WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM…(The Bible’s Impact on the Academy – Education) [Sept 13]

Ever wondered what it was all about? Ever wondered what type of class might give you insight into what faith is about? Ever gone through a class and came out the other side not catching the reality of what it was about? Ever wondered what the difference is between the various Christian denominations? Growing up with a family that went to an Anglican church gave me one perspective. Going to church with friends usually meant I was going to a french Catholic church. Moving and then finding a church that seemed to feel good and was teaching and preaching from the Bible has struck home and is where I am to this day. Ever wondered what christians believe? Ever wonder what churches believe? Ever checked out to see if a church has a statement of faith? The church I go to has a “What we believe” page that speaks of the 16 fundamental truths that the Assemblies of God believe. It still amazes me to this day that in all my years prior to finding my current church home that I missed the memo that it was all about having a relationship with Jesus. It was more than just rituals and routines, it was more than structure and schedule, it is all about inviting Jesus into your heart and living out each day in relationship with Him. He is with me every step of every day and is there to talk to no matter what comes my way. WOW! That is such an incredible revelation and how the Holy Spirit is able to speak into my very situation when I am stuck, I am questioning, I am needing wisdom or guidance or both. He is there! God will never leave me and never forsake me. God is for me and not against me. God is comforter and my guide. WOW! It makes such an incredible difference to know that this is the day that the Lord has made and so I get to rejoice and be glad in it. It makes such an incredible different to know that I am not going through this on my own and by myself. So how about you? Where are you at? Today’s reading comes to us from Ezekiel 22 which reads…
Israel’s Shedding of Blood 1And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2″And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then declare to her all her abominations. 3You shall say, Thus says the Lord God: A city that sheds blood in her midst, so that her time may come, and that makes idols to defile herself! 4You have become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made, and you have brought your days near, the appointed time of your years has come. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all the countries. 5Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you; your name is defiled; you are full of tumult.
6″Behold, the princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. 7Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you. 8You have despised my holy things and profaned my Sabbaths. 9There are men in you who slander to shed blood, and people in you who eat on the mountains; they commit lewdness in your midst. 10In you men uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are unclean in their menstrual impurity. 11One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; another in you violates his sister, his father’s daughter. 12In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but me you have forgotten, declares the Lord God.
13″Behold, I strike my hand at the dishonest gain that you have made, and at the blood that has been in your midst. 14Can your courage endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you? I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it. 15I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you through the countries, and I will consume your uncleanness out of you. 16And you shall be profaned by your own doing in the sight of the nations, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
17And the word of the Lord came to me: 18″Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are dross of silver. 19Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20As one gathers silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into a furnace, to blow the fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you in my anger and in my wrath, and I will put you in and melt you. 21I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it. 22As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord; I have poured out my wrath upon you.”
23And the word of the Lord came to me: 24″Son of man, say to her, You are a land that is not cleansed or rained upon in the day of indignation. 25The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. 28And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord has not spoken. 29The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. 30And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. 31Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord God.” –Ezekiel 22

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Education or Academy on the subject of Westminster Shorter Catechism and the impact of Ezekiel 22:26 on it. We learn that this means going over a shortened version of the Westminster Confession of Faith, a training manual to provide instruction based on the basics of the faith. We learn how it was drafted by a council of Scottish and English theologians at Westminster with the intent to help unify the Presbyterian churches of England and Scotland through a common doctrinal basis. We learn how this was approved by Parliament in 1648 but lost its official status when the monarchy was restored under King Charles II who was Catholic. We learn how other Presbyterian churches as well as Congregationalists and Baptists picked this up with adaptations. (they mentioned particularly in the US) So what is a catechism you may ask? It is a set of questions and answers to help people better understand the faith – explaining doctrines and include specific Bible content. We learn in today’s devotional how question 61 focuses on the topic of the Sabbath and how it is supported by today’s reading from Ezekiel 22:26.

Westminster Shorter Catechism Project
Westminster Shorter Catechism 
Question 61

Q: What is forbidden in the fourth commandment? 
A: The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required,
1 and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful,2 or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.3

Ezekiel 22:26. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. 
Malachi 1:13. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD. 
Amos 8:5. Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?
Ezekiel 23:38. Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths.
Isaiah 58:13. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words. 
Jeremiah 17:24, 27. And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein. . . But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.
Westminster Shorter Catechism Project |
 WSC Question 61 
So where are you at today? Have you been going through the motions? Have you been going through the routine? Have you been trying to follow the rules? Or have you had a heart transformation? Have you started a relationship with Jesus? Have you invited Him into your heart?  So let’s pray
Let’s pray…
Prayer of Salvation Example
For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.
Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for everything that is in it. I thank You Lord that I don’t walk into any situation without you or on my own. I thank You Lord that You will never leave me nor abandon me and will even prod me back on track when I try to go it my own way and get off track. Help me today Lord as I prepare for this day. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear so that I can bring Your truth, Your hope, Your light, and Your love into every situation. Help me to accomplish all that You prepared in advance for me to do. Give me opportunities and the boldness and courage to take them so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

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