Ezek 7:27 God is saying to Israel, “all that I will do, and am doing… I will bring on them the evil they have done to others, and they will receive the punishment they so richly deserve. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Ezek 8:3 The Spirit lifted me up into the sky and transported me to Jerusalem in a vision from God. I was taken to the north gate of the inner courtyard of the Temple, where there is a large idol that has made the Lord very jealous. Son of man, he said, “Do you see what they are doing? Do you see the detestable sins the people of Israel are committing that are driving me from my Temple?
Then he brought me to the door of the Temple courtyard, where I could see a hole in the wall. He told me to dig into the wall. So I did, and found a hidden doorway. “Go in” he said, “and see the wicked and detestable sins they are committing in there!”
Ezek 8:17-18 Have you seen this? It is nothing for the people of Judah that they commit these detestable sins, leading the whole nation into violence, thumbing their noses at me… therefore I will respond in fury…
(Instead of this describing what God showed Ezekiel about the “heart” of the nation, the Temple, what if this was your heart that God gave Ezekiel a hole through which to peer into? What would he see?)
Romans 14:7 We don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Romans 14:14-23 No food is wrong to eat, in and of itself. But if someone believes it’s wrong, then for that person it is wrong. If another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of what you eat, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. So, make it your aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. It’s better not to eat or drink or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. (see also 1 Cor 8:1-13)
Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to pray with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
Col 4:12-13 (devote yourselves to prayer, like this guy..) Epaphras always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Colossians 4:12-13 was really convicting this morning. Since I started these daily (well somewhat daily) devotionals, part of my desire was to be able to encourage you all, but more than that, to have something to be praying for. I have always struggled just praying through a list of the same thing everyday. While I have made many lists and outlines for prayer through the years, I always seem to get bored after awhile, just praying through the same list. So, I have really been enjoying these daily devotionals, and what the Lord brings to mind, and the specific things I can pray for each day.
I have to be honest though. As I read these verses in Colossians this morning, I cannot say that I “devote myself to prayer.” Paul would not be able to say of me, “he earnestly prays for you.” From yesterday’s reading we looked at knowing God’s will, and how it’s not so much a matter of us figuring out God’s will, but a matter of God changing our hearts and desires to become in alignment with what he wants, so much so that what we want becomes the same as what He wants. That’s what Epaphras was praying for. “for God to make them strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God.” When we are “strong and perfect,” then what we are doing, and what we are wanting, is going to be directed by God. I need to pray earnestly for you guys in that. I need to pray hard for you to become strong and perfect as you grow into the image of Christ.
Today I want to pray earnestly and strong for you that;
- You will become strong and perfect in your identity in Christ. (Col 4:12)
- You will see life as like Paul describes in Romans 14:7, “whether you live or die, you are living to honor Christ.”
- You will desire to live a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). That peering into your heart reveals the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) and not the detestable things described in Ezek 8.
- You will make it your aim for harmony and building each other up. (Rom 14:18)
As I close this devotional, I am stopping right now to pray for you in these things.
PS. A coworker of ours posted a video sometime ago talking about this very thing. I thought you would appreciate what he has to say also: The Power of Prayer