Favor With the King

Posted on

“Artaxerxes, King of Kings, to Ezra the priest, a scholar of the Teaching of the God-of-Heaven.

Peace. I hereby decree that any of the people of Israel living in my kingdom who want to go to Jerusalem, including their priests and Levites, may go with you. You are being sent by the king and his seven advisors to carry out an investigation of Judah and Jerusalem in relation to the Teaching of your God that you are carrying with you. You are also authorized to take the silver and gold that the king and his advisors are giving for the God of Israel, whose residence is in Jerusalem, along with all the silver and gold that has been collected from the generously donated offerings all over Babylon, including that from the people and the priests, for The Temple of their God in Jerusalem. Use this money carefully to buy bulls, rams, lambs, and the ingredients for Grain-Offerings and Drink-Offerings and then offer them on the Altar of The Temple of your God in Jerusalem…

Wading Through the Murky Waters of Being Known

While it would be impossible to have that type of relationship with everyone, there should be a handful of people in our lives that know us. I don’t think anyone is born as an expert on friendship or relationships. We are all wading through the murky waters of being known in a world that values perfection and independence. Sometimes it is simply one moment, story, or experience that begins to bind hearts together in friendship. Everyone has a story, and if you don’t think someone does, then you likely just haven’t heard it yet. Hearing about someone’s struggle with their family, overcoming a health difficulty, or navigating a broken relationship reminds us that we are not alone. It can be scary and intimidating, but we will never truly experience the gifts of community without letting people share in our story…

Restoration in Fields of Devastation

Posted on

“Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate! God has done great things. Fear not, wild animals! The fields and meadows are greening up. The trees are bearing fruit again: a bumper crop of fig trees and vines! Children of Zion, celebrate! Be glad in your God. He’s giving you a teacher to train you how to live right— Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do. And plenty of food for your body—silos full of grain, casks of wine and barrels of olive oil.

‘I’ll make up for the years of the locust, the great locust devastation—Locusts savage, locusts deadly, fierce locusts, locusts of doom, that great locust invasion I sent your way. You’ll eat your fill of good food. You’ll be full of praises to your God, the God who has set you back on your heels in wonder. Never again will my people be despised. You’ll know without question that I’m in the thick of life with Israel, that I’m your God, yes, your God, the one and only real God. Never again will my people be despised…

Seasons Without Deadlines

Posted on

The gaps between where we are now and where we are going can sometimes seem long. When God allows us to see glimpses into our future by placing dreams inside our hearts, we want it to happen now. We don’t really want the waiting period, the time of transition, or the preparation. We would rather walk onto a built stage instead of allowing God to build something deep in our lives. If our focus is on the future instead of the present, we are likely to miss the opportunities God is giving us right now. God doesn’t miss a thing, and He is able to weave each season into our story. What if it took 20, 30, 40, or 50 years for you to see God’s promise come to fruition in your life? …

When You Feel Overlooked

Posted on

Standing before Pharaoh would have held an uncertain outcome at best. If God had not helped Joseph interpret the dream, then he could have lost his life. He didn’t know that this moment with Pharaoh was his ticket out of jail, but God did. If God had not been weaving people’s stories together, then the outcome could have been quite different. Joseph in jail was known by the cupbearer to Pharaoh. If he had not been in jail, the likelihood of their paths crossing might have been low. God was weaving good into each season, even the ones with challenges and difficulty. God knew the preparation that He had been doing in Joseph’s heart as the years passed, while Joseph was overlooked and forgotten. God had not overlooked him. In the place of his greatest despair, God was raising up an influencer who would change nations….