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Ezra 7 (NKJV)
6
this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, ACCORDING TO THE HAND OF THE LORD HIS GOD UPON HIM.

9
On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, ACCORDING TO THE GOOD HAND OF HIS GOD UPON HIM.
10
FOR EZRA HAD PREPARED HIS HEART TO SEEK THE LAW OF THE LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

NOTE:
May we seek the Lord in this fashion. Ezra was a very busy man with many, many responsibilities. Yet, he insisted that he would SET HIS HEART and SET HIS MIND to know the Lord and His Word as first priority.

It is no good studying the Bible if we never come to Jesus Christ; if we never meet Him as we read it. Martin Luther said, “Scripture is the manger or ‘cradle’ in which the infant Jesus lies. Don’t let us inspect the cradle and forget to worship the baby.”

THE GOOD HAND OF THE LORD IS INDEED upon us, and is in us, today.

Note how Ezra was willing to suffer whatever it took because his mind and heart were FIXED on trusting God, and on God’s will and God’s Word.

Are we willing to take the time to set minds and hearts on the Lord—in the midst of our busy schedules—just like Ezra did? Or just like the Lord Jesus—the Perfect Man—did?

I Corinthians 4 (NKJV)
4
For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.

20
For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

NOTE:
Again, may we not trust in our own self-assessments. May we set our hearts to seek and to know the Lord until we begin to—more and more—see ourselves the way God sees us. We are never called to be justified by our own self-assessment, nor are we called to live based on our feelings.

Once we “know” ourselves truly as God sees us in the Spirit, then we can live by the power of God in our daily life so that His Presence and Power will be manifest to others. Christ in us IS to live... and Christ longs to break through us to the world around us.
~~~

It is SO EASY to judge others—whether they are living for God as compared to me. Well, again, I am not called to believe my own self-assessment, or my assessment of other people.

WE ARE PLACED IN THE DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST by God Himself (I Corinthians 1:30).

Romans 6 (NKJV)
5
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6
knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7
For he who has died has been freed from sin.
~~~

The only way we can KNOW ourselves as God has created us in Christ—as He knows us in the new creation He created—is to follow the example of Ezra and of the Perfect Man, Jesus.

May we come to really know this. Then, we will set our lives to suffer in the flesh to any degree to obey God’s will according to the truth of how God sees us.

I Peter 4:1 (NKJV)
1
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,

NOTE:
I found this very excellent comment from the commentary - John Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament on I Peter 4:1. See below.

"If we are content to suffer, the will does not act; sin is not there, as to fact;

FOR TO SUFFER IS NOT WILL, IT IS GRACE ACTING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE IMAGE AND THE MIND OF CHRIST IN THE NEW MAN; AND WE ARE FREED FROM THE ACTION OF THE OLD MAN.

It [i.e., old man] does not act; we rest from it; we have done with it, no longer to live, for the remainder of our life here below in the flesh, according to the lusts of man, BUT ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD, WHICH THE NEW MAN FOLLOWS."

Vance

2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.

3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave [b] ;
you spared me from going down into the pit.

These verses in Psalms really stood out to me today, they really had a personal meaning to me. I have just received a heart catherization and stint placement, and as I laid there I kept repeating "do not let your heart be troubled". I know that when I called out to the Lord He healed me. Thank you for this verse today, it was just a reminder to me how great God is. Have a blessed day. Peggy

Ezra

You know I need to apologize and point out the problem of a pre-assumed position.

Thinking the book is Ezra's I just assumed he was in the first group back to Jerusalem. Made a reference to "Ezra and company" earlier.

Did not matter that his name was not in first few chapters - I read it assuming that Ezra was in the group. Then comes chapter 7.....

Need to be careful in reading Scripture to stick to what it says and digest the reading. Do not even remember if I prayed before reading early chapters of "Ezra". Not good :(

Guess this is God's way of keeping me humble :)

Ezra

You know I need to apologize and point out the problem of a pre-assumed position.

Thinking the book is Ezra's I just assumed he was in the first group back to Jerusalem. Made a reference to "Ezra and company" earlier.

Did not matter that his name was not in first few chapters - I read it assuming that Ezra was in the group. Then comes chapter 7.....

Need to be careful in reading Scripture to stick to what it says and digest the reading. Do not even remember if I prayed before reading early chapters of "Ezra". Not good :(

Guess this is God's way of keeping me humble :)

oops!
Sorry - do not know why the double post happened.

6Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. 7For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Those are the verses that stood out to me today! Indeed, what makes me different from anyone else? It is nothing I have done, it is all God.

I post on some political bulletin boards and sometimes the rhetoric gets pretty rough, and I find myself judging those individuals who do not agree with me. This book speaks to my heart about how I need to regard those people.

I must remember too not to judge another man's (God's) servant.

God bless all of you.

1Cor4

There was a problem in Corinth. I have read it was due to the Corinthians enamor with Spiritual gifts, but the root seems to be "pride". Those who followed Peter or Apollos denigrated Paul's apostle status. Those that followed Paul exalted him too much. In addition it is causing the squabbling and division in the church.

1Cor4:1 "Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God."

All the evangelists were servants of Christ, but as stewards of God's revelation (gospel)their relationship to brethren was different.

"In relation to the master of the house, the steward was a slave, but in relation to the other slaves, the steward was a master....A steward never owned the property or resource he dealt with; he simply managed them for his master and had to manage them faithfully." - David Guzik

Although Paul says it means very little to him howe the corinthians judge him - the opposite is not true.

"Can, or should, every Christian today have the same attitude? Should we have no or little regard for what other Christians think about us, and just say he who judges me is the Lord? We can only say this, in the full sense that Paul means it, if we are apostles. If the Corinthians were to claim that Paul could not judge them, and that they would simply wait for God’s judgment, Paul would remind them that he is a father to them, and has the right to correct their behavior." - David Guzik

Examples of thinking "beyond what is written":

"Many people today evaluate a pastor or a minister on unbiblical standards. They judge him on the basis of his humor, or entertainment value, his appearance, or his skill at marketing and sales. But this is to think beyond what is written in the sense Paul means it here.

In a broader sense, it is an important lesson: not to think beyond what is written; we must take our every cue from Scripture. It used to be that something was considered Biblical if it came from the Bible; today, people say things are “Biblical” if can’t find a verse which specifically condemns it. This is to think beyond what is written." - David Guzik

After a sarcastic rebuke that is meant to shake the Corinthians out of their prideful state - Paul wants them to imitate him.

"Because they didn’t have printing back then, Paul couldn’t just hand out Bibles. People had to learn the gospel by watching his life. Maybe that wasn’t so bad after all!" - David Guzik

Paul leaves the ball in their court. Which Paul did they want to come? The Paul with the rod of correction (used by shepherds to smack disobedient sheep), or the Paul with the spirit of gentleness? There is no doubt Paul would prefer to come in gentleness, but he’ll leave that decision up to the Corinthians!

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