November 28, 2016

Ezra 4-6 -  
Old enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building the Temple.  They came to Zerubbabel and said, “We’ll help you build, we worship your God the same as you....Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the family heads said to them, “Nothing doing.  Building the Temple is not the same thing to you as to us...

So these people started beating down the morale of the people of Judah, harassing them as they built...They kept this up for about 15 years then got King Artaxerxes to halt the construction after writing him a letter that the Jews would no longer pay a penny of tribute, tax or duty once the Temple was completed.  So nothing more was done until the 2nd year of King Darius‘ reign.  

Meanwhile, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah were preaching to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem...and so Zerubbabel and Jeshua started again rebuilding the Temple.  The prophets were right there helping them.   

Tattenai, governor, came up to the Israelites and asked them who issued a permit for  them to rebuild the Temple.... But God had his eye on the leaders of the Jews, and the work wasn’t stopped until a report could reach Darius and an official reply be returned.  Tattenai sent a letter to King Darius at which time Darius ordered a search through the records and found a memo regarding what Cyrus had ordered re the rebuilding of the Temple...He then responded to Tattenai to stay out of the way.  Leave the governor and leaders of the Jews alone so they can work on that Temple of God as they rebuild it.  

Darius also gave specific orders that all construction costs be paid to these men from the royal bank out of the taxes in the lands beyond and whatever is required for their worship...is to be given to them daily without delay so that they may make sacrifices and pray for the life of the king and his sons....So the leaders of the Jews continued to build; the work went well under the preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah....The temple was completed on the 3rd day of the month Adar in the 6th year of the reign of king Darius.

On the 14th day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover...with great joy they celebrated for 7 days...

1 John 4 - 
My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear.  Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you... Here is how you test for the genuine Spirit of God.  Everyone who confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ....you come from God and belong to God...for the Spirit in you is an actual flesh and blood person  --comes from God and belongs to God ...  you come from God and belong to God...for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world.... The person who has nothing to do with God will of course not listen to us.  This is another test for telling for telling the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of deception.

My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God...This is how God showed his love for us:  God sent his only son into the world so that we might live through him...if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other...If we love one another, God dwells deeply within us and his love becomes complete for us - perfect love.  This is how we know we’re living steadily and and deeply in him, and he in us.  He’s given us life from his life, from his very own spirit.  Everyone who confesses that Jesus is the son of God participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God.  

God is love.  When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us...There is no room in love for fear.  Well-formed love banishes fear... We though are going to love---love and be loved.  First we were loved, now we love.  He loved us first...The command we have from Christ is blunt.  Loving God includes loving people.  You’ve got to love both.