Friday, August 22, 2014

Ezekiel 20-21: Constrain Me, Oh Lord

 
Ezekiel 20:37-38
Amplified Bible (AMP)

37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod [as the shepherd does his sheep when he counts them, and I will count you as Mine and I will constrain you] and bring you into the covenant to which you are permanently bound.

38 And I will purge out and separate from among you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they temporarily dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you shall know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord.



Years ago, the Lord gave me a personal promise that "My rod and staff will comfort you."  Of course, I thought of Psalm 23 where God offers this promise to all of His kids.


Psalm 23:4
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
 
 
I understood God my Shepherd to be my Protector, and an excellent Protector is He!  What I didn't understand at the time of His promise was the methods God uses in order to accomplish protection.
 
In verse 37 above, the shepherd counts his sheep be having them pass, one by one, under his rod.  God promises that He will count His kids and He will constrain them.  Constrain is an intense verb!
 

Definition of constrain (vt)

  • con·strain
  • [ kən stráyn ]
  1. force somebody to act: to force somebody to do something, especially through pressure of circumstances or a sense of obligation
  2. restrict somebody or something: to limit or restrict somebody or something, especially to prevent the free expression of something
  3. restrain somebody or something: to hold somebody or something back from an action

Sheep don't have the understanding of the shepherd.  They may not understand if they wander from the field under the shepherd's protection, that a wild animal may attack and devour them.  A shepherd may "force" the sheep to remain within his ability to protect.

I have often been like a sheep!  As a matter of fact, my Shepherd calls me His sheep!  Looking back over my life, evaluating difficult circumstances, I can see how my Shepherd was working to protect me. 

We can't separate this verse from the context of the whole book of Ezekiel!  Our God is a passionate God!!!  He loves us with an eternal and sometimes violent love.  He sees, not only this world, but eternity.  His will fight against any "thing" which may damage our eternity with Him.  Just like He used Babylonian attack and captivity to discipline his kids, to constrain them. 

We cannot become offended by God's ways.  He understands eternity, we do not!  Not even the most gifted prophet understands eternity the way God does!

I don't want to struggle against God's constraint!  He sees eternity in me; He sees Jesus in me!  He understands what could hurt and damage for eternity!

Part of the way my Shepherd leads, protects, constrains me, is by dreams.  Recently, He has given me a dream, which I believe contains significant direction and warning.

Dream #1:

I was outside walking when a lady rushed up behind me.  I felt uncomfortable that she was within my personal space because she was a stranger.  I looked over my right shoulder to see the face of this woman.  She had a smile, but it wasn't genuine.  I had knowledge in the dream that her intentions towards me were evil.  Suddenly, she reached out to grab my purse.  As she yanked, I turned around to face her.  I had a key in my hand, which I used to jab her in the breastbone. The incident cause great anxiety!


I believe the woman in this dream was symbolic for anxiety, which attempts to steal my purse.  My purse contains forms of identification.  Anxiety seeks to steal my identity in the Lord.  I had a key, which I used to protect myself.  I believe the key is the power of His Spirit within my, His word spoken to my heart and written in the Bible. 


I need to listen to His direction and obey His leading.  Empower me always, Lord.  In Jesus' name, AMEN!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ezekiel 18 & 19: Accountability for Sin



Ezekiel 18:19-20
Amplified Bible (AMP)

 19 Yet do you say, Why does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son has done that which is lawful and right and has kept all My statutes and has done them, he shall surely live.

20 The soul that sins, it [is the one that] shall die. The son shall not bear and be punished for the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear and be punished for the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him only, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon the wicked only.


Ancient tradition held that the sins of the fathers (or mothers) were passed onto their children.  These children paid the price of their parents' indiscretion.  I think about the verse in Deuteronomy 5:9, which specifically says that the sins of the father will be passed onto the third and fourth generations. 

The verses in Ezekiel and Deuteronomy seem to contradict each other, but do they? 

We all have sinned and fallen short of the perfection of our Holy (set apart from imperfection) God.  Jesus came to take our mistakes, sins, missed marks, bent and crooked nature upon Himself, so they we would not die separated from God.


Isaiah 53:11
Amplified Bible (AMP)


11 He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] shall My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, justify many and make many righteous (upright and in right standing with God), for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord].
 
 
 
So no matter how sin comes upon us, Jesus is the Remedy!
 
 

There is no doubt in my mind that the sins of the father do set his son (or daughter) up for potential temptation with that same sin.  There is an unseen world at work.  Spiritual forces are allowed access to a family line because of the choices of the parent for right standing with God or not. 

But laying aside the spiritual realm, think about behavior and think about how a child learns from his/her parent.

A parent models either righteous or unrighteous behavior for a child, and children watch then mimic what they have experienced. 

Think about the parent who loses his temper when feeling overwhelmed.  The child watches and learns how to react when faced with overwhelm...temper tantrum.  A child's behavior then can be reinforced or punished to increase or decrease its occurrence. 

So spiritual forces, good or evil go hand in hand with natural means of learning behavior. 

The sins of the father or mother are passed to their children in this way, BUT Jesus breaks the cycle IF we give Him access to our baggage (sin issues). 

The slate is clean, a fresh start awaits!  It doesn't matter how good or evil our parents' behavior.  What matters is that sin is washed away because of Jesus, and grace is released in order to empower us against the temptation to follow in the unrighteous footsteps of our parent or to live empowered to walk out the right behavior of our mom and dad!

Ultimately, each person decides his own fate...accept Jesus gift of grace or not.  Jesus loves us; that's why he died to make this grace available.

Do we still mess up?  Yes, but a heart after God will continue to ask for and require the grace made available by Jesus, transforming our behavior moment by moment.  It's a process we ALL go through. 

What's awesome is if we accept Jesus gift of grace, we are now seen by God as righteous, even as we are being formed into righteousness.

It's a beautifully, powerful mystery! 

Thank You, Jesus, for not holding us accountable for the sins of others.  Thank You for empowering us to say, "No" to all forms of unrighteousness.  You are AWESOME!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ezekiel 16-17: Life, Allegorical

The whole chapter of Ezekiel 17 demonstrates God's creative communication by an allegorical message to the house of Israel through Ezekiel. 

God uses trees, eagles and mountains to describe His people, kings and protection/growth.  Did you ever wonder why God doesn't speak in plain language?  For me, symbolic language sparks thoughtful consideration of what is being communicated.  Could it be that God wants us to meditate on what He says?  Should we be asking Him about its application to our lives?

As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed looking "deeper" than the surface meaning of seemingly ordinary circumstances.  Apparently, God also enjoys symbolic language.  Reading through His Word reveals layers of meaning through subtle symbolism sparking thoughtful interpretation, to straight up, to-the-point expression, leaving nothing for the listener/reader to debate or analyze. 


How would my life-story be depicted in the symbolic, allegorical form?



What would your life-story sound like if told through allegory?


Holy Spirit, we are open to ALL forms of communication with You, symbolic or straight forward.  We trust that any message You have for us would be easily discernible and that You would empower us with the ability to follow through with any direction or receive any encouragement You may have for us. 

We are listening...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ezekiel 13-15: Whitewashed Words

Ezekiel 13:9-11
Amplified Bible (AMP)

And My hand shall be against the prophets who see empty, false, and delusive visions and who give lying prophecies. They shall not be in the secret council of My people, nor shall they be recorded in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter into the land of Israel; and you shall know (understand and realize) that I am the Lord God.
10 Because, even because they have seduced My people, saying, Peace, when there is no peace, and because when one builds a [flimsy] wall, behold, [these prophets] daub it over with whitewash,
11 Say to them who daub it with whitewash that it shall fall! There shall be a downpour of rain; and you, O great hailstones, shall fall, and a violent wind shall tear apart [the whitewashed, flimsy wall].
 
 
"Whitewashing" is used to symbolically describe the false prophets speaking Peace, when the Lord was not saying peace.  These prophets spoke what was comfortable for the people to hear, rather then speaking the truth.  God was angry with this practice, because "wishful thinking" is not a "wall" that protects God's people from an attack of the enemy. 
 
It was "politically correct" for these false prophets to "prophesy" peace.  It seems that these leaders were more concerned with their own popularity then with pleasing God. 
 
SOBRIETY CHECK!
 
Lord, have I "whitewashed" what You have instructed me to speak?  I do believe prophesy is for encouragement, but can one encourage AND speak the truth?  An observation of human behavior is that we (myself included) don't enjoy being called out for wrong behavior. 
 
BUT would love allow others to continue down the wrong path?  NO!
 
This is a touchy subject.  I think we tend to get messed up in the extremes.   We either fall into speaking only "whitewashed" words, contrary to what God is saying or we condemn others with words of truth, but with no hope of forgiveness.
 
Another aspect, just as displeasing to God as "whitewashing" is using someone's past against them.  Labeling, ignoring, disregarding others is not the way of Jesus.  Remember Jesus called out wrong behavior, then exhorted these people to walk in righteousness.  Jesus ate with and hung out with people with "pasts."
 
The awesome thing about a relationship with Jesus is that He speaks the truth, because He doesn't want any sin to build a wall of separation.  He loves us too much to sugar-coat truth. 
 
We have a great deal to learn about how to speak and act like Jesus, don't we?
 
 
Holy Spirit, I appreciate Your honestly and personally know we have missed the mark, whitewashing the truth to make others feel comfortable when conviction was Your purpose.  Teach us the difference between speaking the truth to injure a soul, instead of speaking the truth as a faithful friend, who then assists in binding up the wounds in order to assist in the healing process.  Empower us not to hold the past of a person against him, but to call a person up and out of sin.  Empower us to love each other for the treasures that You have uniquely created.  "Political correctness" is wrong in Your eyes.  Empower us with "Heaven's correctness" in word and in deed, knowing that all of us have a past, and the judgement we use against others comes back upon ourselves.  In Jesus' name, AMEN!
 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Exekiel 9-12: A New Heart and a Protected Body

                      
Ezekiel 11:19-20
Amplified Bible (AMP)
 
19 And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God],
20 That they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
 
 
In the verses above, God's people had developed hardened hearts.  Unable to feel God's influence in their lives, they began to walk in ways contrary to ones who love Him.
 
BUT GOD. 
 
He promises to remove their stony hearts and give them hearts, which are sensitive to His awesome touch!
 
I'm not going to lie.  Jesus is my Hero!  Not only does He make it possible for me to feel His Presence, He demolishes any stony area which attempts to develop in my heart. 
 
I am so thankful for His Presence in my life!!!
 
Just four days ago, I had a nasty bicycle accident with a significant head injury.  The ambulance rushed me to the Trauma Unit at Penn State Hershey Medical Center where I was considered a "Trauma 2" case.  (Thank you to all the staff with which, I had contact.  You ALL were super-fantastic!)
 
My memory was lost for six hours following the incident, Yet, God was with me.  He didn't forget me or my need.  Not only does my God remove stony areas from my heart, but He cares for my entire body!  Thank You, Jesus!  
 
Be exhorted, friends!  Keep sitting at the feet of Jesus and He will be with you too...removing our stone-filled hearts, protecting our mortal bodies and satisfying our souls. 
 
I am a blessed and beloved woman!!!
 
Thank You, Jesus!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ezekiel 5-8: Unexpected Fulfillment


Ezekiel 7:25-26
Amplified Bible (AMP)

25 Distress, panic, and destruction shall come, and they [of Judah] shall seek peace, and there shall be none.

26 Calamity shall come upon calamity and rumor shall be upon rumor, and they shall seek a vision of the prophet; and the law and instruction shall cease from the [distracted] priest and counsel from the [dismayed] elders.



Sin amongst God's people caused the turmoil and the lack of hearing God as written in the above verses, but the opposite occurs when sin is identified and dealt with by crying out to God in our weaknesses.

Many years ago, I had a very specific word from the Lord.  He gave me a specific date, which I believed was the answer to what I had been praying regarding an extremely difficult situation.  I desired unity, but knew there was no way it would occur without God's miraculous intervention.

This intense supernatural experience began just after I had fallen asleep.  A bright light awoke me, and I heard an audible voice with a specific date...Saturday, 6/21/2008.  I felt like this was the promised day of unity.  So I waited and longed for the day, but the "appointed time" came and seeing no change in the physical tempted me to believe I had been duped by the evil one, yet again. 

Many changes have occurred since that day back in 2008, and "unity" seemed like only an impossible dream.  Honestly, I pretty much had forgotten about the promise; it couldn't have been God, or it would have been fulfilled, right?

Fast forward six years. 

This past Saturday, I celebrated my wonderful Mother's life by formally saying goodbye to her at her funeral service.  The day began will an early morning rainbow. ( I didn't see it, but I heard about it.)  I loved my Momma very much, but my emotions were steady and still.  I could feel the prayers being offered on behalf of me and my family. 

It turned out that unity's seed sprouted Saturday morning, 6/21/2014, exactly six years after God's promise.  I had forgotten, but God did not!

What a beautiful comfort to my soul during a time of earthly loss.  Yes, I did hear my heavenly Father!!!  I see this unexpected fulfillment as a down payment of increased unity within the body of Christ. 

My Mother was a "Treasure Seer."  She ALWAYS saw the good God had placed in each person.  She saw past the "dirt" directly into the heart of a person, and this characteristic births unity.  I believe her mantle, her calling and gifting from God, is now being offered to the Church.

Will we accept the offer to be empowered as "Treasure Seers"?  With my whole heart, I want it.  I want it for the Body of Christ, too!  

Brother and Sisters in Christ.  Let's receive this offer of unity, which can only occur as the Lord opens our eyes to see as He does with love and directly into the heart of each one we contact.  Let us bring unity to where separation has occurred.  In the name of the Great and Awesome King of Kings and Lord or Lords, Jesus, AMEN!!!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ezekiel 1-4: The Serpent is Trampled

I am a runner. To vary my workouts, I change up my running routes. My newest route takes me over a dirt road beside a creek. While running, I noticed a snake which had been squished most probably by a passing car. As I ran yesterday, I ran over the flattened snake then the Lord showed me the symbolism.

The car represents what Jesus did on the cross. He crushed the head of the serpent (satan). Jesus power trumped the power of the evil one. As I run here on earth, I run over the crushed snake; it's power is already defeated. I am free to keep running my race, doing the things God has called me to accomplish here in this life! No power of hell can stop me, because Jesus has won!!!

The evil one's attempts to seduce by whispering lies and using the spirit of fear to control, BUT the serpent is crushed. Fear's attempts are useless as long as we (I) remember the crushed serpent. Fear of men, their judgments, their "behind door" conversations hold no power.


Ezekiel 2:6
Amplified Bible (AMP)


6 And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words; though briers and thorns are all around you and you dwell and sit among scorpions, be not afraid of their words nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a *rebellious house.


My God certainly has a way of encouragement! Yesterday morning, I had the choice to succumb to the fear of men or to obey the voice of His Spirit. I chose the listen and obey the Spirit and deny the voice of fear. The result was a young man who desperately needs the Lord witnessed the actions of one who loves the Lord with all of her heart and demonstrates that love with abandoned worship. Obedience resulted in a young man's heart being exposed to passionate worship!

The serpent is crushed. Life results. Keeping running. Keep listening. Keep obeying!


Spirit of the Living God, You have empowered us to run our earthly race.  We run over the crushed serpent; it holds no power over us!  Thank You for Your grace!  In the name of Victorious Jesus!  AMEN!!!

*Note:  I was not in an atmosphere of a "rebellious house" though the evil one still attempted to stir the fear of men.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lamentations 3:37-5:22: Turn Us to Yourself

Lamentations is a book full of laments meaning "to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something."  (Merriam-Webster)

There was a great deal to lament during the writing of this book.  Oppression was commonplace.

Jerusalem was a walled city, but many people lived outside the walls.  During the enemy's siege, those people living outside had to flee into the city for protection.  Overcrowding occurred.

Issues stemming from overcrowding followed... anxiety, pestilence, starvation.  People sick in soul and body would die, and the bodies piled up.  Garbage and excrement were strewn in the streets and desperation drove mothers to eat their own children!


Lamentations 2:20
Amplified Bible (AMP)

20 Behold, O Lord, and consider [carefully] to whom You have done this. Should and shall women eat the fruit of their own bodies, the children whom they have tended and swaddled with their hands? Should and shall priest and prophet be slain in the place set apart [for the worship] of the Lord?


Sin's consequences played out for all to witness. 

It's a sobering thought that actions or lack thereof could result in such great suffering and heartache.  We can learn from this tragedy by listening and obeying. 

Our Father loves us. 

We weren't created to bear the weight of the consequences of sin.  Jesus took ALL of that upon Himself when he suffered and died on the cross, but by continuing in sin, we take sin's consequences back upon ourselves. 

What's to be done?


Lamentations 5:21
Amplified Bible (AMP)

21 Turn us to Yourself, O Lord, and we shall be turned and restored! Renew our days as of old!

 
In the midst of verses depicting great sorrow and suffering, there is HOPE!  The Lord will turn the sinner back to Himself.  Restoration!!!


Holy Spirit, turn the sinner back to the Lord now.  Whisper conviction, tug on a heart.  Open eyes that were blind causing them to see.  Show Your glory, Lord.  Wash, cleanse and empower the sinner to walk away from disobedience and into Your glorious light.  In Jesus' name, AMEN!!!


 
 


 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Lamentations 1:1-3:36: Two Paths Before Me

In a dream, I was being shown two paths, which led to my home. The first path was a narrow, dirt path running parallel and about 20 feet above a creek with fast-moving water. It was dark because a thick forest had blocked out the light. Ahead, I could see that a tree had been uprooted by the erosion of the flowing water's action on the tree's roots.  The tree had lost its foundation and had fallen across the path. This route would be difficult to traverse because of this obstacle and a slippery mud path.

The second path was a paved road free of obstacles. The road was straight and twice as wide as the previous path. It was bright with nothing to block the sun rays. Far in the distance, I could see my home. 
 
My guide made it clear that I could choose the path leading home.  I felt relief that I could choose an "easy" path.  Then I awoke.
 
 
 I have been meditating on and praying about this dream.  Although the Lord empowered me to choose the path leading home, I don't necessarily want to choose the easy way.  I have been praying, "As long as You are with me, Jesus, the path I take will be ok with me." 

Like the "Daughter of Jerusalem" mentioned in today's text, I have chosen wrongly in the past.  We all have made unwise choices at various times.  But the encouragement we receive is that even in our wrong choices, there is mercy.

 

Lamentations 3:22-23
Amplified Bible (AMP)

22 It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not.

23 They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.


The Lord's discipline was for my good, for your good.  The impurities in us are removed.  We are as pure gold.

Lamentations 3:27-28
Amplified Bible (AMP)

27 It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke [of divine disciplinary dealings] in his youth.

28 Let him sit alone uncomplaining and keeping silent [in hope], because [God] has laid [the yoke] upon him [for his benefit].

 
I am thankful that I have a choice, but hesitant to proceed without hearing the direction of Holy Spirit.  I have learned that the easiest path isn't necessarily the preferred path.  The difficult path may be the one, which yields the greatest glory for my Beloved.  All glory goes to Jesus!

Lord, this one thing I ask, Continue to walk with me.  Be my Guide.  I don't want to choose the paved way, just because it seems easy.  I will go wherever You lead just as long as You are walking beside me!  In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!
 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jeremiah 49-50: "Pushing Back the Dark"

Jeremiah 50:20

In those days and at that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel will be sought, but there will be none, and the sins of Judah [will be sought], but none will be found, for I will pardon those whom I cause to remain as a remnant (the preserved ones who come forth after a long tribulation).

Abba's dealings with His chosen ones foreshadow His dealings with those saved by merciful Jesus!  It's comforting to rest in the thought that though my sins have been as scarlet, He sees me as white as snow.

Isaiah 1:18
Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.


White as snow!!!

Not only is Jesus merciful, but lovingly creative in demonstrating His love.  I've lost count how many times I have asked Him to have a song play on the radio and then the song plays.  He knows how much music encourages and draws me into worship and prayer.  :)

The most recent song, "Pushing Back the Dark" by Josh Wilson, encourages me to continue allowing His light to shine.  His love, His light is desperately needed by those I contact.  His light drives away the darkness.  



Whatever you do, just don't look back.
Oh somebody needs the light you have.
Whatever you do, just don't lose heart.
Keep on pushing back the dark,
Keep on pushing back the dark.
 
 
He finds no iniquity in me, no sins, because He has pardoned me, and then He tells me to shine His light and love to others.  He demonstrates outrageous love!  That is my God!!!
 
I want to love others the way He has loved me!  I require His grace. 
 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Get Shot, Give Praise!

Question for today...

You and 49 other people are in a bank. A robber comes in, fires, his gun once and you get shot in the right arm. Are you lucky or unlucky?


Ok, friends, this awesome question was posed by Pastor Charles Stock. It got me to thinking about CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) a type of therapy I use for my patients and myself. We interpret a particular situation using our mind. With our thoughts, we judge situations to be "good" or "bad," "lucky" or "unlucky." 

 I am NOT attempting to minimize the traumas that we all have suffered. What I am trying to say is the thoughts we think about those traumas will affect our brain chemistry. Powerful neurotransmitters are released in response to our thoughts, good or bad. These neurotransmitters affect our emotions, which in turn affect our behavior. 

 Back to the question. We all can agree that getting shot wouldn't be on most people's bucket list. But the types of thoughts we think about that "bad" situation can make us "feel" better or worse. Pastor Stock mentioned some responses. 

"Out of all the banks and all the days I could have gone to, the bank I choose is the bank a robber chooses. That's unlucky." 

 "You mean I am the one who gets shot when there are 49 other people in the bank. How unlucky." 

 Do you hear the negativity in these statements?

 How about these?

"Wow, I could have been shot in the head and been killed. That's lucky!" 

 My favorite response, "Wow, I stopped the bullet. Someone else could have been killed. I'm a hero! That's lucky!!!" 

We can apply this to our real life with real heartaches and real traumas. When we meditate on difficult situations with a "woe is me attitude," neurotransmitters, which can influence the development depression are released. When we face a situation for what it is whether hurtful or traumatic with a positive attitude, we stimulate our brain to release neurotransmitters, which induce peace and joy. 

God knows how He designed our brains. That's why the Ultimate Counselor tells us to keep our thoughts fixed upon Him and to think on things, which are pure and lovely. Friends, I am learning to keep my eyes upon my Abba, no matter what situation presents. The fiery darts of the enemy fly, sparking thoughts and emotional responses, but we don't need to allow the barrage. We can stand up with our shield of faith and stamp out the negative thoughts replacing them with praise! We can reach our hand out to others instead of being focused on our own problems. 

I am learning. You can learn too. Holy Spirit, empower us to keep our eyes on Jesus. During this Passover/Easter season, let us remember and be thankful for He did for us!!! He saved us. He is saving us. He will always save us! I am so thankful!!! I love you guys!!!


Amplified Bible (AMP)

8 For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].


Hebrews 12:2
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Jeremiah 46-48: The Great I Am

The chapters listed in the reading for today speak of God's discipline against the Gentile nations of Egypt, Philistia, and Moab.  Jeremiah had the "privilege" of delivering a word of discipline from the Lord against these idolatrous nations. 

I've been mediating on these chapters for a few weeks now.  Often, I receive insight applicable for right here, right now.  

In short...

  • Don't worship idols.

  • Don't disobey God's direction.

  • If you do, there are consequences.


I think if those Gentile nations had had an encounter with the Living God, the Great I Am, they wouldn't have turned to their own ways, serving gods of metal, wood and stone.

I think if we have an encounter with the Living God, the Great I Am, we wouldn't turn to our own ways, serving gods of money, power, and self.

"Great I Am" is one of those songs with such a strong anointing, that I can feel it breaking chains.  The Great I Am pours out His grace on us to stand firm against temptation and gives us resolve to continually give ourselves to Him.

Feeling the Great I Am, God Almighty touch my soul causes the draws of this world to dim.  Suddenly, a holy power fills my heart causing me to dance supernaturally.  There is no idolatry in this place, no temptation, only angel voices singing.  Now I am passionately worshipping along with heaven  for One alone!!!

Friends, this is where we go to insulate ourselves from sin and temptation!!!

I have a long drive to work, and use that time to worship.  This morning, I thought about this song and pictured myself dancing for Jesus.  Guess what song played as I drove home tonight?
 
 
 
I love the way you love me, Great I Am.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Jeremiah 41-45: Man Pressuring or God Calling

One of their own had heinously murdered, Gedaliah, the governor the king of Babylon had set over those remaining in Judah.  The people were afraid, afraid of how King Nebuchadnezzar would avenge Gedaliah's death. 
 
Jeremiah 41:18
Amplified Bible (AMP)
 
18 Because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had slain Gedaliah son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land [and whose death the king could avenge without much discrimination].
 
The people came to Jeremiah asking him to seek God's counsel, but the people already had their hearts set on a plan...go to Egypt and hide. 
 
Jeremiah 42:3
Amplified Bible (AMP)

3 [Pray] that the Lord your God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing that we should do.

 
Jeremiah warned the people that God wanted them to stay put, but they would not listen. 

Jeremiah 43:2-3
Amplified Bible (AMP)

2 Then Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the proud and insolent men said to Jeremiah, You are not telling the truth! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, Do not go into Egypt to dwell there temporarily.


3 But Baruch son of Neriah is setting you against us to deliver us into the hands of the Chaldeans, so they may put us to death or carry us away captive to Babylon.

 
God knew that if His people would go to Egypt, they would been drawn into idolatry again, and that is exactly what happened. 

Jeremiah 44:8
Amplified Bible (AMP)


8 Why do you provoke Me to anger with the works (idols) of your own hands, burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt, where you [of your own accord] have come to dwell temporarily, that you might be cut off and become a curse and a reproach (an object of reviling and taunts) among all the nations of the earth?
 


Just before going to bed tonight, I asked the Lord to give me a dream of encouragement and direction.  I awoke with "Man pressuring or God calling."  I thought about how man often can make a determination about a situation by natural means, by the hearing of physical ears.  I then thought about the remant of Judah who had their minds set on doing what they thought was best.  They didn't hear God's call because they succumbed to man's pressure.  These poor, frightened people ended up worse off in Egypt then they would have been if they had just followed God's call and stayed in the land of Judah.

I love the way the Holy Spirit uses an ancient story to direct and encourage me right now.  Well meaning men may pressure with their words because they see in part and have a partial understanding of a situation.  Their heart is right, but what they have heard in the physical has influenced their hearing of the Lord. 

My response, Holy Spirit search my heart.  Is there any wicked way in me?  Show me Your ways and Your heart.  Empower me to hear Your call and not be pressured by man, even a man with a good heart.  Lord, I trust You to save and deliver.  I trust You are hearing my prayers.  You have repeatedly said, "Watch and see what I will do."  I am watching, Lord.  I am waiting for Your intervention.  I will bring my petitions and tears to You, because You love me the best and have my life's story written.   You are so good to me!  Watching for You, my King!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Habakkuk: Hind's Feet For High Places

Habakkuk 3:19

Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!


 Progress in the midst of trouble...interesting thought.  None of us desire a trouble-filled experience, but troubles are a part of life.  If we rely upon God to be our Strength then, grace is released into that trouble-filled situation. 

Keeping our eyes open to God's acting on our behalf stimulates bravery.  As we watch the Almighty God take a stand for us, courage arises.  Suddenly, we aren't crouching down, curled up in a cringing ball of fear, but we stand and stand tall, knowing, seeing that the Lord is for us.  Who then, can be against us?

Romans 8:31

Amplified Bible (AMP)
31 What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]


Keeping our eyes fixated on God reveals the interaction of His angel army warring on our behalf.  Why should we ever waste time fearing?  Every detail in our life can and will be used for our own good.  Troubling times.  Devastating emotional or physical suffering.  Overwhelming responsibility.  These challenges don't need to be stumbling blocks.  ALL of these can be the stepping stones to receiving the "hind's feet" necessary to walk upon the high places (mountains of adversity).


Abba, thank You for Your Word of encouragement!  I have personally experienced Your empowerment to walk upon the high places in my life, and I am grateful!!! 

Grace, grace, grace!!!  I speak grace over myself, my family, my friends reading this post.  Grace is the reason we stand and walk in all circumstances.  Thank You, Holy Spirit, for leading and guiding us on the path You desire.  In Jesus' name, AMEN!!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chronicles 36: Return to God!

These passages emphasize the importance of hearing and obeying God's voice. The chosen ones had been blatantly disregarding God's direction through His prophets, and He was not pleased! The consequences were invasion and captivity.

The invaders destroyed God's temple and either destroyed or carried away the instruments used in worship.

 

2 Kings 25:13-15
Amplified Bible (AMP)


13 The bronze pillars in the Lord’s house and [its] bases and the bronze Sea the Chaldeans smashed and carried the bronze to Babylon.

14 And they took away the pots, shovels, snuffers, dishes for incense, all the bronze vessels used in the temple service,

15 The firepans, and bowls. Such things as were of gold the captain of the guard took away as gold, and what was of silver [he took away] as silver.


Looking at these verses symbolically, I hear the Lord reminding us today. Blatant disregard for His instructions results in an assault of the enemy. This definitely has the potential to negatively affect our relationship with God. He never leaves or forsakes us, but we can turn away from Him. In effect, our "instrument of worship," our being, is carried away or possibly destroyed by the evil one.

Friends, listen and obey God's voice. The consequences of disobedience can be devastating!

 BUT, don't lose hope!

 Like the prodigal son who squandered his father's inheritance, when we come to our senses and return to our Father, He will run to us! We can never mess up badly enough to negate God's love.

He's waiting! Turn back! Repent! His arms of restoration are open!!!