Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Encouragement for the Day

This is my 4th birthday picture.  The studio picture was in sepia tone.  Years later, when my mother started 'coloring' photos, she made a copy and painted it.  She was quite good and worked for what we considered the best studio in town.  I have lots of her work and appreciate each one.  

 At 37, I started art lessons.  Her talent had been my inspiration and she was my encouragement. 

A friend of ours writes a letter of encouragement each day to his daughter. He first started sending it to my husband.  After I read it a few times, I asked if he would send it to me as well and if I could forward it on to others.   I did that and now he has given me permission to put it on this blog today.  He is working on his own web-site and should have it online soon.

I really want to share this one with you.  It is well done and timely.

Nehemiah 2:17 (2nd March 2011)
“Then I said to them, ‘ You see the trouble we are in:  Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 
        On my way home from Florida, I read an article about thirty-two year-old Philip Cooley, an unusual businessman.  Ten years ago he moved away from his hometown of Marysville, Michigan, a small town near Port Huron, Michigan, to pursue a modeling career.  He lived in glamorous cities like Milan, Paris, Tokyo, and Barcelona.  He worked for such labels as Louis Vuitton.  The lifestyle had its perks, but there was a longing to do something bigger with his life.
        Away from Michigan, he read all the stories about the condition of the state.  He believes the state and even the city of Detroit will someday make a comeback.  He wants to be a part of that comeback.  So, he moved back to Michigan – not back to his sleepy hometown, but to the city with the biggest challenge – Detroit. 
        He opened Slows Bar BQ in the Corktown district of downtown Detroit.  All around his business is evidence of decay, even the site where Tiger Stadium was demolished.  In spite of the challenge there, he says, “Entrepreneurs who go into areas where other people aren’t don’t see what’s there.  They see what it could be.”  He built a business and got involved in rebuilding his part of the city.  It’s working.  New businesses are following his wildly successful restaurant.  Abandoned buildings are being occupied.  Trees are being planted.  His dream is being shared and embraced.  He is now working with the city officials on developing a master plan to rebuild the entire city.  Corktown is seeing signs of life again.  
        Nehemiah was a broken man about the conditions of his city in ruins, Jerusalem.  Like Detroit, Jerusalem had seen much better days, but sin and neglect brought it down.  Nehemiah asked Yahweh for a chance to go back and rebuild, and the Lord favored him with that opportunity.  There was fierce opposition, but the leadership of one man led to the revival of a great city.
        The Roman Empire fell in love with Christians by the fourth century because believers were rebuilders.  The empire was in collapse and believers everywhere saw it as an opportunity to bring honor to Jesus.  They did so one life, one block, one city at a time.  When babies were left in fields to die, Christians raised them.  When prostitutes turned old and were rejected at the pagan temples, Christians made room for them in their homes.  When the empire turned its back on the disadvantaged, it was Christians who stepped-up.  When believers honor Christ with rebuilding what is broken, the culture will respond with respect.  That respect will allow hearts to be receptive to the saving message of Jesus!
        America is definitely in a power-down cycle for now.  We can use our energies blaming one another for the decline or we can ask God to use us to rebuild our culture one life, one block, one city at a time.  Politicians are not the answer; we are answer!  What can you ask God to help you do to be a part of the rebuilding project?  Somebody's honor is at stake!
Jim Chilton

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