Journal Entry by Esther Lawson

S - Scripture  Ezra 1:1 (NLT)
‬‬In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom

O - Observation
The book of Ezra begins in this way. This seems like a fairly ordinary verse but the phrase ‘He (God) stirred the heart of Cyrus’ caught my attention. As I read, I saw the phrase repeated in Ezra 1:5 ‘Then God stirred the hearts of the priests and Levites and the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord’. The proclamation mentioned in verse 1 released the Jews to go and rebuild the Temple. In chapter 2, there is a list of those who returned after being given considerable gifts of silver, gold and livestock by those remaining behind including the King

A - Application
Without going to deep into the history, the long and short of it is this: good things happen when we listen to the God-stirrings within our hearts. When we act on what He has told us, promised us, whispered to us and stirred within us we become agents of change. Easier said than done sometimes. Knowing what God is saying to us requires that we be close to Him, to know Him. In Psalm 27:8 we find this verse ‘My heart has heard you say “Come and talk with me.” My heart responds, “Lord, I am coming”.’ I love this verse. It’s a reminder of a simple, wooing and uncomplicated faith.

P - Prayer
God, thank you that you always want to speak to us. Help us to respond like the psalmist ‘Lord I am coming’ so that we can hear your voice. Attune our hearts to your voice and help us to be obedient to the stirring of our hearts for your purpose and glory. Amen.