Short Inductive Study on Ezra – 4/11/16

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Blinkin Squiggle
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Yesterday I spent hours doing a short inductive study on the Book of Ezra and it was so good I just wanted to take time to share it with you.  If you are unfamiliar with inductive study, you can visit Precept.org for more information and even find a class near you.

Although I didn’t do a full inductive study of Ezra, I still learned so much and the following are my personal themes of the 10 chapters:

  1. God appointed King Cyrus to build Him a house in Jerusalem…; Articles restored
  2. Numbers of those returning to build the house; Priests are removed
  3. Altar restored; Sacrifices made; Foundation completed; Loud weeping & praising
  4. Enemies frustrate building plans; Decree issued to stop building by King Artaxerxes
  5. Building resumed during reign of King Darius awaiting a search of records
  6. Cyrus’ Decree is approved again; Building completed; Passover observed
  7. King Artaxerxes allows Ezra to go to Jerusalem to teach the people the Law of Moses
  8. All who go w/ Ezra; Ezra sends for Levites; Silver & gold utensils weighed & recorded
  9. Many people, priests & Levites have married foreign wives against God’s law
  10. Separation from others & foreign wives; Reconciliation to God; List of offenders 

While I read through the Book of Ezra, I marked God, house of God, King Cyrus, King Darius & King Artaxerxes and Ezra in a specific way so that they would stand out to me as I skimmed back through to see what I had learned specifically.

I could immediately see how often God stirred the hearts of specific people and this reminded me of His sovereignty over everything and everyone.  First I could see that He stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus and in doing a little further study on King Cyrus, I found the following:

1. Isaiah 44:28-45:13:  Cyrus is God’s anointed, taken by the hand to subdue nations before him and open doors before him.  God said He would go before him and that He calls Cyrus by name – He does this for the sake of Jacob and Israel.  He gives Cyrus a title of honor and says he will build God’s city and will let His exiles go free without any payment or reward!

2. Daniel 6:26-28: I see that King Cyrus and King Darius reign over Babylon.

This is always so interesting to me, how the disobedience of the southern kingdom of Israel sends them into captivity under Babylon beginning in 586BC for the next 70 years. It is King Nebuchadnezzar who takes them into his kingdom of Babylon, but it is King Cyrus who releases God’s children after taking over Babylon with King Darius in 539BC.  The prophecies of King Cyrus in Isaiah 44-45 above were given about him approximately 175 years before Cyrus was even born!!!

It’s so cool how God knows him, calls him by name and appoints him to be King and to release God’s people from captivity so they can go back and rebuild God’s house, the city and the wall, just as God said, and God said this even before Cyrus’ parents were born!!!!  

I have more that I learned about God from Ezra – but I will  have to share it another time.  I will add to this post, so check back when you can.

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threehearts2

April 12, 2016 – Continued Notes on my inductive study of the Book of Ezra

To continue with my thoughts from yesterday.  It’s not only with King Cyrus that we see God speaking of knowing him before he was even born.  In my Precept class this morning we met to discuss our first lesson on the Book of Jeremiah and look what God says to this prophet:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5

And as I was typing Jeremiah 1:5 above, God reminded me of Psalm 139 written by King David – listen to what he knew of God:

“My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”
Psalm 139:15-16

Well, these are kings and prophets, of course God has a plan for them and knew them even before they were born.  That doesn’t apply to the general population though, just the special ones…  Right? But once again I am reminded of another part of Scripture that talks about all those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Savior of the world, Redeemer of all who believe…

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
Ephesians 1:3-6

This is so cool!  Not only has God also chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, before we were even born, before our parents were even born, He also did it with a plan in mind for each of us.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10

Stay tuned – there’s more coming!

Blinkin Squiggle

Happy SimplyLiving!

Constance

Short Scripture Study – 3/22/16

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Blinkin Squiggle

“Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead,
the first fruits of those who are asleep.
For since by a man came death,
by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die,
so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
1 Corinthians 15:12-22

I’m so excited to hear my husband read these verses to our family on Easter Sunday when we take time to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead!

But there is not just excitement in these verses about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – There is also a warning to those who have not believed this truth.

What do we learn in these verses if we say there is NO resurrection from the dead?

  1. Not even Christ has been raised
  2. Then all preaching and faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is in vain
  3. We are found to be false witnesses of God because we testify against Him
  4. Our faith is worthless
  5. We are still in our sins
  6. Those who believed in Jesus and have died have perished
  7. Then we are of all men most to be pitied

These verses must have been so hard for Paul to write to the Corinthian believers.  Just making bullet points above of what it would mean if I did not believe in the resurrection of the dead makes my heart so sad – I would have no hope in this life nor in one to come!

And why would these believers in Corinth believe in Jesus Christ, but not in the resurrection?  There must have been such confusion and deception in that time.  But is it any different today? I can hear Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians and one that we should pray over our families today:

“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know
–  what is the hope of His calling,
–  what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and
–  what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead

and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
Ephesians 1:17-23

Now, what do we learn about Jesus from 1 Corinthians 15:12-22?

  1. He HAS been raised from the dead!
  2. He is the first fruit of those who are asleep!
  3. By Him came the resurrection of the dead!
  4. In Him all will be made alive!

This is so exciting and this is the reason we celebrate Easter!  Jesus Christ HAS risen from the dead and when we believe in Him, we are identified with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection!  We are justified before God when we believe in His Son!

Although the sin of Adam has brought about death to us all, Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection has brought about life to all who believe in Him! Hallelujah!

When there seemed to be no way, God made a way through His Son Jesus Christ! Oh, thank You Father for raising Jesus from the dead! Thank You!

Blinkin Squiggle

What are your thoughts about these verses?  How does your family celebrate Easter? Do you have favorite Scriptures to read during your Easter dinner? Do you have a favorite Easter song?  I would love to hear from you in the “Comment” section below. 🙂

Fixing our eyes on Jesus – Have a Happy SimplyLiving Week as you prepare to celebrate Easter Sunday!

Constance

Look for my next post on “How Our Family Celebrates Easter

Short Scripture Study – 2/20/16

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Blinkin Squiggle

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 11:33-12:2

Today we are studying Romans 11:33-12:2 and once again we find God’s Word packed with great application for our day, even with a short Scripture study.  Remember to go deeper in this study at the leading of the Holy Spirit, but I hope that you enjoy the take away and blessing here in this short study as well. 🙂

Let’s begin by making a list of what we learn of the Divine nature of God:

  1. Oh, the depth of the riches of His wisdom and knowledge
  2. His judgments are unsearchable and His ways are unfathomable
  3. No one knows His mind or has ever been His counselor
  4. No one has ever given God something, that needed to be paid back
  5. All things are from Him
  6. All things are through Him
  7. All things are to Him
  8. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

What a wonderful thing to make the study of God’s Word a lifelong pursuit.  It is for sure that any person, no matter how long they should live, would never come to the depth of the riches of God’s wisdom and knowledge.  I have found that God’s Word is revealed a little at a time so that each time I read a verse, I understand something in it that I didn’t understand before and it holds revelation for the season of life I am in.  It brings peace when I am anxious, joy when I am sad, truth and conviction when I am in sin, wisdom for my confusion, cleansing for my unrighteousness; and so much more.  With Paul I say, “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”

Who can question or doubt God’s judgments, His ways, His mind – yet we feel daily that we have this right even though James 4:12 warns us, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?” Often we forget that He alone is the Judge and that His ways are perfect. In prayer I can easily give Him my thoughts as to how I think a matter should be dealt with and truly believe that He should receive my wise counsel!

Can you imagine thinking that the God who created all of the universe owes you something?  These verses clarify that there is no one who has given anything to God that God should have to pay him back.  I think we can get confused in this matter when we begin to think that something or someone belongs to us, as if we created it, but the next thing we see is that all things are from God.  All things are through God. And all things are to God.  It all belongs to Him and He chooses to share it all with us simply because He loves us.  Yes!  To Him be glory forever!  Amen.

Now, what do we learn about us from these verses?

  1. We are to present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God
  2. We are not to be conformed to this world
  3. We are to be transformed by the renewing our our mind
  4. We are to do all this that we may prove what the will of God is

Again, as we saw in Hebrews 12, we see that Romans 12 begins with “Therefore”.  I have picked up from the last four verses of Chapter 11 in this short study, but in reality, it would be best for us to go back and read Romans 1-11 and then we would truly know why Romans 12 begins with “Therefore” 🙂  Paul tells us in Romans 1-11 what marvelous things God has wrought for us through His Son Jesus Christ, and it’s because of all this, that we CAN present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice that is acceptable to God.  We can because God the Father has drawn us to His Son, and has given us the grace and faith we need to believe all that He says about His Son, and about ourselves.  When we choose to accept this grace and faith to believe in Jesus Christ, we are immediately identified with Him on the cross, dying with Him and raising up with Him a new creation.  It’s that new creation that we can now present to God – a living (not dead in sin and trespasses) and holy (not defiled and enslaved to sin) sacrifice.  This is a sacrifice that is acceptable to God and is our spiritual service of worship. WOW!  Look and see what God has done! Amazing Grace!

Now we can see why it is so important that we not take this new living and holy sacrifice that has been raised up with Jesus from the dead and conform it to the world – as it was before.  But instead as the Body of Christ, we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, by reading God’s Word and obeying what it says.  By walking by the Spirit and not by our flesh, and in doing this we prove what the will of God is for each of us, that which is good and acceptable and perfect for each one of us.  His will is that we walk as Jesus walked and we love God and others as ourselves.

Blinkin Squiggle

What are your thoughts about these verses?  How do they help you?  I would love to hear from you in the “Comment” section below. 🙂

Fixing our eyes on Jesus – Have a Happy SimplyLiving Day!

Constance

Short Scripture Study – 2/17/16

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Blinkin Squiggle

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:1-3

I don’t know how often I will do these, but today will be the first Short Scripture Study EVER.  From now on when you see these horses in your post, you’ll know it’s time for our Short Scripture Study. 🙂

Today we are studying Hebrews 12:1-3 and these verses are packed with great application for our day, even when we do a short study of them.  We could go deeper in our study of these three verses and I encourage you to do so, but wait till you see what our take away is for our Short Scripture Study today!

Let’s begin by making a list of what we learn about Jesus:

  1. He is the author and perfecter of our faith
  2. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross
  3. He despised the shame
  4. He has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
  5. He endured such hostility by sinners against Himself

It is so good to know that Jesus is the One who gave us faith and He is the one who will perfect our faith.  As we spend time with our Lord daily, in His Word, in prayer and in obedience to Him, we don’t have to worry about growing in our faith – “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Jesus, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross and He tells us that we must also take up our cross and follow Him.  It will be for the joy of knowing Him and His resurrection that we too will joy in our hope of eternity with Him as we pick up our cross and follow Him Home.  Have you ever heard Leeland’s song “Holy Spirit Have Your Way”?  You will love it as you sing along telling God how you will lay down your life and pick up your cross – What a joy it is to give my life away to You!  So beautiful 🙂

There must have been great shame for Jesus as He bore the sins of the whole world!  Yet, He chose to despise that shame – push it out of His way, out of His thoughts and focus on the joy to come.  He rejected the very thing, shame, that might tempt Him to not bear our sin for us upon a cross in open display.  WOW!

Our Lord is now seated at the right hand of God in Heaven.  And there He intercedes for us in prayer.  There with this great cloud of witnesses He cheers us on and prays for us to endure until we are called Home to be with Him.

Along with despising the shame, He endured such hostility by sinners that were against Him, while He took upon Himself the world’s sin and bled and died in what should have been our judgment and death!  Thank You Lord Jesus!  Thank You!

Now, what do we learn about us from these verses?

  1. We have a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us
  2. We are to lay aside every encumbrance, and
  3. We are to lay aside the sin which so easily entangles us
  4. We are to run with endurance the race that is set before us
  5. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus
  6. We are to consider Him, so that we will not grow weary and lose heart

Since Hebrews 12 begins with “Therefore,” we need to know what was said in Hebrews 11. It would be good to make Hebrews 11 a reading for today.  There we will find out who this great cloud of witnesses are that surrounds us.  Those saints that have gone on before us and are now face to face with the Lord – and all that they have endured.  It is also in Hebrews 11 that we learn what the joy was that was set before them.  The joy that helped them to endure their own crosses and will help us to endure ours.

It is good for us to know the encumbrances and sin that so easily entangle us.  We are to know what they are so that we can lay them aside and fixing our eyes on Jesus, we will press on toward our goal.

We should also know what our race is.  The reason we are here on this earth.  May we be able to say along with Paul at the end of our lives, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:7-8

Our eyes, our thoughts, our motives should be fixed on Jesus and we are to consider Him and all that He has endured for us on the cross so that we will not grow weary and lose heart in these last days.  This reminds us that we need to seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all these things will be added to us.  We don’t need to worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34

Blinkin Squiggle

What are your thoughts about these verses?  How do they help you?  I would love to hear from you in the “Comment” section below. 🙂

Fixing our eyes on Jesus – Have a Happy SimplyLiving Day!

Constance