Sunday, July 31, 2011

"What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up." -- 1 Corinthians 14:26
As we continue the thought of using our gifts for serving God, let us look at the subject more closely. Each one comes into the church from week to week with something to offer for ministry. We expect to be received with open arms and accolades of appreciation (even if we deny such desires, the sin nature still lingers in the background of every heart). But, is this why we exercise our gifts?
Considering chapter thirteen leading into fourteen, we find a plea from Paul for a mature ministry. He calls for every gift to be used for "building up" one another. Our contributions are never meant to be about us, but all about the Lord and the strengthening of His body the Church. Keep your eye on the prize my friend, and be a blessing to others today!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills." -- 1 Corinthians 12:11
There are those who play instruments and those who play music. Is there a difference you may ask? Yes indeed. One has chosen to master the skill of the instrument and the other has a God given ability to bring music out of the soul. For one, it's all in the hands and the other, it's all from the heart.
In the same way, there are those who serve in the church as trained and elected and there are those who use their gifts from the heart. We really don't choose our spiritual gifts; the Spirit of God alone "apportions to each individually as he chooses". When one serves with their God given gifts, they make music to His ears.
Are you using the gift that was given by the Lord? Or are you working as a skilled laborer? Don't be limited by human training when the Spirit has fully equipped you with all that you need to bring music to the body of Christ.

Friday, July 29, 2011

"For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died." -- 1 Corinthians 11:29-30
In the earliest days of the church, Ananias and Sapphira suffered an unexpected death due to spiritual deceit. They were careless about the things of God and a serious message was given. Do Christians suffer today for mistreatment of the Lord's body? Do we stand accountable for abusing those who come with sincere hearts to worship and serve? The answer is a resounding yes.
Be careful my friend and show honor and respect to the body of Christ. Don't allow a divisive spirit to win the day and damage your health. Remember Paul's stern warning in 1 Corinthians 3:17, "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple." Consider wisely the additional counsel of 1 Corinthians 10:24, "Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall." -- 1 Corinthians 10:11-12
Over the past few months we have traveled through Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel with Daniel and friends coming soon. These Old Testament prophets are quite often prophets of doom, yet they are filled with bright moments of hope. All of these pages are, as Paul stated, "written down for our instruction".
For far too many years I have seen believers linger in the New Testament for their Bible Reading and avoid the Older Testament. This is to their loss and a very dangerous practice. These Biblical accounts are given to use as examples from which to learn. There are wonderful lifestyles to follow, such as Paul's (1 Corinthians 11:1) and there are many paths to avoid such as those recorded of Israel's past.
Are you so secure in your "New Testament" walk that you can't imagine the temptations of the Old Testament possibly leading you astray my friend? Read with diligence and pay very close attention to those things that happened "as an example". And "...let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." -- 1 Corinthians 8:6
We often introduce ourselves by identifying our field of employment. We see our jobs as who we are, more than anything else. When we come to the end of the trail we consider our careers to be our only real contribution to the world. It's how we lived, why we lived and where we lived.
God sees things very differently. He reminds us that we exist from HIM, for HIM and through Him. When we finally come to check-out time the real issue is how, why and where we lived for the Lord, not for anything or anyone else. This truth makes life so much simpler, yet we seem to avoid such a lifestyle at all costs. 
Are you facing difficult decisions my friend? Are you stressed over the possible results of certain choices that you need to make? Keep it simple... just take the steps that will come from HIS leading, for HIS glory and through HIS strength and all will go well.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord." -- 1 Corinthians 7:35
The balanced Christian life is a difficult pursuit. Within the context of Scripture marriage is a blessing from God, but as with everything else, balance is the key. As Paul presents the converted lifestyle, he would have us conduct ourselves with an undivided devotion to the Lord in view.
There are many people who are quick to live the Christian life in the extreme. They choose to withdraw from almost everything possible to be distinct for Christ. Yet, Paul says, "Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him." (verse 17) Be devoted to the Lord and live your life to the glory of God.
The principle is clear my friend. Live an "undivided" life for Jesus. Make your choices wisely about any change, and be sure that such changes never jeopardize your devotion to the Lord. It's all about balance and keeping the main thing the main thing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." -- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Following the theme we discussed yesterday, have you ever considered the fact that your body is not your own? Was this fact on your mind when you spent hours in the tanning salon, beauty salon, or gym? Were you "pimping" your body for the Lord or for good looks to be admired? Whose body is it anyway?
Since our body has been bought at a price, there must have been a purpose for its purchase. What was it that God had in mind when He paid the high price of His Son's blood? Today's passage gives us an idea and a challenge. The Lord wanted little living temples for His Holy Spirit. He desires a vast number of pure and holy "worship centers" to light up His world.
So, how do you "glorify God in your body" and let Jesus shine my friend? Does this stewardship motivate your conduct, conversation and communion with others? Do you use your body to honor the Lord and bless others in His name? As a steward of this purchased body, are you found faithful with God's Holy presence?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy." -- 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
Stewardship is an easy concept for our family to understand. We have lived in parsonages most of our time in church ministry. The houses belong to the church, but we live in them as if they were our very own. We always saw the blessing of such homes as a means to carry on ministry to others. We have had groups of wild teens, sensible seniors, hungry pastors and wandering missionaries as our guests. This house is not ours, it's the Lord's.
In the very same way each believer is given the stewardship of spiritual blessings. Such gifts are not to be owned, but to be used for ministry to others. The Lord gives us the privilege to be a blessing as trustworthy stewards. As you enter your church doors today, be a good steward of the mysteries of God my friend. Others will thank you and God will be glorified.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment." -- 1 Corinthians 1:10
In mid August, 1966, the number one rock & roll hit song was... "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful. Some of the lyrics were, "Hot town, summer in the city... All around, people looking half dead, Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head" This week, more than half the U.S. has suffered from a heat wave that set records and most people have been "hotter than a match head".
No matter what the cause, some people walk around every day, "hotter than a match head". For various reasons they can't get along with others. The Corinthians were at odds because they were divided over ministry philosophies. Some followed one man and his approach and others someone else. And they got hot enough with one another to bring about an urgent appeal from Paul.
You may have "heat stroke", "stress fracture" or just plain "opinionidous", but my friend, take a moment and ask the Lord for help. Paul's appeal cuts across the years to each one of us in our various ministries.  Don't be a hot head, but pray that you have "no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind."

Friday, July 22, 2011

"The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.” -- Ezekiel 48:35
The details of this city were quite thorough and very specific. Each allotment was evenly dispersed and each tribe was given abundant provision. Our Lord is a God of order and that is quite vividly portrayed in these passages. But, after all the good order and finishing touches, the most important aspect is found in the name of this city. "The Lord Is There".
Your home may be so well kept that it would be a candidate for "Better Homes and Gardens". Your private life could be so well ordered that Dr. Phil would be proud. But the real question comes down to this my friend; is the Lord There?
"The greatest fact of the tabernacle was that Jehovah was there; a Presence was waiting within the veil. Similarly, the presence of God is the central fact of Christianity. At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His presence." - A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Thursday, July 21, 2011

“When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, he who enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate: no one shall return by way of the gate by which he entered, but each shall go out straight ahead." -- Ezekiel 46:9 
This passage covers more than just the process of worship movement. When God's people come before the Lord in worship and praise, they should never plan to leave the same way that they arrived. They should always go out as different people and move forward on the straightway.
As these directions are all part of a planned process, so should we plan before hand what to expect from and give to worship. Why enter the Lord's presence as if we were going to the local deli for a sandwich? Our thoughts and expectations should be grand and heavenly in nature. We would be far more blessed if we sought the transcendent and found ourselves high and lifted up in the days that follow worship.
Enter the sanctuary one way and exit another, my friend. Never settle for less than great and mighty works of God in your life. The Lord always has so much more for the hungry, yearning soul. "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." -- Ephesians 3:20-21

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall celebrate the Feast of the Passover, and for seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten. On that day the prince shall provide for himself and all the people of the land a young bull for a sin offering." -- Ezekiel 45:21-22
And now, for the question that has plagued so many, "Will there be sacrifices during the millennium, and if so, why? Yes, Virginia there is a Messiah and there will be sacrifices in the future kingdom. As to why... just as past sacrifices were looking forward to a perfect Lamb of God, Kingdom sacrifices look backward.
As the Passover will be observed and sin offerings made, it is important to remember that Israel failed to carry out God's ceremonial law for generations. During the Millennial rule of Christ all such worship expressions will be observed with a full appreciation for the sacrifice made by the Messiah.
For our walk with God my friend, these passages provide important lessons. Our worship is significant to the Lord and He desires to be worshiped in spirit and in truth. We will do well to always reflect on the great sacrifice of our Savior during worship and offer our own sacrifices of praise to fully honor the Lord. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

“This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession." -- Ezekiel 44:28 
In a world that is deeply rooted in possessions and things, The Lord gives His temple ministers the greatest of all possessions... Himself. This takes us back to the blessing of God upon Abraham in Genesis 15:1 with the words, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."
Could it be that we have the wrong idea about what is valuable? Is it possible that wealth is not in riches, but in a relationship? Are we so busy with the toys of this world that we have missed out on the "pearl of great price" (Matthew 13:44)? Remember, the Creator is of far greater value than anything in all of His creation. 
Join the pursuit of David in Psalm 63:1-3 my friend... "O God, ... my soul thirsts for you... Because your love is better than life." Wealth is not about gold... it's all about God!

Monday, July 18, 2011

"This is the law of the temple: the whole territory on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple." -- Ezekiel 43:12
After reflecting on the Most Holy Place yesterday, we should consider the environment where the Temple of God dwells. In the above passage we are told that the whole territory around the temple must be holy. For those of us who are living temples, this gives us much food for thought. 
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'"  He also called us to separate ourselves from being yoked with unbelievers in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18,  with the concluding comment to perfect holiness out of reverence for God in 2 Corinthians 7:1. As living temples, we are called upon to live within holy territory.
You will never be able to separate yourself from being in "contact" with the world my friend. But, you can choose not to be in "contract" with the surrounding evil. Choose your friends and activities carefully, keeping in mind that 'Bad company corrupts good character.'"

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"And he measured the length of the room, twenty cubits, and its breadth, twenty cubits, across the nave. And he said to me, 'This is the Most Holy Place.'" -- Ezekiel 41:4
From the earliest days the Most Holy Place was filled with the glory of the Lord. (1 Kings 8:6, 11) The day is coming when the glory of the Lord will once again dwell with His people (Revelation 21:1-3). But, until that day, God has chosen to dwell within the heart of every believer. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Can it be said that your heart is a "Most Holy Place"?
When the cloud filled Solomon's Temple, the priests could not perform their service because of the overwhelming glory. Do you find the Lord's Holy presence to be overwhelming from day to day my friend? Does He find your heart to be a place where He is honored above all else? The Holy Spirit has been sent to dwell in a "Most Holy Place". 
Remember, "... He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously... " - Titus 3:5-6 and "... just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do" - 1 Peter 1:15

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"And the man said to me, 'Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.'" -- Ezekiel 40:4
How should we approach the messages from God's Word? What should we do with the truths that we are given from the pages of Scripture? Does the Lord meet us in the words and stories that we daily read? Do we "look with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and set our hearts upon" all that we read? 
Ezekiel is given a new vision showing the Millennial Temple, and we in turn are given insight into the revealed Word and its meaning for our everyday lives. Technically, there is very little difference. Both occasions are moments when the Lord is speaking. And He expects us to look carefully, listen thoughtfully and give all our heart to learn.
There is one last thought my friend. When we have taken in all that the Word brings to our heart, we are expected to "Declare all that we see". This the very intention recorded in 1 John 1:3, "that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us" Take it in for your own growth, and share it with others that they may grow too.

Friday, July 15, 2011

"And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God.'" -- Ezekiel 39:29
Do you ever feel that the Lord is far away? Does it seem that His face is hidden when you pray? The time that we are reading about was just such an occasion, "I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them. (Verse 24) Unconfessed sin is a deafening blow.
Yet, when the Lord forgives the repentant soul, His Spirit brings freedom of fellowship and the joy of His salvation. (Psalm 51:11-12). As the prophet speaks of the House of Israel, so the individual believer can have restored fellowship. Confessed sin is a healing balm.
The choice is yours my friend. The Lord's face is only hidden from a life of chosen rebellion and transgression. When the prodigal returns, the waiting Father is ready and willing to forgive and restore. (Luke 15:20)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD."  -- Ezekiel 38:23
The statement has been well made that "history" is "His" Story. As the years prophetically come together, the Lord will orchestrate certain events to accomplish His ultimate purpose. Nothing will be accidental and everything will be according to plan... His plan.
After all the world has ignored and denied the Lord, He will make His greatness and holiness known. Then everyone will know that He is the Lord. As you have been encouraged to live a "purpose driven" life my friend, be careful to choose God's greatest purpose. Live to make Him known to your entire world and glorify Him forever.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God." -- Ezekiel 36:26-28
Hope springs eternal. Yet, there is no hope for those of the Stone Heart. History and tradition may hold a wonderful legacy, but without a heart of flesh all is cold and dark. Israel had all that any nation could desire in this life, but the people had fallen away from the Lord for so many generations that she walked in darkness.
The Lord has a future plan for His people. He will give them a heart of flesh and put His Spirit within them. He will cause them to walk in His statutes and ultimately, they will be His people and He will be their God. Such a day will come for all the redeemed as recorded in Revelation 21:3, "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.'"
In the midst of your religious piety and zeal, do you still have a heart of stone my friend? The Lord calls to you today. Be wise and "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God." (Hebrews 3:12) Come to Christ in faith and know... "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17) For those of the New Heart, hope always springs eternal.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

“And you shall know that I am the Lord. ‘I have heard all the revilings that you uttered against the mountains of Israel, saying, ‘They are laid desolate; they are given us to devour.’ And you magnified yourselves against me with your mouth, and multiplied your words against me; I heard it.” -- Ezekiel 35:12-13
As we look carefully at the words of this passage we will notice that when the Lord's people are insulted and abused, the Lord Himself is offended. He is our heavenly Father and when His children hurt, He hurts as well.
When others persecute the Lord's family, it is said that they "magnify themselves against" Him, having multiplied their "words against" Him. As the words of the Hymn "Who Is on the Lord's Side" inspire us to commitment, the words above instill us with courage.
Consider the words of Martin Luther as he wrote "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God", “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing, were not the right man on our side, the man of God's own choosing? Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he; Lord Sabaoth, his name, from age to age the same, and he must win the battle.” My friend, you’re never alone in the spiritual battle.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice." -- Ezekiel 34:16
In the darkest hour there is hope. The Lord is, and always has been a gracious, compassionate Shepherd of souls. He cares for the lost, strays, injured and weak. He is distraught by those leaders that abuse His people and fail to provide for their spiritual welfare. The Lord is committed to the nurture and admonition of His sheep.
As you consider the above passage this morning, be encouraged by the Shepherd-Heart of our Lord. Wherever you may be today, He is seeking you out as He sought Adam in the garden. He knows if you're lost or injured and wants to bring you home to heal your wounds. The Lord yearns to restore your soul.
Listen to the footsteps of the Savior my friend. He is walking up behind and along side. His hand is on your shoulder and His arms are embracing you even as you read this page. Be comforted with the words of Isaiah 46:3-4 and rest in the arms of your Good Shepherd, "Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it." -- Ezekiel 33:32
Very little has changed over the years. There are still many that sit under the preaching of the Word looking for sermons that are given with a beautiful voice, filled with soothing content. When the message calls for repentance or a lifestyle change, it might be heard, but rarely obeyed.
In the passages before us we are overwhelmed with the work of God's judgment on His people. How could they have become so evil, you may ask? Where does such rebellion and idolatry begin? It all begins with hearing what we want to hear and ignoring what we need to obey. Without repentance there can be no redemption.
Oh my friend, these pages are hard to read but so very sobering. Be wise in your study of the Scriptures. Pay careful attention to the Word preached and listen with an obedient ear. Open your heart to the will of God and your way will always be greatly blessed.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

“I will cause your multitude to fall by the swords of mighty ones, all of them most ruthless of nations. “They shall bring to ruin the pride of Egypt, and all its multitude shall perish.” – Ezekiel 32:12
We live in a day when numbers describe success; the bigger, the better. But numbers without the right heart and service before the Lord are of little significance. Such numbers can and will slip away ever so quickly at the moment that God calls us into account.
These chapters may cause one to grow weary with the pride, greed and self-sufficiency visited again and again. But the evil and its judgment are set before us with clarity and we have no excuse if we fail to learn. Without the Lord's blessing on the obedient life, nothing good will ever last. The multitudes will come for a time, but they will go just as quickly.
Consider the words of Solomon in Proverbs 15:16 my friend, "Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it." Don't define success by great crowds. Look for a heart of humility and faithfulness to the ways of the Lord. There is no greater achievement than a life that is satisfied with the Lord Himself above all other treasures.

Friday, July 8, 2011

"I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh shall fall. Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he stretches it out against the land of Egypt. And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” -- Ezekiel 30:25-26
The Lord alone is Sovereign. He alone rules the world. He puts the sword in the hand of one and scatters another. When there seems to be no order nor direction in the international community, remember who really rules the world in which we live.
When injustice runs rampant, be assured that the days of sorrow will eventually end and justice will prevail. We need to wait on the Lord and believe that in His time the world will know that He is the Lord. Pray my friend, with all confidence that the Lord will intervene in times of suffering and brokenness.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you." -- Ezekiel 28:17
God is good. He has chosen to bless each one of us with personal qualities and abilities. The temptation arises when we become more focused on ourselves than our Lord. When we are more enamored with the creation than the Creator we are in serious trouble.
The King of Tyre forgot the source of all beauty and wisdom, seeing himself as a god. His pride blinded him to the grace and glory of God. Humility gave way to arrogance and he learned that "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble". (1 Peter 5:5)
Be wise my friend and pray for a grateful heart that always and only boasts in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:31) The word of wisdom from Solomon is, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.", and then "It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud." (Proverbs 16:18, 19) So, give thanks to the Lord for His many blessings and glorify Him in all things.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Javan, Tubal, and Meshech traded with you; they exchanged human beings and vessels of bronze for your merchandise." -- Ezekiel 27:13
In a world of materialism and greed the souls of men become nothing more than a commodity. This list of materials traded for merchandise includes a wide variety, but that which is of highest value is human beings. Yet, they are listed as no greater worth than vessels of bronze. Materialism blinds the eye to human significance.
In your pursuit of monetary gain, do you consider those who may be hurt along the way my friend? While we may not trade in human beings, we can certainly abuse and misuse others in the pursuit of selfish gain. Pray for a heart that does nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility counts others more significant than yourself. Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"For thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet and rejoiced with all the malice within your soul against the land of Israel, therefore, behold, I have stretched out my hand against you, and will hand you over as plunder to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and will make you perish out of the countries; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the LORD." -- Ezekiel 25:6-7
Even in times of rebuke and chastening God cares for His people Israel. The prophets speak of a day when Messiah Jesus will sit on David's throne and reign. Israel will have a new heart and worship in Jerusalem for a thousand years. God is not finished with His people.
With the above future in mind, the Lord will not tolerate other nations abusing and mistreating Israel, the apple of His eye. This whole chapter reinforces the loving and protective care He has for His people. We would be wise to love Israel too and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. 
In addition my friend, may we find assurance in these passages concerning Gods faithfulness to all His redeemed? He, who began a good work in you, will most certainly bring it to completion. (Philippians 1:6)

Monday, July 4, 2011

"So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded." -- Ezekiel 24:18
Has the Lord asked too much of you lately? Are the sacrifices far too great to bear? Is serving Jesus a far greater challenge than you expected? Well, take a moment and meet Ezekiel. We find a faithful prophet who willingly obeyed in the darkest hour. 
The Lord won't always ask us to make such a demanding effort in our service, but the question is... will we? Are you ready to suffer tremendous loss for the sake of Christ and press on with all diligence? Is the glory and grand purpose of your Savior of greater importance than your own grief?
The words of the Lord are timeless my friend... "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26-27)  Ezekiel lived them before they were spoken, will you?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

"Moreover, this they have done to me: they have defiled my sanctuary on the same day and profaned my Sabbaths. For when they had slaughtered their children in sacrifice to their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to profane it. And behold, this is what they did in my house." -- Ezekiel 23:38-39
How far will hypocrisy take someone? Will anyone really participate in idolatry on the very same day they come to worship at church? Is it possible to carry on in gross sin during the early hours and then appear before the Lord as if all is spiritually well? Great displeasure and wrath was poured out because such was the case for Israel.
Strong and harsh were the words of this passage, but they came from a deeply offended God. And for our thought, are such things possible for us today? We may not slaughter our children before Sunday worship service, but do we sacrifice them and ourselves to other forms of idolatry? How caught into the world of materialism are we? Does the pursuit of pleasure take first place in our lives? Are our hearts right with the Lord and others in our lives? Or do we attend church as an obligation to sooth the conscience, so we can live any way we want the rest of the week?  
Don't be too self-righteous my friend. Worship is a serious matter and the Lord looks for those who will worship Him in  "spirit and truth" (John 4:24) As you come to worship this morning, prepare your heart and be sure that your walking in the Spirit before you attend and then enter the week planning to worship the Lord with all your heart every day.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none." -- Ezekiel 22:30
Moses pleaded for Israel to the point of offering his own life for theirs. Paul prayed the very same way for the lost people of his nation. Such was the kind of man that God sought at the time of Ezekiel's writing, but He found none. Sadder words are not found among the servants of God.
As we look across our nation on this weekend of Independence Day, will the Lord find someone who will build up the wall and stand in the breach before Him for the land? The only hope for the future of this nation is the same as in the above passage. Will someone stand in the breach?
The question comes home to you and me my friend. Will we be counted as prayer warriors for God in this crucial hour? Will we be willing to lay down all that we are to seek the face of God for our nation? When the Lord seeks such men and women, will He find us faithful in prayer?

Friday, July 1, 2011

"thus says the Lord God: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. Exalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted." -- Ezekiel 21:26
Life goes on as if it will always remain the same. But then, the inevitable comes to pass... change. In the case of Israel this change was to be a serious time of divine judgment. As the Lord said, "Things shall not remain as they are."
When we live in rebellion toward God and disobey His commands from day to day, will life continue unchanged? How long will God remain silent and apparently unmoved? The day is coming when the first shall be last and the last shall be first. The day is coming when He will come, "to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to him." 
Are ready for change my friend?  "Things shall not remain as they are" so live for two days... today and that day!