Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Amos 1:9-10

9 This is what the Lord says:
 “The people of Tyre have sinned again and again,
    and I will not let them go unpunished!
 They broke their treaty of brotherhood with Israel,
    selling whole villages as slaves to Edom.
10 So I will send down fire on the walls of Tyre,
    and all its fortresses will be destroyed.”

It is good to have a Father in heaven that is both loving to those who are His and able to be an impartial judge to all creation. Both my praises (2 Corinthians 2:15) and my sins (Isaiah 1:13) both rise to God as a scent. Which one is able to overpower the other?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ezekiel 37:1-14

1 The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. 2 He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. 3 Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”

“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”

4 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! 6 I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. 8 Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”

10 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.

11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord. 14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’”

God cares for His people. In a time of sorrow that has them feeling dead, God sends His messenger Ezekiel with a vision to renew their spirits through the Holy Spirit. God did this because He wants the people to know that it is Him who has saved them and God is faithful to fulfill His promises.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ezekiel 7:19-20

19 “They will throw their money in the streets,
    tossing it out like worthless trash.
 Their silver and gold won’t save them
    on that day of the Lord’s anger.
 It will neither satisfy nor feed them,
    for their greed can only trip them up.
20 They were proud of their beautiful jewelry
    and used it to make detestable idols and vile images.
 Therefore, I will make all their wealth
    disgusting to them."

This world runs in circles and people's hearts have turned again to worshiping the riches of this world. They look up to those who have silver and gold as a mark of success. They think that if they just had some of that wealth then all their problems would magically melt away. Little do they know that hunks of pretty rocks and stacks of green paper will mean nothing when their sins are called to be accounted for.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ezekiel 1:26-28

26 Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. 27 From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. 28 All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.

How unimaginable it would be to see God sitting on His throne while still in this human form? God said that, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." (Exodus 33:20) That is why Ezekiel had to see it in a vision and what a glorious sight he is describing here. May my life reflect your character God to those around me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Philemon 8-16

8 That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. I could demand it in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do. 9 But because of our love, I prefer simply to ask you. Consider this as a request from me—Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus.

10 I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison. 11 Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us. 12 I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart.

13 I wanted to keep him here with me while I am in these chains for preaching the Good News, and he would have helped me on your behalf. 14 But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent. I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced. 15 It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever. 16 He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.

There is always hope, even for a slave who ran away from home. I was once a slave to sin but my freedom has been paid for by my Lord, who wanted me to live with Him in heaven when this life here on Earth is over. As one set free from my own bondage, I am to share the gospel with those around me so that we can be brothers and heirs together to what God has in store.

Monday, September 22, 2014

I Corinthians 13:4-7

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

I find myself humbled by the picture of God's love. There are so many ways that I fall short of the mark when it comes to showing love even to my own family. Help grow in my life the fruit of the love that You have planted in me.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I Corinthians 9:24-27

24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

A professional athlete spends their entire day focused on getting their body to do exactly what it needs to do for them to win. Each hour is scheduled and every meal planned so that there is little time for anything else. If they are not exercise or practicing then they are going over their previous practice with their coach to see what they can do better next time. (http://www.nutricisedr.com/a-day-in-the-life-of-an-olympic-athlete/) What would my life be like if I could have this kind of dedication to training my body for the path that leads to heaven?