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Dear,

Today verses feels me that this is particularly for me, because i am 50% in the way of jesus, balance 50% i am trying to be but i can't,waiting for the GOD grace to getstrengthto follow jesus so iam waitig for a long time, The photo and the verses mentioned above makes me feel that this message isexclusive for me from the Lord. I having a passion that i am with Jesus(jesus is my best friend, my father, my mother my relative, my neighbour and my all).

Thanks
L Deepak.

Hi Deepak, are you new to this blog? I have been gone for a while and this is my first day back reading this blog. Maybe you could explain more by what you mean that you are waiting for Jesus and that you are 50% there. Tell us what it is like in India as well!

I am just back from a Central Asia, and the list of returning exiles in Ezra 2 reminds me of what it is showing others the pictures of the people I met....can anyone understand what these people mean to me? Or are they just faces.

This list in Ezra 2 is like this. All these families are important to God and they are returning home! They speak of God's faithfulness. But do we just see it as a list of names of people who don't matter to us?

Just a thought.

Ezra1&2

Power was off yesterday due to a storm - so I am reposting link on Cyrus for those with an interest.

Cyrus

There is extra-biblical evidence that Cyrus was aware of the prophecies. The first-century Jewish writer Flavius Josephus wrote:

...by reading the book which left behind of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision "My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king over many and great nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my temple." Accordingly, when Cyrus read this, and admired the divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfil what was so written. (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities, xi, Chapt. 1-2)
http://www.templemount.org/secondtmp.html

http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-11.htm
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Return to Israel

I did some quick looking up but was not real successful.

Estimates of total number of Jews taken captive to Babylon range from 10,000 - 18,000.

The roughly 50,000 who returned were labelled as a "minority" of the Jewish Population in Babylon after 70 years. I always thought roughly 50,000 left and 50,000 remained in Babylon - but cannot find the "remaining" number anywhere.

The estimates of actual number returning here in EZRA including women and children are 120,000 to 130,000.

Reasons given for Jews who decided to remain in Babylon was lifestyle and freedoms were pleasant enough that they did not want to go back.

Jewish Encyclopedia mentions that in the Ezra group only people who could prove their genealogies (Jewish ancestral line) were allowed in the band. If so, apparently some people got lax on keeping up with the "family tree" while in Babylon.

In the end, I am reminded that approximatley 2,000,000 Jews came in from the Wilderness to Canaan, the hundreds of thousands of fighting men that were given in census' in past readings, and growth of the nation over time - yet......

this was it. A remnant. Not as bad as Noah's eight, but this is what is left of the Nation of Israel after incurring God's Judgment.


Hi there everyone!

Well, this comment isn't specific to today's readings, but it's something that I continue to be challenged by as I read the Old Testament. Like in 1 Samuel 28, Samuel tells Saul that he has lost favour with God because, (verse 18) he did not "obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites". I continue to be challenged by occasions in the Bible when we read that God has commanded others to kill for him, such as in this passage - it says in the Ten Commandments that this is forbidden. Yet on more than one occasion, it seems as if God wants this to happen?? Sorry if this is a real obvious question, but it's an objection that I often find among non Christians, and I always find it hard to answer when I'm not too sure myself!

Thanks everyone, I love reading all your comments!

Emma x

1Cor1

1Cor1:18 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." NIV

It has been only 2+ years since I was saved. I remember what I used to think about the Bible prior to April 2004:
- for the weak
- someone who needs a crutch in life
- fairy tales, nice moral stories, antiquated.
All this with having never read the Bible.

Got tired of having to fend off agressive Christians - so decided to prove the Bible contradictory or in error. Read atheist websites ridiculing Bible and Christian Apologetic responses. Tried to find bible errors on my own. I could not.

Then one night (actually sat up in bed), and thought - 'What if its true?'. If God created universe, can't He have a book? Doesn't matter how it came about- councils, ancient texts, scribes, etc. Why can't the Creator of Universe have a book to reveal Himself and His plan to mankind?

So decided to change perspective and read the Bible as if it is the Truth. I was advised to just read Gospel of John and Romans over and over. Romans was tough - and did not really get it - (Hence why I did a commentary last month on Romans - If I could explain it in writing, then it would internalize).

But Gospel of John "I got". Read it a few times, checked some archaelogical data, some historical facts, listened to a few commentaries and movies on gospel - and WOW!

If this was true, then Jesus the Son of God and John the writer were saying some pretty radical stuff. Stuff that was not talked about in my Catholic upbringing (1960's). Born from above (again)? Receive Him and Believe in Him is all it took? Verifying Old Testament as pointing to Him (thereby its importance)? If you reject Him, then you are lost?

Well, it became decision time, and I have told that story before in other posts.

But what changed?

How did I go from thinking the Bible was foolish, to taking it seriously as the message and power of God?

John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." NIV

Can only say, 'God was drawing me to Him'. I was giving an honest effort to disprove the Bible, and kept thinking - these Christian Apologists are pretty persuasive. Then when I decided to stop trying to disprove the Bible and read it as if it were "true", it was as if I had put on a different set of glasses. Things made sense. No changes in me - reading comprehension ,intelligence, vocabulary all the same, but.... God had removed my "blinders" to reveal Himself and His plan to me.

Since then, have talked to the wise, the scholars and philosophers (plenty of those in a college town), other religious types (non-Christian) about the Gospel and what happened to me. Sadly, most just want to argue the minutae. They don't get the big picture, or even try to see it.

Mankind wants to come up with the answer. Mankind wants to figure it out, with mankind figuring into the picture somehow. The "foolishness" they cannot accept is Mankind plays no part in God's solution. I often tell these people, "It is not so much if I am right, but what if you are wrong? You owe it to yourself to look at this more intensely and with honesty."

Meanwhile, I figure God put them in my life for a reason. Put them on prayer list and Pray for God to continue drawing them, and for Him to take their "blinders" off so they can see the "message and power of God".

Foolishness

In 1Cor Paul uses foolishness a lot. I know most understand that it is the perceived "foolishness" by man as per verse 18.

Just like the perceived "weakness" of Christ on the cross is wrong when viewed in terms of the Ressurection.
======================================================
1Cor1:27-29 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." NIV

"God isn’t saying that it is better to be foolish or uneducated. Rather, He is saying that the world’s wisdom and education does not bring us salvation in Jesus Christ. “In putting the strong and wise and great to shame, God does not exalt the weak and uneducated and worthless, but brings all of them down to one common level.” (Calvin)

"God has called the weak and ignorant first, but not exclusively; shepherds first, then wise men; fishermen first, then the educated (like Paul, who was himself an educated man)." - David Guzik

“The ancient Christians were for the most part slaves and men of low station; the whole history of the expansion of the church is in reality a progressive victory of the ignorant over the learned, the lowly over the lofty, until the emperor himself laid down his crown before the cross of Christ.” (Alford, quoting Olshausen)

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