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07 October - 1 Chronicles 23; Ezekiel 33; Ephesians 5; 6


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Posted 07 October 2007 - 10:04 AM

First Portion

1 Chronicles 23


23:1 Now David was old and full of days; and he made Solomon his son king over Israel. 23:2 He gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites. 23:3 The Levites were numbered from thirty years old and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty-eight thousand. 23:4 David said, “Of these, twenty-four thousand were to oversee the work of the house of Yahweh; six thousand were officers and judges; 23:5 four thousand were doorkeepers; and four thousand praised Yahweh with the instruments which I made, for giving praise.”

23:6 David divided them into divisions according to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 23:7 Of the Gershonites: Ladan and Shimei. 23:8 The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the chief, and Zetham, and Joel, three. 23:9 The sons of Shimei: Shelomoth, and Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the heads of the fathers’ households of Ladan. 23:10 The sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, and Jeush, and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei. 23:11 Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second: but Jeush and Beriah didn’t have many sons; therefore they became a fathers’ house in one reckoning. 23:12 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four. 23:13 The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses; and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons, forever, to burn incense before Yahweh, to minister to him, and to bless in his name, forever. 23:14 But as for Moses the man of God, his sons were named among the tribe of Levi.. 23:15 The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer. 23:16 The sons of Gershom: Shebuel the chief. 23:17 The sons of Eliezer were: Rehabiah the chief; and Eliezer had no other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many. 23:18 The sons of Izhar: Shelomith the chief. 23:19 The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the chief, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. 23:20 The sons of Uzziel: Micah the chief, and Isshiah the second. 23:21 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish. 23:22 Eleazar died, and had no sons, but daughters only: and their brothers the sons of Kish took them as wives. 23:23 The sons of Mushi: Mahli, and Eder, and Jeremoth, three. 23:24 These were the sons of Levi after their fathers’ houses, even the heads of the fathers’ houses of those who were counted individually, in the number of names by their polls, who did the work for the service of the house of Yahweh, from twenty years old and upward. 23:25 For David said, “Yahweh, the God of Israel, has given rest to his people; and he dwells in Jerusalem forever. 23:26 Also the Levites will no longer need to carry the tabernacle and all its vessels for its service.” 23:27 For by the last words of David the sons of Levi were numbered, from twenty years old and upward. 23:28 For their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of Yahweh, in the courts, and in the rooms, and in the purifying of all holy things, even the work of the service of the house of God; 23:29 for the show bread also, and for the fine flour for a meal offering, whether of unleavened wafers, or of that which is baked in the pan, or of that which is soaked, and for all kinds of measure and size; 23:30 and to stand every morning to thank and praise Yahweh, and likewise in the evening; 23:31 and to offer all burnt offerings to Yahweh, on the Sabbaths, on the new moons, and on the set feasts, in number according to the ordinance concerning them, continually before Yahweh; 23:32 and that they should keep the duty of the Tent of Meeting, and the duty of the holy place, and the duty of the sons of Aaron their brothers, for the service of the house of Yahweh.

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 10:04 AM

Second Portion

Ezekiel 33


33:1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 33:2 Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and tell them, When I bring the sword on a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and set him for their watchman; 33:3 if, when he sees the sword come on the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; 33:4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and doesn’t take warning, if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 33:5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and didn’t take warning; his blood shall be on him; whereas if he had taken warning, he would have delivered his soul. 33:6 But if the watchman sees the sword come, and doesn’t blow the trumpet, and the people aren’t warned, and the sword comes, and take any person from among them; he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. 33:7 So you, son of man, I have set you a watchman to the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 33:8 When I tell the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you don’t speak to warn the wicked from his way; that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand. 33:9 Nevertheless, if you warn the wicked of his way to turn from it, and he doesn’t turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul. 33:10 You, son of man, tell the house of Israel: Thus you speak, saying, Our transgressions and our sins are on us, and we pine away in them; how then can we live? 33:11 Tell them, As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, house of Israel? 33:12 You, son of man, tell the children of your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his disobedience; and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turns from his wickedness; neither shall he who is righteous be able to live thereby in the day that he sins. 33:13 When I tell the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his righteousness, and commit iniquity, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered; but in his iniquity that he has committed, therein shall he die. 33:14 Again, when I say to the wicked, You shall surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; 33:15 if the wicked restore the pledge, give again that which he had taken by robbery, walk in the statutes of life, committing no iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. 33:16 None of his sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him: he has done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. 33:17 Yet the children of your people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. 33:18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, he shall even die therein. 33:19 When the wicked turns from his wickedness, and does that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. 33:20 Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. House of Israel, I will judge every one of you after his ways. 33:21 It happened in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped out of Jerusalem came to me, saying, The city has been struck. 33:22 Now the hand of Yahweh had been on me in the evening, before he who was escaped came; and he had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more mute. 33:23 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 33:24 Son of man, they who inhabit those waste places in the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance. 33:25 Therefore tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: You eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes to your idols, and shed blood: and shall you possess the land? 33:26 You stand on your sword, you work abomination, and every one of you defiles his neighbor’s wife: and shall you possess the land? 33:27 You shall tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: As I live, surely those who are in the waste places shall fall by the sword; and him who is in the open field will I give to the animals to be devoured; and those who are in the strongholds and in the caves shall die of the pestilence. 33:28 I will make the land a desolation and an astonishment; and the pride of her power shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, so that none shall pass through. 33:29 Then shall they know that I am Yahweh, when I have made the land a desolation and an astonishment, because of all their abominations which they have committed. 33:30 As for you, son of man, the children of your people talk of you by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, everyone to his brother, saying, Please come and hear what is the word that comes forth from Yahweh. 33:31 They come to you as the people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear your words, but don’t do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their gain. 33:32 Behold, you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they don’t do them. 33:33 When this comes to pass, (behold, it comes), then shall they know that a prophet has been among them.

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 10:06 AM

Third Portion

Ephesians 5; 6


5:1 Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. 5:2 Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance. 5:3 But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints; 5:4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.

5:5 Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.

5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. 5:7 Therefore don’t be partakers with them. 5:8 For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, 5:9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, 5:10 proving what is well pleasing to the Lord. 5:11 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them. 5:12 For the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of. 5:13 But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light, for everything that reveals is light. 5:14 Therefore he says, “Awake, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

5:15 Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise; 5:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 5:17 Therefore don’t be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.. 5:18 Don’t be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 5:20 giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father; 5:21 subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.

5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body. 5:24 But as the assembly is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything.

5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; 5:26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, 5:27 that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 5:28 Even so husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 5:29 For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord also does the assembly; 5:30 because we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones. 5:31 “For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will be joined to his wife. The two will become one flesh.” 5:32 This mystery is great, but I speak concerning Christ and of the assembly. 5:33 Nevertheless each of you must also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 10:09 AM

6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 6:2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with a promise: 6:3 “that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.”

6:4 You fathers, don’t provoke your children to wrath, but nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

6:5 Servants, be obedient to those who according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Christ; 6:6 not in the way of service only when eyes are on you, as men pleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 6:7 with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men; 6:8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is bound or free.

6:9 You masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with him.

6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 6:12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 6:13 Therefore, put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. 6:14 Stand therefore, having the utility belt of truth buckled around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 6:15 and having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of peace; 6:16 above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 6:18 with all prayer and requests, praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the saints: 6:19 on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News, 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

6:21 But that you also may know my affairs, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make known to you all things; 6:22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts.

6:23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 6:24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love. Amen.

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 10:34 AM

07 October 2008

1 Chronicles 23
Ezekiel 33
Ephesians 5; 6

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 12:21 PM

07 October 2009

1 Chronicles 23
Ezekiel 33
Ephesians 5; 6

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 05:04 AM

07 October 2010

1 Chronicles 23
Ezekiel 33
Ephesians 5; 6

"MAKING THE BEST USE OF THE TIME BECAUSE THE DAYS ARE EVIL"

Our world is full of distractions – far more than in any previous age. Paul in today’s chapters in Ephesians [Ephesians 5:16] wrote the above words and they apply so much to the way we live our lives right now. He also wrote, “sexual immorality and all impurity … must not even be named among you … let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk, nor crude joking …” [Ephesians 5:3,4] The kind of life in Ephesus must have been a lot like today – but at least they did not have the internet, TV, radio and magazines with so much of their content enticing their minds with every kind of impurity.

How can a true Bible believer have anything to do with so many of the attitudes and fleshly values which surround us and are so blatantly portrayed as entertainment!! Now note what Paul then writes, “Instead, let there be thanksgiving” We must realize the point of that comment.

Are we thankful that we can see the true meaning and purpose of life? We should be! Those who are living for the experiences they can have each day, have their minds fed by the instincts of the flesh instead of the word of God. They have no thought at all that awesome judgements from God are hanging over the world of today.

This leads us to think of our readings today in Ezekiel [Ezekiel 33] and the blindness of the people in Jerusalem as to their impending fate and the prophet’s role and responsibility as a watchman. We have the same responsibility. God tells the prophet, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” His message was to be, “turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” [Ezekiel 33:11]

Our message is the same, it may fall on deaf ears but we have a responsibility to try. Lot, living in Sodom, obviously tried, otherwise Abraham would not have thought there could be “fifty righteous within the city” [Genesis 18:24]

Peter comments on how God rescued “righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct around him” [2 Peter 2:7] Do you feel distressed? Are you making “the best use of the time”? Is it your time? No – it is God’s time! Let us spend it in the wisest way.
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Posted 07 October 2011 - 01:22 AM

07 October 2011

1 Chronicles 23
Ezekiel 33
Ephesians 5; 6

“MAKING THE BEST USE OF THE TIME BECAUSE …”

We all have equal amounts of time; no one is rich or poor when it comes to possessing time. What is the best way to use it? It is true, most are committed to some form of work or schooling – yet that does not change the fact that we must always be conscious of what we are living for – and the all seeing eyes of our Creator. More than this – that we belong to Christ – and if we do not yet do so, we are still not free agents to do as we please.

If we choose to do as we please and this means we follow fleshly inclinations we are sowing seeds of habits that will take us away from God – or create stronger underlying character traits that will make it harder for us to serve God effectively when we do decide to take on the name of His Son.

The complete context of the words in our heading are – “Awake O sleeper … and Christ will shine on you. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” [Ephesians 5:14-17]

In our Ezekiel reading the prophet reaches the climax of his ministry of warning the exiles: the LORD tells him a fugitive is about to come from Jerusalem and say, “The city has been struck down” [Ezekiel 33:21] The prophet’s message which God had been putting in his mouth had proved true. He had been a true watchman, but few, it seems, had listened and accepted his message, it was not what they wanted to hear.

The early part of the chapter is about the responsibility of a watchman; when he does his job properly he is exonerated from all blame for “he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people” [Ezekiel 33:3]. God has given us his word, it is our responsibility to share it at every opportunity – indeed to make opportunities to share it – “for here we have no lasting city but seek the city that is to come” [Hebrews 13:14] and we make the best use of our time if, as true watchmen (and women) we encourage others to seek that city and live in that day when those who have heeded our message will join with us in singing, “Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God!” [Psalm 48:1]
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Posted 07 October 2012 - 03:42 AM

07 October 2012

1 Chronicles 23
Ezekiel 33
Ephesians 5; 6

"IT IS GOD'S TIME!"

Our world is full of distractions – far more than in any previous age. Paul in today’s chapters in Ephesians [Ephesians 5:16] wrote the above words and they apply so much to the way we live our lives right now. He also wrote, “sexual immorality and all impurity … must not even be named among you … let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk, nor crude joking …” [Ephesians 5:3,4] The kind of life in Ephesus must have been a lot like today – but at least they did not have the Internet, TV, radio and magazines with so much of their content enticing their minds with every kind of impurity.

How can a true Bible believer have anything to do with so many of the attitudes and fleshly values which surround us and are so blatantly portrayed as entertainment! Now note what Paul then writes, “Instead, let there be thanksgiving” We must realize the point of that comment.

Are we thankful that we can see the true meaning and purpose of life? We should be! Those who are living for the experiences they can have each day, have their minds fed by the instincts of the flesh instead of the word of God. They have no thought at all that awesome judgements from God are hanging over the world of today.

This leads us to think of our readings today in Ezekiel [Ezekiel 33] and the blindness of the people in Jerusalem as to their impending fate and the prophet’s role and responsibility as a watchman. We have the same responsibility. God tells the prophet, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” His message was to be, “turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” [Ezekiel 33:11]

Our message is the same, it may fall on deaf ears but we have a responsibility to try. Lot, living in Sodom, obviously tried, otherwise Abraham would not have thought there could be “fifty righteous within the city” [Genesis 18:24]

Peter comments on how God rescued “righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct around him” [2 Peter 2:7] Do you feel distressed? Are you making “the best use of the time”? Is it your time? No – it is God’s time! Let us spend it in the wisest way.
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Posted 07 October 2013 - 05:19 AM

07 October 2013

1 Chronicles 23
Ezekiel 33
Ephesians 5; 6

“ … PLAYS WELL ON AN INSTRUMENT”

Ezekiel, somewhat like Jeremiah, has a challenging time in being a prophet of the LORD. The reaction to his message is somewhat different, but it does have lessons for us today. He is told by the LORD, “As for you … your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, 'Come and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.' And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it …” [Ezekiel 33:30-31]

Do we read the Bible? Do we like doing so? Do we like talking about it? Do we like hearing God’s word explained? What effect does all this have? It must have an influence on the way we think and the way we live – we must not be like those who heard Ezekiel.

God tells Ezekiel that he is aware of the answers to these questions: what God says is most interesting (and maybe surprising (to us)! God says, “Behold you are to them like one who sings lustful songs (AV/ASV 'very lovely songs') with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument for they hear what you say …” [Ezekiel 33:32]

Can it be that reading God’s word and listening to others talk about it makes us feel respectable and good? Remember what Jesus said, “… my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” [Luke 8:21] We show we “hear” by what we do as a result. But of those who heard Ezekiel - God says, “they hear what you say but they will not do it; for … their heart is set on gain” – so very many are swept along by what is valued in this life.

We read earlier in the chapter of God’s commission to Ezekiel – do we not have the same commission? “I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me” [Ezekiel 33:7] There was plenty for Ezekiel to warn them about. Note Ezekiel 33:11, God says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” But history testifies to how often God has, in the end, destroyed the godless. God’s judgements finally came on Israel – and they will do so today to the Gentiles.

The final words in the chapter are, “When this comes – then they will know that a prophet has been among them” All around us people are turning away from God, many are not even sure he exists, some declare they are certain that he doesn’t! But all need to be aware of God’s warnings! True believers should sense they are following in Ezekiel’s footsteps – don’t you feel that responsibility? Are you playing well on your instrument? The reaction of the hearers is not primarily your responsibility!
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Posted 07 October 2014 - 06:13 AM

07 October 2014
 
1 Chronicles 23
Ezekiel 33
Ephesians 5; 6  
 
“COME AND HEAR WHAT THE WORD IS …”
            
We have a conscience challenging chapter [33] in Ezekiel today.  We learn that the prophet has been in captivity among the other Jews for 12 years and 10 months when the hopes of those there are finally extinguished, by news coming from “a fugitive from Jerusalem (who) came “and said, ‘The city has been struck down.’” [Ezekiel 33:21]  
           
The LORD then makes Ezekiel aware of the reaction of the people to the messages he has been giving them, “…  your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, 'Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.'   And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain.    And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.” [Ezekiel 33:30-32]
 
Clearly the LORD knew all their hearts, as he does now – and we can see strong comparisons – and warnings for ourselves.  Are our “hearts set” more on this world and the “gain” we can get?  It does not necessarily mean money!  But we must each ask ourselves – examine our hearts – what are the things that fill our time – what things mainly occupy our minds.  How much do we have in mind the words of our Lord, “do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." [Matthew 6:31-33]  What wondrous things will then be added in the kingdom!
 
Is there any point in witnessing today?  Ezekiel may have thought that!  After being told by the Lord, “I will make … her proud might … come to an end” the Lord then makes a significant point to him, “Then they will know that a prophet has been among them.” [Ezekiel 33:28,33]  What will they “know” of you and I? A significant point for us to bear in mind are the powerful words of Paul we read today as he brought his letter to the Ephesians to a climax, “… take up the whole armour of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm … praying at all times”  [Ephesians 6:13] Let us read and hear what God’s word reveals - with our hearts absorbing its message so that we gain essential strength and so “stand firm” in these final godless days. 
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Posted 07 October 2015 - 12:28 PM

07 October 2015
 
1 Chronicles 23
Ezekiel 33
Ephesians 5; 6 
 
"... THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND IN THE EVIL DAY"
            
Today we read the concluding chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians – and his advice to them is so appropriate for us today as he writes of the “evil day.”  It seems certain we are living in the final “evil day” before Christ returns.  “Day” of course, is not used in the sense of 24 hours – but of a time period, usually a very short one.
            
Paul’s encouragement to them is straight to the point – no beating about the bush as some of us would say today. “Finally,” he writes “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God [Ephesians 6:10-11]  And what is this armour?   It is the kind of armour that enables us "to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm." [Ephesians 6:13]
            
Paul develops his point further "Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth" [Ephesians 6:14]. If we do not stand on what is true – and for what is true – thinking we are standing will be all self-deception – and will later be seen as tragic!  It will be too late!
            
Paul next says we need to have, "put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace." [Ephesians 6:14-15] 
            
What kind of "peace" gives us this “readiness”?  Isaiah's words to God about his involvement in our lives illuminates for us the wonder of this!  "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." [Isaiah 26:3]  It is peace of mind – arising from a genuine relationship that is creating real “trust” – day by day – because we are increasingly “working together with him.” [2 Corinthians 6:1] day after day! 
            
How wonderful were the words of Jesus to his disciples! John recorded them in John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." 
            
Back to Paul's words: "In all circumstances take up the shield of faith" [Ephesians 6:16]  How much we need this 'shield' in our minds today - as total godlessness surrounds us in so many forms.  We must have on [Ephesians 6:17] "the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God ... that you may be able to withstand in the evil day."  
            
We should also add that we must engage in "praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance ..." [Ephesians 6:18]  By this means - more than anything else - we will "be able to withstand …the evil" of the days in which we are now living - and be “ready” to meet our Lord. 
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- DC 


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Posted 07 October 2016 - 01:12 PM

07 October 2016
 
1 Chronicles 23
Ezekiel 33
Ephesians 5; 6  
 
“THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND IN THE EVIL DAY”
 
Today we read the final 2 chapters of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. These chapters emphasize the need to “be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us” [Ephesians 5:1-2] How did Christ show his love for us? It caused him “to give his life as a ransom ..." [Matthew 20:28] We are not asked to do this, but we are asked to make every effort to make our characters more and more like that of Christ!
 
Let us have fully in mind what we read in Galatians 4 days ago! “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” [Galatians 4:19] Paul’s anguish! That was the outcome of his love and this was founded on his love for Christ! What is our love founded on? Surely the same! But how well do we know Christ? This will show in the strength of the foundation our lives have established. Is it rock-like?
 
Paul then proceeds to describe the opposite! What happens, as happens in our world, when there is no love for Christ! Paul tells them, “sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you … Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking … instead let there be thanksgiving.” [Ephesians 5:3-4]
 
How much “thanksgiving” do we express – and is also shown by our actions? Now, a question for each of us to answer – from our hearts. To achieve these things we must “take up the whole armour of God” [Ephesians 6:13] We note how the parts of this armour are described!
 
There is one particular purpose – in doing this – “that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
 
Now look at the next 4 verses, they tell us of the weapons we need to develop as fully as we can if we are to effectively “withstand in the evil day”. A major weapon is to have “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [Ephesians 6:17]. May we all keep our “sword” sharp – and in daily use.
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- DC


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Posted 08 October 2017 - 11:01 PM

07 October 2017
 
1 Chronicles 23
Ezekiel 33
Ephesians 5; 6 
 
"MAKING THE BEST USE OF THE TIME BECAUSE …"
 
Our world is full of distractions to us ­ far more than in any previous age. Paul in today's chapters in Ephesians [Ephesians 5:16] wrote the above words and they apply so much to the way we live our lives right now. He also wrote, "sexual immorality and all impurity … must not even be named among you … let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk, nor crude joking …" [Ephesians 5:3-4] The kind of life in Ephesus must have been a lot like today ­ but at least they did not have the Internet, TV, radio and magazines constantly influencing them with nearly all of its' content leaving God entirely out of the picture.
 
How can a true Bible believer have anything to do with so many of the attitudes and fleshly values which surround us! They are so blatantly portrayed as entertainment! 
 
Now note what Paul then writes, "Instead, let there be thanksgiving". We must realize the point of that comment. 
 
Are we thankful that we can see the true meaning and purpose of life? We should be utterly thankful! Those around us who are largely living for the experiences they can have each day, have their minds fed by the instincts of the flesh instead of the word of God. They have no thought that awesome judgements from God that are hanging over the world of today.
 
This leads us to think of our readings today in Ezekiel [Ezekiel 33] and the blindness of the people in Jerusalem as to their impending fate. As a genuine prophet of the one true God he had a role and responsibility as a watchman. We have the same responsibility. God tells the prophet, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked". His message was to be, "turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?" [Ezekiel 33:11].  
 
Our message should be something similar. It may fall on deaf ears but we have a responsibility to try. Lot, living in Sodom, obviously tried, otherwise Abraham would not have thought there could be "fifty righteous within the city" [Genesis 18:24] Peter comments on how God rescued "righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct around him" [2 Peter 2:12]  
 
Do you feel distressed? Perhaps you are not making the best use of the time? We read today how Paul wrote to the Ephesians telling them to "look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." [Ephesians 5:15-16] Is it your time? No - it is God's time! Let us spend it in the wisest way possible.
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- DC





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