Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Being Brave Enough To Not Come Down

Karlene Arthur – God In The New Journey Series

Are we brave enough to stay the course, and not come down to where the distractions are? Guest series...

I feel so excited to continue on for one more week with our special series, “God In The New Journey: Being Brave Enough to Step Out.” And so I want to give this guest a hearty welcome, someone who has been with us before, and who’s perspective and heart for God I admire greatly, and has some truly amazing encouragement for us today with her words. Everyone welcome my friend Karlene Arthur from “While I Ponder”,
so very grateful to be able to turn the blog over to you today!

Most of us spend a good deal of time and effort searching to find God’s purpose for our life. We pray, “God, what is that thing you have called me to do?”

While you may be given a specific ministry or mission that extends over the decades of your life, it’s important to understand that God will call you to do many things.

He places within us specific gifts for the journey. And, as we move through life, valuable skills and experience are added to the mix – our skill set, if you will.

God will use your gifts, skills, and experiences – if you allow Him to – for His own glory. And over time, you will see your call and purpose evolve.


In the book of Nehemiah, we find an outstanding lesson on calling and purpose, and on being brave in the journey.

Who was Nehemiah? He was a Jew who grew up in Babylonian captivity. Though he remained true to the God of his ancestors, he became the cupbearer to the king – or, as I like to think of it, a leader-in-training who was developing his skills and experience.

When Babylon came under Persian rule, a new king came to the throne. This new king allowed the Jewish people to begin the return to their homeland following a 70-year exile.

Nehemiah, the cupbearer-turned-leader, was chosen to lead the final group of Jews back to Jerusalem. His God-given assignment: to improve the living conditions and protective measures of his people in Jerusalem.

He would accomplish this by leading the massive project of rebuilding the wall around the city. You can read Nehemiah 2 to get the story. And Nehemiah had plenty of distractors, especially the governors of other nations surrounding Judah.

During the exile period, these political officials had become accustomed to doing as they wished with the people and resources of Jerusalem. With the arrival of Nehemiah, they suddenly realized life as they knew it was about to change.

When God gives you a vision for the journey, there will be distractors.

  • Those who may already be in charge.
  • Those who may not know or trust you.
  • Those who want the glory for themselves.
  • Those who simply do not understand God’s call on your life.

When they heard about his mission to rebuild the wall, Nehemiah’s distractors laughed at him. And once they realized Nehemiah was seriously going through with this project, they became so angry they plotted to kill him.

How did Nehemiah respond? He prayed. He set up a 24-hour guard. He instructed his work team to have their swords at the ready.
{Nehemiah 4.9; 17-18}

When God calls you to something, you must pray, be on guard, and be ready to take up your sword.

Nehemiah understood what God had called him to do. Still, his distractors persisted.

“When…our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it… [they] sent to me saying: “Come and let us meet together…” But they intended to do me harm.” – Nehemiah 6.1-2 ESV

How did Nehemiah respond his distractors? He determined he had no time to leave his post of duty to come down to their level.

Be brave enough to NOT come down to all the distractors! @KarleneArthur Click To Tweet

Nehemiah recognized that the purpose God had placed on his life, in that season, was more important than entertaining distractors or distractions.

“And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I AM DOING A GREAT WORK AND CANNOT COME DOWN.” – Nehemiah 6.3 ESV

When God gives you an assignment, will you be brave enough to not come down?

Almost twenty years ago, I was attempting to keep up with what God had called me to do.

In addition to being a wife, mom, and full-time employee, I was also serving as worship leader in our church. The plates were spinning wildly and I felt like they would soon crash at my feet.

During that time, I read a devotion by renowned worship leader, Darlene Zscheck. She shared that many people would ask her how she manages it all – the demands of full-time ministry, traveling, song-writing, speaking – along with her marriage, family, and personal responsibilities.

Her response went something like this: “I get up in the morning and ask, ‘God, what is it that You have anointed me to do…today?’”

God has given me many things to do in the various seasons of my life. If I start to feel the plates spinning out-of-control – I remember those words.

God, what is it You have anointed me to do…today? – Darlene Zscheck

It’s not, “God, what did You anoint me to do…yesterday?” And it’s not, “What have you anointed me to do…tomorrow, next month, or next year?”

But, today – in this moment. Father, how can I serve You? How would You have me bear Your image in the earth…today!

How would You have me bear Your image in the world today, Lord? God In The New Journey series...

Nehemiah knew what God had called him to do in that moment. He focused on the work at hand. He made it clear he would not come down to his distractors or distractions.

Focus on the work and DO NOT COME DOWN. via @KarleneArthur Click To Tweet

God gave Nehemiah a supernatural bravery, made possible only through prayer and a determination to stay the course. The work God gives us to do is a great work!

When He calls you to His purpose, can you be brave enough to not come down?

Father God, make us brave in the journey; that journey you have designed just for us. Empower us to stand firm in what you have anointed us for…TODAY. Keep our minds set on You – not on our distractors or distractions. And until that time when You release us from our current mission, whatever that may be, we determine together that we will NOT COME DOWN,
to the glory of Your great name. Amen.

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Guest Karlene Arthur for the series God In The New JourneyKarlene writes at WhileIPonder.com where she shares stories of life, faith, and family. Her blogging mission is to encourage others to build up their faith. Karlene has spent her entire life working for Christian non-profit organizations. She currently serves with Visionaries International as office administrator, website manager, and sometimes-missionary to third-world places. She’s been wife to Mark for 36 years, is mom to two adult children, and her darling grandsons call her Gigi.
You can find Karlene on these links below:
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
& Instagram

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12 Comments

  1. What an honor to share these words with your readers, Christine. May all be encouraged by this post as they continue along the journey. Be brave, lovely ones!

    • Christine Duncan

      March 28, 2017 at 8:31 AM

      It’s a real blessing to have you here at the blog once more, Karlene. Your words have already been such a motivation even for myself, I know others will find the same as they read along! Hugs and so many blessings for your willingness to share from your heart! xxoo

  2. I love the story of Nehemiah. He is such a good example of someone who had a calling from God and who followed it through despite challenges and opposition. The question “What have you anointed me for today?” is a really helpful one to ask. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all that we feel has to be done instead of focussing on what God is actually calling us to do. Thanks for this encouragement.

    • Lesley, isn’t that a great question to ask ourselves each day? It impacted me at a pivotal time in my life and continues to bring me back to where I want to remain – centered in Jesus. Thank you for the kind words. Be brave, girl!

  3. Stay at our post on the wall. This message always encourages me. If we will continuing showing up where God calls us, he will do the rest. Thanks for sharing this, Karlene.

    • Lisa, this lesson of Nehemiah has impacted me so strongly as this year was beginning – a story I’d heard since a child. Sometimes we just need to be reminded, huh?

  4. Amen and amen! Such a good, encouraging word, Karlene. Your words ministered to me deeply – especially the “daily” part. That’s something the Lord has been speaking to me just this year. Christine, thank you for sharing your space so Karlene’s words could dance with life. #testimonytuesday

  5. Dear Karlene, that’s one of my favorite verses, too! Have you heard Andy Stanley preach on it? Powerful! I love it because it calls back to what it important in God’s realm of eternity, instead of my fleshly world of “obligations”. Thanks for your encouragement to stay on the wall!

    • I have not heard his sermon on this topic but always enjoy his speaking and writing. Our pastor preached on Nehemiah just this past weekend! Thanks for reading and for your encouragement, Alice.

  6. When I remember to pray that prayer: Help Yourself, Lord – it puts all things in perspective. I love Nehemiah’s focus and resolve and trust in God. Yours, too! Great post.

  7. Today. Such an important word to remember. I tend to chomp at the bit about next, but I need to remember God gave me today to use and bring glory to Him.

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