Monday 23 September 2013


Who doesn’t want miracles? But we have a part to play too. What do we need to do?

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ― Albert Einstein


Students usually dread examination season. Most students work hard. Some not only work hard but pray hard as well. But to pass with distinction without giving of one’s best would require a miracle.

Despite opposition to the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah and his team of workers remained focused and determined. They were undeterred by the taunts of their enemies. They prayed to God as well as worked hard. *

They prayed as if everything depended on a miracle-working God. And they worked as if everything depended on their efforts. And the reconstruction of the wall was completed in 52 days.

Here we see a beautiful illustration of God working out His will through men who were willing to be used by Him. All these elements were operative in the lives of the construction team: reliance on God, faith, planning, strategy, obedience, community spirit, spiritual warfare and the willingness to toil.  

Doesn’t this story remind us once again of the fundamental truth that both partiesGod and the believerare co-workers in the outworking of His will?

In Philippians 2:12-13, God works in us, helping us to obey Him. But we too have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

“Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:12-13, NLT).

In another story from the Old Testament, Moses prevailed over the Amalekites by raising his hands to God. This symbolic act alone is powerless in defeating the enemy. However, God wrought a miracle for His people. As they persevered by holding up Moses’ hands, the Amalekites were defeated.

“As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle” (Exodus 17:11-13).

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ― Albert Einstein

As believers, we need to embrace both options in our lives: Pray hard as if everything depends on God working out a miracle. Work hard as if everything depends on our efforts.


Six leadership qualities evident in Nehemiah’s life

Sometimes, God works miracles without man playing any role at all. For example, being sovereign, He chose to reveal Himself to Moses through a burning bush and to Paul in a blinding vision.
Read about a modern-day sovereign call of God—how God raised a spirit worshipper in Myanmar from the dead and used him mightily as an evangelist.

*   Footnotes:

Nehemiah chapter 1:
“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4).
“Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man” (Nehemiah 1:11).

Nehemiah chapter 4:
But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.
Then the people of Judah began to complain, “The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.”
Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, “Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.”
The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!” So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.
Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”
When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall. But from then on, only half my men worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. The leaders stationed themselves behind the people of Judah who were building the wall. The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm.
Then I explained to the nobles and officials and all the people, “The work is very spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!”

We worked early and late, from sunrise to sunset. And half the men were always on guard. I also told everyone living outside the walls to stay in Jerusalem. That way they and their servants could help with guard duty at night and work during the day. During this time, none of us—not I, nor my relatives, nor my servants, nor the guards who were with me—ever took off our clothes. We carried our weapons with us at all times, even when we went for water.

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