1-3-20 Lifelines: 2020 — A time to build

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2020 – a time to build

So here we are! It’s 2020, and so far, you might say, it’s promising. Of course, this is only the third day – what lies ahead? Do we anticipate better things? Or, does the old 2019 pessimism persist? (Remember the old Hee Haw Show? — “Agony on me.”)
Let’s see what happened to the people (Nehemiah 2:18 KJV) when the challenge to build the wall was upon them. “And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands, their own and one another's, for this good work
Sure, everyone saw the walls of their beloved city Jerusalem in disrepair. But discouragement had stopped all work toward rebuilding them. Nehemiah, however, sought God in the situation, and his vision stirred the people. In the face of all opposition (from neighboring countries and kings) Nehemiah said, “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build … (Nehemiah 2:20). (Note the importance of the word, therefore.)
First, they had to recognize the situation. Then, in faith, they saw the walls rebuilt. That motivated the people to strengthen their hands – their own and one another’s – “for this good work.”
As we enter this year, we have the opportunity to look back – to see our failures and successes – and to look forward to the tasks and joys ahead – a good work. To accomplish our goals – or resolutions, if you want to call them that – we must “strengthen our hands.” Our weakness will turn to strength and our doubt will be resolved in faith.

At the start of this New Year, promises may come easy as we say, “If I know my heart ...” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to start with a new slate with the assurance that it would stay that way?

The trouble is that a person doesn’t’ know his heart. Good intentions and plans made so diligently and sincerely just don’t hold up when “push comes to shove,” and those high objectives collapse in the face of testing.

Does that not bring us to the rightful conclusion that only God knows men’s hearts? And no matter how hard we try, those glorious resolutions cannot be kept through our own volition. A person just can’t cleanse his heart of sin and ungodly motives. So in spite of good intentions and noble resolutions, nothing changes.
It doesn’t have to be. Embrace the faith God has given. Strengthen your hands for the days ahead. It’s not time to give up – it’s time to “rise up and build.”

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