Accountable

I hear them.

I read them.

I study them.

I even memorize them.

God speaks into my heart and mind as I do all of these things with his Word to me.  I know his truth and I am accountable for it.

God expects me to respond.  Obey.  Let him change my thinking and change my actions.

God tells us this as he speaks to Ezekiel, “My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice.

God expects me to put his word into practice.

God expects that his words to you will be evident in your life.

We are accountable because we have read and we have heard.

Dear Father, Thank you for your Word to us.  Thank you for revealing your truth to us.  Please help us put your Word into practice in our lives.  Mold us and renew us, Father.  Convict us, Holy Spirit, when we fall short.  Open our eyes.  Open our hearts.  In the awesome name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Troubled Times

So many problems.

Surrounded on all sides by pieces of our broken hearts.

Bent under a burden of grief.

Confused and disillusioned.

Our dark days on this earth are many.  The writer of Lamentations joins us in making a long list of the trials and issues around him.  Then – right in the middle of the mess – he writes some of the most well-known words in the Bible.  Here is a 2018 version:

Because of the LORD’s great love for us, our pain and problems do not consume us.

God’s compassion for us is renewed every morning.

Great is your faithfulness, Father.

My faith, my hope and my joy is found in my Father God.  He is always beside me.  I trust him to provide the strength and wisdom I need each day.

He is a good, good father to all of us who seek him.  Those who walk closely with him will find peace and grace.

Great is your faithfulness,  Abba Father.

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Standing in the Gap

Our country is going crazy, right?

It’s frustrating.

It makes us angry,

bitter,

and disillusioned.

So – what am I doing about it?  What are you doing about it?

Are we too busy just talking about it and shaking our heads?  Are we spouting off negativity to everyone around us and filling Facebook with our rants?

Or are we doing something positive to help turn the trend one small step at a time?

When Israel was going down the tubes thousands of years ago, God told Ezekiel that he was looking for someone – anyone – who would build a wall against the injustice that was happening.  A wall that would keep out the lies and oppression.

God was looking for someone to stand in the gap before him on behalf of the Israelite people.  “But I found no one.”

Is this same thing happening today?  Is it all just talk?  Or are you and I figuring out how to do our part in standing in the gap for our country?

Let’s pray daily for our country.

Let’s put feet on the ground and work together to help turn our country back into the land which was founded with “In God We Trust”.

Please help each of us start a ripple that will become a bigger and bigger wave as we all join in the movement to turn our country back to you, Abba Father.  Nothing is impossible for you.

Restored

Forgiven

Made new.

I’ve made mistakes.  You’ve made mistakes.  We have all messed up – ending up dealing with some degree of mud and pain as consequences.

I had a period of my life where I wandered very far away from God.  When I realized how lost I had become, all I wanted to do is go back.

Be restored.

Be forgiven.

Be renewed.

The really awesome news for all of us is that God is the creator of second chances.  He stands ready with third, fourth, and more chances – how many do I need?  The only answer I have to that is ‘more’.

God promises us in Ezekiel 11 that, when we turn back to him, he will give us a new perspective.  He will change us from the inside out – starting with our hearts.  He will open our hearts so we can feel the peace and joy only he can give.  When we focus on loving God and loving others, we will experience all the blessings that come from a good, good Father.

Do you want to be restored?

He’s waiting.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Fill It Up!

“The cloud filled the temple and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the LORD.”

This was one part of a vision that God have to Ezekiel and I love visualizing this when I’m in a worship service where something annointed is happening.  The church family I was a part of before our last move gave a simple explanation of the Great News at the end of each teaching and then invited anyone who had not accepted God’s gift of grace to do it that day.  I love this because I think too many churches assume everyone who is sitting in the pew is a Christ-follower.

During the prayer that always followed their invitation, I got into the habit of watching in my mind as the Spirit of God filled the room.  This huge cloud of grace and love and goodness would roll in over our heads, filling the space and hanging there – crowding out worries and disbelief and regrets – blessing us with the glory of God’s radiance.

I know God is with us all the time but I got goosebumps when I visualized the cloud of God’s spirit billowing in and changing people’s lives – redeeming them from their past mistakes and giving them a light for their futures.

Thank you for filling our lives with your grace and love, Abba.   You are a good, good Father.

Attacking the Mountains

Ezekiel prophesied that God was going to ‘bring a sword’ against the mountains.  God was planning to destroy the high places where the Israelites worshipped other gods.  He was going to smash the altars they used when they made sacrifices to their pagan gods.  Their idols would be demolished – everything would be wiped out.

God had clearly told the Israelites many times through several prophets to get rid of their idols and take down the high places once and for all.  They hadn’t done it so God was now going to let the Babylonians do it for them.

God was attacking the mountains because they wouldn’t.

How does this relate to my life?

Is there anything that God has told me to get rid of in my life that I haven’t done?  Has God been telling me to change any of my priorities?  Are there places or people or things that I care about more than I care about God?  Because – whatever they are – those would be my idols.  That would be my high place.

There was a time in my life when God pointed out an idol I had – it was my career.  In the middle of a Women’s Bible study, he whispered into my ear that I was on the wrong path.

Honestly, my first reaction was anger.  How could I possibly be on the wrong path?  My family and I went to church regularly, I was in the church choir and volunteered in many different areas at church.  I was a good person who worked hard.  How could this possibly be the wrong path?

But – in my heart – I knew exactly what God was saying.  My career goals had become too important to me and my priorities needed to change.  I didn’t stay angry very long because the truth was very evident in my life when I took some time to think it through.

I am very grateful that God identified that issue for me so many years ago because I changed my thinking and adjusted my priorities which put me on the right path – next to my Father God.  I still had a great career from which I recently retired but it no longer was more important to me than God was in my life.

As I read God’s message in Ezekiel, I can imagine that, if I had not responded to his whisper, God would have eventually ‘attacked’ my career in order to get my attention and motivate me to change.  I”m glad it never got to that point.

I need to listen closely to God’s whispers.

So do you.  Has he whispered anything to you lately?

Please open our ears, Abba Father.

What Do I Choose?

I can be like a bush in the wastelands dwelling in a parched place of the desert.  Dry.  Empty. Hot.

Or

I can be like a tree planted by the water, sending my roots deep into the stream so I have no fear when the heat comes.  My leaves stay green and I always bear fruit.

God tells me through Jeremiah that it’s my choice.  I will be like a parched bush if I put my trust in people.

If I choose to sink my roots deep into my relationship with God,

if I choose to trust in the LORD and keep my confidence in him,

I will thrive.  I will grow.  I will have no fear.

No contest – right?

I love when God encourages me through words like these.  It feels like he is patting me on the back, saying “You’re on the right path.”  This is the the journey I want to be on.   It’s taking me where I want to go – sinking my roots deep into the Stream of Living Water.

I’m grateful you are on this journey with me.

We love you, Abba Father.

Has It Vanished?

It can be very hard to find.

Where is the truth?

The made-up dramas that fill the airways aren’t the truth.  The political rants on TV are just twisted opinions, not the truth.  Very few of the “information” posts on Facebook are the truth.  Many of the tweets we read aren’t true.

We are barraged by lies and half-truths all day, every day.  What’s the truth?

This problem of finding the real truth is an ancient problem.

God told the Israelites through Jeremiah, “This is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction.  Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.”

Like the Israelites, our nation is wandering from God and we are not responding to correction.

We have kicked God out of our schools, creating a crisis of evil in them.

We have not obeyed God’s greatest commandments – love him and love each other – creating an emptiness that makes it seem like suicide is the only answer.

Our nation is so lost and rebellious that murdering those who enforce the law is an almost daily occurrence.

We need to know the Truth.  And his name is Jesus.

The Truth has not vanished –  I know where he is.  His Spirit lives in my heart.

Do you know the Truth?

Thank you, Jesus.

I Can Be Very Stubborn

Which way am I going?  Forward?

Or backward?

Am I moving towards God?

Or away?

Maybe I’m not moving anywhere – just staying the same?  If that’s true, then I’m wandering because I need to be growing closer to God.

One of the things that made God’s anger burn toward Israel was that fact that they “went backward and not forward.” Jeremiah tells us.  “They followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts.”

Wow!  There are situations where I can be very stubborn.  How about you?

I think the key for those of us with this stubborn streak is also found in these verses from Jeremiah where God calls us to walk in obedience.  That’s where I need to be stubborn.  That’s exactly where you need to be stubborn.  We need to be very stubborn about walking in obedience.

Then God promises that it will ‘go well’ with me – and you.

As I am stubborn about following the heart of God, not my own, I find myself moving forward –

closer to God –

right into his arms.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Waiting……

for an answer.

Waiting for healing.

Waiting for God to respond, to act, to move.

I feel like I should be doing something while I wait…..I can’t just sit here.

Something needs to be done – maybe I should do it?  Something?  Not sure what because God hasn’t said.

<sigh>

Have you been here?  Waiting is hard.  It feels like I’m ignoring the issue and that’s not how I roll.  It feels I should be helping…..fixing….speaking to someone about something.

But then God taps me on the shoulder and reminds me of his word to me in Lamentations 3 – His compassions never fail – they are new every morning.  Great is your faithfulness, Abba Father!

Yes, I know he is faithful.  I’ve experienced his faithfulness my entire life.  I know he is moving – he’s at work even though I may not see him.

He is helping.

He is fixing.

He is speaking to someone about something.

He always has and he always will.

Thank you for your faithfulness, Abba Father!