Tag Archives: Ezra

Ezra 5-6; Psalm 95; 3 John

13So, Tattenai, the governor west of the Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai and the others obeyed. They carried out King Darius’ order quickly and carefully. 14So the Jewish elders continued to build. And they were successful because of the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished building the Temple as the God of Israel had said. It was also done to obey the kings Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes of Persia. 15The Temple was finished on the third day of the month Adar. It was the sixth year that Darius was king. Ezra 6:13-15 (ICB)

Many years had gone by since King Cyrus had given a special order for the Temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. At the urging of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, Zerubbabel and Jeshua picked up the work again to complete the project so that God’s people could worship Him in the Temple once again.

But the governors of the land were not pleased. They approached the men demanding to know who had authorized their project; and sent a letter to King Darius to confirm that the men were telling the truth.

They were (of course) and King Darius not only enforced King Cyrus’ ruling, but raised the stakes, issuing a decree saying that anyone who hindered the progress of the temple construction would be severely punished. The temple was completed in record time with the help and finances of the king.

So many years before God set the rebuilding of the temple in motion, even before the Israelite returned to Jerusalem, and put protection in place so that no one would be persecuted for following God’s instructions.

This story makes me wonder about how many different ways God sets up and provides for my own journey and the successes I find well before I am even near those moments.

I am reminded of an instance a few short month after I was married. I found that I needed to leave India unexpectedly due to a change in visa laws. When looking at my pre-purchased plane ticket, I realized that the departure date was three days later than when I needed to be out of the country.

In a whirlwind, I was forced to cancel my ticket and book a flight on the only airline that had seat available in that short notice. I was frustrated because the flight would take me through the middle east and that made me nervous.

Throughout the trip God provided “angels” in the form of flight attendants and seat mates who made the journey much easier than it could have been.

The following day after I arrived stateside, I learned that all of the flights from my original airline had been grounded because of the volcanic ash plume in the atmosphere coming from Iceland. Because the middle eastern flight took a much lower flight pattern, my plane was not delayed at all, and therefore I was still able to honor the visa stipulations.

1Come, let’s sing for joy to the Lord.
Let’s shout praises to the Rock who saves us.
2Let’s come to him with thanksgiving.
Let’s sing songs to him.
3The Lord is the great God.
He is the great King over all gods.
4The deepest places on earth are his.
And the highest mountains belong to him.
5The sea is his because he made it.
He created the land with his own hands.
6Come, let’s bow down and worship him.
Let’s kneel before the Lord who made us.
7He is our God.
And we are the people he takes care of
and the sheep that he tends. Psalm 95:1-7a (ICB)
Often times, this kind of provision and protection is recognized only in hindsight.In the remembering, I’m able to give God His due praise and my faith is strengthened in the difficult times, understanding that He is there for me and will never leave me nor forsake me.
Yesappa, Thank You for having a plan for my life. Thank You for looking toward the future with provision and protection in mind. Thank You for caring for me as your own sheep. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings, Julie
(juliet2912)
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 3 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezra, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Ezra 6, 7, 8; John 21

And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king’s treasury. And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. Ezra 7:20-23

So many people ask me how I do what I do. How do I live in a different country without the comforts of home? How do I travel long distances with my kids and no one to help me? …

My answer is typically something to the effect of: “You do what you have to do.”

The reality is that God gives me His strength and gives me His favor. I can’t do anything in my own power; I can accomplish everything in Jesus Christ.

The Israelites were in a similar position – exiled for years, not much more than slaves, the temple destroyed, their customs laid aside. There was little natural hope for their future. And, yet because of God’s approval, because the God above All gods turn the king’s hearts toward the people, their prospects rose out of the dust and they were filled with joy.

And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. Ezra 6:22

…Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. Ezra 7:6

The favor that this generation of Israelites experienced was supernatural. The Assyrian king completely funded the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem from his treasury; it was an act of kindness beyond what was usual in this time or in any time for that matter. The king’s deed was one of the many demonstrations in the Old Testament of how God loved His people and a yet another foreshadowing of the unmerited gift of grace believers would be able to receive as a result of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, the ultimate treasury emptied for His beloved.

…I [take] courage, for the hand of the Lord my God [is] on me… Ezra 7:28

Because of His sacrifice, I can accomplish everything in Jesus Christ…and, I can be encouraged that His hand is upon me and His favor goes before me in my journey. I’ve been chosen and I can be certain that He will always be with me.

Yesappa, Thank You for strengthening me, keeping Your hand on me, and giving me Your favor. Thank You for encouraging me and never leaving nor forsaking me, no matter how difficult the trials in my life are. Thank You for giving me hope and for raising me up out of the ashes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Ezra, John, New Testament, Old Testament

Gen. 3; Matt. 3; Ezra 3; Acts 3

There were other trees in the garden that day. There was the tree of knowledge–its beautiful fruit, looking so delicious, and ripe and full with wisdom. There was also the tree of life. Genesis 3.

John was in the wilderness, baptizing people after they confessed their sins. He tells those watching, Pharisees and Sadducees, of God’s judgment. John baptizes with water, but tells of someone greater who baptizes with Spirit and fire. Matthew 3.

Unified for a purpose, the people come together to rebuild an altar. When the new foundation was complete, the older priests and leaders wept. Others shouted for joy. Joyful shouting and weeping mingled together, heard from a far distance. Ezra 3.

The lame will walk–leap, in fact. Healed by faith in Jesus’ name. Jesus, author of life. Acts 3.

This morning it reads like a stream of consciousness: the sinful choice in the garden, act of disobedience, knowledge of good and evil, tree of life, repentance and confession of sin, someone greater, a new foundation, faith in Jesus, the power of his name, author of life.

Scripture laid side by side, shows the single thread woven all throughout: Jesus. I see him in the tree of life. He is the someone greater, fulfilling prophecy. A new foundation. Author of life.

That is my biggest takeaway from reading today. Author of life.

Lord, I have searched and longed and hungered for the very thing you came to give: abundant life–found in you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

3 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezra, Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament

Genesis 1; Matthew 1; Ezra 1; Acts 1

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image and likeness…So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. Genesis 1:26-27 NCV

A beautiful love story.

God created me. Created me in His own image and likeness. The pattern He used was flawless and never duplicated. He knows every part of me. I was called good.

And yet, even in the freedom that was given, that perfection was whisked away and I fell. I welcomed drama into His perfect world and our love crumbled. Our connection was severed. He was forced to turn His back to me; yet only for a moment.

He had a plan…

The angel said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20b-21

His name is Jesus. Fully God, yet fully man, come to earth, born of a virgin. His purpose: to redeem and reestablish. His goal: to love. The end and the beginning on a cross at Calvary. Christ paid my debts in death and life. His blood covered me, my faults, my sins, from head to toe. An exquisite, red dress that I continue to wear exposed the sacrifice made to save me. I turned and twirl back into His caring arms. I surrendered to His grace and mercy, my will melding into His. Restoration.

May God be with all of you who are his people. Ezra 1:3a NCV

We are together forever. He in me and I in Him. Our relationship renewed. Jehovah Jireh, my provider. Jehovah Rapha, my healer. Jehovah Raah, my shepherd. He is my sanctification and my righteousness.

Jesus said to them, “The Father is the only One who has the authority to decide dates and times. These things are not for you to know. But when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world.” Acts 1:7-8 NCV

I am waiting only for the marriage feast, the reception to celebrate our eternity together. A time, drawing closer and closer, to when we will be able to walk together once more in the cool of the day. And until that time, I will roam the world telling the mysteries of His everlasting love for me.

And so, one year ends and another begins. A reminder of my new birth, my new creation. A reminder of happily ever after.

 

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Happy New Year!

May 2013 be a year of blessing and abundance in your life!

 

 

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

4 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezra, Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament

Ezra 3, 4; 1 John 5

Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Ezra 3:3 NLT.

Some of the biggest moments of my life were in the midst of fear. Fear is my shame, and I try to hide it by smiles, but it seeps through my pores, and keeps me up at night with worry.

My daughter and I were en route to an event and she told me she was afraid, and I understood it too well. I don’t know if my advice was the best, but it was all I knew:

“Put a smile on your face, and do it anyway,” I said. Fear stops us from living, from moving on, from rebuilding. We looked at Christmas lights at dusk along the drive and I asked her, “What are you afraid will happen?”

I don’t think that half the time I can answer this question myself.

I suppose the enemies who opposed the rebuilding in Ezra had their own list of fears; their fear masked by anger and opposition. It put a halt on another’s rebuilding.

Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work. They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans. This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia and lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne. Ezra 4:5-5.

I think on whatever it is I’m afraid of, or the effects of another’s fear on me–the very limiting force of the enemy.

19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. 1 John 5:19.

I think of the walks I took to doors with gifts and goodbyes in hand, a smile on my face and fear seeping through pores and shaking my voice. Chapters closed with trembling fingers, and new ones were yet to be opened from the oppressive weight of what-if. Fear. Sometimes plans to rebuild are halted.

18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.

20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.

21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. 1 John 5:18-21

The verses above tell me not to be afraid, for the Son of God has come and holds me securely in his hands. And though evil comes so close, and I feel its haughty eyes upon me and hear its voice in my ears, God holds me closer. I can choose to live in fellowship with God, or listen to life-limiting lies from an evil one. Which will take up space in my heart?

Courtney (66books365)

2 Comments

Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament

Genesis 1; Ezra 1; Matthew 1; Acts 1

I fell asleep about an hour before midnight. I didn’t see the new year turn over, can’t say if the neighbors set off fireworks. This morning, musing over texts and Facebook statuses of happy new year wishes, I think about beginnings again and resolutions and hope for what’s to come.

The start of a reading plan takes me back to the beginnings: Genesis, Ezra, Matthew, Acts.

Creation of the world, rebuilding of a temple, the birth of the Messiah, the start of the church.

I find hope in his pages.

In emptiness, he creates.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:2

His Word is fulfilled, and he rebuilds.

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing. Ezra 1:1

He saves.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1: 20-21.

He knows.

Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart …”Acts 1:24 (a) (emphasis mine)

Father, you can make something out of nothing. You change hearts. You take away fears and you save. And you know what is in this heart. In this new year, I am eager to see what you will do in my life, in my heart. I am excited to go deeper into your word, to fall deeper in love with you. When I am not in control of anything beyond my own actions, I can look to your word and see you holding it all together: You create. You rebuild. You save. You know. You are my peace and my hope. Amen.

Courtney (66books365)

 

5 Comments

Filed under Acts, Ezra, Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament

Genesis 6, Ezra 6, Matthew 6, Acts 6

SCRIPTURE

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. Acts 6:7

OBSERVATION

God’s purposes can not be thwarted. He moves the hearts of those in authority and frees resources to achieve his will. Interference with God is futile. No one can stop his work.

Blameless and righteous, Noah and Ezra walked with God in their days. Both worked diligently as God led them. In spite of opposition they accomplished what God had commanded. God moved the heart of King Cyrus to decree the rebuilding of the temple. Even Stephen’s martyrdom moved many souls toward salvation.

APPLICATION

When we are called to prayer, fasting, or giving  we are working in concert with God toward the changing of hearts and minds. Filled with the Spirit’s wisdom and power our faith enables us to extend God’s grace to others in marvelous ways. A great cloud of witnesses encourages us onward toward heavenly directed goals. We need not worry. God’s got it covered.

PRAYER

Lord, you know what a worrier I am. Help me to pray more and worry less, to trust you and know you have higher ways and purposes in mind. Thank you for the examples of faith in action in the Scriptures that encourage me to live out my faith even when it’s tough. Help me to stand and not to cower. Your awesome power is amazing. May I be ever mindful of the fact that I am on the winning side.

yicareggie

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized