Saturday, August 30, 2014

Seeing God

Monday, September 1, 2014
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.  Matthew 5:8 (NLT)
Many years before Jesus preached His famous Sermon on the Mount, Moses had led the children of Israel to the foot of the mountain of God.  They waited while Moses hiked up that hill to receive the law of God (the Ten Commandments). 
All alone, Moses communed with God; but he couldn't see God!  He plead; Let me see you, God.  But the Lord said, No; no human can look upon the face of God and live.  You couldn't take it, Moses.  But stand over there in the cleft of that rock; I'll pass by while you cover your eyes.  When I've passed you'll catch a glimpse of my glory.
What Moses wanted we all want; we express it differently.  We say we want to know the secrets of life or we want to know our destiny.  Scientists work to uncover the mystery of our beginnings.  It all comes down to the inner desire of human beings to see God; we want to know our Creator.  We want to know what He is like; we want to know what makes us part of Him. 
There is something inside all of us that needs assurance that all is well between the God who made us, and our own souls.  Man has always sought this, and nothing but a genuine encounter with God will satisfy this need.  That’s why Moses went to the burning bush.  This is why the account of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration endures to this day.  The praise of man, perfect health and wealth, or any power in the universe will not take the place of really knowing God.
Many hundreds of years after Moses, Jesus and His disciples gathered on the mountain.  He pointed the way to this encounter with God. 
There was something offered that day for which nobody bargained; when Jesus said, see God, His word meant much more than just a casual sighting.  Jesus said, optomai, which means to gaze, wide-eyed, intensely, comprehending.  Jesus told the disciples on that mountain that they would see and understand and become friends with God. 
Our Lord promised seeing God this way and He revealed the way.  He said seeing, or knowing God follows cleansing of the heart.  In Greek “heart” is kardia; in Latin cor, meaning center.   Jesus taught that a totally cleansed center of a person's being was the way to an encounter with God.
J.B. Phillips translates this beatitude:  Happy are the utterly sincere, for they will see God.  The Greeks used this word to describe wine that had been filtered to remove impurities; unadulterated. 
Have you ever felt that clean?  
The apostle John was at the Mount of Transfiguration that day.  Later, after the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus – after decades of reflection and walking with Christ in success and failure, weakness and strength, John wrote down the key to it all when it comes to seeing God. 
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  1 John 1:9 (NLT)
This isn’t just how to feel clean; this is what makes you every bit clean before God.  To open your life to God, open your “heart” and all that you are at the center of everything that makes you who you are, is to make the life of God open to your heart.  And that’s what your heart has been longing-for. 
For You, Today…
Have you seen God lately?
That mountain isn’t far away.  In fact it’s anywhere you are, when, in your heart you take up the kneeling position towards God. 
His cleansing isn’t far away, or at the end of some great quest; it is as near as your heart and lips.
The next step isn’t a step at all…just kneel before Him; offer Him your heart. 

Give Him you!

Friday, August 29, 2014

While You're Waiting for God to Answer - Part Five

Friday, August 29, 2014
This week we’ve watched Job and his wife walk through some of life’s toughest lessons. Among  them:  don’t speak for God, don’t speak before God speaks, and don’t hide from God as HE speaks through your pain. 


But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.  And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God!  I will see him for myself.  Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.  I am overwhelmed at the thought!       Job 19:25-27 (NLT)

Putting it mildly, it's been a tough week in the Job household.  As Job analyzes the situation, he knows that the circumstances are bleak.  He's lost everything he worked so hard to accumulate, including his health, the respect of his friends, and even his wife.  And yet he makes a dramatic and strange statement that, to the bystanders, hardly seems to fit the moment, I know that my Redeemer lives....I will see God.  

The circumstances say that Job is going down for the third time; his life is in the dumpster.  His family is dead, and his wife is looking to collect his insurance money.  Job's friends are heaping on the insult that Job has ticked God off so much that it’s all Job’s fault.  On top of everything the ulcers of leprosy are oozing his very life's blood. 

And through it all Job keeps singing about how his heart yearns within.  What gives?
The secret of Job's faith is he knew that pain and suffering are not altogether inconsistent with the love of God.  How did he know that?  God had placed the reality within Job years before when Job committed his life to the Lord. 

The story is told of a sculptor who was working on a bust of Lincoln.  Day by day he would only make a few carefully planned strokes with the chisel.  Each night the cleaning lady would sweep up the debris, and complain to herself about the sculptor’s mess.

As the bust was nearing completion, the cleaning lady recognized that it was the much admired Abraham Lincoln.  She got so excited she came back during the day to watch the sculptor work on it; she just couldn't wait to see it finished.  At one point she asked the artist, How did you know Ol' Mister Lincoln was in there?  The artist smiled and said, Oh, I didn't really; I just started chiseling-away what didn't seem to belong.

In a lot of ways, that is what happens to a person when he gives his life to God.  He is like a block of uncut rock with a masterpiece inside, just waiting to be let out.  Mrs. Job didn't see it.  Rather she only felt the pain of the Master's chisel; she never trusted the Redeemer's strokes to bring out her beauty.

Are your prayers unanswered?  What shall you do while you're waiting? 

Don't speak for God, or speak before God speaks; see what His word will say, search it, milk it, and digest it.  Don't hide from God; struggle with him as He chisels-away the rubble.  And above all, don't forget that He loves you...So much that He died for you. 

Life is full of choices every day.  In pain the division between those choices boil down to just two:  unbelief or faith.  In the midst of her pain Mrs. Job screamed unbelief, curse God and die.  It was her choice, driven by hard circumstances, to reject God.  She was never heard from again.  Mr. Job settled on I know MY Redeemer lives.  His faith became the first written account of how a person experiences transformation from pain to glory.

Trusting that God loves you will eventually give you answers; answers like,
I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.  Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.  John 11:25b-26a

For You, Today

Most of us will never experience the depth of what Job suffered; but we all take our turn with pain.  

Let Job’s lessons help you be prepared to settle on faith; faith that God desires to love and help you through even the worst times of your life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

While You're Waiting for God to Answer - Part Four

Thursday, August 28, 2014
So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot.  Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes.  His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity?  Curse God and die.”  But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman.  Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”  So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.   Job 2:7-10  (NLT)
This week we’re learning lessons about suffering from someone who understood what it is to lose everything you have:  health, wealth, family and even reputation…we’re learning from Job.
So far the lessons have included don’t speak for God and don’t speak before God speaks. 


Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”   
I have seen it happen way too often, that when trouble or difficulty comes, the very last place people want to be is hanging around the church. 

Some of that has to do with pride; we really don't want the whole church to see us at our weakest. 

Let’s face it, being the object of other people’s pity is not a comfortable seat.  It’s much easier to roll over and go back to sleep than to face all those smiling, happy people.

But another reason why people put distance between themselves and church during times of trouble is our tendency to blame God for being unfair.  Our troubles are hard and we think if God really cared, He would not have let this awful stuff happen to me

So our trouble is God's fault. 

This is the essence of Mrs. Job's statement to her husband about maintaining his integrity – worshiping God when there’s nothing left.  Job fired back that they had received so much blessing from God’s hand.  Now, in a time of severe hardship he was asking his bride to do the math; they were always in God’s hands. 

For much of their life they had enjoyed sunshine; now their landscape is rainy, bleak and dreary.  And Job cries out, Blessed be my God who knows how much of each is needed.

Job was not going to hide from God, or blame all his trouble on God.  Job decided to hang in with God and struggle it out with Him.  That’s what Jacob did; Jacob wrestled it out with God at the Jabok river crossing.[1]  Jacob wrestled with God over his troubles and fears.  And somehow Jacob sensed that as he wrestled with what God was pushing him to do, he would find answers that were higher than his own ability to handle life's toughest questions. 

This is what the Psalmist meant when he said, My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.[2]

For You, Today
If you’re up against it – so much, every day - don't hide from God, worship Him.  You don’t have to be one of those “happy faces” at church, false smile pasted on.  The church should be the very last place in the universe for falseness. 

And if you’re in Job’s kitchen right now, you need truth, sitting alongside, praying, breathing-in/breathing-out.  You’re with Jacob at the Jabok River crossing, my friend in pain.

So, struggle; but in your struggle, sit still and wait for God to speak. 

He does, you know.

[1] Genesis 32
[2] Psalms 73:26  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

While You're Waiting for God to Answer - Part Three

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot.  Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes.  His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity?  Curse God and die.”  But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman.  Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”  So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.   Job 2:7-10  (NLT)
We’re learning lessons this week about suffering from a champion sufferer, Job.
Yesterday we learned (in the poor example of Job’s friends) that just because there’s a break in the conversation, that doesn’t mean it’s time to open your mouth and insert your foot.  Imagining you speak for God is worse than foolish – it is damaging to those who are waiting for any word of hope or relief.  We learned – don’t speak for God.


Mrs. Job took one look at her formerly powerful, now pitiful husband, and told him to forget everything he ever believed about God and just end it all…die…fall on the sword!  Job looked up from his pain and growled, You talk like a foolish woman!

(He had to be in a lot of pain…no husband in his right mind talks like that to his wife if he values his life; unless it’s by cell phone).

Job’s wife wasn’t just being sarcastic with her advice; she probably could not stand to see her man suffering.  He had every imaginable kind of pain – physical, emotional, relational, financial and family.  He’d lost everything in his life except the boils.

With so much of mankind’s humanitarian efforts over the centuries aimed at alleviating pain and suffering, you have to know we take that seriously; and so did Job’s wife.

She took it seriously; but she took it beyond her understanding.

So often we are tempted to offer quick solutions, based on so-called wisdom.  It’s fine to offer solutions, but if it is to be a wise solution, it must be based on what God says.  The prophet Zechariah warned, "Be still before the Lord, all mankind..."[1]

God has the last word (no matter what), and we are wise to hear it BEFORE we make our plans firm, or our speeches heard.  David had a wonderful intention to build the Lord a temple.  He only wanted to honor the God who had been so faithful to him.  The only problem was it was not God's plan for David to build that temple.  Don't speak for God, or before God speaks.
When you’re up against it, patience is God’s way.  Often it’s not the easiest way, but we are called to be His, to trust Him in the worst of times, as well as when the sun is shining.
Remember that when Satan whispers “suicide” in your ear.  It won’t sound foreboding like the sound of SUICIDE; it will sound much friendlier, dignified, or even trendy.  There will be plenty of platitudes to support putting an end to the pain. 
          ·        God really wouldn’t want you to suffer like this, would he?
          ·        You don’t have to suffer; this makes no sense – you deserve better.
Some pain is inexplicable, unimaginable and seems so unendurable. 

But at the end of the day life is worth even that; and that is how precious YOUR life is to your Heavenly Father.  He should know; He suffered the cross FOR your life.

For You, Today
If you’re up against it – so much pain you don’t think you can hold on.

Call a friend, your pastor, a neighbor; they won’t have all the words but they don’t need words; they simply need to be able to sit with you through the pain.

My friend in pain, sit still and wait for God to speak.

[1] Zechariah 2:13

While You're Waiting for God to Answer Part Two

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot.  Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes.  His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity?  Curse God and die.”  But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman.  Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”  So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.   Job 2:7-10  (NLT)


Mrs. Job had decided that God had forgotten the Job's address.  Her husband had messed-up somewhere, and it was so bad nothing could ever fix it!  The only choice left was suicide. 
Human beings seldom know God's reasoning for why things happen.  (At least He never asks me before He does stuff!)  We run afoul of common sense when we attempt to interpret for others what God intends; He is God, and able to speak for Himself.  Eventually, Job did complain about God's program, and demanded an answer.  At the end of the story[1] Job is humbled by God's answers. 

It is wrong to ALWAYS judge tragedy, sickness, and loss as a mark of God's disapproval; God's ways are indeed higher than ours. 

Job's friends thought they had it all figured out.  They did a friendly thing in coming to sit with Job for three days.  But when they started opening their mouths, trying to speak for God, they stuck their collective feet in them.  With their judgments on what was wrong in Job's life they offered their own version of Mrs. Job's "curse God and die." 

Be careful not to speak for don't have the credentials.  God may be using tragedy in your life, or the life of someone you know to bring about some very holy things.  Remember the prodigal son?  He was a lot closer to success when he was learning in the pigpen, than when he'd first arrived as a rich kid, with all the trimmings.

Despite the wrong-headed thinking (and speaking) of Job’s band of friends and Job’s wife, Job needed them all.  Somehow their foolishness helped frame God’s real answer to Job in a way that eventually turned on the light bulb of reason.

For You, Today
When you’re up against it, don’t despise the community around you, even when they suggest goofy solutions, or make really exasperating statements about why you’re on God’s hit list.  (Remember, you’re part of that community and have probably been on the other side of somebody’s pain).

Sit in the ashes when life makes no sense, and the walls have caved-in; loss like that calls for grieving!

But don’t speak for God, and don’t leave God or your community as a knee-jerk reaction to the unfairness of it all.  Or for a bit of band aide relief, like drugs or alcohol.  The last thing you need for real problems is temporary solutions that create more problems.

Sit still and wait for God to speak.

[1] Chapter 38

Monday, August 25, 2014

Courage, Opposition and Prayer

At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked very hard.  Nehemiah 4:6 (NLT)
The job to which God called Nehemiah was to leave being a comfortable captive in the service of a Persian king (Artaxerxes), and travel to the home of his ancestors in Jerusalem; it was there the work of rebuilding the crumbling walls of a defeated people was to take place.
God gave Nehemiah a spirit of favor with the Persian ruler.  King Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah permission, letters of authority to rebuild the walls, and supplies to accomplish the task. 
What a great God we serve!
Arriving in Jerusalem, Nehemiah made a midnight inspection tour of the broken-down walls, but told nobody of his heart’s plans. 
When he was ready, Nehemiah gathered the people and gave them a 37-word “sermon” I cannot match that!  He told how the broken-down walls of God’s city were a disgrace before the world.  They should arise and rebuild (Nehemiah 2:17-18a). 
Before Nehemiah could tell the organist to play “Just As I Am” the people responded…Let us rise up and build.  (I’d like to see YOU match that!)
In classic fashion, the enemies of God entered the picture before the ink was dry on the architectural drawings for rebuilding of the walls (2.19); yet Nehemiah’s response was to trust God (2.20).
That’s our refresher on the story line from last week.  For today, we have the account of rebuilding the walls, and we learn a number of principles of Kingdom building.

Lesson I. When it comes to the WORK, some are APATHETIC

Next were the people from Tekoa, though their leaders refused to help.  Nehemiah 3.5 (NLT)
A survey-taker knocked on a door.  When it opened, he asked the homeowner if he was aware that the greatest problems America faces today are ignorance and apathy.  The man replied, I don’t know, and I don’t care!
It is bad enough to have apathy among followers, but Nehemiah faced apathy among the leaders of the little village of Tekoa.  Not all heroes are leaders; not all leaders are heroic material.  The greatest heroes I have are of the “ordinary” variety – folks who serve year-in, year-out in the mundane ways. 
     On the walls of Jerusalem, the common folk from Tekoa caught the vision their apathetic leaders couldn’t see.  In our day there are apathetic folks in the kingdom of God as well. 
* When people don’t see the need to serve others – when their own purposes and ideas and appetites are far more interesting and urgent, it is apathy towards God. 
* When people think life is too busy for kingdom work, it is apathy towards God. 
It’s the kind of apathy which comes up with a hundred excuses for not worshipping and not serving; it is apathy towards God, and apathy towards God is sin.
Jesus had something to say to first century churches that were apathetic:
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold.  I wish you were one or the other!  But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!  Revelation 3:15-17 (NLT)
What do you do to address apathy?  Lesson learned, and…
* Application:  When people are apathetic, encourage them.
For those of us who slip into apathy in our worship, service, stewardship, devotion, or witness…the encouragement is stop this
a.  You are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. 
b.  Greater is He who is in you, than the apathy that wants to steal your service and blessing. 
c.   Be strong in the Lord!  Be the man, the woman, the young person God called you to be!
We need to reclaim our PASSION for the work of the Kingdom.  Apathy is the stuff of lukewarm churches and lukewarm Christians.  
If you know some apathetic believers, encourage them.  But don’t do it as if you’re apologizing.  We have enough lukewarmness.  Say it like you mean it.  “George….man what’s happened to your passion?  Are you backing off from the Lord?”  “Robin, why have you stopped coming?  What could make you give up on Jesus?”
Apathy is backsliding, and it is nauseating to God.  It calls for strong people to love the apathetic back into the fold. 
You can do this!

Lesson II. When it comes to the WAY, some get OFFENDED

Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall.  He flew into a rage….   Nehemiah 4.1a
It is as old as Cain and Abel.  People always get offended; especially when it comes to the way we remember things were, or think they should be.  When these memories are contradicted by God’s Word, or somebody messes with our agenda; watch out!
Most of the time when people get offended, the infractions have prodded our pride – and we have forgotten how our own sins have offended holy God!  And how God, for Christ’s sake has forgiven us!
Nehemiah was involved in a great and difficult work.  Some really warmed to the task – others were apathetic; Sanballat was offended at the new guy, Nehemiah, who arrived and took over his province.  It is that way in churches sometimes. 
* Things get changed.  We do things differently. 
* We don’t like this or that; so we grumble, or pout. 
* We pull back from everything. 
* Sometimes it happens when people don’t know the Word of God, and the leader points to God’s way, and the follower says, “I don’t like that.”
Beloved, that is not spiritual, Christian, Godly or even close to humble.  It is sin.  It is sin to worry about feelings when eternal souls are going to hell because we would rather fuss over incidentals than take the time to go tell the gospel.
* Application:  When people are offended, lead them.
What do you do with “offended” folks?  Lead them!  Lead them with your example of Godly humble service.  That’s what Jesus did.  Jesus was the perfect Son of God.  He was accused of everything imaginable.  His response was to give his life for His accusers.

Lesson III. When it comes to REVERENCE, some will RIDICULE

…and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they are doing?  Do they think they can build the wall in a day if they offer enough sacrifices?  Look at those charred stones they are pulling out of the rubbish and using again!”  Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!”    Nehemiah 4.1b-3
This same bunch that got offended also lashed out at Nehemiah and the work.  That is the normal response of people who get angry. 
Sanballat’s rage became a tirade of mocking and insults.  The problem with that kind of anger is that no matter how you regret it later, once you’ve ridiculed the work, your spirit is such that it is next to impossible to repent, humble yourself and rejoin the efforts. 
It is hard to admit you’ve been wrong and going against God.  That is why Satan fell, and stayed down!
What did Nehemiah do?  He prayed!  And that is our application as well if we would learn the lesson.  When they ridicule…
* Application:  Leave Them (to God)
Then I prayed, “Hear us, O our God, for we are being mocked.  May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land!  Do not ignore their guilt.  Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in the presence of the builders.”   Nehemiah 4:4-5
Nehemiah didn’t waste his breath trying to convert his detractors over to wall-building.  And he didn’t fire-off some insults to answer them back.  It does no good to turn around and ridicule someone who has deserted God’s will, gotten angry and ridiculed the work.  You become as twisted as they.  Nehemiah prayed, leaving the results to God.
I have had many people angry at me in my lifetime.  Now, that’s hard to admit for a peace-lover.  I hate conflict.  Having someone angry at me eats away at my insides like cancer.  On the other hand, as a pastor I have studied God’s Word and human nature is revealed ever so clearly there.  We humans are a prideful and stiff-necked bunch! 
Most people act pretty reasonably most of the time.  But!!!  Watch-out when you cross them!  I recall a man who was a member of a church I served years ago.  He was pretty reserved, but occasionally entered into the good-natured teasing men do when gathered for a social event.  And our men’s fellowship was better at teasing than most!
Once, when our church was hosting a community Thanksgiving service, the meal was ready, many of our members and guests had arrived.  It was a festive, happy spirit that night; until he came through the door.  With a great big smile, and warm handshake, I teased, Well, look what the cat drug-in.  He teased back, Cat wouldn’t ever drag somthin’ like you in
The next day the man came to my office.  The secretary showed him in and closed the door.  He never even sat down.  He came to my desk and said, Preacher, you embarrassed me last night.  You ever talk to me like that again, you’d better duck with the next breath, because I’m gonna knock your head off.  I immediately apologized to him.  I couldn’t recall how I’d embarrassed him, but the fire in his eyes told me he needed to calm down.  Despite my apologies, and offers to publicly apologize, he eventually stormed out of my office, and we never saw him in the church again.
Now, that is an extreme example.  Most people who get angry at the preacher, or other church leaders, are really angry with themselves for some other reason.  And most times they ridicule from afar. 
What do you do about such?  Pray….Leave them to God. 
Don’t forget, sometimes God moves people into your life and influence, and sometimes He leads them away.  When the issue is truly a misunderstanding, the truly humble servants will humbly come together to solve problems.  But when people with a haughty, angry spirit leave in a huff, leave them to God.  He is much better working with them than you will ever be!

Lesson IV. When it comes to SERVING, some will LABOR

At last the wall was completed to half its original height around the entire city, for the people had worked very hard.  Nehemiah 4.6  (NLT)
By far this is the happiest part of the story.  The King James Version says the people had a mind to work.  I like this newer translation; it says it plainly…the people had worked very hard!   
Some will always do the work, get the job done.  I am very appreciative for the Kingdom laborers we have here.  I am ever-mindful of the fact that nothing can really be done without cooperation.  Our people cooperate on doing unseen things – like opening the buildings for worship each week, praying, visiting and bringing meals to the sick.
Nehemiah made the point that the wall got finished because of the willing spirit and faithful service of the people.  In a church it is true that the Pastor can’t do everything.  Just as true is the statement that whatever the Pastor does won’t be anything without the people. 
So, it’s not about the Pastor, or the teachers and committee members or the style of worship – hymns or choruses.  It is all about the family of God working together, doing what God called to do…   
a.   Share the Good News with people that Jesus saves.
b.    Help people know Jesus and live by His word.
Nehemiah saw a great revival among the people because God placed it in their hearts to work.  What should we do about the work of the Kingdom?
* Application:  Join In
One lady wrote about a women's club luncheon.  She said
… a young woman sitting across from me spoke of the camaraderie she felt with her mother-in-law since they'd opened a small craft shop.  We all looked at her in disbelief as she talked about the many tasks they performed together.  When someone asked how she managed to avoid the typical in-law clashes, she answered, It helps that one of us has a good disposition.  Amused, I asked which of them that was.  Oh, she laughed, we take turns![1]
What a wonderful outlook on working in a difficult situation! 
We need that in Kingdom workers…always.  The Lord promised us we would always find opposition to His Kingdom’s work.  That is true – evil will always seek to undo righteousness.  Taking turns at having a good, humble, Christ-like disposition is good medicine for preventing sickness in the life of a congregation! 
How we need that; for only a healthy congregation can truly build the walls of God’s Kingdom.
Let us pray: 
God, give us courage to face our own lack of strength, our apathy, with humility – recognizing we depend solely on Christ for strength to accomplish the work to which He has called us.  Lord, we rely on prayer to accomplish what we cannot – Be our strength, O God, our Rock and Redeemer!
Lord, like Nehemiah leading the people to rebuild the Jerusalem of old, let us see rebuilt walls of family and community in our day here in where we live, work, go to school and play.  
May we see it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

[1] Jane Paramore, Denton, TX. Heart to Heart, Today's Christian Woman.