Ezekiel 10-12; Psalm 83; John 4

The chapter of Ezekiel 12 leaves me with a relevant message for my life today. Sometimes I think that God allows me to continue in a certain direction that I know does not glorify Him. Yet, I have to remember while He is merciful and patient, He always hates evil. And therefore, He will not allow me, one of His children, to sin and sin forever. His hand will move in my life and encourage me to stop sinning. God wants a relationship with me, a holy one centred in love.

It is why I try to encourage those who read Psalm 83 to keep it as a prayer. It is so easy to judge and much harder to love. I have begun to pray that God’s enemies will start to love Him. I am constantly reminded to do so every time they do something contrary to who God is.

I also pray that I might bring a message of hope even when there might not be one. The woman at the well inspires me on so many fronts. I realize that I must bring so much of Jesus to the table when I engage with those who do not know Him.

 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?” – John 4:29 HCSB

I know that love was in His eyes, I know that He outed sin and yet left no shame in His manner of speech, and I know that this woman did not want to run away but knew that He had what she was looking for her whole life – love, security and safety. How do I relate to others? Can they see love in my voice and the words I choose to use? Is there a sense of security or are they looking for the trap door to escape? Am I a safe place for them to share their guilt and shame while their sin is exposed? I need to make that a priority today – give people a safe place to confess their sin, repent and put their trust in Jesus.

Father, may my voice become Your voice in the ears of those I talk to today. May it be filled with words and expressions of Your love, grace and mercy. May I remember to apply those same thoughts into my own life as I remember that You want to walk with me in Your holiness – may I receive Your love today too. I know that You know me better than anyone else. Even so, Your love for me calls me right into Your arms. I know what it means to be loved, to have a place where I run to for security and I know what it means to be in a safe place. May I be put into situations where I can share these precious moments with others so that that they too may know You. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Ezekiel 7-9 and John 3

Your doom has come to you, O inhabitant of the land. The time has come; the day is near, a day of tumult, and not a joyful shouting to the mountains. Now I will soon pour out my wrath upon you, and spend my anger against you, ,and judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you for all your abominations. And my eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord, who strikes.” (Ezekiel 7:7-9 ESV)

The problem. God is a just God. He has the right to create and the right to destroy. We all fall short of His standard.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:16-21 ESV)

The solution. God punished His innocent Son for our sins. We will have eternal life with Him if we simply believe. Do you believe?

~Kellie

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Ezekiel 4-6; Psalm 82; John 2

–And they shall know that I am the Lord–

This phrase repeats again and again throughout these chapters of Ezekiel. It brought to mind this completely opposite clip from the Wizard of Oz . . .

When the Lord speaks, it is not as some charlatan from behind the curtain. His promises will be kept. His judgements will be carried out. His people will be protected or chastened as appropriate. What he has said he will do.

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

John 2:9-11 ESV

And, when Jesus steps foot on this earth, we find these same attributes as well. The powerful God, in human form, is not bound by the laws of science (although He created those, too, and as a general rule works within them) and can make water into wine, the best wine, with no effort.

And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

John 2:15-17 ESV

He of course has no tolerance for those that ignore His law, or deface His house. Jesus is wholly God, the same from before the beginning of time.

But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

John 2:24-25 ESV

The evil hidden away in the heart of man was all too familiar to Jesus. He had watched the people of Israel vacillate between following and ignoring the law for thousands of years at this point.

“Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, and say, You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain before your idols. And I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars. Wherever you dwell, the cities shall be waste and the high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined, your idols broken and destroyed, your incense altars cut down, and your works wiped out. And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the Lord.

Ezekiel 6:2-7 ESV

The destruction prophesied in Ezekiel seems so harsh, and critics show no surprise at the fire and brimstone God of the Old Testament. However, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The condemnation He gave out to Canaan, to Babylon, to Assyria, and ultimately to Jerusalem was all in response to their gross sins and their rejection of Him. People like to portray Jesus as loving and a “fresh” view of God. Just because He came with a different focus (to serve, not be served, to sacrifice Himself for all mankind), does not mean that He was any softer on sin. In fact, He was coming to take all that judgment on Himself. He knew the full power of God’s wrath, as only a person can truly know Himself. These chapters of John open our eyes to who this God-man is, and prepare us for the momentous occasion when God will both pour out and be the recipient of His great wrath. Not until we have a clearer understanding of the intensity of God’s incredible wrath toward sin, can we begin to understand the enormity of what Christ bore and satisfied on the cross.

And, when those dark hours hang over the earth, people would again know that He is the Lord, for He has spoken.

Lord, you are powerful! You are steady,constant. And, You stepped in the way of Your own wrath to save my life. When You speak, help me to listen and act. Help me to hate my sin as much as You do, and to hold tightly to Your hand and Your perfect way. Help me to trust the power of Your words. In Jesus name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Ezekiel 1-3 & John 1

This first chapter of John’s Gospel was one I memorized through a memory program we had in our church when I was in elementary school. It’s a chapter I can still roll off my tongue and at any moment without any prep. Several years ago I memorized Romans 12. I was in my sixties. Guess what? I can recite parts of it today, but not the whole chapter. What we learn as children sticks with us our entire lives. John 1 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible for that reason.

There is another reason, however, why this chapter is such a favorite to me and others. In these fifty-one verses one finds the essence of the gospel. You find how the world was created and what one must do to receive the free gift of eternal life. We may find out more — in this one chapter — about whoe Jesus is and where he comes from and what he did in creation than the rest of the Gospels combined. It is a powerful chapter. We find in the chapter the following:

  • Jesus is the Word
  • Jesus was in the beginning with the Father
  • Jesus is God
  • Jesus is the light of the world
  • Jesus is the creator of the world
  • Jesus is full of glory
  • Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world
  • Jesus has supernatural powers to see us from afar
  • Jesus called individuals to follow him

All these things about Jesus in this first chapter of John. So what about us? This chapter is filled with who the God of the universe is and our response is to put our trust in him for our eternal destiny. When we read these fifty-one verses we are given strength and confidence to share Jesus’ story with others.

Father God thank you for the revelation we find in your word about the second person of the trinity… Jesus himself. I pray that we would be strengthened and emboldened to share what we have read and experienced with other. In your precious Name we pray, Amen.

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Jeremiah 50-51; 2 Peter 3

Did they scoff back then? When Jeremiah spoke a message from the Lord, who took him seriously? If he walked into a room today with this message, would anyone even care about what he said?

29 The earth trembles and writhes in pain,
    for everything the Lord has planned against Babylon stands unchanged.
Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant.
30     Her mightiest warriors no longer fight.
They stay in their barracks, their courage gone.
    They have become like women.
The invaders have burned the houses
    and broken down the city gates.
31 The news is passed from one runner to the next
    as the messengers hurry to tell the king
    that his city has been captured.
32 All the escape routes are blocked.
    The marshes have been set aflame,
    and the army is in a panic.

33 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    the God of Israel, says:
“Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor,
    about to be trampled.
In just a little while
    her harvest will begin.” (Jeremiah 51:29-33, NLT)

Peter cautions believers:

This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.

Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”

They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed. (2 Peter 3:1-7, NLT)

And even with a warning, and even in the waiting, the day of the Lord’s return will come as unexpectedly as a thief (verse 10). The verses in these readings arrest me. Is there much difference in the people in the times of the holy prophets “long ago”, the people in the apostles’ day, the people today? It comes down to believing who God says he is and that he’ll do what he says he’ll do–but regardless of the belief, I think on that verse: for everything the Lord has planned (against Babylon) stands unchanged.

I imagine Jeremiah’s scroll, Peter’s letters, all the books of the Bible (oh, his very voice in the garden!)–at what point does one take God’s word to heart?

14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.

15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— 16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.

17 You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:14-18, NLT)

Lord, help me to grow in the grace and knowledge of you. May I not be found ignorant and unstable, twisting your word into a meaning that would lead to my destruction.

Courtney (66books365)

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