|Well, yesterday was a blur, and I did not get to write down anything. Today I am excited that it is Sunday! I so love Sundays! I hope you do too!|
Here are a few thoughts from these books:
1) Cyrus, King of Persia- God used this man! In II Chron. 36:23, it says: "Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up." This is again stated in Ezra 1:1-3. The whole book of Ezra, is about some Jews who follow the challenge of Cyrus, King of Persia and go to build again the temple. The book will have the start of it, the delay of it, and the finishing of it... with all of the adversities thrown in as well. It is an amazing book.
2) Adversity- It's a part of life. We don't enjoy it at all, but it grows us into what God means for us to be. I face it almost every week as a Pastor in one form or another. It toughens me to the challenges of life and ministry. You don't work with people without it. In Chapter 4:4,5 we see that "the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building," and in verse 5, "hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose," What God is for.... many people are against! But, IF God be for it, who can be against it?? God is one the side of truth and right and we can keep going forward if we stick to His Word and ministry. This is the real lesson from Ezra!
3) Artaxerxes, King of Persia- The Bible says: Pro 21:1 "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." So it was also with Cyrus and with Artaxerxes. In Ezra 7:23 it says: "Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven;" In this chapter, the king wrote out a decree that the people who were giving all the objections were to supply everything the Jews needed to rebuild the temple and live upon up to one hundred talents of silver (a talent is one hundred and sixty pounds of silver) .... so it was 100 times that amount!! God can turn the tables on those who oppose His work!!
4) Nehemiah- As God used Ezra to tell the story of the rebuilding of the temple, God uses Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of the city. Nehemiah was a layman with an attitude! Here was his attitude: Neh. 2:20 "The God of heaven, he will prosper us: therefore we his servants will arise and build:" What is your attitude? We must have the attitude that God will bless His work. I believe that or I never would have started a church and stuck with it! You can believe that in your life as well. Remember: Phil. 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" God will finish what he began!
5) GOD'S JOY = YOUR STRENGTH- Neh. 8:10 says: "for the joy of the LORD is your strength." We sometimes hear that happy Christians are strong Christians. Certainly a merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but his verse is not talking about our joy, but God's! In other words, when we make God happy, or joyous, it is for our strength! God strengthens those who make Him happy!! "They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength". Not waiting like sitting around doing nothing, but "serving" the Lord; "waiting on Him" like a servant would a master. God gives strength to those who serve Him! Make God happy and you will be blessed! I know that seeing people saved makes God happy!!
6) Esther 4:14- "and who knoweth whether thou art come into the kingdom for such a time as this?" This is our time! We are here for a purpose and must not allow ourselves to be distracted from the purposes of God for our lives!! Esther was raised up to protect her people the Jews. God used her and Mordecai to do just that, and God has raised us up to do something great for him as well.
Well, I think I wrote two days worth of notes, but my time is again gone. I could do this for hours if I had the time. Thanks for praying for my father, he is home and doing much better. He is hoping to attend church this morning. I love my father and mother very dearly. Hope you have a blessed day this fine Sunday morning!! May God bless you!!
Dr. Mike Mutchler, Pastor of Grand View Baptist Church