In Ezekiel 20, the leaders of Israel came to Ezekiel during their exile to inquire of the Lord. God tells them through the prophet, “How dare you come to ask me for a message? As surely as I live… I will tell you nothing” (20:3 NLT). Ezekiel brought instead a message of judgment and condemnation: “Make them realize how loathsome the actions of their ancestors really were” (v. 4). Through Ezekiel, God reminded the leaders of their ancestors’ behavior in Egypt, during their wilderness journey, and in the Promised Land: “Their hearts were given to their idols” (v. 17). When they came into the Promised Land, they “continued to blaspheme and betray me “(v. 27). Sinful habits and attitudes were being passed on through the generations.
Ezekiel warned the younger generation not to emulate their parents, “Then I warned their children and told them not to follow in their parents’ footsteps, defiling themselves with their idols” (Ezk. 20:18). But they did not listen. “They refuse to keep my laws and follow my instructions, even though obeying them would have given them life” (Ezk. 20:21). They somehow thought they knew better than God.
Each generation had rebelled against the Lord, refusing to obey the commandments given to them. God threatened to pour out his anger on them, but he relented. He withheld judgment “to protect the honor of my name among the nations who had seen my power in bringing them out of Egypt” (Ezk. 20:21). God withheld his wrath out of concern for his reputation in faithfully leading his Israel and because he had pity on them: “I pitied them and held back from destroying them in the wilderness” (Ezk. 20:7). Does God hold back his Judgment out of concern for his reputation and his loving kindness and pity in our day. I wonder!
God then told the people what he is doing in their day: “I gave them over to worthless customs and laws that would not lead to life. I let them pollute themselves with the very gifts I had given them, and I allowed them to give their firstborn children as offerings to their gods – so I might devastate them to show them that I alone am the Lord” (Ezk. 20:25-26). “Israel had turned God’s law upside down and rejected it, so that it became… a source of death, not life. They had gone in for child sacrifice as if God had required it, perhaps even portrayed it as part of God’s law. So Ezekiel portrays God as letting them do so – ending up in their own defilement and destruction” (Bible Speaks Today). God gave them up to their persistent inversion of his law, resulting in their self-destruction.
Paul describes something similar in the New Testament, which should stand as a warning for our present generation. In Romans 1, he speaks of God giving people over to “the sinful desires of their hearts” (v. 21), “to shameful lusts” (v. 26) and “to a depraved mind” (v. 28). He concludes by saying, “They are fully aware of God’s death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway” (v. 32). In II Thessalonians 2:10-11, Paul tells us, “He (Satan) will use every kind of wicked deception because they refuse to believe the truth that would save them. So God will send great deception upon them, and they will believe all these lies.”
My questions are these: Have we reached this point in our day? Has God given us over and allowed a great deception? How long will God allow evil to spread as a cancer throughout our culture? Ezekiel gives us a warning. Men, we must defend against the lies of the enemy.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Hope your day is full of sunshine. This morning I am going to my exercise class, Aldi’s and crafts and then Bible Study tonight. If you are not getting my devotions, please go to our website, canaansrest.org/whispers, and scroll down and resubscribe. I may have lost some of your e-mail addresses also in the transfer to my new computer. There is a small miracle chance that a geek that is coming from Minot next week will be able to restore what has been lost.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Perhaps all of us need to relinquish our earth view of things to see more from heaven’s perspective. It could change us forever! I was reading an article by Helen Calder about how God changes our story and reveals His glory. My heart resonated with her words as she wrote how God brings grace and healing to those things in our past that have left us with shame and pain and brings good from it.
We can ask ourselves how many times has God used a closed door in our lives for His greater plan. At the time we may have felt disappointment but then we see how God used it for a far greater good in His plan. Or perhaps we grieve the loss of a ministry we were holding onto and later we are led into a very different way of serving the Lord that seems to be a perfect fit. Or maybe God moved us just when we felt so comfortable but then later, we can see His purpose and can rejoice.
I am so humbled when I see God’s better way and know that I see only dimly, and He sees the whole panoramic view of things. He can rewrite our stories if we give Him the pieces and are willing to forgive and quit hanging on. Sometimes it means forgiving another and it can also mean forgiving ourselves. Like Joyce Meyers who endured being sexually abused by her dad fo her growing up years, God has rewritten her story and given her a ministry that brings healing to so many. It took her some time to forgive, as it often does for us, but when God is handed our stories, we have no idea how He will rewrite ours. Actually, doesn’t that sound exciting? Lately, I have had a couple dreams where my responses were different than before and I see how the Lord has healed me in a certain area. I give Him praise!
Let us give the Lord all the pieces of our lives and see how He transforms them and brings glory. Like the old gospel hymn goes: “Shackled by a heavy burden/ ‘neath a load of guilt and shame/ Then the hand of Jesus touched me/ and now I am no longer the same.” Refrain: He touched me, O, He touched me/ And O ,the joy that floods my soul/ Something happened, and now I know/ He touched me and made me whole./ Since I met this blessed Savior/ Since He cleansed and made me whole/ I will never cease to praise Him/ I’ll shout it while eternity rolls.”
Challenge for today: Hand over all the pieces of your life to the One who makes you whole.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
Hope you are having a good day. We just got home from friends for coffee and sorry this is so late. I got my computer back today but sadly my documents and pictures didn’t make it in the transfer. There is one last chance when I Geek comes from Minot next week. Praying!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
If someone would wonder if we were a Christian, how would they be able to tell? Do we display the marks of one who has been forgiven and set free and now lives a life of love? Like the song goes, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” This sone was written by a parish priest in Chicago in 1960 for his youth choir as they went out to sing. How appropriate, not only for them but all of us.
Our natural inclinations is not always love but to fight back. Just today I was tested on this as I went to get my new computer. They lost all my documents and pictures when they transferred things from my old computer to my new one. I wore my t-shirt that said GRACE so I would remember to be grace-filled. Paul said in Romans 12:21,” Don’t be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” The mark of a true Christian is genuine love rather than letting evil overcome us. Recently I was reading on Crosswalk.com about Overcoming Evil with Good, and we would probably all say that is not an easy thing to do. We surely need more than our human love for only God’s love is the powerful weapon that overcomes evil. Too often we may take shortcuts by returning sarcasm to the one who gave us a snide remark. Instead, we can choose God’s way of love. The test may sometimes come on Facebook when destructive remarks are given for all to see. Perhaps no response is best but if we do respond, may it be in love. When we get negative and vindictive, the enemy wins. But when we respond God’s way of love, it is a win-win! We may not see changes in the other person right away, but God’s love is more powerful than our sarcastic words!
We all make choices each day if we are going to express His love, or if our old nature is in charge. Paul goes on to say, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Rom. 12:9-10. When we go our way the enemy wins but if we go God’s way, we experience His love in deep ways.
Challenge for today: The next time a hurtful remark is given, pause and respond with His love
Blessings on the rest of your day and prayers and love, Judy
“The Lesbian Project” is the title of an enlightening article in the Daily Citizen. I am more of a simple, relational guy. Sometimes it is hard for me to cut through the “dense smog” of confusion present in the “gender wars.” This article helped clear up some of the confusion for me.
The Lesbian Project was founded by a group of influential women in the U.K. Their number one principle was to “focus on same-sex attracted females.” They are very concerned about the strong division within the “LGBTQ community,” stating that “only females can be lesbians, in virtue of their biological sex.” They are reacting to the T and Q of the LGBTQ definition by opposing trans ideology.
In a report entitled, “Lesbian Erasure in the UK,” the Lesbian Project explained that the erasure was coming not from conservatives but from the Ts and the Qs. The project explains, “According to the new and approved transactivist doctrine, being a lesbian is not officially connected to facts about biological sex, nor the sex to which you are attracted. Rather, it’s believed that being a lesbian is an identity also open to males who identify as women and are attracted to those who identify as women.”
“Even though they are represented by the first letter in their alphabet train,” notes the Daily Citizen, “the Ls know they have long been relegated to the back of the bus by gay patriarchy.” The Project believes that “as the LGBT+ rainbow expands, lesbians have fallen to the back of the queue.” This is “lesbian erasure.” Therefore, the group announced, “The Lesbian Project is seeking an amicable divorce from our gay brothers” and doing so “will put us back on the map” in our own community.
This one observation from the Daily Citizen is something men need to ponder, as it was noted, “They believe objective womanhood is worth fighting for.” The Project was formed, “to fight GTQ patriarchy.” The article ends with this comment: “These women are concerned about being publicly demeaned, doxxed, canceled and physically attacked… It is certainly not all kumbaya under the rainbow flag, and The Lesbian Project wants us to know why.”
What a challenge this is for men. Do we believe objective manhood is worth fighting for? What is our posture when “toxic” masculinity is being shouted from the rooftops. We read in II Cor. 10: 3-5 that “the tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God’s tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.” Here are three ways we can respond as men:
First, settle in your mind and heart, God created you as a unique male: “So God created man in his own image. In the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). Celebrate, be grateful, and embrace being a man, not caving into the deception of modern culture.
Second, celebrate women. Our complimentary image of God is found in the female. Women complete men. Work on your relationship with women, beginning with your wife. “Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another” (Eph. 5:21 – Message)
Third, your marriage is a “great mystery.” It is meant to be “an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one” (Eph. 5:32 NLT). Accept the challenge to fight for your marriage. The enemy is out to destroy marriage and family.