Thursday, May 31: Ezekiel 43 - The Glory of the Lord.

I was captured by the return of God’s glory to the temple. It was one of those moments for me. I was mesmerized. I tried to imagine what that would have meant to the Jews in captivity. God returned to the temple. God was back.  Their God was back.

Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple (1-5).

I soaked in the imagery… voice was like the roar of rushing waters. Memories of Niagara Falls connected me with the text. The pounding of the water when you are below is tremendous. I recall not only hearing the waters but feeling the rumble of its constant weight crashing into the rocks. I have also seen the Falls from the top. The river seems to pick up speed as it nears the edge. It roars a different roar from the top. Wow, God’s voice!

The land was radiant with his glory. My connection with this picture was not as strong. But I have sat in many places, high in the Rockies and at the ocean’s shore and watched the sunrise. The land (or sea) is dark filled with jumbled forms of varying shades of gray/black. Then as the sun begins to lighten the sky recognizable forms emerge from the gray/black. And as the sun reaches the horizon and then begins to live, rays of light dance adding color to the majestic painting before me. Eventually blades of grass shimmer, trees fill with color, even the ocean shines –different colors on different days and in different areas of the world. It is magnificent. I imagined God’s presence causing the land to do this but even more vibrantly…

God’s presence brings life… that’s what I was feeling and seeing in my mind's eye…

God was bringing life back to the temple, his throne, the place where God places the soles of his feet on earth (7).

Some mornings it is simply enough to bask in the glory of our God, The One and Only God. Today was one of those days. And the sum of my prayer was simply…

Alleluia! Our God reigns!



Wednesday, May 30: Ezekiel 42 - Different clothing.

The one non-architectural detail of this chapter caught my attention. Verse 14: Once the priests enter the holy precincts, they are not to go into the outer court until they leave behind the garments in which they minister, for these are holy. They are to put on other clothes before they go near the places that are for the people.

The clothing priests wore in the presence of God were removed before they returned to areas of the temple where people were allowed. Either the priests had special clothing, set-apart clothing, that they only wore into the holy sections of the temple or cloths worn into the holy sections of the temple became holy and could not be worn out among the people.

I found this interesting. God is so holy so ‘other’ than clothes worn in His presence and used for the sacrifices offered to Him were not to be treated as ordinary clothes. They were special.

We know that the priests themselves had to undergo ritual cleansings before they could enter the holy place.

God is Holy and this small detail underscores the importance of recognizing how important God’s Holiness truly is.

Lord, God, You are Holy. You are so holy that clothing worn in Your presence cannot be worn out in public. Once in Your presence clothing becomes set apart for You. To be in Your presence is high honor.

Lord, though Jesus, You invite us to come to You anytime.  What a privilege! What an honor! Help me, Lord, to cherish coming to Your presence.

Thank You for robeing me in Christ’s robes so that I can come into Your presence. Blessed be Your name, Oh Lord, my God. Amen


Tuesday, May 29: Ezekiel 41 - Such Detail.

All this detail about the temple, honestly it is not stirring my soul. I sit and linger, “Lord, what’s here for me this morning?”

I cannot say there was a great ‘ah-ha’. I kept thinking such great detail, such great detail. What attention to detail… my mind flipped over. If God could show the people such incredible detail of the temple, then surely He maintains the same level of detail when it comes to our lives. God knows the ‘ins and the outs and corners’. And God is in control. Nothing slips His attention. Nothing is beyond His gaze and His arm.

I found myself marveling at our God who has everything, down to the smallest detail, in control. He brought hope to a people in exile, letting them know a new day was dawning. And God is letting me know He has my life in His hand.

Follow Him, trust Him, obey Him and never let him go…

Lord, I reflect back on my Apostle’s Creed prayer of yesterday. You are the mighty one who has everything under control. When we sinned in the garden You already had a plan. You know the beginning from the end. And I worship and adore You. Yes, I do. I proclaim Your greatness above any and all others!

You are Holy and Mighty and… And I will love and serve and adore You all the days of my life. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Monday, May 28: Ezekiel 40 - Time.

As I began to read the opening sentences, it drew me in and started my mind churning. I am not good at visualizing structures like the temple, which was described in detail. So after the chapter unfolded, I seamlessly returned to the opening sentences as I sat with the Lord.

Time, how much time has gone by?… In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city--on that very day the hand of the LORD was upon me and he took me there (1). Twenty-five years since the exile and fourteen years since the city of God, Jerusalem, was destroyed. That’s a long time. The first exiles have lived in Babylon long enough to have born children in exile who are now married. This ‘next’ generation would have no first hand memory of Jerusalem.

In the school district of my children live many English-as-a-second-language students, youngsters whose parents were born and raised in other countries yet who moved and are raising families here. The children sometimes speak one language at home and English in school. Some families fight to keep their native culture, others work hard to adapt to their new culture. Either way there is an interesting dynamic and the succeeding generations slide further and further from their heritage and roots.

That in many ways would be happening for the Israelites in captivity. As they settled into their Babylonian life, their life in Israel would grow more and more distant.

How did they keep the religious sacrificial system without the temple, is one question I wonder about.

To these people, being pulled into the Babylonian culture, God sends a vision through Ezekiel. The second observation I had came in verse 4 The man said to me, "Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the house of Israel everything you see." Ezekiel was to pay attention to his vision and tell the people everything! Tell them about ‘this’ temple and what it looks like and what it is for… remind them of their heritage and their future. Reconnect them to the Lord.

In my life, time has a way of marching on, and it is good for me to pause at intervals and make sure I remain connected, solidly connected, to the Lord. Time has a way of causing me to drift from my faith-moorings if I am not vigilant about remaining connected.

The great feasts and seasons of the Church can help me stay connected… as long as I engage them…

Lord, today I hear You calling me to check my moorings, making sure I am tethered tightly to You…

Lord, as I bow to pray, the Apostle’s Creed comes to mind. I don’t normally think of the creed as a prayer. Yet this morning I sense it is and so I pray the Creed back to You…

I believe in (You) God, Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

I believe in (You) Jesus Christ, God's only Son, [my] Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in (You), the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.


Saturday, May 26: - Ezekiel 39 - .

I tried to imagine how Israelites, scattered throughout Babylon away from their homeland, must have felt when they heard theses words from the Lord. "Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD" (25-29). I have no personal context for what these words would mean…

I tried to imagine what it would have meant to Native Americans on Reservations to be told that they would be taken back to their former lands. I tried to picture what it would be like to be set free from incarceration for crimes you had committed. But these fall short of what Israel must have experienced.

Tried and found guilty by God, their punishment was now over. What a relief that must be but God offers more, so much more. Their shame will be forgotten, in fact the unfaithfulness they committed will be forgotten, too. Imagine the wait of shame and the haunt of bad memories erased?  What a gift. One more bonus… God’s Spirit will be poured out on the house of Israel. The Spirit poured out, not on a few, but on the entire house. The news gets better and better.

I tried to imagine this.

Then I realize this is what happened to me when Christ became my Lord. I was set free from the kingdom of darkness and brought home to relationship with the Father. My sins were obliterated and my guilt and shame lifted and the Spirit of God was given to me.

That’s it… this is a picture of salvation found in Jesus Christ, the Lord.

I hope you have experienced this as well…

Thanks be to God. I praise Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for the gift of life and restoration that came, when by faith through grace, Jesus was confessed as my Lord. Alleluia Amen.


Friday, May 25: -Ezekiel 38 - God reveals Himself in many ways.

I’m not sure I understand what is going on here.  What I do have a handle on, however, is the ending. Gog will loose and as the text says of God, I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD' (23).

One of the reoccurring messages of Ezekiel is that God will show Himself to be God and people will know that He is the Lord! Numerous times the statement is made that ‘they will know I am the Lord.’

God shows Himself to be God through punishment of Israel and through grace to Israel. God shows Himself to be God when He judges other nations and now when Gog is defeated.

I thought about this… God shows Himself to be God in many ways.

Philippians reminds us that eventually ‘every knee will bow to Jesus.’ Eventually God will eventually show Himself to be God to everyone!

I don’t know when that day will come.  However, clearly that day is coming.

Before it comes we have an opportunity to willingly bow to God through faith in Jesus and be saved or we can face the wrath of God when that day comes and God forces everyone to recognize and acknowledge Him as God by force…

Hmmm, that means today we still have a choice.  Choose faith in God now and be saved or reject God now and bow to Him when He returns to claim allegiance as the conquering King.

Think about it…

Lord, God, I bow to You today. I give myself to You. I believe in Jesus and I will follow Him as Lord and God of my life. Amen.




Thursday, May 24: -Ezekiel 37 - Hope, restoration, renewal.

A valley of dried corpses become an army of living human beings. The natural process of decay is reversed. Life from death… Community out of scattered wreckage…

Ezekiel’s message has changed. God is using Ezekiel to speak hope into to His people. God has been at work in the background and now His work goes public. Israel will live again. The bones of His people dry and scattered will reconnect and live again.

What a message this must have been to the people of God scattered throughout the Babylonian empire. What a message of hope it continues to be to people scattered, torn, hurting, despairing…

The God of the Bible is the God who brings hope to His people.  He restores that which is broken, makes whole what is scattered and invigorates community where this is none.

And God uses agents like Ezekiel, like you and me, to effect His plan of hope restoration and renewal.

My word today to myself and any who reads this…be an Ezekiel, be a life giver, a restoration worker, a hope restorer. Give your life to this.

Oh God, may it be so.  May I be part of Your army,in order to bring hope, restoration, renewal, revival and reconnection to those in despair and need. Amen.



Wednesday, May 23: Ezekiel 36 - God working in the background.

I love the opening of this chapter… God prophesying to the mountains and land of Israel that it will be fruitful and produce much for the people Israel. God was building up the land to support His people who would soon return to the land.

That is so like the God I serve and follow, working in the background, preparing that which is important so that His people will have what they need.

I thought through my life.  G raduating from college I turned down a good job for grad school in engineering. During those two years I met and fell in love with my wife. God working in the background…

I completed my MS in engineering, was married and headed off to seminary. My MS thesis was published by my advisor’s PhD student and was voted the best welding article of the year with a $150 prize. Even though I couldn’t go to that award ceremony, the $150 was a welcome gift to a seminary couple barely making it. God working in the background…

And who would have imagined that my wife’s summer job, working crop-hail insurance, would be the door opener to a good job in Boston that paid our bills and made seminary possible without loans? God working in the background…

Later on we lived in NJ for five years. A third grade teacher noticed our child was not reading as the teacher thought she should and suggest a reading/vision testing. At the same time my wife made friends with other moms at our younger sons “tumble bee” gymnastics class. One mom had incredible experiences with these issues and referred us to a eye specialist in vision training.  It turns out our child was seeing double.  Just imaging learning to read with letters double and overlapping. Her vision therapy cleared up the problem and by the end of 3rd grade, she was above grade level in reading.  Did I mention that teacher taught in the district only that year? God working in the background…

I could go on and on, with the ways I have seen –after the fact- how God has worked in the background caring for us, and preparing the right move at the right time.

I hope you can see similar ways your Lord and God has been working in the background of your life.  Why not be like me and spend some time remembering some of the works of the Lord in the background of your life…

Oh God, thank You for being there in the background of my life, orchestrating things I could never have myself. Thank You, bless You…

You are a great and marvelous God and I love You.  Thank You. Through Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, May 22: Ezekiel 35 - God cares for me.

I sat wondering what Israel heard when they read this word against Edom. I suspect they heard things like, “God has not forgotten us. The Lord is standing for us. Yahweh is reaping justice for us.” To broken hearts feeling pain for their own judgments who have just been told that the Shepherd will care for them (chapter 34), this chapter would be received as a first act of God’s renewed love toward them.

The essence of this chapter is this, “Because of how they treated you, because of what they said about you, I will repay them. I will take care of you.”

These are words any victim appreciates hearing…

As I prepare to bow my head, I personalize this word to me and these words rumble through my thoughts, “God cares for me. God has my back. God will support and fight for me in my day of trouble…”

Lord, I can do life alone or I can do life standing beside You. I choose the latter. I choose to stand with You, to follow Your lead, yes, to obey Your directives and to act as You want people to act. I choose You, Lord. I choose You.

To be Your child, Oh God, is wonderful. To bear Your name, live under Your umbrella and to represent You with my life and actions… what an honor and joy. What peace it brings, what strength it gives. Father, Spirit, Son, I adore and worship You… Aleluia, Amen.


Monday, May 21: Ezekiel 34 - The tide is turning.


I have walked out on to the flats at the Bay of Fundy at dead low tide only to find myself half-mile or so from shore when the tide turned. It was an exhilarating walk back to shore, trying to keep shoes dry ahead of the incoming waters. Fundy has the most dramatic tidal change in the world. It is something to see.

Ezekiel’s remaining message is changing. Jerusalem has fallen and his focus now is much more about hope and future than punishment and judgment.

The shepherds of Israel are assailed (beware leaders in God’s house… God’s leadership call is to tend the flock watch out for oneself!) but then a word of hope emerges.

"'For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD.I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice (11-16).

Listen to what God will do.  Notice all the “I’s.” I count a dozen in these six verses!

God will come and do everything for His people that they hoped for from their kings and leaders. God will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak… The Lord will be their God and they will be His sheep, the sheep of His pasture (31).

I enjoyed the imagery of this text, turning over and over in my head the wonder of God being my shepherd and me being a sheep under His care.

I invite you to spend time with this image. Don’t dash off, linger.

Consider, too, flipping the pages of your Bible to Psalm 23 and praying that Psalm as part of your prayer time this morning…

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever…



Saturday, May 19: - Ezekiel 33 - Watchman.

Is there a more daunting job than that of the watchman? The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: 'When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood´ (1-6).

As watchman, your diligence, your honesty and your integrity is on the line every moment you are on the job. And you are working on behalf of others.

Why is the watchman at his/her post? Because God wants His people to be safe. The watchman’s call will keep the people safe, when they heed the watchman’s call. The role of the watchman is yet another example of God caring for His people. Does God want His people to suffer in ignorance or willful disobedience? No, so God warns them through the watchman. 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel (11)?

Who are the watchmen today? Those who point people to the Word of God, the ever present pure and perfect Word of God.

Heed God’s Word and you are safe. If you are living in ways outside of God’s Word, turn from your ways and live. This is the message of the watchman.

Listen to the watchman’s call. The watchman will point you to the Word, which will lead you to faith in Jesus…

Lord, I pray for watchmen, may they be faithful and true to You. May they be women and men of diligence, honesty and integrity, who speak what You first spoke, so that the people may be saved and safe. Amen.


Friday, May 18: -Ezekiel 32 - The high price of leadership.

Pharaoh gets his own page.  How often this happens. God judges a nation and then has a particular word for the king or leader. Leaders apparently hold a special place in God’s economy. God endows some people with gifts and abilities to lead, but then holds them to a standard commensurate with their gifting and position.

This is a sobering observation. I may not be a national or international political leader, but I lead. My pastoral and my parental position are both leadership positions. And if things follow course then I am held to a higher standard commensurate with those positions. The NT tells me this is true as a pastor/teacher (see James 3:1:Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly).

For the remainder of my time, I took stock in leadership positions and asked myself a few questions:

  • Am I leading to the best of my ability?  Am I giving it my all?
  • Am I leading people to connect more and more with the Lord?
  • Are lives being impacted for the good and godly because of my leadership?

The questions run on.

Leadership is a high calling and one with intense God-scrutiny. I have much more mulling to do…

Oh, God, I am a fool if I think I can even for a moment lead on my own. I need You, Your voice, Your Holy Spirit so that I can lead well. To You I come, humbled, honored and in desperate need of constant God-filling.

As the song goes, ‘make me, mold me, fill me, use me, Spirit of the living God fall a fresh on me’. Amen.



Thursday, May 17: -Ezekiel 31 - I choose to follow the text.

Sometimes my mind argues with what I read. What I am trying to say is hard to express. I am reading the text, its message is clear, and yet my brain conducts a running argument as I read, saying things like, ‘This can’t be’. Today was one of those reads.

Verses 8-11 capture the point of God’s message. Using an analogy where trees are word-pictures for nations. God uses the example of Assyria to speak a word to Egypt. The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it [Assyria], nor could the pine trees equal its boughs, nor could the plane trees compare with its branches-- no tree in the garden of God could match its beauty. I made it beautiful with abundant branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden in the garden of God. "'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because it towered on high, lifting its top above the thick foliage, and because it was proud of its height, I handed it over to the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside…

God’s point…I made Assyria and because of her pride, I destroyed Assyria. I will do the same to Egypt.

My mind put up arguments: no way, God is claiming that He makes nations and He destroys nations by His sovereign will. God is saying He is in absolute control of the fortunes of peoples. God is claiming to be absolutely sovereign.

And so my thoughts went… I can understand why believing the Scriptures is difficult for many people.

I had a choice… follow my mind or follow the text. I chose the text.

I choose to believe in God, Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth…

And in His only Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ…

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church… (if you didn’t pick it up these are the opening lines of the 3 paragraphs of the Apostle’s Creed.)

I chose and choose to believe in God -Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Lord, there are many times where my mind wonders ‘how or why’. Those are moments when I need to choose Your way or mine, Your thoughts or mine. I choose You, Your way, Your thoughts, Your word as truth.

I believe You are absolutely sovereign. I believe You are creator… I believe. Help me, Lord, overcome those pockets of unbelief that still reside within me. I pray through Jesus, my Savior. Amen.


Wednesday, May 16: Ezekiel 30 - Cry for them.

As the first words pierced my soul, my mind and meditations began. Wail for them. Cry for them. Be in pain over them…

"Son of man, prophesy and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "'Wail and say, "Alas for that day!" For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near-- a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations (2-3).

When someone is in the prime of life, when they are strong and able and a calamity befalls them… cancer strikes or death ensues, a natural human reaction is, ‘How sad!’ How sad that someone so vigorous, with so much to live for, is taken from us.

Such is the picture I had reading this chapter. Egypt, in the prime of life, is being struck down. People of God, this is sad….wail, cry, feel pain…

Then I wondered if some of the pain they should feel is pain caused by their lack of witness to the Lord. For 400 years Israel lived among Egypt, for another 1000 or so years they have been neighbors, sometimes on good terms, others not. In all that time, Israel had no spiritual impact on Egypt.

And so I wondered, as Egypt’s demise is made public…

In the next moment, God ushered me to today.  Am I Israel? Complacent and content in my relationship with God, yet unwilling to allow my contacts with others to share the good news of God’s Gospel?

Food for thought…

Jesus, lead me through doors You open to be an able witness for You and of You. In Your name, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, May 15: Ezekiel 29 - How easily we forget or how stubborn we can be.


God uses perfect word-pictures, the fish imagery for Egypt who relied on the fish of the Nile for food. Another ideal image was Egypt as the reed staff to Israel, magnificent use of language to communicate His point.

Interestingly what captured my attention were verses 8-9: "'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will bring a sword against you and kill your men and their animals. Egypt will become a desolate wasteland. Then they will know that I am the LORD. …

It was the last sentence that stuck. Hadn’t God said the same thing when He performed the ten plagues leading to Israel’s Exodus? Hadn’t the same thing been said before the Egyptian army was lost in the Red Sea?

Does Egypt forget so easily or are they incredibly stubborn and arrogant? How many times must they be told before they ‘get it?’

Mediations erupt… and before long God is circling me back around to me. How often do I have to be told? How many times do I forget a lesson from the Lord, requiring that I be taught it again? Is that a sign of stubbornness in me? Is it arrogance?

Why is God so gracious to me that He continues to pour out grace upon grace? There is so much I do not know or understand…

But this I know, faith in Jesus opens the floodgate of grace.  It turns an enemy into a son and allows me to call God Almighty “Abba - Father, Daddy”

What a gift…

Thank You, God, for this gift of knowing You, for Jesus, my Lord,and the riches of blessing that come through faith in Jesus. I don’t understand why I am so graced but I am ever increasingly thankful.

Blessed be the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord, most high!…




Monday, May 14: Ezekiel 28 - EEEKS. Pride!?!.

Tyre had been getting hammered by the Lord these last few days. I cannot say for certain that the opening of chapter 28 is the only reason why, but it is definitely a significant part of Tyre’s sin… 28:1-2: The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "'In the pride of your heart you say, "I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas." But you are a man and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god.

PRIDE… pride is a mighty sin that burrows deep within the human soul, hollowing out all that is good and leaving only waste behind.

Pride at its deepest root says, I am god. I am in control. I am good. I am master of my future. I made myself what I am. I… I… I…. Pride squeezes out any need for the Almighty. Pride kills dependence upon God or anyone else for that matter. Frank Sinatra sang one of the great pride-songs of all time, “I did it my way.” The great hit that it was shows how susceptible we humans are to PRIDE.

But God says to the ruler of Tyre, But you are a man and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god. These are stinging words of rebuke for Tyre’s ruler and everyone who becomes puffed up with pride.

These observations led to a gut check. Has pride crept into any corner of my life? Have I allowed it entrance? Have I nursed it along? Do I feed the sin of pride in any way in my life?

These are important self-evaluation questions… lest I receive the ‘back of God’s hand’ for allowing PRIDE to take root in my life.

Much to think about…

I woke today singing a song. It seems a fitting prayer as I close my time with the Lord.

Thank you for the cross, Lord. Thank you for the price You paid. Bearing all my sin and shame, In love You came And gave amazing grace

Thank you for this love Lord. Thank you for your nail pierced hands. Washed me in Your cleansing flow, Now all I know, Your forgiveness and embrace

Worthy is the Lamb, Seated on the throne. Crown You now with many crowns. You reign victorious
High and lifted up, Jesus Son of God. Darling of Heaven crucified, Worthy is the Lamb. Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb, by Hillsong United


Saturday, May 12: - Ezekiel 27 - Pray for the country.

The opening 24 verses describe a robust economy. Tyre had it going on…ship-building and trading were her mainstays. Things were rolling along…

How many city-states and nations were at one time in the same boat, sailing along comfortably enjoying fair skies and following seas? How many?

The pages of history are littered with like stories. Economies come and economies go.

One issue, as I meditated this morning, is that when times are good we look to ourselves and our ingenuity and our brilliance and we make an idol out of ourselves. Eventually things crash down around us.  We are not meant to be God and eventually mistakes catch up with us.

Tyre never did accept the Lord and eventually God said ‘enough’, and they were no more. As the lament puts it. Your wealth, merchandise and wares, your mariners, seamen and shipwrights, your merchants and all your soldiers, and everyone else on board will sink into the heart of the sea on the day of your shipwreck (27).

I wondered about my nation.  We seem to be straying further and further from the Lord. How long will God allow us to stand?

“Pray” was the next word from the Lord I heard. Pray for my country…. Pray for a humbled heart, not just for the candidate I think is best. Pray for a renewed heart…. Pray.

Lord, I pray for my land, my country. I pray. Lord. that we will seek You. That the values You espouse, like the worth of every human, compassion for those in need, a system that honors You and so forth, will valued here….

Lord, forgive our sins… for they are many.

May Jesus’ name be lifted high here and throughout the earth. Amen.


Friday, May 11: -Ezekiel 26 - Who is Tyre today?.


On a geo-political map today, Tyre of the OT, would be in Lebanon. What does God say to Tyre? "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I make you a desolate city, like cities no longer inhabited, and when I bring the ocean depths over you and its vast waters cover you, then I will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of long ago. I will make you dwell in the earth below, as in ancient ruins, with those who go down to the pit, and you will not return or take your place in the land of the living. I will bring you to a horrible end and you will be no more. You will be sought, but you will never again be found, declares the Sovereign LORD" (19-21).

These words certainly stand true. A once thriving seafaring nation is a nobody on today’s world stage. The images I have of Lebanon come from the bombed-out city of Beirut. You will be sought, but you will never again be found, declares the Sovereign Lord. And it is so.

I have heard this lesson a 1000 times as I read through the Bible.  What God says He will do!

Instead of pondering this thought on the negative (judgment), I delighted in the firmness of God’s Word when it comes to salvation.

God says everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). If God says it He will do it… reach out to Jesus by faith. Believe in Him, call out to Him and you will be saved. That’s truth!

O, Lord God, I stand on Your Word. Your promises are my foundation. Jesus is my Lord. And You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are my God. Praise be to You. Amen.



Thursday, May 10: -Ezekiel 25 - God watches over His own.

Ammon, Edom, Moab and Philistia were the four countries that surrounded Israel. None wanted Israel to flourish, each independently worked against Israel as a nation.

God watched out for Israel and now was His time to punish these nations for their actions against Israel.

God defends His people. God watches over His people. Psalm 121 comes to mind. I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

I spent my time remembering my years and the many times and places where God’s hand was obviously at work shielding and strengthening me.

Lord God, the joy and the peace, the wonder and amazement that You my God would care for me in these real ways. Your hand has guided me and protected me. When I was far less than perfect You didn’t give up on me. You continue to keep Your eye on me.

Praise be to You, Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Alleluia Amen.


Wednesday, May 9: Ezekiel 24 - Deep heartache.

I have been married 32 years this month. As pastor I have stood at the funeral and graveside for people burying a spouse after many more years of marriage than I have known. Those are deeply sad moments, especially for the best of marriages. Bonds that were forged during good and hard times, blanketed by the deepest of human love, are strong, extremely strong. And pain runs deep when they are broken by death.

Ezekiel’s wife dies and the Lord will not allow him to grieve. He is to feel the pain in isolation. Why, why would God do this? Why would God keep him from customary grieving, which includes the community gathered? Why?

Because this is yet another prophetic action. The pain he feels, and the preparedness to keep on living despite his loss, were messages to Jerusalem. The city and the temple are treasured, dare I say loved, by Israel and yet they will be taken from the people just as Ezekiel’s wife was taken from him. But there will be no time to mourn, to sit and grieve.  They will waste away for their sins (23), as Ezekiel wastes away inside due to the death of his beloved.

Such is the judgment of God about to unfold.

The image of wasting away for their sins played in my mind. What an utterly sad picture. Truly, sin can do that. Left unattended, it is a poison in our system that can eat us from the inside out. Unattended sin is like a fungus or mold that silently eats away the interior while the exterior still looks fine.  By the time it is noticeable on the outside, damage is done inside and significant remediation is needed to save the structure.

“Bill, don’t allow sin to go unattended in your life. Deal with it at first sight. Don’t let it grow. It will destroy you…” Such was God’s Word to me this morning.

Lord God, show me my sin, and give me strength to deal with it.

Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me…

I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, May 8: Ezekiel 23 - Prostitutes.

The picture Ezekiel paints is graphic. Samaria and Jerusalem are prostitutes of the worst order. And Jerusalem, the younger sister, didn’t learn from the destruction of Samaria, instead she grew even more depraved, lusting after sex with the most potent of ‘Johns’.

Pointed and sad is this picture by God through Ezekiel.

I thought, we don’t automatically learn lessons from history. Jerusalem had the advantage of being second. She could have learned from Samaria’s mistakes and chosen a different path. But she didn’t.

The same happens today, individually and corporately. We don’t automatically learn from those who go before us. So how does that work in my life?

I will keep repeating the same or similar mistakes if I don’t consciously learn from them and deal with the underlying issues that push me to make those mistakes.

I may very well fall prey to the same sins and mistakes that my friends and those who influence me make unless I intentionally change my behaviors when I see them stumble and fall.

It has been said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” That is very true. But knowing history isn’t sufficient. One needs to choose different paths and make other (better) choices in order to not repeat it.

How are you doing on this matter?

O, Lord God, Heavenly Father, help me to make wise choices to emulate those who do good and to not fall into the pitfalls and traps of those who stray from You. Lord, help me to follow the lead of Jesus and to pay attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit, whom You and Jesus have sent to those who love and follow Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen


Monday, May 7: Ezekiel 22 - Standing in the gap.

I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none (30).

When I came to verse 30, I wondered what it meant to ‘stand in the gap.’ It is the only time in the Bible the phrase appears. Given all the sins listed against Jerusalem, who could have stood in the gap and appeased God’s wrath so that He did not destroy the city and its people?

Obviously no one, because God could find no one who could/would do it.

My mind slid to the NT and the wrath you and I and the world were under due to our sin. We deserved what Jerusalem received. We deserve it and yet now there is one who stands in the gap, Jesus, the righteous one.

On the cross Jesus stood in the gap for us. He took the penalty we deserved and offered Himself in our place. All who believe in Him will not be destroyed because He stood in the gap for us…

Thanks be to God for Jesus.

Folks, if you have not received Jesus as Lord and Savior; if you have not put your faith in Jesus as your God and Redeemer, then you stand on the precipice of destruction. As long as you have breath you have the ability to reach out to Jesus by faith. When you reach our for Him,  He will stand in the gap for you. He will take on your sin and give you His righteousness. You will not be destroyed for your sins, instead you will be granted eternal life.

Please take that step of faith…

Just ask Jesus… You might say something like this.

Jesus, I put my trust and faith in You. I am sorry for all I have done wrong and I ask You to forgive me. More than that Jesus, I acknowledge that You are God and I will follow and obey Your Word, the whole of the Bible. Help me to learn about You and grow in knowing and following You. I pray this in Your name, Jesus. Amen.

Welcome to the family of God. If you prayed a prayer like this please send me an email and let me know. I will send you some helps to grow in following Jesus.



Friday, May 4: -Ezekiel 20 - Then you will know.

At least five times the words repeat themselves, Then you will know I am the Lord (20, 26, 38, 42, 44). When God repeats something my ears perk up.

God was speaking to Jerusalem through Ezekiel and to me today through Ezekiel.

Everything God did was so that Israel would know that He is the Lord! Miracles, redemption, the plagues in Egypt, giving Israel the Promised Land, correction, rebuke, rain for crops, no rain for crops… everything was done so that Israel will know that their God is the Lord.

Is the same true in my life? As a Christ-follower, a member of God’s family today, is everything a pointer to the Lord, my sovereign, majestic, almighty Lord?

What would be the alternative? That some things are merely random, the role of the cosmic dice… this thought isn’t particularly comforting.

Another alternative could be that there is something called fate, some power at work in the world that interconnects people, places, events, etc. Fate sounds a lot like ‘god.’ But why believe in some unknowable fate-god when I can believe in the revealed God of the Old and New Testament Scriptures?

Another alternative could be that I create my future. This equation is satisfying when things are good. I like taking credit for things when they turn out well! But this is less satisfying when things don’t go well. When my stocks plummet I like to blame someone else. For me this alternative isn’t a satisfying solution.

No, I am willing to rest in God that everything, those I deem good and that which isn’t, comes through the hand of God and is meant to point me to Him…

Lord, as I live my day today, help me to see You and Your hand in the little and big events that speckle my today. Seeing You throughout my day, that’s a good thing. Yes, that is a very good thing. May I see You today. Through Jesus, whom I love and serve. Amen. 


Saturday, May 5: - Ezekiel 21 - Always a 'because'.

More words of judgment and annihilation, I weary. The burden is great upon me, reading this day after day. I wonder what it must have been like for Ezekiel to be the bearer of all this down-casting news.

The word that caught my eye I found in verse 24 Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'Because you people have brought to mind your guilt by your open rebellion, revealing your sins in all that you do--because you have done this, you will be taken captive. Within this sentence is one particular word ‘because.’

The Lord has reasons for His judgments. The Almighty has a basis for sending the sword of Babylon down upon Jerusalem.

The Lord God is not capricious or whimsical, fancying blessing one day and the sword the next because He got up on the wrong side of the bed one day. Not at all!

As I meditate on this, I realize God always has His reasons. I may not understand them, which is often the case… my thoughts are not his thoughts (Isaiah 55:8).

This ‘thought-trail’ leads me to recognize God is so much greater than I. God is God and I am not.

Literally my head bows… adoration, praise, worship, veneration, honor, respect…these I owe God. The Lord God Almighty sits on the throne with the right and reason to judge all peoples of the earth…

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne. Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own. Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee, And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

Crown Him the Lord of lords, who over all doth reign, Who once on earth, the incarnate Word, for ransomed sinners slain, Now lives in realms of light, where saints with angels sing Their songs before Him day and night, their God, Redeemer, King.


Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of creation. O my soul praises him for he is my health and salvation… All you who hear now to his temple draw near, join me in glad adoration! Amen.

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth. Shelters me under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth! Has thou not seen how thy desires ever have been Granted in what He ordaineth?



PS there are times when some of the lasting and great hymns of the church are the only words I can pray…




Thursday, May 3: -Ezekiel 19 - Do not gloat when others are rebuked.

There is no joy in correction and rebuke.

Ezekiel laments. He sings a song of sadness. He brackets his lament with an invitation for readers to join him in lament. Take up a lament concerning the princes of Israel (1)…. This is a lament and is to be used as a lament (14).

Do not gloat when sisters are rebuked. Do not rejoice when brothers are corrected. Instead weep, cry, be broken, lament. How sad it is. How sad those times are.

Let humility fill you, even break you, when God finds it necessary to rebuke or correct a brother or sister in Christ.

These are the meditations I have reading the lament of Ezekiel 19.

Lord, break any arrogance in me and Lord there is much. I am a sinner, a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips. I am no better than any other. Forgive me.

I pray in Jesus’ name, Lord of glory, who suffered the scourger’s whip and Roman cross to pay for my sins. Amen.



Wednesday, May 2: Ezekiel 18 - Thank God for GRACE.

Reading this chapter, I have visceral reactions and a nervousness in the pit of my stomach. On the one hand I am relieved that the sins of my fathers are not imputed to me. But then again, the righteousness of my Father’s is not imputed to me either.

There is an alone-ness to standing or falling on one’s life alone. Since I am not perfectly good or horribly bad, I try to imagine the spiritual strain this chapter applies. How good is good? How righteous is righteous?

I start out bad and sin regularly but then have a change of heart and live righteously. Thanks be to God that He will not hold my sins against me.  However, do I have to be perfect? What if the change of heart comes shortly before I die? Was I good enough??? These are the questions I have.

Flip the coin over. I am righteous all my life but then something happens I do not handle well and I sin. Is one act of sin enough to cancel the righteousness previously lived?

Like I mentioned my reaction to this chapter is visceral.

Fortunately it ends on a positive note: For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! (32). This chapter’s intent is to call the unrighteous to turn home (repent) and live…

I have one more thought before I slow down my thinking to pray. Thank God for Jesus and for the grace of the Gospel where belief in Jesus, not personal perfection, is the standard for living and the entrance into relationship with God and the guarantee of eternal life. Thank God for grace in Jesus.

Grace, grace, God’s grace. Grace that will pardon and forgive. Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all my sin. …

Lord, I am blessed to know You and to receive Your grace lavishly and undeservedly. Your grace is greater than all my sin! Amen.