2 - God sends Ezekiel to Irsael, a rebellious house. They do not eat what God gives them.
Perhaps you heard this week in baseball of the bad call by umpire Jim Joyce, that cost Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. With 2 out in the ninth inning, with no hits or walks allowed, the 27th batter of the night against Galarraga hits an infield grounder, and the ball beats him to first by almost a full stride. Galarraga himself catches the ball. But the ump calls him safe. The replay shows it was obviously a bad call. With much of the baseball world outraged in that moment, what did Galarraga do? He smiled at the umpire. No in your face argument. Just smiled. Later on, the umpire apologized to the near perfect pitcher. And Galarraga forgave him.
There are lessons here. When you mess up. Confess it. Don’t blame anybody else. Don’t make excuses. Own up to it. Admit it. And ask forgiveness. When someone wrongs you and then confesses it and seeks your forgiveness, forgive him. If we don’t do this, our sins will separate us from God, and they will separate us from each other.
2 - God has brought destruction without pity. Priests, women, children killed. Enemies vaunting.
3 - God has given me bitterness and gall, trapping me with His nets. But His mercy and faithfulness are daily renewed.
3 - God has punished us for our sins. We cannot complain, but I do weep and grieve. They mock me, but you will give them their due.
4 - The dead are better off than the survivors, who wander the streets without food or shelter. "This was for the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed in the midst of her the blood of the righteous" (13).
5 - We are wasting away. Women raped, elders disrespected, young men doing menial tasks, princes executed, all economically oppressed. God reigns and can restore us - do so, Lord!
A Journey in Grace: A Theological Novel
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding the Bible
Hal Lindsey and Biblical Prophecy
Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know
From a used bookstore in downtown Holland
The Waning of the Middle Ages
The Secret of Father Brown
Cry, the Beloved Country
The Crisis of Islam
Truth in All Its Glory: Commending the Reformed Faith
The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age
From Eerdman’s (Grand Rapids publisher) bookstore
Deep discounts on slightly damaged books
Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress
Warriors of the Lord: The Military Orders of Christendom
The Mystery of Marriage
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis
An Introduction to Early Judaism
Eat This Book
The Heidelberg Catechism: A Study Guide
The Old Religion in a New World
The Sage from Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus’ Genius
Kingdom, Grace, Judgment
Robert Farrar Capon
From miscellaneous sources
Complete Book of Bible Lists
Packer, Boice, Sproul, Gerstner, Ferguson, DeWitt, Begg
A Heap O’ Livin’ along Life’s Highway
Describes her childhood as a slave, and her early budding desire to run away.
12. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens, abridged
Good story, but recommend the unabridged, and only for older children
11. Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson, abridged
Good story, but recommend the unabridged, and only for older children
Pilgrims. Vivid illustrations; two-word sentences throughout that capture the story
Lincoln, practicing his public speaking. Liked it.
Historically believable and draws-you-in illustrations that capture literary clues in the text
47 - God's sword of judgment also comes against the Philistines: horses and chariots from the north.
48 - Judgment against Moab: "Because you trusted in your works and your treasures, you also shall be taken" (7).
49 - Judgment against Ammon, Moab, Damascus, Hazor, Kedar, and Elam.
50 - Judgment against Babylon. She shall fall for her sins to a nation from the north.
51 - God remembers Israel, and so Babylon falls. "Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel." She was God's hammer to break the nations, and now Israel will escape from her. She will be desolate forever. Jeremiah sends this prophecy with King Zedekiah to the Babylonian king to read before him, then throw into the Euphrates tied to a stone, to show how Babylon will sink!
52 - recap of Jerusalem's fall: temple taken down, bronze pillar and basin melted down, high priest and other nobles slain. Back in Babylon, King Jehoiachin is released from prison to eat with the king. Hope for return from exile.
42 - they ask Jeremiah for God's direction. He says to stay in the land - going to Egypt would be disastrous.
43 - they don't listen imputing false motives to Jeremiah. When they get to Egypt, Jeremiah prophesies that Babylon will conquer it.
44 - Jeremiah prophesies that God will destroy them for their continued idolatry. They flatly reject it, saying it was for stopping their sacrifice to the queen of heaven that they were destroyed. Jeremiah says God did it, remembering that idolatry. If they want to find out who did it, just stay in Egypt and God will destroy them.
45 - Baruch, sad to be losing so much (was he a nobleman? Jer 43:3) gets some perspective, straight from God. He's in the middle of tearing down Israel, and Baruch is looking for comforts. All he'll get is his life.
God: I send the harsh Chaldeans to punish Israel.
Hab: surely not, for you cannot countenance such evil.
2 - God: you'll have to take it by faith, and if it takes a while for an answer, be patient.
The wicked will get their due, and God's glory will cover the earth
3 - Hab: God has acted with force before, to save His people. I will wait, though ot takes many days of hardship; I will rejoice in Him and He will sustain me.
25 - Zedekiah rebels and is conquered. Jerusalem burned and exiled. Governor Gedaliah assasinated, and the people flee to Egypt.
36 - Same as above. Also, the land was given rest for 70 years, for all the Sabbaths Israel failed to give it. After that time Cyrus decrees Israel free to return.
39 - Jerusalem is taken, nobles and king's sons killed, king and people exiled, temple and palace torn and burned down. Jeremiah is treated well and God promises the same to a nobleman who protected him.
40 - Judah brings in the harvest; governor Gedaliah orders the remnant to serve Babylon. Rumors of assasination go ignored.
36 - God has Jeremiah write all His words down, and Baruch reads them to some nobles in a temple chamber. They send it to the king, but protect Jeremiah and Baruch, his secretary. King Jehoiakim burns it, column by column, as it's read to him. God has Jeremiah write it all out again, with a judgment against Jehoiakim added.
37 - Jeremiah warns Zedekiah that the Chaldeans would take the city. Jeremiah goes out of Jerusalem on business when the Chaldeans withdraw, and his enemies accuse, beat and imprison him falsely for defecting. The king asks privately of Jeremiah, and he gives the same word from God.
33 - Restoring Judah, God will raise a Branch to rule, and priests to offer pure sacrifice. He will be true to His promise to David.
34 - Jeremiah tells Zedekiah he will see Babylon's king, and go there. The nobles who freed their slaves, and then forced them back to service will themselves be free - to the sword and exile.
27 - God has given the nations to Babylon to rule for a time. Serve it, or be crushed. (Liberty or death are not the only two godly options, and sometimes it is sin to demand one or the other - sometimes.
28 - False prophet Hananiah says Babylon will go down in 2 years, exiles and temple things returning. Jeremiah says he speaks falsely and will die within 1 year. He does.
29 - A war of words between true and false prophets in Judah and in exile. The false give false hope of return. Jeremiah says it will be 70 years, they should settle in, and has plans for their good.
24 - Exiled Israel will return as good fruit. Israel that stays in the land will rot.
25 - For 23 years Jeremiah warned Israel of exile. Now it has happened. It will be 70 years before they return and Babylon is punished. Jeremiah is to give all the nations around Israel the cup of God's wrath to drink.
19 - Jeremiah breaks a pot and says Israel will thus be broken. Tohet, where they sacrifice their children to idols, where be their tomb.
20 - A priest has Jeremiah beaten and imprisoned. Jeremiah complains that when he speaks God's words, as he must, he is derided. He curses his life.
21 - King Zedekiah asks Jeremiah if God will save Judah. The answer is no, He will save those who take refuge with their besiegers.
22 - God will destroy Judah if her kings don't do justice. The last king who exiled (Josiah's son Shallum) won't come back. To the present king: don't be preoccupied with houses, decorations, and luxury, and ignore justice, or you will end up like Shallum, buried like a donkey and with no heir.
15 - But God will not relent. Israel's sin is too great. Jeremiah laments the people's fierce opposition to him. God comforts and exhorts him (verses 15-21 were very precious to me today).
16 - God will bring death to many, and those who survive won't have a chance to mourn the dead. When Israel asks why, tell them it is for their sin and idolatry. But I will hunt and fish for them and bring them back as a second exodus.
17 - God contrasts the faithful and the wicked; Jeremiah prays for deliverance from the situation. God commands Judah to keep the Sabbath and He will preserve and prosper them.
2 - Judah should gather and repent; God may shield them from the coming invasion. Israel's enemies around her and Assyria will also be plundered.
3 - Israel's rulers are unjust; God will bring the nations to worship Him; He will restore Israel's fortunes with singing.
23 - Josiah destroys all the idols and their priests, and restores temple worship; Passover celebration like never since Samuel.
He dies in battle against Egypt. Jehoahaz his son reigns.
How does one recognize a mature Christian? What are his/her observable characteristics?
That’s easy enough- by the size of his library. Sadly, among Reformed Christians this sometimes seems to be our standard. Were we to narrow our library down a smidge to the Word of God we would find there a far more clear answer- the fruit of the Spirit.
Fruit, as a general rule, does not pop up overnight. One does not plant a seed today and come back tomorrow looking for the harvest. The fruit of the Spirit is much the same. It is not that one must wait five or ten years after ones conversion before one can manifest love, joy or peace. The point is instead that these blessings will flourish and ripen over time as they are cultivated by the Spirit.
One of the challenges we face is faux fruit, wax versions created by the Great Deceiver to deceive us. Love, for instance, in our peculiar time, is essentially equated in the public mind with mere permissiveness. The mature Christian doesn’t smile blandly in the face of grievous sin. Genuine love mourns for the destructive power of sin. Genuine love enters into the lives of others, mourning with those who mourn.
Joy, as well, should not be understood as mere happiness. It is instead something far more august, more unshakable, more rich. Do you see in the Christian joy even in the context of hardship? Is this person rejoicing in the grace of God, in the glory of Christ, even when health is elusive, or even in the loss of a loved one? Here joy intersects with peace. The mature Christian doesn’t merely believe in the sovereignty of God in the abstract, winning arguments over predestination. The mature Christian instead rests in the knowledge that God Himself brings all things to pass. President Obama to the mature Christian, isn’t the cause of the sky falling. He is instead what God has given us for our good and His glory. Peace rests.
We can recognize the mature Christian in how he reacts to we who are immature. Patience means not growing frustrated with the rest of us, and our weaknesses. The mature Christian remembers his own journey, and again rests in confidence that God is on His throne. This will show itself in turn as kindness. The mature Christian looks for opportunities to encourage and help others rather than to criticize and attack others. Which in turn is an expression of gentleness. The mature Christian knows that his strength is in the Lord, and thus has no need to throw his weight around. Self-control then isn’t merely avoiding fatty foods. It isn’t control over impulse buying. It is mastery of ones emotions. It is decision making grounded in the Word.
Which brings us to faithfulness. Faithfulness isn’t the first on the list, nor the last. It does, however, in my judgment, neatly subsume them all. The mature Christian is the person whose passion is to submit to all that the Bible teaches. He is faithful to the Lordship of Christ, focused on his calling to become more like Him. His pursuit isn’t human accolades, professional success. Instead he labors daily to win this great prize, to hear Jesus declare, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into your reward.”
The mature Christian, however, more than anything else, knows himself. He knows his failures and his weaknesses. I would suggest then that in the end the clearest mark of the mature Christian is the mark of the Christian- repentance. We are never closer to the mark then when we are most conscious of how far off the mark we are, when we beat our breast and cry out, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
2 - God will lay waste to Nineveh and all her precious things, but restore Israel's glory.
3 - She has stumbled nations into sin like a whore, so God will strip and shame her.
"My point is not to say that a better educational system is the last best hope, and a Republican Congress is not. My point is that no one single thing represents the remedy to culture’s woes – especially a change in the partisan affiliation of our Congressional representation. If a Republican is one of those Specter-Snowe-Collins turkeys, then don’t vote for them. Let a Democrat beat the true RINO’s. Who cares? We are no worse off. But if you have a decent Republican to vote for, and the current climate calls for some restraint on an ideological narcissist President who has apparently gone mad with my checkbook, then for pete’s sake, knock off this GOP-bashing. It is silly. Just don’t set your expectation so high that you set yourself up for disappointment. The battle for the hearts and souls of men is not going to be won this November. This is a temporary deal that requires some temporary wisdom. The long term battle is anything but temporary, though, and it requires solutions far more important than any political party has ever been able to offer."
This table is a picture of peace. Where we were alienated from God, at enmity with Him, He sent His Son to mediate for us and reconcile us to the Father, because He still loved us. And Jesus is the peacemaker. His wounding, His crushing, His chastisement brought us peace. God put our iniquity on Him. Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Come to Jesus now. Talk with him. Commit to Him. Love Him.
2 Cor -20 - "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God."
It may seem odd if we think about it, that Paul needs to implore new believers in a church to be reconciled with God. Isn’t that what they just did mere months ago when they first believed in Christ? Well, yes. But reconciliation isn’t a once in a lifetime event. We should be well-practiced in it, since we sin against others so much. You are a believer – a Christian. And you have sinned against Christ since worshiping Him last Sunday. You need to be reconciled to God again.
I speak to you now as an ambassador from the throne room of God. You have sinned against a holy God. Yet He has provided mediation, atonement, forgiveness in Christ. Look to Jesus Christ as you confess your sins.
21 - Manasseh reigns 55 years; does much evil: idolatry and shedding innocent blood. God declares He will judge Israel for Manasseh's sin. (2 Chr 32) Babylon defeats and imprisons Manasseh; he repents and cleanses the land of idols. Amon his son reigns 2 years. He is assassinated, but his son is made king, and the assassins are killed.
"It seems to me that Facebook and Twitter and YouTube—and just so you don’t think this is a generational thing, TV and radio and magazines and even newspapers, too—are all ultimately just an elaborate excuse to run away from yourself. To avoid the difficult and troubling questions that being human throws in your way. Am I doing the right thing with my life? Do I believe the things I was taught as a child? What do the words I live by—words like duty, honor, and country—really mean? Am I happy?....
Ezekiel 47:1, 12 - "Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple.... Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.”
When Adam and Eve stood by the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they had gone to the wrong tree. The tree of life was the sacramental life source, God had invited them to eat of. He had forbidden the other tree, so they went and stood by it. Where are you looking for food, for life, for growth, for direction? Who do you trust? Jesus Christ has set this table so you can respond in faith each week. You have come to the tree of life. Jesus the new Adam has forged a way back into the garden. The flaming sword fell on Him as He entered. It killed Him, but God resurrected Him and He has led us in. We are in the holy of holies, as priests cleansed by His blood, shed back there at the gate, at the altar, at the cross, pictured in the waters of baptism. We have come through and we stand at the tree. The first tree brought death. The tree of
Hosea 6:6-7 - "For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But like men they transgressed the covenant; There they dealt treacherously with Me."
We dealt treacherously with God at the tree in the garden. God had graciously granted us life, companionship, work, fellowship with Him, every tree to eat from but one. So we wanted that one. We violated His covenant. Some things do not change. While we have a greater covenant now, established in the grace of Christ, we keep sinning against God’s grace.
We sacrifice ourselves and sacrifice ourselves, working ourselves to the bone, thinking it is what God wants, when He really wants us to get beyond our bony selves and show mercy to others. God wants His people to come to Him, to seek Him and know Him, more than He wants worker bees for His Kingdom. He does want both, but we tend to substitute work for relationship, labor for love. The goal of your sacrifice is not brownie points for you, but mercy given to others.
60 - Wake up, Israel, for God will bring the nations to you, to worship Yahweh, bringing wealth and increase to Israel.
61 - God will free Israel, build her up, and prosper her.
62 - Israel will again be married to the Lord, cared for and rewarded.
63 - God's servant executes God's anger - see Rev 19:16-17 for similar language. God redeems His people, though they grieve His Spirit. Have compassion on us; You are our Father! We are laid low.