A lot of us find ourselves facing some big struggles today, squeezed financially by rising costs, underemployment, fears of a national recession – or even a depression. A housing market that has risen dramatically, stock market losses have taken big bites out of once-healthy retirement accounts, and credit that is much less friendly than it was even a few months back.

We call these “tough times” and while this term certainly applies to our finances it applies to some other, even more important, areas of life as well. Relationships can hit hard times, grief can leave a person in emotional ruins, and disease can attack with the fury of an armed enemy. The spiritual challenge is simple. If you face “lean times,” you’d better have a good foundation on which you can “lean.” By leaning on God Christ reminds us that we won’t just survive in lean times, we’ll thrive in tough times. We can find victory, even in an atmosphere of loss. Two old testament characters Ezra and Nehemiah provide the biblical background for this weeks story of Change, They depended on God as they led a people facing far more difficult circumstances to a point of great success. Success in their work, in their national identity, and in their new understanding of faith.



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