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 – 2 Timothy 1 – 4; 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.


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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.


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The Glory of the Lord

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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 – Ephesians 4 – 6; 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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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?


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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.


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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.


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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)


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How Weak Is Thine Heart?

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.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Thy Sister Sodom”

“How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord GOD, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman;” (Ezekiel 16:30)

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:” (Galatians 1:6)

In today’s reading from Ezekiel 14 – 16, God is pronouncing judgment upon His people for turning their back completely on Him. He reminds them in chapter 16 how that He blessed them more than any other nation on the face of the earth. He took them from nothing and gave them everything. Yet, they soon bit the hand that fed them: they forsook God and turned to the idols that were worshipped by the Heathen nations that surrounded them, even going as far as sacrificing their own children (burning them). In the midst of chapter 16, God says, “How weak is thine heart…seeing thou doest all these things…”.

I got to thinking about my own weakness. God has blessed me above anything that I could have asked for; and He has convinced me over and over again regarding surrendering my life to Him completely. However, I continue to forsake His principles and do things (or not do things) that I have committed to do. Why is it that we have no willpower to resist evil. The other verses listed above share the same principle: the disciples were too weak to stay awake at a prayer meeting; and the Galatians were easily swayed from the doctrine of Grace. Our flesh indeed is weak. Our hearts are desperately wicked.

I don’t think the solution to this problem, however, is an increase in our fleshly will power. Paul gives us the solution in Galatians 5: ”walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”. Do you want to have more spiritual willpower? Walk with God: walk in His word; spend time communing with Him in prayer; gather with His children; and serve Him with all of your heart. I can look back at my life and clearly see that the times that I struggled the most with my thoughts and actions were times that I was not walking with God as I should have been. The closer I get to God, the farther away goes the desire to sin.

By the way, notice what it says about the cause of Sodom’s fall:

“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)

We can see here that Sodom had the same problem that Israel (and America) has. They are too proud to acknowledge that God is the source of their blessing; they have too much free time on their hands and they are not using this time to serve God; and they are very prosperous, yet they will not share their wealth.


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We Still Have Not Forgotten

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 – 55Proverbs 11)

Scripture Memorization for August – Psalm 1

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

Watch Growth Points Video – “Restoration“,  by Pastor Chappell

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)

12 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 ten 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.


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Watch Out For Pride

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 – 40Proverbs 8)

Scripture Memorization for August – Psalm 1

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

Watch Growth Points Video – “Ministry with Discernment“,  by Pastor Chappell

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 that way. 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, or 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 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; 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 Hi 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 plan 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.


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Conviction

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; Psalm 21 – 25Proverbs 5)

Scripture Memorization for August – Psalm 1

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

Watch Growth Points Video – “Ministry with Discernment“,  by Pastor Chappell

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.


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Turn and Live

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 – 20Proverbs 4)

Scripture Memorization for August – Psalm 1

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

Watch Growth Points Video – “Ministry with Discernment“,  by Pastor Chappell

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.


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What Do You Do In The Dark?

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 – 4Psalms 1 – 5Proverbs 1)

Scripture Memorization for August – Psalm 1

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell – “The Devil’s Plan for Your Life

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

Read a previos post from this passage – “Conviction, Contrition, and Correction

“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?


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Second Chances

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 – 2 Timothy 1 – 4Psalms 61 – 65Proverbs 13)

Scripture Memory for July – Philippians 2:1 – 18

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

“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.


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The Glory of the Lord

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 4 – 6Psalms 56 – 60Proverbs 12)

Scripture Memory for July – Philippians 2:1 – 18

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

“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)

“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 KJV)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 shoulfd 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.


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New Life For Dry, Dead Bones

Listen to last night’s message from our Fall Revival Meeting.

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 – 2 Thessalonians 1 – 3Psalms 46 – 50Proverbs 10)

Scripture Memory for July – Philippians 2:1 – 18

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

Read “Five Ways To Keep Joy in Your Ministry” by Pastor Chappell

“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.


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The Watchman

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 – 1 Thessalonians 1 – 5Psalms 41 – 45Proverbs 9)

Scripture Memory for July – Philippians 2:1 – 18

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

Read “Five Ways To Keep Joy in Your Ministry” by Pastor Chappell

“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.

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.


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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 – 4Psalms 31 – 35Proverbs 7)

Scripture Memory for July – Philippians 2:1 – 18

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

Watch “Growth Points 022 – Proving Excellence and Rejecting Counterfeits” by Pastor Paul Chappell

Read last year’s post from this passage – “Aha”

“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.


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Help Wanted – A Man Who Will 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 4 – 6Psalms 26 – 30Proverbs 6)

Scripture Memory for July – Philippians 2:1 – 18

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

Watch “Growth Points 022 – Proving Excellence and Rejecting Counterfeits” by Pastor Paul Chappell

“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.


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It’s Called Conviction

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 – Ephesians 1 – 3Psalms 21 – 25Proverbs 5)

Scripture Memory for July – Philippians 2:1 – 18

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

“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.


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Turn and Live

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 4 – 6Psalms 16 – 20Proverbs 4)

Scripture Memory for July – Philippians 2:1 – 18

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

“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 turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. He desires to save you, and make you one of His children.


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False Prophets

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 9 – 13; Psalms 6 – 10Proverbs 2)

Scripture Memory for July – Philippians 2:1 – 18

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

“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)


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Back to School Rally 2012

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 – 2 Corinthians 1 – 4Proverbs 31)

Scripture Memory for July – John 3:1 – 21

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

Read last year’s post from this passage – “The Watchman”

Tonight is our annual Back to School Rally at the church. We are very excited to be able to host this event for the young people in our community along with some students from churches throughout the rest of the state. If you are in our area, we invite you to come and take part. Brother Mike Clark will be our main speaker, but we will also hear from many other area preachers. There is no charge for the event, and there will be lots of food and fun for the kids.  Each kid will receive a BTS Rally backpack filled with some surprises. If you need more information, you can go to our church website (www.jerseyshorebaptist.com), or call the church (609 – 748 – 4955).

I am also very happy that the summer is coming to an end, and we are entering my favorite time of the year – the fall. Don’t misunderstand me, I love the summer; but by the time September rolls around I am ready to get back to the more regular routine that the school year brings. It is a shame that too many of us get away from some things during the summer months that are important to our relationship with God. I have discovered that the school year gives us a wonderful opportunity to hit the reset button, and get back to some things that are important:

1  Back to a schedule – It grieves me that our kids are sleeping late during the summer months. The summer vacation was originally intended to allow the young people to help out with the farm work that needed to be done in the sumer months. Today, it is just a time for kids to be lazy. They get up late, play video games all day, and stay up late watching TV. Maybe I exaggerate a little, but you know what I mean. Our schedules tend to get “out of whack” in the summer times. The coming of the  fall usually forces us to be more routine. Make sure this fall that you schedule some time for devotions in the morning.

2  Back to soulwinning – It is a proven fact that our soulwinning outreach suffers during the summer months. Many churches will shut down church-wide soulwinning altogether due to lack of participation. Let’s get back to going soulwinning this fall.

3 Back to the Scriptures and Supplication (Prayer) – Make it a goal to be more consistent in your Bible reading, Bible study, Bible memorization, and prayer this fall.

4  Back to Standards – One of the benefits of the colder weather is that people are forced to put more clothes on. Christians tend to let their dress standards dip in the summertime.

Take a spiritual inventory of your life, and if there are some things that you have let slide this summer, then get back to them as the school year begins.


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The Lord Is There

Listen to the Clark Family – “It’s Almost Morning”

Today’s Passages – Ezekiel 47 – 48; Proverbs 14

(Second Milers also read – Titus 3 – Hebrews 2; Memorize – 2 Chronicles 7:14)

“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.


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