Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ezekiel 46-48: THE LORD IS THERE

The chapters ending Ezekiel describe God's temple and the allotted land surrounding it.  This land, evenly divided among the tribes of Israel as an inheritance, was a city called, "THE LORD IS THERE."
Ezekiel 48:35
Amplified Bible (AMP)
35 The distance around the city shall be 18,000 [4 x 4,500] measures; and the name of the city from that day and ever after shall be, THE LORD IS THERE.
On the last day of 2014, I consider the previous year with its challenges and its blessings.  It is good to review how God has intervened in the past.  How He has taken those situations and experiences designed for destruction and turned them around for good. 
However, as I was preparing to write this post, the Lord reminded me not to dwell on the past.  Before reading today's passages, I checked my email.
December 31, 2014     
I want you to see the uniqueness of your life and the path that you have chosen. The paths of others have crossed yours and even been parallel with yours for a certain distance before separation.  But, ultimately, you are responsible for your own desires, choices, and direction.  Refuse to allow regret to overwhelm you nor consider what might have been or could have been.  Do not look back.  Walk with Me into the days ahead with the assurance that I will never leave you nor forsake you, says the Lord. 
Philippians 3:13-14  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Then I began to read and came to...
Ezekiel 46:9
Amplified Bible (AMP)
9 But when the people of the land shall come before the Lord at the appointed solemn feasts, he who enters the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate; he shall not return by the gate by which he came in but shall go out by the opposite gate [straight ahead].
What's interesting is what I had written in the margin next to this verse.  "Don't go back (past).  Go straight ahead."       
Past dwelling distracts from pressing toward the prize, running my race and obtaining the inheritance the Lord has set aside for me.  Just as He set aside an inheritance for Israel, He has also provided an inheritance for us.
Be encouraged, just as Israel's inheritance was named, 'THE LORD IS THERE," I believe Holy Spirit is reminding us that our inheritance is also where the Lord dwells.       
As 2015 unfolds, let's consider our inheritance and remember, "THE LORD IS THERE."  No matter what trials or tribulations or blessings or favor the new year holds, we can be confident in this...
"I will never leave you nor forsake you, says the Lord."
Lord, Your grace is enough for 2015 and beyond.  Thank You for being such a good Helper and Counselor, Holy Spirit. We open our ears to hear what You would say.  We will not be distracted with things past, but will press forward with You!  In the great and awesome name of Jesus, AMEN!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Ezekiel 44-45: Serving God, No Sweat

Ezekiel 44:17-18
Amplified Bible (AMP)

17 When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed in linen garments; no wool shall be on them while they minister at the gates of the inner court and within the temple.
18 They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes [them to] sweat.
I used to joke about exercising, "The eleventh command says, 'Thou shalt not sweat.'"  Later, I found that maintaining a healthy body requires consistent sweating exercise.  This type of exercise enhances the body's circulation, which carries immune systems cells, nutrients and oxygen to all the cells in our body.  Exercise, sweating exercise is good, very good.  
But sweating while serving God isn't spiritually healthy.  The Old Testament priests were commanded to "not gird themselves with anything that causes [them to] sweat."  Physically, sweat mixed with skin bacteria causes us to stink.  God didn't want stinky priests.  :)  But I believe there is a deeper spiritual aspect to this command.  I think sweating is representative of striving
God provides us with grace.  It's grace that empowers us to serve Him, His power in and through us, not our own strength of mind or body.  When we strive, it's like we are saying to the Lord, "I don't need Your help.  I'm good.  I just need to work harder or think longer, then I will be successful in completing the destiny You have set for me.  Striving is sweating (hard work) and that is not the "yoke" the Lord has given us. 

Matthew 11:30

For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
If you feel like serving God is burdensome, if you catch yourself striving to complete your destiny, remember, what God has commanded, "they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes [them to] sweat."  Grace empowers us to serve Him, no sweat!


Monday, December 22, 2014

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

Ezekiel 43:19

You shall give to the priests, the Levites who are of the offspring of Zadok, who are near to Me to minister to Me, says the Lord God, a young bull for a sin offering.
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.
Wow!  Imagine being so faithful to the Lord that your service stands alone in the midst of the nation to which you belong.  Although the Holy Spirit had not officially been poured out yet, it seems to me that these priests had a supernatural edge.  How else could human beings stand firm in God's will? 
Today, God provides us with His Grace to be empowered to stand alone in worship even when those around us do not.  Many years ago the Lord revealed the meaning of my given name as Beautiful Grace.  At that time, I did not understand its depth of meaning.  Now I understand that Grace is the power of God to flatten a mountain! 
Zechariah 4:7

For who are you, O great mountain [of human obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who with Joshua had led the return of the exiles from Babylon and was undertaking the rebuilding of the temple, before him] you shall become a plain [a mere molehill]! And he shall bring forth the finishing gable stone [of the new temple] with loud shoutings of the people, crying, Grace, grace to it!
As each year ends, I ask the Jesus, what He has in store for the next year.  I felt that He said that "2015 will be a year of Great Grace."  I understood that it will be imperative for me to learn to access and utilize this Grace as never before.  I had a sense that the coming year would be difficult, but that difficulty would be a wondrous stepping stone showcasing His Beautiful Grace in me, and in others. 
The key in accessing this "Great Grace" is allowing my/our hearts to be open to out of the box, daily, and intimate experiences with the Lord.  My acts of worship and expressions of love for Jesus have undergone a metamorphosis, but the longing in my heart to know Him, feel Him, hear Him sometimes is challenged by earthly responsibilities.  One thing I know, no matter what, I will submit to God's will.  Wherever it takes me, I will follow, but it will take Great Grace to walk it out with Him. 
I think that's why He prompted my parents to give me the name that means Beautiful Grace. My name reminds me that I can't serve Him, be in line with His will, without His mountain-flattening, powerful Grace, and it is BEAUTIFUL!
Jesus, I receive this Great Grace You are offering.  I will love You and serve You no matter what.  And maybe the book in heaven will mention a gal whose life was consistently in the will of God because of the Beautiful Grace He gave her.  In Your Name, Jesus, AMEN!!!

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!
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!!!