Burnt Stones

Originally published in July 1993

Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem with letters from King Artaxerxes.He was going to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.The wall had been broken down and its gates burned when the Babylonians took away Judah into captivity.

To rebuild the wall had been Nehemiah's dream.He had heard about the remnant left in Jerusalem.The reports he heard were of hardships and disgrace for these people of his nation.Nehemiah knew the answer to help restore them would be to rebuild the wall.He desired this dream so much that he wept and fasted before the Lord.

Nehemiah counted the cost of what pursuing this dream would mean.He had a cushy job as King Artaxerxes cupbearer but the dream was greater.

One day while giving the king his wine King Artaxerxes asked,”Why do you look so sad?You’re not sick.Something must be bothering you."Nehemiah 2:2.Nehemiah's heart skipped a beat.Perhaps this might be an open door.With fear he replied back to the king, "Your Majesty, I hope you live forever!I feel sad because the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and its gates have been burned down."Nehemiah 2:3.

Nehemiah had said it.It was out in the open.How would King Artaxerxes respond?

“The king asked, ‘What do you want me to do?’”Nehemiah 2:4.

Oh boy!Gulp!Nehemiah prayed a quick prayer and answered, “Sir, if it’s all right with you please send me back to Judah, so that I can rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”Nehemiah 2:5.

That's how the dream began to unfold.Nehemiah was now in Jerusalem scanning the people and the materials he had to work with.It would be tough but God was with him.

Another unexpected hurdle was this man, Sanballat.Whenever Nehemiah made any progress he was there to ridicule, mock, do whatever he could to discourage these workers Nehemiah had routed.

This one particular day Sanballat was incensed.He shouted, "What is this feeble bunch of Jews trying tro do?Are they going to rebuild the wall and offer sacrifices all in one day?Do they think they can make something out of this pile of scorched stones?"Nehemiah 4:2.

Nehemiah, knowing his dream came from God and with the authority of King Artaxerxes letters, smiled to himself, "Yes, with these burnt stones we will rebuild the wall."

When I was young in the ministry, I had two men who greatly influenced me.One was one of my professors at Bible college.He began to teach my first year of college.He came into the school with much hype and I was truly excited.Since I decided to get my college education a couple of years after my high school graduation, I was convinced that this man's arrival at my school was ordained by God for such a time as this.

Being a woman I wasn't one of the obvious chosen few to be influenced by this man.But he saw something in me.

From the first day he began his tenure at my college he began something that interested me greatly.It was a 7 a.m. morning prayer meeting with the purpose of praying specifically for the coming youth revival of the 1990's and laborers to bring this revival about.This was January, 1984.

Every morning that semester you could find him and I and a handful of others faithfully praying for these two things.Out of that, this professor's and my hearts were knit together and thus began a mentor relationship.

The other man was the first pastor who gave me my first paid position.But our history went further back than those days I was on his staff.It was one Friday night in June of 1983 at a singles retreat when I first received this vision that I am still waiting to have completely unfolded.It was a call that would disrupt the entire plans I had for my life.The speaker at this singles retreat was this man.

That was just the beginning.Three months later I had finally submitted my will to that first step of the vision I received.I needed to attend Bible college.I knew exactly which one--and it was one I would have never chosen if I had a choice.My parents were not very excited about that decision so they arranged a meeting with the pastor at their new church to have him talk me out of it.This pastor I met with was the same speaker from the retreat.

He did not talk me out of my decision but saw something in me that my parents nor I saw yet.Even though the fall semester was starting in a little over a week, he got me enrolled over the phone so I could begin immediately.

In time I did my internship under him and that led to being hired to a permanent staffpositionI was licensed to preach under him and when I was ordained he flew to my new Virginia home to be part of the ceremony.

Both of these men had great ministries.They were dynamic and exciting speakers.They were men of great vision.These were not average visions either.They believed God for things that were uncommon for ministers to believe for.The fruits of their ministries are extensive.Their lives are evident in my life.

Well, we are in the 1990s and I'm still waiting and praying for this coming revival.There are signs.Everything that I am doing is gearing for this season.

Both of these men, however, are out of the picture.Both have fallen because of adultery.

These days everyone has been affected personally by some leader's fall from grace.Whether it is someone you know personally or one of the televangelists or other well-known preachers, everyone has been affected.

Many teachings are out there now that God is cleaning house.In order for this revival to be ushered in, God has had to shake up the Christian community.

I believe wholeheartedly in those teachings.I know from my experiences that my life has been shaken to the core.I am a different minister.

A great revival is coming. We have been waiting and praying for it.Will God be raising new leaders, like the ones we had in the 1980s?I think not.This revival will come from leaders who are like burnt stones.