WEEK 1, DAY 1: RESTORATION
Stir it Up by Sami Wilson, Broadway UMC
Scripture Reference: Ezra 1
Ezra recounts the return of God’s exiled people Babylon to Judah to rebuild the temple. God fulfills the word spoken through Jeremiah: “Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place” (Jeremiah 29:10). It is the first thing Ezra references telling of God’s faithfulness: “. . . . in order that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia. . . .” (Ezra 1:1).
At just the right time, God stirred the spirit of Cyrus to begin His people’s restoration. Before the chapter ends, God stirs His own people as well! Consider the 70 years. The original captives would have been very old. Those born in Babylon have never seen Judah! Perhaps they heard the stories of home recounted by beloved relatives, some already dead. And yet God stirs something so strong they are willing to leave everything to begin a new life, rebuilding a Temple they’ve never seen. God brings His restoration wrapped in their willingness to be stirred into costly faithfulness. This is the power of God revealed in a humble, obedient life.
God is still stirring up restoration still
God is still stirring up restoration still. God has a plan for every single thing that has ever gone wrong. The kind of plan that sets things right. And it still comes wrapped in the willingness of the humble to be stirred into costly faithfulness.
Paul says: “I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:6-7). We too must be willing to be stirred by God who supplies the power, love and sound mind needed for the costly faithfulness that fuels the world’s restoration. We can trust it is worth every familiar thing we must forsake to participate in His redemption.
Father, You are so Holy and good. We repent that we have loved the familiar more than You. Please give us willing spirits. And please stir us up, that we might participate in Your restoration of all that is broken. Please bless the world You long to redeem, in Jesus’ name,
Thank You so much for all that You are. We praise You and thank You and adore You. You are so mighty, so Holy, so good! Your goodness is over all that You have made and we rise up as Your creation to give You praise! Father, You are doing a new thing in Your people. Like in the days of Ezra, You are stirring Your people in their spirits with Your Spirit. Oh Father! Let Your Spirit be BIG in us! Let us give You every opening You desire to do Your work in us so that You may do Your work through us. Father, how much You want to bring forth restoration and redemption in Your people. Oh God we pray for it! Forgive us for all the ways we have lingered in our brokenness, preferring it to the the fullness of life You offer, for the fullness of life that cost You so much as Jesus died to bring us Your Salvation. What a beautiful gift of Eternal Life You have opened up for us! Forgive us we pray for the ways we have spurned Your beautiful gift and beautiful heart. Bring us to the full measure of repentance that we may love You and serve You with our whole hearts. Father, may we step into our portion of faithfulness that the hope of Your heart might come forth in all the earth. We pray for the entire earth Father, and all the peoples You have created for Your Glory! Please bless the nation of Malaysia. Pour out Your Goodness upon them. And may we all receive with open and grateful hearts all the gifts of Your Love. We pray these things in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the Name of Your Son Jesus, Amen.