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14 AUG 2023 | What Pictures Are You Carrying In Your Heart?

Each of us carry pictures in our hearts. Among these internal pictures of various aspects of life, are the three significant pictures of our past, our present, and our estimations of what our future will be. Even when we are not conscious of them, these pictures exercise a powerful influence over how we live daily. Sometimes, as these pictures remind us of our past and present expectations and experiences, they also suggest to us, “that was who you were, this is who you are now, and this is what you will be in the future.”

But God also has Pictures of each of us. In His Pictures we get to see who He has made each of us to be, what He has made each of us for, and what His Promises to each of us are for His Picture to be our reality. If we keep bringing God’s Picture of us into our hearts, if we keep pondering upon it, and keep holding to it, God’s Picture can become the vision of bright hope in each of us, and it can redemptively transform our internal pictures and set us on the trajectory to live our daily lives for God’s Picture to become our reality.

This was how it was for Nehemiah and for the many God used him to lead in such restorative transformation (Nehemiah 1:1-11). In consequence of the past, Nehemiah was living as a slave in Babylon (in today’s Iraq). But even there, Nehemiah took hold of God’s Picture of him and his fellow Jews. When Nehemiah received news about the plight of his fellow Jews in Jerusalem, and about the broken city walls, Nehemiah wept and mourned. For he knew their present picture was devastatingly different from God’s Picture of what He has made them for and to be. Nehemiah did not however weep and mourn in resignation, but in faith-fueled determination. And so, Nehemiah moved from weeping and mourning, to fasting and praying for about four months (month of Chislev to Nisan) and personally committed himself to work sacrificially—for God’s restoration of them according to His Picture and Promises.

The restoration was not accomplished overnight, but it began and with a series of miraculous breakthroughs, right from the Babylonian palace to the very walls of Jerusalem. From the Babylonian king’s permission for Nehemiah to take leave for Jerusalem’s restoration to the royal decrees and resources for safe passage and supplies for restoration. And as Nehemiah embarked on the journey and engaged in the work of restoration, Nehemiah continued to experience miraculous breakthroughs when he faced challenges, taunts, threats, plots, even attacks. The miracles culminated in the completion of the restoration in the otherwise impossible time of 52 days. Nehemiah attributed this and the miraculous breakthroughs to God Himself, who heard Nehemiah’s prayer and whose Hand was upon Nehemiah.

Friends, what pictures are you carrying in your heart—of your past, your present, your future? Miracles can happen when you keep bringing in God’s Picture of you and commit yourself to be transformed in accordance with His Promises for what He has called you for and to be, and as you continually pray for His Hand to be upon you for this transformation.

Rev. Joseph Goh


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