Ezekiel 36

Day 1579

Cultivate and Sow!

Ezekiel 36

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Saturday, July 13.

 

Ed Bell is a local Indiana farmer who sees his chosen occupation as a metaphor for Christian ministry – to cultivate the soil and plant good seed, trusting God with the coming harvest. Farmer Ed’s perspective on life has positively influenced me over the fifteen years we have cultivated the soil and planted good seed together in his beloved Indiana community. I am thankful to live amongst a community that understands farming because the Bible is full of agricultural imagery, including God’s promise to Israel in Ezekiel 36:9, ‘For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you will be cultivated and sown.” God explained His promise in verses 34-36:

 

“The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and will do it.”

 

While this promise was given to the Jewish exiles in Babylonian captivity, after the destruction of Jerusalem and the desolation of the Judean countryside, the principle can be applied beyond the return and redemption of the Promised Land. As Christians, our promise is not for a homeland defined by borders because our citizenship is in Heaven and the whole world is our farm. While we are to be loyal citizens to our respective nations, and work for the welfare of our local communities, our true occupation is to cultivate the soil of hearts and sow the good seed of God’s Word for the salvation of souls (Matthew 13:1-43).

 

Seize the moment and work hard as a faithful farmer – cultivate the soil of hearts and sow good seed with care and concern for the welfare of your community!

 

 
God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

 

 
 
 

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Ezekiel 35

Day 1578

Break the Cycle of Bloodshed!

Ezekiel 35

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, July 12.

 

Bloodshed begets bloodshed! This is one of the major themes of the human drama. We see it in the Bible, ancient mythology, modern history, and in current events. I just read another local news story of a road rage incident where a young man shot at another driver. We read stories like that, and we ask ourselves, “What’s the world coming to?” but, honestly, that that’s the way it’s been for thousands of years. In Ezekiel 35:5-6, we hear the ancient law of reciprocity in God’s oracle of judgment against Mount Seir, which is the nation of Edom:

 

“Because you have had everlasting enmity and have delivered the sons of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of the punishment of the end, therefore as I live,” declares the Lord God, “I will give you over to bloodshed, and bloodshed will pursue you; since you have not hated bloodshed, therefore bloodshed will pursue you.”

 

The law of reciprocity goes both directions, just as it can be a negative death cycle of bloodshed begetting bloodshed, so it can be a positive life cycle of love begetting love. We see this in God’s salvation story to redeem His rebellious creation back unto Himself through the love of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He broke the negative cycle by giving us grace, as Romans 5:8 emphasizes, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We are not saved because we deserve to be saved; quite the opposite, we are saved because love begets love. When love wins, we all win!

 

Seize the moment and break the cycle of bloodshed in today’s world by loving others as God first loved you, hence fulfilling the golden rule of Jesus, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

 
 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

 
 
 

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Ezekiel 34

Day 1577

The Promise of a Good Shepherd!

Ezekiel 34

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, July 11.

 

God’s people need hope whenever they are walking through the valley of the shadow. In Ezekiel 34:15a, the Lord promised to be a good shepherd to the sheep of His pasture, “I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest.” He would fulfill this promise through the Messiah, referenced in verses 23, “Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd.” Even though this prophecy was written at least four hundred years after the death of King David, and Jesus would not be born for over five hundred years, Ezekiel was declaring that the promised rest of God would come through the Messiah of Israel, who is the Son of David. He described how the Good Shepherd would lead them to rest in Ezekiel 34:27-28:

 

The tree of the field will yield its fruit and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. They will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid.

 

Jesus fulfilled these promises, offering each of them to you today: 1) the promise of fruitfulness by abiding in the Vine of Jesus (John 15:1-16); 2) the promise of rest by taking on Jesus’ easy yoke (Matthew 11:28-30); and 3) the promise of peace by receiving the Holy Spirit (John 14:26-27). Like the rod and staff of a shepherd, these promises will comfort you as you walk through the valley of the shadow (Psalm 23).

 

Seize the moment and trust Jesus to be the Good Shepherd of your soul (John 10:10-18).

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

 

 
 
 
 

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Ezekiel 33

Day 1576

Repent of Being a Church Connoisseur!

Ezekiel 33

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, July 10.

 

Are you called to be a church connoisseur? A connoisseur is a person who has an expert knowledge of something, especially the arts, and is qualified to judge and appreciate its quality. You are called to be an effectual doer of the Word, not a critic (James 1:22-25). Unfortunately, in the modern world of social media, church connoisseurs have a popular platform for their craft, causing weaker brothers and sisters to stumble, and non-believers to scoff at the muddied message of the church.

 

The prophet was reminded of his call in Ezekiel 33, to be a watchman who blows the trumpet, warning the people by raising the alarm that they are in danger. Yet, the prophet’s proclamations had become mere entertainment to the exiles in Babylon, so God encouraged him in Ezekiel 33:32-33, “Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them. So when it comes to pass – as surely it will – then they will know that a prophet has been in their midst.” God was encouraging Ezekiel to be faithful to His calling because the proclaimed Word does not return void.

 

Your church’s worship leaders and preachers are not called to entertain you or to please your churchianity sensibilities, but rather to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ through fervent prayer and faithful teaching (2 Timothy 4:1-5). If you find yourself wanting your ears itched by your local church, then repent of being a church connoisseur and be the church instead.

 

Seize the moment and respond to your local church services, not with critique of your fellow ministers, but as a fellow member of the body of Christ, faithful to your calling as an ambassador for Christ and minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

 
 
 

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Ezekiel 32

Day 1575

When Grieving, Don’t Sin in your Anger!

Ezekiel 32

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, July 9.

 

Anger is one of the five stages of grief, along with denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is normal for a grieving person to oscillate between the five stages, returning to their anger time and again, especially if the death was tragic or untimely. Ezekiel 32 ends the four-chapter indictment of Egypt with the sixth and seventh oracles of judgment. They were given in 585 BC, just a few months after the exiles of Israel had learned about the fall of Jerusalem, so the historical context is that of a grieving community who had recently learned of their capital city’s fall and Judah’s devastation. It should be not surprising then that verses 18-21 capture the depths of their grieving process:

 

Son of man, wail for the hordes of Egypt and bring it down, her and the daughters of the powerful nations, to the nether world, with those who go down to the pit; … The strong among the mighty ones shall speak of him and his helpers from the midst of Sheol, “They have gone down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.”

 

Repeatedly, the prophet condemned Israel’s enemies, telling them to make their bed with the uncircumcised (pagans) and to lay down with those who had fallen by the sword. This was a condemnation and shame upon not only Egypt, but all foreign nations who had either arisen against Israel or who had failed to protect her. Ezekiel taught that they would go to the “nether world,” which literally means “the lower parts of the Earth.” He called it “the pit,” which was referencing Sheol, the place of the dead. In Ezekiel 26:20, he compared it to the “ancient waste places.” How do you treat others when you are grieving? Have you ever cursed anyone in your anger?

 

Seize the moment by blessing and not cursing – don’t sin in your anger when you are grieving (Ephesians 4:26-27; Romans 12:14-21). Get help today by seeking grief counseling.

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

 
 

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Ezekiel 31

Day 1574

The Thrill of Victory!

Ezekiel 31

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, July 8.

 

There is nothing quite like competing on the biggest stage of national sport. As I’ve been watching the drama of the USA Olympic Team Trials unfold, I am reminded of the famous opening line in The Wide World of Sports, “The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.” I watched the heartbreak of a reigning world champion who did not make the team, and the pure joy of an athlete who did. It’s great drama to watch, but it’s a different matter to live through such highs and lows yourself. I know because I got fourth place in the hammer throw at the 2000 USA Track and Field Olympic Team Trials, narrowly missing the team by one spot. Sports are a great metaphor for life, because through them we learn how to navigate the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat!

 

Imagine what Pharaoh must have experienced when the prophet illustrated Egypt’s coming fall from the heights of power and prestige by describing the former world power, Assyria, as a mighty cedar in Ezekiel 31:2-3, 10-11:

 

“Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes, ‘Whom are you like in your greatness? ‘Behold, Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon with beautiful branches and forest shade, and very high, and its top was among the clouds. … Because it is high in stature and has set its top among the clouds, and its heart is haughty in its loftiness, therefore I will give it into the hand of a despot of the nations; he will thoroughly deal with it. According to its wickedness I have driven it away.’”

 

Seize the moment and find the thrill of victory in something greater than the transitory podiums of prestige and perishable awards of success – “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, … for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20-21).

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

 
 

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Ezekiel 30

Day 1572

Strengthen your Body!

Ezekiel 30

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Saturday, July 6.

 

Do you have a physical fitness regimen that supports your ministry life?

 

I’m walking on the trails and working out in the weight room because I want to keep my body healthy. I desire to live my life on mission for Jesus, and I can only do that if I maintain the temple of the Holy Spirit with which I’ve been entrusted. Additionally, I have recognized the holistic nature of health and well-being; it’s not enough to remain physically healthy, I must integrate that with mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual health. As Paul taught his protégé in 1 Timothy 4:7b-8, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Ultimately, life and death are in God’s hands, so train your soul to listen, and discipline your body to obey.

 

The prophet emphasized God’s sovereignty over our physical strength in his judgment against Egypt in Ezekiel 30:22-25:

 

Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt and will break his arms, both the strong and the broken; and I will make the sword fall from his hand. … For I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put My sword in his hand; and I will break the arms of Pharaoh, so that he will groan before him with the groanings of a wounded man. Thus I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh will fall. Then they will know that I am the Lord, … .”

 

Seize the moment and strengthen your body for the mission of God, so you can go where He tells you to go and do what He tells you to do. Dedicate your health and well-being to God for His glory!

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

 
 

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Ezekiel 29

Day 1571

Don’t Fear the Monsters!

Ezekiel 29

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, July 5.

 

Have you ever feared what may be lurking under your bed at night? There are monsters in the world, but we do not have to fear them when God is with us! That’s the message of Ezekiel as he commences a four-chapter indictment against Egypt’s pride and failure to help Judah as promised. In Ezekiel 29:2-6, the prophet compares Egypt to an enemy of epic proportions:

 

“Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great monster that lies in the midst of his rivers, that has said, ‘My Nile is mine, and I myself have made it.’ I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your rivers cling to your scales. And I will bring you up out of the midst of your rivers, and all the fish of your rivers will cling to your scales. … Then all the inhabitants of Egypt will know that I am the Lord, … .” [emphasis added]

 

The Hebrew word translated “the great monster” can also be translated “dragon” or “serpent,” as seen in Isaiah 51:9 when referencing the exodus event, “Was it not You who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon?” In this passage, as well as in Isaiah 30:7 and Psalm 74:13, the mythological beast is used in parallel with Rahab and Leviathan, respectively, which further reinforces that God is referencing divine combat with chaos monsters of mythological proportions, emphasizing, in the way that the Ancient Near Eastern people would have understood it, that Yahweh was above all creation and mightier than any cosmic force. God showed His mighty right hand at the exodus, and He would do it again during the exile. He will do it for you, too!

 

Seize the moment and praise the God who is victorious over every foe, to include monsters – there is nothing to fear when God is with you!

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

 
 

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Ezekiel 28

Day 1570

Guard your Heart from the Evil One!

Ezekiel 28

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, July 4. Happy Birthday to the USA!

 

What was the power behind the throne of Tyre? Was it hubris, with the man on the throne claiming to be a god, or was it Satan, a disgraced cherub, who was using the king’s pride as an access point to animate the king’s heart for his own evil schemes? Tyre was not ruled by a god, as the king claimed of himself. In fact, God rebuked him for such a claim in Ezekiel 28:2, “Because your heart is lifted up and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods in the heart of the seas’; yet you are a man and not God” (cf. 6, 9).

 

Ezekiel 28 continues the three-chapter oracle of judgment against Tyre, concluding it with an indictment of the king’s pride. The prophet appears to be pulling back the veil of the natural as he used language that can’t be applied to any person. Regardless of whether you see this supernatural description as historical or allegorical, the ultimate point remains the same, “pride goes before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18). God described the prideful king as a fallen angel in Ezekiel 28:12-19:

 

You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; … You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. … Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you. … you will cease to be forever.

 

Seize the moment and humble yourself, stop Satan from having access to the control center of your life through pride and arrogance (James 4:7). Your heart is a throne, so guard it well (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 6:13)!

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

 
 

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Ezekiel 27

Day 1569

Tear Down the Fortress! (Part 2 of 2)

Ezekiel 27

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, July 3.

 

Are you trusting God to tear down the strongholds of sin in your life? After the destruction of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar moved on to Tyre, sieging it for thirteen years, but he could not prevail against the island fortress. It wasn’t until 332 BC, when Alexander the Great built a causeway of stone and rubble from the decimated mainland out to the island fortress, that the prophecy was fulfilled, as foretold in Ezekiel 27:34-36:

 

Now that you are broken by the seas in the depths of the waters, your merchandise and all your company have fallen in the midst of you. All the inhabitants of the coastlands are appalled at you, and their kings are horribly afraid; they are troubled in countenance. The merchants among the peoples hiss at you; you have become terrified and you will cease to be forever.

 

The ancient city of Tyre was destroyed, never to rebuilt as an island fortress. In fact, it has become a peninsula, as land built up around Alexander’s causeway. Tyre never dominated the region again, and the stronghold’s influence diminished into the history books. From 2 Corinthians 10:4-6, we learn that this is what happens when our strongholds of sin are removed by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” Never forget that it was for freedom that Christ set you free, so don’t return to slavery to sin (Galatians 5:1).

 

Seize the moment and live free of the fortresses of hurts, habits, and hangups from your past life. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 

God bless you!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.

 

 
 

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