Thursday, November 17, 2011

A New Heart

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Ezekiel 35:1-36:38

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:25-26 (NKJV)

Grace is at the very core our our relationship with God. Many have erroneously interpreted the Old Testament as being a system built on man's efforts to keep God's law. One of the primary purposes of the law is to show us our profound need for a Savior - our need for grace. It is not a means of self-justification.

God says that He will cleanse us. This is HIS work. He does not say, "I will show you how to cleanse yourself." He does not say, "I will inspect, guide, and approve your self-reformation." He says that He will do that which He alone can do. He will wash us with pure water.

God does an inside job of removing the cold deep interior of man. He brings life and vibrancy to the deepest core of our being. Only He could do such a thing. All we can do is recognize, receive, and enjoy this wonderful work of grace. He will then live IN us bring power and freedom. This is the great promise of life that we enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Good Shepherd

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Ezekiel 33:1-34:31

Therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.  I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them -- My servant David.  He shall feed them, and be their shepherd.  Ezekiel 34:22-23 (NKJV)

One of the most vivid images of the ministry of Jesus is that of a shepherd.  He is our Good Shepherd.  The metaphor has deep and important meaning.  We, God's people, are likened to sheep -- lost sheep.  We are a scattered flock open to danger, disease, and abuse. 

This is the condition of fallen man.  We are like sheep without a shepherd.  We need to shepherding ministry of Jesus.

Scripture says that the Father's great plan for us is not simply to accept us and allow us to pledge our allegiance to Him.  He promises to send -- to raise up -- to establish wonderful shepherding care over our lives.  Jesus is our good shepherd.

In this passage there is a succession of "I will's".  God says, "I will search for you...I will seek you...I will bring you in...I will feed you...I will give you rest...I will bind you up...I will strengthen you."  It is a wonderful picture.  Such is the care God promises to His people.  This is more than membership -- it is communion.  It is more than acquantance -- it is acceptance.

Such is the relationship God desires with His people.  Jesus is our Good Shepherd.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Origin of Satan

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Ezekiel 27:1-28:26

You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. Ezekiel 28:14-15 (NKJV)

You may have wondered where the devil comes from. Here, as well as Isaiah 14, is the explanation. Lucifer was originally an angel (perhaps an arch-angel) who had a very special assignment. He covered the throne of God. It appears that musical instruments and beautiful stones were a part of his armament and apparel (vs. 13).

He succumbed to spiritual pride. He became enfatuated with his own excellence. In so doing, he invented evil. This points out an interesting and important truth. Sometimes the greatest battle and the greatest temptation is found among those closest to the throne of God.

Lucifer had a position literally overshadowing God's throne. From that position he conceived the greatest evil. Similarly, there is always a tremendous battle surrounding the worship of God! There is spiritual warfare over the access to the presence of God.

Are you today experiencing major resistance and extreme temptation. Perhaps it is because you are in the right place doing the right thing! The battle is most intense AT THE GATES.

So don't falter. Don't lessen your resolve. Don't let down your guard. You are in the right place and you will prevail IN HIS PRESENCE.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

His Word is Sure

"One Year Bible" Old Testament Passage
Ezekiel 12:1-14:11

Therefore say to them, "None of My words will be postponed any more, but the word which I speak will be done," says the Lord. Ezekiel 12:28 (NKJV)

Have you ever grown weary of waiting on God? Have you ever wondered if His promises are true? One of the salient truths of Scripture and experience is that God's timing and our timing are not usually the same. We are impatient, but God is faithful. We grow tired, but God never wavers.

We must make a ground-level decision. Is God faithful, true, and good. He never lies. His words concerning us WILL come to pass!

This is the great fight of faith. We believe that there is a God in heaven Who sees all and knows all. He is infinitely just, good, and powerful. There is a day ahead in which He will make all things right. He will fulfill His good word. We live with this hope.

God fulfills His promises!