A Plan of God

February 6, 2005
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

Please lift your Bibles high in the air this morning, because you and I need to declare some things to the enemy, because he’s been tripping lately. Do you hear what I’m saying? He’s been trying to come up from up under our feet. But he got to get back up under our feet. Glory to God. This is my Bible. I am who it says I am. I can do what it says I can do. And because of this Word, I am made whole. Because of this Word, I am delivered. Because of this Word, I’ve been set free. Because of this Word, I walk in prosperity. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

If you would, turn in your Bibles with me to the book of Nehemiah. The book of Nehemiah chapter one. Nehemiah chapter one. There’s going to be some interesting things that we’re going to flow with on this morning. Glory to God. When you reach the book of Nehemiah, please signify with a hearty amen.

You know, Nehemiah’s one of those books that sometimes you got to search it out. I mean, the greatest of scholars have got to search it out every now and then. Am I right? Praise the Lord. We can have a good time in church. We are not religious.

If you have Nehemiah chapter one, signify by saying amen. Look at verse one. This is what the Word says:

1. The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,

2. That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

He came and asked the question. Verse three.

3. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach . . .

Does anybody know anything about being in great affliction and reproach?

3. . . . the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

Look at verse four.

4. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

5. And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

6. Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.

7. We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

8. Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:

9. But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.

Let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we come before You saying that we adore You today. How excellent is thy Name in all the earth. The whole world is full of Your glory. Father, I thank You for anointing me to preach the Gospel. Lord, I humble myself under the mighty hand of God today, that You would exalt me in due time. I thank You that the people of God are already anointed to hear the Word of God. We thank You that Satan is bound and forbidden to operate in this place; there will be no heresy–only truth. We bind error in the house of God today. Now Father, hide Your son behind the cross, that Your people would see and hear You only, and not me. In Jesus’ Name.

And the people of God said amen. You may be seated in the house of the Lord.

Listen. I’m going to give you a little history. Nehemiah wasn’t the first of the exiles to return to Jerusalem. First there was Zerubbabel. He had led the first group back more than ninety years earlier. And then you had Ezra. He followed with the second group. And now here we have Nehemiah, and he’s ready to lead the third major return to Jerusalem. Amen, somebody.

But when Nehemiah got back, he came, and he found a disorganized group of people, and a defenseless city, with no walls to protect it. But listen at what I say to you today, child of God. You may be in a similar situation in your life, where you have, or seems like you have, no protection, where it seems like you have no provision; it seems like there’s nothing going right for you at all in your life. But I came today, child of God, to tell you that God has a plan. Look at your neighbor and say, “God’s got a plan.”

Before we can accomplish (listen) anything, we’ve got to first start out with a plan. Amen, somebody. A plan is a method of making or doing something, or achieving an end. A plan suggests that some thinking was done beforehand, and often that there’s something written down or pictured.

Now, before Israel exiled, it had its own language. It had its own king. It had its own army. In other words, Israel had its own identity. Can somebody identify with what I’m saying today? Because there was a time when a lot of you said, “I used to have my own, but now I’m lacking. I don’t have anything.”

But let me tell you something, child of God. As long as you’ve got Jesus, He’s more than enough. Oh, I know I’m talking to somebody. He’s the great I Am in the house of God.

They found themselves in a hard place. Their protection was gone. They had nothing that belonged to themselves. But let me explain something to you. At this time it had, it had none of these things . . . They had none of these things. But what is your lack most? And what’s going on in the body of Christ is, what we lack most is leadership. Look at your neighbor and say, “I need to be led.” In other words, they lacked leadership to show them where to start, and the direction that they were going in, and when they should finish. Glory to God.

But look at your neighbor and say, “Nehemiah.” Who is this Nehemiah? Glory to God. He was a leader who had passion for the things of God. You see, you can’t hang on a preacher that got passion for the things of God. You can’t hang on a preacher that’s been purified (oh, my God) in the house of the Lord, that’s been through the crucible of life, and all the impurities have been burned out. He had a passion for the things of God.

And child of God, let me tell you something. If you are going to make it in this evil world, you have got to get a passion for God. You can’t treat God like He’s a step mother, step father, step brother, step sister. You got to know that He’s God all by Himself.

He had a passion for the things of God. Look at verse four.

4. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

In other words, there was some bad news. How many of you have ever received some bad news? Have you ever received bad news?

Now, this to him is bad news. This may not be bad news to us, because we’re not in this particular era, this particular season. But let me tell you something. You’ve got your own season going on. This is bad news.

And instead of getting on the telephone and trying to call man, he knew who he had to call on. You got to understand something, that nobody can do you like Jesus.

The Bible said that he began to weep. He cried, and he fasted, and he prayed in verse four, because he was deeply grieved about the condition of Jerusalem. And after his initial grief, he prayed, pouring out his heart to God.

You see, Nehemiah put all his resources of knowledge and experience and organization into determining what should be done.

You see, when you go through a dilemma and a problem, you have got to collect yourself. It ain’t time to break loose. It ain’t time to come all apart. You got to collect yourself and get intense and say, “Now God, what is it that I should do?”

He said, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth liberally and upbraideth not.”

When I’m going through something, I don’t want man’s wisdom. I want divine wisdom that can only come from God. Give Him a handclap of praise today.

Look at verse five.

5. And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

Wait a minute. He didn’t just go asking God for nothing. He began to exalt God. He got into a place of exaltation. He began to say, “God, I know that You’re the best.” He began to say, “God, You’re the greatest. There’ll never be any like You.” Oh, my God. I know I’m preaching today. Clap your hands for God. Oh, my God, in this house.

He began to exalt God. He began to get into a place of a love relationship. He began to woo the Lord. Ladies, you know how it is when you get a man that you’re really digging, and he begins to woo you, and your knees begin to buckle. I’m looking to buckle God’s knees. Do you hear . . . Oh, my God. You got to hear what I’m saying today.

Can you woo, woo, woo? He began . . . I don’t know where that came from, but we’re going to go with it. Can you woo, woo, woo?

He began to exalt God. He knew that he was in a hard place. But he didn’t just come saying, “God, this happened. God, this is what’s going on. God, what You going to do? God, we in a state. Oh, my God. Oh, Father. Lord, why? Why?”

No. He began to say, “How excellent is Thy Name in all of the earth. The whole world is full of Your glory. Oh, my God, I extol You.” He was talking to God. He fasted, and he prayed for several days. Look at your neighbor and say, “Several days.” In other words, he was expressing his sorrow for Israel’s sin. And he demonstrated the effective element of prayer.

There are effective elements of prayer. You need to hear this. Because a lot of times people get into a situation that it will not break unless you fast and pray and praise and worship. Have you ever had a stronghold in your life that seemed insurmountable, that it could never be broken? Let me tell you something. The Bible says the Word of God is like a hammer. The Bible said the Word of God is a two-edged sword. Oh, my God. I know I’m talking to somebody.

There are effective elements of prayer. Because I don’t know about you. I don’t feel like talking to God if I know I’m not going to get no results. You see, when I talk to God, I’m not just talking just to be talking. I’m not one of those that just talks just to be talking. When I’m talking, I’m trying to say something. Do you hear what I’m saying? When I’m praying to God, I’m saying, “God, You said Your Word will not return unto You void, but it will accomplish everything You sent it forth to accomplish. I know it’s going to be productive in my life.”

He began to be effective. The first thing he did was praise. And he exalted. The second thing he did was he gave thanks. “Father, I thank You.” The Bible said to give thanks in what? All things. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.

I know you’re going through hell. I know that situation, my God, is causing you to say to yourself, “I just give up.” But let me tell you something. The Bible said in all things to give thanks.

The third thing he did was he repented. Did he do something wrong? Did the Bible say that he did something? No, no, no, no, no. But the Bible talks about us being one. When you become one (oh, my God) in the body of Christ, you may not be in sin, but your brother may be in sin. Don’t go to God talking about, “Father, they’re in sin.” No, no, no, no, no. Tell the Father we have sinned, and we have all come short of the glory of God. “I’m not blaming them, God. I’m . . . “ Oh, my God. I know I’m talking to somebody today.

He began to repent. Number four, he gave specific requests. When you talk to God, you’ve got to be specific. You have to be specific. Don’t come with this mumbo jumbo jargon. Come with the Word of God. Don’t you know He has exalted His Word above His Name? Don’t you know that can nothing stop the Word of God? It has creative power. It has power to rearrange and change your situation.

He was ready to roll up his sleeves. He wasn’t just saying, “Look at the condition, God.” He prayed, and then he went to the condition, and he began to roll up his sleeves. You see, faith without works is dead. You see, I can pray all I want to, but I need to put some legs sometimes to these prayers. Don’t you know that I need to learn how to sweat?

The Bible said when Jesus prayed, sweat like drops of blood came from His forehead. And after a while when He finally said, “Not My will, but Thine will be done,” the Bible said He left praying and went on to accomplish the mission. I’m going to somebody, because you’ve been praying, but you ain’t been doing nothing.

He was committed. He was committed. Look at your neighbor and say, “You need to committed.” Verse eleven, look at what it says.

11. O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer.

It’s amazing how God had him in such a unique position. He was the cupbearer to the king. In other words, he ensured the safety and the quality of the king’s drink and his food. He had access to the king, and therefore, he looked for right opportunity to tell the king about God’s people.

Don’t you know that sometimes when you’re going through something, you’ve got to form and set up a strategy? Do you hear what I’m saying? You’ve got to set up a plan of action.

Because he had already prayed, and so therefore, when you communicate with God, God is going to communicate with you. You may not hear Him audibly, but you will know in your spirit the right time and the right season to move out into what you’re asking God for.

So here he is in a unique position, the cupbearer to the king, already having access to authority. You see, you’ve got to understand that you have access to authority. Because Jesus said to come boldly before where? The throne of grace, and make your petition known. Look at your neighbor and say, “You’ve got access.”

Look at chapter two, right after chapter one. Look at verse one. It said:

1. And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.

2. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,

You see, the king noticed Nehemiah’s appearance. And this frightened Nehemiah, because it was dangerous to show sorrow before the king, who could execute anyone who displeased him, and anyone wearing mourning clothes. You know, they were barred from the palace, because the king was supposed to always be in a happy state to rule the kingdom. Do you hear what I’m saying?

Aren’t you glad that God is not like man? Aren’t you glad that you can be going through something, and you can come to God (oh, my God), that you don’t have to make an appointment? Oh, do you hear what I’m saying? God is open and available to you–all you got to do is call on His Name. Glory to God.

But you see, let me tell you something today. God had a plan. When God has a plan for you, you will have to take risk. You see, when God gives you a plan, you’re going to learn to have to take risk. Because anything you do in God (glory to God) is going to seem a little edgy to everybody else.

Have you ever seen people that were like kind of over the edge? Glory to God. I’m not kind of over the edge. I’ve done been over the edge. You don’t hear what I’m saying. I’m at the point now where I’ve got to take risks. I’m not the baby Christian no more, to where God just sit there, “Come on, come on. I’m going to bless you like this, so that you won’t leave Me.” I’m past that state. Is anybody past that state in this house?

I ain’t hating on you if you’re still right there, because you still got time to grow. Do you hear what I’m saying? But after while in your walk, you’re going to come to a place where God ain’t going to pat you; God ain’t going to change no diapers; there’ll be no bottles; there’ll be no pacifiers.

God is saying, “Position.” Look at your neighbor and say, “There’s a place of faith.”

. . . there was going to be a risk. We don’t like to risk looking bad to nobody. Oh, it’s just me. We’re not going to take your blame for you. “If you did it, I’m not going to risk my reputation for you. Don’t you know that I am the most anointed Chris Abernathy, the most power . . .” The devil is a liar. I’ve got to risk it for you, for the Kingdom of God. Have to. You’re precious to God. You’re precious to Him. He loves you with a love that you could never comprehend with your natural mind. His love is so deep. It even sometimes gets to the point where it’s mysterious–“What is God going to do next?” Because you know He’s going to bring you out. He brought you out before. It’s just a matter of when. He’s going to bring you out.

He had a plan. And in this plan, it caused Nehemiah to have to risk his life. The Bible says if you try to save your life, you’ll lose it. If you try to . . . If you lose your life, you’ll what? If I’m not worried about losing my life, do you understand how far I can go? The Bible said that Jesus made Himself of no reputation–but His anointing spoke for itself. And He risked it all.

 . . . every time I turn around, Satan’s always trying to put me to shame about something. But I’ve come to the place where I’m not ashamed of anything. Just about there. Now, I can’t see and say that I’m there, because there’s some things that may shame me. I ain’t going to say it and talk out of turn, and then tomorrow the devil . . . The Lord, “Okay. Well, devil, you got permission to turn his world upside down.”

 . . .when I trust in God I can relinquish impressive position. You see, he was in an impressive position, and he was willing to relinquish it.

Have you ever seen people in impressive positions that would do anything to keep that position? Have you ever seen it? Have you ever seen someone in an impressive position tell you something right then, and then somebody else walk by, and then they tell them something else, totally opposite of what they told you? And you’re confused. You say, “Wait a minute, now. You’re the same person that just . . .”

I’m not afraid to relinquish my impressive position, because I trust God. When I trust God . . . We can . . . When we trust Him we can act like true servants, without being insecure and defensive.

“But he can sing better than me.” I’m not ashamed. There are people that are right here that can preach better than me. There are people that are right here (oh, my God) that can raise their children better than me. But I’m not afraid of it. I’m not insecure. Because when I’m insecure, that’s when I become defensive. Oh, I feel the Anointing of God in this house today.

When I’m insecure, that’s when I’m defensive. Do you hear what I’m saying? When I trust God, I don’t have to be that way. You see, a true leader can risk their place of leadership for the purpose of servant-hood.

How many of you know that we’re called to be servants? We’re called to serve. I don’t care . . . I can go down and get down on my knees and go out there and do whatever. I’m called to serve. You’ve got to understand that even the word “minister” means to be a servant. You’re called to serve. I’m called to serve you. I don’t have to be afraid . . .

In Second Corinthians chapter four, verse eight through verse nine Paul says . . . This is what he says:

8. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

9. Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Nehemiah prayed for God’s help. He never hesitated to ask God to remember him. He stayed in a place of consecration from the beginning to the end.

I found myself in life . . . You see, you’ve got to know you. I know me. I know that when I’m transparent I’m helping somebody. But you see, I found myself in life; I wasn’t a finisher. When I started karate I was pretty good, and I was little. You know, but then I didn’t finish it. Do you hear what I’m saying? I started playing football. Did alright, but I didn’t finish it. I played basketball a little bit, you know, that type of thing, but then I didn’t finish it. You see, I found myself not being a finisher. You’ve got to know who you are. But in this thing I refuse not to finish. I’m going to finish my course. Can anybody identify with what I’m saying?

Nehemiah was a finisher. All my life I’ve been told about the potential that I have. “You got potential to play basketball. You got potential. You got potential. Oh, you got potential.” But if you got potential, never . . . And I’m talking to somebody. I’m talking to you, youth. I’m talking to you, children. Never fulfilling my great potential in certain areas that I know I would have blew up, and I would have been big. I wasn’t a finisher.

But as I’ve been formed into the image of Christ, He has worked on those places where I’ve lacked. I got to finish at Columbus State. But don’t you know that I’ve been on the Dean’s List over and over and over? You don’t hear what I’m saying. I’m starting to be a finisher, not in just some areas, but I’m trying to be a finisher in area of my life.

And you got to look at you where you are in life right now, and determine, are you a finisher? Nehemiah was a finisher. The Bible says that they finished the wall in a record sixty-two days. He prayed from the start to the finish. If you are going to be a finisher, you’ve got to pray from the start until you see the conclusion of that thing. Do you hear what I’m saying?

You can’t leave room for the enemy to come in. You can’t leave room at the end to start cruising. Have you ever got to the end of something and started cruising, and Satan like to slipped the rug up . . . Oh, my God. You can’t be a cruiser. Do you hear me? We like to cruise. The word now is “chilling.” We like to chill. “What you doing, Shirley?”


You married people, you may be married, tired of the relationship, and you don’t feel like finishing. On your job, there may a project that you know that’s supposed to be completed, and it may cost you your job, and it makes you slip up on everything, and caused you to have dishonor and to dishonor God, because you’ve done jumped around and shouted on your job about how you’re such a Christian. But now you’re at the end of that thing, and you don’t feel like finishing. It’s time to gird up your loins. It’s time to stand to your feet.

The Bible also not only tells us to gird up our loins, but it says gird up the loins of your mind. In other words, you’ve got to change your mind. Got to say, “Wait a minute. This thing is getting on my nerves. But Satan, I bind you in the Name of Jesus. Father, give me strength.” Don’t you know that if you call on His Name, He’ll give you inner strength? In order to finish something, you’ve got to have inner strength. Don’t you know inner strength is even greater than outer strength? Because greater is He that’s in me that he that is in the world.

Where are you today? God’s looking for Nehemiahs. He’s looking for Nehemiahs. He’s looking for folks that are going to start, and folks that are going to finish. I don’t know about you, but I want to finish this race. I want to finish this race. Because the Bible says they that endure to the what? End.

You got to keep on doing good. The Bible says that Jesus went about doing good and healing all that were present. He went about and completed His good work. You’ve got to go on. You can’t afford to stop now. You’ve come too far. I know that thing is tough in your mind, and things are tough all around you, but He will give you strength. If you ask Him for strength, He will give you strength.

They came up against all types of opposition. They came up against opposition, not only from without, but they came up with opposition from within. How many of you know that you can deal, a lot of times, with opposition from out there, but it’s the opposition that’s in here; it’s the opposition that’s close to you; that’s the hardest opposition to deal with. But he endured with all long suffering. He didn’t allow his circumstances and the situation to defeat him.

Because any time God gives you an assignment . . . Remember I taught you, it’s always going to be bigger than you. This thing was bigger than Nehemiah. He had to have God’s help. The thing that you’re going through, it’s bigger than you are. You’ve got to have divine intervention. You have to. This is bigger than me. I have to have God’s hand. I can leap and shout and jump with the best of them, but if there’s no Anointing, my God, it don’t mean nothing. I’m sweating for exercise. But I’d rather sweat under the Anointing and the Fire of Almighty God. This is what I want.

And it seems like you know, we’re hard, you know, this, that and the other. But we were in your position. Let me put it like this. A lot of us were bad as hell. Oh, you don’t hear me. And it took so much prayer to bring us out of some of the stuff that we should have never been in.

 . . . we want the best for you. Want the best for you. We want you to be finishers. We want you to finish. Don’t give up. Don’t quit.

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