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Ezra and Nehemiah

Day: 1

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

The Story of the God of Heaven

Denise J. Hughes

Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lᴏʀᴅ, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. - Ezra 1

Whenever someone writes a memoir, the opening lines usually begin with the time and place of the author's birth.

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Day: 2

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Your Family Tree

Kayla Ferris

Now these were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town. - Ezra 2

When my kids were little, I kept a baby book.

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Day: 3

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

When You're Ready for a New Start

Katy McCown

Now in the second year after their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak made a beginning, together with the rest of their kinsmen … - Ezra 3

When we walked through the door, my memory became reality. The smell alone was enough to remind me.

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Day: 4

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Delayed but Not Defeated

Karen McNary

Then the work on the house of God that is in Jerusalem stopped, and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. - Ezra 4

Just imagine, God has called you to a specific assignment and you get started. However, before long you experience multi-layered delays.

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Day: 5

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

No To Naysayers

Nicki Koziarz

But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until the report should reach Darius and then an answer be returned by letter concerning it. - Ezra 5

Naysayers can be the most discouraging voices in our lives. And discouragement is in the emotional atmosphere of the Jews as we open Ezra 5 today because naysayers have entered their story.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Promise to the Priesthood

Ezra 1-5 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 6

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Celebration Matters

Nicki Koziarz

And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lᴏʀᴅ had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. - Ezra 6

In Ezra 5, a search was requested for the original decree to rebuild the temple (Ezra 5:17) and today, in Ezra 6, we see the search is made, and what is needed to be found is found. (Ezra 6:1-3)

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Day: 7

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Determined

Melissa Spoelstra

For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lᴏʀᴅ, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. - Ezra 7

My 22-year-old son recently shared an analogy with me about a guy listening to music with headphones.

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Day: 8

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Practice What You Preach

Kellye Schiffner Carver

For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, 'The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.' - Ezra 8

I'm sometimes grateful I don't have a religious bumper sticker on my car.

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Day: 9

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Handling Community Sin

Karen McNary

O Lᴏʀᴅ, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, for none can stand before you because of this. - Ezra 9

There's an old African proverb that says, "It takes a village to raise a child."

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Day: 10

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

When our Faith is Broken

Joel Muddamalle

And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: 'We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.' - Ezra 10

All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Responding to Sin in Love

Ezra 6-10 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 11

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

A Daughter of the King and a Servant to Others

Denise J. Hughes

O Lᴏʀᴅ, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.’ Now I was cupbearer to the king. - Nehemiah 1

Whenever we meet someone for the first time, one of the first questions we typically ask is: “What do you do?”

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Day: 12

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

3 Signs of a Heart Ready for God’s Work

Katy McCown

Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision. - Nehemiah 2

There was no hiding it. Sunken eyes, a pale complexion and a red-tinted nose. I was sick, and my face told the story.

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Day: 13

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Catching Glimpses of the Good to Come

Lysa TerKeurst

Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the Sheep Gate. They consecrated it and set its doors. They consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Tower of Hananel. - Nehemiah 3

These are the kinds of passages we may feel tempted to skim over. Of course, this sadly often leads to us missing out on the beautiful hope God loves to tuck into unlikely places. That’s why I’m forever grateful for this app and the way we get to unpack Scripture together.

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Day: 14

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Responding to Criticism

Grace Fox

Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. - Nehemiah 4

If you’ve ever yearned for affirmation but received criticism instead, you will be able to empathize with Nehemiah. God had given him a vision to rebuild the walls surrounding Jerusalem, and he pursued it.

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Day: 15

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Scoring for the Other Team

Marlo Schalesky

So I said, ‘The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? - Nehemiah 5

I have one clear memory from my eighth grade basketball season. We were playing in a tournament. The game was well underway. The score nearly even, with an important win hanging in the balance.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Placing God in His Rightful Position

Nehemiah 1-5 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 16

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

So Many Distractions

Kayla Ferris

And I sent messengers to them, saying, 'I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?' - Nehemiah 6

Distractions. Deception. Deviations. There are so many things that threaten to pull us off course from what God calls us to do.

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Day: 17

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

New Beginnings

Karen McNary

So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all Israel, lived in their town. - Nehemiah 7

As a child, Christmas, birthdays and vacations always seemed so far off. But when the day finally arrived, I was often so excited I couldn't sleep. I wonder if that's how the Israelites felt.

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Day: 18

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

When The Word of God Returns

Kelly Minter

They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. - Nehemiah 8:1-8

When was the last time you heard something about God's law and immediately thought of gathering a bunch of people together to throw a celebration? This is exactly what happened in Nehemiah 8.

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Day: 19

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Finding Your Joy In The Lord

Joel Muddamalle

Then he said to them, 'Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. - Nehemiah 8:9-18

As they heard the words of the Law, the Israelites realized their failure to remember and observe the words and laws of the Lord. Their initial response was sorrow and remorse.

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Day: 20

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

A Time to be Solemn

Melissa Spoelstra

“Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads.” - Nehemiah 9:1-15

I love a good party. Seeing friends and family, eating delicious food and celebrating special moments provide opportunities to mark milestones and reflect on all the good things in our lives.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Some Assembly Required

Nehemiah 6-9:15 - Weekend Teaching

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Day: 21

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Our Gracious and Merciful God

Denise J. Hughes

“But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.” - Nehemiah 9:16-38

For 400 years the Hebrew people were held in Egyptian slavery. As Nehemiah recounts Israel’s history in Chapter 9, he remembers how God was faithful to deliver His people out of bondage in Egypt:

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Day: 22

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Strike While the Iron is Hot

Kayla Ferris

“… all who have knowledge and understanding … enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law that was given by Moses the servant of God and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord and his rules and his statutes.” - Nehemiah 10

When metal is heated to high temperatures, it can be shaped or molded by skilled hands. Once the metal is cooled, the shape is set. This is where we get the expression, “Strike while the iron is hot.”

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Day: 23

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Continue to Work It Out

Katy McCown

“Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns.” - Nehemiah 11

I told everyone I knew. I drove all over town to find people, and the ones I couldn't find in person I called on the phone. The man of my dreams had just asked me to marry him!

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Day: 24

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

A Cheerful Giver

Kellye Schiffner Carver

“On that day men were appointed over the storerooms, the contributions, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the Law for the priests and for the Levites according to the fields of the towns, for Judah rejoiced over the priests and the Levites who ministered.” - Nehemiah 12

Money, tithing and giving can be difficult conversations to have in church, but Nehemiah isn’t one to shy away from uncomfortable topics. (Nehemiah 2:1-5)

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Day: 25

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

Nehemiah’s Back

Nicki Koziarz

“Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.” - Nehemiah 13

Growing up, I was a latchkey kid. This meant I was normally met after school by a note on the counter with instructions for the afternoon, signed: Love, Mom. Sometimes I got distracted or just didn’t feel like doing what my mom asked me to do. Obviously, she wasn’t super happy about this when she got home.

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Weekend Teaching

Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah

When We Reflect God

- Weekend Teaching

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