Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Turning Bad News Into Good News

"Also our enemies said, 'Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work" (Neh. 4:11). What did Nehemiah do when he was threatened? He "Prayed and posted a guard." This is why the Lord has commanded us to "Watch and pray" (Matt. 26:41). We must be "God's fellow workers (II Cor. 6:1): neither doing everything ourselves nor expecting God to do everything for us. The background to the above verse is as follows. The king sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem and gave him authority to rebuild the wall. When he and the people living, there started building the wall, they were vehemently opposed by two individuals, Sanballat and Tobiah. The Israelites were forced to complete their work in an odd fashion, half of them worked while half of them stood guard. Have you ever struggled with the balance between faith and practical action? When faced with a difficult situation, do you take immediate action or wait for an answer to your prayers? The truth is we all have our Sanballats and Tobiahs (they may be circumstances or people). I can remember times of building, when for every block I put on the wall, my enemies tore two of them down. Its during these times we are faced with the question of what to do about it. We can determine we will work twice as hard. or we can sit back and pray that God will provide an answer. The correct answer might not be one or the other but both. Nehemiah didn't do just one, he did both. He prayed and asked God's guidance and then acted. His actions were not impetuous or prideful, but of faith. Take time to look at the faith chapter, Hebrews II. You will find men and women who didn't just sit around, they were people of action. Abel offered. Noah prepared an ark. Abraham obeyed and went out. Sarah conceived. Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter and forsook the riches of Egypt. Rahab received the spies. Their faith in God could not be confined to the mind alone. When we receive bad new we should pray to our God and take the necessary steps to defend ourselves against the threat. Once we begin taking these steps we must avoid projecting what might happen in the future. Worry about the future can lead to depression. We simply don't know what the future holds, "Take no thought for tomorrow." We must live, by God's grace, one day at a time. In a crisis "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?" (Luke 12:24). So let's turn our bad news over to the Lord, He specializes in turning bad news into good news. The wall was completed in 52 days. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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