It’s time for some housekeeping. To have a fresh start on our prayer list, I will begin a new list on November 3rd. If you would like to have a particular person remain on the list, please zip me a line and I’ll be sure to add the person’s name to the list.
So, here’s the deal. In the story I’m going to tell you, I’ll just call the guy Bart. Bart made his way into our company headquarters in no uncertain terms. I remember how he was flanked by a group of folks who weren’t “from our parts”, as the saying goes. We were alerted that Bart, our new CEO, would be arriving at some point, but that announcement came a two weeks before he made his grand debut. Our most recent newsletter had a front-page article recognizing our outgoing CEO who retired after years and years of hard and diligent work for the company. The middle section of the newsletter held a rather lengthy article about Bart, our incoming CEO. The article boasted of his great successes in this company and that company and how he was just the right person for us. He had very big plans for our company, but no time to get to know any of us. Our company worked as a large family. We worked together. We took pride in our company and we took pride in our work.
His entrance occurred after the whole home office staff, all 250 of us, gathered round him in the large atrium. The first words the man spoke to us were these, “Where I come from, we like rodeos. I heard I was going to be riding a big o’ bull here. So, where’s the bull?” I almost raised my hand to answer his question, but I thought better of it. I didn’t really know the guy and I thought I should at least wait and see how things would turn out. Do I need to say that Mr. Rodeo was gone in two short months. Yee-Haw!
I’ve often remembered that situation. I think Mr. Rodeo was probably an okay guy. It’s just that he really needed to take the time to come in and hear the story of our family.
I can’t say enough about the importance of waiting, praying, explaining and preparing. To jump ahead to the “do” part too soon is just looking for doodoo/trouble.
2:1 It was the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king. At the hour for serving wine I brought it in and gave it to the king. I had never been hangdog in his presence before, 2 so he asked me, “Why the long face? You’re not sick are you? Or are you depressed?”
That made me all the more agitated. 3 I said, “Long live the king! And why shouldn’t I be depressed when the city, the city where all my family is buried, is in ruins and the city gates have been reduced to cinders?”
4 The king then asked me, “So what do you want?”
Praying under my breath to the God-of-Heaven, 5 I said, “If it please the king, and if the king thinks well of me, send me to Judah, to the city where my family is buried, so that I can rebuild it.”
6 The king, with the queen sitting alongside him, said, “How long will your work take and when would you expect to return?”
I gave him a time, and the king gave his approval to send me.
7 Then I said, “If it please the king, provide me with letters to the governors across the Euphrates that authorize my travel through to Judah; 8 and also an order to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, to supply me with timber for the beams of The Temple fortress, the wall of the city, and the house where I’ll be living.”
The generous hand of my God was with me in this and the king gave them to me. 9 When I met the governors across The River (the Euphrates) I showed them the king’s letters. The king even sent along a cavalry escort.
10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very upset, angry that anyone would come to look after the interests of the People of Israel.
11 And so I arrived in Jerusalem. After I had been there three days, 12 I got up in the middle of the night, I and a few men who were with me. I hadn’t told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. The only animal with us was the one I was riding.
13 Under cover of night I went past the Valley Gate toward the Dragon’s Fountain to the Dung Gate looking over the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken through and whose gates had been burned up. 14 I then crossed to the Fountain Gate and headed for the King’s Pool but there wasn’t enough room for the donkey I was riding to get through. 15 So I went up the valley in the dark continuing my inspection of the wall. I came back in through the Valley Gate. 16 The local officials had no idea where I’d gone or what I was doing—I hadn’t breathed a word to the Jews, priests, nobles, local officials, or anyone else who would be working on the job.
17 Then I gave them my report: “Face it: we’re in a bad way here. Jerusalem is a wreck; its gates are burned up. Come—let’s build the wall of Jerusalem and not live with this disgrace any longer.” 18 I told them how God was supporting me and how the king was backing me up.
They said, “We’re with you. Let’s get started.” They rolled up their sleeves, ready for the good work.
19 When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they laughed at us, mocking, “Ha! What do you think you’re doing? Do you think you can cross the king?”
20 I shot back, “The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We’re his servants and we’re going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You get no say in this—Jerusalem’s none of your business!”
Nehemiah was grieving over the conditions in Jerusalem. After praying and faithfully working for the king, he finally approached the king. Nehemiah asked the king for permission to go to Jerusalem, for letters to ensure his safe passage (passport), and for provisions to get the job done. The king granted what Nehemiah requested.
When have you felt like you worked for someone rather than with someone? How do people generally respond when they are told to do something rather than asked to do something? What are some of the top skills you believe leaders should possess? Have a Day!
In Conversation with a child: Ask a child to tell you who would make a good president
Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson
Remember in Prayer: Mark, Jacob, Judy, Jay, Nilkanti, Earl, Bonnie, Becky, Kelly, Marj, Dan, Tama, Jan & family, Gene, John G., RZ & family, Bill’s family, Christina, Earl, Gillian, Loretta & family, Friend of Julie, Sue, Roger & family, Tanner, Pattie, Frank & Jean & family, Ginger, Todd & family, Carol, Judith, Lynn, Bonnie, Alan, Al’s family, Carol M., Diane’s family, Linda, Vivian, Ron, Sue, Janine, Leigh, Kristen, Summer, Graham, Kevin, Karen
And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Karen, Bill, Dee, Cindy, Bernadette, Alice, Tom, Tony, Al, David Dale, Sr., Mary Scott, Don, Jim, Diane, David, Herm, Helen, Father Billy, Joe, Brian, Clarence, Mackenzie, Nate, Gertrude, Dion, Marshall
Prayer: We love you, O God, and we thank you for this day. We thank you for your leaders who have led by good example. Help us to learn from each other and help nurture each other in your ways. Amen
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© 2014 Lucia Oerter
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The Message Bible – contemporary translation
A ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Brandon, Florida providing for your daily walk with Christ!