Today is Friday September 10, 2010 and we are reading through the Bible in a year. Today's message comes from the reading of the Book of Ezekiel, chapters 33-36. If you would like to read the chapters along with us here online you can Click Here to read them or copy & paste this link onto your browser: http://www.imfollowingjesus.com/bible-september-10
Today's Message: Follow The Shepherd
As Christians, we can rejoice in the fact that we have someone watching over us in all that we do. That someone is none other than Jesus Christ. Praise God! Jesus is always with us, guiding us, and working in us, even when it seems like the storms in life have us right in the middle of them with no end in sight. When Jesus was up on a mountain praying His disciples were on a ship, and even though He was not with them, He was still watching over them. “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea...And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.” - Matthew 14:23-25,28-32. Jesus never stops watching over us and is always there to catch us when we are sinking. Praise God! You know the difference between us and the Israelites of yesteryear is that they had to trust in God's Word before He sent the Savior and we have to trust in God's Word after He sent Him. Same, God, same Word, same Savior, just different ages.
God's Word is amazing, the incredible thing is that people make the mistake of thinking they know God's Word by reading the Bible one time of having someone tell them when it means. This is destructive and causes many problems not only for the one reading or hearing, but the one telling it. Those who live in the world will see God as having hatred for everyone that does not bow down to Him. That is completely false and whoever came up with that conclusion obviously has not read the entire Bible or more than once. No one can know everything that God is trying to tell us by reading a verse once. The truth is this, God does not cause the destruction, people do, God is just warning them of what is coming if they keep doing things the way that they are doing. This is not something new, God sent Ezekiel to warn the Israelites that they had a chance to escape from the destruction that was coming. Through Ezekiel, God says, “Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul....Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? ” - Ezekiel 33:2-5,11. God does not want us to suffer, He does not even want to see the wicked suffer, He just wants people to acknowledge Him and have some morals. God's watchman during that age was Ezekiel and he was to warn the people so they could have a chance to be saved. God has always used those who are saved to warn those who are not of the destruction that is coming. As Christians, we are required to tell the lost the Gospel, if not, the guilt of it will haunt us when they die, but all we can do is sow the seed, after that it is up to them.
Like I said earlier, the Israelites had to trust in God's Word that He was sending the Savior, Ezekiel gives a prophecy of our Savior coming as the shepherd who will watch over us. “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.” - Ezekiel 34:23-26. Sheep need a shepherd, as long as they follow the shepherd and his commands they are safe, but when they get away from the shepherd they will unknowingly walk into danger and even get caught by their predators. People are like sheep, they will play follow the leader, and if they do not have a positive leader they will unknowingly walk into danger and get captured by the predator, none other that Satan.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” - John 10:11. God gives a promise to all who follow His shepherd, “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” - Ezekiel 36:24-28. An amazing thing happens to all who follow the Good Shepherd, a new life literally begins, one that actually has life to it and is fulfilling. You no longer search for what the world has to offer, but what Jesus has to offer and I will tell you what, Jesus has much more to offer than anyone in the world ever can. Praise God! “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” - Romans 6:3-6. Because Christ is in us we are no longer subject to Satan and the sin that he had held us down with, we are now free and cleansed by the blood of Christ. Praise God!
Enjoy the rest of your day/night and great weekend.
God Bless You, I am praying for you,