Glen spoke from Ezra 8 last week. He spoke of the 4 words: invitation (I feel invited to ….); presence (God’s reckless love …); waiting (what are you waiting for …); and offering (what do you need to offer to Jesus …). Today we look at Ezra 7.
What do you see in this picture? I will cheat and speak first! I see a glass of water. Please describe to me what you see besides saying it’s a glass of water. Half-full, of half empty. Social science has developed theories of what a difference it makes to someone based on whether they believe this is half-full or half-empty. Do you start from a position of being ‘full’ or that one of being ‘empty’? Do you start from a position of abundance, because of what Jesus has done for you, or from not having and hence worried about how fast the level is going towards complete emptiness? Think of Ezra at this time. Jerusalem has been destroyed, the walls burnt down, and the remnant from Babylon are suffering. This is big time for Ezra. However, he didn’t shy away from the vision or challenge. Therefore, as Ezra commitments himself to doing what the Lord wants, the Lord causes His presence to be with him and help him. Ezra 7:6 “the Lord his God helped him.”; 7:9 “God was gracious to him and helped him.”; 7:28 “The Lord has been kind to me.”; “The strong hand of the Lord my God helped me.” I call these testimonies the Lord’s favour on Ezra. He sees it and those around him as well. What did Ezra do to experience the Lord’s favour = obeyed the Lord and did what God called him to do. It is favour and so undeserved. He just gives it because of His love for His children. You and I are eligible for God’s favour because we are His beloved children. Here are a few reminders of how He sees you: Matthew 17:3 “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Romans 8 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ezra 7:28 “The Lord has been kind to me. He has caused the king and his advisers to be kind to me. In fact, all the king’s powerful officials have been kind to me. The strong hand of the Lord my God helped me. That gave me new strength. So I gathered together leaders from Israel to go up to Jerusalem with me.”” Job 19:25 “I know that my redeemer lives. In the end he will stand on the earth.” Isaiah 50:7 “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” You and I need to believe what the Holy Spirit is saying and obey to do it. God will show up to testify through His presence and favour to ensure that His will get s accomplished.
What do you think was the mission that Ezra embarked on through which he experienced the favour of the Lord? So, what’s your mission? What are you on about? Recently I attended some workshop together with Rebecca and Glen where the speaker said something that stuck with me. He said, as a way of knowing what your mission is in this season, you could discover it through answering the following question for yourself: “what is it that causes me to be excited or angry?” He said I may say so many things, but if you listen carefully then I should be talking about some central theme. He challenged us to identify that and pursue it, and allow the Holy Spirit to revolutionize the way you speak and live. For example: Glen = spiritual rhythms Rebecca = prayer Rachel = family and inclusion Casten = loving and encouraging believers What is it that you are on about in this season? Rebecca, Glen and I did an exercise to share what we have been hearing from each other over the past years and came up with what I have just shared. Ask people you hang around often with for what the themes they constantly hear from you.
Last week Glen spoke of the four words. One of them was Offering. I’ve been thinking about this for myself, and will ask you the same question. What do you need to offer or bring to God? When we do offer whatever we need o to Jesus, we then have the privilege of seeing Him shape it the way He wants. This can obviously be a painful experience in eh short term because some times He chooses to chop away some areas of our lives! However, for him to be gloried in our everyday mission, and for us to see more and more of His favour upon our lives, the secret lies in us daily offering ourselves to Him. This could be our time, energy, money and other resources, for which we think we had other plans! Illustration – the bus driver who said words of correction to two teenagers in Mar. True words of life, even though the teenagers didn’t want to hear that. It was good for them.
• The Lord’s Hand
• Believe and do
what Jesus has
1. The Lord’s favour
2. On a mission …
• What are you on
• Can change with
• What do you
need to bring to
• Jesus delights
in your heart
So what ….??
What are you on about …. your mission?
What do you need to offer to Jesus?
Experience His favour in living for Him