Ted Murray, born in 1935 at Newcastle upon Tyne, was rescued from the rubble of his Granny's bomb-damaged house in 1941 and still remembers the text hanging on her wall: "Kept by the power of God." He experienced salvation by faith at the age of 14 years whilst living with relatives in Beverley, East Yorkshire, and found fellowship with a group of Brethren some three years later. Travelling abroad during his working life as an engineer gave Ted the opportunity to minister to God's people in various parts of the world. Located in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, with his wife Rosemary, he continues to preach the Gospel and minister the word of God in his local assembly and the surrounding area. His four children all serve the Lord, and Ted and his wife take great delight in them and their, so far, thirteen grandchildren. His written ministry began in 2002, after his retirement from full time employment, and this is his first book. What relevance can the book of Ezra, dating from the 5th century BC, have for Christians in the 21st century AD? It tells us that, whether they realize it or not, God's sovereign will is carried out by world rulers. It also shows that God faithfully supplies whatever His people need. This provokes a response in faith of practical obedience to God's Word. Further, the book of Ezra demonstrates the importance of putting what is due to God first in our lives. We are reminded that whenever God is at work there will always be opposition to be overcome, calling for courage, faith and energy. There are instructive examples too of sharing in the work of God. Perhaps the most important contemporary lesson is that the spiritual condition of the people deteriorates when there is compromise with the world around. Losing sight of their distinctiveness as a people for God led to massive problems for the Jewish nation, and it is easy to see the analogy with the Church in our own day.