Rebuild Your Life (part 2)

Principle 22

Pick Yourself Up

Return to work. If circumstances “beyond your control” limit your ability to work, don’t worry. Simply pick up where you left off. Get going again! Surround yourself with people who will support you and stand behind you on what God is calling you to do.

Nehemiah 4:15-18

15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.

16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.

 

Principle 23

Make the Most of Your Time

Get smart. Work efficiently, making the most of your time. Diligently and steadily do your job until your work is completed.

Nehemiah 4:19-23

19 Then I said…, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”

21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out.

23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.[c]

 

Principle 24

Stand Against Injustice

Take a stand against injustice. Do your part. Don’t be silent or pretend it doesn’t exist. Don’t make excuses for why it is “not YOUR problem.”

Nehemiah 5:1-13

1 Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their fellow Jews. 2 Some were saying, “We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.”

3 Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.”

4 Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. 5 Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our fellow Jews…we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery.”

6 When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. 7 I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are charging your own people interest!” So I called together a large meeting to deal with them 8 and said: “Now you are selling your own people…!” They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say.

9 So I continued, “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God…? 10 …Let us stop charging interest! 11 Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you are charging them.”

12 “We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.”

13 …And the people did as they had promised.

 

Principle 25

Be an Example

Set an example for others to follow. Don’t ask others to do something that you are not willing to do yourself. Follow through on your promises, even when others do not.

Nehemiah 5:14-16

14 Moreover…when I was appointed to be their governor, —[for] twelve years—neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor. 15 But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels[a] of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. 16 Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall….

 

Principle 26

Surrender Your Rights

Do not demand your rights, but be willing to lay them aside for the good of everyone involved. Do not exploit your “right” position for selfish reasons, at the expense of–or with little regard for–another.

Nehemiah 5:17-18

17 Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. 18In spite of all thisI never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.

 

Principle 27

Do Whatever it Takes

The enemy will do whatever it takes to thwart your efforts. His ultimate goal for you is failure. He will change his tactics. If one thing doesn’t work, he will try another. His attacks will be constant, repeated over and over again. He will not give up, UNTIL YOU DO.

Nehemiah 6:1-2

1 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah…and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it… 2 [They] sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages.”

But they were scheming to harm me;

 

Principle 28

Keep Your Focus

Do not lose your focus or get sidetracked. Don’t get caught up in things that don’t matter and neglect the most important thing. No matter how often distractions occur, continue to be diligent.

Nehemiah 6:3-4

3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.

 

Principle 29

Speak the Truth in Love

Speak the truth. Don’t worry or get distracted when people spread hurtful rumors and lies. Ask God to expose the lies. Continue to speak out the truth.

Nehemiah 6:5-9

5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter [in other words, he wanted people to read it] 6 in which was written:

It is reported among the nations—and [so and so] says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. 7…Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.”

8 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”

9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”

But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

 

Principle 30

Don’t Compromise Your Standards

Do not compromise or take the easy way out. You will get tired and often feel overwhelmed, but don’t give up. And don’t run away from your problems. In the heat of the battle, do not sin or compromise your standards.

Nehemiah 6:10-13

10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah… He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.”

11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” 12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had [spoke] against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.

 

Principle 31

Finish the Job

Nehemiah 6:5,16

5 So the wall was completed…in fifty-two days.

16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.

 

Principle 32

Celebrate Your Successes

Celebrate your successes. There is a time for mourning, but also a time for rejoicing. Don’t do the one and forget the other.

Nehemiah 6:10-12

10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks…. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

12 Then all the people went away…to celebrate with great joy.

 

Principle 33

Remember God

Remember what God has done for you in the past. Keep a record of His answers to your prayers. Doing so will encourage you and build up your confidence. Be thankful and don’t take God’s mercy for granted.

Nehemiah 9:9-15, 19-21

9 “You saw the suffering of our ancestors in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea.[b] 10 You sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land, for you knew how arrogantly the Egyptians treated them. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. 11 You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. 12 By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.

13 “You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. 14 You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands…through your servant Moses. 15 In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock; you told them to go in and take possession of the land you had sworn with uplifted hand to give them.

19 “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. 20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. 21 For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.

 

Principle 34

Listen to Correction

Listen to correction. Don’t be stubborn or rebellious, thinking you know what’s best for your life. Learn from other people’s mistakes, so you don’t make the same bad choices. Learn from the past. You will avoid common pitfalls and unnecessary pain. You will be less likely to stray from doing what is right. Don’t forget where you came from and how messed up your life really was.

Nehemiah 9:16-17, 26-27

16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. [They wanted]…to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them…

26 “But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you…. 27 So you delivered them into the hands of their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.

 

Principle 35

Your Choices have Consequences

Your choices have consequences, either good or bad.  Sometimes, God lets us suffer and face the consequences of our sin in order to teach us a lesson.

Nehemiah 9:28-30

28 “But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.

29 … Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them…. Yet they paid no attention

 

Principle 36

Don’t Let Your Guard Down

Don’t let your guard down or give an open door to the enemy. Don’t compromise or make excuses for bad behavior.

Nehemiah 13:4-9

4 Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was closely associated with Tobiah [our adversary], 5 and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles….

6 Some time later I… 7 came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah [an adversary] a room in the courts of the house of God. 8 I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. 9 I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God….

 

Principle 37

Be Generous

Be generous and do not neglect giving to others.

Nehemiah 13:10-13

10 I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the [ministry] had gone back to their own fields. 11 So I rebuked the officials and asked them, “Why is the house of God neglected?”

12 All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil into the storerooms. 13 I put [people in charge] of the storerooms…[that] were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their fellow Levites.

 

Principle 38

Take Time to Rest

Remember to take time for yourself and rest. God takes the Sabbath rest seriously for a reason. He knows we need it. When we become overtired, we are most vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. We end up making poor choices that later we regret.

Nehemiah 13:15-18

15 In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day. 16 People…were bringing in…all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath…. 17 I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day? 18 Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity on us and on this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel….”

 

Principle 39

Keep Good Company

Surround yourself with people who love God. People who will build you up and not tear you down. In those days, foreigners brought with them strange and counterfeit gods. The Israelites allowed themselves to compromise their standards and became accustomed to practices that eventually lead them to sin.

Nehemiah 13:23-27

23 Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from [other cultures that did not believe in God]…. 26 Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. 27 Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God…?

 

Principle 40

Stay Connected to God

Read God’s Word, the Bible. In it He gives you instructions on how to live your life — and live it to the fullest.

Nehemiah 8:8

8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear[a] and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.