A word of hope and encouragement to start the week <3


Is it just me, or has May moved along at a fairly decent pace?

It seems like it hasn’t flown, even though it has not been unpleasant.

I remember back when our kids were at home, May was the new December as our schedule filled up with end of year concerts, programs, field trips and graduation parties with the addition of summer league practice and games. 

But this year I feel like we have enjoyed a steady passing of time and we still have a full week before Memorial Day. I am amazed though at how quickly stadiums and galleries have filled up with maskless people. 

Last night I stood gap jawed as the sports news showed Phil Mickelson winning the PGA Championship and it wasn’t because he is the oldest golfer to win this event. (Good grief…50??? He is but a child) 

No, I was looking at the crowds behind him all practically breathing down one another’s necks, while thinking it was just a few short months ago we lost our tickets to attend the Master’s because of limited viewing. 

I know…we have the vaccine now, but seriously. As one friend pointed out, if 39.6% of Americans are vaccinated, why are 85% walking around without masks? Hmmmmm…

Oh well that is for greater minds than mine to ponder and explain. 

For today, I am marveling at something even more mysterious and wonderful (and perhaps…actually… in line with why things have changed so rapidly….)

I am in the book of Ezra. 

While Cyrus had, in perfect answer to the earlier prophecy that he would do so, commanded that the Jews return to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple. (Pagan King…directed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple to their God and resume worship….in case you missed the nuance there)…some opponents of the Jews convinced another King to force them to stop.

However, they appealed to a third King, Darius, to review the records and lo and behold, he found Cyrus’s original command and proceeded to bless the project with resources and funding and blessing and marketing. 

Ezra 6:22 states that God had changed the mind of the King.

He can do that, you know. He can change people’s minds. Not just people who follow Him, but leaders of countries and kingdoms that are enemies can suddenly be directed according to His will.

Darius writes a letter where he gives Ezra authority, under God’s authority to do what is necessary to restore the people and their Temple and worship. He blesses the project and Ezra and the Jews with his words, his power and his resources.

I authorize you, Ezra, exercising the wisdom of God that you have in your hands, to appoint magistrate and judges so they can administer justice among all the people of the land across the Euphrates who live by the Teaching of your God. Anyone who does not know the Teaching, you teach them.

Ezra 7:25 The MSG

Do you see what is happening here? 

A chain of command is established:

God directs the heart of Darius, King of Assyria

To give authority to Ezra

To come under God’s authority

To give authority to those God has chosen as leaders

To bring justice and His teachings across the land of Israel. 


How do the people of God flourish under the leadership of unbelievers and those who do not follow God?

Well, I see in Ezra this description. 

Ezra had committed himself to studying the Revelation of God, to living it, and to teaching Israel to live its truths and its ways. 

Ezra had committed himself 

<3 To studying the Revelation of God (the Scriptures)

<3. To LIVING it out in his daily life


To TEACHING Israel…God’s people…to LIVE its TRUTHS and its WAYS.

And God’s favor was on him to the extent that a pagan King funded and blessed and acknowledged God’s calling on his life. 

No matter the political or cultural climate…following God by knowing Him and His teachings, genuinely and authentically living those teachings out and then teaching others to do the same…works.

Much to ponder there…much to ponder.

Have a blessed Monday and if you are becoming discouraged, please take encouragement from this word but more importantly APPLY IT!

God is watching over His people as we commit ourselves to studying and living out and teaching how to live out His Word <3

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