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  • Writer's pictureShannon Bryant

The Gracious Hand of God

Updated: May 16, 2020

Typically, I would never think of this time of year as a time of renewal. On the back end of fall and rapidly approaching winter is usually not a time when I’m reflecting on rededication, rebuilding and recalibrating some things in my life. Besides the holidays are coming up right? I can do this rededicate and commitment thing in January. I can make it a New Year’s resolution. That'll give me time to prepare myself. Start the year off in high gear, full throttle with gates wide open. Well... God’s ways are not my ways and clearly His thoughts are not my thoughts. After much reluctance, hesitation, and distraction, (and I do mean much), I’m beginning my journey to refocus, renewal and rededication to God and all that He has purposed for me. As for me, God is strongly urging, the time is now.

I would love for you to come along with me as I glean through the book of Ezra to get a closer more intimate glimpse of this man of God, the people he helped, with special emphasis on the rebuilding of God’s Temple. Our destination; personal revival.

Ezra was a priest, scribe, prayer warrior, and a great leader. His name means "help". He was a wise, humble, passionate and obedient man who was dedicated to the study of God’s Word, living it out and was committed to teaching others. Repeatedly the scripture says that God’s gracious hand was upon him. Ezra helped lead the second group of exiled Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem after God’s Temple had been rebuilt. He is probably most known for proclaiming a fast that led to repentance and revival for the nation of Israel.

He was faithful to God and served Him with his whole life. As for me? I have to admit that there are some areas of my life that are not totally submitted to the Lordship of Jesus. For example, here lately I haven’t made good use of my time. To make it plain, I waste a lot of time. Unnecessary distractions, being overly consumed by “life”, and way too much introspection has hindered me from cultivating a deeper and more abiding relationship with God, and this is what this journey is really all about. It’s about positioning ourselves to be attentive to the call of God on our lives and realigning ourselves to His will, His Word, and seeking Him wholeheartedly which positions us for deeper intimacy and an outpouring of His Spirit endowing us with power for life and service.

Intimacy with God is essential. Being committed to taking time to abide in Him, His Word, and to seek more of His face and less of His hand. Time to just be alone and quiet with Father. When we set our hearts to earnestly draw near to Him, He is faithful to draw near to us. I’m eagerly expecting Him to meet us in a mighty way.

Humility, surrender, and repentance are the prerequisites for restoration and deeper intimacy with the Lord. “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

When God searches the heart He doesn't miss a beat.

God in His great mercy has shown me and continues to show me what I call “the ugly stuff” in my heart. Sometimes when we examine ourselves and even in light of scripture, we can miss some things and we may “think" we’re okay but when God searches the heart, He doesn’t miss a beat. I liken God’s search to an MRI. He goes deep into the intricate parts and does a detailed internal search of the innermost chambers of our hearts and reveals things that we may miss or that can’t be detected by us and let me tell you, He gives a very detailed report. God scans the heart and reveals the deep embedded sins, callous places and exposes them. Some of these impurities are so hidden that we're not aware of them, and for me, these are the most heart-wrenching. These heart issues are hindrances that prevent us from cultivating a deeper communion with God that brings with it a fresh wind of His Spirit packed with power, new strength, holy joy, revelation, and peace.

I hope that you’ll be prayerful in deciding to join me in unpacking some very powerful and insightful truths in the Book of Ezra that will help us on our journey. As God’s gracious hand was on Ezra, I pray that His merciful hand will be on us and move in us mightily for His glory.

Let’s pray…

Father, we thank You for new beginnings! Your great mercy endures forever! Your greatness never ends! We can never go too far from Your outstretched arm.

We come to You with humble and repentant hearts, poor in spirit. For blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3) Father, we are aware of our depravity and we are in dire need of Your abounding grace, mercy and more of YOU!

Create in us clean hearts O God and renew a steadfast spirit within us. Restore to us the joy of Your salvation and uphold us by Your generous spirit! (Psalm 51:10,12)

Point out anything in us that offends you, and lead us along the path of everlasting life. We want pure hearts, Lord. For blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see You. (Matthew 5:8) Lord, we want to meet with You.

Pureness of heart is the pathway and prelude to sweet communion with God.

We ask that You forgive us of our sins and help us to forgive others. Help us to forgive ourselves! The past is behind us! We look forward to the new thing!

Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in dry places. (Isaiah 43:19)

Lord give us new strength and fresh power to live for You! Endow us with power to be unshakeable without compromise. Stir our hearts to pray for our families, communities, churches and like Ezra for our nation.

Revive us again that we may rejoice in You! (Psalm 85:6) Revive us as we call on Your name!

Revive us according to Your Word! For no word from You will ever fail. (Luke 1:37) May times of refreshing so come. In the name of our Sovereign Lord Jesus. Amen.

If you like this post subscribe or share to encourage others! Be greatly blessed and keep aiming at God's glory!

The gracious hand of the Lord was on him.

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