Discouragement is often personal.

Unfortunately we are hot-wired to remember those slights, those moments when a harsh, or even a slightly misguided comment or action can bring us emotionally to our knees. Forget the many times you have been encouraged; discouragement is extremely buoyant, having the power to float to the surface of our minds and stay there, sending the precious gems of kindness sinking to the dark depths.

Nehemiah was a man on a mission. God miraculously provided resources and a release from his palace responsibilities in order to rebuild Jerusalem. He was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. What qualified a cupbearer to make the transition to city-restorer? As cupbearer, it was Nehemiah’s responsibility to lay his life down for the King, at any given moment. He had to taste the wine before the King did, to check if it had been poisoned by the King’s enemies. As such, he demonstrated the highest trust, integrity and courage. Into such hands did the King – and God – place the incredibly important work of bringing Jerusalem back for the worship of God.

But Nehemiah had enemies, too. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshom ridiculed him (Nehemiah 2:19), and accused him of rebellion against the King. When this did not work, they ridiculed Nehemiah’s people, the Jews, devaluing the work already achieved ( Nehemiah 4:3).These enemies then tried to spread rumours to prophets, urging them to proclaim that Nehemiah was rebelling ( Nehemiah 6:7).

I would have got fed up of them all by this time. But note Nehemiah’s response in 6:9

“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.

Not “God, Bring down lightening”.

Not “Curse them.”

Yes, he asked God to “remember what they have done” (Nehemiah 6:14), but he did not demand retribution.

He simply prayed, “Strengthen MY hands”.

Nehemiah focussed on the task God had given him.

He worked the problem, not the person.

LOZENGE MOMENT…something to savour the taste of…

How are you handling discouragement?
Is the discouragement getting highly personal?
Stay focussed on what God has called YOU to do, and allow Him to work on the rest. Do not be deflected, or distracted.

“There’s a work for Jesus, ready at your hand,
’Tis a task the Master just for you has planned.
Haste to do His bidding, yield Him service true;
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

Work for Jesus, day by day,
Serve Him ever, falter never; Christ obey.
Yield Him service loyal, true,
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

There’s a work for Jesus, humble though it be,
’Tis the very service He would ask of thee.
Go where fields are whitened, and the lab’rers few;
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

There’s a work for Jesus, precious souls to bring,
Tell them of His mercies, tell them of your King.
Faint not, nor grow weary, He will strength renew;
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.”
Elsie D. Yale, c.1912

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