May 15, 2015

Today you should read: Ezekiel 37

“Can dry bones come back to life?” This is one of the most pivotal questions posed in the whole of scripture. And for us, it is one that we desperately need an answer to. Why? Because we are “DEAD in trespasses and sins” and because “the wages of sin is DEATH”. If we are dead, how can we be brought back to life? What hope do dry bones have for eternal life?

Ezekiel 37 is the most famous chapter from this book. It is also the most illustrative, as Ezekiel is in some kind of visionary trance, receiving prophecy after prophecy from the Lord. The ‘valley of dry bones’ is a disturbing reality. Standing among these bones, though in a vision, still must have shaken Ezekiel to the core. Ever wonder why are we given the adjective ‘dry’? I believe it is because the Lord wants every reader to know that there is absolutely no trace of life present in this valley of death. It is a mass grave. A cemetery where no homage is paid.

So back to the big question: “Can dry bones come back to life?” Because of Jesus Christ, the answer us unequivocally “YES”! He took death head-on, and He defeated it once and for all. His voice is the one that calls out to the dry bones and gives them not only the permission but also the capability to raise in victorious life!

Quick note: some contest that this passage might mean that we can preach the gospel to the dead and that their bones might come back to life if they believe. This simply is not true. It is a picture of Christ’s supremacy, along with a promise to God’s people. The time for repentance and faith is now. You don’t have some kind of second chance to profess Christ after you die.

I love this Lauren Daigle song “Come Alive”, inspired by today’s reading. It will be an encouragement to your soul. Blessings CPC!

Posted by: Todd Thomas

May 14, 2015

Today you should read: Ezekiel 36

“Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD: I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations.” Ezekiel‬  36:22

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God.”Ezekiel‬ 36:25-28

If we are honest, our view of salvation is one that says. “I need help, I need saving. God can save me so I should go to Him.” And God’s response would be something like this, “ You got it right! Congrats, you are now saved. I am so glad you came to me.” Now, there is certainly truth found in these statements but they miss the crucial points behind what salvation is. We see our salvation and its accompanying benefits as the purpose behind which Jesus died on the cross but really, if you put the two passages together from the top of this post here is the full picture of salvation and the cross:

The cross was God’s way of rectifying His glory from being drug through the mud by sinners who, through God’s grace and mercy, receive benefits from the sacrifice

Those benefits, at least in part, are found in Ezekiel 36:25-28. Benefits such as purity, forgiveness, holiness, a new heart and spirit, the ability to obey God and the restored relationship with God.

To say that Jesus died for you on the cross and for the sins of the world is accurate but, remember it is not complete or in the right order. Jesus first and foremost mission was always to please and honor the Father. We have simply been benefactors of this marvelous event. These thoughts should cause us to worship God. Remember, you and I, just like Israel, did not deserve to be called back home or to receive such blessings. These truths remind me of the hymn, how deep the father’s love for us. Here is a link to listen to this today and really think deeply on this line of it.

Why should I gain from His reward? I can not give an answer
But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

May 13, 2015

Today you should read: Ezekiel 35

Cherishing Evil…

God wants our hearts, not just our actions. This is easy to say, but it’s very important for us to understand. Our actions are a reflection of our heart.

In today’s passage, Ezekiel is prophesying judgement once again, and in verse 5 we see something very interesting.

It says, “Because you cherished perpetual enmity….” (ESV)

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

What is interesting here is that there is not only an action of evil….but a cherishing of evil. And the evil isn’t once. It’s long-term. It’s perpetual.

Out of the overflow of cherishing perpetual evil, perpetual evil was done. And God’s judgement was brought about.

For us, it is easy to think that when we sin, it is just by chance. It is circumstantial. Or it is just a “flaw” we have. But there is more. Our hearts are cherishing something that is against God, and out of the overflow of it, are actions go against God.

Today, ask yourself, what is your heart cherishing? Are you cherishing anything that is at enmity with God? And are your actions reflecting that heart condition?

Will you repent today, and cherish God? Cherish goodness? Cherish loving Him and others?

God wants our hearts. Not just our actions.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

May 12, 2015

Today you should read: Ezekiel 34

The high calling of a pastor is not a role or position that I or any other CPC elder/pastor takes lightly. God has graciously given us the opportunity to lead others on His mission and shepherd His flock. In reality, we are all just under-shepherds to the ultimate good shepherd, Jesus. However under-shepherds don’t always shepherd and lead. Sadly, in today’s culture we probably hear more negative stories about pastors then positive ones. Some have an agenda behind these comments and accusations while others are just exposing hypocrisy in one of the most humbling positions one may have. We see a glimpse of this hypocrisy in Ezekiel 34 where God tells Ezekiel to prophesy against the false shepherds of Israel. Shepherds who were all about themselves, feeding themselves, taking care of themselves, clothing themselves, yet disregarding the sheep that God entrusted them with. In fact, when the wolves attacked the shepherd was nowhere in sight, leaving the sheep to be slaughtered or scatter. This happens to often in churches today. When satan attacks, the false shepherd was too busy manipulating, deceiving and creating a kingdom of self when the sheep were left to fend for themselves. The hope we receive is that our God is a just God who promises to not only rescue his sheep (v. 10) but to bring justice to the false shepherds. In light of these reminders, here are some takeaway questions from today’s Scripture.

1. Do we minister for ourselves or for others?
One thing God kept on bringing up in this passage is how the shepherd would constantly feed and clothe themselves instead of the sheep. This is not only easy for a pastor who feels pressure to “produce” like the latest lifeway book seller or top podcaster but it can become common in our personal ministry as well. The church must work together to accomplish the mission but the mission should always revolve around putting others before ourselves in evangelism and discipleship.

2. Do we scatter or let Satan get the best of us when our leaders let us down?
Sadly many people in church lose faith, hope in the church or scatter when a pastor, disciple or leader of influence falls or leaves. We need to bank on God’s promise in this passage that He will never leave us and makes good on His covenant. Sometimes we idolized those previous leaders and other times we are just very hurt from their shortcomings. Either way we have only one true God and a God that wants to heal us in the hurting.

“And they shall know that I am the Lord their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord God. And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord God.” –Ezekiel 34:30-31

Posted by: Erik Koliser