Summary: Shelly Mann was paralyzed by polio when she was five years old, but she would not give up. She eventually claimed eight different swimming records for the U.S. and won a gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia
Principles of Victory Assure Building and Blessing In Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:1-13:10)
Anybody who wants to be enriched with a victory that results in blessings and mutual edification will be gladdened by the principles from Nehemiah.
Illustration: At the age of seven, he had to go to work to help support his family. At nine, his mother died. At twenty-two, he lost his job as a store clerk. At twenty-three, he went into debt and became a partner in a small store. At twenty-six, his partner died leaving him a huge debt. By the age of thirty-five, he had been defeated twice when running for a seat in Congress. At the age of thirty-seven, he won the election. At thirty-nine, he lost his reelection bid. At forty-one, his four-year-old son died. At forty-two, he was rejected for a land officer role. At forty-five, he ran for the Senate and lost. At forty-seven, he was defeated for the nomination for Vice President. At forty-nine, he ran for Senate again and lost again. At the age of fifty-one, he was elected President of the United States. During his second term of office, he was assassinated. But his name lives on among the greats in U.S. history--Abraham Lincoln.
That tenacity embodies the mind set of Nehemiah in overcoming all kinds of obstacles, opposition and critics to achieve what God directed him to do. The following are several principles of experiencing victory that assures one of blessings in our building of our personal lives, the lives of our family and those we seek to edify:
1. The Holy Spirit can lead you as He led Nehemiah to weep, pray and fast for the needs of your people. Nehemiah prayed, "Those who survived the exile are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been burned with fire. When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some day I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven." (Neh. 1:3,4) Ask the Lord to help you to weep, pray and fast for your people allowing the Spirit to do His work first in you and in the hearts of your people before anything else happens.
2. The Holy Spirit can lead you as He led Nehemiah to fight the good fight of faith against spiritual, psychological and emotional obstacles. When Tobiah and Sanballat tried to mock Nehemiah’s efforts, he refused to give into discouragement, distress or defeat. Nehemiah saw through the slander, the attacks and the devilish attacks and stayed focused on God and His tasks. Fix your eyes on Jesus as the author and perfecter of your faith.
Application: Refuse to answer a fool in his tauntings. Stay focused on your task and go about what God has called you to do. You do not owe everyone an explanation. Sometimes it is wise to just give people delayed, deferred or disarming answers. Remember that it is blessed to walk not in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners, but your delight should be in the will of God, the word of God and the ways of God, for you will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water who brings forth its fruit in its season. Your leaves will not wither and whatever you do will prosper." (Psalms 1)
Illustration: Daily Practice
Liu Chi Kung, who placed second to Van Cliburn in the 1948 Tchaikovsky competition, was imprisoned a year later during the Cultural Revolution in China. During the entire seven years he was held, he was denied the use of a piano. Soon after his release, however, he was back on tour. Critics wrote in astonishment that his musicianship was better than ever. “How did you do this?” a critic asked. “You had no chance to practice for seven years.”
“I did practice,” Liu replied, “every day. I rehearsed every piece I have ever played, note by note, in my mind.”
Soundings, Vol. D, # 7, p. 23
Application: Learn to wait out your opposition. Realize that eventually, through the weapons of our warfare, (Eph. 6:10-18) you will gain the victory over all your foes.
Application: Recognize that greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (I John 4:4) Know that people will attack you because they feel that unless you agree with their theology you are wrong.
Application: Refuse to allow other people to judge you by their standards of their theology. Paul wrote, "I care very little by what you say and refuse to be judged by you for judgement is from the Lord." (I Cor 4)
Application: Rebuke the forces of evil in the name of Jesus and be bigger than any problem through the power of Christ, His word and the Spirit. Praise God for His promise that says, "Not by power or by might but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts. This mountain will be removed by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts." (Zech 4:6,7)