For the past 5 weeks, I've been studying Nehemiah along with a few thousand other women via the Living Proof Ministries blog. We've been going through Kelly Minter's study, "Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break." And can I just say, God has been kicking my butt through this study.
In a good way.
Here's a few of the things God has been doing or saying since I started the study:
1 - Along with the sermon at church the first week of the study, God made it clear that a heritage of faith is a vital component for my life. The night I studied this, I started thinking about calling my grandparents to thank them for their unending devotion to Christ and their encouragement in my own faith over the years. Before calling, though, I was doing genealogy research and found a letter from an ancestor who lived in the 1700s talking about the importance of trusting God and His Word. I shared it with my pastor, who then shared an excerpt with the whole church. The letter was that awesome.
2 - Near the end of the first week, God seriously convicted me that I have a huge problem with unbelief, or lack of faith. You see, when things start going wrong, my first inclination is not to turn to Him and see what He wants me to do. My first move is almost always to fret and worry and try to figure out (in my own power) how to fix it. Then I vent and freak out a bit. And then I talk with my husband or my mom. And then, maybe, once I've screwed up, I turn to God.
I have it totally backwards, folks. God says, "Come to me with your worries and concerns, and I'll take care of you." "Look to me first, before you do anything else, because I alone know the future and can direct you in the right path."
One of the huge concerns for my husband and me this summer has been our job situation. After months of prayer and consideration, my husband decided to quit his job teaching junior high school. The morning that God was convicting me of my failure to trust Him with these things, my husband had an interview. And the exact moment I was asking for forgiveness and asking God to give me faith and teach me to trust Him, my beloved was being told, "Go home and think about it for a day, but if you want the job, it's yours." And when I say the exact moment, I mean pretty much the exact moment. How awesome a God do we serve??!!
3. My heart needs to break. While I like to think of myself as a compassionate person, studying Nehemiah has really brought home the fact that I am primarily selfish and hard-hearted. My prayer right now is for God to break my heart with the things that break His heart.
This is only a small taste of what God has been showing me through this study. While I had read Nehemiah a few times before, I have never fully studied it like this - oh, what I've been missing!! I absolutely love the fact that God's Word is always fresh and "useful for instruction," as Paul said.
God declared that His Word is living and active. How precious is His Word. I encourage you, dear friends, to spend as much time as you can studying it. You're not just reading a book; you're hearing from and about the living God, the I AM, who wants to tell you this: He loves you!