First Things First. Day 14/40Naima Lett | Blog | Thursday March 8 2012
DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG | Naima Lett
First Things First – DAY 14 of 40 (LENT)
“Put first things first” is the 3rd habit popularized in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the 15-million-copies-sold self-help phenomenon by Stephen R. Covey, co-founder of time management giant, FranklinCovey.
Named the most influential business book of the 20th century, 7 Habits spun several follow up titles by Covey, including the book First Things First, which also sold over a million copies.
It’s safe to say that putting “first things first” is important to millions of people.
What are first things?
Covey answers: “First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth.” We each can figure out what we value most by what we do first and most often.
Got me to thinking about our reading yesterday in Nehemiah 1.
What did Nehemiah do first?
Before he embarked upon a plan that ultimately led him to lead Judah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days (yes, that’s less than 2 months!), Nehemiah FIRST “sat down and wept, mourned, fasted and prayed before the God of heaven,” when he heard his city was in ruins. (Nehemiah 1:4)
The first thing Nehemiah did was sought the God of heaven.
Before he asked the king for a commission to rebuild his city, for resources to build, for an entourage to help; before he went on midnight assessments through the city, before he gathered the leaders and people and galvanized them into a lean, mean, working machine; before he successfully plotted to defend the city against its enemies; before all of that, Nehemiah fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Let’s look at Nehemiah’s prayer again:
Click here to read: NEHEMIAH 1: 4-11
Several things stand out.
1) Nehemiah acknowledged who God is and asked Him to hear his prayers.
When we start a conversation with anyone, especially the Creator of the Universe, it might be a good thing to recognize to whom we are speaking and show reverence. We wouldn’t roll up on the President like, “What up, Homey’. We’d call him, Mr. President. Well, some of us do. Maybe a better example would be the judges of our land. When we go to court, we have to refer to the judge, male or female, as ‘Your Honor’. We recognize to whom we are speaking. So it is in our conversations with God.
2) Nehemiah apologized to God for the wrongdoing of his house, his father’s house and his entire people.
This one might be hard to understand in our western, individualized society. It is difficult to comprehend corporate repentance. Why in the world would we apologize for something that we did not do? Each person should have to answer for his/her own offenses, right?
While this is true, and I believe we each will answer for our own offenses, Nehemiah understood a principle that is transforming. For effective communication to take place, all offenses must be dealt with first.
Think about it. If someone has wronged us, it is very hard to have clear communication with that person until the wrong has been righted. All we see are lips flapping. We cannot hear anything that’s being said because the person has not apologized for the wrong.
Nehemiah understood this. So the first thing he did, after acknowledging God, was to ask for forgiveness for the grave offenses God’s people had committed against God. He understood that he could not ask the Lord to heal his land and his people without asking forgiveness for the entire people, himself and his father’s house, included.
3) Lastly, Nehemiah reminded the Lord of His own promises when he asked for success.
Nehemiah understood that the people did not deserve God’s grace. They were not entitled to God’s help, especially based on their previous rejection of God. Nehemiah reminded God of His own promise to redeem His people if they returned to God.
This is the equivalent of us saying, “Lord, we can’t ask you to do anything based on our own abilities. No matter how fabulous we think we are, whatever You do for us is based on how fabulous You are and the fact that You keep Your word.”
When we ask the Lord to give us success, true success, we recognize that He’s the One whose word and promises we stand on.
So. First things first!
Whatever we are planning, navigating, facing: let’s FIRST pray to the God of heaven –
- acknowledging who He is
- apologizing for our offenses,
- asking for success, based on God’s promises.
Does this help at all?
It’s very encouraging to me… says the first-things-first-type-A-artist-planner! LOL!
Lots of faith, hope and love your way today,
J.MOSS: VIDEO/SONG – GOD FIRST
1) Confession & Repentance – Let’s confess our wrongs and ask forgiveness
2) Complete transparency – Let our guard down and talk to God about our lives.
3) Listen – Let’s quiet and listen to God’s Spirit re: the scriptures, etc.
4) Intercession for others – Let’s pray for our family, friends, coworkers, church, etc.
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