11 Quotes From “The Nehemiah Code”

All of us have opportunities where we need to rebuild something that has fallen apart. O.S. Hawkins uses the example of Nehemiah in the Bible to teach us highly applicable rebuilding principles. You can check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“One never rebuilds until he personally identifies with the need and weeps over the ruins. … Sadly, there are many who are simply not grieved or burdened about the walls in their lives that are broken and in need of rebuilding. It has been far too long since some of us have ‘sat down,’ much less ‘wept, and mourned for many days.’” 

“Those who play the blame game never get the task of rebuilding completed.” 

“True rebuilders identify with the fears and failures of those around them. They take personal responsibility for the situation—even if the problems didn’t begin with them.” 

“Opportunities most often come our way when we are knocking on the door and not simply waiting for an opportunity to knock.” 

“Nehemiah was able to convince the people to adopt his vision because he followed three vital rules in goal setting: they were conceivable, believable, and achievable.” 

“Note the repetition of the plural personal pronouns in his challenge: ‘we … us … we’ (Nehemiah 2:17). Nehemiah was smart enough to incorporate a lot of plural pronouns. He was subtly motivating his people to work with him and not for him.” 

“Nehemiah left us a stellar example to follow by laying out five important principles that are essential to the delegation process: set clear objectives with specific tasks, pick the right person for the right job, be an example yourself, hold others accountable, and be generous in giving genuine pats on the back.” 

“When it comes to personal relationships, we all need someone to whom we are accountable. Someone who will remind us of God’s standards and give a gentle nudge—or shove—when we stray from those standards. Without such a friend, the result is often self-reliance, self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, and self-centeredness, rather than God-centeredness.” 

“The fatigue factor is often at the root of our own failures. We simply give out and become too tired to go on, so we are then tempted to give in and to give up. When fatigue sets in during the rebuilding process, it brings along with it a loss of perspective, and little things often become much bigger than they really are. …Fatigue pulled their focus from their goal and placed it upon the rubbish, which led to frustration.” 

“People have a way of rallying around a cause if they are convinced that God is in the midst of it. Which voice do the troops hear from your mouth? Is it the voice of Sanballat and ‘We won’t’? Is it the voice of Judah and ‘We can’t’? Or is it the voice of Nehemiah and ‘God will!’?” 

“At last, the goal was in sight. The finish line. ‘Mission Accomplished’ just ahead. But be warned: this is the most dangerous point in any rebuilding process. This is when the enemy comes along with one final attempt to divert us from our goal. …It is not so much how long our personal race may be, nor even how difficult the obstacles we face along the way, but it is how we finish that matters most.” 

6 Quotes On Mourning From “The Blessing Of Humility”

The Blessing Of HumilityAs I stated in my review of Jerry Bridges’ book The Blessing Of Humility, reading through these thoughts slowly—Beatitude by Beatitude—would bring about the most life-changing impact. In that spirit, I will be sharing some noteworthy quotes one Beatitude at a time. Here are some quotes on blessed are those who mourn (Matthew 5:4)…

“The word that Jesus used in this Beatitude is the strongest word in the Greek language for mourning. It is the word for Jacob’s morning over what he thought was the death of Joseph (Genesis 37:35). … Jesus uses this word to show the intensity of mourning He blesses here. He is, however, actually talking about mourning not over death but over our sin.”

“To be ‘poor in spirit’ is to be convicted of one’s sin, whereas to ‘mourn’ is to be contrite for it.” —John Blanchard

“King David committed two sins: first adultery, and then (essentially) murder to try to cover up his adultery. God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him, and in his skillful accusation of David, Nathan twice used the word despised (2 Samuel 12:7-11). First, David despised the Word of the Lord—that is, he despised the law of God (verse 9). In so doing, he also despised the Person of God (verse 10). Why is this true? Despising the law of God is not only an expression of rebellion. It is also a despising of His very character, since His law is a reflection of His character. This is true not only of such heinous sins as adultery and murder, but also of our more refined sins: pride, selfishness, gossip, and the like. So let us pray that God will indeed allow us to see our sin as rebellion against the rule of God—a despising of God’s law and even of His character.”

“Failure to see our sin as primarily against God is, I believe, the reason we experience so little heartfelt grief over it. … But be it ever so small in our own eyes, whenever we sin we also break God’s law. And Scripture says, ‘Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it’ (James 2:10). God’s law is seamless, one complete whole. So when we break any of it, we break the whole law.”

“Is mourning over sin just for those first coming to Christ? No, Jesus’ words are in the present active tense. We could literally translate them as ‘blessed are those who continue to mourn.’ He is pronouncing a blessing on those whose attitude toward their sin is characterized by mourning. One mark of a growing Christian, then, is a growing sense of his or her sin, and an attitude of mourning over it.”

“So mourning over our sin is truly a display of humility in action. We cannot be proud and mourn over sin at the same time. We cannot be judgmental toward other believers, or even toward unbelievers, if we are truly contrite and brokenhearted over our own sin.”

I just shared quotes on blessed are the poor in spirit. Quotes on the next Beatitude will be posted soon. Stay tuned…

[Repost] Do You Read The Bible Or Does The Bible Read You?

My wife and kids are on spring break this week, so I’m taking a little blogging break to spend some time with them. I am becoming more and more concerned at the level of biblical illiteracy I observe every day. Even among the pastorate this is becoming quite alarming to me. There is quite simply no book which can compare with the Bible! So this week I’m re-posting a few thoughts I have shared about God’s Word.

My BibleI’ve been studying the lives of the kings of Judah. The last God-fearing king before the fall of Jerusalem was a man named Josiah. He became king as an 8-year-old, and really began looking for God as a teenager. Apparently during all of this time, the book of the Law (the first five books of our current Bible) was hidden away and forgotten. As Josiah started seeking God, he gave orders that the temple in Jerusalem be repaired. During the clean-up work, the workers rediscovered the book of the Law and brought it to the palace. They began to read the Law to Josiah

When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes.

Tearing of the robes is a sign of deep mourning. The words of Scripture cut Josiah like a dagger to the heart because he knew he and his people weren’t living according to God’s standards. He started telling everyone the Scriptural standards that they needed to honor, and had the words of the Law read aloud for everyone to hear. Then in the presence of everyone, Josiah reaffirmed his commitment to be a man who lived by the words of God’s Word.

This got me thinking:

  • Do I have an emotional response when I read the Bible? Or is it just a mental exercise? Or worse yet, just a meaningless daily habit?
  • Am I truly sorry when I read in the Bible where I’ve fallen short of what God desires? Or do I make excuses?
  • Do I ask the Holy Spirit to help me live out what I’ve read in the Word? Or do I convince myself that those parts don’t pertain to me?
  • Do I share with others what’s been revealed to me? Or do I keep it to myself?
  • Am I willing to be accountable to others about the changes I need to make? Or am I trying to be a lone ranger saint?

Do I just read the Bible? Or do I allow the Bible to read me?

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