Monthly Archives: November 2012

Ezekiel 37,38,39; 2 Peter 2

We became dog people this year, adding a 3-5 year old rescued foxhound named Nella to our family.

NellaShe sheds. She doesn’t know a single command. And on the occasion I witnessed her eat her own vomit, I’m sure my face reflected a bit of disgust and horror. Because that is just gross.

Nella, however, didn’t seem bothered by it.

For you are a slave to whatever controls you. 20 And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. 21 It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. 22 They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.” 2 Peter 2:19b-22 NLT.

I remember reaching a point in my walk with the Lord where I felt frustrated and discouraged by my own sin. There were days I felt it would be way easier if I hadn’t known of a different life. But I knew too much to ever go back and be comfortable.

Because to know the Lord and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again certainly feels worse off than before.

Impatience, jealousy, or anger sometimes flare up in me without warning. And I gobble it up much like my dog, ingesting sin before I can muster the thought, “Did I just eat that?” Other sin is much more calculated–a gazing at vomit, if you will, and choosing to dine on it. A repulsive image. These I do try to avoid.

On Pinterest, I saw a pin of a quote that read, “Instead of using ‘I’m human’ as a reason to walk in the flesh, try using ‘I’m saved’ as a reason to walk in the Spirit.”

I want to put this on the fridge somewhere. Perhaps next to the picture of my dog.

God, thank you for grace, your desire to change me daily, and the opportunities you give me to grow closer to you. Please show me the things that control me so I can be free from them.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ezekiel 35,36; 2 Peter 1

My first baptism was in my early twenties. My boyfriend was with me, and afterwards we were invited back to a church friend’s house for a celebration. The people in the party held hands in the room as my friend’s husband prayed over us. My boyfriend said it all seemed cultish.

Nothing distinguished me from my before-and-after except that I now thanked God for each day at the end of my journal entries.

My second baptism was in my late thirties. There’s no need for a second baptism. I’m sure the first one was sufficient. But my heart had changed, and I truly wanted to follow Jesus. Reading Ezekiel 36:25-27 NLT immediately brings back the memory of the second baptism, because my choice to follow the Lord would crazy-change my life.

25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

Later that year I would join some interstate friends to read the bible in a year. It was through reading His Word that I would get to know him.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

Second Peter encourages brothers and sisters in Christ to grow in faith.

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

I’ve been reading through my bible for four years now, and there’s still so much more to learn. These words, light in darkness …

19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.

… moved in Spirit, spoken from God.

Lord, you have indeed given me everything I need. Thankful for every day, still, and more so.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ezekiel 33-34: 1 Peter 5

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. ~ 1 Peter 5:8-9

I have discovered that it’s hard to be married and a mom.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade any of it, but it’s a real challenge.  These scriptures are a great reminder that I need to be in constant contact with God so that I can be in control of my emotions—regardless of the situation.  In fact, it calls me to also be alert.  I need to keep my eyes open and realize that the enemy is trying to destroy my marriage and my family and I need to do my part.   My part is 1) to stand firm on God’s promises, (1 Peter 5:9); and 2) to give all my needs, worries, and cares over to God, trusting that He’ll take care of it, (1 Peter 5:7).

One other thing that these scriptures tell me is that I am not the first woman to have to juggle mommy-hood, wife-ship, and work.  It helps to know that others have gone before me on this same path and in turn I can help those who will come behind.

Thank you, Father that you didn’t send me on this journey alone.  Thank you for surrounding me with godly women who seek after You and can help guide me along the way.  And thank you, Lord, for the blessing of being Your daughter, Brad’s wife, Savannah’s mom, and friends with my girlfriends.  What an honor it is to be in this position.  Lord, help me to continue to follow in the way You lead me.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Heatherpotts5

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Ezekiel 30,31,32; 1 Peter 4

Ezekiel 30

Cush and Libya, Lydia and all Arabia, Kub and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt.

Ezekiel 31

11 I gave it into the hands of the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside,

Ezekiel 32

All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land, declares the Sovereign Lord.  I will trouble the hearts of many peoples when I bring about your destruction among the nations, among lands you have not known.

1 Peter 4

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Today’s New Testament reading is subtitled  “Living For God” in my NIV bible.  It seems ironic that it is paired with three chapters of Ezekiel with subtitles like “A Lament Over Egypt,” “Pharaoh’s Arms Are Broken,” “Pharaoh as a Felled Cedar of Lebanon,” “A Lament Over Pharaoh,” and “Egypt’s Descent Into the Realm of the Dead.” It is clear that God has lost all patience with Pharaoh and the People of Egypt.  He is describing some pretty drastic corrections to a nation that has definitely not been “Living for God.”

The real question for me is “how do I live for God?”  Peter says that I must live in a way that encourages prayer.  He also says I must love my neighbors, watch what I say and how I say it, and put other people’s needs above my own.  It seems like every lesson on living for God comes down to the same three things.  Love God, love your neighbor, and die to self.  It seems like I’ve heard those words before.  Jesus taught the same thing when asked what the greatest commandment was.  It must be important!  I guess I will keep working on this.  I don’t want to be found wanting as the Egyptians were in these chapters of Ezekiel.

Father God, help me to die to myself and surrender all to You.  Help me to love my neighbor and to seek You with all my heart.  I want desperately to live my life for You.  Open my eyes so that I may see Your truth.  Guide my steps so that I won’t be found wanting on the great day of judgment.  Grant me strength so that I may stand strong in my faith when failure looms before me.

Ed Sorrell

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Ezekiel 27,28,29; 1 Peter 3

8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8-9, NIV)

Is it my imagination, or am I getting an awful lot of those tough commands on my assigned writing days? I approached today’s reading with a hope of meditating on some feel-good verses, to quiet my soul at this hectic time of year. While God provided that as I read verse 8, dreaming of a world where everyone was like-minded, sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble, I read on in verse 9 and I am hit with one of those hard sayings: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing…” Replay evil with blessing.  Really??  Come on!!

I remember several times when this was certainly a challenge. I remember one time in particular; my husband gently reminded me of this when I was fuming at an injustice done to me at work and what I was planning to do about it. I was five timezones away, and I wanted to pretend I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I mean, come on, this person declared war!! I was fed up, hurt, angry, and exhausted. It took everything I had not to seek revenge. But to repay with blessing?  I don’t think I managed to go that far.

I will say, though, that my husband is one of the best people I know at living this principle (along with several others of these “hard sayings”). It used to make me crazy, but as I mature in my walk I am coming around. Maybe as I get older I can see the wisdom in this firsthand. I have seen situations escalate, and I can see where if this principle had been applied it would have avoided a world of hurt. I also see how the “evil” done to us is often a perception problem or a miscommunication. Other times it is done as a reaction of pain by the other person. Inflicting pain back does not accomplish any good. I can start to see how our lives would be so much more peaceful if we not only avoided revenge but paid it back with a blessing. It also makes me wonder how many blessings that others have bestowed upon me were actually a response to a perceived evil on my part?

Lord, strengthen my resolve to seek peace and pursue it by repaying evil with blessing. You are close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit. You promise that I will inherit a blessing by trusting you in this. Let me find my peace in that.

suegraff

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Ezekiel 24, 25, 26; 1 Peter 2

Scripture:

1 Peter 2:9+10, 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (KJV)

Observation/Application:

We stand in an airport in a circle praying for a team ready to leave for Haiti. We are a peculiar people. We serve one another communion. We are a royal priesthood. We sit next to someone on a plane and find out they are a Christ-follower. Our conversation becomes close as if we knew each other for years. We are a holy nation. The things we used to do have no sway in our lives any longer. We’ve been called out of darkness into the glorious light. At one time we were alone, now we are the people of God. We were once bound for hell, now we have experienced God’s mercy.

Prayer:

Father God thank you that we belong to you. Thank you we have all these great things because of it. Thank you that you are our Saviour & Lord. We pray all these things in Jesus Name, Amen!

dmbaldwin

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1 Peter 1, Ezekiel 22, Ezekiel 23

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Now, son of man, … show her all her abominations! … I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; … then you shall know that I, the Lord, have poured out My fury on you.’” Ezekiel 22

“Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, Therefore you shall bear the penalty Of your lewdness and your harlotry.’”…you shall pay for your idolatrous sins. Then you shall know that I am the Lord God.’”  Ezekiel 23  

“To the Pilgrims” with “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation …”  1 Peter 1

Read at – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2022,%20Ezekiel%2023,%201%20Peter%201&version=NKJV

Ezekiel 22     “You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and have defiled yourself with the idols which you have made. You have caused your days to draw near”

                Lord Almighty Omniscient, You always hate sinful words, actions, thoughts and attitudes which people do. You always tell me to turn to You and be saved from Your fierce wrath. #1

             What angers You, Lord God, are people willfully shedding the blood of the innocent in their womb or for revenge or money. Or when I make an idol out of anything and depend upon “it” to make me happy, content or to bring myself pleasure, comfort or security. It is then that I do NOT depend upon my alive and real Relating-ship with You my Father. It is as if I turn my back on You saying “Lord, You are not good enough for me, I don’t trust You so I am rejecting You for the greater importance of _whatever__.” God, You are a jealous for me! Rightfully so. You bought me with the price of Your only begotten Son’s Life Blood. You love me immeasurably. I am to treat You as my Master! Joyously! Thank You!  #2

            The willfulness of my own soul causes me to either run to You or flee. May I always be conscious of Your Goodness and Truth which is the only Hope and Remedy for my personal fulfillment and boundless Joy. #3

            Lord, I lift up my nation to You! Awaken Your people and transform the hell bound to know You, hate their atrocities against You and live for Your glory alone, Omniscient Father. #4

            Just as in Ezekiel 22, many leaders use their power to make light of the father and mother bonds and responsibilities which You ordained and instituted. Many have devoured people, taken treasure and precious things, made many widows by war and murder. Many religious leaders have violated Your Law, profaned Your holy things and have not distinguished between the holy and unholy. Many citizens slander thus causing death to reputations, relationships or to a life itself. Many commit robbery, lewdness, have sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, adultery, incest, mistreat the poor and needy and make excess dishonest profits by extortion and usury. Many people who have forgotten the Lord God, their Creator.  #5

            You state what You can do to us Lord, “I beat My fists, … I shall deal with you… I, the Lord, have spoken, and will do it. … remove your filthiness completely from you….then you shall know that I am the Lord.”

               Your Word should fill me with Holy Fear of You Lord – to know Your Power and Holiness so to live to please You! Holy One, Thank You that You did not destroy me or others immediately. I call on Your character to be slow to anger and long suffering because You do not want anyone to perish. Please engage Your Body to be very active for Your Victory of salvation of souls! Please have me know You better and more intimately each day, and for my nation, too! #6

            Jesus, awaken me to be involved with Your kindness when I see a stranger, a widow, or someone who is fatherless. Remind me of Your Mercy and Grace that helped me when I was Your enemy and even now when I am Your child. Have me fear You more greatly to keep Your Sabbath set apart just for You, to Worship and abide in You deeply instead of trading Your attention for anything else. #7

1 Peter 1  –    To the pilgrims … in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:  you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love.

            Lord God, You speak of various trials. Oh how painful they are sometimes!! The twists and turns I am carried through, and yet I must be straight in You and faithful to You, my Savior. Help me to heed Your Word by Your Holy Spirit so that I will not fall into the sins listed in the following passages, even in my mind.

             Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

            I am grateful that I am “redeemed with …the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. …who through Him believe in God … that your faith and hope are in God.”

            Lord Jesus Christ, enable, empower and contend with me to “purify my soul in obeying the truth through the Spirit …having been born again …through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” Amen!

Bible insights –

#1  Psalm 97:10; Psalm 7:11; Ezekiel 14:6; Joel 2:12; Acts 26:20; James 1:21; Proverbs 6:16-19; Psalm 9-11; Ezekiel 18; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Luke 12:5; Isaiah 59:1; Hosea 4:6; Matthew 11:28-30; Deuteronomy 28; Job 33:13; Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:12; Hebrews 4:13; 1 Peter 4:5; Hebrews 9:27

#2   Exodus 34:14; Ezekiel 39:25; Zephaniah 3:17; Deuteronomy 4:24; Exodus 20; Nahum 1:2; Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Acts 20:28; Jeremiah 31:3; Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 1; John 13:13; Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 7:10; Colossians 3:23-25; Philippians 4:4-8; Nehemiah 8:10; Revelation 7:12

#3 Nehemiah 8:10 

#4  2 Chronicles 7:14; Romans 5:8; Romans 6; Luke 12:5; Romans 1:18-2:16; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10; Psalm 51; Hosea 4:6; Job 28:28; Psalm 19:9; Psalm 25:14; Psalm 33:18; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 2:5; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 14:27; Proverbs 16:6; Proverbs 29:25

#5 Genesis 1:1-3; Genesis 1:26-2; Leviticus 18, Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Deuteronomy 11; Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 5:18; 1 Peter 3; Ephesians 5; 1 Corinthians 7; Exodus 20; Romans 1:18-2:16; John 10; Luke 11:13; James 1:17, Leviticus 18:22

#6   Job 28:28; Psalm 19:9; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 1:29; Proverbs 2:5; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 14:27; Proverbs 16:6; Luke 12:5; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 103:8; Nahum 1:3; Isaiah 59:1; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 6:10-20; Romans 8

#7    Romans 5:8; John 1:1-3; John 1:10-14; John 1:29; 1 John 3:1; Exodus 20:8-9; John 4:23-26; Exodus 20:12

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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