_It is advisable that you prayerfully and meditatively read the text first_
SAVING TOMORROW FROM HEARTACHES
TEXT: NEHEMIAH 1:1-3.
_KEY VERSE "And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province or in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down and the gates thereof are burned with fire" (NEHEMIAH 1:3)._
The atomic blasts in two Japanese cities during the closing stages of World War II had a long reach into the future. At the time of the explosions, there was unprecedented damage, both in terms of loss of lives and with respect to the habitat and property. But there have also been long-term effects. Scientists claim that decades after the bombings, the children exposed to radiation in their mother's womb were more likely to have intellectual disabilities and increased risk of developing cancer.
The lesson here is that the consequences of man's errors and misdeeds are not limited to the time they were committed. Nehemiah experienced these unpleasant effects of mistakes of earlier generations on the future. Scores of years after the sinful Judah had been razed by Babylonian invaders and the wall of Jerusalem broken, with the inhabitants taken into a long captivity, some Jews visited Nehemiah in Shushan to inform him of the desolation of the Jewish capital. The news of the misery of his people touched him.
Now, this was not a case of 'generational curse'. The effects of punishment for communal sin of the past were taking a toll on the future. The takeaway here is that sin does have destructive ripples that sometimes find their way far into another era. We can save tomorrow from heartaches if we are watchful against sin in our time.
The text also teaches that leaders and believers should be sensitive to the plight of the church and society. Not consumed with the palatial luxury of Shushan, Nehemiah sought to know the state of his people. He could have chosen to be indifferent. True leaders and disciples of Christ make sacrifices for the flock and service of God. Genuinely concerned brethren who notice shortcomings in God's vineyard must also promptly report them to the church leadership as Hanani did.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY* Shun sin today to save tomorrow from heartaches.
*BIBLE IN ONE YEAR* GENESIS 11-13.
How to live the life that counts
The text gave a life changing encounter of Nehemiah with some people that turned him to be a national hero and a generational inspirational global figure. How did he get to the top?
*1. He had an encounter with a person who refocused and brought out the best in him*
If Nehemiah did not have an encounter with Hanani, his world view would have remained parochial, self centred and shortsighted.
The first encounter needed is with Jesus Christ, who lived the most influential and beneficial life to mankind. He brings transformation that removes sinful, selfish and serpentine drives that make acceptable service difficult or impossible, Matthew 11:28.
*2. You need a vision that will propel you to action*
a. "Where there is no vision, people perish", Proverbs 29:18. No vision, No destiny. No vision, no drive to live a life that counts. No vision, no greatness on earth and in heaven. No vision, no future.
b. The vision of the righteous is a God - given burden that gives focus as to what God wants to use the person for. Nehemiah got this vision. It is also called a burden given by the Holy Spirit.
c. Nehemiah got this vision when he got relevant information from God given source directly, vv2,3. At times it may come directly from the Spirit as in the case of great Paul the Apostle, Acts 26:14-19. At times God write it as a passion in the heart of the person like David passionately desired to build the temple. At times it is through communication with great minds and their writings like Daniel who read about 70 years of captivity and was burdened to pray on it. At times, it is by research, either through prayer or searching for relevant information like Nehemiah got his information by questioning the right people, vv2,3.
*Note* If you are not born again, your vision, if any, will be self oriented, perverted, shortsighted, solely earthly and eternally unrewardable.
*Q* Do you have a heart cleansing and life changing encounter with Christ?
*Q* Have you received a vision from God as to how and where He wants to use you to contribute your quota to His service to mankind?
*3. Don't forget your root*
a. Nehemiah was born in captivity and had, in all probability, never been to Jerusalem, yet while in his comfort zone, his spirit was in Jerusalem while his body was in Shushan palace.
b. Make use of your positions and opportunities to help people in your root. Paul himself remembered Jerusalem even though he was appointed an Apostle to the gentiles.
c. Train the younger generation to have love and passion for their root just like it was done for Jeremiah.
Pray for a *deeper encounter* with Christ that will make your life a blessing
Passionately *ask for the vision* that your life needs
Call on God to connect you with *helpers of destiny* who will push you to the top
Pray that God will *release His visions* to each member according to His purpose this year