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Click here to read Ezra 1 on BibleGateway.com

AnticipationLet us sing together: it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

No, not Christmas, with the greed and the family squabbling and the hand-knitted sweaters and the fruitcake. Be honest; do you really enjoy all that? Yes, the family time is nice, and who can say no to turkey? Clearly, not all bad. But not the most wonderfulest either.

It’s football playoff season, my friends, and we no longer have to just talk about the NFL. The NCAA finally joined the 20th century (and only 14 years too late) and set up a college playoff. And there was much rejoicing in the land. Yea.


What is it that makes playoffs so exciting (not just football, but any sport)? After all, it’s just one more game, just one more sixty minute clock, just another nine innings, or, in the case of soccer, as long as it takes for the ref to rig the game against the US (Yes, I remember you, Portugal. Don’t think I don’t remember.) So what is it?


Every team that enters the playoffs has a chance. All they have to do is win for a short period of time, and they’re champions. They prepare for a year (or more), they play multiple games, they go through injuries, heartbreaks, bad calls, internal fights, and the occasional legal battle, and it all comes down to one more game to move on. In the end (for most sports) there’s only one champion left standing. And everyone thinks they might be the one. Every team, player, and fan has the hope, the dream, the anticipation of finishing as the Best.


In today’s chapter (Ezra 1), we read how God “moved the heart” of Cyrus to allow the Jews to return home and rebuild their temple after seventy years in captivity. Their dream was coming true. For seventy years they had waited, anticipating the day God would move. And from what an unexpected source – the king of a heathen empire not only allows them to return, but funds the trip and rebuilding project as well. God does beyond what we can hope or imagine. They waited, prayed, anticipated. And God came though.

It’s January 1st, my friends. A whole new year is opening up before you. You have a chance this year to be more than you were before. Anticipate it. God may move through someone or something unexpected and fulfill that dream he put in your heart. Anticipate it. He may do more than you could ask or imagine. Anticipate it. Pray, wait, and know that God works it out in his time and his way for your good. Anticipate it.

There’s no telling what this year may hold. Commit yourself today to drawing closer to God; everything else will grow dim. And God will do amazing things. He always does.


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