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Weekly Messages

Prevailing in Prayer

Prevailing in Prayer

Luke 18:1-8

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Weekly Messages

How Hungry Are You?

How Hungry Are You?

Matthew 6:16-18

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Daily Devotionals

November 14, 2017:  Breathless!

 

Ezekiel 44:4 (NIV)
4  Then the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the LORD filling the temple of the LORD, and I fell facedown.

 

This phrase “fell facedown” appears six times in the book of Ezekiel.  It happens whenever Ezekiel has some vision of God or he encounters some angelic being.  This seems to be the regular response of those who know God when they encounter him.

To meet with God is to have everything about your life arrested.  You have your breath taken away, you cannot stand, you enter in to some sort of fear and trembling but not so that you are deathly afraid of God.  Peter would call this an inexpressible experience.

How often have you met God and come away and been completely unable to express what it was like to anyone else? Paul says that the gift we have been given is indescribable.  He writes in another place that this relationship we have in Christ with God is beyond imagination.  It defies our greatest thoughts and best hope and dreams.

Perhaps you have been misled into thinking that to meet with God is boring and dull and lifeless.  To be sure often times we go to our prayer room and come away with little sense that we have met with God, we have just gone through the motions.  What are you to do when you find that most of your time with God is just regular ordinary stuff, nothing really to write home about?

Think of it this way.  As in any other life habit or sport, you have to put in the time in practice, going through all the drills, running the plays over and over again.  Certainly one would have to say about practice that nothing of much significance happened on the practice field but if you neglect the practice, when game time comes, you will not experience the thrill of seeing how all your practice time has now come to pay off.

So we pray daily, we seek to meet with God in His Word and pray often that we might be transformed by God’s Spirit into the likeness of Christ.  One day while we are out walking through our day the presence of God will come upon us and we will find the experience that Ezekiel had because we will have tuned our lives to be able to receive the fullness of his joy when the Spirit descends on us.

Practice well, game time is just ahead,

 

Pastor Phil

P.S. Don’t forget to practice those up-downs it looks like we will be doing them for the rest of eternity.

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Daily Devotionals

November 12, 2017:  When will I understand everything I need?

 

 

Ezekiel 42:15-20 (NIV)
15  When he had finished measuring what was inside the temple area, he led me out by the east gate and measured the area all around:
16  He measured the east side with the measuring rod; it was five hundred cubits.
17  He measured the north side; it was five hundred cubits by the measuring rod.
18  He measured the south side; it was five hundred cubits by the measuring rod.
19  Then he turned to the west side and measured; it was five hundred cubits by the measuring rod.
20  So he measured the area on all four sides. It had a wall around it, five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits wide, to separate the holy from the common.

As you read your way through these chapters you are at once struck with the fact that Ezekiel was not given any explanation of all that he was seeing.  There was no long detailed teaching given by the man in linen dress.  For the last nine chapters in Ezekiel there is a lot of description but very little explanation of what that vision means.  I find myself asking the question, “Why no explanation?”

Here is my thought on this subject.  When a teacher wants to see if their student is really wanting to learn his subject matter the teacher can give a very complicated problem and just write it on the board and then give the assignment to go home end work it out.

Now if the assignment is far more than any student can figure out what will the really good students do?  They will call up the professor and ask for time after class.  They will go the extra mile because they desire to get it right.

These last nine chapters are confusing to many scholars but I do not think they were to Ezekiel.  I think he knew exactly what God was talking about but the Spirit of God did not give any explanation as to what all this vision meant.  I think it was precisely to call us to come closer and follow him more passionately.  Psalms 25:14 says, “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him and keep his commandments.”

Have something in your life you just cannot figure out, perhaps God is calling you come closer.  Why not try this on for an exercise this week, make a list of all the things you have questions about.  As you meet with God every day make these questions something you ask God to clarify for you and see what happens. You might be surprised at what you learn from God.

Thanking God for unanswered questions,

 

Pastor Phil

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Daily Devotionals

November 11, 2017: Who is it that cares for your soul?

 

Ezekiel 34:11-16 (NIV)
11  “‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.
12  As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.
13  I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.
14  I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.
15  I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD.
16  I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

Lost your way?  Cannot find your way back home?  Finding the enemy of your soul wreaking havoc in your life? Have spiritual leaders failed you or betrayed you or abused you?  Fear no longer, you have a Shepherd and guardian of your soul and he will come to deliver and rescue you.

In Ezekiel’s day the pastors and prophets cared not for the people of God.  They used the flock of God to care and feed themselves but did not concern themselves with the flock that God has made them overseers.  Because of this the people of God were starving for a clear word from God as to how to live but it was not forth coming due to the lack of spiritual health of t shepherds of Israel.

Perhaps you have found this to be your circumstance today and you find yourself despairing of ever understanding what it is that God wants from you.  Fear no longer because your great shepherd is coming near to rescue you and deliver you.  He himself will redeem you and guide by his right hand.  He will not let one of his little ones fall or fail to make it to the Promised Land.

In Samuel’s day the Word of the Lord was rare but Samuel heard God in the temple even though the priests were wicked and cared not for anyone.  If God can speak to a Samuel in when the priests of Israel were so spiritually bankrupt then he certainly can make sure you hear his word and know what it is He wants you of to.

Samuel heard the Word when he responded “Speak Lord your servant is listening.”

Why not take a moment this morning before you head to worship to cry out to God and say, “Speak Lord your servant is listening.”

God give us open ears,

 

Pastor Phil

 

 

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Daily Devotionals

November 10, 2017: How can we Live?

 

Ezekiel 33:10-11 (NIV)
10  “Son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”‘
11  Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’

Weighed down by the weight of your sins and failures? Out of strength to stand against iniquity in the land?  Find yourself wanting to give up? How shall we live in such circumstances?  Perhaps you have believed the lie that God desires to wipe you out. He has turned his back on you because of your sins and failures.  If you read only parts of the Old Testament you may reach that conclusion but God leaves Ezekiel with absolute assurance as to what God thins of his children.  If you can possibly grasp this truth believe this and act upon it and you will come forth from your place of confession with new life surging through your veins.

“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in eth death of the wicked, but rather that they turn and live.”  Can you possibly believe this?  These words were spoken to a nation that had rebelled against every possible commandment. They even invented ways doing evil that God even said he did not even think his people would stoop so low.

What is God’s heart for his people, even though they have become AS MORALLY CORRUPT AS POSSIBLE?  He desires that they find life not death.  He delight sin showing mercy and not judgment.

Out of gas in your walk with the Lord?  Have you given up the battle with sin in your life?  It is time for you to turn back and come home to the God who delights to show you mercy.  Why not take a moment right now to turn back to him and ask him to restore you the years you have wasted.

 

It is in turning to God that we live,

 

Pastor Phil

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Daily Devotionals

November 9, 2017:  There is coming a day . . .

 

Ezekiel 26:16 (NIV)
16  Then all the princes of the coast will step down from their thrones and lay aside their robes and take off their embroidered garments. Clothed with terror, they will sit on the ground, trembling every moment, appalled at you.

Today we see terror ruling the airwaves.  Violence has made its way into the sanctuaries of God and those who belong to God cannot find safety within the walls of what used to be a place of safety and sanctuary.  Violence is not only found its way into our houses of worship but it has been the regular staple for so many of our brothers and sisters overseas.

The question must be asked, “When will all this stop?  When will the violence and the evil that runs rampant in our cities and churches come to an end?  The answer is not what so would like but it is comforting for those who have placed their faith in Christ.

Our God reminds us often that this is not our home, we are only strangers and sojourners passing through.  We seek a city and kingdom whose builder and maker is God and eternal one in the heavens.

Ezekiel gives us a foretaste of what that will be like when he pens these words we read today.

Ezekiel 26:16 (NIV)
16  Then all the princes of the coast will step down from their thrones and lay aside their robes and take off their embroidered garments. Clothed with terror, they will sit on the ground, trembling every moment, appalled at you.

One day all the princes and potentates of this world will step down from their thrones and lay aside their royal robes and vestments and bow their knees before our Sovereign King. We preach with that fixed hope that one day all evil will be stopped, all evil rulers who have had their say will be silenced and every knee will bow before our God and proclaim to that its declaration will resound across the heavens for all eternity, “Jesus Christ is Lord!”

That day will end of evil and all suffering.  So we lift up our heads even though evil looks like it will have the final say we are assured that this is not the case.  We preach Christ to all who have breath and cry out to them to run from their sins and turn to Christ for He alone is our only hope and only God that can deliver from all evil and suffering and bring us to his eternal home in the heavens.

Today when you hear another evil report and the news breaks out that another shooting has taken place or another war has broken out or another bomb has gone off in some marketplace somewhere across our globe take a moment to pause and remind yourself that the day is coming when that news will no longer be.

So lift up your heads and shout for joy for the day of our redemption draweth near.

Pastor Phil

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Daily Devotionals

November 8, 2017: He has hemmed me in.

 

Ezekiel 17:11-15 (NIV)
11  Then the word of the LORD came to me:
12  “Say to this rebellious house, ‘Do you not know what these things mean?’ Say to them: ‘The king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and carried off her king and her nobles, bringing them back with him to Babylon.
13  Then he took a member of the royal family and made a treaty with him, putting him under oath. He also carried away the leading men of the land,
14  so that the kingdom would be brought low, unable to rise again, surviving only by keeping his treaty.
15  But the king rebelled against him by sending his envoys to Egypt to get horses and a large army. Will he succeed? Will he who does such things escape? Will he break the treaty and yet escape?

God had commanded the people of Judah to submit to the Babylonians when they came to take them into captivity.  It was going to be for their good but they refused to trust God when he came to correct them.  Instead they went to Egypt to try to escape God’s correction. Refusing to submit to His discipline made things even worse for them in the long run

How foolish to resist God’s correcting influence in our life.  Take a quick look inside your life for a moment this morning.  What do you find there?  Do you find a heart that is quick to repent and confess and turn from your sin?  If this is the case God be praised.  His Word tells us to not resist the discipline of the Lord for whom the Lord loves he chastens.  If he is correcting you and you find yourself willing to submit to his rod of correction that is true evidence that you have been made alive to the things of God.

On the other hand, if you find yourself refusing to confess and admit your need for forgiveness and cleansing then you will only find yourself running headlong into the very thing you want to escape.  How merciful our heavenly Father I to leave us no way out but to run to him.

Thankful this morning that my God has left me with no option but to run to Him.

Pastor Phil

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Daily Devotionals

November 7, 2017: The Idol Factory of the Human Heart.

 

Ezekiel 14:1-6 (NIV)
1  Some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat down in front of me.
2  Then the word of the LORD came to me:
3  “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?
4  Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When any Israelite sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet, I the LORD will answer him myself in keeping with his great idolatry.
5  I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.’
6  “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!

 

God is not concerned with all of your religious show or pretense.  He does not delight in burnt offerings or sacrifices.  He delights in one whose heart is perfect towards him.  A person who seeks to live for the glory of God’s reputation and not his own.

O but how deplorable is the human heart.  It is filled with lust and envy and is soon turned away to other idols, though we know they are nothing but blocks of wood or fancy carvings of stone or some other material.

When we are confronted by a prophet who exposes the true state of our heart what are we to do?  How shall we fare in the day of prophetic pronouncements? What hope do we have? Consider the rest of this passage.

Ezekiel 14:11 (NIV)
11  Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves anymore with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign LORD.'”

Be of good cheer you who fight the war against your sin and the flesh, your Sovereign God will come to redeem you from all of your sins. He will not let one make it past the judgment.  There is coming a day when you will stand before your God without spot or blemish and it will all be because of the power of the cross of our Lord.

Repent! Turn from your idols and let God begin to work of purifying you for that great day when he will come for his spotless bride.

Even so come Lord Jesus,

 

Pastor Phil

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Weekly Messages

Fiery Trials Not Strange