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EZEKIEL 23 (CEV - Contemporary English Version)
25
I am angry with you, so I will let them be very cruel. They will cut off your nose and ears; they will kill your children and put to death anyone in your family who is still alive.
26
Your clothes and jewelry will be torn off.
27
I will stop your wickedness and the prostitution you started back in Egypt. You will never want to think about those days again.
28
I, the LORD God, am ready to hand you over to those hateful enemies that you find so disgusting.
29
They will cruelly take away everything you have worked for and strip you naked. Then everyone will see you for the prostitute you really are. Your own vulgar sins
30
have led to this. You were the one determined to have sex with men from other nations and to worship their idols. 31
You have turned out no better than your older sister, and now you must drink from the cup filled with my anger.
32
I, the LORD God, gave your sister a large, deep cup filled with my anger. And when you drink from that cup, you will be mocked and insulted.
33
You will end up drunk and devastated, because that cup is filled with horror and ruin.
34
But you must drink every drop! Then smash the cup to pieces and use them to cut your breasts in sorrow. I, the LORD God, have spoken.
35
You have completely rejected me, and so I promise that you will be punished for the disgusting things you did as a prostitute.

46
So I, the LORD God, now say to these sisters: I will call together an angry mob that will abuse and rob you.
47
They will stone you to death and cut you to pieces; they will kill your children and burn down your houses.
48
I will get rid of sinful prostitution in this country, so that women everywhere will be warned not to act as you have. 49
You will be punished for becoming prostitutes and for worshiping idols, and you will know that I am the LORD God.

HEBREWS 10 (CEV)
19
My friends, the blood of Jesus gives us courage to enter the most holy place
20
by a new way that leads to life! And this way takes us through the curtain that is Christ himself.
21
We have a great high priest who is in charge of God's house.
22
So let's come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let's keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water.
23
We must hold tightly to the hope that we say is ours. After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us.

38
The people God accepts will live because of their faith. [ NOTE ] But he isn't pleased with anyone who turns back."

39
We are not like those people who turn back and get destroyed. We will keep on having faith until we are saved.

[ NOTE ]
The people God accepts will live because of their faith
Or
The people God accepts because of their faith will live.

MY NOTE:

I tire of people I know who constantly repeat, in their own words, this false idea: “God in the OT is not the same as
Jesus Who is Merciful in the NT.” Or, they will say something like this: “The OT does not apply to us because Jesus established a new covenant. The God in the OT is angry; Jesus in the NT is full of grace.”

It is certainly true that in John 1 (CEV) God says:
17
The Law was given by Moses, but Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth.

Yet to interpret that verse as “God of OT as separate from, as different from, Jesus of the NT” is wrong. Why? Because of the words of the Lord Jesus Himself.

John 10 (CEV)
30
and I am one with the Father.
31
Once again the Jewish leaders picked up stones in order to kill Jesus.
32
But he said, "I have shown you many good things that my Father sent me to do. Which one are you going to stone me for?"
33
They answered, "We are not stoning you because of any good thing you did. We are stoning you because you did a terrible thing. You are just a man, and here you are claiming to be God!"

So, the anger that the Father feels against persistent, consistent, “determined refusal to listen” sin is the SAME feeling that the Lord Jesus has. For Jesus and the Father are one and the same!

However, the opposite is also true. God the Father sent many, many people—prophets, judges, leaders—to warn His people. He even warned them Himself by His Manifest Presence of Glory. He is a very longsuffering and patient God. So it is with the Lord Jesus!

The difference is that Jesus paid for all of our sins on the cross. The mercy we have in the Lord Jesus is available to all—no matter how bad they have been or are at this time. All people must repent and receive His Goodness.

2 Corinthians 5 (CEV)
18
God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others.
19
What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace.

I like verse 19 in the Amplified Bible:
19
It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).
Finally, about following the Holy Spirit. There is the fact of the holiness of God and the price of disobedience.

I heard this meditation on Romans 8:5-8 that really blessed and challenged me:

God and the Holy Spirit have the same objective in mind: to kill you.

The devil has come to “steal, kill, and destroy” you. When the Holy Spirit deals with you, He will kill the flesh, and He will not apologize. If you are determined to be attached to your flesh, He will wound you.

The mind set on the flesh is death. The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.

He will not stop bothering you, because He loves you too much. He will harass you in the nicest possible way, but He will harass you. If you ignore all of that—what He will do, He will just leave you to all of your own devices. So He will just say, “Fine, time is on My side. I will just go on vacation for a year. See you in 12 months. See you in 6 months.” He just leaves you alone.

The thing is, if you don’t respond continuously to the Holy Spirit, what you are saying is: “I would like to be left alone.” And of course, being the gentleman that He is, He will say, “OK. How does 3 months sound?”

If you don’t respond, you are always saying something to God.

Vance

Your comments on prayer made me think. I think it is good to have time in the morning and evening for prayer - personal prayer - that's biblical. Often in the psalms we read about David doing that. I admit that that regular disciplined prayer is something I find hard sometimes. But a friend of mine suggested that I look apon it as 'Making an arrangement with Jesus.' I'd be thrilled and excited to go on a date with a guy I'd been keen on for a while. It should be even more thrilling and wonderful to prepare for meeting with the Lord Jesus - to have a regular, meaningful arrangment or date with him. My father also told me that prayer can simply be a continual breathing, communication with God. It's like this story of the Highland Kitchen maid who was asked by a pastor 'What do you think Pray without ceasing means?' and she talked about how when she cleaned her face in the morning she asked God to cleanse her from sin, when she ate her breakfast she asked God to feed her from his word, when she threw out the rubbish she asked God to get rid of her sin.
I do need to pray more and make regular, quality times of prayer - but I also need to step into that place where talking to God is like breathing, where I see a flower and I praise him for making it, where I think of a child and ask him to make me like one, when I make a plan, think a thought and automatically include him in everything I do. I'm looking forward to meeting him now! It makes you long for heaven doesn't it!

Your comments on prayer made me think. I think it is good to have time in the morning and evening for prayer - personal prayer - that's biblical. Often in the psalms we read about David doing that. I admit that that regular disciplined prayer is something I find hard sometimes. But a friend of mine suggested that I look apon it as 'Making an arrangement with Jesus.' I'd be thrilled and excited to go on a date with a guy I'd been keen on for a while. It should be even more thrilling and wonderful to prepare for meeting with the Lord Jesus - to have a regular, meaningful arrangment or date with him. My father also told me that prayer can simply be a continual breathing, communication with God. It's like this story of the Highland Kitchen maid who was asked by a pastor 'What do you think Pray without ceasing means?' and she talked about how when she cleaned her face in the morning she asked God to cleanse her from sin, when she ate her breakfast she asked God to feed her from his word, when she threw out the rubbish she asked God to get rid of her sin.
I do need to pray more and make regular, quality times of prayer - but I also need to step into that place where talking to God is like breathing, where I see a flower and I praise him for making it, where I think of a child and ask him to make me like one, when I make a plan, think a thought and automatically include him in everything I do. I'm looking forward to meeting him now! It makes you long for heaven doesn't it!

Apologies for the double post. Don't know how that happened. RH

Friday November 11th 2005

Ezekiel 23:1-49


The following is one of the passages that truly caught my eye and imagination:

For when she left Egypt, she did not leave her spirit of prostitution behind. She was still as lewd as in her youth, when the Egyptians satisfied their lusts with her and robbed her of her virginity. (Verse 8-NLT)

The phrase, “For when she left Egypt,” implies to me that this “prostitution” this idolatry was a “seed” implanted in Jacob/Israel long before she got to Egypt. Sin is so very insidious and we can think we have uprooted it when we have only mowed the lawn and cut it back. Could this have entered into the household when Rachel stole her father Laban’s household gods? (Genesis 31:19)

We just don’t roll out of bed one morning and commit a sin. We don’t just begin sacrificing our children on our altars of self-interest, expending our children to satisfy the things we brought into existence because of our own lusts. The seeds of our idolatry, the seeds of every kind of deviant behavior we can think of, the seeds of our “little” sins lie hidden in our hearts.

We can pull out our little lawn mowers, place chemicals around the “plant” and try to burn it out; however, if even one little speck of the root remains, it will grow back—in time. When it appears above the surface we are shocked and amazed and justify it away, but it has always been there.

The images from the Books of the Law dealing with the removal of “leprosy” or leaven from the home before Passover, clarify to me how diligent one must be to rid our “temple” and homes from sin. Once it is found it must be swept out and examined, then reexamined over time to check for recurring outbreaks. (Leviticus 13-14)

We must remember that a seed and its eventual root system is underground and we never know it’s there unless we have planted it. What is under the surface looks nothing like the mature plant. To find the true root of our sin we need prayer, revelation and trust that God is working things out in our lives.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

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