Ezra 6:16 A Time To Celebration

Then the people of Israel–the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles–celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy. Ezra 6:16

People all over the world love to celebrate special events. It is very common for there to be some type of celebration when a building project is completed. This can be with just a simple house all the way up to some large commercial structure. There is a high level of excitement due to the hard work and difficulties often needed to be overcome to bring the construction to a completion.

Once the temple was rebuilt all the Israelites and exiles celebrated the dedication of the rebuilt house of God with great joy.

The level of celebration of the completion of a building will vary depending on the value and importance of the building. The higher the value and importance, the greater the celebration will be. Some buildings will bring about a national level of celebration. However, the celebration is always for something that is temporary. No physical building will last forever.

Believers are to always be in the process of building a temple that will last for eternity. That temple is making new disciples–new believers and followers of Jesus.

Every time a person chooses to turn away from his old sinful past, repent and believe in the saving work of Jesus upon the cross, there is a new temple built for God. The new believer becomes a dwelling place for God that is dedicated to Him. This occurs due to the hard work of prayer and being a witness to someone by other believers.

As soon as one becomes a believer, all heaven rejoices. It is a time for great celebration for all believers with the dedication of a new temple for God.

You most likely have times or events that you like to celebrate, some on a regular basis, some on a one time only basis. One time to always remember and celebrate is when you became a believer, when God gave you a new life and began to dwell in you.

Other times that are equally important is when you hear of another person choosing to believe in Jesus and be saved. Think of the great joy there is in knowing someone will no longer be condemned and heading to hell but is now a fellow brother/sister in the family of God–a new temple of God.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will make disciples for Jesus; that you will celebrate when one becomes a follower of Jesus; that you be a temple for God to dwell in; and that you will know the joy of the salvation God has given you.

Ezra 5:8 Working With Diligence

The king should know that we went to the district of Judah, to the temple of the great God. The people are building it with large stones and placing timbers in the walls. The work is being carried on with diligence and is making rapid progress under their direction. Ezra 5:8

No matter where one goes throughout the world there are always jobs that need to be completed. Work is always in progress to accomplish some task, whether small or great, with many or few people. How well and quickly the task is completed always depends upon how diligent the workers are.

The people around the area questioned the Israelites who were rebuilding the temple of God. The sent a letter to King Darius saying that the people were working very diligently and making great progress at building the temple.

Everyone that has a job, whether paid or volunteered, has to give some time and effort in order to complete it. The majority of people will work at it, but not with a whole heart. They will do the minimum work required to get the job completed. Often many get distracted and slow down on their progress.

Those who are focused and dedicated to doing their work will work with diligence. They will be very careful and work hard to complete the task. Distractions will be eliminated or at least minimized to keep the work moving forward.

Most of the people throughout the world are broken down and need Jesus to be rebuilt into a temple of God. Workers of God, believers, should work in being a witness and making disciples of those people. Diligence and hard work will be what it takes to rebuild His temple on this earth, making disciples of all people in all nations.

As with the Israelites and all believers, God has a work for you to do. Jesus left the earth telling His followers to go and make disciples in all the world. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by the enemy or the temporary things of this world. Put your focus on making disciples wherever you are.

Seek God’s direction and strength in whatever position you are to make disciples, building His kingdom on this earth. Make great progress in making disciples by being His witness and teaching anyone and everyone you can in every circumstance possible.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will do the work God has given you with great diligence; that you will be focused upon the work God has called you to do; that God will strengthen you to complete His work; that many will become followers of Jesus through your work and diligence.

2 Chronicles 31:5 Generously Give The Firstfruits

As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, olive oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything. 2 Chronicles 31:5

All throughout the world are people working to make money in order to get what they want and need. Once that paycheck comes in most people will use all of it for themselves, very few will be willing to pass it on to someone else. Fear of not having enough for themselves causes them to keep it to themselves.

Hezekiah told the people to bring in a generous tithe of all their firtstfruits. The people were very generous in bringing in ten percent of everything that they produced.

With all of the expenses in life it is often very difficult for people to give away some of their money. They do not want to take a chance on their being short of what they need or want. This type of action shows up most often inside the church. The majority of believers are unwilling to tithe ten percent of what they make to God.

In the Old Testament times it was the temple that was the church the people went to in order to gather together to worship God. Today people go to a church building to gather together to worship God. In the same way that the temple needed to be supported by tithes of the people, so the church needs tithes of the people to meet its needs.

Believers need to trust that God can do more with the ninety percent left of their income, than they can with one hundred percent of it. And He can use that ten percent to build the church, supporting the pastors who train the people for ministry. Every believer must be generous in their giving to God.

As a believer, you are to trust God in everything and for everything that you need or want. It is God who owns it all and so it is God who really provides it all. With this in mind, be generous with what He has given you. Pour back into the church blessings of the tithe and offerings so that the church can move forward in building God’s kingdom.

Know that God will meet your needs as you give generously to Him.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will trust God with all that you have; that you will give generously your tithe and offerings to God; that you will see God meet all of your needs; that God will remove all fear of lack of anything.

1 Kings 20:28 God Of The Hills And Valleys

The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.” 1 Kings 20:28

Every person has hills of good times and valleys of difficult times in their lives. When there are difficult times, many think that they are alone and no one will help them. The world thinks that God is gone when there are difficult times occurring.

After being overcome in the hills by the Israelites, the Arameans decided to attack Israel in the valleys. They felt God was only God of the hills and not the valleys. God said He would deliver them into the hands of the Israelites because of their thinking.

The world is quick to attack believers in any way that they can. When a believer is down, the world believes that they are winning, and that God is not strong enough where they are attacking.

Believers will have strong faith in God when things are going great, and they are on top of the hill winning the battles. However, when things begin to get difficult, many will begin to doubt God’s strength and abilities.

It is dark in the bottom of the valley, and one cannot see the big picture. Being in the valley of difficulty may make it appear as if the world is winning the war and that God has left the believer on his own.

God is everywhere and is in control everywhere. He is right beside the believer who trusts in Him while he is in the valley. One can find strength and victory in God, even while he is in the valley of difficulty and destruction.

You will have days of victory in which you feel you are on a mountaintop. Other days you will be in struggles in which you are in a valley and may feel as though God has abandoned you or is not strong enough.

Do not give up but put your faith in God. No matter where you are in life, God is still God, and He is in control. He is God whether you are in a valley or on top of the mountains, in your good and difficult times.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will know God’s presence and strength in every situation in your life; that you will know God is in control of every situation; and that God can deliver you from the hands of the enemy wherever you are.

1 Kings 12:24 Obey God And Avoid Vengeance

This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing. So they obeyed the word of the Lord and went home again, as the Lord had ordered. 1 Kings 12:24

No one likes anyone to do anything wrong to them and will fight back very quickly. When something is done wrong, people are very quick to fight back to make things right and get vengeance. All that is seen is the wrong that had been done. Seldom is the greater picture seen.

God had begun to split the nation of Israel. Some of them were willing to go and fight against other Israelites. God told them that this was his doing and for them to go back home and not fight. They obeyed God and went home.

Being wronged by someone can be very painful and draw out anger against them. People will often desire to strike back and get vengeance for the wrong that was done. In the process of seeking vengeance, many will also do something wrong that gets them into more trouble.

Instead of seeking vengeance, believers must be willing to seek God’s direction in what to do. It is God who is truly in control and knows what the next best move is. He is ready to guide a person on the correct path. He sometimes using pain and suffering to bring about His good, such as when Jesus died upon the cross rather than get vengeance.

Taking the path God leads and obeying Him may sometimes seem painful and unfair, but it leads to greater rewards in the end. Kindness and forgiveness may lead others to repentance rather than war, destruction and ultimately death.

There will be times when others will do wrong to you, and you will desire to get vengeance. Before you strike back seek God’s direction by His Holy Spirit. Be willing to obey God and do what His word commands.

Do not allow yourself to be so angry that you take the path that the world will urge you to take leading only to temporary satisfaction, sin and death. God will use all things to bring about His will in your life to give you life that will last for eternity, not death.

How willing are you to obey God?

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will seek God’s direction in your life; that you will obey God over the ways of the world; that God will strengthen you to turn from vengeance for wrongs done; and that God will reveal the bigger picture in your life.