Building a better future: rebuilding your soul when life has taken its toll
How do you restart after a season of loss, and build the foundation for a better future? In this series, we look at the examples of leaders from the Bible who followed God’s calling to rebuild after a time of captivity. You’ll discover how God wants to help you to restart and build a better future. God has a plan and a purpose for you and we want to help you reach your God-sized potential.
Something To Talk About:
- Comfort means to fortify with renewed strength: God is determined to fortify you with renewed strength through the presence and power of the comforter, the Holy Spirit, in your life. He will not do it for you, He will do it with you. After surveying the walls and the gates, Nehemiah reveals his plan to the people. In verse 17, he says, “You know very well what trouble we are in…” Notice he says we. He doesn’t say you. He enters into their pain and takes it as though it’s his own. He says, “…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!” The people responded by saying “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” Nehemiah calls the people to do the work together under his direction. And that’s why it’s so important for us to have a church family and a small group that we can do life with and build a future together. Healing happens in community. The restoring of your person happens in relationships with others.
- I strengthen my hands by confessing God’s Word: Well, to strengthen your hands, what it means is they encourage themselves. How do I strengthen my hands for this good work? Well, it’s quite simple. I strengthen my hands by confessing God’s word over my life. You see, to confess means just to say the same thing that God says about you. Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the favorite verses of Northstar. ” For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Personalize that verse and pray it back to God. When you personalize and pray scripture back to God, it instills courage and strength. It strengthens your hands for the task, for whatever challenge that you’re facing.
- The walls are built out of the rubble of your past: That means all of the brokenness in our lives. Every heartache, every disappointment, and failure, every abuse or betrayal that you have experienced, God will use it all to fortify you and rebuild the city of your soul, and restore self-control and healthy emotions and healing to you. The Bible says this in Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” The Bible says he makes all things beautiful in their time. Sometimes, your greatest ministry will come out of your deepest hurts. God will restore all of that to put your person back together again.
- The gates are built out of the timbers of truth: Any builder will tell you if you’re going to build a gate like this, a city gate, those timbers must be straight and true. In the city of the soul, the gates are built out of timbers of truth. It’s the truth of the word of God because it’s the truth of God’s word that will keep out of lies. It is the truth of God’s word that will counter any doubts. It is the truth of God’s word that defeats the enemy’s schemes and temptations. It is the truth of God’s word that can keep you from poor choices and decisions. Jesus said in John 8:32, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Just as the outsiders could only enter a city through the gates, even so in the city of the soul, every thought, every doubt, every idea, every decision, and every relationship that you’re involved in must pass through the authority of scripture. Ask yourself, how does this stand up to the truth? Is this thought or this idea true? Is it aligned with His word? Is it consistent with God’s way of thinking?
- How do you look at and define the soul?
- In 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, we’re told that “…“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him…” while Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has “…plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” How do we cooperate with the Holy Spirit to move toward the good plans that God has prepared for us?
- When we are going through dark nights of the soul, what assurance and comfort do we experience knowing that the Holy Spirit is working behind the scenes to restore and fortify us?
- Describe a time when you felt especially poor in spirit—a time when you were keenly aware of your need for God. How did He meet you?
- What comes to mind when you hear the word comfort? How do we use renewed strength in our lives?
- How do we strengthen our hands by confessing God’s word? What part(s) of your life do you clearly see God’s Word impacting? What areas of your life are more difficult to see God’s Word impacting?
- Romans 8:28 tells us that God makes all things (good and bad) work together for our benefit. How does this truth change our perspective of the broken rubble in our lives and how does it give us hope for the future? What rubble and debris from the past year can be used to rebuild walls in the city of our souls or the church?
- What did you think or find interesting about today’s message? Did anything that was said in the message particularly speak to you or surprise you? What is your biggest takeaway from the message?
Take one thing home with you:
Nehemiah had a burden for his people and for the city of Jerusalem. He had a vision of what could be, but he didn’t immediately pack up and race off to Jerusalem and try to get things fixed. He didn’t start developing a strategy or plan. He didn’t communicate with the populace in an attempt to get them on board. Instead, he went to the Person who knew the problem and had the power to fix it. Nehemiah went to the Lord and prayed. Nehemiah understood that he needed God to be successful.
“When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4) He begins his prayer after days of fasting and mourning. He was pouring out his heart and soul to God. Nehemiah’s relationship with God teaches us we ought to walk and talk with God not just in the little things, but the big things too. God wants us to bring our worries, anxiety, dreams and hopes to Him. That is when God will direct us. That is when God will set us on our purpose. Prayer helps us to find strength for today and hope for our future.
Because Nehemiah realized the power of prayer, he ends his prayer by praising God and petitioning for the success of his plans if it’s in God’s will. He reminds himself and God that he is God’s servant. Our hearts should always remain humble in the truth that God is God and we are His servants.