Here is an encouraging word from Pastor Ken, January 20, 2020

“Ezra had purposed in his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statues and ordinances in Israel.” Ezra 7:10

When one reads of Ezra’s authentic practice with the Law of God, one might assume that this stands as the reason God’s favor was on him (as described in verse 9). Nonetheless, when looking carefully at Ezra’s life, his genuineness in obeying God’s Law expressed something more than simply adjusting to good practices during crucial times so that God would bless him. Ezra had been released from Babylon to Jerusalem to lead his people in a time of rebuilding and reformation after the destruction of the Holy City. Many accompanied Ezra under the blessing of a pagan king. But in all this, God’s favor covered His servant Ezra. However, Ezra did not adopt a new pattern of devotion in the moment so that God would bless his efforts. It seems Ezra had already committed his way to the Lord, and because of this, God’s favor was especially on him when called for extraordinary tasks.

This morning, how are you preparing yourself? You may ask, “for what?’ And, I believe the greatest answer is, “Preparing for God!”

Instead of adjusting to a deeper time of study and prayer for a present assignment, commit to a deeper encounter with God simply because you are preparing for Him. Instead of increasing your time in God’s Word because you are about to lead a Bible study, be in a deeper time of study simply because you are preparing for God. Instead of increasing your daily time in God’s Word because someone in your small group is going to ask, “what have you studied recently,” be daily in God’s word anyway – because you are preparing for Him.

The principle is simple. Do not expend energy in necessary spiritual disciplines simply because of something on the calendar, or because of some event or encounter that needs extra attention (although these things always require spiritual preparation). Expend energy in spiritual disciplines for God! Be the one who already has a regular commitment to spiritual disciplines simply because of a genuine desire to honor God?

I believe this is a clear mark of true spiritual authenticity. And, as you increase your time in God’s Word and Prayer – and as you adjust to other practices as attending church more regularly, or sharing your faith more readily – consider deeper commitments simply because you desire to prepare yourself for God every single day, and not for a specific task you may have planned.

So, read and study more. Spend more time with God when you know a big assignment, or a big event is ahead of you. (Seeking His favor in this way is never wrong.). But the challenge remains: why not approach every day as if you are headed for a big assignment? Why not awaken each day with a deeper desperation to study God’s Word and to hear from Him? Why not give Him your best every single day?

You never know when you will be called to an extraordinary task. But in the meantime, spend every day preparing yourself for God with all your heart. Why? This is indeed authentic living.

Be blessed!

Read and meditate on John 15:5-11 to discover how our Blessed Savior modeled and instructed authentic living.

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