Trek through Ezra
Scripture reading for December 4th: Ezra 7-10, Psalm 97, Revelation 4
Key Scriptures: Revelation 4:1-4 “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.”
John was exiled in a prison colony on the Isle of Patmos and was worshiping the Lord when he had a divine revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus appeared and spoke to him and told him to write down everything he would be shown. Following letters dictated to John’s seven churches, Jesus called John through an open door to heaven itself. The voice of Jesus was like a trumpet, calling John heavenward. Jesus wanted to show John the events that would transpire in the future and have him write them down for all believers. Immediately, John was transported in the Spirit from earth to heaven where he was shown God’s throne in all its glory and the events to come. This call heavenward is a foretaste of the Rapture of the saints, also initiated by a trumpet sound.
Psalm 97:1, 6 “The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! . . . The heavens proclaim His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I await the trumpet call for Your people to come to You and to behold Your glory forever and ever. Help me and my family to faithfully successfully complete my journey to You and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Ezra 8:21 “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him a safe journey for ourselves, our children and all our goods.”
Scripture reading for November 30th: Ezra 5-6, Psalm 95, 3rd John
Key Scriptures: 3rd John 4-8 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.”
The Apostle John wrote his third epistle to an elder named Gaius. John was overjoyed that this leader in the church was walking in the truth and leading others in the church to walk that way as well. The believers there were also supportive of other Gospel workers who went out from the church to the Gentiles. They gave towards the work and John commended them. When believers give to support God’s workers, they become fellow workers with them, sharing in the reward.
Psalm 95:6-7 “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You are my Lord and the One worthy of worship. Lead me to work for You each day reaching the lost and help me to support workers who are also working in the harvest of souls.
Ezra 6:22 “And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the King of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.”
Scripture reading for November 20th: Ezra 3-4, Psalm 92; 1 John 1
Key Scriptures: 1st John 1:6-10 “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice he truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”
John was the youngest of the disciples when he began following Jesus and wrote his Gospel and these letters to the church when he was older and more mature. He explained to the church that true fellowship with Jesus brought light, truth, and joy into our life and Christ’s Church. We can’t walk in darkness and truly have fellowship with Jesus. We can’t say we have no sin if we are living it it and cover it up and expect forgiveness and peace. We must walk in the light of Jesus’ Word and confess all sins, repenting and turning away from them. The blood of Jesus cleanses us and we can have true fellowship with others cleansed and walking in the light.
Psalm 92:12-13 “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I desire to walk in the Light of Your Word and have true fellowship with You and other disciples. Help me to confess sin and walk in righteousness and truth.
Ezra 3:11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”
Scripture reading for November 19: Ezra 1-2; John 21
Key Scriptures: John 21: 17-19 “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” and he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything: You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This He said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.” And after this He said to him, “Follow Me.””
The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus persistently asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter had denied Jesus three times and now Jesus was restoring him by asking him to affirm his love. Love is the basis for all ministry. Love for Jesus is the foundation of His Church and disciples would be known by their love for Jesus and one another. It would be for love of Jesus that Peter would die a martyr’s death, choosing to be crucified upside down. Jesus spoke prophetically about this and emphasized to Peter his need to lovingly follow the Master, even unto death.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord, You alone know what is ahead in my life and I ask You to help me each day to follow You, even if it leads to persecution or death. Your unrelenting love draws me to love You more each day and love people into Your eternal kingdom.
Ezra 1:1-2 “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”“
Scripture reading for June 12th: Ezra 9-10, Nehemiah 1-2, Acts 28
Key Scriptures: Acts 28:23-24 “They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.”
The Apostle Paul made it safely to Rome and was placed in a rented house under guard. Many Jews came to visit him and he preached Christ to them from the Scriptures. Some believed and others did not. The power of the Gospel was spread in Rome as God had directed.
Nehemiah 1:5-6 “Then I said: “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and obey His commands, let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before You day and night for Your servants, the people of Israel.”
Prayer: Lord, great and awesome God, Lord of heaven and earth, grant boldness to me today to preach Your word to all You send me to. Amen!
Scripture reading for June 11th: Ezra 6-8, Acts 27
Key Scriptures: Acts 27:22-25 “Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you. So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.”
Paul was aboard a ship caught in a terrible storm. All despaired of life, expecting to drown at sea. But Paul was visited by an angel who gave him a Word from God. All would be saved but the ship would be lost. They were not to be afraid!
Ezra 8:22-23 “For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way; since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek Him, and the power of His wrath is against all who forsake Him.” So we fasted and implored our God for this, and He listened to our entreaty.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for listening to the prayers of your people. You are awesome and we have faith in Your Word. Amen.
Scripture reading for June 8th: Ezra 2-5, Acts 26
Key Scriptures: Acts 26:27-29 “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian? And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am–except for these chains.”
Paul made his defense before King Agrippa and appealed to the King about his knowledge of the prophets. He invited him to believe but Agrippa resisted, saying that he needed more time. Paul stated that his prayer was for him to become a believer in Jesus, whether sooner or later, as well as all who heard him.
Ezra 5:1-2 “Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the Name of the God of Israel who was over them. . . .and the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for prophetic support in preaching Your Word! May prophesy flow through me as I testify of Your Gospel. Amen.
Scripture reading for June 7th: 2nd Chronicles 35-36, Ezra 1, Acts 25
Key Scriptures: 2nd Chronicles 36:15-16 “The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising His words and scoffing at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against His people, until there was no remedy.”
The writer of Chronicles summed up the captivity of God’s people. God had been persistent and merciful to His people. But His people mocked the messengers God sent them and despised His Word. This left them under God’s wrath, from which there was no remedy!
Acts 25:11 “”If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.””
Prayer: Lord, thank You that we can now appeal to You through Your Son Jesus Christ. Keep us from the temptation to despise Your Word and those who speak it. Amen.
Scripture reading for May 8th: Ezra 8-10, Nehemiah 1-2
Key Scriptures: Nehemiah 1:3-4 “They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I (Nehemiah) heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”
Nehemiah was a servant (cup-bearer) to the king of Persia. He heard a report from Jerusalem that the rebuilding of the city and its walls had stopped and the people there were demoralized and in trouble. This caused him to weep and fast before the Lord. He repented of sin and confessed wickedness. He poured out his heart in prayer and opened his life for God’s purposes.
Thankful for men who weep: Jesus Christ, too, wept, over Jerusalem and then offered Himself as the One who would give His life to save His people! “As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:41-42)
Scripture reading for May 5th: Ezra 4-7
Key Scriptures: Ezra 7:9-10 “He (Ezra) had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.”
Ezra, the priest, was a devoted student and teacher of God’s Law. He also diligently observed it as part of his teaching, setting a good example. As a result, God’s hand was upon him and he was called by God to return from Babylon and assist in the rebuilding of the temple of the Lord.
Thankful for diligent teachers: “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2nd Timothy 2:24-26)