On December 31, 2010, at the age of 34, I began handwriting the New Testament. My goal was to complete one chapter per weekday, all 260 chapters, in one year. Nine months later I had completed the New Testament and started with Genesis in the Old Testament. I thought that if I continued at my current pace, I could finish by 2015 at the latest. Instead, on June 17, 2013, at the age of 37, I completed the final word… Read more

While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. -Ezra 10:1 The final chapter of Ezra was not one of joy, but of mourning. Ezra and many others wept before the Lord over the sins of their nation. This mourning led to social change, which led to spiritual awakening. It’s interesting to note that in the history of America’s… Read more

3 When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. 4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice. 5 Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the… Read more

There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. -Ezra 8:21 Have you ever fasted? Many of the great leaders of the Bible did. Ezra once proclaimed a fast for safety before leaving the Ahava Canal for Jerusalem. This time fasting was not just personal, but a fast by the community of those returning to… Read more

For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. -Ezra 7:10 Ezra is one of my heroes of the Bible. An exiled priest who helped lead the return of Jews to Jerusalem, he was known for three things–studying God’s Word, obeying it, and teaching it to others. First, he was devoted to God’s Word. This means he had read it, meditated upon it, and… Read more

14 So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. 15 The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. -Ezra 6:14-15 God answered the prayers of the people… Read more

Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, supporting them. -Ezra 5:1-2 Many tend to think the message of the prophets was doom and gloom. This was… Read more

4 Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. 5 They bribed officials to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia. -Ezra 4:4-5 Living obediently to God does not always equal a positive outcome. The Jews who sought to rebuild the temple were discouraged by their neighbors. These individuals even… Read more

2 Then Joshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. 3 Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices. -Ezra 3:2-3… Read more

When they arrived at the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. -Ezra 2:68 When the first Jewish families arrived in Jerusalem, Ezra notes some family leaders gave toward rebuilding the temple. Despite the need to rebuilt their own homes and provide for their own families, these devout Jews realized the need to honor God first. Many argue about giving… Read more

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