In Heaven

‘To depart and be with Christ for that is far better.’ Philippians 1:23 ESV

Imagine boarding a plane for your dream holiday when suddenly the pilot announces, ‘Welcome aboard. After take-off we’ll serve you a wonderful meal and do all we can to make your flight enjoyable. However, I need to tell you—we have no destination. That’s right; we’re just going to keep flying until we run out of fuel and drop into the ocean.’

Like, hello?! It’s time to storm the cockpit and take over the controls! No matter how wonderful the journey is, what’s the point if there’s no destination? God’s Word says, ‘If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.’ (1 Corinthians 15:19 NLT) Thank God there’s more! It’s called Heaven. And it’s ‘far better’ than anything we’ve experienced in this life.

If you’re wondering what we’ll do when we get there, the Bible says we’ll serve the Lord (see Revelation 22:3). You won’t be issued a halo, a hymnbook and a harp, and then be assigned to sit on a cloud and strum for eternity. No, we’ll each serve the Lord in different capacities. Think of it: on earth we fail, we get tired, we get frustrated, and our motives are mixed. But not there! Can you imagine serving the One you love most, doing the thing you enjoy most, and doing it in a body that’s forever energised? That’s Heaven! And the ultimate bliss will be seeing Jesus face to face. ‘I shall behold Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with Your likeness.’ (Psalm 17:15 ESV)

SoulFood: Ezek 27:25–30:26, Matt 23:1–12, Ps 112, Pro 20:1–4

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Ezekiel 27:25–30:26 ()

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25 The ships of Tarshish traveled for you with your merchandise. So you were filled and heavily laden in the heart of the seas.

26   “Your rowers have brought you out
    into the high seas.
  The east wind has wrecked you
    in the heart of the seas.
27   Your riches, your wares, your merchandise,
    your mariners and your pilots,
  your caulkers, your dealers in merchandise,
    and all your men of war who are in you,
  with all your crew
    that is in your midst,
  sink into the heart of the seas
    on the day of your fall.
28   At the sound of the cry of your pilots
    the countryside shakes,
29   and down from their ships
    come all who handle the oar.
  The mariners and all the pilots of the sea
    stand on the land
30   and shout aloud over you
    and cry out bitterly.
  They cast dust on their heads
    and wallow in ashes;
31   they make themselves bald for you
    and put sackcloth on their waist,
  and they weep over you in bitterness of soul,
    with bitter mourning.
32   In their wailing they raise a lamentation for you
    and lament over you:
  ‘Who is like Tyre,
    like one destroyed in the midst of the sea?
33   When your wares came from the seas,
    you satisfied many peoples;
  with your abundant wealth and merchandise
    you enriched the kings of the earth.
34   Now you are wrecked by the seas,
    in the depths of the waters;
  your merchandise and all your crew in your midst
    have sunk with you.
35   All the inhabitants of the coastlands
    are appalled at you,
  and the hair of their kings bristles with horror;
    their faces are convulsed.
36   The merchants among the peoples hiss at you;
    you have come to a dreadful end
    and shall be no more forever.’”

28:1 The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord GOD:

  “Because your heart is proud,
    and you have said, ‘I am a god,
  I sit in the seat of the gods,
    in the heart of the seas,’
  yet you are but a man, and no god,
    though you make your heart like the heart of a god—
  you are indeed wiser than Daniel;
    no secret is hidden from you;
  by your wisdom and your understanding
    you have made wealth for yourself,
  and have gathered gold and silver
    into your treasuries;
  by your great wisdom in your trade
    you have increased your wealth,
    and your heart has become proud in your wealth—
  therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
  Because you make your heart
    like the heart of a god,
  therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you,
    the most ruthless of the nations;
  and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom
    and defile your splendor.
  They shall thrust you down into the pit,
    and you shall die the death of the slain
    in the heart of the seas.
  Will you still say, ‘I am a god,’
    in the presence of those who kill you,
  though you are but a man, and no god,
    in the hands of those who slay you?
10   You shall die the death of the uncircumcised
    by the hand of foreigners;
    for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD.”

11 Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me: 12 “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD:

  “You were the signet of perfection,
    full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13   You were in Eden, the garden of God;
    every precious stone was your covering,
  sardius, topaz, and diamond,
    beryl, onyx, and jasper,
  sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle;
    and crafted in gold were your settings
    and your engravings.
  On the day that you were created
    they were prepared.
14   You were an anointed guardian cherub.
    I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God;
    in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
15   You were blameless in your ways
    from the day you were created,
    till unrighteousness was found in you.
16   In the abundance of your trade
    you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned;
  so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God,
    and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub,
    from the midst of the stones of fire.
17   Your heart was proud because of your beauty;
    you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.
  I cast you to the ground;
    I exposed you before kings,
    to feast their eyes on you.
18   By the multitude of your iniquities,
    in the unrighteousness of your trade
    you profaned your sanctuaries;
  so I brought fire out from your midst;
    it consumed you,
  and I turned you to ashes on the earth
    in the sight of all who saw you.
19   All who know you among the peoples
    are appalled at you;
  you have come to a dreadful end
    and shall be no more forever.”

20 The word of the LORD came to me: 21 “Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, and prophesy against her 22 and say, Thus says the Lord GOD:

  “Behold, I am against you, O Sidon,
    and I will manifest my glory in your midst.
  And they shall know that I am the LORD
    when I execute judgments in her
    and manifest my holiness in her;
23   for I will send pestilence into her,
    and blood into her streets;
  and the slain shall fall in her midst,
    by the sword that is against her on every side.
  Then they will know that I am the LORD.

24 “And for the house of Israel there shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord GOD.

25 “Thus says the Lord GOD: When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and manifest my holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they shall dwell in their own land that I gave to my servant Jacob. 26 And they shall dwell securely in it, and they shall build houses and plant vineyards. They shall dwell securely, when I execute judgments upon all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God.”

29:1 In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him and against all Egypt; speak, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD:

  “Behold, I am against you,
    Pharaoh king of Egypt,
  the great dragon that lies
    in the midst of his streams,
  that says, ‘My Nile is my own;
    I made it for myself.’
  I will put hooks in your jaws,
    and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales;
  and I will draw you up out of the midst of your streams,
    with all the fish of your streams
    that stick to your scales.
  And I will cast you out into the wilderness,
    you and all the fish of your streams;
  you shall fall on the open field,
    and not be brought together or gathered.
  To the beasts of the earth and to the birds of the heavens
    I give you as food.

Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD.

“Because you have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel, when they grasped you with the hand, you broke and tore all their shoulders; and when they leaned on you, you broke and made all their loins to shake. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will bring a sword upon you, and will cut off from you man and beast, and the land of Egypt shall be a desolation and a waste. Then they will know that I am the LORD.

“Because you said, ‘The Nile is mine, and I made it,’ 10 therefore, behold, I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Cush. 11 No foot of man shall pass through it, and no foot of beast shall pass through it; it shall be uninhabited forty years. 12 And I will make the land of Egypt a desolation in the midst of desolated countries, and her cities shall be a desolation forty years among cities that are laid waste. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them through the countries.

13 “For thus says the Lord GOD: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered, 14 and I will restore the fortunes of Egypt and bring them back to the land of Pathros, the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom. 15 It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and never again exalt itself above the nations. And I will make them so small that they will never again rule over the nations. 16 And it shall never again be the reliance of the house of Israel, recalling their iniquity, when they turn to them for aid. Then they will know that I am the Lord GOD.”

17 In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: 18 “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made his army labor hard against Tyre. Every head was made bald, and every shoulder was rubbed bare, yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the labor that he had performed against her. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall carry off its wealth and despoil it and plunder it; and it shall be the wages for his army. 20 I have given him the land of Egypt as his payment for which he labored, because they worked for me, declares the Lord GOD.

21 “On that day I will cause a horn to spring up for the house of Israel, and I will open your lips among them. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

30:1 The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD:

  “Wail, ‘Alas for the day!’
    For the day is near,
    the day of the LORD is near;
  it will be a day of clouds,
    a time of doom for the nations.
  A sword shall come upon Egypt,
    and anguish shall be in Cush,
  when the slain fall in Egypt,
    and her wealth is carried away,
    and her foundations are torn down.

Cush, and Put, and Lud, and all Arabia, and Libya, and the people of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword.

  “Thus says the LORD:
  Those who support Egypt shall fall,
    and her proud might shall come down;
  from Migdol to Syene
    they shall fall within her by the sword,
  declares the Lord GOD.
  And they shall be desolated in the midst of desolated countries,
    and their cities shall be in the midst of cities that are laid waste.
  Then they will know that I am the LORD,
    when I have set fire to Egypt,
    and all her helpers are broken.

“On that day messengers shall go out from me in ships to terrify the unsuspecting people of Cush, and anguish shall come upon them on the day of Egypt's doom; for, behold, it comes!

10 “Thus says the Lord GOD:

  “I will put an end to the wealth of Egypt,
    by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.
11   He and his people with him, the most ruthless of nations,
    shall be brought in to destroy the land,
  and they shall draw their swords against Egypt
    and fill the land with the slain.
12   And I will dry up the Nile
    and will sell the land into the hand of evildoers;
  I will bring desolation upon the land and everything in it,
    by the hand of foreigners;
  I am the LORD; I have spoken.

13 “Thus says the Lord GOD:

  “I will destroy the idols
    and put an end to the images in Memphis;
  there shall no longer be a prince from the land of Egypt;
    so I will put fear in the land of Egypt.
14   I will make Pathros a desolation
    and will set fire to Zoan
    and will execute judgments on Thebes.
15   And I will pour out my wrath on Pelusium,
    the stronghold of Egypt,
    and cut off the multitude of Thebes.
16   And I will set fire to Egypt;
    Pelusium shall be in great agony;
  Thebes shall be breached,
    and Memphis shall face enemies by day.
17   The young men of On and of Pi-beseth shall fall by the sword,
    and the women shall go into captivity.
18   At Tehaphnehes the day shall be dark,
    when I break there the yoke bars of Egypt,
  and her proud might shall come to an end in her;
    she shall be covered by a cloud,
    and her daughters shall go into captivity.
19   Thus I will execute judgments on Egypt.
    Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

20 In the eleventh year, in the first month, on the seventh day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: 21 “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and behold, it has not been bound up, to heal it by binding it with a bandage, so that it may become strong to wield the sword. 22 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt and will break his arms, both the strong arm and the one that was broken, and I will make the sword fall from his hand. 23 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them through the countries. 24 And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put my sword in his hand, but I will break the arms of Pharaoh, and he will groan before him like a man mortally wounded. 25 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh shall fall. Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he stretches it out against the land of Egypt. 26 And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

Matthew 23:1–12 ()

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23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Psalm 112 ()

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112:1    Praise the LORD!
  Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
    who greatly delights in his commandments!
  His offspring will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
  Wealth and riches are in his house,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
  Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
  It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
    who conducts his affairs with justice.
  For the righteous will never be moved;
    he will be remembered forever.
  He is not afraid of bad news;
    his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
  His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
    until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
  He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
    his righteousness endures forever;
    his horn is exalted in honor.
10   The wicked man sees it and is angry;
    he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
    the desire of the wicked will perish!

Proverbs 20:1–4 ()

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20:1   Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
    and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
  The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
    whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.
  It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife,
    but every fool will be quarreling.
  The sluggard does not plow in the autumn;
    he will seek at harvest and have nothing.

Tue 03 September, 2019


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