the devotional blog of Center Point Church

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April 21, 2015

Today you should read: Ezekiel 16

I encourage you to read this entire long chapter. The following seven verses are kind of the cliff notes summary of it. I think you will also see a picture of the gospel in our lives from these verses.

Vs. 2 Born helpless
God reminded the Israelites that they were once a nation that was helpless and on their own. He compares them to babies being born. A newborn is helpless and are in need of great help to live. We also are born in a helpless state with no way to live spiritually unless Someone provides rescue for us in order to give us life.

Vs. 6: Live
God reminded the Israelites that it was He who gave them life. He came to them in their helpless state and told them to live. They didn’t nourish themselves or do anything to help them to receive life. God gave it to them. In our helpless state, He comes offers us life. We do nothing to deserve it.

Vs. 8: Become mine
God reminded the Israelites that He made them His own. He washed them clean and made a covenant with them. Similarly, through Christ, He washes us clean and makes us His very own. He becomes our Lord.

Vs. 15: Played the harlot
The Israelites messed up big time. They played the harlot by going against God’s commands for them as a nation. Though God provided their rescue and blessed them, they continuously fell very short of His glory. As His followers, we do not sprout wings and get a halo the moment we trust in Jesus. We will still fall short and sin. Our position before Him is righteous, but our condition on earth is that we still sin.

Vs. 38: Judgment
Because of their great sin, there will be discipline. God was very straightforward about what was coming to them for their sin. He would bring forth discipline because He loved His people. Similarly, when we fall short, there are consequences. Our eternal destiny is secure, but there are earthly consequences to sin and God will use this discipline to draw His people to Himself and make us more like Him.

Vs. 60: He keeps His covenant
God assured the Israelites that He will still keep His covenant. They were His people and He had a plan that would not be thwarted. Though we still sin and mess things up in a bad way, God remembers His covenant that He has made with us. Because of Christ’s “once and for all” sacrifice for us, God looks at His people and sees the perfection of Jesus. That covenant has been established and lasts forever.

Vs. 63: Sanctification
God said He would bring judgment upon the Israelites so they would remember what they had done and not do it anymore. God will allow us to experience discipline in order to make us more like Christ. As we grow and learn from our mistakes and experience His grace, we will continue to become more like Christ.

 

Posted by: Rich Duffield


April 20, 2015

Today you should read: Ezekiel 15

Chapter 15 is a word from the Lord (through Ezekiel) of prophecy against the people of Israel. They have continued to disobey God and follow false gods – even though God repeatedly has warned them. They refuse to repent and change.

Just a note – this is prior to the cross. People obtained righteousness through obedience to God and confession of their sin (looking forward to the ultimate forgiveness to come on the cross). God was still gracious – but punishment was clear to come to those who disobey. We live in the time since the cross. As Christ followers, our sins are all forgiven by the blood of Jesus.

God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us… 2 Corinthians 5:21a

Because of Israel’s repeated disobedience, God has turned His blessing from them and has become their judge.

I will set my face against them… (v.7)

What can we learn from this about our disobedience?

1. God is serious about sin.
We joke about it – make excuses for it – act like it doesn’t matter – but God is serious about sin. He was so serious about it – that the cross had to happen. Sin is no laughing or light matter – any sin is a big deal to God.

2. The discipline of God (to bring about correction in His people) is swift and powerful.
As God’s people living past the cross, we are forgiven of all of our sin. God is never vindictive or punitive toward us. However, sin has consequence – both natural and from God. God will act in our lives as a disciplinarian to get our attention about our undealt with sin.

3. Our best response is repentance.
When we are made aware of our sin – no matter how small in our eyes – our best response is to repent. To confess it God and take immediate action steps to remove it and avoid it. Accountability is a must.

4. God is kind, patient, and willing to forgive and restore.
God is so gracious to us – giving us what we absolutely do not deserve and so merciful – not giving us what we truly deserve. He is always kind and eternally patient. He always stands ready to forgive and restore. 

Posted by: Tim Parsons


April 18, 2015

Today you should read: Ezekiel 14

Are you socially righteous? I don’t mean righteous in your social interactions but find your righteousness by your social definition. The sociologists call this herd mentality. We see this happen a lot in church culture. We may claim to be a Christian because our family goes to church or trust that we will go to heaven because we are actively involved in a campus ministry. My mother is a Christian and she took me to church as a child and if you had asked me in college if I was a Christian I would have said of course because my mom goes to church and I am a pretty good guy. I was righteous by association, or so I thought. 

In our passage today God is calling out the nation of Israel for their worship of idols and how they had turned their back on Him. God was calling down judgment for their transgressions. I thought it was interesting how God used the examples of Noah, Daniel and Job. They were the antithesis of the Elders in Israel at the time. They were not perfect men but faithful men and they were considered righteous because of their faith. God uses their example to communicate one key principal, “Righteousness is an individual faith not a communal identity.” In other words, we cannot hide behind the faith or works of others to cover our own sin. Not even the children of Noah, Daniel and Job would be spared from the wrath of God if they were guilty of idolatry (v.12-20).

So my question today is simple. 

What are you trusting in to save you from the wrath of God? 

 

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36)

 

Posted by: Chad Wiles


April 17, 2015

Today you should read: Ezekiel 13

Pulling no punches, Ezekiel goes right after false prophets here in chapter 13. The ‘Benny Hinns’ and ‘Joseph Smiths’ of the day were not to be tolerated. And this was also a warning for us, the church of today. The whole chapter reminds me of the ever-so-important words of John in his writings to young Christians:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6 ESV)

There were two warnings that Ezekiel was giving in this chapter in his word from the Lord. In the first 16 verses, he addresses men who were speaking mindless delusions about God. Then in verse 17, he picks up with hard words towards women who were completely fake and “prophesying from their own heart”, not from the oracles of God. This has no place in true Kingdom preaching and teaching.

The passage ends with God’s promise to make things right. What was He making right, though? See, the righteous were being oppressed, while the wicked were being celebrated and exalted. His promise is simple: He will invert this. His Kingdom welcomes the truly righteous, those who have been changed by His Son and given a perfect righteousness. Those who do not know His Son are wicked, and they will not inherit the Kingdom.

What did God teach you today? How has reading the book Ezekiel been helpful for you in this season of your life and faith? Blessings, CPC family!

Posted by: Todd Thomas


April 16, 2015

Today you should read: Ezekiel 12

“Son of man, you live among rebels who have eyes but refuse to see. They have ears but refuse to hear. For they are a rebellious people.” Ezekiel 12:1-2

This seems to be a running theme throughout all the Bible. The idea of eyes and ears not being used or not being able to be used by the people. Here are a few passages that use this imagery:

 “Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not.” Jeremiah 5:21

Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? Mark 8:18

What does this mean? Here are a few ideas: 

1. Eyes

The idea of the eye is that it is used to see things. The people did not see, at least 3 things:

a. Their sin

They did not see their sin, or at least they chose to ignore it. 

b. Their God

They looked away from God and turned to other things, other gods.

c. Their judgment

They did not see what was coming. God was bringing great judgment on them.

2. Ears

Ears are for hearing and understanding. They did not hear…

a. God’s laws

They were defying God’s laws so either they were not listening or they were deliberately disobeying

b. God’s calls

God had been calling out to the people for years to come back to Him and to repent of their sins but they turned a deaf ear to it.

c. God’s verdict

God had determined that enough was enough and that the people would be punished for their sins. They didn’t believe it. They didn’t listen.

Well, we know the rest of the story and what happened. So what about us? Spend today asking yourself these questions:

1. How are my eyes? Am I seeing my sin and my God clearly? 

2. How are my ears? Am I clearly hearing God’s words? Am I listening and responding to God’s calls of repentance? 

Posted by: Robbie Byrd


April 15, 2015

Today you should read: Ezekiel 11

Only God can provide a true heart-change

 

Ezekiel is stepping into a new vision.  The Spirit has lifted him up and he sees what the Lord wants him to see.  Then he hears what the Lord wants him to hear.  And he hears what the Lord wants him to say to His people.  

The Lord wants to convey a message, and he will use his mouthpiece, Ezekiel, to speak it.  The message is two-fold.  It is a message of judgment and a message of hope.  In fact, God’s message of discipline and judgment, besides final judgment, is always paired with hope.  God’s ultimate purpose and desire is for redemption, for restoration.  

God is going to bring discipline on His people, because in fact they have actually brought it upon themselves.  Like in the book of Lamentations, this people have brought destruction upon themselves because of their sin.

During this pronouncement of judgment, Ezekiel cries out, in verse 13, “Ah, Lord GOD!  Will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel?”  And then, beginning in verse 14 God answers.  His plan isn’t to leave His people in their misery.  His plan is to restore them.  His plan is to give them a new heart.  

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

 

When God responds to Ezekiel, He doesn’t just say that that he’s going give His people their land back.  He doesn’t just say that He’s going to remove all the detestable things from them.  But starting in verse 19 He says some far more incredible and promising things:

 

1.  He is going to give them one heart

2.  He will put a new spirit in them

3.  He will remove their heart of stone from their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh

4.  Then they will be ABLE to walk in His statutes and rules, and obey them

5.  He will make them His people and He will be their God 

 

God’s plan wasn’t to put His people in the dirt, kick them while they were down, and leave them to pick themselves up.  His plan was to reveal their lack of hope by stripping their heart of any contentment apart from Him.  Then, He Himself would provide everything they need and He would restore their dependency on Him.  But this is only possible through Him giving them a new heart.  

 

And this is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Without a new heart, which comes from being born-again, from faith in Jesus, from dying to self and living for Christ, we are unable to be unified with one heart as a people, we will still have a heart of stone towards God, we will not have the Holy Spirit inside of us, we will be unable to walk in His statutes and rules, we will be unable to obey Him, and we wont be His people, and He wont be our God.  We, ourselves, and the people in our lives, desperately need the new heart that comes from a relationship with Jesus.  And only God is able to give us this new heart.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  

 

Can you remember the time when God removed your heart of stone and gave you a heart of flesh?  Who is in your life that needs a new heart?  Who can you pray for that you know only God can change their heart?  Who can you share with and allow the Gospel to do its heart changing work as they hear the good news?  God still has more hearts to change, and He wants to use you to accomplish this work.  


Posted by: Sam Cirrincione 


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