Monday, August 31st, 2009 at 12:05 am

Day 1: Cutting to the Core

Ezekiel 11 (NLT)

14 Then this message came to me from the Lord: 15 “Son of man, the people still left in Jerusalem are talking about you and your relatives and all the people of Israel who are in exile. They are saying, ‘Those people are far away from the Lord, so now he has given their land to us!’

16 “Therefore, tell the exiles, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I have scattered you in the countries of the world, I will be a sanctuary to you during your time in exile. 17 I, the Sovereign Lord, will gather you back from the nations where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel once again.’

18 “When the people return to their homeland, they will remove every trace of their vile images and detestable idols. 19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, 20 so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those who long for vile images and detestable idols, I will repay them fully for their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

For the exiles who would return, the problem is not so much what others are saying, or where they will live, or where they will worship (although God also promises to take care of these things). God gets to the core of their issue. In order for them to live as God’s people, they will need to have a tender, responsive heart that is obedient to Him.

How wonderful our God is to promise to take care of the greatest need.  He will continue to “prune” our lives by cutting away the ugly bushes that cover the lovely roses, so that we can develop stronger branches and produce larger, more beautiful roses.  His pruning is needed in our lives to bring forth an obedient, responsive heart.  How can we do this?  We can’t do it ourselves, but because the Spirit lives in us, God will get to the “core” issue by removing our stony, stubborn heart, and giving us a heart of flesh, a tender heart that responds to Him.

Responding to the Transmitted Message:

Take time today reflecting on how you have been responding to God with your heart.  Pray and ask God to bring forth a tender heart of flesh that you may live in obedience to Him alone.

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