September 30, 2022

Jesus shared fully in our humanity and experienced death for us all, so that we may share fully in His glorious victory over death and the devil. Through His suffering on the cross, Jesus Christ completed God’s plan of salvation. We just need to die to self and follow Jesus to experience what He has already won for us. Please open your Bible to Hebrews chapter two, verse nine, and join Pastor Ray Viola as he completes his study of verses five through fifteen.

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September 30, 2022

Jesus shared fully in our humanity and experienced death for us all, so that we may share fully in His glorious victory over death and the devil. Through His suffering on the cross, Jesus Christ completed God’s plan of salvation. We just need to die to self and follow...

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September 29, 2022

In the world to come, Jesus will carry the government on His shoulders for a thousand years. Also, redeemed people, that are presently a little lower than the angels, will be crowned by God with glory and honor. He will then set us over His creation, and we will even...

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September 28, 2022

When Jesus came as a man, He was still divine. Then of what did He empty Himself? He emptied Himself of His divine powers. He did not cease to be God, but He did lay aside His glory and the independent use of His attributes as God. In His life as a God-man on earth,...

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September 27, 2022

Signs, wonders, and miracles were all components of the ministries of the New-Testament believer. No place in Scripture indicates that any of the works of Jesus or His apostles should not be seen today. Gifts of the Holy Spirit, including the working of miracles,...

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September 26, 2022

Scripture often exhorts us to maintain a steady walk with the Lord. The word disciple shares a common root with the word discipline. It takes discipline to follow Jesus, because without it, we risk being pulled away from Him by the constant rip tide of worldly ways....

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September 23, 2022

Christians today are under tremendous pressure to compromise or redefine the truth of the Gospel. Today’s passage begins to address the peril of drifting. The most sure way not to drift is to abide in Jesus, for He is the Anchor of our faith. Please open your Bible to...

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September 22, 2022

Do you believe that Jesus is God? Does Jesus hold a place in your life that is worthy of God? God commands us to be holy for He is holy. As Christians, happiness and holiness should go hand-in-hand. Therefore, compromising on holiness will diminish your happiness....

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September 21, 2022

Worshiping Jesus is a huge issue. It separates Christianity from Judaism on one side and Islam on the other. The worship of Jesus also separates Christianity from cults such as Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. God would never command angels to worship any other...

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September 20, 2022

Jesus is superior to any angelic being, including Satan, for He created them. Good angels worship Him as their God, but fallen angels or demons fear Him, because He sits at the right hand of His Father in heaven on the throne of power. Please open your Bible to...

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September 19, 2022

Jesus is the ultimate authority. He completed the work of atonement after dying on the cross and rising from the dead. Therefore, fellow Christian, get off that works-based, guilt-based, manipulation-based system on which we tend to place ourselves to get right with...

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September 16, 2022

Scripture tells us that by Jesus and through Jesus all things in the universe were created. This defining attribute of deity gives Him authority over all created beings, which includes each and everyone of us. This also means that He knows us all better that we can...

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September 15, 2022

Jesus did not come into this world to tell us the answers to life’s questions. Rather, He came into this world to be the answer to those questions. In whatsoever things we do, Jesus must be our central focus. Please open your Bible to Hebrews chapter one, and listen...

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September 14, 2022

According to Scripture, we are living in the last days , and God has spoken to us by His Son, Jesus Christ, Whom He has appointed to be the Heir of all things, including the universe that He created. Therefore, we should pay close attention to what Jesus said,...

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September 13, 2022

The living God is not silent. He is not an abstract idea or unknown higher power. He is every bit a Person Who intends to be listened to, understood, enjoyed, and obeyed. He has spoken unto us by His Son, Jesus Christ, and His message is for all mankind: Sinful man...

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September 12, 2022

The epistle to the Hebrews is a study in contrasts between the imperfect and incomplete Old Covenant given my Moses and the infinitely better provisions of the New Covenant offered by Jesus Christ. Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, our perfect High Priest, and the...

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September 9, 2022

There’s nothing wrong with meaningful tradition. You see, it is very easy it is for a new generation to come along and take for granted the blessings that previous generations struggled and sacrificed to attain! The Jews didn’t make that mistake: They established the...

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September 8, 2022

“D Day”, the day appointed by Haman’s decree for the slaughter of God’s chosen people in the Persian empire, had finally arrived for the Jews. However, because of God’s mighty intervention, Mordecai’s counter decree had changed that “D” from “destruction” to...

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September 7, 2022

Mordecai could not erase Haman’s command for the Jews to be slaughtered, but a counter edict granted the Jews the right to defend themselves on the appointed day. It is one thing to write a liberating new edict, but quite another to get the message out to the people....

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September 6, 2022

Esther and Mordecai were secure in the king’s court, but Haman’s irrevocable decree was still a threat to the rest of the Jews. Wealth and personal security could never satisfy Esther so long as her people were still in danger. To her, the most important thing in life...

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September 5, 2022

Haman was dead, but his murderous edict was still very much alive. Long after wicked people are gone, the consequences of their evil words and deeds can still linger. Even today, innocent people are suffering because of what was done by guilty people who now lie in...

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September 2, 2022

The Bible contains an unchanging principle of sowing and reaping. Haman sowed anger against Mordecai, and he reaped anger from the king. Haman wanted to kill Mordecai and the Jews, but the king killed Haman using the very gallows that Haman had built to hang Mordecai....

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September 1, 2022

In the second banquet that Esther prepared for King Ahasuerus and Haman, she finally made her request known to the king. She had to delicately and dangerously accuse Haman without incriminating the king, who had approved of Haman’s desired decree of death for the...

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August 31, 2022

God’s providence intervened at just the moment Mordecai was to be condemned to death. Instead of a humiliating death, Mordecai received prestigious honors that Haman coveted for himself. The thing Mordecai wouldn’t do for Haman–bow down–Haman had to tell others to do...

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August 30, 2022

Timing is important. For example, when Mordecai prevented the assassination of King Ahasuerus, his noble deed was recorded in the offical records, but he remained unrewarded for five years. Then, according to God’s perfect timing, the king was reminded of what...

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August 29, 2022

Don’t let hatred and its resulting bitterness build in your heart. Like Haman, you will find it backfiring against you. If the mere mention of someone’s name provokes you to anger, confess your malice and bitterness as sin. Ignoring bitterness, hiding it from others,...

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August 26, 2022

When God’s people prayed and fasted along with Esther, she received remarkable courage and wisdom. Then she courageously placed her life into God’s hands by going uninvited into the king’s presence. Today’s narrative shows how she deftly handled a dangerous situation....

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August 25, 2022

When Mordecai learned the details of Haman’s plan to destroy the Jews, he sent word to Esther asking her to approach the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was easier said than done, because unsolicited audiences with the king could be fatal! Esther wisely...

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August 24, 2022

When catastrophe looms, seeking the Lord’s direction through prayer and fasting will do more than any other response. As we will see in the book of Esther, the Lord heard the cries of the Jewish people, and He will hear your cries for help in times of need and...

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August 23, 2022

After Haman’s promotion, everyone in town bowed to him when he passed, except Mordecai. When Haman discovered that Mordecai’s refusal to bow was because he was a devout Jew, he was furious. Haman’s vengeance would not be satisfied with the destruction of Mordecai...

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August 22, 2022

Haman is one in a the long line of powerful people that have tried to destroy the Jews. It is unclear why Ahasuerus promoted him, or why God allowed it. However, in the end, it was Haman and his sons that perished, and the Jews that prevailed over their enemies---Just...

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August 19, 2022

Ahasuerus chose Esther to be his queen. This orphaned child of Jewish exiles, raised by her cousin in a foreign and hostile land and taken by compulsion into the king’s harem, found favor with all whom she met, and was finally selected to be the queen of the realm....

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August 18, 2022

Mordecai was Esther’s cousin and adoptive father. He was a very wise man that was willing to do that which was inconvenient and uncomfortable. God used this selfless man to save the life of a Persian king and an entire generation of Jewish people. How might God use...

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August 17, 2022

Vashti had been deposed as the Persian queen for disobeying King Ahasuerus. This led to a search for her replacement from among all the virgins in the kingdom. This resulted in the king’s chamberlain bringing a beautiful young Jewess named Hadassah, who took the...

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August 16, 2022

It seems that Vashti was a woman of integrity; however, she probably served Persian gods and not Jehovah. Honesty and moral integrity are desirable, but they insufficient to please Jehovah. It is only His Spirit and the blood of Jesus that make us truly capable to...

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August 15, 2022

After entertaining people of power and influence for six months, Ahashuerus hosted a seven-day party at his palace for all the people of Susa. Wine flowed freely at this event, and, while intoxicated, the king made an outrageous request of Vashti, his queen. Vashti...

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August 12, 2022

The book of Esther does not mention God’s name. Yet it was written to encourage the returned Jewish exiles by reminding them of God’s faithfulness and that He would keep His promises to the nation. Regardless of what is happening in your life, remain faithful to God,...

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August 11, 2022

Nehemiah displayed righteous indignation when he saw what was going on in the Temple when he returned from Persia. There are things that are legal and acceptable in our society that are downright wicked and sinful. To say so is not hate speech. However, God’s word...

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August 10, 2022

After twleve years in Jerusalem, Nehemiah had to return to Persia for a couple years. When he came back to Jerusalem, he found that changes had occurred in Judah that were in serious violation of the Mosaic Law. Moreover, an enemy had established a center of...

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August 9, 2022

During the dedication of the completed wall around Jerusalem, two large thanksgiving choirs continuously circled the circumference of the wall. One group moved in a clockwise direction, and the other in a counterclockwise direction as they praised God while being...

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August 8, 2022

There is a huge difference between being a great singer and being a great worship leader. Good Christian music as a form of entertainment and encouragement has its place, but the purpose of worship is to glorify God and to give Him the honor that only He is worthy to...

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August 5, 2022

The LORD ordained Jewish priests to mediate between God and His people. All the priests were to come from the tribe of Levi. These priests served as types or foreshadows of our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, Who ever lives as the only true Mediator between God and...

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August 4, 2022

God’s gives His children different gifts but one Spirit. This was true in Nehemiah’s day, and it is true now. Whether it is leading the congregation in worship, maintaining the Lord’s buildings, protecting the people of the flock, or any of the other myriad of talents...

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August 2, 2022

After being essentially a ghost town for seventy years, Jerusalem needed to be repopulated after the Temple and the city walls had been rebuilt. Fittingly, the leaders chose to live in Jerusalem as examples for the rest. These leaders had no right to expect the people...

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August 1, 2022

The covenant that the people of Jerusalem made with God affected three major areas of their lives: marriage, the way in which they conducted their business, and the extent to which they supported the Lord’s work. Even today we must see that our marriages, careers or...

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July 29, 2022

Today’s passage records how a nation collectively entered into a covenant with God. It was wonderful for the whole nation to feel that something had to be done about their sin problem. However, without individuals saying, “I will do something about this,” their...

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July 29, 2022

Today’s passage records how a nation collectively entered into a covenant with God. It was wonderful for the whole nation to feel that something had to be done about their sin problem. However, without individuals saying, “I will do something about this,” their...

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August 2, 2022

After being essentially a ghost town for seventy years, Jerusalem needed to be repopulated after the Temple and the city walls had been rebuilt. Fittingly, the leaders chose to live in Jerusalem as examples for the rest. These leaders had no right to expect the people...

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July 28, 2022

The ultimate purpose of reading God’s word to the people was so that they would understand God’s Law. Reading the Word distinctly and explaining it in simplicity are still great needs in the church today. The best way to study Scriptures and to get an understanding of...

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July 27, 2022

When Ezra read God’s word to the people of Jerusalem, the response was moving. In signs of reverence for God and His word, people lifted their hands or bowed their faces to the ground. Sometimes shouts of praise interrupted the reading. Do you still find the reading...

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July 26, 2022

With the city walls rebuilt, Nehemiah recognized that the people of God also needed to be built up. Therefore, he had Ezra read God’s word to everyone. While the city walls provided physical protection, God’s word gives us spiritual protection. Please open your Bible...

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July 25, 2022

Nehemiah recognized that, in order for worship in the Temple to be pure and according to God’s commandments, the priests and Levites serving in the Temple had to have pure, verifiable genealogies. Similarly, if Christians are to truly worship and serve the Lord, their...

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July 22, 2022

Today’s passage contains a list of the names of those whom God had called by His grace out of Babylonian captivity to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. Interestingly, the Greek word for “church” is ecclesia, which means “the called out ones”. Like the returning exiles,...

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July 21, 2022

Though they had completed the wall, Nehemiah wisely realized that attacks would continue. Likewise, we should not be deceived: There will be no true peace until we get to heaven. If you are doing anything for God, there will always be some battle, some attempt to...

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July 20, 2022

Though the Lord had called Nehemiah, He did not remove the challenges and make everything easy. Because Nehemiah’s work was built on a foundation of prayer and God’s word, he knew what he was doing, why he was doing it, and Who he was doing it for. Therefore, trusting...

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July 19. 2022

When Nehemiah’s enemies falsely accused him of trying to make himself king, Nehemiah denied the charges and prayed. He realized that only the Lord could truly deal with his situation. When opposition builds up against you, it is tempting to pray, “God, get me out of...

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July 18, 2022

With Jerusalem’s wall nearing completion, Sanballat and Tobiah were desperate, because their efforts to stop its construction were failing. So, they tried a new approach: They attacked Nehemiahʼs character using rumors, deceit, and false reports. Unjustified attacks...

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July 15, 2022

Nehemiah feared the Lord. The fear of the Lord is a key to living the Christian life successfully. The fear of the Lord does not mean that you are afraid of Him, like He is the neighborhood bully; it means that you are afraid of doing anything that would cause Him...

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July 14, 2022

In the first part of the wall-building project, Nehemiah’s challenges as a spiritual leader were primarily from enemies outside of Judah. However, before the walls were finally rebuilt, he encountered the most difficult and intense kind of problem almost every...

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July 13, 2022

Besides external attacks, the Jews faced internal threats when working on the wall. Judah was the strongest of the tribes, but they began to lose heart in the battle, because they were focusing on their obstacles rather than focusing on God. This is the fiery dart of...

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July 12, 2022

Isn’t it interesting that God’s people often find it difficult to work together, but God’s enemies don’t? There is a Satanic conspiracy against the people of God that is alive and well on planet earth, and his agenda is to steal, kill, divide and devour the people of...

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July 11, 2022

After work on Jerusalem’s wall started in earnest, it was not long until Sanballat, the governor of Syria, started making trouble for the Jewish people. Predictably, any real move of the Holy Spirit or any significant growth in a work of the Lord will soon meet with...

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July 8, 2022

The people of Jerusalem used the dung gate to carry refuse out of the city. Until the Lord takes us home, we inevitably say things we shouldn’t, do things we ought not, or have attitudes that are amiss. Therefore, to help maintain unity in the Body of Christ, we must...

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July 7, 2022

Even a strong, organized leader like Nehemiah needed the help of priests, administrators, and many others (even politicians) to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. No one can do it all alone. Likewise, whatever we do for Jesus involves other people, and it is important for...

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July 6, 2022

When Nehemiah was about to start his work, two prominent men (Sanballat and Tobiah) rose up to thwart his efforts. Likewise, our spiritual enemies do not care much when God’s people just plan, talk, and pray, but when God’s people start doing something, then God’s...

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July 5, 2022

Nehemiah persisted in prayer for four months before the LORD gave him an opportunity to tell King Artaxerxes about his burden for Jerusalem. When the king asked him to speak, Nehemiah was spiritually and practically ready to ask Artaxerxes to allow him to return to...

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July 4, 2022

When Nehemiah prayed, he knew that he was praying to an almighty, sovereign God that keeps His promises. This includes His promises to chasten His people when they are disobedient, as the exiles had experienced during their captivity in Babylon. That is why confession...

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July 1, 2022

There was a time when prayer and fasting were the key resources for godly men and women. Nehemiah was a man of action, but he was a man of action, because he was a man of prayer. We would do well to follow Nehemiah’s example today instead of trying to jump in and fix...

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june 30 2022

Nehemiah was secularly employed as a cup bearer to a Gentile king. Nevertheless, because he made himself available to God, the LORD was able to use Nehemiah in a mighty way. Any great work of God and for His kingdom begins with God doing a great work in somebody...

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june 29 2022

True repentance is a change of heart that produces a change of action and a change of direction. For example, it’s one thing to say, “I’m sorry.” It’s quite another to say, “I’m sorry. I will stop doing it, and I’m going to live differently now.” This is exactly what...

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june 28 2022

After praying and fasting, Ezra charged the people of Judah to separate themselves from the Gentiles living in the land and from their foreign wives. True revival can only come on a personal, congregational, or national level when God’s people are willing to confess...

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june 27 2022

Prayer and confession always go hand in hand. Ezra’s sorrow and remorse greatly impacted the people of Judah. Ezra’s prayer was more productive than a sermon, for when the people saw him praying, weeping, and in mourning, they realized the severity of their sin....

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june 24 2022

As Ezra prayed, he reflected on God’s remarkable goodness and grace, because He brought back a remnant of His people from exile, and He had allowed them to live in the Promised Land again. Once again, Israel had a safe position, a standing in God’s favor and in His...

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june 23 2022

What does it mean to spread out your hands to God? It means that you are not concealing anything. It means when you go to God in prayer, that your mind and soul stand absolutely naked before Him. Ezra went to God with his hands and his heart wide open. He was holding...

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june 22 2022

When Ezra arrived with his delegation, he found that the Temple had been rebuilt, but not the city walls. Spiritually, many of the returning exiles were in bad shape. They had intermarried with the heathen. Immorality and idolatry were rampant. When Ezra learned of...

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june 21 2022

Before beginning the long and dangerous journey back to Jerusalem, Ezra ordered the people to pray and fast. As they humbled themselves before God, they sought His guidance and asked for His protection. As heavenly-bound pilgrims, we also need God’s guidance and...

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june 20 2022

As Ezra surveyed the people that were about to return with him to Jerusalem, he noticed that no Levites were among them! It would have been pointless to return to Jerusalem without Levites: They were the ones that were to teach the Law to the people in word and deed....

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june 17 2022

The opening verses of today’s passage lists the names of people that returned to Jerusalem with Ezra. This list reveals that God specifically notes those who journey by faith. These people left the comforts of Babylon and took a long and dangerous journey to start a...

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june 16 2022

As we come to the end of Ezra chapter seven, we will see that God not only moved King Artaxerxes to fund and enable the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, he also moved the king’s heart to make it beautiful. Likewise, the Lord not only wants to build His Church, but...

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june 15 2022

Ezra prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, to do it, and to teach others. This is the duty of everyone charged to teach the Word, whether they are the head of a household in a family or a pastor or teacher in the church. The key to understanding God’s Word...

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june 14 2022

The first six chapters of Ezra concern captives that returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel. Events in chapter seven concern a second group that returned with Ezra almost sixty years later. Ezra redeemed the time during his days of captivity so that when God placed a...

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june 13 2022

The enemies of God’s people had tried to stop work on the Temple by writing letters to Darius, King of Persia. Their plan failed in a monumental way! Not only did Darius command that they fund the project out of their own treasury, he also commanded them to provide...

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june 10 2022

Judah’s enemies did not believe that Cyrus ever issued a decree for the Jews to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple. Therefore, Judah’s enemies sent a letter that asked for a search to be made of the royal records. While they were certain that no such decree...

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june 9 2022

Not long after work had started on the Temple, many Jews got involved in building their own homes, and lost interest in the Temple. Others were feeling discouraged and defeated due to the constant opposition and attacks of their enemies. It was at this time that God...

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june 8 2022

Our adversary the devil is never going to leave us alone. Therefore, spiritual warfare always accompanies spiritual progress. To deter you, he will try to get you to compromise. To hinder you, he will try to frighten or discourage you daily. He will also try to...

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june 7 2022

Angered by the refusal of Zerubbabel and Jeshua to allow non-Jews to join in building the Temple, the Samaritans sought to stop the construction. They tried to discourage and frighten God’s people by bribing officials to lie about them to King Cyrus, who was funding...

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june 6 2022

When Judah’s adversaries heard that the Temple was being built, they came to Zerubbabel and sought to do him in. It wasn’t when they were building their own houses or doing their own thing. However, when the people were serious, committed, and dedicated to building...

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june 3 2022

New wine must be put into new wineskins, because old wineskins can become rigid and inflexible. However, if you take an old wineskin and repeatedly soak it in water, it can regain its elasticity. If Christian’s are not being continually soaked in God’s Word, they will...

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june 2 2022

The Jewish exiles that returned from Babylon searched the Scriptures for how they should worship and serve the LORD. When they found what Moses wrote, there was no controversy. They had not only returned to the land, they had also returned to the Law of the LORD....

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june 1 2022

Chapter two of Ezra lists the Jewish exiles who returned to Judah. Nebuchadnezzar had deported their parents to Babylon seventy years earlier. This list confirms that many exiled Judeans responded to Cyrus’ decree mentioned at the end of Second Chronicles. It was a...

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may 31 2022

Paul ended his epistle to the Romans with a wonderful benediction and doxolgy. God alone is the source and display of pure wisdom. All glory belongs to Him and to Jesus Christ our Mediator forever. Please open your Bible to Romans chapter sixteen, verse nineteen, and...

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may 30 2022

Paul closed his epistle with a warning about ungodly teachers that might try to worm their way into the Church. Such people try to create a following of their own, and they teach that which is contrary to sound doctrine. Such people and their false doctrines should be...

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may 27 2022

It is a joy to serve the Lord, but that does not mean that serving Him is easy. Multiple passages of Scripture describe ministry as labor using the same word that expresses what a woman does when she brings forth a child. One way or another, people will find a way to...

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may 26 2022

Priscilla and Aquila had the gift of helps, and Paul heartily acknowledged their service to him and the Lord. A church even met in their home. They were willing to risk their lives for the cause of Christ. Are you willing to lay your life down for the cause of Christ?...

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may 24 2022

The fruit of believing in Jesus and obeying His commandments is joy and hope. If we do not obey God’s word, then we will not experience His promised rest. Studying and knowing God’s word is empty unless we apply what we learn to our lives. Please open your Bible to...

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may 23 2022

To resolve differences in within the Body of Christ, Paul admonished his readers to bear the infirmities of the weak. In so doing, we edify others, pleasing our neighbors instead of ourselves. Christ exemplified this in many ways, but especially when He died on the...

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may 20 2022

Today’s passage teaches us the importance of walking in the light and honesty before one another. If something that a brother or sister does really grieves you, and causes you to get tripped up in your walk with Christ, you owe it to them to tell them in a loving,...

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may 19 2022

Because of God’s grace, Christians have a great deal of liberty. However, if we stubbornly insist on our right to do what a weaker believer regards as sinful, our so-called good will be seen as being evil. What does this kind of behavior or attitude say about our...

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may 18 2022

Though, through Christ, we live under grace, this does give us a right to neglect God’s moral laws presented in the Old Testament. Lying, stealing, and adultery are just a few examples of actions that are always sinful. In short, Christian liberty does not include the...

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may 17 2022

We do not live out our Christian experience in a bubble; we are a family. Therefore, we must realize that a very important aspect of our Christian witness takes into consideration the impact that our personal convictions have others, both saved and unsaved. We want to...

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may 16 2022

Within the body of Christ, believers can have very different convictions about some things, and both sides can even use Scripture to defend their position! The sin about which Paul wrote in today’s passage is not about where you stand on any given issue, but about...

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