Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ezra & Nehemiah

I'm in Ezra and Nehemiah today, and here is a thought or two that captured my attention:
1) GOD ANSWERED- In Ezra 8:23, the prophet Ezra is telling about how God answered their request.  They were sent back to Judah to rebuild the temple.  It was not their idea originally, but in an amazing twist of events, God working in the heart of a King, Cyrus, king of Persia is the one who said that God commanded him to build the temple in Jerusalem.  Ezra 1:1-3 (very interesting reading), we see this command of God to the king.  Ezra is the prophet, along with Haggai, and Zerubbabel is the man God uses to build the temple.  But, when they get there, there is opposition to the work.  They pour the foundation, they begin to build the building, and then they are told to stop the work.  They are told that they are in rebellion to the king of Persia (another one now).  So... in chapter 8, Ezra tells the people in verse 21- "Then I proclaimed a fast there, .... that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance."  Now in verse 23, we see the results of this fast:  "So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us."  God answered their prayer and fasting.  Now, here is the thought:  "How serious do you want to be with God?"  Are you willing to fast when you need an exceptional answer from God?  Is it beyond your ability to deny the flesh for 24, 48 hours or more?  Have you ever fasted for 24 hours?  How about three days?  Power with God means denying the flesh.... fasting and answered prayers go hand in hand. 
2) NEHEMIAH- Is my favorite book in the Old Testament!  It is full of leadership principles and tells who dependent upon God Nehemiah was and how God came through for him over and over.  It fills you with faith!  Here are some of my favorite phrases:  (2:4) "For what dost thou make request?  So I prayed to the God of heaven."; (2:8) "And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me."; (2:18) "And they said, Let us rise up and build.  So they stengthened their hands for this good work."; (2:20) "The God of heaven, he will prosper us:  therefore we his servants will arise and build:" (Chapter 3) "next unto him" and "after him", each mention many times; (4:6) "So built we the wall;.... for the people had a mind to work."; (4:17) "every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon."; (6:3) "I am doing a great work"; (6:9) "Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands."; (6:11) "And I said, Should such a man as I flee?"; (6:16) "for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God."; (8:8) "So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading."; (8:10) "for the joy of the LORD is your strength."; (10:39) "and we will not forsake the house of our God."; (13:21) "if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you"; (13:25) "And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying..."  (he was a layman remember.); (13:28) "I chased him from me"; and finally the last verse in Nehemiah: (13:31) "Remember me, O my God, for good."   I love each and every one of these phrases, verses, chapters!  There are so many more I could have mentioned.

Have a blessed day in the LORD.... walk with Him.  Seek His face!  Pastor Mike Mutchler
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