They went back to their own people and they reported everything and then they raised their voices in prayer.
I mean, it's just a beautiful statement, the Bible, when they heard it, they lifted up their voices. They just gathered together and they began to pray together. And this complete and courageous prayer came from the heart of these gathered people. And it's amazing what the content of their prayer was. Just watch this just for a second. You see, complete and courageous prayer, first of all, acknowledges the sovereignty of God.
It's exactly what happened. They lifted their voices together and said, sovereign Lord, you are the one who made the heavens and the earth. Complete and courageous prayer right up front. You know, Jesus did the same thing because the disciples came to him during his earthly ministry and said, Lord, teach us to pray. How did Jesus begin? He said, our Father who art in heaven. That's the acknowledgement of who God is. When you acknowledge the sovereignty of God, you are affirming that he is the one. It begins and ends with him because he not only made the heavens and the earth, but he made every one of us.
The Bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made and God knows about you and he knows about me, knows us intimately, intricately, in the minutest detail. And complete and courageous prayer acknowledges who God is. God has an encouraging word for you and me today through the Bible-based preaching of Dr. Don Wilton about a message on determination. It's the power of determination. That's today's message.
The Power of Determination with Dr. Don Wilton. We'll dive into Nehemiah chapter 9 in just a moment, but here on the Friday edition, you need to know we're excited about so many folks that have been joining this daily encouraging word email. It's simple to do. You can sign up on our website at theencouragingword.org. That's theencouragingword.org. Click the icon and sign up for your copy of the daily encouraging word email. It pops out about 6 o'clock every day. As a matter of fact, you can go ahead right now and text daily to 30500.
We'll send you a quick link and you can sign up that way. That's just by texting daily to 30500. Join the thousands that are being encouraged by God's word every single day. And now, today's Bible study with Dr. Don. I'm reading from Nehemiah chapter 3 in just two verses.
This is what happened. The Bible says, When Eliashib the high priest rose up together with his brothers, the priests, they built the sheep gate. Then they consecrated it and set its doors in place. They consecrated it as far as the tower of the hundred, as far as the tower of Hananel. And next to him, the men of Jericho also built.
And next to them, Zakur the son of Imri. Oh, he also got on with it and built. The power of determination. If we were to go back and begin to try to understand all the ins and outs of Nehemiah, you and I know the story.
God showed him. His people were under threat. Jerusalem was in ruins. There was no future for their children.
Much work had to be done. In fact, even when he went back and spoke to the king as the cup bearer of the king, the king said to him, What's the problem, Nehemiah? Why are you looking so sad without any hesitation? He said, My people are hurting. The walls are broken down. The gates have been burned. There's no future.
Unless something's done, we're going to all die from it. Oh, I know. It's just a little. It's just drinking in the fraternity. I mean, get a life. Oh, I know.
It's just sowing wild seeds. No, you know, it's just kids. You know, oh, it doesn't matter. You know, oh, goodness me, at Vanderbilt University, you know, one great star football player. I mean, he and his girlfriend went and got out blind drunk. You know, they were paralytic.
Some people would have said they were motherless. Oh, you know, he just carried her back to his dorm where the other boys were, members of the football team. This is, by the way, Vanderbilt University, one of the top universities in the country. Oh, you know, I get a life. You know, who cares what happens on our campuses? I mean, kids will be kids. Don't worry about a thing.
What's wrong with a little fun? Well, we're not going to worry about Jerusalem. You know, those are their kids. You know, let's face it, Nehemiah himself was rather comfortable being the national security advisor of King Artaxerxes. No doubt he had a fine bedroom. He had access to the king. Why should he be concerned? There are three ingredients, by the way, in the power of determination.
I want to just put these on the table. Number one, an all-powerful God. Ingredient number one, this is what Nehemiah understood. He understood what went into his determined decision to do what God was telling him to do.
Ingredient number one, an all-powerful God. The only thing I think you and I need to consider at the best of times is that what we consider to be radical is not even radical as far as God's concern. I wonder sometimes even in the church where the God must get a little smile on his face when we present to him these insurmountable problems. To God?
Have you ever gotten to the point at which you absolutely consider what you're going through to be beyond repair? There's nothing more you can do. I present to you ingredient number one, an all-powerful God. That's why I want to invite you to give your heart and life to him. Trust him.
If you don't know him, you're on your own. You cannot do it. Ingredient number two, a totally willing heart. That's what God required. Nehemiah presented a totally willing heart to this all-powerful God.
We read that time without number through the Scriptures, do we not? Lord, here I am. Send me.
Use me. Lord, I don't know how I can do this. Lord, I can't do anything. I feel so helpless. I feel so useless. I don't know that I can make the journey over there. I don't have enough people to help me.
I don't even know what the building codes are anymore in that part of the world. But I've got a willing heart. Really believe many times we never accomplish what it is that God puts in our hearts because we have unwilling hearts. Ingredient number three is a spiritually determined person. You know, you'll remember Paul.
The apostle Paul found himself languishing in a Roman prison. He was the one who wrote these words, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That's a spiritually determined person. So here we've got an all-powerful God, a totally willing heart, and a spiritually determined person. I present to you Nehemiah. So when Nehemiah arrives, and we looked at this in past weeks, and God's given us a wonderful picture of the power of one.
How God began to use just one person, and then another, and then another, and then another, and we know that this is going to come together to cause great impact for the glory of God. I had to ask myself in this passage here, what was it that they were determined to do? They knew what they had to do, but what governed their determination?
And there are five things here, I just want to give them to you today. Number one, they were determined to follow their leaders. From chapter three on through the rest of the book of Nehemiah, we're going to find this pattern of leadership and followship.
In fact, if you were to really unpack this, when I teach on leadership principles, I tell people I believe in the leader-manager principle. Now watch this folks, when Nehemiah arrived, and they were set, on your marks, get set. They were set, they hadn't started, they were about to start, as they began to do what they knew God told them to do. Number one, they followed their leaders, and this is replete with the leader-manager principle. In other words, everybody was called to lead, as they followed leadership, and leadership begins with the heart of God. Number two, they were determined to play their part. They were determined to play their part.
This is the second issue, when it comes to the power of determination. What part do I need to play? You can talk until you're blue in the face about the need to go and have a physical checkup. The part you've got to play is you've got to pick up the phone, you've got to go and make the appointment, and you've got to get to the doctor's office. That's the part.
It's not going to happen by osmosis. You can talk until the cows come home about the fact that your marriage is in trouble, you've got a part to play. And when you begin to unpack what happened here, they not only followed their leaders, but they all played their part. You know, I've gone through, my Bible's marked all over the place. Verse four, who played upon this? The sons of Hasanah. Go down to verse five, and next to them, the Tekoites. Then you go down into verse seven, the seat of the governor.
So the governor's office was involved in this. Go to verse eight, the goldsmiths, the jewelers were involved. Go into verse eight, the second part there, it says, next to him Hanani, one of the perfumers.
Can you imagine that? And then you go to verse nine, and it says, Raphia, the son of him, the ruler of half of the district. So you've not only got the governor of the province, the perfumers, you've not only got the sons, you've not only got the seat of the governor and the goldsmiths. Go down into verse 12, the Bible says, talking about Shalom, ruler of half the district, that he was also involved not only himself, but together with his daughters.
Everyone. One, two, three, four, five, impact. They were determined. We're talking about the power of determination as reflected in the life of Nehemiah. They followed their leaders, they played their part. Number three, they set the doors. They were determined to set the doors. It's very interesting to me that in verse one, this is the beginning of the work, that the first thing they did was that they put the doors in place.
Interesting. The gates. Why did they do that? They did it, number one, to protect the people from the enemy without, and number two, to provide for security for their families from within. They understood how important doors are. They were determined. They followed their leaders. They played their part.
They set the doors. But number four, they dedicated their work. This little word here, consecrate, is a beautiful word. In many ways, I prefer the word consecrate. The British royalty have for many generations used the word the consecration of the queen, for example.
The word to consecrate carries with it the idea of the conference of all the grace and favor of God upon that person and the work or the task that they are setting about. And what we find here is that this was a repeated thing. We're going to encounter this repeatedly, this act of consecration.
Friends, I don't think we do that enough. Folks, some people will say, well, that's just, you know, that's just going overboard, but you're sitting in that bed right now, you're struggling with that marriage and you're facing those children and your money has run out and you don't know how to pay your bills and you're battling with fatigue and you've been diagnosed with a sickness. And what happened here? They were determined. These people were determined, folks.
There were cracks in the wall. They determined to follow their leaders, to play their part, to set the doors, to dedicate their work. And the power of God came down upon them. And number five, they were determined to complete the assignment. Please forgive the interruption. We'll be back in just a moment as we continue that concept of determination, of followship.
So important leadership is important, but so is followship. You'll hear more from Dr. Don in just a minute, but we want you to know, he wants you to know, we're ready to pray with you right now at 866-899-WORD. And if right now is not the time, jot the number down, store it in your cell. 866-899-9673 will always, day or night, 24 hours a day, will connect you with someone who is focused on encouraging you to encourage the love of God and His Word, the Bible itself.
Again, that's what we do. 866-899-9673. It connects us straight to The Encouraging Word or theencouragingword.org. After The Encouraging Word broadcast is over, there's still a wonderful place to connect 24 hours a day.
It's theencouragingword.org. You can visit our message archives, download Dr. Wilton's sermons or sign up for our weekly podcast. A favorite button on our website is the prayer request button where you can share a prayer request or personal need. Maybe you have a praise report or a testimony.
Let us know so we can rejoice with you as well. You can also sign up for our daily Bible guide and have devotion sent to your email every single day. Now, if you have a question about your salvation, perhaps questions about how to share your faith with a friend, let us walk you through the steps to a personal relationship with Jesus and the ability to share that with others.
If you're looking for a book from Dr. Wilton or maybe a CD or DVD, we have resources ready to send to you at the click of a button. No matter what the reason, we hope you'll connect with us today online at theencouragingword.org. Now back to today's message, the power of determination.
They were determined to complete it. I love that. I love it because I need to hear that because so often in my own spiritual life, I know what it is that God wants me to do, but I never see it through.
All you need is one little gap in the wall and the enemy will find it. So what does this mean to us? What is the Lord saying to you and me through Nehemiah? Number one, see leadership through God's eyes. See leadership through God's eyes.
That's why God has given you that mother and father. That's why you've been placed in that life group, that Sunday school group. That's why you've got that discipleship leader.
That's why that school teacher is there. That's why you have pastors and friends and neighbors. See leadership through God's eyes. Stop your nonsense. God's always worked like that.
This is not something new. Number two, start with yourself. You know, they played their part. You might be the perfumer, you might be the jeweler, you might be the governor, you might be the son of someone or the daughter of someone. Just start with yourself.
That's what the Lord tells me in the power of determination. Start with yourself. Number three, set your heart.
They set the doors in place. Set your heart. The door is the window to your soul. Set your heart. You've got to make sure your heart is set. Get your heart right with God. If your heart is not right, you become vulnerable to the enemy from without and you become a living testimony to the devil from within. Set your heart.
If you set your heart in the presence of a holy and a righteous God, what you do is you guard what comes in and you govern what goes out. You've got to set your heart. If you're determined, you know people many times will say it's not what someone says, it's how they say it. That's a heart problem.
Sometimes if your heart is not right, what you say may have value, but how you say it eliminates any value because your heart's not right. Number four, pray and fast. They dedicated their work. We're going to find repeatedly through here this prayer and fasting, Nehemiah just repeatedly. Next week I'm going to be getting into an unbelievable chapter and you just find that they go back to prayer and fasting.
God's really speaking to our hearts. So pray and fast and number five, start for the finish. So here are five practical things. See leadership through God's eyes. Start with yourself. Remember everybody doing their part.
It's not about an amount, it's about principle. Set your heart. You've got to begin right there and set it. Rebuild your heart. Make your heart available. Number four, pray and fast. That's dedicating. Every day I want us to dedicate and consecrate our work to the Lord. That's what we're doing when we pray and fast. Every day we're going to be dedicating and consecrating.
Every day, dedicating and consecrating. And then number five, start for the finish. In other words, be prepared to complete the project. Make up your mind right now. Be prepared to complete it.
Every head bowed and every eye closed. It's time for you to respond. It's time for me to respond. Today, by your Spirit, you are speaking. You're speaking to me. You're speaking to my friends.
You're speaking to the person seated next to us. You are not limited by time or space. Lord, there's a great determination. You know that because you're in control right now. Lord, I pray that there would be people everywhere taking hold with determined hearts saying, I know that I serve an all powerful God. I know that I have a totally willing heart and I know that I'm a spiritually determined person. I'm going to do this, God being my strength and my help.
God being my strength and my help. What a powerful message from Dr. Don Wilton here on The Encouraging Word. Now that's straight from the pulpit as he's been teaching and preaching these last few moments. But before we get away and before we move on to the next, would you take a minute to hear a moment that Dr. Don has prepared for us right here in the studio about perhaps the most important decision of this Friday. Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ?
I'm so happy to hear that. Why don't you pray this prayer with me today? Dear God, I know that you love me very, very much. And I know that the Lord Jesus Christ came and died on a cross so that I might be forgiven of my sin. Today I repent of my sin. I confess my sin to you and I invite you to come into my heart and into my life by faith. In Jesus' name I pray. If you prayed that prayer, let me be the first one to welcome you to the family of God.
This is wonderful. I hope that you know how much I'm going to be praying for you and how very important this is for me. Call us so that we can talk to you and connect you in the right place so you can begin this wonderful journey. And in just a moment, I'm going to come back with a final word. If the Lord stirred your heart, won't you give us a call? Let us put resources in your hands that'll help you grow. 866-899-WORD is the phone number.
That's 866-899-9673. We are here for you. I'm going to ask a penetrating question right now. What happens when you die?
Where exactly do you and I go? You know, over my many years of ministry and from so many of you, I get so many questions about life after death. All of us, people like you and me, are fascinated with the subject of life after death. That's why God led me to write the novel, The Absolute Certainty of Life After Death.
This novel that I wrote was birthed out of my own personal, I think, near-death experience, and it just flowed from my heart. It's the story about two men in a real world. One died and the other man died.
One went to heaven, the other man did not. And it's based on what Jesus teaches us in His Word. This book will change your view of heaven, and it will help you to understand the significance of what it means to be with Christ or to live separated from Him forever. I want you to have a copy. Call the number on your screen and request your own personal copy of my novel, The Absolute Certainty of Life After Death. The encouraging word is a viewer and listener supported broadcast ministry, and your financial support helps us to reach just one more for Christ.
And this book has been used to change lives all across America. Call and get your copy now. The number Dr. Don was referring to is 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673.
You'll find that number and a number of great ways to connect on our website as well at theencouragingword.org. You know, I want to say something to you personally. Are you ready for this? Thank you. It's a powerful word, isn't it?
Small one, powerful. I want to thank you. You see, the sun hardly rises or sets in a day that we don't see people coming to know Christ through this broadcast ministry every day, and you make that possible through your prayers most of all and through your financial giving. God is doing something great, and in our world today, this medium of television, very important, folks.
This is very, very important. God is allowing us to go into more and more homes across the United States of America. Thank you for helping us make this possible, and let's never stop praying that people would come to know Jesus.
God bless you. Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Brother Don, I'm a prisoner here in North Carolina, and I've been listening to your preaching on the radio broadcast each morning for quite some time now.
I really wanted to write you to let you know what a blessing you have been to me. Hearing you preach the Word of God and how you love the Lord Jesus Christ has just truly touched my heart more than I could ever express. I'm 42 years old, and I was brought up in church, and have always had a deep love for Jesus Christ. I was saved at a young age, but got on the wrong path that caused me such heartache and sorrow. I've been through pancreatic cancer and a lot of health issues, but the Lord has blessed me to live and to be healed.
I know in my heart He has called me for a purpose to serve Him, and I will be getting released in just a few more years, and my dream is to get into the ministry for Jesus Christ and to live for Him the rest of my life. When I hear you preach and teach, it just touches my heart so deeply, and I want to be able to meet you in person one day, and I look forward to hearing you on the radio each and every day. Receiving the Sunday service sermons on CDs is most welcome, and I share them afterwards with friends around the country whose lives have multiple family situations. I hear many outstanding pastors on two Christian stations, but Pastor Wilton is the best. The congregation is very fortunate.
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