Monthly Archives: November 2021

Ezekiel 37-39, Psalm 87, John 13

The valley of dry bones is what stood out to me this week. The conversation between the prophet Ezekiel and the Lord is fascinating to picture.

Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And will lay sinews upon you, and will causes flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:4-7 ESV)

The nation of Israel had been defeated, but God was telling Ezekiel that He would bring them back.

Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” (Ezekiel 37:9 ESV)

Their army had been slain but now they were seeing the future of their people being restored.

Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:12-14 ESV)

God was restoring His people back unto their land and back unto His blessing upon them. Can we see our own journey in this somehow? We were dead in our sins, just as if we were in the grave. But when we chose to trust Him and know that He is the Lord, He put His Spirit in us. He restored His sinful children back to Himself because He loves us and wants to spend eternity with us.

Lord, thank you for the illustration of Israel’s restoration. We are thankful we have seen this prophecy come true in our most recent century. Thank you also for sending Jesus to restore your relationship with us so that we can be with You forevermore.

Amen,

Kellie

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Ezekiel 34-36; Psalm 86; John 12

Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus-the man he had raised from the dead.  A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor.  Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him.  Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance.  But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages.  It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.”  Not that he cared for the poor-he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.  Jesus replied, “Leave her alone.  She did this in preparation for my burial.  You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”  John 12:1-7 NLT

Did Mary feel misunderstood?  Or was she so focused on Jesus that she didn’t worry about what anyone else thought?  She didn’t try to explain herself.  She knew that Jesus was her defender.  She was preparing for Jesus’s burial.  She knew that he wouldn’t be with them soon.  She was very purposeful about what she did.  How many times have I let the opinions of others get in the way of what He has called me to do?

“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.  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.  And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.  “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago.  You will be my people, and I will be your God.”  Ezekiel 36:25-28 NLT

God gave the Israelites a new covenant that Jesus would ultimately fulfill.

Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone.  But its death will produce many new kernels-a plentiful harvest of new lives.  Those who love their life in this world will lose it.  Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.  Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am.  And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.  “Now my soul is deeply troubled.  Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.” John 12: 23-27 NLT

Is my heart receptive toward him or hardened? Am I living in my old ways or new?

“Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly.  Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you.  O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.  Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry.  I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.” Psalms 86:1-7 NLT 

Thank you Father for restoring what was lost.  For dying on the cross for my sins.  For putting your spirit inside me.  I pray that I would live by that power every day. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

From the archives. Originally published November 6, 2018.

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Ezekiel 31-33 & John 11

There is a lot going on in John 11. Two things stand out to me that I hadn’t really seen before in this passage.

First of all, let’s just acknowledge this is the ultimate declaration by Jesus that he is the resurrection and the life (that’s not one of the things that I hadn’t seen, but thought should be mentioned here first.). And he is so moved by the grief of his friends that he weeps. The shortest verse in all of Scripture, “Jesus Wept.” Many times we think that in the middle of our grief we are alone, but Jesus stands by weeping with us. He always has and will till the resurrection. And he is the resurrection and the life. We look to him when we think of our eternal destinies.

Now the two things I haven’t seen before. You know how you brush over something in the reading and then a second or twentieth time it hits you.

Lazarus had been dead for four days. In verse 39 Martha let’s Jesus know he had been dead for four days. After three days Jesus was raised from the dead. Lazarus was dead longer than Jesus would be. What an awesome miracle. Not only did Jesus declare he was the resurrection and the life he proved it by raising Lazarus from the dead on the fourth day. What an ultimate proof of an unbelievable claim. In Matthew 27:50-53 there is the account of many holy people being raised from the dead when Jesus died. They had been dead longer than four days. What power we find in Jesus and his work in our lives and others.

Second it was not a good idea for Jesus and his disciples to go back to Judea where the Jews were trying to stone him. After a bit of a debate with the disciples they are going back. And Thomas states the following, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (verse 16) What do we call Thomas at this side of the New Testament? We call him Doubting Thomas. He doubted the resurrection till he saw Jesus and then he was all in. Here Thomas was ready to die with Jesus. It’s interesting that we tend to think of the low periods of an individual’s life and don’t remember the high ones. Here Thomas was all in and ready to die. Although we all go through low periods of our spiritual journeys let’s think the best of our fellow Christ followers.

Father God, more than once Jesus showed us his power over death. That same power is at work within us today. Like Thomas let us be ready to die for the person that gives lifetime and time again. In Jesus strong and life giving name we pray, amen.

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Ezekiel 28-30; John 10

God is just. When he sends word to the prince of Tyre, he explains the fault and the consequence. And I am most effected by how the attitudes of the heart can be such a trespass against the Lord.

In your great pride you claim, ‘I am a god!
    I sit on a divine throne in the heart of the sea.’
But you are only a man and not a god,
    though you boast that you are a god.
You regard yourself as wiser than Daniel
    and think no secret is hidden from you.
With your wisdom and understanding you have amassed great wealth—
    gold and silver for your treasuries.
Yes, your wisdom has made you very rich,
    and your riches have made you very proud.

“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
Because you think you are as wise as a god,
    I will now bring against you a foreign army,
    the terror of the nations.
They will draw their swords against your marvelous wisdom
    and defile your splendor!
They will bring you down to the pit,
    and you will die in the heart of the sea,
    pierced with many wounds.
Will you then boast, ‘I am a god!’
    to those who kill you?
To them you will be no god
    but merely a man!
10 You will die like an outcast
    at the hands of foreigners.
    I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” (Ezekiel 28:2b-10, NLT, emphasis added)

God’s heart was for man. He wanted the best for man. I find this passage a tender grief and grievous contrast between the life the Lord offered and the life man chose.

You were the model of perfection,
    full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty.

13 You were in Eden,
    the garden of God.
Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone—
    red carnelian, pale-green peridot, white moonstone,
    blue-green beryl, onyx, green jasper,
    blue lapis lazuli, turquoise, and emerald—
all beautifully crafted for you
    and set in the finest gold.
They were given to you
    on the day you were created.
14 I ordained and anointed you
    as the mighty angelic guardian.
You had access to the holy mountain of God
    and walked among the stones of fire.

15 You were blameless in all you did
    from the day you were created
    until the day evil was found in you
.
16 Your rich commerce led you to violence,
    and you sinned.
So I banished you in disgrace
    from the mountain of God.
I expelled you, O mighty guardian,
    from your place among the stones of fire.
17 Your heart was filled with pride
    because of all your beauty.
Your wisdom was corrupted
    by your love of splendor.
So I threw you to the ground
    and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings.
18 You defiled your sanctuaries
    with your many sins and your dishonest trade.
So I brought fire out from within you,
    and it consumed you.
I reduced you to ashes on the ground
    in the sight of all who were watching.
19 All who knew you are appalled at your fate.
    You have come to a terrible end,
    and you will exist no more.” (Ezekiel 28:13-19, NLT, emphasis added)

Jesus explains abundant life–he is the gate. He is the shepherd. He watches over, protects, and provides for his flock. He loves them (to death!), and they love and trust him.

“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” (John 10:7b-18, NLT)

I think of this selection alongside the previous one–of things given on the day we were created. How sin, arrogance, pride, greed, haughtiness, unbelief–all the things that can come between us and a pure and rich relationship with God. It starts in the heart.

24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:25-27, NLT)

Lord, I focus on you and keep you center of my vision. It’s so easy to be distracted by polarizing points, the next great fear or concern, or even when the good and great things happen–to be fed full of the reward to lose sight of the provider. Be my center. Be my focus so I’m not distracted or diverted down wrong paths. Gate and shepherd–you are truly all that I could ever need.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ezekiel 25-27;Psalm 85;John 9


 
Ezekiel 25-27
This three chapters of Ezekiel are God’s declaration of judgment against the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Philitines, the Edomites and the land of Tyre & Siddon.

All these enemies of the land of Israel and Judah had been used by God at various times to deliver judgment against the land of Israel when they sinned against God and worshipped the idols and gods of the nations around them. So in battle these nations had plundered the Israelites from time to time. It appears though that these nations failed to realise it was God who was using them to punish the Israelites and I this is were they missed it. So they all started rejoicing over the fall and defeat of Israel who despite all the sin they had committed still happened to be “the apple of God’s eye”

So God became angry because these nations rejoice over Israel’s downfall and these three chapters of Ezekiel are God’s proclamation of judgment over all of them.

The lesson to learn here is never rejoice over someone else’s downfall.



Psalm 85
I love this Psalm because it shows a clear picture of the children of Israel appealing to God for restoration after He had punished them for all their iniquities and sins.

In Ps85:1-3 they talk about how God has forgiven their sins

Verses 4 – 13 they appeal for God to cease from being angry with them and show His mercy bringing restoration for all their enemies had plundered them of. They ask God in His righteousness to let His salvation cause His “glory may dwell in our land” again. In faith they declare “Yes, the Lord will give what is good; And our land will yield its increase.”

Scriptures like Psalm 85 were recorded as a warning to us so that we may not the same mistake Israel made by being enticed by the sins being committed by the nations around them and straying away from God. This caused God’s protection over them to be removed and He punished them for what they did leaving them a mockery amongst other nations who He allowed to deal several blows of defeat on them.





John 9
It’s interesting how Jesus’s disciples make an assumption that because a man was born blind it was punishment for he or his parents sins!! Jesus gives the perfect answer in verse 3“……Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” What I take away from this scripture is that we may not always have an answer for every challenging situation we find ourselves in, sometimes things wouldn’t make sense. These challenges that don’t make sense are not necessarily a reflection of the presence of sin after all the Bible says God causes the rain to fall on the good and evil. Also once we ask God for forgiveness He nevers holds our past sins against us, and if he doesn’t why should He then punish us with sickness or infirmity.

Rather than focusing on sin one should really focus on our merciful God who desires to and can heal all sickness and infirmity which is exactly what Jesus’s focus was as He then proceeds to heal the blind man.

We also see the evil side of religion at play when the Pharisees condemned Jesus for healing the man on the sabbath day. They also went as far as trying to discredit the man’s healing.

Let us learn a lesson here because it is easy to criticise the Pharisees when we are also guilty of the same sin. We must never let religion get in the way of us showing compassion when it is needed.

In Christ

BM

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