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  • Shannon Bryant

FOUNTAINS OF BLESSING

Updated: Apr 3

Well, it’s been an action-packed journey through the Book of Ezra. Test, trials, super highs, and super lows, sometimes feeling like I wasn't going to make it. But glory to God I made it. Persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed!

A good friend once told me that God often tests revelation with situation and let me tell you I’ve had some intense situations on this road to personal revival. I’m sure you’ve had some too. You could probably tell me some stories and testify to God's faithfulness. The road to revival is not a road easily traveled, and there are no short cuts, but in Christ, we can be assured that we never walk alone and the end result is blessing and an unleashing of God’s power on our lives.

The end of self is the beginning of a blessed life.

Personal revival is not an onetime occurrence or experience. It’s an ongoing process of God breaking, making, molding us and stripping us of self and clothing us with Christ. On the road to everlasting life God has a place that He leads us to along the way; the end of self. Jesus said, “ If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) A life of self-denial, wholehearted surrender and pursuit of Jesus only come through a place of deep brokenness. The end of ourselves is the beginning of a blessed life. It’s cultivating the heart of Jesus. Listen to His words before His crucifixion “Going a little further He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) We may be holding or have held a bitter cup recently and desired for the cup (trial) to be removed. I know I have but until we cry out from the depths of our hearts like our Saviour, “Father not as I will but Your will be done are we truly broken.

In realizing our depravity and the dire need for God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness our focus begins to shift from us, to Him, to them.

There is beauty in the brokenness and His name is Jesus. Through all of the trials, twists, turns, heavy rotations of storms and uprooting, Jesus guides us, replants, realigns, and reestablishes our roots deeper, more connected, secured and durable in Him. In deep brokenness, we receive a fresh and I must say sobering revelation of who we really are, who we are not and who God really IS. This deep brokenness precedes deep and genuine repentance which is the pathway to the power of God in our lives that overflows to the lives of others. In realizing our depravity and need for God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness our focus begins to shift from us, (overly introspective) to Him, (the Author and Finisher of our faith) to them (the lives we are to affect for Christ). Broken on purpose for a purpose.

Ezra knew much about brokenness. He wept and mourned in earnest prayer for the Israelites and as a result, they repented, were restored and experienced a great spiritual awakening. Ezra is a perfect example that spiritual awakening only comes to others as it first comes to us.

You will never meet God in revival until we first meet Him in brokeness.~ Nancy Leigh Demoss-Wolgemuth

Ezra finally comes on the scene in chapter 7. He returns with the second group of exiles and upon arrival he found the Temple and the walls rebuilt. The Temple walls represented beauty, power, protection and prevented the Temple from attacks. Though the walls and Temple were rebuilt, Ezra found the lives of the people in shambles. Their spiritual “walls” had tumbled down due to them intermarrying foreigners opposed to God. Ezra’s heart was grieved so much so that he fell to his knees lamenting over the sins of the people who were steeped in sin. With a heavy heart, he confessed the sins of the people and expressed shame for their transgressions. He feared the consequences of their rebellion and had a tenacious and desperate desire for them to repent.

The state of the Israelites upon Ezra’s arrival mirrors our world today. Our world is filled with corruption and spiritual walls are broken down. The moral decline in our nation is plummeting. People are being carried away captive by strange doctrines and fewer and fewer people tremble at the word of God. Oh, how we are in need of some modern-day Ezra’s who take heed to God’s Word, fast, lament and cry out to God for souls.

Ezra stood in the gap and interceded as identifying with the people he prayed, “O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.” (Ezra 9:6) Ezra identified with the people’s sins. He threw himself right in there. Though he didn’t sin the way they did he was repentant of his own sin and cried out for mercy and grace in prayer for himself and the ones he prayed for. See, it’s in our own brokenness, transparency, and realization of our desperate need for God’s help, grace and mercy that we are equipped and moved with mercy and compassion to stand in the gap and cry out for others. Humility, honesty, and repentance are the “match” that ignites breakthrough that moves the hand of God to move mightily in our hearts and the hearts of people who we pray for and reach for Jesus.

In the tenth chapter of Ezra, we find Ezra praying in front of the Temple of God. This time praying, weeping and lying face down to the ground making his confession. A very large crowd of people, men, women, and children gathered and wept bitterly with him. Even the precious children were moved deeply and wept.

God pour out Your Spirit on our sons and daughters!

Ezra sets the standard of repentance by his own remorse, repentance, and need for help. Ezra's name means "help”. His genuine, godly sorrow and sensitivity to his own sin and to the people's sins moved them to weep and mourn over their transgressions.

This led me to this question, “Are we weeping?” Jesus wept and was moved deeply in His spirit for others. Are our hearts united with Him? Are we sensitive to our sins and the sins of the world? Does our heart weep for the lost and hopeless soul? The backslidden? The addicted? The bully? The man or woman in prison? Our neighbor? Co-worker? Family? Nation? I had to take a good look at myself and what I saw was someone who had become complacent, distracted and desensitized to the world around me. God convicted me and began to expose and prick the numb places in my heart. He gave me a fresh burden, new eyes, hunger and heartache for the harvest.

As Ezra’s earnest prayers and example moved the hearts of the Israelites to confession, repentance, and restoring their relationship with God, our prayers have an impact for God to move in the hearts of others. As we seek the Lord for personal revival for ourselves, God begins to move in our hearts mightily for the souls of others! We begin to build walls of prayer for protection, salvation, deliverance, healing, freedom, and restoration with the power that God provides.

The stripping of self, self-will, self-reliance, self-preoccupation, self-promotion, self-centeredness ushers in more of God’s blessed life-giving, life-changing power in our lives to reflect and express Jesus to the world.

God gives more grace to the humble but resists the proud. (James 4:6) Pride is very dangerous and I’m discovering that it is the root of many of my own issues. It’s time to put the ax to that root! Really think and ponder on this, God resists/opposes/ sets Himself against the proud. To get a true revelation of this is life-changing.

Lord deliver us from the sin of pride!

In order for us to receive grace upon grace, we must continuously humble ourselves. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3) Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you. (James 4:10) God honors a humble contrite heart.

God honored Ezra’s heart and a nation was restored. They had to go through some things. They made mistakes but God’s gracious hand was on them and His gracious hand is on us. We all have a diversity of gifts and I encourage you as I do myself to use them with the measure of faith that God gives you. The harvest is so ripe right now and people are fearful, confused, panicked, hurting, depressed, and hopeless. This is the perfect climate for us to present to them the Living Hope. As we catch fire it will begin to spread! It is my prayer that we come out of complacency, comfort zones, and fear and begin to live like the righteous and be as bold as lions!

People are thirsty and we have the Living Water. People are dying of hunger and we have the Bread of Life. Freely we have received may we so freely give. May our hearts begin to break and be so moved to pray prevailing prayers that pray down heaven to earth in the lives of others.

It is when our hearts begin to weep for men is when we'll be moved to fish for men.

When our hearts begin to mourn for the lost, we will be so moved to minister the gifts that God has so graciously bestowed to us. When our hearts begin to ache for the prodigal our hearts will be stirred to fast and travail in earnest intercession. When our hearts begin to lament for the backslidden, we will be moved to come out of comfort zones even if afraid and feel inadequate. Trembling and trusting may we “GO, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always to the very end of age.” ~ Jesus

The life of Jesus flowing through you is enough.

His body was broken for us, we must be broken for Him and poured out to others. Isn’t this the point of it all? Becoming like Jesus and helping others to do the same?

Brokeness is the prerequisite that gives us our credentials to be a vessel effectively used by God to reflect His heart to the world.

May God grant us His overwhelming love, fresh power and keen spiritual insight to be serious and watchful in our prayers, to be careful how we live not as those who walk unwisely. Live honorable with true wisdom for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as we spend our lives for His purposes. (Ephesians 5:15,16)

God is so good to us. May we share in His goodness by sharing Him with the world. May it be to all of us and those we pray and are believing God for according to His Word.

Let us pursue knowledge of the Lord. May the Lord come to us as the rain, as the latter and former rain. (Hosea 6:3)

God bless us all to live fruitful lives to the glory of God and make us fountains of power and blessing to the world around us.

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Shannon Bryant

shannonbryant.live

Email: shannonbryant25@aol.com

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