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WHAT ARE YOU SAD FOR
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What are you sad for?

 

Nehemiah 2:2    “So the king said to me, "Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart." Then I was very much afraid.”

 

A)           BURDEN FOR SOULS

B)            FAVOR COMES WHEN YOU OBEY GOD AND STICK TO HIM AND HIS PLANS

C)            WHEN THE RIGHT TIME COMES:

D)    DISCIPLINE AND LEADERSHIP

E)            FASTING AND PRAYER

 

A)BURDEN FOR SOULS:  Today people are sad because they: are not married, did not get a promotion, did not get increment, no kids, no money, no friends, no hair, no color, sickness, have rebellious kids and lot more stuff  but here in the above scripture we read of Nehemiah who was sad because “the wall of Jerusalem was broken down and its gates were burned with fire."  The Bible says that he sat down and wept and mourned for days; and he was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4) Do we have anyone out there who has burden for the lost souls or the people who are drunk, addicted and in deep sin?

 

We as believers are kept in the midst of this dark period of COVID 19 and a lot more chaos, violence and uncertainty not to relax in the coach and enjoy life but to weep and pray for this world.  Yesterday I received a prayer request from our church member whose father had tested positive for COVID and he was worried about his baby daughter who stayed close to his grandfather, the doctors have said that she needs to be tested too, imagine the anxiety. The believers who know the power of Jesus are the only hope for this world, are you listening?  David Livingston (1813-73) was a Scottish missionary and medical doctor who went to Africa to spread the Gospel of Jesus, he became the first European to cross the African continent. While there he was attacked by a lion which crushed his arm but David Livingston did not return home to England because the city was full of lions but instead he stayed there and ministered to the poor Africans, such should be your burden for your friends, relatives and colleagues. 

 

Right from the time of lockdown this March, 2020, I have been facing challenges with my teeth and the gums area too, the area which is being used to preach the Gospel was under tremendous pain, I am talking about my mouth area.  Already I had done a root canal treatment for one tooth (very painful  treatment), treated my gums area for infection but still I was visiting the dentist regularly, during this period, I did not miss my preaching assignments, we have online service daily at 6 pm from Wednesday to Saturday and I was regularly preaching.  Now I had done another root canal treatment, which was agonizing for another tooth as well, during my visit to the doctor, I asked him, ‘can you spare two minutes for me?’ he replied’ yes’, immediately I shared my miraculous healing testimony with him and glorified Jesus.  I saw this period of pain in my life to share JESUS with a pagan doctor, his soul is more precious that my pain…..

 

B)Favor comes when you obey God and stick to Him and His plans: verse 4 “Then the king said to me, "What would you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven.”

 

Nehemiah did not hastily blabber what was in his mind, but we read that he immediately prayed to the God of heaven.  God showers us with favor when we wholeheartedly obey Him! The king gave Nehemiah letters for his safe journey and also letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the city." And the king granted them  because the good hand of God was on Nehemiah. Say Amen. Never forget that the Hands of God are not shortened, are you listening friend?

 

After we relocated our ministry and family  to a new city  Hyderabad from Chennai, one day along with my husband, we fasted for three days without food or water(Esther fasting), on the third day after the fasting, I had some soup and I was doing some work on my computer, during that time I received a message on my chat, “sister what do you want , I am stirred in my heart to bless your ministry”. I said, ‘sow whatever God tells you.” In about five minutes he transferred 49K in intervals ….online, in another two days, he sent 5  lakhs.  Our God is awesome, He would do the same for you! This is called favor!

 

I want to quote the words of Makarand Waingankar, sports column writer regarding Sachin Tendulkar, ‘when two tools – bat and ball become your slave, the world becomes your slave too. But everything comes to an end and when the legend knows, he quietly quits’

 

Listen to me friends, the above is about the fame and the glory that would come to an end, but when you become a slave to God (and not to the tools of the world), He would lift you up for the world to see! David said: Psalm 5:11’But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

 

B)            When right time comes!:  verse 5             I said to the king, "If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it."

 

Nehemiah spoke to the king at the RIGHT TIME, are you listening?  God orchestrated everything, the ‘sadness’ on the face of Nehemiah was put by God so that King Artaxerxes turns and looks at Nehemiah.  There is a purpose for your pain in your life!  My tooth pain opened up an opportunity for me to share the gospel with the dentist.  Hallelujah!

 

STICKING TO GOD’S TIME TABLE: It needs fierce self-control, patience, and intimate walk with God to abide in His time table! It can be inconvenient, frustrating and painful; still it is safe and secure to stick to His plans. Are you listening? We live in the midst of a bureaucratic society with astute skills, shrewd tactics and aggressive promotional campaign! Promotional offers fill the air! Churches and Christian ministry are not exempted – in fact, the gimmicks overflow here, God’s timing is important for everything!

 

 If a little culinary skill is spotted, people would chime in and say, ‘start a restaurant.’

 If an iota of music skill is seen, you are asked to start a music school and release your own album.

 The moment you preach a good sermon, there are scores around to say, ‘build your church.’

Check God’s time table and never be swayed by the flattering voice of people!

 

Be cautious! Be steady! Be patient! Trust and follow God! We can issue business cards, print glossy, swanky pamphlets, plan elaborate promotional campaign, smartly do a promo and push your stuff into the inbox of people through email campaign., have a tie-up with popular, flourishing people, YET; listen, listen, listen – GROWTH comes from God alone! Hallelujah! Allow your life to grow in God’s time table! It takes time to develop, flourish, germinate, shoot, spring up, sprout, and vegetate! When we try artificial stuff, the harvest will not be good! Caveat!

 

DISCIPLINE AND LEADERSHIP:  How can I not touch on discipline and leadership when I talk about Nehemiah? All missionaries and Christian ministers need to do is to meditate this book of Nehemiah several times which would give us several tips for leadership, commitment, discipline and determination, personally my life was revolutionized each time I read the book of Nehemiah which helped me run our free school and hostel for the poor. 

Someone said: Training and Discipline is what modern believers need the most but want the least! Children from the age group of two to fifteen come to our ‘Abide School’ and Abide Angel Home, some boys work as garbage cleaners in colonies early in the morning and then attend our school. One thing that has been an arduous task for me is in disciplining these kids who have been used to an easy-go life and loitering the streets the whole day; they find it tedious to be confined in one place. Even two-year-olds throw tantrums and refuse to listen; I train them in the area of obedience, discipline, cleanliness; children are also taught not to waste food nor spill them on the ground. It took me just few days to teach a little baby girl about toilet habits and cleaning her nose, now she is great with a little handkerchief stuffed inside her pocket. We have a mixed crowd of children who live with single parents, full orphans, children living with alcoholic parents and so on; hence they are unruly, noisy and rebellious, but just a month or so of training in the school prunes them to perfection. At times, I just make them sit in silence for some time which teaches them to control themselves at a tender age. "The fruit of the Spirit is self-control" (Gal.5:22,23).

 

Train yourself to:

 

Wake up early

Sleep early

Avoid unnecessary social networking that consumes your time

Not overeat

Speak less and pray more

Have patience and control anger

Fear less and trust more in Him

Read His Word and fast

 

1 Timothy 4:8 “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

 

FASTING AND PRAYER: The smooth and successful planning of Nehemiah had its root in the FASTING AND PRAYER that he did prior to everything that he planned.  Your ministry should be birthed from your prayer and fasting and not from your smartness and shrewd brain. 

. Nehemiah 1:11               The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol,

Nehemiah 2:1” Nehemiah 2: Nehemiah's Prayer Answered

1              And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,

 

Nearly four months passed, from Chisleu to Nisan, Nehemiah prayed and wept for four months and that was the foundation on which he made all the plans.  Amen

 

Oh dear, this lockdown has become an era for the foodies though, gorgeous, lip-smacking food counters are there everywhere and these are the days for a foodie! Chefs have come to lime-light exhibiting their culinary skills with exorbitant presentations. The sheer presentation is bound to knocks your socks off! Having worked for several years in a Sheraton Group of hotels in the Food & Beverage department, I have seen the kitchen sizzle with action; especially a particular dish called ‘sizzlers’ when it arrives the customer’s table with a simmering noise and smoke is a great spectacle. Be it the fast food joints, swanky cafes, Pizza corners or the pani-poori mobile cart, there are heaps of takers for whatever is offered. When I visit certain cities, I am startled to see more and more of ‘eat-outs’ crop up every day. Lovers of food have increased hugely!

 

Weekends are spent feeding the tongue with delectable varieties. Can I take a digression here? You know what, when I take you through the journey of pleasure and then point out a different path, it sure would make a deeper impact on you. While the whole world indulges in indiscriminate dining and wining, how about fasting and praying during weekends? I can hear people mutter, ‘ bala, you must be crazy!’ Yes, I am!

After my deep experience with Jesus, I had an insatiable hunger to fast and pray; along with my husband, I started fasting and praying, right from Friday. We launched out for outreach ministry to hospitals and slums, while my son was just an infant then. I trained my son to fast when he was around five and both my children and even my helper, join us in our weekly fasting now. This spiritual discipline has been a fortress of protection for our family, against the onslaught of satan and his forces. If physical strength comes through food consumption, spiritual strength comes through crucifying our desire to eat and fast instead. Are you listening?

 

Jesus said deny yourself and fast, please turn your Bible and read Matthew 17:21”However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." Today we hardly get to hear about intense fasting and prayer. Many Christian homes are filled with the spirit of gluttony and have failed to teach their children the art of fasting. Dear FRIENDS, don’t scan this message flippantly, start spiritually disciplining your children, so that they have the ammunition to overcome temptations and the plethora of evil that is offered by the devil today.

 

Three little kids of the age group of 5 to 7 belonging to poor Christian parents, who are road construction laborers, joined our ABIDE PUBLIC SCHOOL for the poor. The one good meal that they eat is what they take in our school; however, one particular Saturday the kids came to me and said, ‘ we fast as a family every Saturday, so we don’t need food on Saturdays.’ I was dumbstruck!

 

Leanord Ravenhill :“Pastors who do not fast are playing, church members who do not fast are straying.”

 

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