Friday, October 31, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 18

Ezekiel 18


-The chapter starts out with a proverb known in Israel, “The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge (Ezekiel 18:2).” The people of Judah believed that they were being punished for the sins of their predecessors, not their own problems. God had to correct this false thinking of fatalism and irresponsibility with an explanation in the truth of His justice. These are the traits that are listed to distinguish the righteous and the unrighteous in the passage:

*Practicing justice and righteousness or not

*Eating at the pagan mountain shrines or not

*Lifting up eyes to the idols of the house of Israel or not

*Adultery or not (chastity in the bond of marriage)

*Sexual intercourse during the wife’s menstrual period or not

*Oppressing people or not

*Paying back debts or not

*Robbery or not

*Generosity or not

*Lending money at interest or not

*Staying away from iniquity (wickedness, depravity) or not

*Executing true justice between man and man or not

*Walking in the statutes and ordinances of God as to deal faithfully or not

*Violent or not


-The determining factor is going to be the person, not their lineage, says the LORD. “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself (Ezekiel 18:20).” We see continually in the passage that it is God’s supreme desire for people to turn away from destructive ways and turn to Him for life. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, rather His heart is that man turn from his futile way and live in the power and grace of the Almighty (Ezekiel 18:23, 27, 30-32). There is also a steadfastness aspect that is commanded by the LORD is this passage. He knows the sincere and enduring heart of a person, and demands that a person stay true to his/her devotion. This is only accomplished by His Spirit’s indwelling presence, which will be a reward in the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31, Ezekiel 18:24, 26, Luke 22:20, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 9:15). Therefore, the LORD will judge the house of Israel “each according to his conduct (Ezekiel 18:30).”


-*Application* We cannot rely on Godly parents, churches, Christian schools, or a moral community for our salvation. Salvation and life change come only through accepting Christ’s righteousness and walking in that Light. We are accountable for our own actions, just like in the days of Ezekiel. You are not responsible ultimately for your parents, grandparents, children, or grandchildren. Take possession of your faith. It’s your duty alone.


Verses to Memorize: Ezekiel 18:20, 23, 32

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Stuck "Moving Towards Peace" Day 4

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 17

Ezekiel 17


-The LORD propounds a riddle and its explanation through Ezekiel in this illuminating chapter. The eagles represent sent the kingdoms of Babylon, led by King Nebuchadnezzar, who made covenant with Judah after taking Lebanon in the north, and Egypt, who proved to be an unfaithful ally. Nebuchadnezzar had come to Jerusalem, taken its king (Jehoiachin) and princes and brought them to him in Babylon. He had set up, “planted” or “appointed,” Zedekiah as king in Jerusalem with a covenant oath. But, Zedekiah rebelled against his authority attempting to gain autonomy by siding with the Pharaoh of Egypt, which was the second eagle. This “vine” which the first eagle planted in fertile soil with some of the choice remaining Hebrew seed could have thrived, but turned it roots towards an incapable partner (allied Egypt). God says this union will not thrive, but will wither and be defeated (Ezekiel 17:1-15). “’As I live,’ declares the Lord God, ‘Surely in the country of the king who put him (Zedekiah) on the throne, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke, in Babylon he shall die. Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in the war, when they cast up ramps and build siege walls to cut off many lives. Now he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, and behold, he pledged his allegiance, yet did all these things; he shall not escape (Ezekiel 17:16-18).’” The LORD says this action will come back on him as He inflicts retribution for not being content during the Almighty’s judgment. Zedekiah will be caught in a snare, and the LORD will spread His net over him so as to bring him into captivity in Babylon to enter into judgment regarding the unfaithful act which he committed against God Himself (Ezekiel 17:19-20). Further, all the choice men of his army will fall by the sword, and the survivors will be scattered to every wind for the purpose of people knowing that the LORD God has spoken (Ezekiel 17:21).

-Then the low tree, “a sprig off of lofty top of the cedar,” tender and true will be planted on a high and lofty mountain to bring forth boughs and bear fruit becoming a stately cedar. Birds of every kind will come and nest under its shady branches. Then all of “the trees of the field will know that I am the LORD; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will perform it (Ezekiel 17:22-24).” This is clearly a Messianic hope given here as the true Kingdom of glory fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

-*Application* We need to be content in the discipline of the LORD when it comes (Hebrews 12:4-12). Clearly God works through people who get the attribute of humility. He came as the suffering Servant in the flesh to restore and deliver. Embrace the lowly things!


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 17:18

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Stuck "Moving Towards Peace" Day 3

[Genesis 50:20 ESV] 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

*The best way to achieve your dreams is to help others*

Joseph got to a place in his life that he simply served others and left the results up to God for blessing and forward advancement. He did this in the home of Potiphar as a slave, the prison with those around him interpreting and taking increased responsibility, and as the second in command leader of Egypt. But, his greatest accomplishment was in forgiving his brothers for what happened to him early in life and saving their lives. At the end of it all he could see that God meant all these "stuck" things in his life for good and the salvation of many lives even beyond his own family.

Joseph's humility elevated him from the lowest to the highest. God in the same way is shaping you in your "stuck" position whatever that may be. God will bless you to bless others, so move toward that realization in His peace today!

*Life Point* The best way to move towards peace is to help others (Acts 20:35).

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 16

Ezekiel 16


-Chapter 16 is a long expose on the conditions which caused God’s fury on Jerusalem set in the context of His covenant oath and promise to them as His bride, rescued from nothingness, brought to brilliance, and then fallen to apostasy. The LORD’s purpose is stated in the beginning of this section, “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations (Ezekiel 16:2).” God had taken this city from the origins of the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, from obscurity and disdain to make her His people with life and abundance. God bathed her and washed her anointing her with oil for purification. He clothed and covered her with His blessings and commitment out of love and affection. He adorned her with ornaments, with gold and silver. He fed her with extravagant foods and made her exceedingly beautiful. He advanced her to royalty and her fame went forth among all the nations and kingdoms of the earth, “for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,” God declared (Ezekiel 16:3-14).

-But Jerusalem trusted in her own beauty and forgot the ways of her Redeemer. She played the harlot and began to practice paganistic abominations to the extent that she surpassed what had happened historically in Samaria (which was judged by God in the Assyrian conquest) and Sodom (which was judged by God in total destruction, Genesis 18:16-19:29). God was disgusted with her vile lewdness and nakedness in idolatry and promised now to execute His fury because of her unfaithfulness. “You have borne the penalty of your lewdness and abominations,” the LORD declared in righteous judgment, and “I will also do with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath by breaking the covenant (Ezekiel 16:15-59).”

-Nevertheless, God will remember His side of the covenant displaying His attribute of complete and abiding faithfulness. His guarantee was everlasting. He will keep the established covenant with His people, and they “shall know” that He indeed is the LORD who saves them in complete forgiveness by the end. So, there is a purpose in their humiliation, shame, and degradation (Ezekiel 16:60-63).

-*Application* We tend to forget the faithful mercies and goodness of our great God and Savior. We tend to go our own way and neglect the spiritual things of God that will keep us on the right path. His consequences are sometimes the ONLY thing that will straighten us out and bring us back to where we need to be in obedient dependence on Him. It is at our point of brokenness that we find forgiveness and restoration from a perfect Redeemer.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 16:62-63

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stuck "Moving Toward Peace" Day 2

[Genesis 45:1-3 ESV] 1 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, "Make everyone go out from me." So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?" But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.

Getting unstuck can be a painful experience. Look into the painful places of your life to find ultimate healing from the Father. He CAN make it right. Resolve that you will let Him do that and then don't ever let that pain define you again. Words that have been spoken over you, wounds that were never healed, and disappointments in your journey are all things that need the Savior's fixing. Allow Him that chance today! You can live again!

*Life Point* Let the Lord take your pain and make it gain.

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 15

Ezekiel 15


-Another oracle is given to Ezekiel here in this short chapter. God asks him and then states, “Son of man, how is the wood of the vine better than any wood of a branch which is among the trees of the forest? Can wood be taken from it to make anything, or can man take a peg from it on which to hang any vessel? If it has been put into the fire for fuel, and the fire has consumed both of its ends and its middle part has been charred, is it then useful for anything? Behold, while it is intact, it is not made into anything. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it still be made into anything (Ezekiel 15:1-5)!” The LORD’s point here is that He alone is the glory of Israel; they are useless without His power. The fires of judgment will make them even more unusable due to their idolatry and debauchery. The pessimistic tone continues as God shares that He is against His chosen people and will leave their land desolate as a waste place due to their unfaithfulness. All this is done again for the stated purpose that “you will know that I am the LORD (Ezekiel 15:6-8).” *Application* Compare this passage to the True Vine of John 15, and you will see that apart from Him you can do nothing.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 15:8

Monday, October 27, 2014

Stuck "Moving Toward Peace" Day 1

[Genesis 42:24 ESV] 24 Then he turned away from them and wept. And he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.

What emotions Joseph must have been experiencing when he recognized his brothers were coming to him and fulfilling the dream he had dreamed many years before. His heart was broken, even as the governor of all the land of Egypt (Genesis 42:6). Sometimes you can feel stuck even when all your dreams have seemingly come true.

Joseph's son's names reveal the hurt that had been absorbed (Genesis 41:51-52). He was now face to face with a situation where he could show mercy or enact vengeance. Thank God he had enough character to forgive and save in the power that he had.

*Life Point* Move towards peace by forgiving and  blessing those who have wronged you

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 14

Ezekiel 14


-As some of the elders were sitting before Ezekiel in Babylon, the word of the LORD again came to him and he prophesied. He told them that they had “set up idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of iniquity (Ezekiel 14:1-3a, 4, 7).” These idolaters should never consult anyone who is of deceit, and God will give these a real prophetic word by His own mouth personally “in order to lay hold of hearts of the house of Israel who are estranged from Me (the LORD) through all their idols (Ezekiel 14:3b-5).” The LORD tells them to repent (change their mind) and turn away (physical action) from their detestable foreign forms of worship because it separates them from their Redeemer and cuts them off with God’s face set against them (Ezekiel 14:6-8). The LORD further expresses His desire that all this is done so that all will “know” that He is the LORD (Ezekiel 14:8b). If the prophet is enticed by the people to speak a false word, it is ultimately from the LORD by His allowance, but He will hold all of them accountable for their actions and destroy them from among His people (Ezekiel 14:9). They will receive just consequences for their evil actions, the inquirer of false messages as well as the false prophet. God’s purpose is again stated that He doesn’t want Israel to stray from Him and defile themselves with all their grievous transgressions. God wants His people to be holy unto Him as genuine worshipers of His glory (Ezekiel 14:10-11).

-Now Ezekiel is given a macro sense of the country’s sins by the LORD as he is shown how God is against the unfaithfulness of His chosen people. God’s Hand is against the house of Israel to destroy its bread supply, send famine, and cut off man and beast from its land. Not even the righteousness of the likes of Noah, Daniel, and Job would have been able to save the nation from its distress. While the righteous individual can be spared, the ones around them, even sons and daughters, would pay the price for the nation’s iniquity. Wild beasts, the sword, famines, and plagues are promised to depopulate the land leaving but a remnant who will come to the exiles in Babylon for them to see their conduct and actions. When this happens, the exiles will be sorry (nacham- repentant, grieved, comforted, to have compassion) for the calamity that the LORD had to justly bring on Jerusalem. The exiles will then at that time see and know that what the LORD has done was not in vain (Ezekiel 14:12-23).

-*Application* We must ask ourselves where our true allegiance is. Is loyalty, faithfulness, and devotion centered on the LORD, or have we allowed in idols to replace the God of the universe? He is a jealous Sovereign and will share His glory with no one or no thing. Worship only the King of kings (Exodus 20:1-7).


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 14:7

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stuck, "From the Prison to the Palace" Day 3

[Genesis 41:37 NASB] 37 Now the proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants.

*The Best Way to Achieve Your Dreams is to Help Others*

Joseph's life is marked with helping others in otherwise painful circumstances. He helped organize Potiphar's house as a slave (Genesis 39:2-4), he managed the chief jailor's prisoners from prison as a prisoner (Genesis 39:20-23), and he ruled the most important administrative parts in the kingdom of Egypt as a servant to Pharaoh (Genesis 41:41).

In each and every circumstance, his humility elevated him from the lowest to the highest position. God is shaping you in your so called "stuck" position. God wants to bless others through your submissive spirit and helpful hands.

*Life Point* Helping others brings favor to you in the will and plan of God

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 13

Ezekiel 13


-Here in this chapter the false prophets and prophetesses are condemned for their false visions and lies, which disillusioned the populace of Israel. The LORD uses Ezekiel to prophesy against both genders in a scathing rebuke for their misconduct and malpractice. They have followed their own spirit (Ezekiel 13:3) and have made up their own stories about what the future holds for the wayward nation. There will be no peace, but the sword as God spends His wrath on injustice, rebellion, and idolatry in the nation (Ezekiel 13:10-16). They are whitewashed hypocrites and foxes that scavenge the ruins of a once Godly heritage (Ezekiel 13:4, Matthew 23:27). These false proclaimers have not been sent by God; therefore, the LORD is against them (Ezekiel 13:8-9). God will make it to where they will no longer have a place in the counsel of His people, and they will be taken from the register of the house of Israel with no land. Again, God commands His purpose throughout, “That you may KNOW that I am the LORD God (Ezekiel 13:9, 14, 21, 23).

-The daughters of the Hebrew people who are wrapped up in witchcraft and pagan practices are also called out by the LORD (Ezekiel 13:17-23). Their inspiration is of their own, and they are practicing the destruction of souls with their hunting mentality, which profanes the Law and the LORD in their depraved-spiritual manipulation (Ezekiel 13:18, Leviticus 19:26, 31, Deuteronomy 18:10-14). They have put to death the innocent and let the guilty go (Ezekiel 13:19). They have disheartened the righteous with falsehood and caused unwarranted grief that was not from the LORD. They blatantly encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways, which could have preserved their lives and time in the Promised Land. Because of this, God will take their every ability away to see false visions and practice divination, and He personally will deliver His people out of their sinister and malicious hands. This will be done again for the reiterated purpose of helping people KNOW that the LORD is God.

-*Application* Be very careful when people say they have a word from the LORD. This may be real prophesy, but it could just as easily be a false prophet who is conjuring up their own interpretation of Scripture to benefit their own agenda. We know from Scripture that in the end times there will be many fakes and frauds who pose as the real deal, but are really as crooked as a snake (2 Timothy 3:1-7; 4:3-5, 2 Peter 2, Jude 1). Be discerning and filled with the Holy Spirit to avoid the imposters who create demonic chaos.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 13:8

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stuck, "From the Prison to the Palace" Day 2

[Genesis 40:16-22 ESV] 16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, "I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, 17 and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head." 18 And Joseph answered and said, "This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days. 19 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head--from you!--and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat the flesh from you." 20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, he made a feast for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand. 22 But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them.

*Not all dreams are desired outcomes*

Most people would have coveted a position like the chief baker had, but it proved to get him thrown in jail and then hanged. The text leaves us clueless as to the baker's offense, but it sure ticked the Pharaoh off.

[James 2:5-7 ESV] 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

Let the truth of these inspired words sink in for a bit. We are better off in the Kingdom of God when we are more humble in our means and position. Not all dreams are really that good for us when we consider this. "Mo money, mo problems!" Bigger is not necessarily better. Sometimes the best spots are NOT the place you really want to be. Here's a deep thought: Just because God opens a door doesn't mean that He wants you to walk through it. It is the presence of God in your life that matters, not your bank account or prestigious position.

*Life Point* Contentment companied with Godliness is a means of great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 12

Ezekiel 12


-Ezekiel’s prophetic message moves to the realm of God’s punishment being absolutely swift and certain as words from the LORD come to him on different occasions. The central theme God is trying to get across for His actions is this, “So they will know that I am the LORD (Ezekiel 12:15,16,20).” God begins by telling the prophet that he is to live in the midst of the rebellious house of Israel while in exile in Babylon. These are the people who have eyes to see and ears to hear but do neither when it comes to receiving God’s revelation and obeying it (Ezekiel 12:1-3). Ezekiel was told to bring out his baggage by day and night in their sight as representing exile. He was commanded to dig a hole through the wall in the people’s sight and go out through it. Further, he was instructed to cover his face so that he could not see the land as a sign for the house of Israel. Ezekiel obeyed his King (Ezekiel 12:4-7). Then, when the Jewish exiles asked him what he was doing, the LORD told him how to answer. God said to tell them that the burden (oracle, prophecy) concerned the prince of Jerusalem as well as all those who were still in that city. Ezekiel was giving a sign to them that these left behind would soon be like the exiles whom Ezekiel was speaking to in Babylon. They will go into captivity. The prince will load his baggage on his own shoulder in the dark of night and go out. They will dig a hole in the wall for his escape. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land with his eyes. God will spread His net out over him though and catch him in His snare. The LORD will bring the prince (Zedekiah, 2 Kings 25:3-7, Jeremiah 52:1-11) to Babylon in the land of the Chaldeans blind, and he will eventually die there by the word of the LORD. Those who had been gathered around him will be scattered to every wind and the sword will pursue them. “So they will know that I am the LORD when I scatter them among the nations and spread them among the countries (Ezekiel 12:8-15).”

-God will spare a remnant few from the sword, the famine, and the pestilence. This is again for the purpose of making His famous Name known in all the earth as the great and living God and King (Ezekiel 12:16). There were more words from the LORD now to His prophet Ezekiel. He was told to eat his bread with trembling and drink his water with quivering and anxiety. He was to do this in front of the exiles and tell them that the inhabitants of Jerusalem will do the same (eat with anxiety and drink with horror) in their time of chastisement as their land will be stripped of it fullness on account of the “violence of all who live in it (Ezekiel 12:17-19).” The waste and desolation in the land will again serve to remind that only God is the LORD and all should “know” it (Ezekiel 12:20).

-The last section of this particular chapter of prophecy concerns the LORD’s word that the coming destruction is going to happen very quickly. It is not a vision for a distant future as some of the exiles and those left in the house of Israel would like to think. God says, “The days draw near as well as the fulfillment of every vision. For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I the LORD will speak, and whatever word I speak will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, for in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it (Ezekiel 12:21-25).” This exact word comes over again to Ezekiel and he is faithful to tell the people what the LORD declares as a reiteration (Ezekiel 12:26-28).

-*Application* God goodness always gives us a warning and a chance to repent and get things straight with Him. He does nothing without a prophetic word, but then He will deliver at the appropriate time. His movements are decisive and articulate when the time is right. Take heed then immediately to the Word of the LORD when it is given.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 12:15

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 11

Ezekiel 11


-The Holy Spirit now lifts up Ezekiel the prophet and brings him to the east gate of the LORD’s House (the Temple), which faced eastward. There at that place were 25 men at the entrance of the gate who were leaders of the people. They were described as “the men who devise iniquity and give evil advice in this city (Jerusalem).” The term they used, “This city is the pot and we are the flesh,” can be interpreted to mean that they believed they were the elite, the influential, the ones protected from judgment or harm. In other words, they had no worries and were content in their devices against Yahweh God. They were ready to continue their building program in their own strength and paganistic power (Ezekiel 11:1-3). The LORD says, “Therefore, prophesy against them, son of man (Ezekiel), prophesy!” Then the Spirit fell on the prophet and he spoke the Word of God, “So you think, house of Israel, for I know your thoughts. You have multiplied your slain in this city, filling its streets with them. Your slain whom you have laid in the midst of the city are the flesh and this city is the pot; but I will bring you out of it. You have feared a sword; so I will bring a sword upon you, and I will bring you out of the midst of the city and deliver you into the hands of strangers and execute judgments against you. You will fall by the sword. I will judge you to the border of Israel; so you shall know that I am the LORD. This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be flesh in the midst of it, but I will judge you to the border of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the LORD; for you have not walked in My statutes nor have you executed My ordinances, but have acted according to the ordinances of the nations around you (Ezekiel 11:4-12)." As Ezekiel prophesied this one of the 25 men, Petatiah son of Benaiah, died causing the prophet to cry out in a panicked-loud voice, “Alas, Lord God! Will You bring the remnant of Israel to a complete end (Ezekiel 11:13)?”

-God answers his honest-desperate question with a promise of future restoration despite the calamity currently being seen. God continued to be the sanctuary of the exiles in their diaspora, and He would guarantee that they would again inherit the land of Israel. And when they come back, they will remove all the detestable things and all the abominations. “And I (the LORD) will give them one heart, and put a new Spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God (Ezekiel 11:14-20).” The reverse is true for those who choose to keep chasing detestable things and abominations in their hearts. These will find that their own conduct will be brought down on their heads in judgment (Ezekiel 11:21).

-At this point the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels beside them (see notes on Ezekiel 10), and the LORD’s glory hovered over them. “The glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city (presumably the Mount of Olives, Ezekiel 11:22-23).” The Holy Spirit then lifted up the prophet and brought him back to the exiles in Chaldea (Babylon). After this return in the Spirit, Ezekiel told the exiles all the things which the LORD had shown him (Ezekiel 11:24-25).

-*Application* Those who have a heart to follow the LORD will find their way. This is ultimately found through Jesus Christ and His abiding presence through the Holy Spirit. He is the One who gives us a new heart in His righteousness, the transformation they we deeply crave and desire as His devoted people of faith (Romans 8; 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 3:18; 5:17, Hebrews 11:6).

Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 11:19-20

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stuck, "From the Prison to the Palace" Day 1

[Genesis 40:1-23 ESV] 1 Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense against their lord the king of Egypt. 2 And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them, and he attended them. They continued for some time in custody. 5 And one night they both dreamed--the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison--each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation. 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. 7 So he asked Pharaoh's officers who were with him in custody in his master's house, "Why are your faces downcast today?" 8 They said to him, "We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them." And Joseph said to them, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me." 9 So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph and said to him, "In my dream there was a vine before me, 10 and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand." 12 Then Joseph said to him, "This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh's cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. 14 Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. 15 For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit." 16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, "I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, 17 and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head." 18 And Joseph answered and said, "This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days. 19 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head--from you!--and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat the flesh from you." 20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, he made a feast for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand. 22 But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

This last phrase is disturbing to most of us. Most of us want to go straight to the palace and get our own way immediately. We often forget that the trials in our lives that God allows make us more aware of His presence and power.

Think about it like this. What if the cupbearer would have remembered Joseph and garnered his release from prison? The result would probably have been Joseph going back to the land of his family in Canaan with his father Israel. Two years later, when Pharaoh had his dream, there would have been no one around the palace who could have interpreted the vision and saved the land during the intense famine that would follow the seven years of plenty and prosperity. It is as if God Himself blocked this cupbearer's mind from remembering so that an entire region could be later saved.

This shows us that waiting is certainly sometimes the exact thing that the Lord needs us to do for a greater, more-preferred future.

*Life Point* Not my way but Yours Lord, and I'll wait whenever You need me to

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 10

Ezekiel 10


-Ezekiel sees the same living beings as he saw by the river Chebar in this chapter while he is still experiencing the vision of Jerusalem by the LORD’s Spirit. Over the heads of the cherubim (the angelic living beings of the heavenly host of the LORD) there was something like a sapphire stone, in appearance resembling a throne (Ezekiel 10:1). God spoke from here to the man clothed in linen (see notes on Ezekiel 9) saying, “Enter between the whirling wheels under the cherubim and fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” At that time the man entered into the sight of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 10:2). This apparently was symbolic of the purging of the sin in Jerusalem and the destruction that had come upon the city gone bad with an unrepentant heart. Shortly after this prophecy was when Babylon would come in an invasion and destroy the city by fire (2 Kings 25:9, 2 Chronicles 36:19).

-Now the cherubim were standing upright to the right side of the Temple when this man clothed in linen entered. At this point the cloud of God’s presence filled the inner court. Then, the glory of the LORD, represented by the cloud, went up from the cherub (a singular of the cherubim) to the threshold of the Temple causing the court to be filled with His glorious brightness. The angels’ wings were heard as far as the outer court during this motion, and they were compared to the sound of the Voice of God Almighty when He speaks (Ezekiel 10:3-5). God now commanded the man clothed in linen to “Take fire from between the whiling wheels, from between the cherubim,” and the man obeyed by entering and standing by one of the wheels. A cherub now stretches out his hand from between the cherubim and places some of the fire into the hands of the man clothed in linen, who took it and went out of the area (Ezekiel 10:6-7). Ezekiel describes the cherubim at this juncture a little bit. They appeared to have the form of a man’s hand under their wings (Ezekiel 1:8; 10:8). The four wheels were again beside each of the cherubim, this time described as having the appearance of a “Tarshish stone” (in Ezekiel 1:16 they are described as having the appearance of sparkling beryl, which could be the same thing, Ezekiel 10:9). They moved and had the same characteristics as what he saw by the river Chebar, and they were called in his hearing “the whirling wheels (Ezekiel 10:10-13).” Verse 14 shows a slight discrepancy as one of the four faces of the cherubs from Ezekiel 1:10, there described as an ox or bull to the left side, is now aligned with the appearance of the face of a cherub. All the other faces sync with his former description. It is at this point that Ezekiel identifies these as being the living beings from his time by the river Chebar (Ezekiel 10:15). As they moved and ascended up, the wheels would go beside them since “the spirit of the living beings was in them (Ezekiel 10:16-17).”

-“Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the Temple and stood over the cherubim (Ezekiel 10:18).” When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings rising from the earth with the wheels continuing to go beside them and stood at the entrance of the east gate of the LORD’s House. The glory of the God of Israel hovered over them in the same manner that Ezekiel had seen in Babylon at the river Chebar, which now allowed the prophet to know that they were undeniably cherubim. They were identical is appearance and movement (Ezekiel 10:19-22).

-*Application* Have you ever experienced a vision from the LORD, which was difficult to comprehend? We need to cultivate the wisdom of the LORD’s prophetic Spirit if we are to flow with His wisdom in these miraculous occurrences. May the LORD give us His understanding by His grace as we conform to His image. We, like Ezekiel, Daniel, Joseph, Paul, and other biblical characters, can experience the deep things of God when we open up to His Spirit as He alone wills and reveals.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 10:18

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 9

Ezekiel 9


-While still in the vision of the LORD within Jerusalem, Ezekiel hears God cry out in a loud Voice, “Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand (Ezekiel 9:1).” The six men, whom scholars say were either angels or depictions of the six generals of Nebuchadnezzar’s army (the Talmud calls them: wrath, anger, fury, destruction, breach, and consumption, see, came from the direction of the upper gate that faced north with each having their shattering weapon in hand. Among them a seventh individual was present in either angelic man form, or possibly a Theophany of Jesus, who was clothed in linen with a writing case at his loins (Ezekiel 9:2, Revelation 15:6). The glory of the LORD at this point went up from the cherub, where He been, to the threshold of the Temple and He called the man clothed in linen to Him. This one clothed in linen was asked to go through the city and mark the foreheads of everyone mourning, groaning, and sighing over the abominations being committed in their midst. For everyone else not marked by the man in linen, God told the avengers to go through the city and strike without pity or sparing. Old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women who did not receive the mark of salvation were obliterated starting at the LORD’s sanctuary with the elders who were worshipping idols before the Temple (Ezekiel 9:3-6, Revelation 7:3). *Application* This fulfills all Scriptural expectation which is rightly placed on spiritual leadership. Judgment always begins at the house of God (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-48, John 2:13-25, 1 Peter 4:17).

-From there, after they defiled the Temple and filled its courts with the slain, the men were commanded to “Go out!” Therefore, they went out in complete obedience to the command to strike down the people of the city without the mark of repentance and forgiveness. Ezekiel, finding himself alone in the malaise, cries out to the God of mercy on behalf of the remnant of the people of Israel. God’s response is unyielding but wise, “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is very, very great, and the land is filled with blood and the city is full of perversion; for they say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see (Ezekiel 9:7-9).’” The LORD goes on to say that He has definitely come to the end of His patience in putting up with their garbage. His eye will, at this point of no return, have no pity nor will He spare the idolaters for their unrepentant depravity. He will bring their evil conduct upon their own heads. The last verse of the chapter concludes with the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case (possibly a reference to the Lamb’s Book of Life, Psalm 69:28, Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27) reporting that he had done just as the Commander had ordered (Ezekiel 9:10-11).

-*Application* God’s mercy has its limits when we refuse to turn back to Him. When God is done and His patience runs out, He takes swift and decisive action that nothing can stand against. This is the attribute of God pertaining to His justice. This is why the Scripture repeatedly commands us to “fear” the LORD and give Him all the respect and awe He deserves. No-one can defy Him forever. He, not Muhammad Ali, is the GREATEST!


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 9:9

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Stuck, "From the Pit to the Prison" Day 3

[Gen 39:2, 21, 23 NASB] 2 The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. ... 21 But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. ... 23 The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph's charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper.

The goal for us as believers is to have the Presence of God in our lives continually just like Joseph had. To make this happen, we must:

1. Ask God for it- He will give if you simply ask and trust that He will provide it
2. Hunger for it- Realize His Presence is a desperate need that we can't live without
3. Seek Him first- God must be your top priority in life
4. Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly- This is what our King requires (Micah 6:8)

Remember, success is measured by God, not by man. Live in a way that when you stand before Him in judgment you can hear these words, "Well done good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21, 23)."

*Life Point* Practice the Presence of the Lord, He wants to be near.

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 8

Ezekiel 8


-Now in the sixth year of his captivity in Babylon, which would have been in the year 592 B.C., while sitting before the elders of Judah in his house, the Hand of the LORD fell on him much the same way as the previous year with radiant appearance of fire like glowing metal (Ezekiel 8:1-2). The LORD stretched out His Hand and caught Ezekiel by a lock of his hair, and the Spirit lifted him up between heaven and earth in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court. This is where he indicates that the seat of the idol of jealousy, which provokes to the LORD’s jealousy, was located (Ezekiel 8:3). The glory of the LORD was there with Ezekiel as in the days previous, like he saw on the Babylonian plain (Ezekiel 3:22-23). Then the LORD spoke to him to raise his eyes to the north to where he could see this idol of jealousy at the entrance to the north of the altar. God asked Ezekiel if he could see what they (the leadership in Jerusalem) were doing with their great abominations in this holy place so as to drive out the presence of the LORD. Ezekiel could see, and the Sovereign told his prophet he would see still greater abominations. Ezekiel was then brought by the Spirit to the entrance of the court. This is where he saw a hole in the wall, which the LORD told him to dig through. The prophet obeyed in digging through to find the wicked abominations being committed in that place. “Every form of creeping things and beasts and detestable things, with all the idols of the house of Israel, were carved on the wall all around (Ezekiel 8:4-10).” Seventy of the elders of the house of Israel were there standing with censer and the fragrance of idolatrous incense rising before them as they worshiped false gods. They thought they were doing this in the dark, but the LORD was certainly aware and brought his prophet in to see and tell. The elders had given up hope in the LORD their God and turned to other modes looking for relief and salvation. They figured their God could not see and had forsaken their land (Ezekiel 8:11-12). This was true; God had forsaken their land. But, it was not for the reasons they rationalized. God knew their rebellious heart to disown Him when difficulties arose. Instead of leaning on Him for understanding, they gave up and attempted to go to other gods to solve their dilemmas. This was an affront to the Creator and King. For this He was enraged against them. But, there was even more heinous abominations as the LORD would reveal to his servant Ezekiel. He was brought now by the Spirit to the entrance of the gate of the LORD’s house, the Temple, which was toward the north. Ezekiel beheld there women sitting and practicing the pagan worship of weeping for Tammuz. Tammuz was the Babylonian god of spring and husband or lover of the goddess Ishtar. Believers in this false superstition postulated that the green vegetation shriveled and died in the hot summer months because Tammuz had died and had descended into the underworld. Therefore, worshipers wept and mourned his destruction, but rejoiced again and again in the springtime with the resurgence of growth, which they believed indicated that Tammuz had come back to life. Ridiculous right? God was showing his prophet the turning from His truth in the land of Israel as people worshiped vain entities in the ignorant ways of the world (Ezekiel 8:13-14). But there were more, and even greater, abominations than these. The Spirit of the LORD now brought Ezekiel into the inner court of His House. At the entrance to the Temple, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs to the Temple turned toward the east; “and they were prostrating themselves eastward toward the sun.” The LORD asked His prophet, called the “son of man,” if he saw once again. The abominations being conducted by the LORD’s chosen people were filling the land with violence and provoking their true Redeemer. This act described in Ezekiel 8:17 “probably finds its best explanation in the Persian ritual of the Avesta. When men prayed to the sun, they held in their left hands a bouquet of palm, pomegranate, and tamarisk twigs, while the priests for the same purpose held a veil before their mouth (Spiegel, 'Iran. Alterth.,' 3:571, 572, in Smend), so that the bright rays of the sun might not be polluted by human breath. And this was done in the very Temple of Jehovah by those who were polluting the whole land by their violence (” Their defiance was palpable. This is the context for the LORD’s final announcement of the chapter, “Therefore, I indeed will deal in wrath. My eye will have no pity nor will I spare; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, yet I will not listen to them (Ezekiel 8:15-18).”

-*Application* When we don’t want God, He has every right and privilege to withdraw His good graces from us. The choice was made in Israel, and I’m afraid too often in America. We don’t want Him in our government, in our schools, in our army, or many other public domains. If this is the case, we should not expect Him to bless these affronts to His sovereignty and protection. Are we still one nation under God or not?


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 8:18

Friday, October 17, 2014

Stuck, "From the Pit to the Prison" Day 2

[Genesis 39:2, 21, 23 ESV] 2 The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. ... 21 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. ... 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.

Through all of Joseph's struggles and trials the fact remained that the LORD was WITH him. Christ Jesus suffered, and we will too as we walk in His divine will and purpose (1 Peter 2:19-23). Don't be fooled by prosperity theologians and the lies that they spew that believers will never have problems. If things are difficult in your life, God is probably in it to refine, guide, and grow you.

In these times of difficulty, remain focused on the process of God's development in your character. When He starts you at point A and promises to get you to point B, it is rarely a straight line. Even though He will often take you through nearly every other letter in the alphabet, remember that He is shaping you for your future with Him, and He is always WITH you in the process!

*Life Point* If Christ is my Savior, He is always WITH me.

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 7

Ezekiel 7


-The Word of God continues throughout this chapter again centered on the coming destruction of Judah for the purpose of people knowing that the LORD is supreme and ruler of all (Ezekiel 7:4,9,27). An end is decreed on the four corners of the land. God’s anger has been kindled and will not abate. His people will be judged for their waywardness and false religious systems. He will show no pity, nor will He spare them as He brings their vile ways upon them ending in a destruction of unique proportions. Tumult instead of rejoicing on the mountains of Israel will mark the end in this day of God’s vengeance. Their “doom has gone forth; the rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed. Violence has grown into a rod of wickedness. None of them shall remain, none of their people, none of their wealth, nor anything eminent (noahh- lamentation, importance, distinction) among them (Ezekiel 7:1-11).”

-“The time has come, the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice not the seller mourn; for wrath is against all their multitude.” Their hedonism has betrayed them and none will maintain their way of life as the consequence of their iniquity. “They have blown the trumpet and made everything ready, but no one is going to the battle, for My (God’s) wrath is against all their multitude. The sword is outside, and the plague and the famine are within. He who is in the field will die; famine and the plague will also consume those in the city. Even when their survivors escape, they will be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning over their iniquity. All hands will hang limp and all knees will become like water.” Sackcloth and shuddering will overwhelm these objects of the wrath of God; shame on each face and baldness on each head will be the marks of His retribution. They will fling their silver and gold into the streets as an abhorrent thing because these precious metals will not save them in the day of destruction. “They (silver and gold) cannot satisfy their appetite nor can they fill their stomachs; for their iniquity has become an occasion of stumbling (Ezekiel 7:12-19).”  

-The Temple also will be profaned by the enemies of the LORD in the overthrow. The reason is listed. God’s people “transformed the beauty of His ornaments into pride, and they made the images of their abominations and their detestable things with it.” Therefore, God tells them that He will make the Temple an abhorrent thing to them by “giving it into the hands of the foreigners as plunder and to the wicked of the earth as spoil, and they will profane it.” The LORD promises to turn His face from these foreigners as they profane even the holy of holies with robbery and other detestable deeds. The prophet gives the Word of the LORD further by telling them to “make the chain, for the land is full of bloody crimes and the city is full of violence.” The worst of the nations will be able to come in to confiscate and possess their houses. The pride of the strong ones of Judah will cease, and there will be no place of refuge from the chaos and calamity. “Disaster will come upon disaster and rumor will be added to rumor; then they will seek a vision from a prophet, but the law will be lost from the priest and counsel from the elders. The king will mourn, the prince will be clothed with horror, and the hands of the people of the land will tremble.” According to their despicable conduct the LORD will deal with them. By their judgments, He will judge them. All this will be for the purpose of exposing the futility of their ways and the eventual acknowledgement of Him as the One they should “know (Ezekiel 7:20-27).”

-*Application* At the heart of any downfall is pride. We must recognize and acknowledge that the LORD God is above us by a vast margin. Our own devise and ways cannot bring redemption or salvation. False gods can never deliver in the clutch. God wants us to “know” Him as the only way, truth, and life (John 14:6). So humble yourself before His majesty (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:5-6).


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 7:20

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stuck, "From the Pit to the Prison" Day 1

Read Genesis 37:12-36

Joseph's dreams got him thrown into a pit by his jealous brothers. He was stuck where he could not go on any further. Pits force us to look up rather than inward or around. Joseph could not rely on himself, his family connections, his money or wealth, his looks, his charm, his networks, or his intelligence in this dire situation. He could only call upon the LORD to get him out of a big-time jam. In the same way we can get to a point in our own lives where all of our natural gifts and abilities prove to be worthless and vain. We cannot rely upon our own strength in times like these. Rather we should look to God, who is our ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

[Psalms 121:1-2 ESV] 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

*Life Point* Look to God and His Word instead of yourself or your friends for help.

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 6

Ezekiel 6


-Four times in this passage God makes the point that He is bringing His wrath so that all “will KNOW” that He is the LORD (Ezekiel 6:7, 10, 13, 14). This is the major theme of the word of God here as He turns the tide of idolatry, which amounts to adultery in the people’s hearts (Ezekiel 6:1-6, 9, 13). We see the heart of God broken in verse nine by His people, and severe correction is His only recourse to straighten things out. However, there will be the remnant who will fulfill His covenant promises and restore the remembrance of His goodness (Ezekiel 6:8-9). Here we see that no tribulation is everlasting with His chosen vessels for the Kingdom. But, for the time being the prophet denounces their atrocities against their Sovereign by worshipping false gods in the mountains, hills, valleys, cities, and green trees and oaks of Israel (Ezekiel 6:2-3, 13). They will fall dead before their vain hope’s altar (Ezekiel 6:4-7). Sword, famine, plague will spend God’s wrath upon His wayward children (Ezekiel 6:11-12). Again, all this is for the purpose of letting all the world KNOW that He is the LORD, and that there is no other. *Application* The exclusivity of the One-True Living God should be paramount in our reflection of this Scripture. There is none besides our God (2 Samuel 7:22, 1 Chronicles 17:20, Isaiah 44:8; 45:21, 1 Corinthians 8:6). Allah, Baal, Molech, Athena, Ra, Belial, or any other misconception of deity will not be tolerated by the Great “I Am.”


Verses to Memorize: Ezekiel 6:8-10

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 5

Ezekiel 5


-More of Jerusalem’s desolation and trauma is foretold by God through Ezekiel the prophet in chapter five. The LORD commands His prophet to take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor upon his head and beard. He was instructed to take this hair that was cut from his body and divide it into three distinct areas. One third was to be burned at the center of the city when the days of the siege in Jerusalem are completed. One third was to be struck with the sword all around the city, and the last third was to be scattered to the wind. The LORD says He will unsheathe a sword behind them as well. Ezekiel was further instructed to take a few of the hairs and bind them to the edges of his robes. A few other hairs were to be thrown into the fire and burned for a fire that will spread to all the house of Israel (Ezekiel 5:1-5).

-Thus says the LORD God, “This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands all around her. But she has rebelled against My ordinances more wickedly than the nations and against My statutes more than the lands which surround her; for they have rejected My ordinances and have not walked in my statutes (Ezekiel 5:5-6).” Because of these crimes against His Person and will, their God is angry with them and promises to execute judgments among His people. They have committed atrocious abominations, which will bring an unimaginable and unrepeated catastrophe in their midst where their fathers will be eating their sons and the sons their fathers in barbaric cannibalism. As the LORD lives He will withdraw from them for the defilement of His holy sanctuary with detestable idols and all their abominations. His eyes will have no pity, and He will not spare during this time of severe chastening. One third of them will die by plague or be consumed by famine. One third will fall by the sword in violence from the enemy. And one third will be scattered to the wind with God’s sword of vengeance unsheathed behind them (Ezekiel 5:7-12).

-Thus the LORD’s anger will be spent and His wrath satisfied on an obstinate, rebellious people who were stubborn in their heart’s desire to follow Him exclusively even though they had promised at Sinai, and at other times, to do so (Exodus 19:8; 24:3,7, Joshua 24:23-24, 1 Kings 8, 2 Kings 11:17-20, 1 Chronicles 16:36). They will definitely know that the LORD has spoken in His zeal (qinah-passion, ardour, jealousy, fervor) to carry out His ire. Jerusalem and the surrounding areas will become a desolation and a reproach among the nations which surround in the sight of all who come through the region. This reproach, reviling, warning, object of horror, intense famine, attack by wild beasts, plague, childlessness, and bloodshed among His people who have transgressed His ways will display the power of God as a testimony to all the nations (Ezekiel 5:13-17).

-*Application* Our God is jealous for our sincere devotion, sanctification, and holiness. When we breach this consecration of our soul, God’s just discipline can be utterly severe. Listen to His teachings and warnings. It will save you from disaster. Think and apply His wisdom to every situation. Cling to Him and don’t be a deserter. Hold fast the truth and don’t sway away from it. Don’t incite the LORD’s anger upon yourself.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 5:11

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Stuck, "Family Feud" Day 4

[Genesis 37:5-11 ESV] 5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, "Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf." 8 His brothers said to him, "Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. 9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, "Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me." 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?" 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

*Families Get Stuck Forgetting What Families are All About*

The main thing to think about here is the biblical term "edification." This has the connotation of building up, not tearing down. Sarcasm, negativity, and demeaning all have catastrophic consequences in our homes when left unchecked and uncontrolled.

This is where words are so important. Use your words purposefully and lovingly as you deal with every interaction in the home. Who knows, you might just see some improvement in the "Family Feud."

*Life Point* Lord help me to build up rather than tear down in my family. 

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 4

Ezekiel 4


-Jerusalem’s besiegement is foretold to Ezekiel by the LORD as this chapter engages the reader with some complicated spiritual-prophetic symbolism, which Ezekiel had to obediently carry out in the physical. He had to lay on his left side 390 days portraying the iniquity of Israel that the LORD was laying on him. These days corresponded to the years of their iniquity, which the prophet had to bear in pain and suffering discomfort. Then, at the completion of this act of over a year in duration, he was instructed to turn over and lay on his right side and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah for 40 days, a day for each year. At the end of this period he was instructed to set his face toward the siege of Jerusalem with his arm bared and prophesy against it. God put ropes upon him so that he could not turn from one side to the other until he completed the days of the siege (Ezekiel 4:1-8).

-He could eat during this time of wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt blended into one vessel and made into a bread. He was to eat this according to the number of days he lay on his side, 390 days. He also was given water to drink. This barley cake was to be baked in the sight of the Israeli people over human dung for the LORD’s stated purpose that they will “eat their bread unclean among the nations where I (the LORD) will banish them.” Ezekiel protests this defiling thing with the LORD and gets to eat his meals over cow dung instead. What an improvement, right? This showed that the LORD was going to break the staff of bread in Jerusalem, and that they would eat their bread there “by weight and with anxiety, and drink water by measure and in horror, because bread and water will be scarce; and they will be appalled with one another and waste away in their iniquity (Ezekiel 4:9-17).”

-*Application* Ezekiel’s vision of sin and judgment begins here with some uncomfortable symbolic actions for sure. As Christians we too may have to go through struggles at the LORD’s command to get His message across to people. Yield to His ways no matter how strange or painful they may seem. Be a faithful, obedient, and willing servant like Ezekiel. He argued a bit with the LORD for the right reasons, and God relented. God may do the same with you sometimes if you cry out.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 4:5-6

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stuck, "Family Feud" Day 3

[Genesis 37:5-11 ESV] 5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, "Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf." 8 His brothers said to him, "Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. 9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, "Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me." 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?" 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

*Families Get Stuck Because They Ignore God-sized Dreams*

When our kids get dreams, where do they come from? They could only be a few places or so, right? They could be their own, they could be from others, they could be a lie from the adversary, or they could actually be from the Lord. Pay attention to what your children or youth are telling you in regards to dreams and aspirations. Joseph's dreams were definitely God-sized, but his family got really side-tracked in natural understandings and limitations. Instead of praying and seeking God on the matter, they missed an opportunity to encourage and seek out the matter. God was doing something different in His will and plan. He was coordinating salvation and supply through this young teenager who would one day be next to Pharaoh in power and authority.

What about the American dream? Christians should be about much more than that. Don't settle for status quo, be a world changer through Jesus Christ and His Spirit's power! Go for God's plan and purpose because God will use anyone totally submitted to His design (2 Chronicles 16:9). His dreams are infinitely greater (Jeremiah 33:3)

*Life Point* But his father kept the saying in mind.

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 3

Ezekiel 3


-The scroll is eaten by Ezekiel at the command of the Almighty. The LORD feeds him and fills his stomach. When Ezekiel tastes it, it was as sweet as honey in his mouth. Then the Father told him to go to the house of Israel and speak His words to them (Ezekiel 3:1-4). This is a known people to the prophet. They should be able to understand and discern what he is speaking to them in regards to the message of God. However, the LORD knows they are stubborn, obstinate, and rebellious. They will be hard, just like God made Ezekiel’s face and forehead, and unwilling to heed the things God has for them. The LORD tells His prophet to not be afraid none the less, nor be dismayed by their rebellion and refusals of the message. Ezekiel is told to take all of God’s words into his heart, which He has spoken, and to listen closely. Whether the exiled people of Israel will listen or not, God is sending His messenger (Ezekiel 3:5-11).

-Then the Spirit lifted the prophet up, and he heard a great rumbling sound behind him saying, “Blessed be the glory of the LORD in His place (Ezekiel 3:12).” Ezekiel then hears the peripheral noises of the living beings touching one another and the wheels in their moving. It produced more great rumbling sound in his presence. Again the Spirit lifted the man of God up and took him away. Ezekiel was now embittered in the rage of his spirit, for the Hand of the LORD was strong on him. He came among the exiles along the river Chebar at Tel-abib (city of the hill, mound of the flood) where they lived and sat there seven days causing consternation (shamem- astonishment, desolate, appalled) among them. At the end of this period God came to him and spoke to him saying, “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me (Ezekiel 3:13-17).” Some important accountability and consequences for obedience were then given by the LORD pertaining to Ezekiel’s responsibilities and the people’s responses. The warning watchman had an important task in exilic lessons being taught by the LORD (Ezekiel 3:18-21).

-Now as the Hand of the LORD remains on His prophet, God tells him to get up and go to the plain where He will speak again to His faithful servant. Ezekiel gets up and leaves going out to the plain as commanded; “and behold, the glory of the LORD was standing there, like the glory which I (Ezekiel) saw by the river Chebar, and I fell on my face (Ezekiel 3:22-23).” The Holy Spirit entered him again and made him stand again to his feet telling him to go and shut himself up in his house. He was further told that they would put ropes on him and bind him so that he would not be able to go out among the people of Israel. Moreover, he would have his mouth muted by the LORD so that he could not show his disdain for this people because they are rebellious as declared by God. But, when the LORD desires to speak, He will open up the mouth of His prophet to proclaim “Thus says the Lord GOD.” The LORD is matter of fact, just as the Messiah will be later when He states, “He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house (Ezekiel 3:24-27, Matthew 11:15; 13:9, 43, Mark 4:9, 23, Luke 8:8; 14:35).”

-*Application* We are responsible for what we hear from the LORD to give to others. Do you know how to discern His Voice and give a prophetic word of warning in matters? We are also responsible before God to listen to those who have heard from the LORD and are watchmen/women on the walls for your own warning. Open up your ears and hear what the LORD wants to share with you. Then, obey that Voice to His good pleasure.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 3:18-19

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Stuck, "Family Feud" Day 2

[Gen 37:2-5 ESV] 2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. 5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more.

*Families get stuck when they expect everything to be equal and fair.*
Joseph at this point in his teen years could be labeled a "tattle tale," a "spoiled brat," or a "punk kid." He probably soaked up the attention and adulation that comes from being the "favorite," and obviously created a lot of family tension.

Only God is impartial (Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:6, Ephesians 6:9), because only He is perfect. Although we are commanded in Scripture not to show partiality (1 Timothy 5:21, James 2:1-9), we often do out of our natural inclinations. To rectify things within our "Family Feud" we must realize that our parents, even when they may have shown favoritism, were doing the best they could. We must have a heart to forgive injustices, as God does, and then we will overcome much of the bitterness that is caused by jealous competition.

Thank God today that He wasn't fair in His assessment of you. Without His grace and mercy, we'd all get the sentence of hell, which is what we deserve for messing up in sin. Lighten up and love!

*Life Point* Forgiveness lets us Gain Favor with God (Matthew 6:14-15)

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 2

Ezekiel 2


-After the spectacular demonstration with the storm wind in chapter one, God now speaks His prophetic Word as Divine revelation unto Ezekiel. He tells him to stand on his feet, and as he did the Holy Spirit entered him as God spoke (Ezekiel 2:1-2). Ezekiel is sent by God to the sons of Israel, who were in captivity in Babylon. They are described as a rebellious people, they and their fathers, who have rebelled and transgressed against their Maker up until the present time. The LORD further describes them as stubborn and obstinate children who need a Word from the LORD. He warns that they may not listen, but they will surely know that a prophet has been among them. Ezekiel is commanded not to fear them nor their words “nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house (Ezekiel 2:3-7).” Ezekiel is further commanded to listen to what He is speaking and not to be rebellious himself, and then open his mouth and eat what God is giving him. As the prophet looked, a hand was extended to him with a scroll in it. When the LORD spread it out before His prophet, it had writing on it front and back with the words “lamentations, mourning, and woe (Ezekiel 2:8-10).”

-*Application* Surely God sees our actions and rightly assesses who we really are. Would He consider you rebellious, stubborn, obstinate, cowardly, negligent, or disobedient person? Hopefully not, but this is certainly a wake-up call if we have been guilty of some of these qualities. If we desire to avoid our own lamentations, mourning, and woe, we need to take action to revere the LORD and follow His ways whole-heartedly.


Verses to Memorize: Ezekiel 2:4-7

Monday, October 6, 2014

Stuck, "Family Fued" Day 1

[Genesis 37:1 ESV] 1 Jacob lived in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan.

There are times in our lives when we feel there is no movement, no direction, and to be honest, no purpose. Jacob found himself in a spot of having the promise, but nothing seemed to be happening in this guarantee of a great nation, a great name, a blessing to the world, etc. (Genesis 12:1-3) given by God to his grandfather Abraham.

Jacob was now fairly old and had been a father at this point twelve times. From all indications in the text he could not imagine what was going to happen next, precipitated by a dreamer son and some jealous siblings. God was at work even when things seemed rather mundane and typical. He was just living in the same area his father and grandfather had lived with some wealth and a blooming family, but certainly not a great nation, name, or eternal blessing of a Messiah. That would come much later.

Like many of us, Jacob had to play the waiting game and rely on providence to set the course. We must in these instances see the bigger picture and be content in the meantime. It is important to note that in these periods it is imperative not to give up hope and faith. The Lord will begin to move as He desires, and we will eventually understand why everything happens the way it does. Don't take matters into your own hands during these times. That's the worst thing you can do.

*Life Point* Wait on God and Trust His Timing

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 1

Ezekiel 1


-Ezekiel, the priest and son of Buzi, is called by the Hand of the LORD to be a prophet in the land of captivity in Babylonia when he was 30 years old. This occurred in the fifth year of King Jehoicachin’s exile on the fifth day of the fourth month (Tammuz) in the Hebrew lunar calendar. This would date his prophetic call to the year approximately 597 B.C., or about 9 years before the final fall of Jerusalem in Judah. Ezekiel was likely born and raised in the land of Judah, but carried away into exile during the time spoken of in 2 Kings 24:10-14. There in Babylon he joined the likes of Daniel and the other captives that had proceeded them in the approximate year of 605 B.C. (Daniel 1:1-4). Ezekiel gets this apocalyptic vision along the river Chebar that is connected into the mighty Euphrates River where there was apparently a Jewish exile settlement. His writing style is akin to that of his contemporary, Daniel, and later the Apostle John of Revelation.

-He observes, in his vision from the LORD, a storm wind coming from the north, “a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire (Ezekiel 1:4).” Within this storm were figures resembling four living beings in human form, but with four faces (one in the front of a man, one on the right of a lion, one on the left of a bull, and one in the back of an eagle) and four wings. Their legs were straight with calf’s hooves for feet, and they gleamed with radiation like burnished bronze. They had four sides with human hands under their wings. Their wings touched one another, and their faces did not turn but looked straight forward when they moved to and fro like bolts of lightning. “Each went straight forward; wherever the Spirit was about to go, they would go, without turning as they went (Ezekiel 1:5-14).”

-Now as Ezekiel keeps looking at the living beings, there was one wheel on the earth beside each of these living beings. These wheels had the appearance of sparkling beryl in the same exact form as if one wheel were within the other’s unit. These wheels could move in any of their four directions without turning sideways as they moved. The rims of these wheels were described as “lofty and awesome,” and they had eyes filling the rim round about. “Whenever the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. And whenever the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also. Wherever the Spirit was about to go, they would go in that direction. And the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels (Ezekiel 1:15-21).”

-Over the heads of the living beings there was a large expanse opening up like the awesome gleam of crystal, and it spread out over their heads. Their wings made sound under the expanse as they were stretched out straight, one towards the other in twos with the other two wings covering the bodies of the living beings on one side and the other. The sound was like the voice of the Almighty and abundant waters, like the sound of a tumult in an army camp. But, when they stood still, they dropped their wings. God was getting ready to speak from above the expanse and all became still in reverence and awe. Above the expanse, which was above the living beings heads, was a vision of something resembling a throne. It was like lapis lazuli in appearance, and a Figure in the appearance of a man was seen high up. His loins and upward and downward had the appearance of something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within It, and there was radiance around Him. “As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I (Ezekiel) saw it, I fell on my face and heard a Voice speaking (Ezekiel 1:22-28).”

-*Application* Ezekiel was about to get his call to action in a dramatic and profound way as he witnesses the King of glory with some of His heavenly hosts. Our call may not necessarily be as overwhelmingly incredible, but it has the same implications none the less. What God calls you to do, do it with all your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Notice also the response from the called out one. He fell on his face in awe, fear, and reverence. We should do the same when we hear the Voice of the LORD calling us.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 1:3

Friday, October 3, 2014

Kaleo Sermon Notes from Sept. 28, No Perfect People Allowed, "Becoming a Peacemaker" Day 5

[Isaiah 53:1-12 ESV] 1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

There is no more precious passage of Scripture in the entire Bible than this one. Our suffering Servant made a way for us to have peace with God when we had all gone astray. Be bore our iniquities. He poured out His life for our eternal benefit and made intercession on our behalf.

[Romans 5:10 ESV] 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

This verse gives us the promise of a resurrection in the reconciliation that Christ made available to us. His life is what we can look to for a fulfilled life of purpose and hope. And, once we have received this gift, it is our good pleasure to share what we have with those all around us.

*Life Point* Christ is the Great Peacemaker between us and God the Father