September 1, 2016 Bible Study — It Does Not Have To Be This Way

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Ezekiel 17-19.

    Recently, psychology has discovered that if a child is abused that child is likely to grow up to be a child abuser. The same thing is true of many other sins. If a parent is a habitual sinner of one type or another, their children are likely to grow up to be even guiltier of the same, or another similar sin. We didn’t need modern psychology to tell us this, people have known this to be true for thousands of years. Furthermore, children are likely to struggle their whole lives with the consequences of their parent’s sins. But through Ezekiel God tells us that it does not have to be that way…that that is not the way He intends for it to be. God offers us the opportunity to find a new heart and a new spirit. If we except the new heart and new spirit God offers us through Christ we can avoid the consequences of living the sinful life of the way we were born to be.

August 31, 2016 Bible Study — Everything We Have Is a Gift From God

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Ezekiel 16.

    Today’s passage is about the Jewish people, God’s special care for them, and their unfaithfulness. However, much of the message can be applied to other nations and peoples, to a limited degree, even to individuals. The opening point is that everything we have in life was given to us by God. If we had parents who cared for us, it is because God planned for them to be there to do so. Every good thing which I have obtained in this life came to me as a gift from God. They are not mine to use as I choose. They are mine to use in service to God.


    It is bad enough when we use the material possessions which God has given us to honor other gods, when we take the wonderful gifts which God has given us out of His love for us and use them to express love for that which defies Him. But when we go further and sacrifice our own children to the gods of convenience and self we go too far. This is true whether we do it on a personal level or on a societal level. I have often heard it said that slavery was the “original sin” of the United States. Perhaps it was, but as horrendous as slavery was, abortion dwarfs it in the evil it visits on our society.

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

Every week I receive the bulletin for the upcoming Sunday worship service in my email. It contains the announcements and the Scripture reading which our pastor is going to base his sermon on. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to read the scripture passage and write a blog entry containing my thoughts on the passage as a way to prepare for Sunday morning worship. I do not know how long I will continue doing this, but it seems to be an exercise that has some value.


    This week’s passage is Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the sheep and the goats. This is perhaps my favorite parable and I am looking forward to hearing what Mark (the pastor at Butter Valley Community Church) has to say about it. Keith Green did a song about it, titled “The Sheep and The Goats”. At the end of the song, Keith pointed out that the only difference in the parable between the sheep and the goats was what they did and what they did not do.
    After reading this passage we need to ask ourselves these questions: the last time we saw someone who was hungry, did we feed them? How about the person who was thirsty? Do we invite strangers in? Do we clothe the naked? Do we care for the sick? Do we visit those in prison? I think the point I want to make is that this parable is not about how our tax dollars are spent. It is not even about the money we give to charity. No, this is about how we treat people. Do we take the time and effort to identify and meet the needs of those we see in our daily lives?

August 30, 2016 Bible Study — Do Not Whitewash Sin

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Ezekiel 13-15.

    As I read Ezekiel’s prophecy against false prophets, both men and women, I am convinced that a similar prophecy can be made against many of the popular preachers of our day. I know that we have many who preach something other than Christ’s Gospel. There are those who preach that the gospel is a way to become prosperous. There are those who preach that we can have peace in the Church if we just stop talking about sin. The audience for these preachers know that our society will fall apart around our ears if we do not retain righteousness but they are unwilling to discipline themselves to follow God’s definition of righteousness. Preaching to these people is like putting whitewash on a stone wall that has no foundation, nor mortar between the stones. It will make the wall appear more solid and may even prevent the stones from shifting when someone brushes against it. But when the waters rise and the wall needs to stand against the flood, the water will scour that whitewash and overturn the wall.


    There is a flood coming and a wall built of true righteousness is the only thing which will stand against it. That wall of righteousness must be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and must be held together by the fear of God. We must be careful not to listen to those who discourage the righteous and encourage the sinner. Even more, we must make sure that we do not join them in their false prophecy. We do sinners no favors by telling them that their sin is not sin. Our society has been proclaiming that sexual sin is not sin for decades. Yet recently a study revealed what those who trust the Bible have known for generations: that those who practice these sins are deeply unhappy and telling them that their sin is not sin does not relieve their unhappiness in the least.

August 29, 2016 Bible Study

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Ezekiel 9-12.

    Today’s passage begins with a continuation of the vision Ezekiel was having at the end of yesterday’s passage. God calls those whom He is going to send to punish the sins of Jerusalem. However, before He sends them out to mete out the judgment, He sends out someone to mark those who will not be punished. Those who grieve over the sins being committed will be so marked. As we go on in the passage we read of those who tell the people of Jerusalem that it is time to plan for a glorious future and those who think God has given them economic opportunity through the misfortune of their fellow man. Do we grieve for the sins being carried out by our fellow man? Do we recognize that others’ misfortunes are a tragedy, not an opportunity for us to get wealthy?
    I have really struggled with writing today’s blog. There is more here than what I have touched upon, but I cannot find the words to express what I see. There is a message to us in the departure of God’s glory from the Temple and then from Jerusalem, but I do not know how to express it. If nothing else, we should give some thought to what it means that the sin in Jerusalem got so bad that God removed His glory from the place He had made the center of His worship on earth.

August 28, 2016 Bible Study

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Ezekiel 5-8.

    Ezekiel prophesied when time had run out for the people of Jerusalem. It was too late for them to turn to God and avoid the coming judgment. Those with wealth and prestige would not be able to protect themselves from the coming destruction. After much thought, I do not believe that we in this country have reached the point which Ezekiel is prophesying about. I believe that there is still time for people to turn from their sins, turn to God, and avoid the coming calamity. I do not believe that they will do so because I see the leaders, spiritual and otherwise, of this country in the second part of today’s passage.


    In the second part of today’s passage, Ezekiel describes a vision he had of four different groups of Jerusalem’s leaders worshiping different idols. The first group is not clearly defined. The first group appears to represent the idolatry of the general populace with the vision of the idol set up in the Temple courtyard. The next group seems to represent political leaders. The third group represents The leaders among the women of Jerusalem. The fourth group represents the religious leaders. When I look at our country today I see similar idol worship. Even among those who should be calling us to worship God I see people who are instead promoting the idols of our society and culture.

August 27, 2016 Bible Study — When Preaching To the Obstinate and Hard-Hearted, Be Obstinate and Hard-Hearted

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Ezekiel 1-4.

    There is great meaning in Ezekiel’s description of the four living beings as well as the rest of his vision, but it rarely inspires me. I know that many people have made great sermons out of it. I have even heard a few which made me want to dig into it and see the inspiring message there. Even then I am inspired while I listen to the preacher, but when I go back to see it for myself, I usually miss it. However, I am always inspired when I read about Ezekiel’s commission. God first tells Ezekiel that he must go to his own people, who will not listen to him. God was not sending him to people who spoke a language which Ezekiel did not understand. God tells him that if that was the case, they would listen to him. No, God was sending Ezekiel to his own people. God repeats that they will not listen because they are obstinate and hard-hearted. However, God tells Ezekiel that He had made him just as obstinate and hard-hearted. Every time I read this I know why I was not called to go to a foreign mission field. God has made me obstinate and hard-hearted. In His instructions to Ezekiel, God made a point which we need to take to heart, especially if we have been called to minister to the obstinate. Before we take God’s message to our designated audience we need to let His words seep down into our hearts. We need to fully internalize them so that they drive our behavior. It is only once God’s words have truly become part of us, have become a touchstone by which we lead our lives, that we are ready to speak them to the obstinate people to whom we have been called.


    As part of His commission to Ezekiel, God called him a watchman. I do not believe that all of us have been called to be hard-hearted and obstinate, but I do believe that we have all been called to be watchmen. When God gives us a message to people it is up to us to deliver it promptly. It is not our responsibility if they fail to listen to the message. It is only our responsibility if we fail to deliver the message. If we fail to deliver God’s message, God will hold us responsible. If we deliver the message, but they fail to respond, we will have saved ourselves. Obviously the best case will be if we deliver God’s message and the people to whom we were sent listen to it and respond to it. That will be cause for rejoicing. But we are only responsible for delivering God’s message, not for what people do with it.

August 26, 2016 Bible Study — Hope In the Lord

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Lamentations 3-5.

    In times of deep suffering, suffering which we know we deserve, this passage reminds us that we can still put our hope in God. His faithful love endures forever, for all time and beyond. God does not enjoy hurting people, nor does He enjoy causing them sorrow. Let us daily examine our lives and recognize where we have sinned. If we depend on the Lord and patiently wait for Him, He will bring us salvation from our troubles. When we are surrounded and filled by grief and suffering, let us cry out to the Lord. Let us ask Him to forgive us and restore us. God does not change and He desires for everyone to come to Him. When we sin, He will allow us to suffer the consequences of our sins, but when we obediently turn to Him once more He will comfort us.

August 25, 2016 Bible Study — Grieving Over Those Who Suffer God’s Judgment

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Lamentations 1-2.

    I have always struggled to understand the lessons to be learned from the Book of Lamentations. However, there are a few things which come to me as I read this. The author laments the terrible suffering which the people of Jerusalem experienced. He is no less sad because he knows that they brought this suffering on themselves. The only answer for the people of Jerusalem is for them to grieve for their sins and cry out to God. Let us pour out our hearts in grief to God for our sins before we suffer the consequences of our sins and grieve for the suffering those consequences bring.
    Just as the author of Lamentations grieved for the suffering of the people of Jerusalem, we should grieve for the suffering of those around us. We should not rejoice when the wicked receive the consequences of their wicked acts. Instead we should sorrow that anyone should experience such suffering.

August 24, 2016 Bible Study

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Jeremiah 51-52.

    When Jeremiah predicted the fall of Babylon it was the most powerful and wealthy city on earth. Nevertheless, Jeremiah prophesied on behalf of God that Babylon would fall. Her wealth and might would not insulate her, or her people, from the consequences of their sins. The same is true today. No matter how wealthy and/or powerful our nation may be, no matter how wealthy and powerful we may be, we will suffer the consequences of our sins.