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!

How Bright?

How bright is my light shining?

How much salt and light do I add to the world around me?

In the big garden of life, what is the color and value I add to the mix?  Am I a bold, vibrant color producing good fruit?   Or am I a weed, gathering bugs and creating issues in the garden?

When Jeremiah describes the eventual restoration of the Israelites after their captivity, he tells them they will shout for joy and rejoice in the bounty that God will provide.  ‘They will be a like a well-watered garden’.

Lush

Colorful

Productive

Growing.

A well-watered garden – I would really like that to describe you and I as we take this journey towards the truth together.

What am I adding to the garden?  What are you adding?

Please help us be a well-watered garden for you, Abba Father.

Confused

If I had to pick one word to describe our culture, I would pick confused.

So many lies which are reported as truth.

Constant messages that may or may not be true – who has the time to research it all?

Some of us believe a lot of the half-truths flying around.  Others of us become cynical and don’t believe anything we hear – even when it is true.

This is nothing new.  The people living around Ezekiel were very confused.  They were being told lies from men who claimed to be prophets of God.

False visions.

Prophesying out of their own imaginations.

Through Ezekiel, God called them out and exposed their deceit.

God exposes lies of our culture to us as we read and study his Word.  When my mind and heart are open to his truth, he transforms my thoughts and lines my heart up with his.

The lies become much more obvious when I know the Truth.

Thank you for your truth, Abba Father.

 

An UnDivided Heart

So many voices.

So many priorities competing for the minutes of my day.

So many distractions.

So many different paths.

It’s hard to stay focused on what’s really important.

God tells Ezekiel that, when the Israelites turn back to him, he will give them ‘an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them.’ (11:19)

That’s what I’m asking for, Abba Father.  An undivided heart.  A heart committed to knowing you and loving you.  

Please help me filter out the other voices so I can hear yours.  Guide me in organizing my priorities so I’m spending my time on the most important things.

 Take my eyes off the distractions around me and lead me on the path you have prepared for me.  

Help me stay focused on you, Father, so my heart remains faithful and strong in your truth.  In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Hope and a Future

Hope that everything will work out.

Trust that this journey ends in my heavenly home.

A future that has a lot of success and joy in it.

We love to quote Jeremiah 29 because God promises that his plans are to give us prosperity, hope and a future.

God’s prosperity is not about money, although money can be a part of it.  God’s prosperity includes things like peace and purpose and love – the things money can’t buy.

Too often, we hang on so tightly to the first sentence of this promise that we miss the rest.  The next sentence tells us ‘how’ God is going to do this.

When I call on God and pray to him, he will listen and answer, fulfilling his plans to prosper me.  When I seek him with all my heart, I will find him and he will give me hope and a future.

If I miss the ‘how’ of his promise,  I’m going to miss the whole thing.

God is clearly telling me that I have a part in making this promise come true.

When I’m diligent in going to him, praying and seeking him with all my heart, I can be confident that his plans for me are going to happen.

That’s my part.

You have got a part, too, if you want this promise to be true in your life.

Let’s not stop at the first sentence and miss what God has planned for us.  The second sentence is the key.

Thank you for your promise, Abba Father.

Revealer of Mysteries

I don’t understand everything I read in the Bible.  I will never understand everything I read in the Bible.  So it’s very interesting to watch God point out different truths to me each time I read it.

Daniel calls God the Revealer of Mysteries.  He tells the king that God unveils the mysteries when we need to know something.

Mysteries like –

why am I here?

why is this happening?

what am I supposed to do?

should I go through this door?

When we trust that God has all of these answers and will reveal them when we need to know, we are focused in the right direction.

I’m moving down the right path for me when I’m heading towards God.  I’m on the right road when I’m trusting that he will explain what I need to know when I need to know it.

As my trust in God grows, I have found that the number of mysteries in my life shrinks.  He is always speaking to me – loving me, guiding me and pointing out my next step just at the right time – not a day early.

The Revealer of Mysteries proves over and over that he has it all under control.

Thank you, Abba Father.