Encouragement for Today 03-28-05


March 28, 2005

Encouragement for the Day 


Success in the face of Opposition-Part 1

Member of Speaker Team


Key Verse:


“O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and obey his commands.”      Nehemiah 1:5




Nehemiah was a good man, a common man with a unique position.  He was the cupbearer to the Persian King Artaxerxes.  Simply put, Nehemiah was responsible for insuring the King’s drink was safe and tasty.  Sounds like a low stress job to me, unless the King gets sick from bad wine you did not taste before serving.


Nehemiah’s struggles or opposition did not come from his job. God placed a desire in Nehemiah’s heart to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the ruins.  It was when he decided to obey God that he faced opposition.  That opposition was not from God, but from people who did not want him to be successful in following God’s plan. 


We are under the misguided impression that, as Christians, obedience to God means everything is going to flow smoothly.  After all, we are doing exactly what God has asked up to do.  But as we will learn from Nehemiah, sometimes the beginning of obedience is the beginning of opposition.  We will also learn that no matter what happens during the obedience the outcome will be for our good and God’s glory.


Nehemiah’s brother brought him the news of the disarray in Jerusalem.  The rebuilding of Jerusalem had been attempted before, but the attempts were futile. Nehemiah felt a call from God to go and oversee the reconstruction of the Israelites’ home land.


I wonder if any of you are struggling with opposition today.  Do you feel disorganized, vulnerable and defenseless?  Let’s take a bird’s eye view of the account of Nehemiah and learn from this servant how to be victorious in our times of opposition.


Nehemiah’s example teaches us that in opposition we should:


Not act on impulse.

Verse 4 says that for some days, he mourned, fasted and prayed.  Usually our first response to bad news is to lash out or run to fix the problem.  When acting impulsively, we don’t give ourselves time to think or give God time to work in our lives to overcome the obstacle.



Ask for Success

Nehemiah prayed to God and asked for success in verse eleven.  When God places something on our heart that He wants us to do, we can count on Him for success.  Asking for success demonstrates faith and shows God we depend on Him.


At this point in Nehemiah’s story, we can feel good.  He prayed and asked God for success.  He is ready to move forward.  Unfortunately, this is when the enemy tends to raise his evil head. When we finally get the courage to move forward with God’s power, the enemy will be angry.  Nehemiah 2:10 tells us that Sanballat (the governor of Samaria) was not at all happy about Nehemiah’s arrival.


Our enemies do not want us to be successful.  Many times, we give in to defeat at the first hint of opposition or insult.  When this happens, it is time to revisit the first two lessons we learned from our friend Nehemiah.  Until we get used to success, we may have to go back to the basics repeatedly until they become part of our thought processes.


Be willing to move out of our comfort zone

Nehemiah had a cushy job in the palace of the king.  I think sometimes we get so complacent in our circumstance and so beaten down by the enemy that we truly believe we are better off just hanging on until Jesus comes.


My Prayer for the Day:


Dear Father, help me to take these first few baby steps in overcoming obstacles the enemy places in front of me.  It is my desire to put total trust in you.  Forgive me for living in fear and not walking in faith.


Applications Steps:


  1. Choose to follow Nehemiah’s example in Nehemiah 1:4 of not acting on impulse to you current battle.
  2. Read Nehemiah’s prayer in verses five through ten.
  3. Pray the same prayer personalizing it to fit your current battle.


Reflections Points:


  1. Evaluate the ways you currently deal with battles.
  2. Do I ask God for success?  If no, why not?
  3. Am I really willing to take a risk and move out of my comfort zone?


Additional Resources:


Who Holds the Key to your Heart            by Lysa TerKeurst



Becoming a Woman who Listens to God  by Sharon Jaynes



Living Life on Purpose by Lysa TerKeurt





Originally published Monday, 28 March 2005.