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Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 

Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 

And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. 

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

Messages for the Modern World from an Ancient Prophet is the theme we are working through and is based on Ezekiel’s prophecies.

This prophet lived in a foreign country during perilous times.

He found God to be very real and present, just as we can find Him to be today.

Today we are talking about He Is Our Refuge and Our Fortress


Ezekiel 11:16 NKJV

16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.” ’

Scripture Reading

Ezekiel 11:14-20 NKJV

God Will Restore Israel

14 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 

15 “Son of man, your brethren, your relatives, your countrymen, and all the house of Israel in its entirety, are those about whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Get far away from the Lord; this land has been given to us as a possession.’ 

16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.” ’ 

17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.” ’ 

18 And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. 

19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 

20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.


In Jesus name we pray.



It is difficult for western Christians to know what persecution really means.

During the great wars of our nations history, some of our soldiers were captured, some for many years and they languished in unspeakably horrible prison camps.

But we have never experienced foreign armies coming to our shores and taking thousands of people of to other countries as exiles.

Neither have we had the nightmare of having enemy troops storming our towns and cities, take over our homes and businesses, and force us to take what belongings we could carry with us and flee fro our lives, only to become miserable refugees, unwanted, living like animals instead of human beings, finally existing only to scrounge enough scraps of food to keep our starving children alive.

This was the situation when God called this young priest Ezekiel.

Whereas the people had not suffered to a great extent physically, still most of them had no joy, they had no song in their hearts.

When they had arrived in Babylon they had hung up their harps which they used when singing the psalms of David.

They had no song, and no hope.

Our Scripture today introduces another blow for these already wounded people.

God revealed to Ezekiel the attitude that prevailed among the Hebrews who remained in Jerusalem, those ones who had not been forced to leave their homeland, Ezekiel 11:15 “Son of man, your brethren, your relatives, your countrymen, and all the house of Israel in its entirety, are those about whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Get far away from the Lord; this land has been given to us as a possession.’

  1. The test of true faith.

It can be unbearable taking the taunts and harassment of an enemy, but when your friends, or worse still, your own people, begin to attack, to find fault, to criticise, to say terrible things, that’s something else completely!

Such persecution is especially hard to handle when they are not suffering as we are.

And it becomes unbearably hard when it seems apparent that we who are suffering are more righteous than they are!

You may remember the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar had taken way “the cream of Israel’s crop.”

They had captured the leaders, the aristocracy, and had left behind, for the most part, the followers, many who would have secretly envied these leaders who had been captured.

Those left behind had never dreamed of being able to step into places of leadership and run the country as they had always thought it should be run!

Then, also, there was the age old concept among the Hebrews that whenever tragedy struck, it signified that the one it struck was being punished for their sins.

Sometimes this is true, but we also know that often those who suffer are the best, not the worst, among us.

So what was happening back home in Israel?

The exiles were not receiving spiritual care packages with messages saying, “We are praying for you! Your names are being called daily in prayer, our hearts and thoughts are with you always. We weep for you, and we do not know why you were taken and we were spared, for we are no better than you are!”

Instead, the word came from those snobs back home in Jerusalem, saying, “You know, Jerusalem is where God lives. These brothers of ours in exile are away from the Holy City, and therefore they are away from God! This means only one thing, they have sinned. They were not as good and gifted as we thought they were, and as they thought they were!”

Sadly, the religious snobs didn’t vanish with the Old Testament era.

We still have them today, those who are ready to say when a brother hits a rough patch, “Well! Look who’s having trouble now! Mt High and Mighty! Looks like he want so spiritual after all.”

They never stop to think that God may simply be firing him a little in the heavenly kiln so that the beauty of Jesus can be seen a but more clearly in his life.

So what are we looking at here?

We have some of God’s immature children, some of His spiritual kindergarteners, covering up their envy and littleness with some wrong theology.

They were saying, “Our brothers in Babylon suffer because they have sinned. We are blessed because we have been good!”

And people, by nature, love that kind of theology.

Thus we have two groups of God’s children here.

One group was comprised of spiritual snobs who believed that their favoured position at the moment was because they were “good and righteous.”

Then the other group, those in exile, feeling the fire of persecution and trouble, were about to lose their faith through despair.

How sad that many Christians today are usually in one or the other of these groups.

Either they are proud of their spirituality and feel good things are happening to them because they are such valuable members of God’s family, or else they are in the midst of some fiery trial, some deep, distressing trouble, they feel that God has forsaken them.

It is never easy when God sees fit to test our faith.

Yet it is during these tests, these checkpoints along the way, that we discover whether we are really growing as believers in the Lord.

2. The reward for faithfulness.

However dark and impossible the trouble and testing may be, we can be certain, as the children of God, that joy comes in the morning.

The Israelites had a problem in regard to their concept of worship.

They believed that one could not worship God away from the temple.

They believed people had to have all the forms and rituals of worship before they could truly communicate with God.

As far as they were concerned, God lived in the temple, in the Most Holy Place. 

That is where they went to worship Him, to offer sacrifices to Him, to discharge their obligations to Him, “to be religious.”

Even Jesus’ own disciples had a similar problem.

On the night before Jesus crucifixion, they panicked because He told them He was going away.

He told them carefully and explicitly that he would not leave them without a Comforter.

He promised that the Holy Spirit would come.

In fact, He said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”

What did Jesus mean by “the end of the world”?

Certainly He had in mind the end of this age, the end of time.

But there are other situations in which we find ourselves, which are to us, “the end of the world.”

Sometimes it is an experience like Ezekiel and his countrymen had, in Babylon.

“The end of the world” is sometimes a deep, bitter sorrow that devastates a person so he feels the end of his world has come.

It is exceedingly difficult sometimes for us to understand the omnipresence of God.

How ridiculous of us to believe that God is always comfortably and permanently camped in a stained glass sanctuary, waiting to dispense blessings on those who visit Him there on the Lord’s day!

It is often the case that we need the sense of god’s presence far more desperately on Monday in the marketplace, in the abrasive atmosphere of temptation, than we do in the security of the Lord’s house on Sunday.

So, what then, is a sanctuary?

It is a holy place, a place whee a person is conscious of God’s presence.

But then, “sanctuary” has a second meaning.

In 1 Kings we read of two instances where an accused man went to the tabernacle and grasp the horns of the alter.

While he was there, the authorities were not free to take him.

The “sanctuary” was to him a place of asylum, a spiritual fortress.

So God was saying through Ezekiel to these poor people of his trapped in a foreign land, “My dear people, you do not have to wait until you can assemble with all your brothers and sisters in the magnificent temple in Jerusalem to worship Me, to sense My presence. 

I will be a little sanctuary to you wherever you are in this world, even here in this pagan land of Babylon.

But where is this “little sanctuary” God has promised for us today?

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is “a little sanctuary” where God dwells.

Truly God is with us always, even to the end of the world.


We must learn well the lesson that Ezekiel’s people learned.

The sanctuary of God is not just a building.

It is the awareness of God’s presence wherever we are.

God knows that we need the visible institutions .

When His people could no longer worship in the temple, He led them to establish the synagogue.

Jesus established the church.

But God does not need a sanctuary.

He simply said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us


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Gary Hoban

Refinery Life Church Australia

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