Arise and build. We have come to the final moments of 2013. It has been a great year in terms of God’s faithfulness and favour. God is good and his mercies endure forever.
We are seeing this moment because God was in control in 2013. Yes, down to the smallest details of your life had been guided by God. Some of you may be sitting here with regrets but it is time to get over it and receive 2014 by faith.
It is easy to step into the New Year crawling with the experiences of the previous year, focused on what did not work out, on who hurt us, on the mistakes we made. If only if would have got that breakthrough, if only that opportunity had come to pass, if only I got that promotion it would have been great. But as long as you are living in regrets, focused on the failures of the past, it is going to keep you from the bright future God has in store in 2014.
You got to let go of what did not work out, let go the hurts and pains, let go of your disappointments and your failures, take valuable lessons of 2013 and move forward to 2014. You cannot do anything about 2013 but you can do something about 2014. You may have had an unfair past but let it not stop you from a successful 2014. Do not let the disappointments of 2013 steal your blessings of 2014. God has plans to prosper you, plans for success and give you abundant life. So how do we have that success and future in 2014?
This passage is found in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was burdened with the broken walls around Jerusalem. The circumstances were beyond Nehemiah’s capacity. He prayed and fasted. God changed the mind of the Babylonian king who sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem with funds to rebuild the walls. I do not know the burden you are sitting here with but I believe the God of Nehemiah is our God. He is going to shower his favour upon you. What seemed impossible for you in 2013, what seemed difficult is going to be made simple because God is going to open the doors for you.
Nehemiah and his people started rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. They had the funds they needed, God was with them, and the work of the wall started with great enthusiasm. Soon there arose opposition to the building of the wall. Nehemiah 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”
When you do something there will always be people to oppose you, there will be people to put your dreams down, to talk against and mock you. The people who were building the walls were soon discouraged, I suppose some went back home, some are sitting in the ground. Everyone is discouraged and their enthusiasm is gone.
As I minister to you tonight, I sense in my heart that for many of you 2013 was a year of battles. You struggled a lot, your faith was tested, your plans did not materialize, now you are all tired, lost your enthusiasm. God is telling, “No it is time to wake up, I am going to do a new thing for you.” If there is opposition it does not mean that God’s plan will not materialize. If people are against you does not mean that my words will not come to pass. If winter is too cold does not mean that summer is not coming. I can see that shift in your life by faith. See what Nehemiah said to his enemies.
Nehemiah 2:20 Nehemiah answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding (will arise and build), but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”`
The solution Nehemiah found to overcome his situation was to arise and build. I do not know what difficulty you faced this year, I do not know where you were defeated by the enemy. That does not mean that we will not achieve God’s promises. Arise and build. You are God’s chosen one. God is on your side, you have the promise to succeed. God has already given us the victory but we need to arise and build.
God’s destiny will surely come to pass. Nothing has stopped God’s plan for your life. The relationship that did not work out, the business plans that failed, the loved one that went away did not stop God’s plans for you.
If you arise and build I believe what was difficult for you in 2013 is going to be easy in 2014. The same place you saw defeat, you are going to taste victory. Now the question is are you going to get stuck because of your setbacks or are you going to arise and move forward?
WHAT DO YOU ARISE TO AND BUILD?
1. Arise to your call.
We have a higher calling. We need to arise to the height that God has called. The greater the call, the greater the opposition. You need to arise above your problems and there is the calling that God has in your life. Rise Above.
Illustration: I still remember God speaking to me in the New Year’s Eve of 2000. I was so down because all my plans failed. Here I was sitting like a failure, with nothing to look forward to, all bitter to myself. God said, “The same place you have failed I am going to lift you up, but shine you got to rise up and try again.” Rise up above your problem.
God called Jonah and said: Jonah 1:2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before me.” God gave Jonah a calling and asked him to arise to his call. Yes he got up but he could not rise above the limitations of his mind. Jonah instead took a ship to Tarshish. When the ship met with a violent storm and people were praying and throwing off luggage, Jonah was sleeping. Listen, either you advance to your call or you backslide and go away from your call. There is nothing in between. Today God is sensing many of you who have come down from your calling and in spiritual slumber. Rise to your call.
Finally the captain of the ship saw Jonah and asked him to arise and pray. We know the story. Jonah was finally thrown into the sea. Jonah repented. God allowed the great fish to throw up Jonah onto the dry land. See what God is saying again to him: Jonah 2:2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.” So this time Jonah listened to the Lord and God used him mightily in that city.
God is giving us a second call, arise to your call. Arise for the standards I have called you. Maybe some of you here had been ministering unto God, you were very active but now you are hurt, people put you down, you were rejected by church. God is reaching out to you. 2014 is a year of comeback to ministry.
If you want to arise to your call, you need to be willing to put off something that weighs you down. Ephesians 5:14“Wake up, sleeper. Rise from the dead. Then Christ will shine on you.”
Our sins hinder us from our progress.
Hebrews 12:1-2 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus,the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Romans 6:11-14 11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.13Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.14For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
2. Arise by faith.
If you want to arise to the level that God has for you, stop looking in the natural and look by faith. God prospered both Abraham and Lot on their journey to Promised Land. Half way through the journey, it came to such a point that there the land could not support enough for their cattle. Abraham decided to part ways with Lot. Lot looked in the natural. He looked up and saw the beautiful Jordan valley. Literally, the Jordan valley was a paradise. It was just like the garden of the Lord. This valley is very good for irrigation, beautiful green grass. One did not have to live in faith in such a place as water was abundant and nature was blessed.
Abraham was left with the second choice, he dwelt in Canaan. He probably felt betrayed; the best place has been taken by his nephew. God said to Abraham. Genesis 13:14-17 14The LORD spoke to Abram after Lot had left him. He said, “Look up from where you are. Look north and south. Look east and west. 15I will give you all of the land that you see. I will give it to you and your children after you forever. 16“I will make your children like the dust of the earth. Can dust be counted? If it can, then your children can be counted. 17Go. Walk through the land. See how long and wide it is. I am giving it to you.”
God told Abraham to arise and look up. All Abraham could see is some barren land, no sign of a child but God is telling him to arise and look by faith.
Illustration: In your car there is a big windshield in the front and a very small rear view mirror. The reason that the windshield is so large and the rear view mirror is so small is because what happened in your past is not really as important as what is in your future. Where you are going is much more significant than where you have been. But if you stay focused on the past you get stuck where you are.
Some of you are sitting here with thoughts of how life and people had been unfair to you. God is telling you tonight, Arise, Look up, Look Forward to 2014 by faith. God has a great future for you.
3. Build on Christ.
We are all in the process of building things in life. We build our family, ministry, spiritual life, business, carrier etc this year. Remember one thing; Christ is the only foundation on which we build things. You cannot do anything without God.
Matthew 7:24-25%5 24Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
So take time, give priority to build your life on Christ.
How do we build our life?
a. Build on the Word.
Acts 20:32 Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Have a daily devotional plan. Do not live a single day without feeding on God’s word. Make reading the Bible a regular habit of your family.
b. Build your prayer life.
Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Prayer is building spiritual intimacy with God. Psalm 91: Prayer is dwelling in the shadow of the almighty God. Our prayer life is our altar. In the OT, the altar is a raised place, usually used for worship, sacrifice for the Lord. We see in the Bible that God blessed Abram as He promised. But before God could bless him Abram did something, Abram built altars for the Lord.
God said in Leviticus 6:13 The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously, it must not go out. Let our prayer life not cease. Let’s build personal prayer times, build family prayers, and not neglect Sunday worship times in 2014. Let’s give great importance to prayer.
c. Build your relationships.
Take time to build up your relationship with your family, friends, and church. Forgive people who hurt you. Do not enter the New Year with bitterness and unforgiveness. Be patient to people. Be more tolerant and build relationships.
Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Take time to listen to people. You see we meet a lot of people and sometimes people tell their whole story, we know what it is but we listen because they want a listening ear. Be respectful to people and do not cut off people. Take time to build relationships. Let love cover up all scars.
Build yourself in Christ. Remember this, whatever we try to build it is the Lord that lets it grow. Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. I pray that we will build our life on Christ and the Lord will help us to prosper.
I want to come back to Nehemiah and close. We saw in chapter 2 that they started to arise and build but by the time we come to chapter 4, stiff opposition arises and the work of the wall was totally stopped. The people said, “We cannot rebuild the wall.” Their strength had gone out. They felt the enemies were powerful than them. What Nehemiah did is he repositioned the people and continued to build. The enemy was confused. Believe it or not in record 52 days the work of the wall was completed.
Some of you are telling, “Pastor, I have been doing all what you said now but I am not getting a breakthrough.” Here is the key for the miracle – Reposition Yourself.
4. Reposition yourself.
Many of you have been building your family, life, ministry for a long time and all what you see is opposition. God is telling you need to reposition yourself to arise and build. Turn to someone and say “Reposition Yourself.” When the Israelites repositioned themselves, they were building the same wall but their positions changed, their work changed, their strategy changed, the enemy was confused and they became successful.
How to reposition? Reposition your priorities. Set your priorities right.
First God, second family, third Church, then others.
After the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus Peter went back to fishing. Three years he had been following Jesus, doing things with Jesus, ministering with Jesus but he failed to understand the mission of Jesus. That is why he cut the servant’s ear when Jesus was arrested. Peter felt all I tried to do, all I tried to build was wasted. Jesus is no more. He is dead.
When everything he felt was a failure he went back to fishing. That is what he was familiar with. That is what all do, when their plans fail, when all they do counts to nothing, people get back to doing what they are familiar with. Here comes Jesus early in the morning walking on the shore. He is come in the resurrected form, they are having trouble recognizing Jesus. John 21:5-6%5 5He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Jesus said, “Have you not caught anything yet? You are in the right boat, you are in the right waters, this is the right time, you have the right promise, right stage of your life. The only thing that is stopping you from being successful in your life is that you are in the wrong position, wrong priorities. Cast your net on the other side. Do not move the boat, do not change anything, just shift your position and when Peter took his net in the same boat, same water, same day, same time and put in a repositioned place all of a sudden he found a multitude of fish. Set your priorities right this year.
I do not who I am talking to today but this is your year. The Lord is going to give you success. This is your year of breakthrough. I want to you rise up by faith and throw your net on the other direction. Arise and build and reposition yourself, you will see success.
Yes, you are going to receive it this year – Pressed down, shaken together, running over, arise and build. Reposition yourself. Your best is yet to come. I pray for you a multitude of blessings, a multitude of victory, a multitude of joy. This is my time, this is my moment, this is my season, this is my year. I will Arise and build, reposition myself and you receive my promises in the name of Jesus. Give God a mighty hand of praise for 2014.