Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!
Kendra Graham NOTES from Ezra 1:1-5
WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.
Vs.1: In the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, in order to fulfill the Word of the LORD, the LORD stirred Cyrus so he sent a proclamation
Vs.2: Cyrus, King of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms on earth and has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem
Vs.3: All His people, may God be with them! Go to Jerusalem in Judah and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel, He is the God in Jerusalem
Vs.4: EVERY survivor, let the men of that place support him with silver & gold, goods &cattle, together with a freewill offering for the house of God
Vs.5: Then the heads of households of Judah, Benjamin, and the Levites arose, everyone who’s spirit God had stirred to go and rebuild the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?
Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow?
Vs. 1: God is WORKING!!! Through that difficult person who seems to defy God, not prove God! HOPE in the middle of captivity! God moves according to His Word.
Vs.2: God is sovereign over all, even brutal kings who don’t know God (this includes the boss you work for, or the family you may be in, or the administration in the local school system your kids go to, even the present day government!) God is in charge, on the throne….(Isaiah 6) when things seem as if they are falling apart, perhaps they are falling into place (Anne Graham Lotz)
Vs.3: God calls His people to do big things and to leave their comfort zones.
Vs.4: God provides resources from unusual places that we could never guess if we tried. When God stirs us and calls us, God will provide!
Vs.5: Often God calls us to specific tasks, specific people, a specific place, and often when He stirs my heart to do and go…. my response instead of getting up and going in obedience is, “But I can’t! This will never work out, it is an IMPOSSIBLE task!” In these impossible situations we cry out to God to change our circumstances and we will believe… and God says, “Oh if you just Believe ME and take Me at My Word, watch what I will do with your circumstances!”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME? NOW APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.
As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.
*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?
Vs.1: Have I forgotten that God is here, in the middle of my circumstances, working things out for my good and His glory? Do I trust Him? Do I know the promises of God’s Word that I can claim with certainty?
Vs. 2: What has happened in my life or in the world that makes me question whether or not God is in charge? When has God surprised me by working through a certain person or circumstance that I thought was impossible?
Vs. 3: What has God stirred my heart to do? Have I the courage to believe and go?
Vs.4: Do I believe God will provide for me? Do I think that even though God called me, I am in charge of making it all work out, and when I look at it, I realize there is no way I can logically accomplish what He has asked, so I walk away?
Vs.5: What am I missing out on because I do not have the courage it takes to believe God and go when He stirs my heart? When has God stirred my heart and then provided all along the way to my amazement? If I have not ever stepped out like this, do I know someone who was called by God to an impossible situation then watched as God provided?
LIVE IT OUT!
Ask God where He is working in the middle of my circumstances, and then ask how I need to pray, what He needs me to do and where He wants me to go. Ask God to stir my heart for His Word, and give me the strength to stand on it, and cling to It, regardless of my doubt. Praise God for being in charge!
Homework: Ezra 3:1-3
Happy New Year from The Cove!
As you step into this new year, we pray you will feel God’s guiding presence.
Following are a few of God’s promises to meditate on and hold near to your heart.
God will show you the path of life. Psalm 16:11
The Lord will guide you always. Isaiah 58:11
God will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; He will counsel you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8
You will hear Jesus’ voice and He calls you by name and leads you out. Jesus goes before you and you follow him, for you know his voice. You will by no means follow a stranger. John 10: 3-5
God bless you!
Photo courtesy of Patty Smith.