Ezra 8: Am I Faithful in fighting the Good Fight, Enduring to Finish the Race? Comfort Zone Christian? Rooted in Christ Jesus?

Ezra 8

When God calls me for His business, do I respond, me and my house?

Or do I want to stay in the comfort zone of just doing what I think is the bear minimum, or just do the routine of Church?

… There are others (anyone but me) that can serve God ( in the Church, in ministry of teaching the Word, evangelism, Apostleship…)??

The problem is not new. Even in the time of Ezra, volunteering for God’s work was a challenge that even the people that were mandated to serve in the Lord’s Temple, the Levites, were not easily willing to do so!

Am I willing to adhere to God’s calling for my life? Or

do I still insist that I know better!?

# God help me! May all aspects of my life be aligned according to Your will, May I be a person who pursues Your purposes and may Your plans be my plans!

Revival starts from the people with a sincere & willing heart for the Lord …and all other things will fall into place, including Church leadership.

Vs 18- the gracious Hand of the Lord was with us. The eyes of the Lord searches the earth to find those that have a heart for Him, for Him to show them His strength… (2 Chronicles 16:9 ).

Ezra 8 also gives an interesting type of people called into the kingdom of God. Many are called, few are chosen… (Matthew 22:14 ) but in this case many are called and few volunteer / freely or willingly surrender ALL their life to God for the kingdom.

Leaving everything behind to serve the Kingdom of God. Parable of the rich ruler, that is willing to do all the basics within his comfort zone, but when told to sell all he has and follow Jesus … There arises an issue… It is now outside his comfort zone . Difficult for a rich man to enter heaven…difficulty for camels entering needle eyes (Mark 10:25 ) .

How deeply am I really rooted in Salvation?

When the storms of life come, will I still be standing?

How hard/soft is my heart towards the Word of God?

Does the seed of the Word find fertile ground to take root and bear fruit in my heart and life…?

or am I a person of a heart of rocks, shallowness and easily influenced by the birds ( frivolous things of the world)?

Vs 21 – Even after accepting to surrender ALL and focus on doing God’s work, we still need to fast ( focus more on spiritual things than on worldly / fleshy things) and pray ( nurturing a relationship / communication with the Lord) so as to ensure that we know His heart and therefore do God’s things His way and not attempt to do His things our way.

Like the Apostle Paul, he possibly knew he was called to serve God from the beginning , but without guidance from the Lord, He was instead persecuting the church until an encounter with Jesus and a wilderness experience that set him straight – doing God’s business His way.

Trying to do God’s things our way is the unfortunate place many people and churches find themselves in today. A wonder why some people and Churches seem dead – they have not included the Spirit of Life to be part of their life or Church!

# Holy Spirit I invite You to be part and parcel of my every day life. Guide me in all things.

God likes to show Himself strong by Grace through Faith – by one believing in His Power and that He is able. That’s what pleases Him as it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).

Discernment always required to ensure that we are always aligned to God’s will, purposes and plans. Discernment is basically, what are God’s thoughts on the issue? Vs 16 – men of discernment were also sent to Iddo.

Vs 20 – servants of God all listed by name. Possibly because God has a special place for those that agree to be His servants. He gives them power and authority but also will hold them with greater accountability for the greater responsibility.

Power and authority comes with responsibility and accountability.

Fasting and praying are acts of humility – I can’t, I depend on Him and He can, He is more than able. Like Moses said, we shall not depart from this place unless You are with us Lord (Exodus 33:15).

Faith without works ( of faith) is dead. The true intentions of the heart are shown by our actions – the works that show that we indeed have faith. Ezra chose to rely on God alone than on the king and his men because he had already declared that his God is indeed Almighty and looks after His own.

Our acts of faith in the Lord is usually a powerful testimony to the world. We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11).

The shame I suffer when:

  • I try to do things my way and not God’s way…. when I think that God is delaying and I try to help Him out ( Abraham and Sarah)… Marrying the wrong person, compromising on an issue…
  • I do not understand/ believe that everything is working together for my good so long as I am loving God ( listening and obeying) and are pursuing His purposes… (Romans 8:28)….
  • I don’t want to move out of my comfort zone, possibly out of fear – what will my family / friends / workmates / church members say….?
  • I fear retaliation from the enemy for standing for my faith in Jesus…

Forgetting that…

Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

# Lord, remove my unbelief, increase my faith, give me strength and courage to accept, do and persevere in the things You call me to as I stand on Your Word

… that I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

…that no weapon formed against me shall prosper and every tongue that rises against me in judgement is condemned and that is my heritage as a servant of the living God (Isaiah 54:17).

God empowers His servants to carry out His will purposes and plans that He assigns His servants to. There is anointing, fruits and gifts of the spirit. This is possibly represented by the silver and gold items and utensils that were taken to the Temple for its service.

The gifts ( talents) we are given, we give them back to the Lord as a voluntary offering for service of His Kingdom.

The treasure is weighed possibly because God will want to find out from each of us how we used our talents, did we bury it or were we fruitful and multiplied it >>Parable of the talents.

Church leadership is supposed to guard these treasures (the things of God, the people and their talents ) to ensure that not only are they intact when they are presented back to our Great High Priest ( our Lord Jesus) … But possibly also to ensure that we are also fruitful and have multiplied the impact of these gifts for the kingdom of God, for the glory of God.

There shall be enemies and bandits along our way in doing God’s work. If they persecuted our Lord Jesus, also expect persecutions as his faithful servant.

Vs 31- If God is for us, who can prevail against us? (Romans 8:31)

All of Heaven and earth will move for God to achieve His will purposes and plans that are being worked through us.

We shall have peace even with our enemies (Proverbs 16:7)

Even those we do not know will work for / submit to us us… (Psalm 18:44)

We can achieve great and mighty things according to the power that is at work in us (Ephesians 3:20, Philippians 2:13 )

# In the end, everything shall be accounted for – we shall all give an account of our time on earth. Like Paul, when my time on earth is at its end, may I also be able to say by grace through faith that I have been faithful, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race (2 Timothy 4:7 ).

AMEN!

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