Ezra

Tuesday Devotional: Ezra 5

bibleRead Ezra 5

God is a creator, and, if we were designed in His image, we are creators as well. We were designed to design and create beautiful things worthy of a Holy God, reflective of His perfection. The issue is not that we have an inherent gift and desire to create. The issue is why we create. Sin makes us want to create so that we can become to focal point of worship. We create so that WE can make a name for ourselves, so that we can be remembered, so that we can obtain approval and value. Sin drives us to create a new thing, something that can add to something that already exists.

Ultimately this approach to creation tends to reveal the worst in us. Creation in the hands of sin leads to competition, rivalry, bitterness, pride, winners and losers, life and death. Creation in the hands of sin says, “Look what I did.” Creation in the hands of God says, “Look what God HAS done and IS doing.” Creation with the heart of God never seeks to glorify the self, but seeks to restore what has been lost.

The heart of God gives us an awareness of past, present and future in regards to His creation and reveals our place in that design. We become aware of how things used to be, how things should be and how we can create in order to bring this world back to God, not further distance from Him. A Christian with the heart of the Gospel is always restoring the world to Jesus Christ. Every creation should redirect people to what was lost by the first man and what was gloriously restored in the second man.

45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. (1 Corinthians 15:45-49)

It is undeniable that we were designed to create and we have all been blessed with different skills and gifts in order to create. Creation is of God. Self-glorification is not. We cannot create for our own glory and simultaneously glorify the living God. This is impossible. Creation of God and for God reflects what HE created and lost through the sin of man and what lengths He went to in order to restore the sight to the blind. Until we create as a process of restoration we will never create anything worthy of the resurrection.

Tuesday Devotional: Ezra 3

bibleWhen the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled together as one in Jerusalem. Then Joshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses, the man of God. Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices. Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day. After that, they presented the regular burnt offerings, the New Moon sacrifices and the sacrifices for all the appointed sacred festivals of the Lord, as well as those brought as freewill offerings to the Lord. On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, though the foundation of the Lord’s temple had not yet been laid.

Any time we take a strong position on an idea or anything in which we firmly believe, there will be those that do not share our position.  When facing this opposition it can be difficult to uphold or sustain our faith in what we believe.  It can be difficult if we do not find complete joy in the faith we profess to those who disagree.  The feeling of intimidation at opposition toward something you believe is only felt if your faith was resting at least  partly on others sharing your faith and supporting you in it.  That is, underneath your faith, there remained an element of insecurity that desired the approval of others.  On the other hand, if what you have faith in is your sole source of joy, regardless of how many people either agree or disagree with your position, your faith will remain unshaken.  Faith in God is not a matter of working your way up a ladder of knowledge or education in the Lord.  The foundation of one’s faith has very little to do with background.  It has everything to do with experience.  And to experience the living God is to experience the truest and most complete reason to worship and celebrate.  Having found and experienced God, one does not need to know every detail about the word.  One must only know that the word of God is good because he is good, and that his gospel is the only truly “good news.” With this assurance we may stand and act in faith, regardless of outside attitudes.