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“They said to me, ‘Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.’ When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”

Nehemiah 1:3–4 NIV

In today’s verses, we learn some shocking things about Jerusalem.

  • Her walls were laying in ruins.
  • The gates were burned to ash.
  • Everyone who lived there was in danger and disgrace.

However, this wasn’t new. The city had been this way for 141 years.

Broken Jerusalem was home to people for two generations.

It crushed Nehemiah to know the state of his people. And this pain turned to purpose.

God moved him — and he got into action!

He led the people to rebuild the wall. And check this out…

What had laid in ruins for 51,465 days was rebuilt and restored in just 52 days!!!

Beyond an inspiring story, here’s what matters to you and me.

Some of us have gotten so complacent we’ve made peace with our rubble.

There are broken walls and burned gates in key areas, but we’ve come to accept them and have lived in the ruins for years.

Broken relationships…

Secret addictions…

Out of control debt…

Unhealthy bodies, minds, and lifestyles…

Neglected spiritual life…

…or any of a thousand other things.

I know, because I have lived in this place many times.

But Nehemiah saw the gap between God’s standards and how his people were living.

Like Jerusalem, God calls his people to be a “city set on a hill” that can’t be hidden.

Beacons of light in a dark world. Pillars of strength amidst the world’s rubble. But are we? Are you? Am I?

So who sets your standards?

Who were you made to be? What were you called to do? Where are your broken walls?

What rubble does complacency, confusion, or even pain have you living in?

The AMAZING news is these can be restored — and perhaps even faster than you thought possible.

A leader who got into action rebuilt a 2.5 mile, 20-foot high, 3-foot thick wall in 52 days.

But guess what he didn’t do?

He didn’t rebuild it alone. He brought a team alongside of him. He cast vision for how God was restoring them.

Have we caught that vision for our lives? Our families? Our cities? The world?

What are we throwing our shoulders into?

What are you fighting for this year?

What are you building (or rebuilding)?

Most importantly, who’s setting your standards?

Your standards predict your future.

Let’s run with a 52-day mindset and change ourselves to change the world for God’s glory and others’ good!