Topic: Experiencing Restoration
(Open Heaven 9 April 2019)
Memorise: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”- Acts 3:19
Read: Ezra 9:1-9 (KJV)
1 Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.
3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.
4 Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.
5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God,
6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
7 Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.
8 And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
9 For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.
Bible in One Year: 1 Peter 5- 2 Peter 3, Jeremiah 14:13-22
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Open Heaven 9 April 2019 Tuesday MESSAGE:
Restoration presupposes the loss of something good and valuable. Today’s Bible reading tells the story of God’s people who were in need of restoration after returning from the land of captivity. I believe their example contains valuable lessons for those seeking the face of God for restoration in one form or the other. When a people are carried away into a strange land as captives, there is the tendency for them to lose their identity and character has their virtues get influenced by the environment they find themselves in. The Israelites experience this. After God caused the king of Persia to permit the restoration of God’s worship in Jerusalem through the hand of Ezra, it was discovered that the Priests and Levites who were supposed to lead the people in worship could not minister because they had corrupted themselves by marrying Idol worshippers. To ignite the fire revival and initiate the restoration of God’s people to His worship, Ezra 9:5-6 lists some key things Ezra did which cannot be overlooked by anyone seeking restoration. It says:
“5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, 6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.”
Ezra realized that God’s people needed a spiritual restoration first, before they could experience any other form of restoration. He therefore went before God in penitence and humility to seek for His forgiveness and restoration. This example shows that spiritual restoration is obtained only when we are repentant and humble before God. Psalm 51:17 says:
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
In other words, a remorseful heart is the foundation of genuine repentance, and through genuine repentance, spiritual restoration is received (Acts 3:19). Repentance means making a U-turn away from one’s trespasses. Those who repented of their sins in Ezra’s time did not continue in them; they completely relinquished their former lifestyles (Ezra 10-2:17). It is therefore strange that some people claim to have repented of their sins and yet they do not relinquish this sinful lifestyle. Such people are only deceiving themselves (Romans 6:1-2). Beloved, what type of loss have you suffered – spiritual, physical or otherwise? You can be restored if only you genuinely repent of your sins today and come back to your first love for God.
Open Heaven 9 April 2019 Tuesday Prayer Point:
Father, please restore to me all that I have lost, especially the joy of salvation and the hope of eternity with you.
Open Heaven 9 April 2019 Tuesday Hymn 2: Oh Jesus, I Have Promised
1 O Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me,
My Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
If Thou wilt be my guide.
2 O let me feel Thee near me,
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
The tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me,
Around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer,
And shield my soul from sin.
3 Oh let me hear Thee speaking
In accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion,
The murmurs of self-will;
Oh speak to reassure me,
To hasten or control;
O speak, and make me listen,
Thou Guardian of my soul.
4 O Jesus, Thou hast promised
To all who follow Thee,
That where Thou art in glory,
There shall Thy servant be;
And, Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow,
My Master and my Friend.
5 Oh, let me see Thy footmarks,
And in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly
Is in Thy strength alone.
Oh, guide me, call me, draw me,
Uphold me to the end;
And then to rest receive me,
My Saviour and my Friend.