Obedience to His Call

Re: Verse reading – Ezekiel 1:28-3:4 (day four)
The call of God is unmistakable!  Verse 2 says, “As He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me.”  Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, David, Habakkuk, Paul…the list goes on.  When God spoke to one of His servants, things happened.  Ezekiel heard from God and his life was set…he would be a spokesman for God.  God expected obedience from Ezekiel.  He said whether they listen to you or not…they are stubborn and obstinate and rebellious…they will know that a prophet has been among them.  That is God’s command to us…we are to go and make disciples.  (Matthew 28:19-20)  We are not responsible for people’s response to our evangelistic efforts, we are only responsible for being obedient to go and tell.  Just like He promised to protect Ezekiel, He will protect us when we are obedient.  So what is keeping us from going?

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Re: Verse reading–Ezekiel 1-3 (Day Three)
“Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” God concerns himself with the likes of you and me; there are things that he wants us to know.  That is evidence for love.  When someone dear to us dies, we often think: Did he or she know what I thought or how I felt?  We care about what our loved one knew or did not know.  And so we determine to speak something to those loved ones still with us—something that will make life better.  That is like God.  And what we know from God not only makes life better, it makes life possible.  There is something he wants you to know.  Are you paying attention?

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Ezekiel Saw De Wheel

Re: Verse reading–Ezekiel 1:28-3:4 (day two)
Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl. And the four had the same likeness, their appearance and construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. (Ezekiel 1:15, 16 ESV)

Ezekiel saw de wheel, way up in the middle of the air

In the next few weeks will encounter the ministry of the Prophet Ezekiel and you will quickly recognize some of the texts as being the inspiration for African American Spirituals. As we conclude our journey through Jeremiah you might think this a curious choice for inspiration. Exile, suffering, dark chapters, but then again what better place to find hope. Slaves who had been removed from all they knew and loved, treated with contempt and lower than animals found solace in the words of these prophets. They saw how God, though having a hard word for the Israelites, always watched over them.

If a people with such a bleak and tragic worldview could find hope in these stories, can’t we?

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Like a rainbow on a rainy day

Re: Verse reading – Ezekiel 1:28-3:4 (day one) 
“As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day. . .so was the glory of the Lord.”  (1:28)  Was Ezekiel surprised to see it?  Maybe.  The previous few years had been very discouraging for the people of Judah.  They had been conquered and captured and carried away into exile.  Ezekiel, himself, had experienced the loss of his youthful dreams.  Did he ever ask, “God where are you?”  The vision that God gave him provided the answer.  God was still sovereign.  Nothing had changed.  He was seated on the throne, His glorious radiance forming a rainbow of hope.  Does God shine this confidence in your heart today?  No matter what you are facing, or what disappointments you are called to bear, can you see the Faithful and Glorious One sitting high above your circumstances, His promises still intact?  On this morning after Easter, sing with me,  ”Because He lives, I can face tomorrow!”

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Out of an earthenware jar

Re: Verse reading–Jeremiah 31:27-34; 32:1-15 (day seven) 
“Take these deeds. . .and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last a long time.  For thus says the Lord, ‘Houses and fields . . .shall again by bought in this land.’ “  (32:14-15)  Was it intentional?  When the curriculum writers  scheduled this reading for Easter Sunday, did they see the comparison?  Jeremiah placed deeds of purchase into an earthenware jar.  The disciples buried Jesus in a earthen tomb.  Both resurrections (of Christ and of the nation of Israel) required a miracle.  “Ah Lord God!  Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power!  Nothing is too difficult for Thee.”  (Jeremiah’s prayer after making the deal–32:17)  No one can shout “He is risen!” who does not believe in the miraculous power of God.  Only God brings life out of dry ground.  May the Lord do this same miracle in the cold clay of our hearts!  Happy Easter, dear friends!

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New Covenant

Re: Verse reading–Jeremiah 31:27-34; 32:1-15 (day six)
” The days are surely coming”, says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel.” (31:31)  At the Last Supper, Jesus spoke about “a new covenant in my blood” (1 Corinthians 11:25)  It was not the first time the disciples had heard these words.  Jeremiah predicted the same thing.  He described a new, blessed relationship that would be made possible by the death of the Christ.  This new chapter, new arrangement would be marked by 3 things.  1) an inner desire to obey the commands of God-v 33;  2) a personal knowledge of God-v 34;  and 3) the forgiveness of sins-v 34 (the basis for the first two).  Most of us do not appreciate how fortunate we are to live in this remarkable chapter of salvation history!  The Lamb of God has paid the price for sin.  Guilt is gone.  He is risen.  The Spirit has come and gives us a desire to obey.  It is the new covenant!

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A Promise Kept

Re: Verse reading–Jeremiah 31:27-34; 32:1-15 (day five)

Jeremiah 31 31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 33  “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Luke 22:20 “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

John 14 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Colossians 1  27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

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Sow the Seeds

Re: Verse reading–Jeremiah 31:27-34; 32:1-15 (day four
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast.  As I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to overthrow, to destroy and to bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord.
 (verses 27-28)  God is involved and in control of all of history.  Nothing happened in Israel that was not a part of God’s plan or apart from His permission.  When we hear the news today, as believers, we know that God is in authority and control over all of history.  It is not at the whim of an earthly ruler, or nation, or ideology.  He is still in charge of history.  God is in charge of First Baptist San Antonio as well.  It is God who will build and plant His church here.  May it be our constant prayer that He will sow the house of FBCSA with the seed of man to His glory!

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Re: Verse reading–Jeremiah 31-32 (day three)
“‘They will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,’ declares the Lord.’”  When they saw the future, the prophets didn’t settle for barely scraping by.  They saw an entire world transformed.  That’s because they served a God who has nothing less in mind than redeeming the entire universe.  There is room for refusal on the part of human beings, of course, because God has created us with the ability to say yes or no.  But on your most despairing days, will you turn your thoughts to a whole world that will pulse with God’s glory in every fiber of its being?  God’s already there, and he gives us a glimpse through the words of the prophets.

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Buy a Field

Re: Verse reading–Jeremiah 31:27-34; 32:1-15 (day two)
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “planes to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope, and a future.” Jer. 29:11

This was not a vain or empty promise that the Lord made just a few chapters earlier, and Jeremiah was willing to claim those words and put his faith into action. Throughout these dark days of exile and the hard words of rebuke, the Lord has always provided a word or restoration. It often meant a complete rejection of the lives they were living. What kind of a prophet would Jeremiah have been if he did not take God at his word? I’ve talked to financial planners who say that the best time to buy is when the market is down. Things may look grim, but when it turns around you will reap the harvest of your investment.

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