Reflections on Nehemiah

Rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3-4), published in 1886

There is a cool passage from a cool story in a cool book of the bible that probably 95% of Christians have never read.

Here’s the setting: In the 5th century BC, God’s people have been in exile and slavery for over two generations, but finally are permitted to return to their homeland. They return to a destitute Jerusalem and, despite political opposition and threats of violence, rebuild the city and experience revival.

And how did that revival happen?

Nehemiah chapter 8, verse 8: “[The priests] read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage.”

Families put their lives and businesses on hold to do in-depth bible studies with their religious leaders. They spent entire days reading, praying, and worshipping (9:3). If they came across a commandment that they weren’t actively living, they immediately implemented it, like, right then and there (8:14-16). Husbands and fathers in particular spent extra time actively learning the same content the priests and Levites were studying (8:13).

And the result? A revival that changed a nation.

Many Christians say they want our nation to turn back to God. They want lives changed, they want people delivered. They want revival. But things like that don’t happen just by wanting them or tweeting them or complaining about them. They come about when people like you and I dedicate ourselves to God and His Word. They come about when we learn what God says, when we care about what God says, and then we do what God says, like, right then and there. They happen when fathers decide to lead their families in worship, instead of being passively present when our wives are reluctantly forced to lead.

Want the world to change? Maybe take a break from binging Netflix tonight, and study Nehemiah with your wife.

13 Biblical Lessons Superman Can Teach You





1. You may be in this world, but you certainly aren’t of it. (John 17:16, Philippians 3:20)

Superman flying

2. Without a knowledge of your true heritage, you will inevitably live a bleak life of confusion. (Colossians 1:9-14)

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3. However, upon discovering who you really are, you can become the hero you were born to become. (Mark 16:15-20)


4. Your heavenly Dad saved you from the eminent destruction of your former world. (Ephesians 2:1-4)giphy (5) 5. As a child of God, you have a seemingly unending arsenal of superhuman powers and abilities. (Mark 16:16, Philippians 4:13)


6. Your true destiny lies in using those God-given abilities to rescue others from evil. (Matthew 10:8, Mark 16:15)

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7. While enemies may rise up against you, they will never be able to stop you.  Punch you, stab you, shoot you, run you over, blow you up… you are indestructible. (Isaiah 54:17, Luke 10:19)

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8. To be quite honest, though, living a righteous life for God can sometimes get lonely.  You might feel the pressure to change who you are to blend in. (Romans 12:1-2)


9. But don’t let your merely human alter ego get in the way of your true heritage.  Your identity as the son of El (albeit, El Shaddai, not Jor El) is what makes you great. (1 Corinthians 3:3, Galatians 4:7)

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10. That’s not to say you can’t hold a steady nine-to-five and still have time to save the world. (Acts 20:35, Proverbs 12:11, Colossians 3:17)


11. Just don’t let your emotions get in the way.  Being led by your emotions is truly your greatest weakness. (1 Peter 5:8, Titus 2:6)

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12. All in all, continue spending time in solitude with your Father, and you will do unimaginable things.  (Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23, Luke 6:12)


13. And remember, it may not always seem like it, but the world is in desperate need of salvation.  And you’re the one to bring it to them. (Romans 10:14-15)

giphy (4)So go, Man of God. Go and change the world.



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Breaking Bad Ruined My Relationship with God


I’ve really been wanting to start a bible study with my wife.  I have the DVDs, I have the study outline… all I’ve needed is the time.

Yesterday was going to be the night.  I was planning on coming home, popping in the DVD, and growing closer to God with my wife by my side. 

But then something happened.  I received a text message from my wife:

“We got invited to go to dinner for Lauren’s birthday.  Can we go?”

I get it.  Stuff happens.  Things come up.  Interesting that they usually come up when you have a prior engagement with God, but still, it was important for Cheyne.  So we pushed the bible study back a day to (soberly) celebrate Lauren’s 21st birthday. 

Today is Tuesday.  And my plan is to study God’s Word with my wife tonight. 

But then something happened. 

I found out that Breaking Bad season six was just released on Netflix.

And I really want to know what happens to Walter White and his ragtag team of hooligans. 

Looks like I need to push the bible study back a few weeks.  After all, what’s a guy like me supposed to do?  God knows I love Him, but He also knows I love Breaking Bad.  And Breaking Bad is so good.  God can’t expect me not to watch it.  Really, it’s not even my fault, either.  It’s Netflix’s fault.  God’ll understand.  I mean, He can wait.  Walter and Jesse can’t.

Jesus addressed similar excuses in Matthew 5.  There was a group of religious people walking around, saying things like, “It’s not my fault I am filled with lust.  It’s my hands’ fault.  My hands have a mind of their own.  They just do what they want, and I can’t control them.”

Jesus’ response?

“If your hand is really causing you to lust, then chop it off.”

Immature people make excuses for things beyond their control.  Godly people do everything within their power to glorify God.  It’s that simple.  It’s not Netflix’s fault if I choose not to study the bible.  It’s my fault.  Because even if Bryan Cranston has the power to mesmerize me with his flawless acting, I have the power to turn off the TV.

People say temptation gets us off-course.  That’s not entirely true.  Temptation shows what is already in our hearts.  It shows what our priorities truly are.  And I guess we’re going to find out tonight what mine truly are.