Monday, December 22, 2014

Ezekiel 42-43: 2015, The Year of Great Grace

 The service of Zadok and his sons was in line with the will of God even at times when the actions of the general nation was not.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Ezekiel 40-41: The Puzzle Piece

Ezekiel 40:4
Amplified Bible (AMP)

And the man said to me, Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and set your heart and mind on all that I will show you, for you are brought here that I may show them to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.
 
Our Father gives us the ability to see and hear what He is saying and doing.  We are instructed to set our mind on the things that He reveals to us, however, none of us hear or see with such great clarity that we stand alone in our insights from God. 
 
Spiritually, we belong to the body of those redeemed by Jesus if we have received the gift He has offered, but physically, this belonging is manifested as Christians are unified.  We speak (or write) what God has revealed, but it is each person's piece that adds to the understanding of the completed puzzle.
 
Fifteen years ago, the whisperings of God became consistently alive in my heart.  One purpose of this blog is to add my unique puzzle piece to yours.  We really do need each other to understand God's plan. 
 
Jesus, You desire for us to be one as You and Your Father are One.  Empower us by Your Spirit, joined together, loving and forgiving.  Not allowing the evil one to taint our view of each other.  I declare the finished puzzle for all to see!  In the great and awesome name of Jesus, AMEN!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ezekiel 38-39: And None Will Make You Afraid

Ezekiel 39:26
Amplified Bible (AMP)

   "They shall forget their shame and self-reproach and all their treachery and unfaithfulness in which they have transgressed against Me, when they dwell securely in their land and there is none who makes them afraid."
 
 
This promise to Israel can be claimed by us today.  All of us have sinned.  All of us have suffered some sort of captivity as a result. 
 
Father promises that one day we will dwell securely in our land and none will make us afraid.  Personally, I have seen this promise fulfilled in my life by degrees.  I can't honestly say that this promise has fully manifested in my life, but I have seen a huge down payment of peace!
 
Assessing my own life and observing lives of others has taught me that often we fear each other more than we fear our awesome God.  So sad...
 
Fear between differing races.  Yes, fear!  As humans we tend to fear what we perceive as different.  We fear what we do not understand.  We are of one race!  We are human!
 
Christians fear sinners.  Christians shun or politely disregard sinners (or those they have deemed as sinners), because they don't want to be contaminated by sin. 
 
Sinners fear Christians.  Because they have been judged by them, mere men.  God is the only judge!
 
The evil one is the agitator behind fear.  He knows there is power in unity and fearing each other drives a wedge between us.

But God promises,

"They shall forget their shame and self-reproach and all their treachery and unfaithfulness in which they have transgressed against Me, when they dwell securely in their land and there is none who makes them afraid."

How do we arrive at this place of fearlessness?


Receive the Gifts

2 Timothy 1:7
Amplified Bible (AMP)

 "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control."
 
Practicing love in the face of injustice, calm in the face of turmoil, mastering our fear-thoughts, disciplining ourselves to submit everything to God, and developing a holy control of our emotions, will cultivate fearlessness.


Trust that God has Forgiven Us 

Psalm 103:12
Amplified Bible (AMP)

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
 
The evil one will always do what he does best...accuse!  He does it by planting thoughts in our heads.  He is proficient at accusing through others!  Let's deny his influence and become a people who defend rather than accuse!
 
 
Forgive
 
Matthew 6:14
Amplified Bible (AMP)
 
"For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you."
 
We must forgive those who have intentionally or unintentionally hurt (sinned) against us!  Forgiveness is not saying what was done was acceptable!  Forgiveness loves and prays for those who have injured us, and allows God to deal with them!
 
 
Holy Spirit of the Living God, I ask that You empower us in receiving and trusting and forgiving.  We want to be fearless, just as You are fearless!!!  In the Great and Awesome Name of Jesus!!!  AMEN!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Doing Psalm 104

 
 

 
 
 

I drove to Berks PSU Campus today.  What a lovely drive!  Worship music filled the car.  The Presence of the Lord was gently powerful.  My attention was drawn to the exit number 104, while glancing at the time, 1004.  I felt His still small voice say, "Read Psalm 104. 
 
 
I read, and was blessed.  My God surely knows how to encourage!
 
 
He again was speaking to me regarding, "wind."  I find it interesting that I driving in mountains and valleys today, while praising the Lord.  I was "doing" Psalm 104.  Enjoy!
 


Psalm 104
Amplified Bible (AMP)


1 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great! You are clothed with honor and majesty—

2 [You are the One] Who covers Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain or a tent,

3 Who lays the beams of the upper room of His abode in the waters [above the firmament], Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind,

4 Who makes winds His messengers, flames of fire His ministers.

5 You laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be moved forever.

6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.

7 At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.

8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place which You appointed for them.

9 You have set a boundary [for the waters] which they may not pass over, that they turn not again to deluge the earth.

10 He sends forth springs into the valleys; their waters run among the mountains.

11 They give drink to every [wild] beast of the field; the wild asses quench their thirst there.

12 Beside them the birds of the heavens have their nests; they sing among the branches.

13 He waters the mountains from His upper rooms; the earth is satisfied and abounds with the fruit of His works.

14 He causes vegetation to grow for the cattle, and all that the earth produces for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food out of the earth—

15 And wine that gladdens the heart of man, to make his face shine more than oil, and bread to support, refresh, and strengthen man’s heart.

16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly and are filled with sap, the cedars of Lebanon which He has planted,

17 Where the birds make their nests; as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the conies and badgers.

19 [The Lord] appointed the moon for the seasons; the sun knows [the exact time of] its setting.

20 You [O Lord] make darkness and it becomes night, in which creeps forth every wild beast of the forest.

21 The young lions roar after their prey and seek their food from God.

22 When the sun arises, they withdraw themselves and lie down in their dens.

23 Man goes forth to his work and remains at his task until evening.

24 O Lord, how many and varied are Your works! In wisdom have You made them all; the earth is full of Your riches and Your creatures.

25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide, in which are swarms of innumerable creeping things, creatures both small and great.

26 There go the ships of the sea, and Leviathan (the sea monster), which You have formed to sport in it.

27 These all wait and are dependent upon You, that You may give them their food in due season.

28 When You give it to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, and they are filled with good things.

29 When You hide Your face, they are troubled and dismayed; when You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

30 When You send forth Your Spirit and give them breath, they are created, and You replenish the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works—

32 Who looks on the earth, and it quakes and trembles, Who touches the mountains, and they smoke!

33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have any being.

34 May my meditation be sweet to Him; as for me, I will rejoice in the Lord.

35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Protect Your Soul From the Destructive Forces of the Enemy!" by Victoria Boyson


Repost from the Elijah List.
 
"Protect Your Soul From the Destructive Forces of the Enemy!"

Victoria Boyson, Montgomery, TX

"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength, and all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27, NLT

Our world is inundated with intense and even frightful events. We who are the reigning spiritual power on the earth are called on to pray boldly for the will of God to be made manifest in any horrendous situations.

Intercessors are the legs the Church stands on and intercession should be the core substance of every Believer. Due to the important position every intercessor holds in the world, we must be on guard against the enemy's tricks to deactivate our authority in the spirit realm. None of us are perfect, and we all have weaknesses, so, we must all remain watchful of the impact we are having on the world by remaining alert to the hindrances our own souls.

I've seen many who've prayed positive declarations into the spirit realm one minute, yet, slander their brother the next. Naturally, this grieves my spirit, not just because I know it will injure the person being slandered (that's inevitable), but because I can feel in my spirit how deeply it will injure their own heart. Every word we speak affects our soul – either for good or for bad. Even those who are careful to make only positive, life-filled declarations over themselves simply have no idea the poison they release in their own lives by speaking evil of others.

Slandering a Brother

Any time we accuse or slander a brother, we are reducing our authority in the spirit realm. God can only give us authority if He can trust us to use that authority to benefit His Kingdom.

Of course, I am burdened for those who have had their reputation assassinated by the flippant defamation of their character, but I feel in my spirit a very weighty and increasing burden for those who choose to release the slander. I sense the darkness they've released into their own lives and what they will have to battle in the future because of it. (Photo via Pixabay)

They've been targeted by the enemy and satan has infected them with his agenda against a brother leading them to cause strife. It seems like most Christians have winked at this sin, thinking other sins were much worse, but God's not winking.

Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven sins which the Lord hates and intensely abhors the most, those He considers to be an abomination: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies and one who spreads strife among brothers.

I think it's healthy to remind ourselves of the things the Lord hates – the sins He considers to be an abomination (a vile, shameful or detestable action, condition, habit, etc.). Slander is quite sneaky and often attempts to disguise itself as a noble action or a warning about someone. It is a deadly, preemptive strike against a brother or sister, a sect or church or other group of people. Slander lays the groundwork to disparage the value of anyone the enemy wants to target and destroy.

The enemy sent slander in advance of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany. The people were prepped in advance to lend their souls to embrace the annihilation of an entire race. We are seeing that today against Believers and much of it is being done by other Believers.

Guard Your Heart

Satan "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8), someone he can destroy with hatred, jealousy and strife. When he finds his prey, he infects them with his twisted agenda and they begin to do his work for him. Sadly, they believe they are accomplishing a noble service for the Lord, but, truly, they're allowing the enemy to use them to spread strife in the Body. (Photo via Wikimedia)

It's a double whammy! Most often, the enemy will target those who truly have a great destiny, corrupting their soul with the bitter demon of slander and accusation against others, thereby thwarting their destiny in God. Replacing it with a perverted copy of their true destiny, the enemy can kill two birds with one stone by luring the once greatly destined warrior to do his work for him.

Those in the Body who seem to make it their job to attack and slander – the petty police who watch those visible in the Church as the Pharisees watched Jesus – may never change. I understand that. Yet, they use other Believers to do their dirty work, like the Pharisees used the Roman government to kill Jesus (John 18:28-31), and like Jezebel used the city elders to kill Naboth (1 Kings 21:1017). Truly, the Lord warned us of wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 10:16).

Treat Your Neighbor As Yourself

My hope is to reach out to those dear souls who love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind, but who have been misled by someone and have become a helper used to spread their agenda of strife against a brother or sister. To you, precious ones, I say: Guard your heart, guard you soul, guard your strength and guard your mind BY loving your neighbor as yourself (see Luke 10:27).

In Matthew 7:12, Jesus said, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" – that includes what we say about others. In everything we say, in every article or message we forward, in every Facebook post we share, we must stop and ask ourselves: "Would I want this said about me?"

How would you want your neighbor to treat you?

So, you may ask, "Victoria, are you saying we should never address the wrongs done by others in the Body?" Well, let me say...

Eli, the high priest, showed us how very easy it is to misconstrue another person's actions and motives and made a painful experience even more painful when he was convinced Hannah was a horrible sinner who'd come to church drunk (1 Samuel 1:9-17), the complete opposite of which he found out later to be true. He had bumbled his way into Hannah's pain and threw around false accusations against her, humiliating himself.

So be very careful when you are "sure" of a brother's motives before you accuse and slander him. Eli, at least, approached Hannah personally with his presumptive ideas about her. Indeed, is there any honor in slandering a brother or ministry without first at least talking to them about your offense against them? – There is NO honor in slander, period!

What's Your Religion Worth?

Our words are extremely powerful, much more than most Christians recognize. We invite trouble into our lives by not controlling our tongue as the Word says in James 1:26-27, "If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless."

Truly, life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). If our tongue produces death and trouble, you have to stop and wonder, "What have I said lately?" And this goes double for those in positions of leadership.

If we are given a sphere of influence, we are responsible to protect that influence from the enemy's schemes. We are held responsible for what we've been given. Moreover, if we use our influence to slander others, it will come back to harm us.

Years ago, a dear friend betrayed me and set about on a campaign to "warn" people about me. I honestly felt instant fear for them the moment I heard what they were doing.

I do not think I am any more special than any other Christian, but I do know how much God loves me. He is protective of the work He has done in me and is doing through me.

I feel genuine pity for those who attack and slander their brothers and sisters in the faith. Truly, I am afraid of what they are inviting into their own souls as they embrace the work of the adversary. For those lies produce a harvest of death as we are warned in Proverbs 6:14-15, "...who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, who spreads strife. Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing." ((Gulp!))

There's an old quote from World War II which says, "Loose lips sink ships" and they also create an atmosphere of death! (Photo via Huffington Post)

Protect Your Love

Yes, we should obviously guard our tongue when speaking of those beloved of the Lord and those in service to Him. However, we need to guard our tongues for our enemies as well. Fight for them – wrestle with the demons who've taken over their heart, using your authority to liberate them from the lies of the enemy! Pray for the love God has for you to invade and penetrate their heart.

Pray for them to know and experience the love of the Father because, as they do that, love will manifest in their treatment of you. If they refuse His love and you keep sending it to them, that love will come back on you and you will benefit from it. If, however, you send curses instead of blessings, the curses will come back on you in one way or another.

Our Lord taught about praying for our enemies and blessing those who attack us. Why? It wasn't so much for those who are attacking us, but to protect our own hearts against the bitterness of unforgiveness that would inevitably destroy us.

I'm not asking you to lay down and let people injure you. No. I have a saying, "I don't do stupid twice!" If someone betrays you, don't give them place to do it again (unless the Lord directs you to). You have a responsibility to protect the work the Lord's accomplished in your life; don't let your compassion destroy you.

You must guard your heart against bitterness and protect the love of God in your heart. Use the authority of your words to speak constructively about your enemy what you would like to see manifest in their lives, not what is actually manifesting through them. (Photo via flickr)

As the extension of Christ on the earth, we should use our tongues to produce the life He destined for us to live. With our words, we can transform our world by using our words productively to speak forth the love we'd like to see manifest in our brothers, not give way to the destructive lives of the enemy. We must decree and declare the will of our Father, not the lies of the enemy.

Sharing! Sharing! Sharing!

Sometimes I like to scroll through what my Christian brothers and sisters are sharing on Facebook. I feel like it gives a quick overview of the hearts of the saints. Usually, I'm blessed by what I see, yet, sometimes I am astonished at the things I read that are openly slandering other brothers and sisters in Christ.

When I see a ministry or fellow Christian sharing slander about another brother or ministry, a GIANT RED FLAG goes up in my spirit. I don't want to have anything to do with strife-spreading, God hating, abominating SLANDER! I won't forward it, I won't read it and I'm not curious about the lies. I don't want to take part in anything that smells like Hell. And I don't want my cherished friends to either, because I care for you.

Our Father sees what we share or like on Facebook, Twitter, etc. He hears the words you speak. He sees how you treat those you think are beneath you. He sees it all and it hurts Him when you enter into the adversary's agenda.

BUT, it totally and completely blesses God when you come to the defense of a brother. When you speak out truth and love in support of those being slandered, His heart overflows!

Our Father is generous, slow to anger and quick to love (Joel 2:13). He is not a vengeful Father. His forgiveness is unfathomable. Even though I know it hurts Him significantly when we get caught up in slander, He readily forgives us when we ask Him to.

You see, He sees where souls spend eternity. He weighs the devastation a human causes against the judgment of their soul. He sees the cost they will have to pay if mercy doesn't have its way in them. So, even though it hurts Him to hear the slander against His children, He waits hoping His beloved child will return to Him and learn to love others.

Learning to Love

Loving your neighbor IS loving yourself. It's protecting your soul from the devices of the enemy; it's creating a harvest of mercy in your future when you need it. It is WORSHIP to your God. Love is also warfare, releasing a destructive force to the powers of darkness. Satan cannot understand love. He is hopelessly defensive against it.

Love is the greatest power on the earth and, for those who understand it, it holds the key to great blessings. Mercy has no equal in the realm of darkness and when we embrace love, not hate, we annihilate the plans of the enemy. We cause him catastrophic damage when we bless those who curse us. And we protect our own soul when we release the Kingdom of Heaven through our words. (Photo via flickr)

Think about it! Who do you want to hurt more... your brother or sister in Christ, or your adversary, the devil? Yeah, I know... me too!

Victoria Boyson
Speaking Life Ministries

Email: victoria@boyson.org
Website: victoriaboyson.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ezekiel 35-37: Wind, the Catalyst for Life



Ezekiel 37:9
Amplified Bible (AMP)

9 Then said He to me, Prophesy to the breath and spirit, son of man, and say to the breath and spirit, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath and spirit, and breathe upon these slain that they may live.


10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath and spirit came into [the bones], and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceedingly great host.

 The Lord has been speaking to me about wind the last few years.  I hadn't noticed previously that the famous "Dry Bones" portion of the Bible speaks of the "four winds" being the catalyst for life. 

According to Smith's Bible Dictionary

The north wind, or, as it was usually called "the north," was naturally the coldest of the four, and its presence is hence invoked as favorable to vegetation in So 4:16 It is described in Pr 25:23 as bringing rain.

The east wind crosses the sandy wastes of Arabia Deserts before reaching Israel and was hence termed "the wind of the wilderness." Job 1:19; Jer 13:14 It blows with violence, and is hence supposed to be used generally for any violent wind.

The south wind, which traverses the Arabian peninsula before reaching Israel, must necessarily be extremely hot.

The west wind reaches Israel loaded with moisture gathered from the Mediterranean, and is hence expressly termed by the Arabs "the fathers of the rain."
 
I find it interesting that these four winds brought life to the dry bones which filled the valley mentioned in Ezekiel 37:1.  But although the dry bones lived,


 "...they say, Our bones are dried up and our hope is lost; we are completely cut off."  Ezekiel 37:11 

In the natural, a catalyst speeds up a chemical reaction without itself being changed or consumed (Merriam Webster).  The wind will always be the wind as long as the earth remains.  It continues its work of bringing rain (Holy Spirit) for the growth of vegetation (spiritual fruit), violently blows off anything that would stick to us while in the wilderness, dials up the heat causing us to thirst for water (Holy Spirit), and then quenches our thirst with rain (signifying His Spirit and blessing poured out on us).


Father, thank You for the live-giving, restorative power in wind!  Thank You that no matter how dry, how dead, how hopeless a situation, Your wind prevails!  We receive Your wind, Lord.  In Jesus' name, AMEN!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ezekiel 32-34: God's Hydrangea Promise

Ezekiel 34:11-16
Amplified Bible (AMP)

11 For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I Myself, will search for My sheep and will seek them out.
 
12 As a shepherd seeks out his sheep in the day that he is among his flock that are scattered, so will I seek out My sheep; and I will rescue them out of all places where they have been scattered in the day of clouds and thick darkness.
 
13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and will bring them to their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
 
14 I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie down in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.
 
15 I will feed My sheep and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord God.
 
16 I will seek that which was lost and bring back that which has strayed, and I will bandage the hurt and the crippled and will strengthen the weak and the sick, but I will destroy the fat and the strong [who have become hardhearted and perverse]; I will feed them with judgment and punishment.
 
These verses give me personal encouragement among many verses of censure directed towards the Lord's sheep.  No matter how we have failed or others have failed us, our Heavenly Father promises...
 
  • I Myself, will search
  • I will rescue
  • I will bring them out
  • I will feed them 
  • I will cause them to lie down
  • I will seek and bring back
  • I will bandage and strengthen
 
The Lord is wonderful!  He has revealed Himself to me, personally in all of the ways He has promised above!
 
One of the ways He fulfills His promises to me is through dreams.  Several years ago, my Abba gave me a beautiful "promise dream." 
 
In this dream, Jesus handed me a single blue hydrangea.  My heart could feel His intense love and I awoke feeling loved simultaneously a sweet flowery scent permeated the atmosphere in the room!
 
I knew the Lord was pouring out His love.  I knew He was giving me a gift.  But, I didn't fully comprehend what He was communicating until recently.
 
My husband, Strongman, and I just celebrated thirty years of marriage on September 22nd.  My sweet husband took me to the beach for a week to celebrate. 
 
During the months before our trip, the Lord reminded me of the beautiful "blue hydrangea dream."  I felt like He said that His gift of love to me was a husband who has loved me from my youth.  That no matter what trials or temptations or failings both of us have walked through, His grace kept us together.  His grace empowered us to love and forgive each other.
 
In honor of the Lord and my Strongman, I covertly planned a beach renewal of vows.  Both of my wonderful sisters assisted me with my plan.  My sister, Maryann, ordered the dress so Strongman wouldn't see the charge on our credit card.  My sister, Jane, altered the dress.  Thank you, wonderful Sisters!  My Dad allowed me to store the dress at his house, so Strongman wouldn't see it.  :)
 
Let me encourage those who are married.  The Lord binds two together; His grace is the glue.  No matter what attack the evil one launches against your marriage, His grace, the awesome power of God is available.  Cling to Father!  Embrace your mate!  Remember to forgive!  Receive His gift!
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ezekiel 28-31: Faithfulness in the Face of Temptation

"I the Lord [the Sovereign Ruler, Who calls forth loyalty and obedient service]."

This statement is repeated several times throughout the selected chapters.

God is reminding us to live our lives responsibly, being mindful that God is Sovereign.



1
a :  one possessing or held to possess supreme political power or sovereignty


b :  one that exercises supreme authority within a limited sphere


c :  an acknowledged leader :  arbiter
 
 
That means we should be following His direction about how we live. 
 
The Sovereign God "calls forth loyalty and obedient service."
 
 
What does it mean to be loyal?

I think about Christians who are faced with death by beheading for being loyal to the Sovereign God. 

Would you continue profession of loyalty to the Sovereign if faced with death?

Would I remain loyal to my Sovereign if my families' life was threatened?

Consistent prayers for grace to empower us to remain loyal and obedient are imperative!  I pray that we may never experience this demonic terror!

Accessing grace to practice loyalty and obedience in our everyday life enlarges our spiritual resolve for greater trials and temptations.

Someday, when my life on earth has ended, I long to hear my Sovereign say, "Well done, My good and faithful (loyal) servant."

With each choice I make here and now, I want to hear Him say, "Well done, My Beloved, good and faithful daughter."

I'm desperate for His grace.  It's the only way!!!

Sovereign, Father, I receive Your grace to empower me in loyalty and obedient service.  I hear Your call.  I've seen Your power. I am well acquainted with my weaknesses, yet, You say Your strength is made perfect in my weakness.  Perfect Your strength in me!!!  For the glory of Jesus always!  AMEN!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ezekiel 24-27: Weep for the Broken

I found out today that a godly couple I know had divorced.  My reaction was at first shock, then while trying to wrap my head around this information, I began to weep.  I had been close to the wife, but didn't know the husband well.  This couple had chosen to  follow the Lord and lead their children to do the same.  I did not understand.

As I type this post, I feel emotion stirring in me.  The enemy seeks to destroy and devour to tear apart and to separate.  He won a battle with my friends.  I began to think what hope do we have to live in a way that is pleasing to Abba?  Holy Spirit immediately began to minister to me revealing our only hope, Jesus. 

Form and tradition do not empower one to turn from sin.

The holy things we do cannot save us.

Power, position, and title do not make us immune from temptation. 

Our only hope is receiving the revelation that we cannot keep ourselves pure and holy, without spot or wrinkle, and concluding that the grace that Abba gives comes only be clinging to Jesus in humility.

Judah and Israel couldn't keep their hearts from evil.  And holy Father was disciplining them because of it.  As the surrounding countries watched God's anger poured out toward the sin that entangled His people, their pride rose up and their mouths began to ridicule those who were broken. 

Tyre cried no tears for a people who were called chosen by God, and because of their prideful, hardened hearts, they also received discipline.



Ezekiel 26:2-6
Amplified Bible

2 Son of man, because Tyre has said against Jerusalem, Aha! She is broken that has been the gate of the people; she is open to me [Tyre]; I shall become full now that she is desolate and a wasteland,

3 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you as the sea mounts up by its waves.

4 And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also
scrape her dust from her and make her bare like the top of a rock.

5 Her island in the midst of the sea shall become a place for the spreading of nets, for I have spoken it, says the Lord God; and she shall become a prey and a spoil to the nations.

6 And Tyre’s daughters [her towns and villages on the mainland] in the level place shall be slain by the sword, and they shall know (understand and realize) that I am the Lord [the Sovereign Ruler, Who calls forth loyalty and obedient service].



Let's be mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions in regards to the broken.  Any of us at any time could find ourselves in the midst of a temptation, a fall, and brokenness.  Let's encourage each other, and not throw stones with our words.  In the great and awesome name of Jesus, AMEN!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ezekiel 22-23: I Sought a Man to Stand in the Gap

Ezekiel 22:30
Amplified Bible (AMP)

And I sought a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.
 
It's apparent when the wall, the protective barrier between the city and the enemy, has been breached.  Gaps in this structure allow for free access of the evil one to attack and torment at will.  Israel and Judah's wall had gaps because of her idolatry. 
 
The surrounding cultures infected God's people by teaching them to worship false gods.  This choice punched a gap through the wall of peace and protection of God.  The enemy harassed, oppressed, and conquered those in whom God delighted.  God was not happy with His people.  He likened their idolatry to a harlot, using sex for personal pleasure or gain.  Sounds to me like God takes our love for Him very seriously!
 
Each of us have a personal "wall" of protection against the enemy of our souls.  I believe one symbolic meaning for this wall is soul peace.  Each choice we make can either strengthen this wall of peace or damage it, allowing for the formation of gaps.  The enemy takes pleasure in entering in through any gap in our wall, oppressing and harassing us.  Subduing our passion.  Stirring our mind with worry.  Tightening our chest with anxiety.  Whatever he may do to steal God's gift of peace. 

This I know from personal experience. 

God seeks for someone to stand in the gap and build up the broken walls, not only in our own personal lives, but in the lives of all those we contact.

Even though God has not found a man to stand in the wall's gap, there is a Perfect Man Who closes the breech...Jesus!  Jesus then empowers us to stand for others.  It's a beautiful picture revealed!

Thank You, Jesus for accomplishing what man cannot.  Stand in any gap in our wall.  Reveal it, close it and pour out Your grace to cause us to turn away from anything which causes a breach!  In Your name, Jesus, AMEN!

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!!!