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08 October - 1 Chronicles 24; 25; Ezekiel 34; Philippians 1; 2


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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:48 AM

First Portion

1 Chronicles 24; 25


24:1 These were the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron: Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 24:2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office. 24:3 David with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to their ordering in their service. 24:4 There were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and they were divided like this: of the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen, heads of fathers’ houses; and of the sons of Ithamar, according to their fathers’ houses, eight. 24:5 Thus were they divided impartially by drawing lots; for there were princes of the sanctuary, and princes of God, both of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar. 24:6 Shemaiah the son of Nethanel the scribe, who was of the Levites, wrote them in the presence of the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers’ households of the priests and of the Levites; one fathers’ house being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar. 24:7 Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah, 24:8 the third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, 24:9 the fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin, 24:10 the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, 24:11 the ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah, 24:12 the eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim, 24:13 the thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, 24:14 the fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer, 24:15 the seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Happizzez, 24:16 the nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezkel, 24:17 the twenty-first to Jachin, the twenty-second to Gamul, 24:18 the twenty-third to Delaiah, the twenty-fourth to Maaziah. 24:19 This was their ordering in their service, to come into the house of Yahweh according to the ordinance given to them by Aaron their father, as Yahweh, the God of Israel, had commanded him. 24:20 Of the rest of the sons of Levi: of the sons of Amram, Shubael; of the sons of Shubael, Jehdeiah. 24:21 Of Rehabiah: of the sons of Rehabiah, Isshiah the chief. 24:22 Of the Izharites, Shelomoth; of the sons of Shelomoth, Jahath. 24:23 The sons of Hebron: Jeriah, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth. 24:24 The sons of Uzziel, Micah; of the sons of Micah, Shamir. 24:25 The brother of Micah, Isshiah; of the sons of Isshiah, Zechariah.. 24:26 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi; the sons of Jaaziah: Beno. 24:27 The sons of Merari: of Jaaziah, Beno, and Shoham, and Zaccur, and Ibri. 24:28 Of Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. 24:29 Of Kish; the sons of Kish: Jerahmeel. 24:30 The sons of Mushi: Mahli, and Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites after their fathers’ houses. 24:31 These likewise cast lots even as their brothers the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, and Zadok, and Ahimelech, and the heads of the fathers’ households of the priests and of the Levites; the fathers’ households of the chief even as those of his younger brother.

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:48 AM

25:1 Moreover, David and the captains of the army set apart for the service certain of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with stringed instruments, and with cymbals: and the number of those who did the work according to their service was: 25:2 of the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asharelah, the sons of Asaph, under the hand of Asaph, who prophesied after the order of the king. 25:3 Of Jeduthun; the sons of Jeduthun: Gedaliah, and Zeri, and Jeshaiah, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the hands of their father Jeduthun with the harp, who prophesied in giving thanks and praising Yahweh. 25:4 Of Heman; the sons of Heman: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamti-Ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, Mahazioth. 25:5 All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. 25:6 All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of Yahweh, with cymbals, stringed instruments, and harps, for the service of the house of God; Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman being under the order of the king. 25:7 The number of them, with their brothers who were instructed in singing to Yahweh, even all who were skillful, was two hundred eighty-eight. 25:8 They cast lots for their offices, all alike, as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar. 25:9 Now the first lot came forth for Asaph to Joseph: the second to Gedaliah; he and his brothers and sons were twelve: 25:10 the third to Zaccur, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:11 the fourth to Izri, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:12 the fifth to Nethaniah, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:13 the sixth to Bukkiah, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:14 the seventh to Jesharelah, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:15 the eighth to Jeshaiah, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:16 the ninth to Mattaniah, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:17 the tenth to Shimei, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:18 the eleventh to Azarel, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:19 the twelfth to Hashabiah, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:20 for the thirteenth, Shubael, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:21 for the fourteenth, Mattithiah, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:22 for the fifteenth to Jeremoth, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:23 for the sixteenth to Hananiah, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:24 for the seventeenth to Joshbekashah, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:25 for the eighteenth to Hanani, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:26 for the nineteenth to Mallothi, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:27 for the twentieth to Eliathah, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:28 for the one and twentieth to Hothir, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:29 for the two and twentieth to Giddalti, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:30 for the three and twentieth to Mahazioth, his sons and his brothers, twelve: 25:31 for the four and twentieth to Romamti-Ezer, his sons and his brothers, twelve.

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:49 AM

Second Portion

Ezekiel 34


34:1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 34:2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and tell them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Shouldn’t the shepherds feed the sheep? 34:3 You eat the fat, and you clothe yourself with the wool, you kill the fatlings; but you don’t feed the sheep. 34:4 You haven’t strengthened the diseased, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought back that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor you have ruled over them. 34:5 They were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the animals of the field, and were scattered. 34:6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill: yes, my sheep were scattered on all the surface of the earth; and there was none who searched or sought. 34:7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh: 34:8 As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, surely because my sheep became a prey, and my sheep became food to all the animals of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves, and didn’t feed my sheep; 34:9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of Yahweh: 34:10 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them. 34:11 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 34:12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 34:13 I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 34:14 I will feed them with good pasture; and on the mountains of the height of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie down in a good fold; and on fat pasture shall they feed on the mountains of Israel. 34:15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord Yahweh. 34:16 I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice. 34:17 As for you, O my flock, thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, the rams and the male goats. 34:18 Does it seem a small thing to you to have fed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture? and to have drunk of the clear waters, but you must foul the residue with your feet? 34:19 As for my sheep, they eat that which you have trodden with your feet, and they drink that which you have fouled with your feet. 34:20 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh to them: Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 34:21 Because you thrust with side and with shoulder, and push all the diseased with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad; 34:22 therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 34:23 I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 34:24 I, Yahweh, will be their God, and my servant David prince among them; I, Yahweh, have spoken it. 34:25 I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause evil animals to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell securely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. 34:26 I will make them and the places around my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in its season; there shall be showers of blessing. 34:27 The tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have broken the bars of their yoke, and have delivered them out of the hand of those who made slaves of them. 34:28 They shall no more be a prey to the nations, neither shall the animals of the earth devour them; but they shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid. 34:29 I will raise up to them a plantation for renown, and they shall be no more consumed with famine in the land, neither bear the shame of the nations any more. 34:30 They shall know that I, Yahweh, their God am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord Yahweh. 34:31 You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, says the Lord Yahweh.

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:53 AM

Third Portion

Philippians 1; 2


1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ;

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and servants: 1:2 Grace to you, and peace from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 1:3 I thank my God whenever I remember you, 1:4 always in every request of mine on behalf of you all making my requests with joy, 1:5 for your partnership in furtherance of the Good News from the first day until now; 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. 1:7 It is even right for me to think this way on behalf of all of you, because I have you in my heart, because, both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the Good News, you all are partakers with me of grace. 1:8 For God is my witness, how I long after all of you in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus.

1:9 This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; 1:10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offense to the day of Christ; 1:11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

1:12 Now I desire to have you know, brothers, that the things which happened to me have turned out rather to the progress of the Good News; 1:13 so that it became evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my bonds are in Christ; 1:14 and that most of the brothers in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear. 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even out of envy and strife, and some also out of good will. 1:16 The former insincerely preach Christ from selfish ambition, thinking that they add affliction to my chains; 1:17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Good News.

1:18 What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed. I rejoice in this, yes, and will rejoice. 1:19 For I know that this will turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will in no way be disappointed, but with all boldness, as always, now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death. 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 1:22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will bring fruit from my work; yet I don’t know what I will choose. 1:23 But I am in a dilemma between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 1:24 Yet, to remain in the flesh is more needful for your sake. 1:25 Having this confidence, I know that I will remain, yes, and remain with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 1:26 that your rejoicing may abound in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again.

1:27 Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News; 1:28 and in nothing frightened by the adversaries, which is for them a proof of destruction, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 1:29 Because it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer on his behalf, 1:30 having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear is in me.

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:54 AM

2:1 If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion, 2:2 make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; 2:3 doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; 2:4 each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.

2:5 Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, 2:6 who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, 2:7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. 2:8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross. 2:9 Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name; 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, 2:11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

2:12 So then, my beloved, even as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 2:13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputes, 2:15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you are seen as lights in the world, 2:16 holding up the word of life; that I may have something to boast in the day of Christ, that I didn’t run in vain nor labor in vain. 2:17 Yes, and if I am poured out on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice, and rejoice with you all. 2:18 In the same way, you also rejoice, and rejoice with me.

2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered up when I know how you are doing. 2:20 For I have no one else like-minded, who will truly care about you. 2:21 For they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. 2:22 But you know the proof of him, that, as a child serves a father, so he served with me in furtherance of the Good News. 2:23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it will go with me. 2:24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself also will come shortly. 2:25 But I counted it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, fellow soldier, and your apostle and servant of my need; 2:26 since he longed for you all, and was very troubled, because you had heard that he was sick. 2:27 For indeed he was sick, nearly to death, but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, that I might not have sorrow on sorrow. 2:28 I have sent him therefore the more diligently, that, when you see him again, you may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. 2:29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy, and hold such in honor, 2:30 because for the work of Christ he came near to death, risking his life to supply that which was lacking in your service toward me.

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 10:56 AM

08 October 2008

1 Chronicles 24; 25
Ezekiel 34
Philippians 1; 2

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 01:05 AM

08 October 2009

1 Chronicles 24; 25
Ezekiel 34
Philippians 1; 2

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 05:05 AM

08 October 2010

1 Chronicles 24; 25
Ezekiel 34
Philippians 1; 2

"SO I WILL SEEK MY SHEEP"

God sees the people of Israel as his sheep [Ezekiel 34:12] and is distressed at the failure of the shepherds to look after his sheep. This is the message we read in Ezekiel. The leaders in Israel had failed; they had no spiritual vision, no sense of responsibility. God’s message to them through Ezekiel was, “Ah shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?” [Ezekiel 34:2]

God had also seen the shepherds as watchmen, as we briefly noted yesterday. In Ezekiel 33, the watchmen had not done their job and as a result the people and the watchmen were doomed [Ezekiel 33:2-6] In today’s chapter, as we read on, there is a vision of hope, “I will rescue my flock”, says God, “they shall no longer be a prey … and I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them … and be their shepherd .. and I will make with them a covenant of peace” [Ezekiel 34:22-25].

But God has even more to say, with divine vision he is looking even further into the future. “They shall no more be a prey to the nations … they shall dwell securely and none shall make them afraid … and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God … ” [Ezekiel 34:28-30]

David’s greater son is Jesus and he teaches the people in his day about the shepherd and the sheep. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” [John 10:11] The sheep that surrounded him at that time were the people of Israel, but he goes on to say, “Other sheep I have who are not of this fold. I must bring them also … and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd” [John 10:16]

The climax of his teaching on that occasion is, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish” [John 10:27,28] They will fall asleep until the resurrection, but then, what joy! Let us know the voice of Jesus, let us beware of “hirelings” [John 10:12) who think more of “feeding yourselves” as they did in Ezekiel’s time. Let us read the Bible every day, in that way we feed on good pasture and can become more conscious of “hirelings.”
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Posted 08 October 2011 - 11:24 AM

08 October 2011

1 Chronicles 24; 25
Ezekiel 34
Philippians 1; 2

A WORK OUT

Those of you who are young know what it is to have “a work out” – we understand it as a simple way of saying - exercising to keep yourself fit. It is just as important; well, actually far more important, to keep ourselves spiritually fit. If you are really young and feel very physically fit, then make sure your aim is also to grow up spiritually fit.

In our Philippians readings this morning this phrase occurs. Paul writes, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” [Philippians 2:12-13]

That’s a fantastic verse … God works in us! But if we are not interested in him and do not meditate on his involvement in our lives, then we cannot expect him to watch over us in whatever “work out” we choose. If we choose to “work out” God’s way then we will be training ourselves to think and act in a Christ like way and we will use our lives to serve him.

For example, we will aim to follow Paul’s advice “being in full accord and one mind” with those also in training. “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” counselled Paul [Philippians 2:2,3] We have also been reading Ezekiel and the Jews he knew totally failed the spiritual “work out” God expected of them. He had been patient with them over many generations but now all sorts of terrible things happened to them, as we have been reading. Our God is very patient; he wants us to be saved, to be in his wonderful kingdom which will soon come on this earth.

Just as we do physical exercises, especially the young – but also those not so young who still want to feel “young.” In the same way both young and old must exercise their minds about God and Jesus by reading the God’s word. In that way we will know what to pray for – and our prayers will be answered. But if we only pray when we are in trouble, is it fair to expect God to answer? Trouble is certainly coming on this earth – we will need to be fully spiritually fit to cope with it. Is there enough oil (of faith) in your lamps?
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Posted 08 October 2012 - 04:55 AM

08 October 2012

1 Chronicles 24; 25
Ezekiel 34
Philippians 1; 2

"MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE"

God sees the people of Israel as his sheep [Ezekiel 34:12] and is distressed at the failure of the shepherds to look after his sheep. This is the message we read in Ezekiel. The leaders in Israel had failed; they had no spiritual vision, no sense of responsibility. God’s message to them through Ezekiel was, “Ah shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?” [Ezekiel 34:2]

God had also seen the shepherds as watchmen, as we briefly noted yesterday. In Ezekiel 33, the watchmen had not done their job and as a result the people and the watchmen were doomed [Ezekiel 33:2-6] In today’s chapter, as we read on, there is a vision of hope, “I will rescue my flock”, says God, “they shall no longer be a prey … and I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them … and be their shepherd .. and I will make with them a covenant of peace” [Ezekiel 34:22-25].

But God has even more to say, with divine vision he is looking even further into the future. “They shall no more be a prey to the nations … they shall dwell securely and none shall make them afraid … and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God … ” [Ezekiel 34:28-30]

David’s greater son is Jesus and he teaches the people in his day about the shepherd and the sheep. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” [John 10:11] The sheep that surrounded him at that time were the people of Israel, but he goes on to say, “Other sheep I have who are not of this fold. I must bring them also … and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd” [John 10:16]

The climax of his teaching on that occasion is, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish” [John 10:27,28] They will fall asleep until the resurrection, but then, what joy! Let us know the voice of Jesus, let us beware of “hirelings” [John 10:12) who think more of “feeding yourselves” as they did in Ezekiel’s time. Let us read the Bible every day, in that way we feed on good pasture and can become more conscious of “hirelings.”
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- DC

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 10:20 AM

08 October 2013

1 Chronicles 24; 25
Ezekiel 34
Philippians 1; 2

A WORK OUT

Those of you who are young know what it is to have “a work out” – we understand it as a simple way of saying - exercising to keep yourself fit. It is just as important; well, actually far more important, to keep ourselves spiritually fit. If you are really young and feel very physically fit, then make sure your aim is also to grow up and become spiritually fit.

Note the phrase that occurs in our Philippians readings this morning. Paul writes, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” [Philippians 2:12-13] That’s a fantastic verse … God works in us! But if we are not interested in him and do not meditate on his involvement in our lives, then we cannot expect him to watch over us in whatever “work out” we choose.

If we choose to “work out” God’s way then we will be training ourselves to think and act in a Christ like way and we will use our lives to serve him.

For example, we will aim to follow Paul’s advice “being in full accord and one mind” with those also in training. “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit” counselled Paul, “but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” [Philippians 2:2-3]

We have also been reading Ezekiel and the Jews he knew totally failed the spiritual “work out” God expected of them. He had been patient with them over many generations but now all sorts of terrible things happened to them, as we have been reading. Our God is very patient; he wants us to be saved, to be in his wonderful kingdom which will soon come on this earth.

Just as we do physical exercises, especially the young – but also those not so young who still want to feel “young.” In the same way both young and old must exercise their minds about God and Jesus by reading God’s word.

In that way we will know what to pray for – and our prayers will be answered. But if we only pray when we are in trouble, is it fair to expect God to answer? Trouble is certainly coming on this earth – we will need to be spiritually fit as fully as possible to cope with it. Is there enough oil (of faith) in your lamps?
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- DC

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 12:54 PM

08 October 2014
 
1 Chronicles 24; 25
Ezekiel 34
Philippians 1; 2  
 
“… THEY MAY DWELL SECURELY”  
            
Today we read how “the word of the LORD came to me” [Ezekiel 34] with prophecies for him about the near and far destiny of his nation – Israel.  First, it is a condemnation of the leaders, the “shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves” [Ezekiel 34:2].  How often, in these days too, does that continue to happen with those who claim to be in the service of God – and of Christ!    
            
God tells Ezekiel, “My sheep were scattered over the face of the earth …” [Ezekiel 34:6]  God sees all time as one – and “declares the end from the beginning” [Isaiah 46:10; Revelation 21:6]  And so the scattering of God’s flock over all the earth has happened, but then, “says the Lord GOD (to Ezekiel) "...so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.   And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land..." [Ezekiel 34:12-13]
            
We have seen this miraculous regathering since the Holy Land was delivered from the control of the Turks in 1917. From Ezekiel 34:25 we read God's declaration, "I will make with them a covenant ... so that they may dwell securely ... And I will make them and the places around my hill (Mt Zion?) a blessing ... and they shall be secure in their land."  This is in the process of happening.  The next statement is, "And they shall know that I am the LORD."  Does this need the return of the Lord, and their recognition of him?  That seems almost certain.
            
In the New Testament the 1st chapter of Paul's letter to the Philippians has words that are wonderfully appropriate for us today "It is my prayer" he writes,  "that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,  so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." [Philippians 1:9-11]  May that be our prayer for all our fellow believers as we wait together "for the day of Christ" and watch the unfolding events in and around the Holy Land, seeing more and more clearly their significance in the light of what God revealed to prophets such as Ezekiel. 
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- DC


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Posted 08 October 2015 - 10:05 AM

08 October 2015
 
1 Chronicles 24; 25
Ezekiel 34
Philippians 1; 2  
 
"WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH ... "
            
Today we started reading Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  We remember the events at Philippi where he and Silas were arrested and thrown into the town jail because they healed a demented girl whose ‘owners’ were making money out of her [Acts 16:12-40].  But a strong enough earthquake occurred about midnight!  The events which followed led to the conversion of the jailer and his family; they probably became foundation members of the ecclesia there.
            
Paul’s letter to them is more positive than any of his other letters – the only thing he had to warn them about was that some were preaching with unworthy motives [Philippians 1:5].  He writes, " my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." [Philippians 2:12]  That is “fear” in the sense of “awe” in sensing what God and Christ must be.
            
How much must their behaviour have stimulated Paul - as well as their material support sent to him [Philippians 4:15] His next words are profound, they are words we do well to meditate on, "for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." [Philippians 2:13] Those who conscientiously "work out" their "own salvation" are truly "working together with God" [2 Corinthians 6:1] – rather than the other way round. Paul obviously did not see himself as working with God - but it was really – God "with" him and with them!  Let us sense the wonder of the same happening with us.
            
Now – in 2015 – this is surely the time of the final ingathering. The parable of Jesus comes to mind - see Luke 14:17-23 – where the Lord’s instruction is  " bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame ... that my house may be filled" 
            
Back in Philippians Paul's prayer for them – see Philippians 1:9 – should be our prayer. "it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment"  Let us make sure that our prayers for each other are the same – we specially note Paul's next words – "so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  filled with the fruit of righteousness ..." 
            
As we each "work out" our "own salvation" we must check on the "fruit" we have produced – today – and make plans as to how we can produce more. 
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- DC


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Posted 08 October 2016 - 03:25 AM

08 October 2016
 
1 Chronicles 24; 25
Ezekiel 34
Philippians 1; 2  
 
“‘FOR IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU’”
 
Those of you who are young know what it is to have “a work out” – we understand it as a simple way of saying you are exercising to keep yourself fit. It is just as important; well, actually far more important, to keep ourselves spiritually fit. If you are really young and feel very physically fit, then make sure your aim is also to grow up and become spiritually fit. 
 
Note the phrase that occurs in our Philippians readings this morning. Paul writes, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” [Philippians 2:12-13] That’s a fantastic verse … God works in us! 
 
But if we are not interested in him and do not meditate on his involvement in our lives, then we cannot expect him to watch over us in whatever “work out” we choose.
 
If we choose to “work out” God’s way then we will be training ourselves to think and act in a Christ like way and we will use our lives – in some way - every day - to serve him. For example, we will aim to follow Paul’s advice “being in full accord and one mind” with those also in training. “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit” counselled Paul, “but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” [Philippians 2:2-3] 
 
We have also been reading Ezekiel and the Jews he knew totally failed the spiritual “work out” God expected of them. He had been patient with them over many generations but now all sorts of terrible things happened to them, as we have been reading. Our God is very patient; he wants us to be saved, to be in his wonderful kingdom which will soon come on this earth.
 
Just as we do physical exercises, especially the young – but also those not so young - who still want to feel “young.” In the same way both young and old must exercise their minds about God and Jesus by constantly reading God’s word.
 
In that way we will know what to pray for – and our prayers will be answered – and we will sense “it is God who works in us!. But if we only pray when we are in trouble, is it fair to expect God to answer? Trouble is certainly coming on this earth – we will need to be spiritually fit as fully as possible to cope with it. Let us make sure there is enough oil (of faith) in our lamps?
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- DC


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Posted 08 October 2017 - 11:23 PM

08 October 2017
 
1 Chronicles 24; 25
Ezekiel 34
Philippians 1; 2  
 
"WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH …"
 
Those of you who are young know what it is to have a 'work out' ­ we understand it as a simple way of saying - exercising to keep yourself fit. It is just as important; well, actually far more important, to keep ourselves spiritually fit. If you are really young and feel very physically fit, then make sure your aim is also to grow up spiritually fit.
 
In our Philippians readings this morning this phrase occurs. Paul writes, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure" [Philippians 2:12-13]. 
 
That's a fantastic verse … God works in us! But if we are not interested in him and do not meditate on his involvement in our lives, then we cannot expect him to watch over us in whatever "work out" we choose. If we choose to "work out" in God's way then we will be training ourselves to think and act in a Christ like way and we will use our lives to serve him.  
 
For example, we will aim to follow Paul's advice by "being in full accord and one mind" with those also in training. 
 
"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." This is Paul's counsel [Philippians 2:2-3].  
 
We have also been reading Ezekiel and the Jews he knew totally failed the spiritual "work out" God expected of them. He had been patient with them over many generations but now all sorts of terrible things happened to them, as we are now reading. Let us fully appreciate that our God is very patient; he wants us to be saved, to be in his wonderful kingdom which will soon come on this earth, but the failure of his people in the days of Ezekiel is a lesson to us.
 
Just as we do physical exercises - especially the young ­ but also those not so young who still want to feel 'young' in the same way both young and old must exercise their minds about God and Jesus by reading the God's word. 
 
In that way we will know what to pray for ­ and our prayers will be answered and we will , "work out your own salvation" and God and His Son will work in us.  
 
But if we only pray when we are in trouble, is it fair to expect God to answer? Trouble is certainly coming on this earth ­ we will need to be fully spiritually fit to cope with it. How is your 'work out' progressing?
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- DC





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