October 7 Ezra 7,8; Luke 20

These are a few of our SOAP notes from today’s reading. We encourage you to read and journal on your own first, then join us in conversation about what God revealed to YOU today. Click HERE to go directly to the daily reading if you wish.

Printable reading plan: Life Journal Reading Plan

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ALL Glory is His! | Robin Laney

S~ Praise be to the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me. Ezra 7:27-28 (NIV)

O~ Ezra knew who was leading his journey to Judah and Jerusalem and he recognized that God, not him or the king, had made it all possible. God put it in the king’s heart to support and send this group of exiles. God orchestrated the protection of His people on the journey and the provision gifts and sacrifices through the king. God moved the king to release the people of God who served in the temple from the financial burden of taxes. God opened the king’s eyes to wisdom in Ezra and moved the king’s heart to issue the authority of law to him. Ezra recognized that he was under God’s favor and that his leadership abilities and his courage for the journey at hand was all attributable to his Father in Heaven.

A~ ALL glory to God! Any and every good thing in this world is of God. His Word that feeds us, His Spirit who guides us, His power that equips us, His wisdom that leads us. He can move and change hearts. Any good that is in me or comes out of me is of God, not my own doing. Ezra was so wise to recognize that God’s hand was in every part of his journey. I want to be wise like Ezra.

P~ Lord, You are all. Every good and perfect gift is from You. May Your hand be ever in my journey. May I have eyes to see it and a humble spirit to be thankful for it!

The Hand of the Lord my God | Tara Wiley

S~ [The Lord] has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisors and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me. Ezra 7:28 NIV

O~ In verse 25, King Artaxerxes commissioned Ezra to use the wisdom he possessed from studying God’s word to appoint leadership all across his kingdom. He goes further to say Ezra must teach them with the wisdom God has given him. What a monumental task! Anyone would be overwhelmed with the weight of this responsibility.

But Ezra was appointed for such a time as this. He came from a long line of God-followers who took studying and teaching God’s Word as their life’s calling. Ezra took it upon himself to follow in their footsteps. He was already fulfilling his role as priest and teacher when the king took notice of his abilities and increased his responsibility and impact.

This makes me think of yesterday’s reading in Luke 8: Jesus shares that those who are faithful with what they have been given will be given much more. What a promise! Ezra was a living example of God blessing a man’s diligence in living out his calling.

So now, faced with this daunting task, Ezra moved forward with courage because the hand of the Lord his God was on him.

That phrase is repeated over and over in the book of Ezra. In humility he continually acknowledged that all of his success was because of God’s hand in his life. God honored both Ezra’s diligence and his humility. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will exalt you. (James 4:10)

A~ So again today, God hits me square between the eyes: what am I doing with the gifts He has given me? Am I fully using His gifts for His glory? When I think of expanding my gifts with ventures beyond those actions that have become comfortable to me, I get scared. What if I fail? I’m not even sure what it all looks like, these half-sketched dreams in me. But I look at Ezra and am reminded of a few things: first, God’s hand will be with me when I am fulfilling His purpose in my life. So, as I move forward in humility, I can take courage like Ezra and dare to more fully step out in faith. But first, I must be diligent with what is right in front of me.

P~ Lord, let me be found faithful. Let me fully spent for You. Help me understand what that looks like today, and give me vision to see how to prepare for the future.

Broken to Pieces | Kelley Deases

S~ Everyone who falls on that stone [the capstone/Christ] will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.  Luke 20:18 (NIV)

O~  Those are red-letter words.  My Bible does not actually have Jesus’ words all in red, as they appeared in a version I remember from my childhood, but this is Him speaking. And these particular words I honestly don’t recall ever reading before.  I do remember how  “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” (v. 17) but not this one.  I read it over three times, trying to wrap my mind around its meaning.  What I got was this:  No one walks away from an encounter with the Son of God unscathed; we will allow Him to break us/ humble us/ use us, or, in our attempt to stay intact unto ourselves, we will be completely crushed.

A~  I will never forget the time I looked round to find my life utterly broken to pieces.  My first husband had left me, I had a little boy to raise, and my plan for what my life was supposed to be was suddenly off the rails and in the ditch.  But Jesus seemed to enter into that space, see my mess, and begin to pick up those tattered shards.  I can almost hear Him saying, “Now this I can use.”  And, true enough, this girl, who had been disavowed of any notion she could control her own destiny, submitted to the sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes exhilarating, journey with Christ where I let Him lead rather than pursue my own selfish and short-sighted “happily ever after.” Who would have guessed broken to pieces would be the better alternative?  Turns out, our own way leads to being crushed under the weight.

P~  Father, You desire that we would all come face to face with Your Son and be broken because of it.  Broken to where we realize we are helpless and useless except by Your power.  Use my broken pieces to accomplish Your purposes today, and in each day You spread before me.

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Posted on October 7, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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