Christian

Friday’s Verse, 12/9/22

“So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” Nehemiah 4:6-9 NIV Read full chapter

The strategy of the enemy has not changed: he comes when God’s servants are weary, tempting and discouraging them in hopes that they will give up. Fatigue, frustration, failure, and fear are common enemies whenever believers undertake a work for God. But this is precisely when Yahweh steps in and strengthens His people.”

David Jeremiah Study Bible Notes

Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Google Images

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Christian

The Babylonian Exile: Fitting the Pieces Together

You are probably familiar with the stories of Queen Esther, Nehemiah rebuilding the wall, Daniel in the lions’ den, King Nebuchadnezzar, and other Old Testament figures. But how do these stories relate to each other?

The story of the Jews who were exiled to Babylon and then returned to Jerusalem can be confusing. At least it was to me. I had a lot of pieces to the puzzle, but I didn’t know how they fit together. So I did a little research and came up with a timeline and a summary that can help us fit the pieces together.

In order to get a better grasp of the timeline, I have renamed the years. I have called 606 BC (the date the first exiles were taken to Babylon) Year 1. You will see that 161 years will pass before the third wave of exiles returns to Jerusalem.

Babylonian Exile Timeline

606 BC (Year 1)   Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, besieges Jerusalem. Daniel and Judean nobles are exiled to Babylon.

586 BC (Year 20) Jerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians. Solomon’s Temple is destroyed.

539 BC (Year 67) Cyrus, King of Persia, conquers the Babylonian Empire

537 BC (Year 69) The 1st group of exiles returns to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel. 42,360 exiles return (plus slaves and singers) – a small remnant.

520 BC (Year 86) The Temple is completed.

486-465 BC (Years 120-141) Xerxes is King of Persia. He makes Esther the new queen.

458 BC (Year 148) The 2nd group of exiles returns to Jerusalem with Ezra. Artaxerxes is the King of Persia. Only 1,754 exiles return.

445 BC (Year 161) The 3rd group of exiles returns with Nehemiah to restore the walls. The walls were restored in 52 days.

 Summary

In 606 BC, the deportation of Judean nobles to Babylon begins. This group included Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The people of Judah were not exiled all at once but were taken captive over a period of several years. Twenty years after the first captives were taken, Jerusalem and the Temple were completely destroyed by the Babylonians.

Sixty-seven years after the first exiles were taken to Babylon, Cyrus, King of Persia conquered the Babylonian empire. Only two years after he became king, he allowed the exiles to return to Jerusalem. A small remnant of 42,360 people returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel to rebuild the Temple.

First, they rebuilt the altar. Then they began to rebuild the temple, but opposition stopped the building for about 16 years. Rebuked and encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the people finally completed the construction of the Temple.

About 79 years after the first group of exiles returned to Jerusalem, a second group returned with Ezra, the priest. Only 1,754 returned this time. The new Persian King is Artaxerxes, son of Xerxes and Vashti. Vashti was the queen before Esther.

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, the Israelites have taken foreign wives. Ezra leads the people to cry out for forgiveness and mercy. They turned from their wicked ways.

Thirteen years after the second wave of exiles returned, the third wave of exiles returned with Nehemiah. Nehemiah’s mission was to restore the walls and gates. They accomplished this in 52 days. It had been 161 years since the first group of captives was taken to Babylon!

Sources:

Jeremiah Study Bible

Old Testament books of 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, Haggai, and Zechariah

The Babylonian Captivity

GotQuestions.org

Photos from Google Images

Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Christian, women

Has God Put a Desire In Your Heart to Serve Him?

Has God put a desire in your heart? Has He made it so crystal-clear that you know for sure it came from Him?

Did things go great at first, but then problems started to arise? If things don’t go the way you expect, don’t begin to doubt what you first believed. Do not doubt yourself and your ability to accomplish the task.

Remember: God never does things the way we think He will. Just because problems arise doesn’t mean we should give up. In fact, I think it would be safe to say, problems will definitely arise!

Nehemiah spoke about “what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem.” (Nehemiah 2:12)

God put it in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild Jerusalem. Do you think he may have run into a few problems? Of course he did!

We are instructed to learn from the past. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NIV

When God puts it in our heart to do something, we can expect a spiritual battle to be right around the corner.

At first, everything happened quickly and easily for Nehemiah. The king granted all of his requests: letters to the various governors to provide safe travel and permission to take lumber from the king’s forest. The king even sent army officers and cavalry along with him on his journey to Jerusalem.

When Nehemiah asked the people to take on the great challenge to rebuild the wall, they enthusiastically agreed. They “worked with all their heart” (Nehemiah 4:6) and repaired the walls. Things were going great!

Then opposition began. The people were ridiculed mercilessly. “What are those feeble Jews doing? (Nehemiah 4:2) The enemy will always attack you personally. Who do you think you are? You can’t do that!

The enemies plotted together to stir up trouble. The strength of the laborers began to give out. What they started doing with all their heart, they began to doubt their ability to accomplish. They began to fear their enemies. (See Nehemiah 4:10-12)

Does any of this sound familiar? Because this is exactly how things work today! Be encouraged because things are right on track.

When the enemy came against them, “Each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.” Nehemiah 4:18

When spiritual forces come against us, we must take up the Sword of the Spirit as we work. What does that mean for us? The Word of God and prayer are our weapons against the enemy.

By staying in the Word, we can hear the voice of God. Through prayer, we commune with the Almighty, which is intimate communication and the sharing of thoughts.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword…” Hebrews 4:12

“Take ..the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God … and pray” Ephesians 6:17-18

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12

Is my faith being tested? Will I still believe what God has said when the enemy comes against me? Am I trying to accomplish something in my own strength? Or am I trusting Him to do it, knowing that my part is obedience?

Paul said, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” Philippians 1:6 NIV

Put your trust in God, pray and read the Word. Now carry on, Christian Soldier!

Read about Nehemiah’s determination to rebuild Jerusalem in the book of Nehemiah.

With Love, Cindy

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog

Christian

Friday’s Verse, 1/15/21

“Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 NIV

With Love,

Cindy

My Journey Unscripted

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Preslie Hirsch on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog  

Christian

5 Ways Satan Tries to Stop the Work

I was feeling discouraged, tired, and weak. But my daily Bible reading fell in the book of Nehemiah. It was just what I needed! Nehemiah is packed with encouragement and reveals the sneaky tactics of the enemy. Once I realized that my negative feelings were really an attack of Satan, they lost their power over me!

If this is happening to you, congratulations! The devil is afraid of you and he wants you to give up!

Satanic attacks are often disguised as your own feelings and thoughts. The enemy loves to attack our mind (our thinking). Those doubts, fears, frustrations, distractions, and even fatigue are the attack of the enemy.

“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV

“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV

My Bible reading today was Nehemiah, chapters 4 through 6. Nehemiah had led the exiles back to Jerusalem where they were obeying God and rebuilding the demolished walls of the city. You can read it here. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=nehemiah+4-6&version=NIV

These chapters reveal how the enemy tries to stop the work God has given us to do. Whether it is writing a blog, teaching a Bible Study, going to the mission field, pastoring a church, or building a wall, the enemy’s plan is first and foremost to STOP THE WORK.

Satan’s plan is to make you give up. How does he do this?

(Parenthesis and underlining mine.)

  1. Intimidation

“When Sanballat (the enemy) heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” Nehemiah 6:19 NIV

“Tobiah the Ammonite (also an enemy), who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!” Nehemiah 4:1-3 NIV

When you are feeling intimidated (which includes feelings of failure or lack of expertise, and you start second-guessing your calling) know this: Satan is attacking your mind because he’s angry! He wants you to give up!

2. Stirring Up Trouble

“They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.” Nehemiah 4:8 NIV

Has trouble come against your ministry in any way? Have problems cropped up you didn’t expect? It could come in many forms: extra bills, lack of resources, lack of workers, etc. Satan wants you to give up!

3. Trouble From Within

“Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their fellow Jews.  Some were saying, “We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain. Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.” Nehemiah 5:1-3

Jews who were more prosperous were taking advantage of their fellow Jews by charging them interest on loans, taking their children as slaves, and taking their property. Is there trouble within? Satan wants you to give up!

4. Lies

Sanballat sent a message to Nehemiah:

“It is reported among the nations—and Geshem says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king  and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.”

 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.” Nehemiah 6:5-8 NIV

Sometimes lies may be circulated about you. Satan wants you to give up!

5. Fear

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

Fear brings on fatigue. Enthusiasm brings on high energy. Satan wants you to give up!

THE END OF THE STORY

Even though the enemy fought hard to defeat the Jews and stop them from rebuilding the wall, he failed. Why? Nehemiah says,

“We prayed to our God.”

He told the workers, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14 NIV

The work was accomplished because they depended on God and He helped them.

“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.” Nehemiah 6:15 NIV

How to Defeat the Enemy

1. Pray

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20

2. Be sober-minded. Do not be afraid.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 ESV

3. Look to God for your strength.

” . . . the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

4. Trust God.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

5. Take every thought captive.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV

6. Recognize the attack for what it is: Satan’s lies!

“And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—” Revelation 12:9

Remember, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 KJV

 And, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 NIV

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Christian, women

Has God Put a Desire In Your Heart to Serve Him?

Has God put a desire in your heart? Has He made it so crystal-clear that you know for sure it came from Him?

Did things go great at first, but then problems started to arise? If things don’t go the way you expect, don’t begin to doubt what you first believed. Do not doubt yourself and your ability to accomplish the task.

Remember: God never does things the way we think He will. Just because problems arise doesn’t mean we should give up. In fact, I think it would be safe to say, problems will definitely arise!

Nehemiah spoke about “what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem.” (Nehemiah 2:12)

God put it in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild Jerusalem. Do you think he may have run into a few problems? Of course he did!

We are instructed to learn from the past. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NIV

When God puts it in our heart to do something, we can expect a spiritual battle to be right around the corner.

At first, everything happened quickly and easily for Nehemiah. The king granted all of his requests: letters to the various governors to provide safe travel and permission to take lumber from the king’s forest. The king even sent army officers and cavalry along with him on his journey to Jerusalem.

When Nehemiah asked the people to take on the great challenge to rebuild the wall, they enthusiastically agreed. They “worked with all their heart” (Nehemiah 4:6) and repaired the walls. Things were going great!

Then opposition began. The people were ridiculed mercilessly. “What are those feeble Jews doing? (Nehemiah 4:2) The enemy will always attack you personally. Who do you think you are? You can’t do that!

The enemies plotted together to stir up trouble. The strength of the laborers began to give out. What they started doing with all their heart, they began to doubt their ability to accomplish. They began to fear their enemies. (See Nehemiah 4:10-12)

Does any of this sound familiar? Because this is exactly how things work today! Be encouraged because things are right on track.

When the enemy came against them, “Each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.” Nehemiah 4:18

When spiritual forces come against us, we must take up the Sword of the Spirit as we work. What does that mean for us? The Word of God and prayer are our weapons against the enemy.

By staying in the Word, we can hear the voice of God. Through prayer, we commune with the Almighty, which is intimate communication and the sharing of thoughts.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword…” Hebrews 4:12

“Take ..the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God … and pray” Ephesians 6:17-18

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12

Is my faith being tested? Will I still believe what God has said when the enemy comes against me? Am I trying to accomplish something in my own strength? Or am I trusting Him to do it, knowing that my part is obedience?

Paul said, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” Philippians 1:6 NIV

Put your trust in God, pray and read the Word. Now carry on, Christian Soldier!

Read about Nehemiah’s determination to rebuild Jerusalem in the book of Nehemiah.

With Love, Cindy

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog