without the hecklers making threats and the corrupt leaders making life hard on people. Nehemiah is fiery though, and he doesn’t let these challenges discourage him. Anyone who has tried to start something new, or restored something old knows the importance of not giving up.

What applies to me?
The picture we see in Nehemiah is what rebuilding looks like. When a family has been broken and you are the person trying to put little hearts back together, you are a rebuilder.  When generations have been stuck in a cycle of addiction and you are the first one to live free, you are doing a new thing. When you say “yes” to the call to start a business, foster a child, or build a non-profit, you are stepping into a Nehemiah story.

There are a few lessons we can take from Nehemiah as he begins the temple project. First, He gets things moving. It is always easier to steer a moving object. Sometimes we just need to say yes and do the first thing. After that, we’ll do the next thing and the next thing, but it all starts by doing the first thing.

Second, he faces adversity with prayer. It is easy to react to challenges or threats immediately, getting into endless arguments that zap our strength and knock us off course. When angry, our first response is never our best response. Better to pray first and respond second.

Finally, he fosters an environment of teamwork. Nehemiah structured the workers into teams of two, one to offer protection and one to build the wall. When the people building the wall were struggling, he asked questions, got to the bottom of the issue, and advocated for the people on his team.

Let’s apply some “Nehemiah passion” to our work today. Take that first step, have the scary conversation, look to God for answers in sticky situations, and let’s work well with our team.

[10 minutes]
Write it out:  What is your “building project”? What challenges are you facing right now? Are you being tempted to give up? Write about it in your journal along with a short prayer for the strength to continue.

Pray it out: You are not in this alone. Ask God for the help, strength, and passion to not give up, but to continue forward. Whatever it is that you are building, take some time today to ask God for what you need.

Live it out: Pray over and persevere through your challenges today.