Saturday, January 21, 2017

January 21, Ezra 7 God moves the hearts of kings

Much of the Old Testament is historical writings and these books of Ezra and Nehemiah allow a parallel record in the scripture and secular histories. Looking at this chapter in a primarily historical aspect there are some things to note. First is Ezra's heritage. While it happens that scoundrels are born from great leaders, and the opposite is true, I think it more common for families to continue in a line, following after one's father.  Ezra has a very prominent heritage, the list is not inclusive of the whole line but some stand out in history. Specifically of note are Aaron, Uzzi, Azariah, and Zadok. I wonder if the Holy Spirit placed such a desire in Ezra to know The Law or if it was because of his fathers, perhaps a bit of both. This chapter shows how God wanted His people back in Jerusalem, and moved the heart of the most powerful king of the time to make it happen. I find this encouraging in that when it's the right time for Israel to be restored, no matter who is in charge of the world, God is in charge of everything and He can again move the hearts of the powerful to do His will.

Friday, January 20, 2017

January 20, Ezra 6:19-22 Perfect timing for a new beginning.

Most gentiles won't get the subtleties of the timing here. It says in verse 15 that the work was completed in the month of Adar. That's the last month on the Jewish calendar. Now in the first month, the month of Nissan they want to renew the festivals with Passover and unleavened bread. In order to do these the priests needed time to prepare themselves. God timed this perfectly for the temple and all of the building to be complete so that they could start a new year right. We've just started a new year, I see a few people who made a decision to exercise more, I see that every year at his time.  I know some who made a decision to read the whole bible in a year. That's a lot of reading. And there are countless other goals set at the beginning of each year. Keep things simple, we no longer need rituals of cleaning and purification to go to God. This year just spend a few moments alone with God every day. It doesn't matter when or where, it doesn't need to be formal, just tell God how you feel, that's the true essence of prayer.

Today's workout, full body intervals
squat, row, hamstring curl, push-up, lunge, biceps curl, T, triceps extension.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

January 19, Ezra 6:13-18 Working with a purpose

So I really like the humor and turn of events here.  The people that were so opposed to Jerusalem being rebuilt are now being forced to pay for it.
But what I really look at here is the attitude of the builders.  What seems to be the motivetion?  What's th motivation behind most people who set do something for God? Most of the people I've met along life's highway are looking for some personal return.  I don't see that here, I see a genuine hunger to return to worshiping God.  I think that no matter what we do, whether we do it for God or for a group, as soon as my attitude changes to what will I get from this then it becomes tainted. 

Today's workout. Any cardio 30:00

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 18, Ezra 6:1-12 God gets the last laugh

Tattenai was so sure of himself that his accusations would halt the rebuilding of Jerusalem. But in fact king Darius finds just the document that was mentioned, how Cyrus ordered the temple rebuilt.  I really like the humor in this as Darius now tells Tattenai and his friends that not only can they continue rebuilding, but you need to pay for it. 

Today's workout, Chest-shoulder intervals, 
Step, push-up, windmill, Y, climber, triceps.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 17, Ezra 5:1-5 Do what God says.

After the death of Artaxerxes (pronounce; are tax zerk sees), the people resumed the work.  What I specifically note is that two prophets told them to disobey the king's proclamation and go back to rebuilding.  One of the few places in scripture where the people actually heed the prophets of God.  Still the enemies return trying to stop the work, but the workers will not be swayed unless the new king sends a command to stop. Finishing the chapter, Tattenai the governor of a small province doesn't believe they ever had a letter from Cyrus, so he makes a different request to Darius. Notice the difference, the first accusation sent to Artaxerxes searched to see if the Jews were rebellious, the second is looking to see if they ever had permission to rebuild. In the first case we were also told that public officials had been bribed, that isn't indicated here. I think this man Tattenai is so certain that no king would ever allow Jerusalem to be rebuilt that the documents won't be found. 

Today's workout, any cardio 30:00

Monday, January 16, 2017

January 16, Ezra 4:7-24 Evil forces may seem to delay God's plan but will not stop it.

So these Samaritans send the letter and in fact history shows that the people of Judah and Jerusalem were in fact rebellious. he letter is also laces with lies, that too is a tactic of evil, even today so many laws are passed because of lies told which frighten people. Had the king searched a little more some other facts also would have come out but that will happen later. It's unclear just how long the rebuilding stopped, some believe as long as 7 years, we know at least 2 years. Here we find one of those situations which is so hard to reconcile, God is sovereign and has a plan, man is a free agent who can exercise his will. So although God moved the heart of Cyrus to rebuild, it's the hard hearts of men that slows down the work. 

Today's workout. Back intervals, Step, pull-up, burpee, row, windmill, T

Sunday, January 15, 2017

January 15, Ezra 4:1-6 The most dangerous enemy is the one who says he is your friend

This tactic used by the adversaries of Judah is very common, if I flatter someone or convince them that we work towards the same goal I can disarm them.  It's practiced widely today by governments and by Satan. The movements across the globe that all religions worship the same god, just in different ways. The bumper stickers or T shirts I've seen with coexist spelled out in religious symbols. The problem with that is some of those religions at their core advocate killing everyone who doesn't follow their god. At the heart of it all is man's desire to be his own god, to admit that he is not means that there is a standard which man has not established, and cannot achieve. Also note that when these adversaries of God's people could not influence them directly they then went to the government.  Sounds a lot like today's tactics.