We know the promises are true. We know the reason is love. We know that victory belongs to the Lord. We know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
So are you ready? Are you prepared? Are you read up? Are you filled up?
Have you decided? Have you chosen? Have you submitted? Have you received?
We are to be ready in and out of season! We are to put on the full armor of God! We are to be spirit filled! Let’s live out our lives transformed! Let’s allow our infilling to overflow into the lives of all the people God has brought into our lives! Let’s be conduits of God to all the people God has brought into our lives to be our mission field.
What if today someone comes to you looking for hope? What if today someone comes to you looking for a reason for the hope that is within you? What if today someone comes to you asking for help? What if today someone comes to you with a truth that will change tomorrow? What if today someone comes to you with a truth that will change your situation? Are you going to be ready? Are you going to be read up? Are you going to be prayed up? Are you going to be filled up? Are you ready?
Will you be ready when the time comes?
Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with Ezra 1:
‘In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom: “This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The Lord , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are his people may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the Lord , the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you! Wherever this Jewish remnant is found, let their neighbors contribute toward their expenses by giving them silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.” Then God stirred the hearts of the priests and Levites and the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord . And all their neighbors assisted by giving them articles of silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock. They gave them many valuable gifts in addition to all the voluntary offerings. King Cyrus himself brought out the articles that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Lord ’s Temple in Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his own gods. Cyrus directed Mithredath, the treasurer of Persia, to count these items and present them to Sheshbazzar, the leader of the exiles returning to Judah. This is a list of the items that were returned: 30 gold basins, 1,000 silver basins, 29 silver incense burners, 30 gold bowls, 410 silver bowls, and 1,000 other items. In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and silver. Sheshbazzar brought all of these along when the exiles went from Babylon to Jerusalem.’— Ezra 1:1-11
Today’s reading continues into Ezra 2:
‘Here is the list of the Jewish exiles of the provinces who returned from their captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar had deported them to Babylon, but now they returned to Jerusalem and the other towns in Judah where they originally lived. Their leaders were Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah. This is the number of the men of Israel who returned from exile: The family of Parosh: 2,172, The family of Shephatiah: 372, The family of Arah: 775, The family of Pahath-moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab): 2,812, The family of Elam: 1,254, The family of Zattu: 945, The family of Zaccai: 760, The family of Bani: 642, The family of Bebai: 623, The family of Azgad: 1,222, The family of Adonikam: 666, The family of Bigvai: 2,056, The family of Adin: 454, The family of Ater (descendants of Hezekiah): 98, The family of Bezai: 323, The family of Jorah: 112, The family of Hashum: 223, The family of Gibbar: 95, The people of Bethlehem: 123, The people of Netophah: 56, The people of Anathoth: 128, The people of Beth-azmaveth: 42, The people of Kiriath-jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth: 743, The people of Ramah and Geba: 621, The people of Micmash: 122, The people of Bethel and Ai: 223, The citizens of Nebo: 52, The citizens of Magbish: 156, The citizens of West Elam: 1,254, The citizens of Harim: 320, The citizens of Lod, Hadid, and Ono: 725, The citizens of Jericho: 345, The citizens of Senaah: 3,630. These are the priests who returned from exile: The family of Parosh: 2,172 The family of Shephatiah: 372 The family of Arah: 775 The family of Pahath-moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab): 2,812 The family of Elam: 1,254 The family of Zattu: 945 The family of Zaccai: 760 The family of Bani: 642 The family of Bebai: 623 The family of Azgad: 1,222 The family of Adonikam: 666 The family of Bigvai: 2,056 The family of Adin: 454 The family of Ater (descendants of Hezekiah): 98 The family of Bezai: 323 The family of Jorah: 112 The family of Hashum: 223 The family of Gibbar: 95 The people of Bethlehem: 123 The people of Netophah: 56 The people of Anathoth: 128 The people of Beth-azmaveth: 42 The people of Kiriath-jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth: 743 The people of Ramah and Geba: 621 The people of Micmash: 122 The people of Bethel and Ai: 223 The citizens of Nebo: 52 The citizens of Magbish: 156 The citizens of West Elam: 1,254 The citizens of Harim: 320 The citizens of Lod, Hadid, and Ono: 725 The citizens of Jericho: 345 The citizens of Senaah: 3,630 The family of Jedaiah (though the line of Jeshua ): 973, The family of Immer: 1,052, The family of Pashhur: 1,247, The family of Harim: 1,017. These are the Levites who returned from exile: The descendants of the following Temple servants returned from exile: Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, Keros, Siaha, Padon, Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub, Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan, Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah, Besai, Asnah, Meunim, Nephusim, Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, Barkos, Sisera, Temah, Neziah, and Hatipha. The descendants of these servants of King Solomon returned from exile: Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda, Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel, Shephatiah, Hattil, Pokereth-hazzebaim, and Ami. In all, the Temple servants and the descendants of Solomon’s servants numbered 392. Another group returned at this time from the towns of Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Kerub, Addan, and Immer. However, they could not prove that they or their families were descendants of Israel. This group included the families of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda—a total of 652 people. Three families of priests—Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai—also returned. (This Barzillai had married a woman who was a descendant of Barzillai of Gilead, and he had taken her family name.) They searched for their names in the genealogical records, but they were not found, so they were disqualified from serving as priests. The governor told them not to eat the priests’ share of food from the sacrifices until a priest could consult the Lord about the matter by using the Urim and Thummim—the sacred lots. So a total of 42,360 people returned to Judah, in addition to 7,337 servants and 200 singers, both men and women. They took with them 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys. When they arrived at the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the family leaders made voluntary offerings toward the rebuilding of God’s Temple on its original site, and each leader gave as much as he could. The total of their gifts came to 61,000 gold coins, 6,250 pounds of silver, and 100 robes for the priests. So the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, the Temple servants, and some of the common people settled in villages near Jerusalem. The rest of the people returned to their own towns throughout Israel.’— Ezra 2:1-70
Today’s reading then brings us to Ezekiel 32:
‘On March 3, during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, mourn for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and give him this message: “You think of yourself as a strong young lion among the nations, but you are really just a sea monster, heaving around in your own rivers, stirring up mud with your feet. Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will send many people to catch you in my net and haul you out of the water. I will leave you stranded on the land to die. All the birds of the heavens will land on you, and the wild animals of the whole earth will gorge themselves on you. I will scatter your flesh on the hills and fill the valleys with your bones. I will drench the earth with your gushing blood all the way to the mountains, filling the ravines to the brim. When I blot you out, I will veil the heavens and darken the stars. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give you its light. I will darken the bright stars overhead and cover your land in darkness. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken! “I will disturb many hearts when I bring news of your downfall to distant nations you have never seen. Yes, I will shock many lands, and their kings will be terrified at your fate. They will shudder in fear for their lives as I brandish my sword before them on the day of your fall. For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “The sword of the king of Babylon will come against you. I will destroy your hordes with the swords of mighty warriors— the terror of the nations. They will shatter the pride of Egypt, and all its hordes will be destroyed. I will destroy all your flocks and herds that graze beside the streams. Never again will people or animals muddy those waters with their feet. Then I will let the waters of Egypt become calm again, and they will flow as smoothly as olive oil, says the Sovereign Lord . And when I destroy Egypt and strip you of everything you own and strike down all your people, then you will know that I am the Lord . Yes, this is the funeral song they will sing for Egypt. Let all the nations mourn. Let them mourn for Egypt and its hordes. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!” On March 17, during the twelfth year, another message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, weep for the hordes of Egypt and for the other mighty nations. For I will send them down to the world below in company with those who descend to the pit. Say to them, ‘O Egypt, are you lovelier than the other nations? No! So go down to the pit and lie there among the outcasts. ’ The Egyptians will fall with the many who have died by the sword, for the sword is drawn against them. Egypt and its hordes will be dragged away to their judgment. Down in the grave mighty leaders will mockingly welcome Egypt and its allies, saying, ‘They have come down; they lie among the outcasts, hordes slaughtered by the sword.’ “Assyria lies there surrounded by the graves of its army, those who were slaughtered by the sword. Their graves are in the depths of the pit, and they are surrounded by their allies. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have been slaughtered by the sword. “Elam lies there surrounded by the graves of all its hordes, those who were slaughtered by the sword. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have descended as outcasts to the world below. Now they lie in the pit and share the shame of those who have gone before them. They have a resting place among the slaughtered, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. Yes, they terrorized the nations while they lived, but now they lie in shame with others in the pit, all of them outcasts, slaughtered by the sword. “Meshech and Tubal are there, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. They once struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere. But now they are outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword. They are not buried in honor like their fallen heroes, who went down to the grave with their weapons—their shields covering their bodies and their swords beneath their heads. Their guilt rests upon them because they brought terror to everyone while they were still alive. “You too, Egypt, will lie crushed and broken among the outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword. “Edom is there with its kings and princes. Mighty as they were, they also lie among those slaughtered by the sword, with the outcasts who have gone down to the pit. “All the princes of the north and the Sidonians are there with others who have died. Once a terror, they have been put to shame. They lie there as outcasts with others who were slaughtered by the sword. They share the shame of all who have descended to the pit. “When Pharaoh and his entire army arrive, he will take comfort that he is not alone in having his hordes killed, says the Sovereign Lord . Although I have caused his terror to fall upon all the living, Pharaoh and his hordes will lie there among the outcasts who were slaughtered by the sword. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’— Ezekiel 32:1-32
Today’s reading from God’s Word then brings us the New Testament reading from Acts 20:
‘When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia. While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece, where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia. Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week. On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. Meanwhile, the young man was taken home alive and well, and everyone was greatly relieved. Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus. Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. ‘— Acts of the Apostles 20:1-16
Today’s reading continues into Revelation 12:
‘Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth. Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.’— Revelation 12:1-6
Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 127:
‘Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. Children are a gift from the Lord ; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.’— Psalms 127:1-5
So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.