December 2 - Galatians 5.16-26, Ezekiel 1 and Psalm 148

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God's Spirit and Our Own Desires

Galatians 5 16If you are guided by the Spirit, you won't obey your selfish desires. 17The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. 18But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you.
19People's desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. 20They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are 21envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God's kingdom.
22God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 24And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. 25God's Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. 26But don't be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.


Ezekiel Sees the LORD's Glory

Ezekiel 1 1-3I am Ezekiel--a priest and the son of Buzi.
Five years after King Jehoiachin of Judah had been led away as a prisoner to Babylonia, I was living near the Chebar River among those who had been taken there with him. Then on the fifth day of the fourth month of the thirtieth year, the heavens suddenly opened. The LORD placed his hand upon me and showed me some visions.
4I saw a windstorm blowing in from the north. Lightning flashed from a huge cloud and lit up the whole sky with a dazzling brightness. The fiery center of the cloud was as shiny as polished metal, 5and in that center I saw what looked like four living creatures. They were somewhat like humans, 6except that each one had four faces and four wings. 7Their legs were straight, but their feet looked like the hoofs of calves and sparkled like bronze. 8Under each of their wings, these creatures had a human hand. 9The four creatures were standing back to back with the tips of their wings touching. They moved together in every direction, without turning their bodies.
10Each creature had the face of a human in front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of a bull on the left, and the face of an eagle in back. 11Two wings of each creature were spread out and touched the wings of the creatures on either side. The other two wings of each creature were folded against its body.
12Wherever the four living creatures went, they moved together without turning their bodies, because each creature faced straight ahead. 13The creatures were glowing like hot coals, and I saw something like a flaming torch moving back and forth among them. Lightning flashed from the torch every time its flame blazed up. 14The creatures themselves moved as quickly as sparks jumping from a fire.
15I then noticed that on the ground beside each of the four living creatures was a wheel, 16shining like chrysolite. Each wheel was exactly the same and had a second wheel that cut through the middle of it, 17so that they could move in any direction without turning. 18The rims of the wheels were large and had eyes all the way around them. 19-21The creatures controlled when and where the wheels moved--the wheels went wherever the four creatures went and stopped whenever they stopped. Even when the creatures flew in the air, the wheels were beside them.
22-23Above the living creatures, I saw something that was sparkling like ice, and it reminded me of a dome. Each creature had two of its wings stretched out toward the creatures on either side, with the other two wings folded against its body. 24Whenever the creatures flew, their wings roared like an ocean or a large army or even the voice of God All-Powerful. And whenever the creatures stopped, they folded their wings against their bodies.
25When the creatures stopped flapping their wings, I heard a sound coming from above the dome. 26I then saw what looked like a throne made of sapphire, and sitting on the throne was a figure in the shape of a human. 27From the waist up, it was glowing like metal in a hot furnace, and from the waist down it looked like the flames of a fire. The figure was surrounded by a bright light, 28as colorful as a rainbow that appears after a storm.
I realized I was seeing the brightness of the LORD's glory! So I bowed with my face to the ground, and just then I heard a voice speaking to me.

Psalm 148
Come Praise the LORD

1Shout praises to the LORD!
Shout the LORD's praises in the highest heavens.
2All of you angels, and all who serve him above,
come and offer praise.

3Sun and moon, and all of you bright stars,
come and offer praise.
4Highest heavens,
and the water above the highest heavens,
come and offer praise.

5Let all things praise the name of the LORD,
because they were created at his command.
6He made them to last forever,
and nothing can change what he has done.

7All creatures on earth, you obey his commands,
so come praise the LORD!

8Sea monsters and the deep sea, fire and hail,
snow and frost, and every stormy wind,
come praise the LORD!

9All mountains and hills, fruit trees and cedars,
10every wild and tame animal, all reptiles and birds,
come praise the LORD!

11Every king and every ruler, all nations on earth,
12every man and every woman, young people and old,
come praise the LORD!

13All creation, come praise the name of the LORD.
Praise his name alone.
The glory of God is greater than heaven and earth.

14Like a bull with mighty horns,
the LORD protects his faithful nation Israel,
because they belong to him.
Shout praises to the LORD!

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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