Do Right, Love People, Walk with God

micah6-8

Today’s Passage – Micah 5 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 7 – 9; Psalms 126 – 130; Proverbs 26)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0926 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8) (Click on the verse to hear it sung by the Clark Family)

A simple but very profound verse of Scripture from the Book of Micah. Do you want to know how you can be right with your God? There is a simple three point outline here in verse eight of chapter six that explains just how to do that. Notice, however, that this verse is written to a people that already know God, so in order to make the application to yourself today you would have to have already begun a relationship with Him through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. If you have already trusted Him as your Savior, then this verse is for you:

1  Do justly – this has as much to do with our relationship with others as well as our obedience to God. We need to strive to be in a right relationship with others; and do the right thing by them. If we have wronged somebody, let’s try to get it right. “Do the right thing”.

2  Love mercy – this has to do with forgiving others who have wronged you. Are you bitter against somebody today? Why not release him from the debtor’s prison in your heart; and forgive him. Look at how God (and others) have forgiven you. Loving mercy could also apply to your love for the souls of men.

3  Walk humbly with God – We need to see ourselves for who we really are – nothing; and see God for who He is – everything. Do you have a walk with Him? Are you spending time daily in prayer, and in the Word? Are you living your life in submission to His will.

Living in a right relationship with God is not all that mysterious or difficult. Jesus said that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. But if we refuse to submit ourselves to His Lordship, holding on to our own will and desire; walking with Him will be impossible. I’m not talking about perfection here: we all blow it at times; but when that happens, we must confess it to God, get back up, and move forward again in our walk with Him.


Posted in Thoughts from Micah by with no comments yet.

There Is Coming A Day

purpose_of_millennial_kingdom-520x245

Today’s Passage – Micah 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 4 – 6; Psalms 121 – 125; Proverbs 25)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the “0925 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” – (Micah 4:1-5)

I just want to give you a couple of quick thoughts this morning from today’s passage in Micah. In Micah chapter 4, God is referring to the Millenial reign of Christ on the earth. This future time period will come only after the church is raptured and the world endures a seven year period of tribulation which will separate the sheep from the goats (the saved from the lost). This 1000 year reign of Christ on earth will be a wonderful time of peace on the earth. Christ will physically be here on the earth ruling the affairs of men. All nations will be in submission to Him, and it will truly be a time of tranquility and safety. Everyone will be living according to the principles found in the Word of God, and Christ Himself will be the instructer. What a time to live on the earth.

Obviously, the day that we are living in today is not like this Millenial reign of Christ, but I believe that Christians can do a lot more to make their homes and their churches more like this future time period. We can do this by yielding our lives to the will of God, surrendering our wills to the Spirit of God, and saturating ourselves with the Word of God. We will never be able to control what goes on in the world around us but we can do something about the homes that we live in, and the churches that we worship in. In the the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth…”. We can do the will of God while we are on this earth, and by doing so we will have a little taste of the Millenial Kingdom. Our homes and our churches should be little pictures of this wonderful time described in Micah 4.


Posted in Thoughts from Micah by with 1 comment.

Where Ya Gonna Run To? – The Saturday Morning Post

hqdefault

Today’s Passage – Jonah 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 1 – 3; Psalms 116 – 120; Proverbs 24)

Read the “0924 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” (Jonah 1:1-3)

Good morning. When the Lord calls you to do something, do you go and do it? Do you run the other way? Maybe you don’t know where such an idea came from: how could you even think something like that. It’s really not your thing anyway. Do you hold a grudge, or maybe are a Calvinist: if they are going to be saved, God will save them; if they are meant to be lost, God will not save them. What does the Bible say?

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29)

Let me give you four excuses that we come up with to run from God.

1) Fear – You Don’t Know The Lord

Jesus warns us in Matthew chapter 7…

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

What a shame to have all your works judged and rejected, and then you are cast into hell because the Lord did not know you. Ephesians 2:8-9 says…

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The Lord is everywhere, so where are you going to run to?

But even after you receive Jesus, you may still be hesitant to obey the Lord’s will for your life.

2) You Think You Can’t Do What God Wants You To Do.

And you would be somewhat right. Jesus said that without Him, we could do nothing. But when we got saved we received power: the power of the Holy Spirit…

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The Bible tells us in Hebrews chapter 13…

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:21)

Romans chapter 4 gives us the example of Abraham…

(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:17-22)

[AND] “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6)

Although knowing that God wants to complete the good work He started in you. And knowing that…

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25)

3) You Want To Do Your Own Thing.

We all want to do our own thing. We tell God that it’s okay, I can handle this. We attack the task in our own strength and fall flat on our face. But the prophet Isaiah said…

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:6-8)

We are being molded to be like Jesus and Jesus came to do His Father’s will. If we do our own will, or our own thing, it is sin. Romans 8:28 tells us that…

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Doing our own thing leads to destruction, and not good. The only other reason you may have is like Jonah…

4) Like Jonah, You Have A Grudge Against The People And Want To See Them Destroyed.

These were the Assyrians. They were the first terrorists. They could be compared to ISIS today. We know the atrocities and the merciless deeds inflicted on others. We see the news, pictures on social media, even in the papers. Here is a report from one of the Assyrian generals…

I destroyed, I demolished, I burned. I took their warriors prisoner and impaled them on stakes before their cities. …flayed the nobles, as many as had rebelled, and spread their skins out on the piles [of dead corpses]… many of the captives I burned in a fire. Many I took alive; from some I cut off their hands to the write, from other I cut off their noses, ears and fingers; I put out the eyes of many of the soldiers.”

I slew two hundred and sixty fighting men; I cut off their heads and made pyramids thereof. I slew one of every two. I built a wall before the great gates of the city; I flayed the chief men of the rebels, and I covered the wall with their skins. Some of them were enclosed alive in the bricks of the wall, some of them were crucified on stakes along the wall; I caused a great multitude of them to be flayed in my presence, and I covered the wall with their skins. I gathered together the heads in the form of crowns, and their pierced bodies in the form of garlands.”

No wonder Jonah hated these people.

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?” (Jonah 3:10-4:4)

So what should be our attitude towards our enemies?

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45)

So why are you running from God? He only wants what is best for you. And where are you going to run to: how far will you get?

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)

Do you well to be angry?

Peace!


Posted in Devotions by with no comments yet.

Spiritual Famine

drought

Today’s Passage – Amos 6 – 9; Obadiah 1 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 2 John, 3 John, Jude; Psalms 111 – 115; Proverbs 23)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0923 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:” (Amos 8:11)

Amos is writing concerning Israel about a time where there will be an absence of the Word of God among the people. But that famine of Bible instruction and principle comes as a result of the lack of desire among the people of Israel for hearing the Words of God. The people of Judah and Israel had their fill of God. They no longer desired to hear what He had to say; they no longer desired to live in by His precepts. They simply felt that they no longer needed God or His instruction.

I feel that America today is in the same boat. There is no famine here. There may be preachers out there who water down the Word of God, and there may be a lot of compromise out there; but, a copy of the Word of God is certainly available to nearly every person in America, and there really isn’t a shortage of churches out there. The problem is not the availability of the Word of God. Rather, the problem is a lack of desire for instruction from God. We have loosed from the moorings of our Biblical heritage and are floating in the sea of secular humanism. We are shouting to God from our culture, “Get Out!”, we don’t need you and we certainly don’t want you. I don’t think it is too far fetched to think about a day in the near future when our authorities try to stop the distribution of the Word of God altogether.

God will not stay where he is not wanted. In fact, the only thing holding back the judgment of God is a remnant of people in America who love the Word and the God who wrote it. So what is the solution? Can this tide of apathy and antagonism toward God be stopped, or even slowed? I am not sure. But my instructions are still to “preach the Word”, even when it is out of season. Christian, it matters not what the world thinks about our God and our Bible. We need to keep obeying God by sowing the seed of His word to the world around us. Some day soon, our job will be done; but for now it is still our responsibility to reach who we can with the glorious gospel of Christ. There are still people out there that hunger and thirst after righteousness.


Posted in Thoughts from Amos by with no comments yet.

Walking Together in Agreement

walking together

Today’s Passage – Amos 1 – 5 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 John 1 – 5; Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0922 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)

The context of verse 3 above deals with both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and how they had chosen to live contrary to the principles of the Word of God. They had become immoral and idolatrous. They had become enamored with the cultures of the heathen nations around them. God tells them here that He cannot walk with these people because they are not in agreement with Him.

I have often quoted this verse when preaching, particularly while speaking on matters of separation. How is it that the professing Christian today feels so comfortable walking alongside the people of the world, who do not know Christ? There must be agreement in order for there to be fellowship. Now, I can walk alongside anybody for a short distance. I will have to work at times with people who are not Christians; and hopefully, I will walk along with a lost man for a time trying to persuade him to trust Christ. Jesus walked and ate with some lost people at times in order to reach them. But, I do not think that this verse is talking about casual, purposeful, or limited contact with the lost world around us. It is talking about true communion. God cannot commune with people who have forsaken Him; and we should not be comfortable running with people who are not in fellowship with Him either.

Christian, be careful who you run with. Surround yourself with people who are going to influence you positively, encouraging your walk with God. Stay away from the gossips who have “the goods” on everybody else. Avoid those who are always negative: who desire to tear everything down, instead of building things up. Run with people who have the same doctrine and standards that you have. My preacher used to say, “You are, or soon will be, who you hang around.” I want to run with people who will cause me to do right and grow in the Lord. Just a thought!


Posted in Thoughts from Amos by with no comments yet.

Where Is Their God?

Where-is-God1

Today’s Passage – Joel 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 John 1 – 5; Psalms 101 – 105; Proverbs 21)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” – (Joel 2:15-17)

“Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of thy servantswhich is shed.” (Psalm 79:10)

Have you ever asked the question, “where is God?”  I have often heard the people of this world ask this question when bad things happen on the earth. They will say that if there was a loving God, He would not allow all of this evil in the world. I have also heard some of the people of God pose the same thought when they or somebody they care about are experiencing hardship in life. However, the context of the verse written above is a little bit different. In our passage, the people of God have strayed far away from His will. Judgment has already come, and more judgment is on the way, and the prophet is pleading with the people to turn back to God. Notice that he wants all of the people: men, women, and even the little children to gather together. He doesn’t want any of them to not be in their place. That’s a good place to start, isn’t it. Many of God’s people today have forsaken the church house, which is “the house of the living God” for us today. Then the prophet says that the priests are to plead to God for the people. God wanted this congregation of Israel to understand that they needed to recognize that they have strayed; and then repent and turn back to God. We need to do the same thing today.

My thought for this morning, however, is that I wonder how many of of the people around us: our neighbors, our co-workers, our family members, etc. can see God in our lives.  Can they see the reality of our faith working throughout our day to day living. Maybe they are tolerant and even polite to us regarding what we say about our faith; but I wonder sometimes if they aren’t secretly thinking, “where is their God?” Can they see the reality of God in our lives?  No wonder we are having a difficult time reaching the people around us. If God isn’t real to us, how can he reveal Himself to others through us. I believe we have a tremendous responsibility and an awesome opportunity to show people our God through our lives.

1  Show them God by living out your faith.  If you really believe God, then live according to the principles found in His Word.  Walk with Him daily.  Yield to His Spirit and His will.  Separate from the things that are not apart of His perfect plan for your life.

2  Show them God by loving the people around you.  God loves people, unlovable people just like you.  Demonstrate the reality of God by demonstrating God’s love to people.  Look for ways to express the love of God to the lost world around you. Don’t take separation beyond where God intended it to be.  He wants us to impact their world; not only with the truth, but also with compassion.

3  Show them God by lasting. A lot of Christians start out their race, and do pretty well for a while, but eventually drop out. When a Christian throws in the towel on his faith, he is telling the world that his God was not real. When I first got saved 21 years ago, my brother said to me that he didn’t think this new life of mine would last. He thought it was just a phase that I was going through; but now I think he has come to realize that my God as well as my salvation is very real. The greatest compliment a person could give me would be for them to say that they saw the reality of God in my life.


Posted in Thoughts from Joel by with 1 comment.

It’s Time

It's Time

Today’s Passage – Hosea 8 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Peter 1 – 5; Psalms 96 – 100; Proverbs 20)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –Micah 6:8

Read the “0920 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12)

“O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.” (Hosea 14:1-2)

A few years ago, Hosea 10:12 was the theme verse for our church. Throughout the year, we would say to each other before services or soul winning, “It’s time”. In the context of Hosea’s book, Israel was at the end of their time for turning to God. God had warned them over and over again to come back to Him; but they were content to stay away. They had become comfortable, and complacent. They had been protected and prosperous, but they attributed their success to themselves rather than to the blessings of God. God had been patient; but His patience was running out. It was past time to seek the Lord. Judgement was imminent.

As a preacher, I sometimes feel the same frustration that Hosea and the other prophets felt. I preach the best that I can, yet I get the feeling that for the most part, my words are going in one ear and out the other. I am not speaking here about people who are trying but struggling. I am in that category myself sometimes; but I am sensing that their is an indifference to spiritual things by many in our community and even in our church. I believe with all of my heart that we are in those “perilous times” that Paul spoke of where men will “heap to themselves teachers having itching ears”.

Those of you that are reading this blog most likely are not in this category. You are the “choir” that so often get preached at (or written to). You love God, and though you may have your weak moments and battles with the flesh, the world, and  the devil; you desire to live for Him. Keep seeking God. Don’t let the attitude and apathy of the world cause you to back up in your love and devotion for Him. Keep moving forward, keep growing. Hosea was writing to a bunch of lost Israelites about turning back to God; and we certainly want to encourage a lost America to turn to God. But, we also want to plead with those who may already have a relationship with God to keep seeking Him; keep drawing closer to Him.

I am praying that God will bring real and lasting revival to our church, and new life to our community and country; but I really want to experience a personal revival. I want to know God and love Him in a deeper way than ever before. How about you? It is very dry out there, spiritual speaking. If you are like me, you are thirsting for some refreshing rain from God. Let God break up some of that hard, dry soil in your heart; and ask Him to refresh, renew, and revive your life.


Posted in Thoughts from Hosea by with no comments yet.

Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge

why-study-the-bible

Today’s Passage – Hosea 1 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – James 1 – 5; Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0919 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land… My people are destroyed for lack of knowledgebecause thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:1 & 6)

I remember recently looking at a textbook from back at the turn of the last century. I think it was called a “primer” and it was used for teaching in public schools all over America. It is full of references to God and direct quotes from the Bible. It didn’t matter what the subject was, the writers of the curriculum made sure that while the students learned academics they also learned about God. When I was a child, we used to observe a “moment of silence”, which was our opportunity to pray at the beginning of the school day. When my dad and mom were young, the teachers in the classroom actually prayed to God aloud, and also recited the Ten Commandments, etc. in the public school. America was filled with the knowledge of God in years past. They say that the average lost man, 100 years ago, knew more Bible than a Bible college student does today. I don’t think that is far from being true. We have become a secular society with all of the humanistic principles and philosophies that go along with it. We no longer look to God for solutions: we look to the government or the prominent secular authority.

In Hosea’s day it was much the same way. The land of Israel was founded on Biblical principles, yet the people became increasingly enamored with the counsel and culture of the ungodly. God said that the people were destroyed because of this lack of knowledge. The question in my mind, though, is where to place the blame. Was it God’s fault? No. Was it the people’s fault? That is a good question. I mean, the people obviously had lost their appetite for spiritual things: they did not want to “hear it” anymore. It’s hard to deliver truth to people who don’t want to listen anymore. However, I would place the blame at the feet of God’s ministers. They seemed to have gotten tired of going against the popular trends of their day; and chose to acquiesce to it rather than preach against it. So, truth stop being delivered, and the people got worse.

This sure reminds me of the current religious climate in America. Preachers want to please the people. Who doesn’t want to be liked? The problem is that in pleasing the people they often compromise the truth. Most churches in America today are only delivering a small fraction of the truth that they once delivered. For example: how many churches have shut down their Sunday School programs; Sunday Evening services; and mid-week Prayer Meetings? How many messages have been cut back to a palatable 20 minutes; and how many of those 20 minute messages have more than a reference or two to Scripture. God commands His preachers to preach the Word “in season (when it’s popular) and out of season”. It really does not matter if the culture wants it or not, we are to flood our communities with the truth of God’s Word. Our nation is starving for the Word of God; and, unfortunately, so are many of our church members. We need to get back to preaching and teaching the truth in our schools and in our churches and in our homes. We need also to get back to flooding our communities with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, so that the people won’t be “destroyed for lack of knowledge”


Posted in Thoughts from Hosea by with no comments yet.

Shining

Daniel12.3

Today’s Passage – Daniel 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 9 – 13; Psalms 86 – 90; Proverbs 18)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0918 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” – (Daniel 12:3)

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” – (Proverbs 11:30)

Not too long ago I received a text message from a very excited member of our church. She had taken a trip down to North Carolina to visit with her father who was very sick. She was concerned about her father’s physical health, but she was even more concerned about his spiritual condition. This young lady had never lead anyone to Christ before and she was very apprehensive, but because she had such a love and burden for her dad, she boldly shared Christ with him. Praise the Lord! Her father was gloriously saved. I do not know that in the future she will go on to “turn many to righteousness”, or not; but I do know that she was shining like a star the day she was used of the Lord to win her father.

I don’t know about you, but that story encourages me to be a better soul winner. I want to share Christ with the world around me. There was a time in my life when I was overflowing with the gospel: I witnessed to everybody. But, to my shame, somewhere along the way, I lost some of that zeal. I want it back.


Posted in Thoughts from Daniel by with no comments yet.

The Prayer of Daniel

prayer_3

Today’s Passage – Daniel 7 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 5 – 8; Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0917 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:” (Daniel 9:4 & 5)

The three chapters that we have read today contain wonderful prophecies about what was going to lie ahead for the people of Israel; and partially they reveal what still lies ahead for us today. Daniel receives several visions in these chapters, and for the most part they are explained to him so that he (and we) can understand them. We basically learn about all of the kingdoms that would rule the earth from the time of Daniel up until the time of the return of Christ. We learn that the Kingdom of Babylon would be overtaken by the Kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. Following them will be the Greeks; and finally we conclude with the Roman Empire which was in power at the time of Christ. This kingdom will eventually be revived and ruled by Antichrist in the last days. These are fascinating and amazingly easy to understand passages of Scripture that leave us with the assurance of knowing that we already have the victory over any evil forces that may come our way.

However, in the midst of all of this prophecy that is given in these three chapters is a prayer to God by Daniel. The thing that captivated my attention about this prayer is that Daniel includes himself in his confession to God regarding all of the iniquity of the people of God. He doesn’t say “they”; he says “we”. Now from what we know about Daniel from what is recorded in Scripture is that he was a very good man. There is not a mark against him in the Word of God. However, we know that he was a man like every other man and was not sinless. Nevertheless, he includes himself in all of the corporate idolatry and immorality that the nation was guilty of. I don’t think that he had forsaken God as the nation had, yet he took the blame upon himself.

I have a couple of thoughts regarding this humble prayer of Daniel:

1 Daniel is a type of Christ here who, though innocent, takes the blame for the sin of others.

2 Daniel is not like most men, including myself at times, who are always trying to pass the blame on to others. Why are we so full of pride that we have to try to make ourselves look to be without flaw and without sin. We are sinners. Sinners sin: it’s what we do. When we sin, we ought to be able to admit it to the Lord, ourselves, and others. We are not God. God doesn’t sin. Remember the old saying, “to err is human”. It is. Humans err; humans make mistakes; humans get away from God. Let’s not be proud of our humanity, but let’s try to humble ourselves enough to recognize it.

Christian, let me encourage you to not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. You ought always to be willing to accept blame for your actions; and even accept some blame for the actions of those you may be associated with. Daniel took full responsibility for the actions of his nation. We ought to have enough humility to come before God the same way. It really is kind of strange the way we behave. We try to present ourselves as perfect: we want to be seen as some kind of God; but God, who is perfect, took upon Himself the blame of everyone else.


Posted in Thoughts from Daniel by with no comments yet.

“He Shall Stand Before Kings”

Daniel

Today’s Passage – Daniel 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Philemon – Hebrews 4; Psalms 76 – 80; Proverbs 16

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “0916 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earthare reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (Daniel 4:34 & 35)

But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: (Daniel 5:23)

I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. (Daniel 6:26)

In the three chapters that we have read today, we have the accounts of three different kings: Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon; Belshazzar of Babylon; and Darius of Persia. Each of these kings came to know that the God of Heaven was the only God of the universe. Each of these kings came to know this under different circumstances. The first king we saw (Daniel 4) was Nebuchadnezzar. He had already seen the power and supremacy of our God in the events that are recorded in the first three chapters of Daniel. Somehow, however, he forgot that it was God who buttered his bread; and began to think that it was he who was the source of his own success. The last straw was in v 30, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?”. God had to greatly humble him. It is a principle of God that he humbles those who exalt themselves. Praise God, though, that He gave Nebuchadnezzar another chance, and He allowed him to be restored. Nebuchadnezzar did not make the same mistake twice: he gave God the glory for all that he was able to accomplish in the kingdom.

The second king we saw (in chapter 5) was Nebuchadnezzar’s “son” who appears to have never come to the place where he voluntarily submitted himself to the God of Heaven. He actually got so bad that he drank from the cups that were taken from the Temple of God: cups that were reserved only for the priests in the service of God. God revealed Himself to Belshazzar by writing his doom upon the wall. Shortly thereafter the the prophecy from the writing was fulfilled when the Persian empire came in and conquered the city of Babylon.

The last king that we read about (in chapter 6) was Darius from Persia. It seems that Darius had a great respect at least for God, though it did not appear that he worshipped him. Because of a mistake that he made, Daniel ended up in the den of lions; but somehow Darius knew that God would deliver him. He actually ended up making it official in the kingdom that everyone was to worship God.

The common denominator for all of these kings, however, is Daniel. Daniel was a steady witness; a powerful, uncompromising voice in all three of these kingdoms. He never wavered and he never yielded to the worldly influences around him. Even though he was in captivity, he was always blessed of God, and favored by each of these kings. His story is similar to Joseph’s in many ways. Let’s learn from the example of men like Daniel and Joseph, and let’s live for God; even in times when the whole world is going in the wrong direction. There will be opportunities to demonstrate the love and power of God before a lost world. When they need God, they will look for someone who they know has consistently walked with Him, like Daniel.

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” (Proverbs 22:29)


Posted in Thoughts from Daniel by with no comments yet.

Staying Cool Under Fire

734546207001_2525212656001_video-still-for-video-2513393959001

Today’s Passage – Daniel 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Titus 1 – 3; Psalms 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read the “0915 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliverus out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:17 & 18)

I enjoy reading every part of the Bible, but I have really been looking forward to getting into the Book of Daniel. These first three chapters, and the stories of Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego) were a great source of strength and encouragement to me today. I may not be facing trials and burdens that could be compared to what these young men faced, but I figure if they had faith enough to stay true to the Lord during their big ordeals, then I certainly should be able to muster enough faith to handle the little tests and problems that have come my way. These were great young men of faith, whose strength and trust in the Lord caused them to stay true to the Lord when all others compromised; and it also allowed them to stay cool when faced with the trials of their life.

In chapter one, we see the four men having a good attitude in a very bad situation. They were taken captive into the strange land of Babylon. We have no idea what happened to the rest of their families; but they may have been left behind, or possibly even put to death. These men were the cream of the crop from Israel: they were smart and well favored physically; but these gifts were not the traits that caused them to stand out from the crowd: it was their faith in God that distinguished them from everybody else. They were given a diet of the best meat and wine from the king, however the meat that the king gave them was most likely sacrificed to some pagan God. Daniel and his companions requested pulse (vegetables) and water as they did not want to compromise their faith in God by eating that which was sacrificed to an idol. The prince reluctantly agreed to accommodate them but only as long as they gave no appearance of being weak and thin. God prospered them with their vegetarian diet and they grew stronger than those that ate the meat.

In chapter two, we see them face an even greater test. The king had a dream and he wanted somebody to tell him what it meant. He made it really hard for the “wise men” in that he would not even reveal the dream: they not only had to give the meaning, but they also had to tell the king the events of the dream. This put most of the kings soothsayers out of business, and got the king mad enough to give all of the “wise men” including the four Hebrew boys a death sentence. Daniel did not panic; he prayed, and God gave him the answer to the king’s dilemma which saved his life and the lives of his three companions. It also gave them great favor in the sight of the king, and elevated them in position above all of the rest.

In chapter three, we see the stakes are raised even higher. The king has passed a new law that states everybody needs to bow to the new statue that he has made. Of course the boys refuse to bow to anything but their God. Once again the king is furious. (Kings don’t like it when the people listen to any other power but theirs) Their sentence this time is to be thrown into the fiery furnace. They trust that their God is well able to deliver them, so they continue refusing to bow to the image. The king throws them in, but miraculously God saves them, not from the fire, but in the fire. Sometimes God allows us to go through the trial: He doesn’t always deliver us from them; but His grace is always sufficient.

These are amazing, encouraging, motivating accounts of great faith. I want to have the strength of faith that these boys had. How about you? Is your faith strong or weak today? Well, did you spend time today in the Word of God? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17) There is a direct correlation between the time spent in the Word of God, and your strength in trials. Why not allow God to strengthen you today through His Word?


Posted in Thoughts from Daniel by with no comments yet.

The Lord Is There

Keep-Going

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 47 – 48 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Titus 1 – 3; Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0914 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.” (Ezekiel 47:9)

“It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.” (Ezekiel 48:35)

These concluding chapters of Ezekiel paint a marvelous picture of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, which He will establish here on the earth after the Great Tribulation. The Bible tells us of a river that flows from the throne of God in the Temple that eventually empties into the Dead Sea. The River begins as just a trickle but deepens and widens as it flows, eventually becoming a great river that one could swim in. I believe this is a marvelous picture of the presence and grace of God. We, as His children, often begin our journey only entering in ankle deep, but as we grow in our relationship with Him, we go ever deeper into those living waters of life that He spoke of also in John 4. It is interesting also that Ezekiel tells us that the waters will heal anything that they come in contact with. Even the Dead Sea, which is virtually devoid of all life today because of its salt concentration, will be healed and will be full of all sorts of fish and other living creatures. God told us in John’s gospel that He came to give us an abundant life, and at this time, all the world will experience the abundant life that only can come through a deepening relationship with Christ.

I love the last verse of Ezekiel’s prophecy. It says that the name of the city shall be, “The Lord is there”. I got to thinking about that statement and how it should apply to many things today. The presence of God indwells me today, so I can say about my life that the Lord is there. But I wonder how often my life is not a good representation of that reality. How often do I quench the Holy Spirit of God as He seeks to flow through me in order to reach the people around me who may not know Him. My family ought to be a picture of “the Lord is there”, as well as our church. In this Millennial Kingdom that Ezekiel speaks of everybody will see it: there will be no obstructions, no impairments that will hinder the people from clearly experiencing the presence of God. I want the obstructions to be removed from my life so that others will clearly see Christ in me. I want people to be able to say about me that God is with me; but my flesh often puts a bushel over the candlestick of God working in my life. How about you? Can people clearly see and be refreshed by the presence of God in your life? Won’t it be wonderful when this time comes that Ezekiel writes about to never have to be hindered by our flesh again: the sin nature that plaques us will be removed for good. But for now, we have to battle with our flesh; we have to surrender to the Spirit of God, and allow His abundant life to flow through us.


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with no comments yet.

God’s Plan B

Crossing out Plan A and writing Plan B on a blackboard.

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 44 – 46 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Timothy 4 – 6; Psalms 61 – 65; Proverbs 13)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0913 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity. Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary,having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them.” (Ezekiel 44:10 & 11)

In the passage above we see that some of the Levites were guilty of falling away from God and chasing after idols. God tells them here that they will have to face the consequences for their actions (“bear their iniquity”), but He does not cast them away altogether. He still gives them a place to serve in the temple. There were some things that they could no longer do, but they could still participate in the worship.

As I mused on this passage I had two contrasting thoughts. First, I considered how awful it must have been to be removed from a high position of service because of sin. But next, I thought about how wonderful God is to give us a second chance to serve Him. We may not be able to do the same things we used to do, but we can still participate; still serve God.

These thoughts lead me to give two challenges. The first is to those who are serving God today with no blemish on their record. They are blameless in the eyes of the community, and have not disqualified themselves from being a pastor or deacon. Stay pure, stay away from sin. Put up some fences and boundaries in your life that will keep you inside the will of God. Don’t lose what God has given you.

The second challenge is to those who may have fallen. Get back up, and do whatever God will allow you to do. You may not minister in the same capacity as you used to, but you can still serve. You can still win people to Christ. You can still be a prayer warrior. You can still minister to people. You can still be a blessing to a church by serving in a variety of ways. You can still give so that others can minister “full-time”. There is still a lot for you to do. Don’t lay down. Get back up and find God’s plan B for your life. Allow God’s grace to humble you and restore you. Who knows, God may just use you in a greater way than He did before; but just praise God that He is still using you.


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with no comments yet.

The Glory of the Lord

untitled

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 41 – 43 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Timothy 1 – 3; Psalms 56 – 60; Proverbs 12)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0912 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.– (Ezekiel 43:1-5)

Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.” – (2 Chronicles 7:1)

I enjoyed reading this morning the continued description of the Millennial Temple and the worship that will take place during the Millennial Kingdom. I find it interesting that it appears that some of the sacrifices (like the Passover) will be re-instituted during this time. I often wondered why there would be sacrifices at this time. Then it dawned on me that there was never a “need” for the sacrifices. What I mean is that they never took away sin; they just served as a symbol or a picture of Christ’s coming sacrifice on Calvary. However, during the Millennium, they will no longer point forward to Christ; they will serve as a reminder, a memorial of Christ: much like the Lord’s Supper does for us today.

However, the thing that really excited me this morning was the thought of the glory of God passing through the eastern gate. You may recall that Christ came through the eastern gate when he rode in Triumphal Entry. That was certainly glorious, however, at that time Christ was veiled in humanity, and His glory was not evident to many who saw Him;  but at the end of the Tribulation when Christ begins His Millennial reign (after putting down all opposition), He will bust through these gates and set up  His Kingdom on earth. Imagine what that will be like. I want to see it up close. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of a world that spits in the face of God. I am tired of mosques being built where the temple should be. Don’t misunderstand, I am not advocating violence; but I long for the day when Christ puts an end to all of this nonsense. Even so, Come Lord Jesus.

A practical application for today from this passage surrounds that phrase in v 5, “the glory of the Lord filled the house”. The glory of the Lord comes with His presence. I want to experience the presence of God in our local church every time I come to worship. Isn’t it a wonderful thing when the Lord shows up while we’re at church. It is His house isn’t it? Unfortunately, there are many times that we come together for worship and the Lord’s glory isn’t as evident as it should be. I suppose there are many reasons why that is: it could be because their is bitterness and division within the church; it may be that there is too much carnality among the members; and it could be that the people are just not looking to meet with God. Whatever the reasons, it is a shame that God does not feel welcome in His own house. I want to experience the presence of God in my life, my home, and my church.


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with no comments yet.

Have You Forgotten?

have-you-forgotten-9-11

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 38 – 40 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Thessalonians 1 – 3; Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0911 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – (John 15:13)

15 years ago today our nation was attacked by radical Muslim terrorists filled with hatred for our culture and our freedom. I have not forgotten that day, and I am sure that all of you who read this who were alive on September 11th have not forgotten either. We remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that day. It is my prayer that as the years go by the memory of 9/11 will remain vivid in our hearts and minds for several reasons:

1 I do not want to forget that there is an enemy out there that wants to destroy us. In this world of distraction, we go about busily living our lives almost oblivious to the fact that evil still exists in our world. Satan is still very active, and His hatred for God and God’s people has only become more intense as years have passed. His influence on people has also increased; and there are more people than ever out there who are under his influence, and are willing to do his evil bidding. As Christians, we are admonished to be alert:

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” – (1 Peter 5:8)

2 I do not want to forget that there is still a cause worth fighting for. The evil that exists in the world reminds me that I must be daily in the battle, fighting the devil, and working to deliver people from his spell. The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is still the most powerful weapon in our arsenal against the wiles of the devil. The more people that we can reach with the message of salvation, the less people Satan will have to do his bidding. Evil cannot be removed by more evil. It can only be eradicated through the love of Christ.

3 I do not want to forget that there are still people out there that are willing to die for that cause; and there are still folks out there worth dying for. Jesus died to set us free:

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – (John 8:32)

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” – (John 8:36)

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” – (Romans 8:2)

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – (Galatians 5:1)

Jesus died to give us liberty, and there are many still today who are willing to lay down there life for the same cause. The men and woman who are fighting today are fighting for our liberty and freedom. The men and women who were murdered by the terrorists thirteen years ago were murdered because the concept of liberty and freedom was under attack.

The greatest demonstration of love is sacrifice. Jesus commended His love for us by dying on the cross for our sins. Parents show their love for their children by what they sacrifice for them. The men and women that went into those buildings in order to save lives were putting their lives on the line for other people. The men and women that fight for our freedom today are putting their lives in jeopardy for the cause of our liberty. They are sacrificing their own liberty in order to help us keep ours.

Let’s not forget these things. Let’s not forget these people. And let’s get in the battle ourselves, and be willing to sacrifice some of our liberty so that we can help others enjoy theirs.


Posted in Devotions by with no comments yet.

Can These Bones Live?

valley_of_dry_bones_

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 35 – 37 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Thessalonians 1 – 5; Psalms 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “ 0910 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.” (Ezekiel 37:3)

In chapter 37, God shows Ezekiel a vision of a valley full of old, dry bones; and he is commanded by God to prophesy to the bones that God will put flesh upon them once again and put breath into them so they might live. Once Ezekiel begins to do this, he sees the bones begin to shake and gather together, and after God puts His breath back into them, they get up and become an “exceeding great army”. The correct meaning of this vision is explained by God Himself: the scattered bones represent the whole house of Israel. They had been divided, and they had long since died spiritually by turning away from the God who gave them life. However, through this vision, God explains that Israel will once again be united and will also once again be revived, walking in the commandments of the Lord.

Though, it is not supported by the immediate context, I would like to suggest an application of this vision on two more levels. Could we say that God can give life again to the Christian that is spiritually dead? And, could we say that God can give life again to the church that is spiritually dead? This passage is a wonderful picture of spiritual renewal and revival. Christians and churches tend to gradually slip away from the Lord: they get apathetic and lazy in their devotion. They then begin to move away from soul winning and service; and before they realize what has happened they become dry bones with no spiritual life or fruit. When these times come, we need God to breathe new life into us and cause our dry bones to live.

Notice also that a sign of the deadness of the bones was that they were scattered. God had to first gather the bones together in order to bring life back to them. Division in the church is a definite sign of deadness. The churches of the New Testament that were mightily used of God in winning souls were “in one accord” and “had all things common”. Churches that lose sight of their focus of fulfilling the Great Commission will soon become divided and die.

Let’s make this practical for you as an individual. Are you spiritually dead or alive? When was the last time you picked up your Bible outside of a church service just to spend time alone with God? How is your prayer life? When was the last time that you were concerned enough about a lost man’s soul that you spoke to him about it? Do you view life from a Christ-centered, Biblical perspective, or do you place self at the very center of the universe? Do you look forward to being with God’s people in the church services or has it become a chore for you; something you endure? Do you “have to” or do you “get to”? Be honest with your answers. Now make a diagnosis. Are you breathing, or are you dead? If you are dead or dying, why not ask God to breathe new life into you. Your dead bones can live again as you surrender your life to the will of God.


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with no comments yet.

The Watchman

watchman-on-wall

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 32 – 34 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Colossians 1 – 4; Psalms 41 – 45; Proverbs 9)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3

Read the “ 0909 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.” – (Ezekiel 33:7)

“And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.” – (Ezekiel 33:32)

Today’s reading contained a lot of very convicting truth regarding those of us who are called to preach and teach the Word of God. There are three different terms used to describe God’s ministers in these chapters. In chapter 33:7 we see the title, “watchman” used again. The watchmen were the men that were expected to warn the people of a danger that is approaching. God expects his watchmen to stay alert, and faithfully warn the people. He will hold the preachers accountable who fail to preach the whole counsel of the Word of God. God says that if the watchman does his job and faithfully warns the people, then he will not be held accountable when the people go astray; but if he fails to warn them, their blood will be on his hands. This is a very sobering truth for those of us who are called to preach and teach the Word of God. We must tell them, even if they don’t want to hear it. Notice verse 11:

“Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11)

God does not enjoy judging people. We must warn them.

At the end of chapter 33, God uses the title, “prophet”. Ezekiel was preaching to a people who seemed to enjoy listening to them, but they didn’t heed what he said. As a pastor, I often feel as if I am wasting my time. Though the church is full on Sunday morning with people who seem to enjoy the messages, I see very little change in their lives. It gets frustrating sometimes. But then I remember how I often disobey my own preaching. I guess that gets very frustrating to God. Things aren’t always the way they appear to be, however. I have often been fooled by people. I have known people who, on the surface, appeared to be bearing no fruit in their lives; and discovered that their lives were, in fact, being transformed; and they were making an impact on the people around them.  I remember one time there was a guy at a former church that had long hair and a scraggly beard; he smoked like a chimney. He would come in on Sunday mornings; and I remember wondering to myself if the guy was even saved. One day, he invited the pastor to come to his house to help him talk to some of his friends about the Lord. The pastor arrived to a dozen or more people who all looked as rough as the guy who invited them; but a bunch of those folks got saved. I was fooled by what I saw on the outside. I have also been fooled by people who I thought were walking with God because they looked good on the outside. Again, things aren’t always as they seem. I guess my job is just to faithfully deliver the truth from the Word of God; and pray that someone (including myself) will listen; but ultimately the results are up to God and the listeners.

The title used in chapter 34:1 – 10 is “shepherds”. The shepherds were supposed to feed and protect the flock. God rebukes these shepherds of Ezekiel’s day because they were more concerned with feeding themselves. I wonder what God would say to me about my concern for the sheep that He has entrusted to me. These are very sobering passages, especially for the preachers and teachers. I will someday face God and will be judged regarding the ministry that He has given me. It is an awesome and very difficult responsibility. I have already failed on numerous occasions; but my desire is to learn and grow so that I can do better in the future. Pray for me and for all who proclaim the Truth of God that we will boldly, but compassionately deliver both the Truth of God and the love of God to those we are called to minister to.


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with 1 comment.

Watch Out For Pride

prideful

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 28 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Philippians 1 – 4; Psalms 36 – 40; Proverbs 8)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17

Read the “0908 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.” (Ezekiel 28:17)

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:13 & 14)

Ezekiel 28 begins with a pronounced judgement against the “prince of Tyrus” who is the earthly ruler of the land of Tyre, which is just to the northwest of Israel. We read that he was very wise and because of his wisdom he became very prosperous. However, his success caused his heart to be lifted up in pride to the extent that he considered himself to be a god.

Later in the chapter there is a description of the “king of Tyrus”. At first, we wonder who this description is referring to, but soon it becomes evident that this is not the description of a man. This “king” is none other than old slewfoot – Satan. He also had a problem with pride. However, we read in verses 13 – 15 that it was God who created Him with all of his beauty and brightness. Why is it that created beings boast about things that they had nothing to do with?

We need to really be careful about pride in our own lives. Pride goes far beyond just haughtiness about our abilities, looks, or possessions, etc. Pride’s real danger is the elevation of self to the point that we humanize God and deify self. We get to the point that we become a god in our own eyes. This leads to the gradual abandonment of God’s principles, and the complete reliance upon self. We are now in control of our lives and destinies: doing our thing, our way. We can see that the society that we live in has corporately done the same thing. We have taken God off of the throne, and have placed man on it. How stupid we are that we do not see this cycle that has repeated itself over and over since the beginning of human history? God creates man; then man begins to think that he is responsible for his own abilities; then man forgets God, which eventually forces His judgment.

How can I as an individual put a stop to this? First, I need to understand that it is God who has given me all that I have. I next need to remember Him by thanking Him and praising Him for all of the individual blessings. It’s probably a good idea to record all of these tangible things in a prayer journal. Finally, I need to keep trusting Him for every area of my life. Ask Him about everything; trust Him for every decision, and wholly follow His wisdom from the Word of God. This is a great plan in concept, but a difficult one to implement. Why? because deep down inside of me is a nature that wants to kick God out and take over; and that fleshly old man of mine often does. I agree with the Apostle when he said:

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. … O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:18 & 24)

I thank God for passages like this that remind me of the truth: I am nothing, God is everything.


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with no comments yet.

Do You Trust Him?

Do You Trust Him

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 24 – 27 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Philippians 1 – 4; Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0907 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men. So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded. … Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” – (Ezekiel 24:16-18, 24)

This morning’s passage contains a very heart breaking story. Ezekiel is prophesying against Jerusalem. God is telling them that because of their rejection of Him, He is going to pour out His wrath upon the city – without mercy. He then uses Ezekiel as a personal illustration. Ezekiel prophesied to the people in the morning, and his wife died later that day, but he was commanded not to take any time off to mourn for his wife. The next day, he was in his place prophesying again to the people. Wow! That is certainly a lot to ask from any man. God’s reasoning for this illustration was to show Judah that they were about to lose what was very dear to them: their city, and their temple. But, God tells Ezekiel and Judah that they were not to mourn when that horrible day of destruction came. Because the people were not at all concerned about their city before the judgment fell, they were not permitted to mourn afterward. The time for weeping was over.

But what about Ezekiel? God actually took his wife away from him in death to illustrate this prophecy to the people of Jerusalem. Ezekiel didn’t skip a beat, either. He did exactly what was commanded of him. I am sure that Ezekiel loved his wife, but he obviously loved God more; and I am sure that he also knew that his wife was taken by God to be with Him in Heaven. The bottom line to all of this is that we must understand that we all belong to God. He can do with us whatever He chooses. His plan is much bigger than any of our individual desires. We must trust Him. Too many of God’s people collapse when tragedies like this one come into their life, but it ought not be so. God is good, and He always does good, even when it may seem bad to us. We must trust that God knows what is best, not only for us, but for our loved ones, and for His overall plan.

I doubt very seriously that God will ask us to not mourn over the death of a loved one, but He may take home to Heaven somone that is very dear to us; or, He may allow some unpleasant circumstances to enter our lives. We must remember when these days come that God is working all things together for His glory, and our ultimate good. We must trust Him. Not easy sometimes, but possible through His grace and our faith.


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with no comments yet.

Help Wanted – A Man Who Will Stand in the Gap

Stand+In+The+Gap

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 22 – 23 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Ephesians 1 – 3; Psalms 26 – 30; Proverbs 6)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read the “0906 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30)

Today’s reading is much the same in context as the passages that we have already read in Ezekiel and in Jeremiah. The people of God have seriously abandoned the will of God; and have turned to other gods. They have forsaken the One who gave them their land, and all of their prosperity. God has already judged to no avail; but He promises that more judgment is coming because the people simply refuse to turn back to Him. The saddest verse in this passage is found in verse 30 of chapter 22. God sought for a man…and found none. God could not find one man who was willing to make a difference in Judah. He couldn’t find one that would stand in the gap, filling in the hedge, so that judgment could be spared. Where were the men who could have made a difference?

Where are the men today who are willing to make a difference for the Lord? Could God find a man today that would be willing to stand in the gap. R.A. Torrey recounts a story told regarding D.L. Moody:

Henry Varley, a very intimate friend of Mr. Moody in the earlier days of his work, loved to tell how he once said to him: “It remains to be seen what God will do with a man who gives himself up wholly to Him.” I am told that when Mr. Henry Varley said that, Mr. Moody said to himself: “Well, I will be that man.” And I, for my part, do not think “it remains to be seen” what God will do with a man who gives himself up wholly to Him. I think it has been seen already in D. L. Moody.

Where are the men today that are wholly devoted to God? Where are the men today who will sell out completely for the cause of Christ? Where are the men today that will make a difference? Could God spare America today because you (or I) are standing in the gap? God is looking for some men today who are willing to live for Him: to stand boldly in the midst of a wicked generation, that will stand for the Truth and shine the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Will you be that man?

There is a song on one of the Clark Family CD’s that I enjoy called, “A Few Good Men”. I think the song was written by the Gaithers, but I am not positive. The lyrics of the song express what Ezekiel was saying in our passage today:

A Few Good Men (Audio)

What this dying world could use is a willing Man of God
Who dares to go against the grain and works without applause;
A man who’ll raise the shield of Faith, protecting what is pure;
Whose love is tough and gentle; a man whose word is sure.
God doesn’t need an Orator who knows what just to say;
He doesn’t need authorities to reason Him away;
He doesn’t need an army to guarantee a win;
He just needs a Few Good Men.
Men full of Compassion, who Laugh and Love and Cry-
Men who’ll face Eternity and aren’t afraid to die-
Men who’ll fight for Freedom and Honor once again-
He just needs a Few Good Men.

He calls the broken derelict whose life has been renewed;
He calls the one who has the strength to stand up for the Truth.
Enlistment lines are open and He wants you to come in-
He just needs a Few Good Men.


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with no comments yet.

Conviction

Feeling-Guilty

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 20 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Galatians 4 – 6; Psalms 21 – 25; Proverbs 5)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0905 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.” – (Ezekiel 20:43)

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” – (Romans 7:24)

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. [8] And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” – (John 16:7-8)

Just a quick thought from the Scripture this morning. Here in chapter 20 & 21, God is delivering a stern rebuke upon the people of Israel for their rebellion against Him. However, there is one place in these two chapters where I see hope for the children of Israel, and it comes here in v 43. This is the place where the people finally recognize their sin against God, and actually feel what would be to us the convicting power of the Holy Spirit of God. I cannot say that I enjoy the feeling of being pronounced guilty from within my own spirit; but I am very glad that God loves me enough to let me know when I am guilty. Incidentally, one of the best assurances that you are a child of God is the presence of the Holy Spirit of God within you.

Notice an important truth about this loathing that people of Israel would feel about themselves. It comes after God gathers them back into the land of Israel, and after He begins to bless them again. He says in verse 44 that the people would realize that God did not deal with them according to their wickedness; He blessed them inspite of the fact that they had turned against Him. They deserved judgment, yet God dealt with them in mercy and grace. The New Testament tells us that it is the love of Christ that constrains us. That verse is referring to His love for us, not our love for Him. When we realize the unmerited and unconditional love that God has for us, it causes us to realize how undeserving of that love we really are, and it brings about the conviction, the self-loathing that Ezekiel speaks about in this passage.

Paul felt the same way about himself in the Book of Romans. He called himself a wretched man. He recognized the sin that was within him. The Holy Spirit of God pointed it out to him, and he didn’t attempt to cover it, hide it, or defend it. He came clean with God. We need to do the same thing. When our Heavenly Father points out to us the things in our lives that displease Him, the best thing that we can do is agree with Him, confess them, and then forsake them. The whole process starts, however, with conviction.


Posted in Devotions by with no comments yet.

Turn and Live

grace-repentance2

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 17 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Galatians 1 – 3; Psalms 16 – 20; Proverbs 4)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1

Read the “0904 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” – (Ezekiel 18:4)

“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” – (Ezekiel 18:32)

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – (Romans 10:13)

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – (2 Peter 3:9)

I have enjoyed reading these chapters in the Book of Ezekiel, though I must confess that this book of the Bible, more than any other, I have trouble understanding completely. In chapter 18, God is telling the people of Israel that the son will not die for the sins of the father. In other words, every man will stand before God by himself. I will not have to answer to God for the sins of anyone else. The confusing thing about this passage is that there are particular sins listed here that have been committed by each and every person that has ever inhabited the earth, save, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ. So, while we will not have to answer for our father’s sins, we will have to answer for our own; and we are all guilty. Of course, the New Testament reveals that Jesus Christ died on the cross, and by so doing, He took all of our sins upon Him. If we will turn from our sin, and trust Him, He will forgive our sins, and save us.

I think, however, the principle taught in this passage is very important to develop. I am not bound by anything that my father has done before me. No matter what my parents may have done, I can still live before God on my own. I can reverse the trend that may have been started, or continued, by my parents. The same applies to my children. They can choose to live for God, or they can choose to do their own thing; but they will one day answer to God for their choices. I hope they choose to yield to the Lord more than I have. I hope they take the good things that I have done, and build upon them. I also hope that they not follow any bad example that they have seen in me; and they have seen many.

Another important principle that we can see in chapter 18 is the fact that God does not want to punish people. He wants to bless them. God takes no pleasure in sending anyone to Hell. God wants all men to be saved, and has provided a way for all men to come to Him. Unfortunately, most will choose not to turn to Him. If you have not yet turned to God for forgiveness of your sin, please do not wait any longer. It matters not what your family has chosen in the past. It doesn’t even matter what you have done in the past. It only matters that you are willing to repent – to turn from your sin and rejection of the Word of God, and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. He desires to save you, and make you one of His children.


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with no comments yet.

Thy Sister Sodom

laziness

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 14 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Corinthians 9 – 13; Psalms 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

Read the “0903 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49)

I find it very interesting what God said regarding “the sin of thy sister Sodom”. When we think of the sins of  Sodom and Gomorrah, we usually would put homosexuality at the top of the list. However, God says that the sin of Sodom was a combination of pride, gluttony, and laziness. These sins obviously led to the immorality that became rampant in Sodom. Homosexuality was the outcome, or the fruit, of the root sins mentioned in verse 49.

When I consider this verse I can’t help but think that Sodom bears a striking resemblance to America today. The vile lewdness that permeates our society is clearly evidence of the fact that we have long ago abandoned the moral principles found in the Word of God. But what caused this condition? I believe that we can see the same root sins in our culture today: pride, gluttony, and laziness. We are a pleasure seeking, self-centered society that is constantly trying to create more ways to satisfy the lusts of her flesh.

We know what the problem is, but what is the solution? Well, of course it begins with a genuine relationship with God through the new birth available through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But then we must add to our faith the opposites of the sins of Sodom. By that I mean if Sodom was prideful we must be humble. Humility means that we recognize who we are in relation to an omnipotent God. It also means that we elevate others above ourselves through serving them. Instead of being self-centered, we must become God centered, and God would have us to put others before ourselves.

Gluttony was also one of the problems of Sodom. We must be willing to sacrifice. We don’t have to have everything that this world has to offer. Too many Christians are satisfying every appetite of their flesh. It is OK to do without every now and again. We don’t have to eat at the Golden Corral every night. Maybe we should give a little more of the excess that we have been spending on ourselves, and use it for the glory of God.

Finally, we see that Sodom was lazy. They had too much time on their hands. You have heard the expression “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”. I think that’s accurate. Too many Christians are sitting around, watching things on the T.V. or the Internet that they should not be watching. We need to be busy. I find that my life works better when I have a lot on my plate. There is certainly a time for scheduled rest and recreation, but there is no place for laziness. We have many people in our church who are currently out of work. My recommendation to them is that they first spend a lot of time looking for work, but then look for ways to stay busy, being productive. There are a million things that need to be done. They can work on their homes, do things down at the church, find a way to help somebody else, anything; but stay busy.

Let’s not get caught up in all of the self-centered, pleasure seeking that is replete in our culture today. Let’s stay busy serving and sacrificing for the Lord.


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with 1 comment.

Foxes in the Deserts

Foxes in the Desert

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 10 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Corinthians 5 – 8; Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read the “0902 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD. They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.” – (Ezekiel 13:4-6)

In Ezekiel 13, God tells the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy against the prophets. At this time in Israel’s history there were many false prophets that were telling the people that everything is going to be OK, and that there is no need to fear. The Bible calls them prophets of peace. The problem was that they were wrong; they were deceiving the people into a false sense of security. They preached much on the love and mercy of God, without speaking of God’s holiness and justice. The truth of the matter is that judgment was on it’s way, and God wanted the people to be warned of that judgment so that they would have an opportunity to repent and turn back to him. The reason for the judgment was because the people of Israel had forsaken the Lord, and had become idolatrous as well as immoral.

We have many prophets of peace today also. They preach about a god that doesn’t seem to care about sin when the truth of the matter is that our God hates the sin that is running rampant in our land today. America has thrown God and the Bible under the bus, and He cannot possibly be pleased. I am not a prophet. I have no special revelation from God, but I do know what the Bible teaches. Yes, God loves people, and He wants to see them saved. He sent His only Son to die on the cross for their sins. But, in order for people to be spared the coming judgment, they must turn to God in repentance and faith. As a nation, America has almost completely turned her back on God, but that does not mean that I have to join in. I stand for God. I will preach the message of God’s love for sinners like me, but I will also declare God’s hatred for their sin. Judgment is coming to all who reject God and His message of salvation through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you trusted Christ as your Saviour? If you haven’t I beg you to trust Him today before it is eternally too late. For more information about salvation read “Are You Saved?”

Be careful who you listen to regarding what God says:

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” – (Matthew 7:15)

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” – (Jude 1:3-4)

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” – (2 Peter 2:1)

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” – (1 John 4:1)


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with no comments yet.

What Do You Do in the Dark?

Anonymous male on a laptop at night

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 5 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Corinthians 1 – 4; Psalms 1 – 5; Proverbs 1)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25

Read the “0901 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.” (Ezekiel 8:12)

“Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not.” – (Ezekiel 9:9)

In our passage today Ezekiel is sitting in his house in Babylon along with the elders of Israel, when suddenly God appears to Him and reveals to him the extent of the idolatry among the people of God. God shows Ezekiel what the people were doing when they thought that no one else was looking. The people didn’t think that even God could see them when they were in their own little wicked world.

There were two phrases from today’s reading that caught my attention. The first one is found in Ezekiel 8:12, “hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark“. The second is also found in that verse, and is found again in Ezekiel 9:9, “the Lord seeth not“. Man sometimes convinces himself that if his sin is done in private (“in the dark”), that God somehow is unable to see it. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is nothing that can be hidden from the eyes of God: He sees all that we do, and hears all that we say; and He even knows our thoughts. Scary.

Did you ever think about how much of our sin is done “in the dark”. To be sure there is also a lot of sin that is done in the open, especially among those who are not in the family of God. The lost world does not seem to care as much if their sin is exposed, and they would certainly not even consider much of what they do as sin in the first place. However, my thought this morning does not concern unbelievers. I am thinking today about Christians. People who go to church every week. People who look sparkly clean on the outside. People who appear to have their spiritual house in order. People like you and me. We wouldn’t dare take our sins into the public arena, out there for everybody to see; but how much sin is going on “in the dark”? What do we talk about privately? What are we participating in with one other person, or perhaps even a discreet few other people? What do we look at, listen to, or think about when nobody is watching? Oh, but there is Someone watching, isn’t there? God sees it all. Christians somehow think that because their sin is hidden from most people, that it doesn’t really matter; but it does matter to God.

I think it is time for us within the church to be honest with ourselves. There is an awful lot of junk going on “in the dark”. You can’t see it at our services. You won’t spot too much of it when we all get together for fellowship, but it’s there. Most people can’t see it, but God does. The public doesn’t get wind of it until the sin finally blows up our lives. When will we learn?


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with no comments yet.

The Watchman

watchman-on-wall

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 13 – 16; Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 31)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0831 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezekiel 3:17-19)

The Book of Ezekiel is a very fascinating portion of Scripture, containing many mysterious creatures and visions. I must confess that there is much about this particular potion of the Bible that I do not understand; but the verses that are given above are pretty clear to me. God made Ezekiel a watchman to the house of Israel. The watchman’s job is not difficult. He must stay alert, keeping his eyes open to any possible dangers, and if any do appear he is then to sound the alarm in order to warn the people. Ezekiel’s job was to warn the people of Israel regarding the judgment that will come if they continue in their rebellion to God. God reassured Ezekiel that he was not responsible for what the people did with the warning. God was only going to hold Ezekiel accountable if he didn’t warn the people.

We can certainly make application of this passage to our lives today. As Christians, we possess the greatest Truth that the world has ever known. We have the knowledge of the Saviour, and we have the ability, through our words as well as our lives, to share the wonderful news of redemption and salvation to the world around us. As it was with Ezekiel, we are not responsible for what people do with the message; we are only commanded to deliver the warning. We are to warn people about the impending judgment that awaits them if they do not repent and believe the gospel. Whether they accept that truth or reject it is on them. Of course, we should not be like Jonah who reluctantly delivered the message to the Ninevites. We should be eager to do all that we can do in order to adorn the gospel, and convince people of the wonderful love of the Saviour.

We can also make application of this passage of Scripture to those of us who have been given the special responsibility of preaching or teaching the Truth of the Word of God. Sometimes I get very frustrated when saved people do not apply the clear teaching of Scripture to their lives; but I must remember that my responsibility is only to be the right example before them, pray for them, and then teach them. It is their decision whether or not they will apply the principles or heed the warnings from the Scripture. Again, I hope that they will but the truth is that many will not, at least not all the time. In fact, if I could be perfectly honest with myself, I would have to admit that there are many times that I do not listen to my own advice very well. But that does not change the Truth. The Truth is still the Truth whether I follow it or not, and it is still right to preach and teach the Truth even though, in the flesh, we all fall short of it at times.

I guess the conclusion of the matter is that we are all watchman in some respects. We all have the obligation to warn the world around us of the judgment that is surely coming, and share with them the salvation that can only come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, we must realize that we also should be heeding the warnings and applying the life principles that we receive from the watchman that God has placed in our lives to bless and protect us.


Posted in Thoughts from Ezekiel by with no comments yet.

Who Is Laughing Now?

laughing-and-pointing

Today’s Passage – Lamentations 4 – 5 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 9 – 12; Psalms 141 – 145; Proverbs 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0830 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Hitting Rock Bottom

“Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz; the cup also shall pass through unto thee: thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked. The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity: he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover thy sins.” (Lamentations 4:21)

I do not know for sure if I am interpreting these verses correctly; but it seems to me, without having studied the passage, that the Edomites were rejoicing because of all the judgment that was being afflicted on God’s people. They were ecstatic that their enemy, Judah, was being taken in such a cruel way into captivity into Babylon. However, God says that their rejoicing would be short lived because their day of judgment was coming as well. And remember, God promised His people that He would not make “a full end” of them. I do not think the same promise applies to the Edomites.

God is not pleased when people rejoice when their enemies are falling (Proverbs 24:17). We expect this kind of behavior from the lost world, but are we guilty of the same thing? Have you ever rejoiced (maybe even just a little) when you received word that someone who has hurt you in the past has had some kind of bad thing happen to them. I hate to admit it but I know that I have done it on occasion. Worse yet, I know that my flesh wants to do it every time. God despises that kind of attitude. To think that we who are sinners deserving of judgment, rejoice when another sinner, no more deserving than we, receives it. God must get weary with us and our wicked attitude. Next time you hear about somebody you don’t like (or doesn’t like you) going through a tough time, why not pray for them; why not thank God that you are not facing the same or equally painful situation. Maybe if you will sow a little mercy and compassion, you just might reap a little of the same back when you need it.

By the way, the Calvinists all like to quote the passage from Malachi that says that God loved Jacob (Israel), but hated Esau (Edom). They attempt to prove that God arbitrarily sends some people to Heaven and some people to Hell, without any opportunity for repentance. However, we must remember that when God referred to Esau in Malachi, he was speaking about Edom as a nation, and when he referred to Jacob, he was speaking about Israel. It is also important to consider that God did not say he hated Esau in the Book of Genesis, He said it at the end of the Old Testament, after the history of the Edomites had already been established. According to Malachi, God hated (or rejected) the Edomites. Why? Partially, it was because they rejoiced when the Babylonians were destroying the people of God.


Posted in Thoughts from Lamentations by with no comments yet.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

28345504

Today’s Passage – Lamentations 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 5 – 8; Psalms 136 – 140; Proverbs 29)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4

Read the “0829 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” – (Lamentations 3:21-24)

I love the Biblical significance of the rainbow. God showed Noah the rainbow and told him that it would be there in the sky at the end of the rainstorm to remind God’s people that the rain is coming to an end. For Noah it was a precious reminder, as he had just experienced the destruction of every living creature on the earth through a deluge of water. To us, the rainbow is still a symbol of hope. In our passage in Jeremiah today, we do not see an actual rainbow but we do see the hope that all of God’s children can see even when they feel like it’s all over. In these chapters we read about Israel after the destruction that came through the hands of the Babylonians. It was a horrible time for God’s people – possibly the lowest point in their history. Jeremiah had warned the people for many years that judgment was imminent because the people of God had forsaken the Lord. Well, here in Lamentations, there are no more warnings, just the account of the total humiliation and destruction of Jerusalem, Israel, and the people of God.

The first two chapters of this book are very sad indeed; and chapter three starts out as bleakly as the first two; but when we get to verse 21, we can finally get a glimpse of hope. Jeremiah recalls that God is merciful and compassionate, and as he wrote in The Book Of Jeremiah, “he will not make a full end” of them. You see, Jeremiah remembers here that God loves His people, even though He had to correct them. God’s correction would not last forever. In fact, Jeremiah reminds the people that God’s compassion is new every morning. I love that statement. Aren’t you glad that God never runs out of compassion?

Christian, you may be experiencing in your life right now the correcting hand of God. I know that I have had my share of correction through the years. It is certainly not pleasant. However, there are two things that we need to remember about God’s correction. First, we must remember that God does not correct us to get even. He disciplines us for our own good, purely out of love for us. He is trying to bring us back to where we need to be – for our own good. Secondly, we need to keep in mind that God’s correction will not last forever. I remember as a child, I sometimes thought the punishments that I had received at the hands of my parents would never end; but they always did. The sun always came up, and the rainbow eventually appeared to signify the end of the storm. If you are experiencing the loving correction of our Heavenly Father today, take heart: there is hope, His compassions are new every morning.


Posted in Thoughts from Lamentations by with no comments yet.

Are You Still In Prison?

Prison

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 51 – 52 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 1 – 4; Psalms 131 – 135; Proverbs 28)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0828 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the firstyear of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,” (Jeremiah 52:31)

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king of Judah and he reigned for only eight years when he was taken into captivity by the Babylonians. The Bible records that he was an evil king while he reigned. God caused the captivity to happen because of the evil kings of Judah which led the nation into a downward spiral of immorality and idolatry. Jehoiachin remained in prison in Babylon for 37 years, thus making his age 63 at the time of his release. He had spent most of his life in prison. In our passage today we see that he was released out of prison and given a place of great honor in the kingdom.

I am not sure that my assessment is accurate here, but bear with me as I share my thoughts. Jehoiachin was an evil guy; the Scripture is clear about that. Jehoiachin spent a lot of time in prison thinking about his life. Jehoiachin was finally released from his prison. Could it be, though the Scriptures do not clearly reveal this, that Jehoiachin repented in prison and turned back to God? God judged him with his nation during the captivity; and now God was releasing him with the nation. Is this not a picture of forgiveness? Isn’t living in sin a prison? Does the Bible not say that we were in bondage to sin? The Bible even records that his prison garments were put off of him. Doesn’t God give us a robe of righteousness when we become His child? I think that this passage is a marvelous picture of salvation. When the sinner trusts Christ as his Savior he is released from the bondage (prison) of sin; he is given a robe of righteousness; and is positioned in a place of blessing and honor in the King’s House. Note also that this all takes place when he is in his sixties which tells me it is never too late to be forgiven.

Have you been released from the prison of sin and unbelief? God wants to take you out; give you some new clothes, and set a place for you at his table. Why don’t you take him up on his offer? Trust Christ, get changed, and come to the table.


Posted in Thoughts from Jeremiah by with no comments yet.