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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…







                                                        Merilee Ottoson

We were excited and we were ready. Seeds…shovels…and watering can. Our three young grandsons and I walked to a garden spot I had prepared ahead of time. They each planted their own sunflower seed and watered it. I assured them that I would watch for the sprouts and send them a picture of the progress. However…there was NO progress. A few days later, I thought I saw a small sprout…yay!! But no…the next day it mysteriously disappeared! Two weeks later ALL six grandchildren planted sunflower seeds. Much to do---more water, fencing and their names on tags fixed in the ground! Woo-hoo! I watered, watched and waited. NO PROGRESS!!

Luke 8:5-15 is the account of the Parable of the Sower as told by Jesus. It tells us what will happen as we plant the seeds of the Gospel. Witnessing to unbelievers, sharing Christ’s love and financial giving does NOT guarantee a desired outcome. Jesus’ explanation was that “birds of the air “might snatch the seed, or it may wither away in “rocky soil”. When our best efforts don’t seem to work out…when our heartfelt attempts to witness for Christ seem futile…when our words of testimony seem to fall on deaf ears…..we feel discouraged and defeated. However, nowhere in that passage did Jesus say that the “sower” gave up and went home. Luke 8:8 is our encouragement! “Other seed fell into good soil and grew up and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” We must keep planting! The outcome does not depend on us. The harvest does not depend on us. The sowing depends on us!!!!

The sunflower seeds my grandchildren planted were snatched away by hungry birds and the sprouts eaten by naughty rabbits. But, we have a better plan for next time. …because even the children understand that there is NO harvest unless we plant the seeds!

“And do not let us lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap…if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9