2 Thes. 3:1-18
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Focus Verses: Ezra 1:1-3
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the
word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus
king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to
put it in writing: 2
"This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: 'The LORD, the God of
heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has
appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3
Anyone of his people among you—may his God be with him, and let him
go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God
of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem."
had used foreign powers to humble, discipline, and purify his
people. Seventy years later, just as he had promised through the
prophet Jeremiah, he used the King of Persia to restore the
Israelites to their homeland. During their years of exile, God had
used prophets and leaders like Ezekiel and Daniel to preserve a
remnant of Israel. These faithful Jews were now given the chance to
return to their homeland.
The first thing those who
returned to Jerusalem did was to build an altar to the Lord. They
reestablished the priesthood, and restored the practices of worship,
feast days, and sacrifices. Zerubbabel led the effort to rebuild the
Response and Action:
is able to accomplish his purpose in my life. The very things that
challenge, humble, and refine me today, God can use to restore and
renew me tomorrow. The most important thing I can do is to seek and
love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
my eyes are fixed on Jesus, I will not need God's hand of discipline
to turn me toward him. If I seek him with my whole heart, he will
sustain me through times of challenge and hardship. When I experience
times of favor and success, I will be careful to make worship my
first priority and concern.
God, you are sovereign. You are able to accomplish your purposes in
the world and in my life. Give me the wisdom to keep my eyes fixed on
Jesus and my heart turned toward you. Help me to seek first your
kingdom and your righteousness, trusting that everything else I need
will be provided. Thank you for your great faithfulness and the hope
of restoration you have given me in Christ. It's in his redeeming
name that I pray. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses: Jude 1:24-25
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you
before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to
the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!
The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others
by Scot McKnight