HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! Growing up, and even for most of my adult life, I've always enjoyed Independence Day. Of course, I love our country and appreciate the sacrifice that so many have made, at the altar of freedom. We are not a perfect country, that is for sure, but people have more freedom today, than at any time is history. I believe this is, in large part, due to the influence of the U.S. That is my patriotic speech for the year!
I pray that everyone had a great day in the house of the Lord (yesterday). I had an interesting Sunday (to say the least). It was my first time not having anyone available to do worship. Of course, guess what I happened to be speaking on? The importance of worship! No one can tell me that God does not have a since of humor! On top of that, we had 3 guests show up. We got through it though, and enjoyed our time together as a family in Christ.
Today we are going to look at a verse I will be preaching on (this upcoming Sunday).
4 Then the people of the land [a]discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building, 5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their counsel all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
This upcoming Sunday (July 10) I will be talking about discouragement and opposition. In this section of Ezra, the people were attempting to rebuild the temple. About 70 years prior, they were defeated in battle and taken as captives. The Lord provided them an opportunity to return to their homeland and rebuild. Not too long after construction started, opposition arose-which stopped the construction efforts.
Think about how often we begin to do something the Lord has laid on our heart, then we stop, either because we loose interest, or we become discouraged. Sometimes, we can be our own worst opposition-we do not need anyone else to discourage us, we are more than capable of doing it ourselves!
Everyone has times in which they feel discouraged and "beaten-up." Thankfully, we have a Father that is a great encourager! In the book of Ezra, the work eventually began again, and the temple was built. Rather than abandoning the dream of rebuilding, they got back to work, and completed the project. We MUST push forward when we are feeling discouraged. We MUST spend time with the ONE who can help us regain our confidence. I am not talking about merely "bootstrapping" here, that may work for some, but for others, it will not. We must rely on the grace and encouragement of our Father to get us through the tough times. The more time we spend with our Lord, the quicker we can get through the challenges.