Do you live in the past or the present?

Church Family:
Do you live in the past? Do you find yourself reminiscing and longing for the “good ole days” or "what could have been" instead of being fully present in the now and finding joy in this present moment? If you find yourself living a life looking backwards to what once was you are discounting what God is doing in the present. Looking backwards will incapacitate God’s work in the present. God is doing a different, great, significant work today, don’t miss it looking back.

In Ezra 3, God’s people had just returned back to Jerusalem and the surrounding towns. They quickly and diligently began rebuilding the temple. They started on the altar first so that they could begin offering the appointed sacrifices and praises instead of waiting until the temple was completed (Ezra 3:1-6). During the next year they worked tirelessly on building the foundation of the temple. When the foundation was complete, most of God’s people, those who had never seen the previous Solomon’s temple, shouted with joyful praise when the foundation was laid for the new temple. They were filled with expectation and hope for what God had done through His provision and the diligent work of His people (Ezra 3:8-11). This was just the foundation. They could still see the ashes of what once was but they had the faithful eyes to see what God was doing in the present and what He will do in the future with His people.

But wait, there was another group of God’s people, “the old men who had seen the first temple wept with a loud voice” (Ezra 3:11-12). This older generation had seen the previous Solomon’s temple in all of its majesty and splendor before it was burned and razed to the ground in 587BC by the Babylonians. They were weeping as they looked at the lackluster foundation of the new temple being established. They thought that the new temple was just a mediocre version of the original (Hag. 2:1-9; Zech. 4:10). They were glad that God had given them a temple, but not excited about its inferior glory.

These older men were showing ingratitude for what God was doing in the here and now. The “loud weeping” was very discouraging to those who were working to rebuild the foundation. This weeping for the past turned into further discouragement and eventually brought the temple construction to an abrupt stop in Ezra 4. They were focused on the former glory instead of the present glory of God's continuing work amongst His people.
Church, it is so easy to live in the past, the “what could have been”, the “glory days." That mindset will lead us to do nothing in the present but weep. We have a work to do right now, right here today for God, His purposes and His glory. Let's look forward with wide open expectant eyes that God is doing a powerful work today and will continue until His plan is complete. God's people win by living expectantly in the present.

See you Sunday, expecting God to work today: Steve

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