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Ezekiel 7-9; John 3

As a young teenager I found reading parts of the Old Testament rather exciting at times, confusing some of the times, and many times the dots just did not seem to connect. Thankfully, as I continued to read, and engage in a local church, it was helpful to get some perspective on certain stories and how the connection between the Old and New Testament narrative really made a difference in my understanding of God’s relationship with me.

Peace has been a measuring stick for success in many of the Old Testament stories.  When there was no peace, you could count on something being wrong in characters relationship with God.  I hold the same yard stick in my life.  If peace is missing in any decision that I make, I know I need to square things up with God or step away from the activity where I find peace missing. I cannot imagine what it will be like in the end times when the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth and people will be looking for God but cannot find Him.  The book of Revelation says that they would rather have the mountains and rocks fall on them instead of living life without God’s love.

 You will be terrified and will desperately look for peace—but there will be no peace. – Ezekiel 7:25  CEV

The story I am most impressed upon, in keeping a right relationship with God, is where the people of Israel are complaining, once again, and God allows poisonous snakes to come into camp to kill them. I think the story was one of awe and wonder that God had just about had enough of all this complaining.  Could He ever run out of patience with me? Then I keep reading the story in Numbers 21.4-9 and it ends with an amazing gift from God once the people repented. A bronze snake is made, put on a pole, lifted up, and every person bitten were healed if they looked at the snake and every person looking at the bronze snake were not bitten. In other words, if you looked at the bronze snake, you did not die.  What a story!

Then to see that this was not just a story, but a game plan God had in mind with Jesus, I am still blown away today.  Here is God, trying to explain exactly what He means by sending Jesus to the cross, and He has created the perfect illustration from a real life experience in the Old Testament. I could not miss this plan of salvation even if I tried.

And the Son of Man must be lifted up, just as that metal snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert. – John 3:14  CEV

That is how much He wants to save me from my sin, my rebelliousness, my desire to walk away from Him.

Lord, what can I say of Your desire to create peace in my heart by having such a loving relationship with You. Thank You!

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezekiel, John, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

I Samuel 31; I Corinthians 11; Ezekiel 9; Psalm 48

The men of Israel had fled from the lost battle, and Saul and his sons were dead, their headless bodies attached to a wall. “Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men arose and traveled all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth Shan; and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted for seven days.” I Samuel 31:11-13.

For all his faults and even though the kingdom was torn from his hands, Saul was still mourned and honored in his death. Sometimes I wish that I could undo all the mistakes and missteps I made in digging my own pit. Truly, the resurrection power of Christ Jesus that lives in me is the only force that could pull me up and out of those dark places.

Even so, I have experienced times when God seemed far away from me. At such times, I have examined my motives and my works to learn how far I have gone from Him. Corinthians 11:30-32 “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

Often, during those times, my family and others have commented on the blessings of God observed in my life. Their remarks confirm to me the unique position believers have in Christ Jesus. God illustrated that fact when speaking through Ezekiel and other prophets in the Bible to remind us that He marks His own.

Ezekiel 9:4 “…and the Lord said to him, ‘Go through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.’” I think of my many prayers to the Lord – admitting helplessness over things I have no power to change. Why does He come near? Because I am good – no! Because I am marked by Him; I am His own, and He alone is able to save.

I look around and the signs of God’s presence are everywhere – He is in the beauty of His creation; He is in His people, the Church; He is in the sacrifices and the tender gestures of the strong and the weak. He is here right now.

Psalm 48:12-14 “Walk about Zion, And go all around her. Count her towers; Mark well her bulwarks; Consider her palaces; That you may tell it to the generation following. For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.”

There is no place I would rather be, Dear Lord God, than here and now to be in Your presence!

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture and commentary quotes from: The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms