SUMMARY: Safe travels
OVERVIEW: Ezra declared a fast for all travelers as a symbol of submission and a prayer that God would protect them on their trip. He rejected the king’s offer for soldiers because he knew God would provide for them.
BIG IDEA: Don’t fast to impress God. Fast to connect with and hear from God.
KEY VERSE: Ezra 8:21 (Ezra’s fast)
And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled.
IF GOD WROTE YOU A LETTER
I love it when you gather as a community for prayer or service or impact in your town or around the world. Be of one mind as a group, seeking me together, and worshipping me as one. Be people of influence. Leverage your relationships so that city officials, political leaders, school administrators, or business owners want to partner with you. Make it a goal that your church is known and loved by those within a commutable distance from where they live. But don’t stop there.
Seeking the favor of men and women has value, but don’t ignore me. Don’t forget my power and influence. Don’t become so enamored with winning praise from those around you that you no longer believe you need me. I am the one who gives you favor. I am the one who protects and provides. But don’t just seek me as a lucky charm or to secure your plan. Seek me to know me. Spend time with me to hear from me and be led by me. I love you and have much to say and offer.
Don’t just talk about faith in God. Put your faith into practice. Identify one step of faith that God is leading you to take. Ask friends for prayer support, and take that step.