How to: Overcome PEOPLE approval! (Nehemiah part 3)

As usual, you have two options for this post! Listen in by clicking the icon, read through the text or both! Whatever you choose, we pray God’s word blesses you!


So, we are back with another study on one of my favorite books–Nehemiah! What I love about Nehemiah was his fortitude and steadfastness in doing the work of the Lord in the face of adversity. Last time we were together, we started Nehemiah chapter 2 and saw how God blessed Nehemiah to get a leave from his job to oversee the building of the wall, but not without trouble! Let’s continue our study  on overcoming people approval/disapproval continuing in Nehemiah chapter 2.

v13And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.

v14Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass.

v15Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.

v16And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.

Again, Nehemiah kept quiet. There are times when we must use discretion about carrying out the work of God. Also, when God gives you something to do, He will tell you exactly how to carry out the duties. Nehemiah carefully assessed the damages on his own by night and crafted his plan from there, sans riling up any negativity. Go back to when the children of Israel were checking out the Promised land. Out of 12 spies, how many came back with a good report? TWO. Joshua and Caleb. Communication discretion advised.

v17Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.

v18Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

Checkpoint: Nehemiah led the people with the vision God gave him and told it at the appropriate time to the right people, along with God’s and the king’s encouragement/endorsement—they were encouraged, responded with zeal and WANTED to work.

v19But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?

Now we have three jokers, Sanballat, Tobiah and governor of Persia, Geshem (his name means rain) in the court. They laughed them to scorn (meaning to deride something; to deem it as nothing and laugh contemptuously at it), and taunted Nehemiah and the group—asking them what they were doing!

No one enjoys being laughed at—science has even come up with a term geltophobia—the fear of being laughed at. Notice the word fear. Once God tells you to go public, do you go in faith or in fear or being mocked, ridiculed, laughed at or discounted? Do you rebuke that fear (because it’s not from God) or cower in it?
On top of that, these enemies suggested Nehemiah and his team were going against the king. NONSENSE. Nehemiah already had permission and on top of that God’s permission! I love his calm, non-getting in his feelings response:

v20Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah did not go into all what the king had done or God had said—he simply said in faith, God will prosper us and this will get done. BUT YOU’LL have not part of it. Period.

People addiction checkpoint: WHY justify what God has spoken to you? Why explain to a laughing, taunting spirit rooted in pride that has already shown who he is, and sent to STOP you, what God said. Why are we trying to please a foul spirit working through people? What profit will it have? What will you gain? Right–nothing. It is time for that foolishness to stop.

As you reflect on what God was saying to you here, ask Him to reveal the areas where you are not following His exclusive leading due to being or feeling shut down by people. Ask Him to confirm His assignments in your heart and mind and give you the strength, wisdom and perseverance to do just that. And trust me–no trust God–He will do just that. Amen? Amen!

BCU Family, this brings us to the end of our podcast!  My heart was pricked and I trust the Word of God did the same for you. With His help, let’s make the necessary changes in order to be more like Him! Please come back next time as we continue our study in Nehemiah chapter 3.  Thank you for stopping by! May God continue to bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you! Until we meet again, #StayOnTheWall!





Overcoming people approval! Lessons from Nehemiah (Part 2)

Hey there BCU Family!

As usual, you have two options for this post! Listen in by clicking the icon, read through the text or both! Whatever you choose, we pray God’s word blesses you!

So we are back with another study on one of my favorite books–Nehemiah! What I love about Nehemiah was his fortitude and steadfastness in doing the work of the Lord in the face of adversity. Last time we were together, we looked at Nehemiah chapter 1 to get our background story and basics on Nehemiah. Let’s continue talking about how we can overcome people approval/disapproval starting on Nehemiah chapter 2.

v1)And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. (This was about a 4 month period from chapter 1 in the month of Chisleu and the month of Nisan).

v2Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,

v3And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

v4Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.

BOOM! This was the king—his employer and Nehemiah said he was SORE afraid (emotion). Rather than letting his emotion overtake him, he prayed—this was his time to put God’s plan given to Nehemiah 4 months prior (end of chapter 1–we find out about it later) into action.

v5And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

v6And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

v7Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;
v8And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

Nehemiah calmly asked for time off and then asked for letters to let him pass through to Judah, a letter for timber to make beams for the gates, walls and the house where he would stay. God touched the king’s heart to give him what we wanted. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, and just like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wants (Proverbs 21:1). Let’s ask God to touch people’s hearts.

v9)Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.

Nehemiah did not ask for captains of the army or horseman at all–it was extra. When we do whatever job God gives us as unto Him, and not unto men, because we serve Christ, He rewards us (Colossians 3:23). When we serve the Lord with gladness as Psalm 100 commands,  (yes, even on the job that is trying,  but that we should be thankful to have), He will bless us with extras. Ask me how I know? He has done it for me!

v10When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

While God gave Nehemiah the plan, the enemies came with it. The weapon would be formed—yet not prosper (Isaiah 54:17).  All things would work together for good, to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose— but all the individual things that are happening may not good. My cousin Tanyel once said that the ingredients that go into a cookie, raw oatmeal, eggs, flour, sugar, baking soda a stick of butter—individually are not good. I’m not about to sit down to a good bowl of flour! Yet that flour when added to other ingredients and baked, it makes up a delicious confection. Our fiery trials, temptations, rough patches and valleys are a challenge!! They try your faith!!!! But when we mix all those things up and “bake” them we’re a confection for Jesus!! We have to go through the baking process!!!!!

As we look again at verse 10, notice when these folk HEARD the news, they were grieved.
The Horonites and Ammonites were two of the people groups God had driven from the Promised Land for the Israelites. Sanballat (meaning bramble bush—enemy in secret) Tobiah, (meaning God is good) were regional governors serving under the king of Persia. Generations after Israel had first possessed the Promised Land, some of their old enemies were back, seeking to keep Jerusalem in ruins.

If you were around for our study of Ruth we talked about the Moabites—they were enemies from way back.

“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:

Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.

Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee.

Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭23:3-6‬.

Additionally, Judges 3:12-30 says, the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord strengthened King Eglon of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Here are a couple of key verses:

13In alliance with the Ammonites and the Amalekites, he went and defeated Israel; and they took possession of the city of palms.

14So the Israelites served King Eglon of Moab eighteen years.

Why bring this up, you say? Because typically, you don’t have “new enemies.” Oh sure they may come in a different disguise, but under the surface, it’s the same enemy from out in the world. And it’s usually linked to all that’s in the world—the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life.(1 John 2:16)

Back in the day did you liked the men/women? Lust of the flesh. Coveted/schemed after nice things in a lustful way? Lust of the eye. Like to show-off new things? Pride of life. Lying to save face? Pride of life. Still upset with Kee-Kee for belittling you in 1972? Pride of life. Know your old enemies and stay alert to fight them in the spirit!

These two men were “exceedingly grieved” [to cause great distress to (someone)]. Some other synonyms are: sadden, upset, distress, pain, hurt, wounded, soured, pained dissatisfied, unhappy, all because they HEARD a man came to see about the children of Israel. Not that the walls were broken down or the people were in danger. They were upset because they HEARD Nehemiah came to take care of things. What spirit is that? Pride of life. Pride says:

Why are you helping them?!
You are not good enough. Why are YOU here?

Why should ANYONE look after them?

I’m not helping them—neither should you.
I don’t want to see them prosper. I don’t want to see them better.

Whatever happened it’s good for them.
Who sent you?

Pride is what goes before destruction. Pride is what kicked the enemy and 1/3 of the angels out of heaven. The spirit of pride works through people in subtle and big ways. For example, awhile back, a mechanic asked me what type of gas I put in my car. I KNEW I was all about riding on the cheap, so I’m putting in 87. I MIGHT have put in 93 once or twice. This was a long time ago, so I don’t recall my exact answer, but it was something like sometimes 91, sometimes 87. Immediately the Lord said “pride of life”—you didn’t want to look “cheap” or bad in front of the guy. Did that make sense? Like how would that help? I cleared it up and repented afterwards, but see how fast that spirit works IF you let it? 2 Thessalonians 2:7 says the mystery of inquity does already work in who lets it. Sure, I had the power to resist the spirit, but I gave in and wasn’t trying or intending to. So imagine that spirit working through someone is willfully and a practicing sinner.

Folk will be grieved when the Lord gives YOU an idea and the mind to carry it through. Folk will be soured because you preach/teach the Word. People will be distressed because you have a talent to sing and use it to the glory of God. Someone will be pained because you are striving for perfection. Another will be dissatisfied because the Lord blessed you. It’s NOT the person—those adjectives…grieved, soured, sad, upset, dissatisfied have their roots in PRIDE. It is the spirit of PRIDE we have to pray against and guard our hearts against. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

We are SO busy snarling, growling, avoiding, talking about and looking at the person—or fighting them in the flesh, we FORGET as Holy Ghost filled believers, that we have the power of Jesus on the inside to fight that spirit in the spirit. When you fight in your flesh, you’ll get wounded in your spirit. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go to verse 11.

v11So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.

v12And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.

Nehemiah took a few men with him that he trusted, but he kept quiet about what God told Him. Some of our people addiction/fear is because we TALK TOO much to the WRONG people. Why are we telling people we know that won’t support the work we are called to do and get upset when they don’t embrace it?

In Luke 2 around verse 13, after the birth of Jesus, ANGELS came praising God saying glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men. The shepards were the ones who made it known ABROAD what was said, but Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Did God lead you to share it on social media? When you don’t get likes or shares will it bother you? When someone questions you on the inbox, you get upset—talking about, they won’t let me be great! Isn’t greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves (Matthew 18)? Does the servant tell everyone I’m making moves? Watch out because I’m going to… With God’s grace, do what you are called to do without calling everybody.

BCU Family, did The Word of God bless you? Was there a bit of conviction that came along with it, too? I know it did for me, but that is what the Word of God is designed to do, right? Along with blessing us, it corrects and reproves us as well in order for us to be more like Christ. With God’s grace, let’s take what we learned today and start taking the necessary steps (prayer, fasting, accountability partner, etc.), to stop letting people stop us from doing the work God gave us. Amen? Amen.

Lord will, join us next time as we continue to study chapter 2–the enemy is lurking and God blesses Nehemiah to deal with it beautifully, so do not miss it! Thank you SO much for stopping by, Family! May God bless, keep and, make His face to shine upon you–and until we are together again, #StayOnTheWall!







Series: Overcoming people approval with Nehemiah!

Hey there BCU Family!

As usual, you have two options for this post! Listen in by clicking the icon, read through the text or both! Whatever you choose, we pray God’s word blesses you!

So we are back with another study on one of my favorite books–Nehemiah! What I love about Nehemiah was his fortitude and steadfastness in doing the work of the Lord in the face of adversity. Before we dig in and talk about how we can overcome people approval/disapproval, we need to establish the groundwork.

Background: Jerusalem was destroyed and exiled to Babylon. After 70 years of being in captivity, the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland and began/completed rebuilding the Temple which can be read about in the book of Ezra. Nehemiah chapter 1 opens up where he inquires about what is going on back home.

v1) The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,

v2)That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

v3)And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

While the Temple was rebuilt, walls around the city were destroyed. In Biblical times, cities were surrounded by HUGE, thick walls. The walls represented strength, beauty and protection.  The children Israel  were in distress and shame as the downed walls left the city and people defenseless and vulnerable against , wild animals weather situations and more importantly any ol’enemy could come in.  Broken walls represented defeat and humiliation. Gates were needful to let allowable things in and “kick” bad things out.

So as we pause here, in a practical application sense, let us answer the question “what walls are broken down in our lives?’ No, not those unauthorized walls your flesh puts up because you “stay mad”, are hurting, upset and determined in your heart, this won’t happen anymore—I am blocking them OUT! That’s a dangerous place to be—let’s look at why.

  •  We learned over the last few weeks offenses will come (Matthew 18)—that’s a part of the believer’s—and really everyone’s lives, when you think about it. Believers are called to handle offenses differently than the world. We are to be angry and sin not: not letting the sun go down on our wrath (Ephesians 4:26), meaning we don’t hold onto the anger/hurt—we take it to the Lord and then to the person if needful, according to Matthew 18.
  • When we don’t follow God’s prescription, that primes the enemy for entry. Why? Going back to our #SpeechTherapy season 1 study, because our speech and actions start in the heart, whatever we dwell on is what will drive us, so we have to constantly inventory our minds, and evict any thought that is not of God.
  • Additionally, we talked about the lust of the eye, flesh and pride of life. We learned that desires are typically a good thing—we desire a home, car, safety—even to feel and show emotions, like happiness, grief, and anger. All VERY normal. Where the issue comes in, is when the enemy takes that desire, and turns it into a lust. Lust has a focus of pleasing oneself and can lead to fulfilling that perverted desire with NO thought to the detrimental consequences. So any ANGRY, HURT walls need to GO in the name of the Lord! Let us give those to Jesus and be healed!

About  the “walls” (figuratively, not literal) that may be broken down and need repair: what about the walls of our discernment? Wisdom? Knowledge? Understanding? Did we ask God about doing, saying, seeing, watching, ignoring, going forth, lawfulness, expediency? Proverbs 25:28 says he that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. We cannot let any ol’ person, place or thing in!!! The walls stop us from giving non-working, scheming Junebug money when God said no. The walls will stop you from letting people overstep their boundaries! The walls will stop you from being over-bothered in your spirit about that repeat offender! The walls will stop you from letting the enemy take your mind, heart and spirit over! Ask God to help you REPAIR YOUR WALL!

Getting back to Nehemiah, the condition of the walls and gates tore Nehemiah apart as we read in verse 4.

v4)And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
As we pause here, Nehemiah’s concern for the people brought him to tears. When is the last time we wept over someone in affliction and shame? Did we just shake our heads? Say “that’s what happens when..” or “I’m glad it’s not me!”For those of us who have the Holy Ghost down on the inside, we should be moved in some way over the people and some of the situations they face in this world, and moreover, we can recommend Jesus.

Next and still in verse 4, Nehemiah said he sat down and wept, mourned CERTAIN days. The emotional desire to weep, cry and mourn is fine. Notice he did not cry and mourn for months and years on end.  There comes a time when we NEED to go to the next step— fasted and prayed. Do we pray then react or react then pray? POUR OUT YOUR HEART to GOD. Psalms 62:8 says, in trust in the Lord at all times, ye people pour our your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us. Not Ba-boo, Bishop, Tink and dem—talk to the LORD about it. Proverbs 3:6 promises, if we acknowledge God in all of our ways, He will direct your paths.

In the following verses, we see how Nehemiah goes to God, rather than act out in the flesh. In verse 5, Nehemiah offers praise:
v5And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: 

He repents:
v6Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned. 

v7We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

He calls God in to remembrance of His Word, which is why we need to know it:

v8Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:

v9But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.

And makes his request:

v10)Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.
V11) O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

And as Nehemiah finishes up in verse 11, while we don’t learn the plan till the next chapter, God has laid on Nehemiah heart exactly what to do, so he prays for mercy the king to have mercy.

The function of a cupbearer was to taste (either for quality or for poison or for both), carry, and serve wine to his master. In a case like that of Nehemiah, a cupbearer for royalty was not just a personal servant but also a trusted confidant and advisor–a LOT of responsibility. Nehemiah did not let the trouble STOP him from going to work. Now in certain situations that may be called for, but NOT we cannot call out/sit down on every trial. Whatever we do, be it your regular job, homemaker, ministry of sorts, school, God expects us to continue our assignments. Too weak? That means we are relying on OUR strength rather than God’s. A good friend of mine says our strength is limited. God’s never is. We may get weary—but we can go to God and wait on Him to renew our strength, mount up with wings like an eagle that soars, they shall run and not be weary, walk and never faint (Isaiah 40). His strength is made perfect in a time of weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

WHEW!! The Lord made excellent points here, didn’t He? I pray that this study blesses and more importantly, CHALLENGES all of us to change and come up to where God wants us, Amen? Amen!

Thank you so much for tuning in, reading, sharing and encouraging us, as we encourage you! God bless you and until the next time we are together, #StayOnTheWall!