Planning the Impossible with God - Nehemiah 2 & 3 - Episode 55

Planning the Impossible with God - Nehemiah 2 & 3 - Episode 55
Season 4 Sweet Selah Moments Podcas...

 
 
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Nehemiah prayed a bold, audacious and impossible prayer. He waited for months. Then God answered a huge, improbable YES. It's a stunning story. Join Sharon and Nicole as they unpack it and talk about asking for the impossible. This was a fun one! Enjoy, friends.

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Read the transcript for Planning the Impossible with God-Nehemiah 2-3

Intro (00:02):

Are you ready to embrace a little stillness, some rest for your soul today. Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments podcast, where we stop and study God’s words and encourage one another to know Him better and love Him more. Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.

Nicole (00:29):

Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. We are studying the book of Nehemiah together this fall and today’s episode has a most intriguing title. This is Episode 55 planning the impossible with God. Well, Sharon, what’s this all about? Planning I understand, but the impossible? Tell us more.

Sharon (00:47):

Nicole. I love the audacity of Nehemiah. He combined spunk and spontaneity and big, huge dreams with careful planning. You don’t usually see that in one person, You know? They’re either big on dreaming up schemes that then don’t come to fruition because of poor planning, or they plan themselves to death in safe little boxes. You know, It’s one or the other! (Nicole: Oh yeah!) It’s either a visionary or a planner. Nehemiah kind of did it all. I want to dig right into the passage today, but first, can you summarize the story so far for us?

Nicole (01:25):

So the first chapter of Nehemiah opens up to find Nehemiah in the king’s service as his cup bearer. His brother returned from Judah to give him the report of the state of Jerusalem. Two groups of Jews have already returned to their Homeland and the report was not good. The wall had been torn down and the gates have been destroyed by fire. When Nehemiah heard this, he mourned and fasted and prayed to God for days. So we’re going to pick up the story in chapter two now. Sharon, is divides so tidily into two sections. I’ll start with section one, which is verses 1 through 10, and then you can pick it up at the other section. (Sharon: All righty)Okay. So we’re going to start with verse two. Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem. In the following spring in the month of Nisan during the 20th year of king Artaxerxes reign, I was serving the king, his wine.

Nicole (02:13):

I had never, before appeared, sad in his presence. So the king asked me, why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled. Then I was terrified, but I replied long live the king. How can I not be sad. For the city where my ancestors are buried in is in ruins. And the gates have been destroyed by fire. The king asked, well, how can I help you? With a prayer to the God of Heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the wall where my ancestors are buried.” The king with the queen sitting beside him asked, how long will you be gone? When will you return? After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request. I also said to the king, if it pleases the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah.

Nicole (03:11):

And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph the manager of the King’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the temple fortress for the city walls and for a house for myself. And the king granted these requests because the gracious hand of God was on me. When I came to the Governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, I delivered the King’s letters to them. The king I should add had sent along army officers and horsemen to protect me. But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, heard of my arrival, they were very displeased that someone had come to help the people of Israel.

Sharon (03:54):

Do you see what I mean by impossible planning? It’s stunning. (Nicole: Yeah). As Nehemiah prayed and wept over those broken down walls of Jerusalem long before he approached the king, he must have started developing this plan because when he spoke to the king, the plan was in place.(Nicole: he was ready) Unbelievable. All right. So I’m just going to list them, Nicole, because (Nicole: there’s so many!) It’s wild. I can’t imagine anybody going up to their employer. Especially, oh, the high sovereign king of everything, you know, and doing this! Number one, the first impossible thing is actually the request itself. Pardon me? Could I just quit my job for, oh, I don’t know, a year or more and go rebuild a broken down wall in my conquered city. Instead of serving you?

Nicole (04:44):

That alone was a big ask for Nehemiah, as we talked about in the last podcast, he could have been in prison or put to death for that request.

Sharon (04:50):

Yes. So that’s impossible to begin with. Yeah. Hi. I’d like to quit my job for a year. You don’t mind do you? Number two, I was pretty much stunned that when the king asked how long it would take Nehemiah had an estimate ready for him. I mean, this is a planner. Oh yeah. I would have been like thinking in my head quickly. I don’t know how long would it take? You know, trying to add it up like an estimate. It should take about this long a time. Third. He asks for letters to the governors along the way, proving he has permission to go. Now there’s mindful thinking. And then, oh, the king just adds in army officers to go with him! “let me add some army officers.” So wild, no wonder it makes the Bible. These things don’t happen every day. (Nicole: Right). You know? (Nicole: Oh yeah.) Oh, goodness. Fourth. He asks for materials. Seriously.

Sharon (05:40):

He asks the king to requisition lumber from the forest. Not only for the walls, but for the gates and oh, let’s add a house for himself: … “and I need somewhere to live, so I need lumber for that too.” He’s going to be gone long enough that he’s going to build himself a house. (Nicole: Oh my goodness.) This is so stunning. And last, we look at the impossible answer in verse eight at the very end, “And the king granted these requests because the gracious hand of God was on me.”

Nicole (06:13):

I love that part. (Sharon: Me too) It just, it’s like Whoa! Cause you see, I don’t know. It’s so cool for Nehemiah to have the courage, to ask for so much. First to leave and then for all the materials and be asked, you know, to be gone for the length of time, he did long enough to build a house (laughing) and for the king to respond so generously, it could have only have come from God, you know, softening the King’s heart toward Nehemiah. If Nehemiah was working in his own strength, he may not have been even able to explain why he was sad, you know, without losing his life. His request was so audacious because he knew the power of the God he served,

Sharon (06:44):

He absolutely did. And he gave God the glory. (Nicole:Yes.) He said, because the Lord’s gracious hand was on me. So there was no, well, I prayed about this for months (Nicole: planned it well) right. It’s all about me. He’s like, oh no, no, no, no. This was only God’s grace, which is undeserved favor. And I mean, that’s really what the king gave Nehemiah as well – was undeserved favor. He’s just the cup bearer here. And now he’s got like a little army going with him to help build the wall with materials as permission slips, you know, just so you know, sometimes we have not because we ask not. James says that it just seems too big to ask for. And yet Nehemiah did. He’s like, Lord, those walls are still broken down. All the exiles have returned. It’s still a mess. Help me do something about this. And not only just do something about it, Nehemiah was willing to go himself,

Nicole (07:41):

Present the problem. He, he wanted to be part of the solution.

Sharon (07:43):

I love this guy. So amazing. You know, starting a ministry like we started Sweet Selah Ministries in 2017 is a little bit like that in terms of audacity, because it just started with me doing exercise with Lois and talking about, you know, I, you know, I’m finishing my Moms In Prayer season. I don’t know what to do next. And Lois just casually says, well, I think you should start a ministry and I have the name. I’m like you do? Do you like Sweet Selah Ministries? I’m like, I love that name. And we started talking about it. And from there has grown this ministry and a podcast and books and you know, way more stuff, all because of God’s gracious hand being upon us as well, you know, doesn’t happen without him. We pray and we’re wise and try to plan. But really the results are only if God chooses to say yes, (Nicole: right.) It’s just the way it is. So.

Nicole (08:40):

I think as a young believer, I just assumed I would ask God and let him work things out. You know? But as Nehemiah had to, he did some planning. He was praying and he stepped out in faith and actually asked the king for the things God had placed in his heart. So we too, have to do our part, you know, as a mom of four little girls, if I want to be able to do anything outside of survive and keep them alive,

Nicole (09:05):

It takes a lot of planning and organizing. So I don’t drown, you know, but with that comes presenting all the things to God and he helps me see what are the important things that I need to do and what I can push off my plate? You know, (Sharon: I agree.) We have our part and God does His.

Sharon (09:21):

Planning is good. As long as we always keep it under his authority to change any plan we make, anytime he wants for any purpose he has. Right? Yeah. ( Nicole: Yeah. I agree. I agree.) And same here with the ministry, the podcast itself has so many steps to it and we have to plan them out in the right order for them to choose the topic. We get a photo to go with the episode, we sketch out the script, we tape, we edit, get the transcripts done. Yeah. I mean, we actually have a process (Nicole: Flow chart:) That we check off! So but it’s still, God’s gracious hand that enables us to speak and enables people to hear the parts of this podcast that are for them, from Him to them. And without that, it’s just words, you know, we need His Gracious Hand. So, all right, well, I’m going to now read the next 10 verses and we’re going to admire more planning by Nehemiah as we’ve been inspired to be planners ourselves. Nehemiah inspects Jerusalem’s wall, starting at verse 11.

Sharon (10:21):

So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later, I slipped out during the night taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us, except the donkey I was riding. After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackals Well, and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates. Then I went to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but my donkey couldn’t get through the rubble. So though it was still dark. I went up to the Kidron Valley instead inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate. The city officials did not know I had been out there or what I was doing for, I had not yet said anything to anyone about my plans.

Sharon (11:06):

I had not yet spoken to the Jewish leaders, the priests, the Nobles, the officials, or anyone else in the administration. But now I said to them, you know, very well, what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins. And its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace. Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once. Yes, let’s rebuild the wall. Talk about the gracious hand of God.

Nicole (11:36):

I know He moved again!

Sharon (11:38):

So they began the good work. But when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab, heard of our plan, they scoffed contemptuously, what are you doing? Are you rebelling against the king? they asked. I replied, the God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall, but you have no share, legal right, or historical claim in Jerusalem. Hmm. Well then so, okay, Nicole, where do you see planning and organizing in this section?

Nicole (12:09):

Yeah, he’s very good at planning. So I liked that Nehemiah went out and gathered information on his own, you know, with his own eyes, he saw the state of Jerusalem and the wall. So he could relay that information to the officials in the land. And so they can start to plan on how to rebuild. You know, he gathered the facts, gathered the information. He didn’t come in bursting and telling everyone his plan. He was still very focused and going about what he needed to do.

Sharon (12:31):

He was, he was very thoughtful, Go out first and look (Nicole: to not overwhelm them) You know I am just so spontaneous that I say things too fast.

Nicole (12:38):

Oh same with me, I get excited.

Sharon (12:38):

He wanted to have all the details.

Nicole (12:41):

Right. He could have showed up, and like, God gave me this plan. I’ve got all this wood, but he didn’t, he was very thoughtful and slow. And then that was so good. He did that. But I also liked that he encouraged them by relating the story of this conversation with a king and how God’s gracious Hand was on him.

Sharon (12:57):

Love that part.

Nicole (12:58):

Like the start of all of this was God. So it kind of showed them like I’m here to help and build and kind of, you know, take over this project. But also God has, has blessed this. Like, this is all God.

Sharon (13:09):

Right. The power of testimony. (Nicole: Yeah!). I didn’t just come swaggering in.

Nicole (13:13):

Yeah. Right. Well, I think I can do this better. Like God is blessing this and I’m going to play it out.

Sharon (13:17):

You all cannot believe this. I prayed for six months or five months and the king did this and that brought weight to it, which is why I think they all said, all right, let’s do it

Nicole (13:26):

Right. He’s the man with the plan. And he had the authority of God behind him to start this. So they had confidence and trust him.

Sharon (13:32):

Yup. I love it. (Nicole: Very smart guy.) This is why, even though he lived a very, very long time ago, we can learn so much from him, including thinking before we speak. Yes. I also love at the end of the chapter, how he deals with scoffing and criticism. Nicole, I have very thin skin. I have to work on not letting it get to me when I’m criticized. .

Nicole (13:56):

Oh, I’m just the same. I was an extremely sensitive child and let every mean remarked, just rip at my heart. I have had to give so many hurts to God and try to assume the best of people where it really crushes my spirit.

Sharon (14:08):

Me too. Me too. We need to learn from Nehemiah here too. He just calmly kind of ignored. He didn’t even try to defend well, the king so did give me permission. Doesn’t even say that (Nicole: oh you’re right, he didn’t even argue with them. He just said, Go ahead!) The God of Heaven is going to help us succeed. And actually this is not your business. And that was that. That’s a very wise response. I usually have lengthy, you know, sort of five page dissertations on why I’m right. And nobody’s listening past the first two minutes. (Nicole: It’s that oldest child in us. And let me tell you!!) Oh my goodness. Okay. Well, chapter three in this book continues the organizing and it’s amazing. So Nicole and I are not going to read the whole chapter to you. It’s so detailed and fun though. You all should read it. Cause he names like every single person that worked on the wall, it’s so much fun, but we each are going to select verses that, stand out to us and share them with you.

Sharon (15:00):

So I’m going to start with the first two verses in chapter three, because that’ll give you the idea of, of how he’s going about chapter three. So here’s how he starts. Then Eliashib the high priest and the other priest started to rebuild at the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set up its doors, building the wall, as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and the Tower of Hananel. People from the town of Jericho worked next to them. And beyond them was Zaccur, son of Imri. This is how he does it. Every single section he’s like, and this person was here and this person was here. But I chose it not only just to sort of introduce chapter three, which is a list of names. I love how he started with the priests. And I especially loved that Eliashib, the high priest, was part of the building.

Sharon (15:47):

So Nehemiah didn’t like just, you know, take laborers and make them work. (Nicole: Right). He said, we are going to do it. And this is a good leader. Who’s getting in there, rolling up their sleeves and working with everybody else, no hierarchy everyone’s pitching in. And. I also love how the priests dedicated their section. So at the very beginning you hear the priest is working, he’s modeling it and he’s dedicating these walls to the Lord as he goes along. So I love that nearby Town that came in to help, go Jericho! And yay Zacccur, son of Imri, I don’t know who you are Zacccur, but he wasn’t just a blob. You know? I mean, you hear about the pyramids, you know, tens of thousands of slaves built them, but you don’t get their names.(Nicole: Right.) We have Zaccur’s name. Oh yeah. Good. old Zaccur said: “I will build the wall there”. Yeah, there we go. All right. You’re turn.

Nicole (16:41):

It’s funny because you know, sometimes a long list, the names that, you know, in the sections of the Bible, those are the ones we just skim or skip entirely. Sometimes. The reading through all these names and their jobs, it was really neat that they were recorded, that their names are showing their involvement in the project. You know, it’s like you said about the pyramids, the slaves were just made to do it. There was no investment. There was no like part of a group. They just had to, and they did, and it was done. (Sharon: But they did it.) Exactly. But this reminds me of when they were redoing the sanctuary at our church, they had people come and write their name and a verse on the floor before it was carpeted.

Sharon (17:13):

I loved that so much because we built a sanctuary, our church built it.

Nicole (17:18):

Yes! It was a together thing. And then we have a plaque on the wall as wel.l It’s a giant picture of, of a puzzle. And every little puzzle piece people have signed their family name. And it just shows that like, somebody that picture will be there and Sharon Gamble. And Nicole said, we’re part of the bigger picture, the bigger group, working for God. (Sharon: It’s such a visual. I love it.) And I love that this section lists everyone.

Sharon (17:37):

And where they are because, you know, Nehemiah, it’s this part of the wall. It’s that part of the wall. (Nicole: Yes! It’s just pretty cool.) Yeah, it is. Yeah.

Nicole (17:45):

So, besides that, that I’m going to choose five, verse five, where it says next were the people from Tekoa though. Their leaders refused to work with the construction supervisor. (Sharon: Oh man.) So I admire the people in this verse for continuing to do what was right. Despite their leaders refusing to work well with the others.

Sharon (18:02):

Isn’t that something? They get kind of double credit. They could have said, well, our leaders aren’t doing it. Why should we,

Nicole (18:08):

Right! They didn’t let the lack of leadership stop them from serving God or be an excuse. They just did what they were supposed to do. So that was kind of cool. And I admire them.

Sharon (18:17):

And I love how Nehemiah mentioned it. (Nicole: I know!) Now he was nice, he didn’t mention the leader’s names.

Nicole (18:22):

But he mentioned the whole details of the picture. So we see that it wasn’t just this happy-go-lucky, everyone did their part and listened. There were still struggles in it. And people continued through the struggle.

Sharon (18:31):

That’s right, and unlike the slaves that built the pyramids, people could not do it if they didn’t want to. Because those leaders didn’t. (Nicole: Right) So there you go. I like that verse, good choice! Here’s mine! Verse eight. Next was Uzziel son of Harhaiah, a goldsmith by trade, who also worked on the wall. Beyond him was Hananiah, a manufacturer of perfumes. They left out a section of Jerusalem as they built the Broad Wall. Nehemiah. Did you have to say that? Come on. Wouldn’t you love, you know, Sharon and Nicole, they did a good job sort of, but they left out a part of Jerusalem. (Nicole: That is funny.) It’s so hysterical. But he does mention their professions. You know if you’re a perfumer and a goldsmith. Perhaps you’re not the best at geography.

Nicole (19:22):

That is true, maybe he is giving them grace by mentioning their trade. Like, well, he’s a perfumer so, you know, not a builder. (laughs). But they worked! They did something.

Sharon (19:27):

They did something. But part of Jerusalem was not walled. Sorry. I love his bluntness. He’s hysterical.

Nicole (19:35):

Yeah. He just recorded the facts as they were in your turn. All right. My next verse was verse 12. Shallum son of Hallohesh and his daughters repaired the next section. He was the leader of the other half of the district of Jerusalem. I just think it’s neat. How Shallum’s daughters were recorded as having helped here. I love how God makes sure that even those who are not always considered important, were still recording and remembered in this huge project. The daughters, you know?

Sharon (20:06):

Yes. Yeah. I love it. And of course I knew you’d choose that. I left it for you. I’m like, oh no, she’s got daughters. She’s going to go like, yeah. (Nicole: Yeah! I loved that.) And he’s another leader working, another leader working and his girls are right along beside him.

Nicole (20:22):

He was modeling that leadership and there they were! (Sharon: both daughters). I know he was very proud of them.

Sharon (20:26):

Yeah. So, okay. My last verse is verse 20. Next to him was Baruch son of Zabbai, who zealously repaired an additional section from the angle to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. Well, how nice of Baruch to do an additional section. (Nicole: I know he’s like, well, let me do more) Nicole,I am so not great at zealousness, but I have to say, once I start a project, I can become zealous. And I feel like that’s what happened to Baruch. You know, if I have to clean, I would rather write a blog or another poem. But once I start cleaning, I notice other things that need cleaning and I can become quite zealous about it. It’s just that starting thing.

Nicole (21:12):

It’s so true. I think half the battle is just getting going on the task. Once you’re going. It’s like you get momentum. Well, evidently good old Baruch, extra coffee or something. All right. My last verse choice is going to be verse 28 Above the Horse Gate, the priests repaired the walls. Each one repaired the section immediately across from his own house. I just think this seems like a pretty smart plan, you know, to have each person or at least the priests here repaired the section in front of their own house. I think it would ensure that the project was well done since you’d want the wall right in front of your own home to be pretty sturdy. And well-built, you know?

Sharon (21:49):

I mean, they’re just smart. It’s just another clever planning. Yeah. let’s have you build as close, I mean the people from Jericho obviously couldn’t, but where there were houses, it sounds like Nehemiah assigned the people in those houses that were right next to the wall right there, right there on it. Yeah. Yeah. I know

Nicole (22:06):

The detail again, he just thought of so many details. He was a very good organizer and planner.

Sharon (22:11):

Yeah, he sure was. Well, if you go and read chapter three, listener, each verse is just like the ones we read out loud, a real person or family did the real work of building a real wall, everyone together, different professions and ages and stages. I love that Nehemiah assigned everyone’s spot, some by their homes even. And that he cared enough to list them. Okay. Nicole, how do we apply this, this planning, this naming, this organizing to our own lives. You go first and then I’ll add because scripture is great as history, but I also always want to say, but what, what can I, how can I live better because of it?

Nicole (22:52):

Yeah so for in our home, with so many different kiddos and people it’s easy to kind of get lost in the shuffle. You know, I have a list hung out that tells the girls what their place is and what their job is in our home. They feel valued and feel like they belong. It’s important for them to feel that, and also helps keep me organized. I would forget who I told what, where and when to do, you know, so we have habits and patterns too, in place that we try to stick with. I have certain days we eat certain foods like, you know, Taco Tuesday.

Sharon (23:20):

I love tacos so much. I want to come to your house on Tuesdays.

Nicole (23:24):

I know it’s so fun! Well, it takes a mundane task that I really dislike: meal planning. I know two days out of the week, I don’t have to stress because Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday. So I don’t know. There’s so much value in naming and having a system cause everyone knows their place. And if we get off track and forget where we’re at, we can always go back to the chart, the planners, a system, the whatever, our habits and see what we need to do.

Sharon (23:44):

And you know what? Your girls are going to remember those rhythms. Because I remember a long time ago I spoke for a MOPS group and I asked Kath and Mary, what were the things they remembered most? And it was the things we repeated, (Nicole: oh neat!) things that we did over and over.

Nicole (24:01):

Oh, that’s good. It’s like they wonder, like, I don’t, I have to do this? And I’m like we’ve been doing this every day for four years!

Sharon (24:08):

Should not be shocking!! When does it kick in? But yeah, yeah, they did. And like every, Easter, we always make the hot cross buns, one of their favorite memories, but it was a rhythm. Yes. That’s what we did at Easter. We did it, you know, and Tuesdays for, you know, there’ll be 90, and they’ll go, oh, that used to be Taco Tuesday and I have no teeth or whatever. So it’s just so fun. I love that. This system is good. Rhythm is good. People need that. And children need that. They need the security of a pattern. Yes. Yeah. But so do I, I have rhythms to my days too. (Nicole: Tell me about them.) So my prayer life, because I get to have an extended prayer life without having four children and two puppies. My prayer life is very systematic as you know. I pray for one grandchild every day, but I pray in great detail for them or a child or a parent.

Sharon (24:57):

And, so I love my prayer schedule. I love how, you know, I pray for persecute Christians here. I pray for church here. I pray for people that don’t know Christ on different days. It’s systematic so that I hit all the things I want to hit. I love it. I just love it. So that’s a way that I have a system and a plan. And then I have people rhythms. Cause I have so many people I love. And a long time ago when the girls were little, I realized that even though at that time we lived like an hour away from my parents and Ray’s parents. And you know, normally we didn’t live anywhere near them. We were in Germany or New York, but we were in Massachusetts at the time. I wasn’t seeing them, because I was homeschooling. And then they had Girl Scouts at the time and they had all these little things they were doing and weekends, we were busy and I thought, this is ridiculous.

Sharon (25:47):

We’re here for two years, close to family and we’re not seeing them. And so I established Wednesdays as the day and we just homeschooled around those Wednesdays so we could go and see them on Wednesdays. And we visited. Luckily they lived one town over from each other. So we visited my parents and then we visited Ray’s parents and then came home. Yeah. So that was a way to prioritize my people. And it’s never changed. I still visit my parents on Wednesday (Nicole: Oh do you? Oh I love that!) It’s been Wednesday since the kids were tiny. Yeah. That’s their day. Because if I don’t schedule my parents, they get short shift.

Nicole (26:22):

I was just going to say, it’s so easy for those such important things to get put to the side, because just busy-ness pushes out the good stuff sometimes.

Sharon (26:29):

Yes. It pushes out the things that you actually would say were more important,

Nicole (26:33):

But we don’t put the, if we don’t put it in your calendar and you worked around it, you homeschooled around it, you planned around it.

Sharon (26:38):

Yup, because I decided it was a priority. (Nicole: Exactly, it’s so important.) Yeah. And then I have walking partners, a different walking partner every day because I love my friends and I don’t have a ton of time to hang out with friends, but you know, you know, on Mondays I walk with Debbie and on Tuesdays I talk with Denise, Wednesdays I walk with Stephanie, you know, so at least I get little snippets of time with my friends and then not to neglect Ray. I have Friday night date night, every Friday. (Nicole: That’s perfect.) So, you know, I just found that for, for my temperament. I need to plan. And of course I plan rest as well. I have my Selah day. I have my times where I just stop. So, all right, well, Nicole, we kind of have two big ideas in this podcast.

Sharon (27:23):

Planning was one of the ideas which Nehemiah did really well at and people was one, but the other is also huge. And that’s the gracious hand of God who often, when we ask, enables us to do impossible things. I feel like this podcast wasn’t a possible thing that by his gracious hand came into being. The building of our team was. When we ask and seek him, he often does amazing things and provides in stunning ways. I’ve shared before how God provided for our financial needs. When Ray retired from the army and taught at a Christian school. We asked for impossible things, you know, help us live on $40,000 less a year. And we did! So stunning. So have you got a last impossible story of God’s gracious hand to finish out our podcast today?

Nicole (28:08):

Oh, I feel like I felt his hand on every one of our, our girls’ births. We really didn’t think we could have kids in the beginning of our marriage because of my various health issues. And two of my pregnancies were really scary, but so I feel, I felt God’s grace and blessing on each one. I see my, my girls, my four beautiful, healthy girls. And I’m so blessed by them and I see God’s hand in them (Sharon: And that impossible thing) and that impossible thing that I almost didn’t dare to hope for. And then Four! (giggling)

Sharon (28:37):

Oh, that’s neat. Well, let’s close out with a thankful prayer. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for the lessons here about naming people, making them matter. The lessons about planning, the lessons about at least to ask you for improbable, impossible things. Lord help us to take to heart the part of this podcast that is just for us today in Jesus name. Amen.

Nicole (29:08):

Amen.

Nicole (29:08):

Well, friends, we’d like to close today by asking you your name. Do you listen regularly to our podcasts? What do you do while you listen? We have one podcast friend who sits and spins wool while she listens each week. How sweet is that? Please drop us a comment at our website, Sweetselah.org/podcast. And tell us your name. We’d love to get to know you and your story. If you want to become a podcast partner and establish an even closer connection, go to sweetselah.org/Donations and set up a monthly account. Give as little as a dollar a month and put podcast partner on the comments line. We will share monthly news with you so you can get to know us better. In any case, may the gracious hand of God be with you as you seek him in your planning and living out the life he has for you. We’ll see you next week for Episode 56: Opposition and How To Handle It.

Outro (30:00):

We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. This Sweet Selah Moments podcast is a co-operative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be found at sweetselah.org. Thank you for joining us.

 

You can download and print the transcript here.

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