July 24, 2015

Ezekiel 32-34
Ezekiel was told by God to sing a funeral lament over Pharaoh, king of Egypt...When I strike dead all who live there, then they will realize that I am God....lament over Egypt’s pompous ways...

I have made you (Ezekiel) the watchman over Israel whose responsibility it is to blow the trumpet when war is coming - it is up to Israel to heed the warning and respond “A good person’s good life won’t save him when he decided to rebel and a bad person’s life won’t prevent him from repenting of his rebellion.  A good person who sins can’t expect to live when he chooses to sin.  It’s true that I tell good people “Live! Be alive!” But if they trust in their good deeds and turn to evil, that good life won’t amount to a hill of beans.  They will die for their evil life.  On the other hand, if I tell a wicked person, You will die for your wicked life and he who repents of his sin and starts living a righteous and just life - being generous to the down & out, restoring what he has stolen, cultivating life-nourishing ways that don’t hurt others - he’ll live. He won’t die.... 

You’re people say, The Master’s way isn’t fair. But it is the way they’re living that isn’t fair.  As for you son of man, you’ve become quite the talk of the town... People show up, as they tend to do and sit in your company.  They listen to you speak, but don’t do what you say. They flatter you with compliments, but all they care about is making money and getting ahead.  To them you’re merely entertainment - a country singer of sad love songs playing the guitar.  They love to hear you talk but do nothing about it. 

Tell the shepherd-leaders of Israel - Doom to you shepherds feeding your own mouths.  Aren’t you suppose to feed sheep?  You drink the milk, you make clothes from the wool, you roast the lambs but you don’t feed the sheep.  You don’t build up the weak ones, don’t heal the sick, don’t doctor the injured, don’t go after the strays, don’t look for the lost.  You bully and badger them.    And now they are scattered every which way because there was no shepherd... from now on, I myself am the shepherd.  I’m going looking for them.  As shepherds go after their flocks when they get scattered, I’m going after my sheep.  

As for you my dear flock, I’m stepping in and judging between one sheep and another, between rams and goats... I myself am stepping in and making things right between the plump sheep and the skinny sheep.  Because you forced your way with shoulder and rump and butted all of the weaker animals with your horns till you scattered them all over the hills, I’ll come in and save my flock - no longer let them be pushed around.  I’ll step in and set things right between one sheep and another.  

I’ll appoint one shepherd over them all, my servant David.... They’ll know without doubting that I, God, am their God, that I am with them and that they, the people, Israel, are my people. 

Acts 19:1 - 19:20
Paul returned to Ephesus and the first thing he asked was “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?  Did you take God into your mind only or did you embrace him with your heart?  Did he get inside you?  

After being baptized again in the name of Jesus rather than John, Paul put his hands on their heads and the Holy Spirit entered them.  Altogether there were about 12 people. 

Paul then went to the meeting place.  He had the run of the place for three months.  But then resistance began to form as some of them began spreading rumors about the Christian way of life.  So Paul left, taking the disciples with him and set up shop in the school of Tyrannus, holding class there daily.  He did this for two years. God did powerful things through Paul, things quite out of the ordinary....Curiosity about Paul developed into reverence for the Master Jesus....