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Repairer of Broken Down Walls                                       Merilee Ottoson    

Upon hearing that the walls of the city of Jerusalem lay in ruins, Nehemiah, a servant of the King, traveled “home” to become a “rebuilder”. In this Old Testament book which bears his name, the situation that Nehemiah encountered was disheartening! (Nehemiah chapters 1-4) He is told that his Jewish brethren are in distress, the wall is broken down and the gates of the city were burned! Receiving permission from the King to travel to Jerusalem, Nehemiah is thwarted by provincial governors along the way. These men conspired to travel to the site and destroy the work of the Jewish people as they rebuilt the walls. In fact, Nehemiah 4:17, describes the rebuilders as doing their work with one hand and carrying a weapon with the other!

There are times when we may experience the same discouragement that Nehemiah felt. We want to follow God and the path He has set for us. However, at times we feel as though we “move two steps forward and three steps back!!”

I pray the following statements will help us fight discouragement in our service for God.

1. Acknowledge the problem and realize who the enemy is! We often feel as though we are fighting people, when in reality, it is satan who has moved in and is prowling as the unseen enemy.   “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood…..but against the spiritual forces of wickedness….”Ephesians 6:12

2. Overcome attacks by taking wise defense measures—set your “defense” in place! In everyday situations… living out our daily lives, sharing the Gospel or working to reconcile relationships/situations, we can prepare ourselves. Wearing the armor that God has provided us in Ephesians 6:10-18 is the best way to move forward. Any trained warrior will prepare himself with gear and weapons BEFORE going into battle so that he can be successful.

3. Face false accusations with insight and courage. Satan is the father of lies and would love to disrupt or destroy your plan of ministry. “…he is a liar and the father of lies…”John 8:44 “Greater is He who is in you…”I John 4:4

Father, give us the strength and discernment to repair broken down walls in our lives and in the lives of those we love…





Dress  Rehearsal
                                     Merilee Ottoson

I had the opportunity to participate in several on stage dramas and plays throughout high school and college. Usually the day before the FIRST performance was dress rehearsal. It was important to remember every line of every scene and every song. The hours, days and weeks of practice were crucial. We worked hard so that we would be ready for this. Tomorrow would be the real thing!

 I have come to believe during the last few months, that the place we have come to, as a nation, is NO LONGER a dress rehearsal. Rather, this IS the REAL THING. No matter how the world views God, His plan or Biblical prophecy, the path we are now on is moving us quickly toward what we refer to as the “end times”. Our opinions and ideas about how all of this will “turn out” are just that…opinions and ideas. God’s plan will unfold in His time. Our goal is to live out all the things we have talked about and studied as followers of Jesus. Here are some thoughts to help us be victorious.

1) Do not let fear overcome you.      “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”.(Isaiah 41:10)

2) Pray!    If prayer has been an afterthought for you … only useful once in a while….change your mindset!! Our outpouring of requests for guidance and strength is unbelievably important. It is our lifeline. He IS listening and able.

3) Lighten your load.    In other words, be done with lesser things. As much as possible, put aside the things that are time wasters…place value and spend time on relationships and activities that bear fruit.

4) What’s in your mouth? Our testimony and witness for Christ is as important as it has ever been! “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord...” (Psalms 19:14)

Dress rehearsal no more………