The stunning power of Scripture

I have generally kept to the Scripture reading of the Daily Office the past couple of years. It keeps me in both the Old and New Testaments. There are also those amazing times when the reading I am working through in the Daily Office collides with the current world.

In this time of upheaval I am now in Ezekiel. It makes for eye opening reading.

Continue reading “The stunning power of Scripture”

Notes from the wilderness

I am working my way through Ezekiel as the Lord stirs in my heart more about “Living in Babylon.” This was a sermon series I did in 2016, but I left a lot unexplored. The Lord is bringing this back around to me and in this season as I form extended thoughts on this subject, I am being drawn to the vivid imagination of Ezekiel. (Thank you, Eugene Peterson.) Continue reading “Notes from the wilderness”

The watchman on the wall

I am reading back through Ezekiel these days, asking the Lord about “imagination.”

As I read through the early part of Ezekiel again, I am struck by Ezekiel’s call. I also think of Jeremiah’s call. They were to warn clearly regardless of the response. If they didn’t give the warning, God would hold them (the prophets) accountable. In an era where church leaders are consumed with response, this is just offensive.  Continue reading “The watchman on the wall”

Can these bones live?

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” (Ez. 37:1-4)

There are those times we face impossible situations. Those times we are looking over a valley of dry bones. Those times when we think the dream is dead. We see hope gone. We see the “faith” we had just simply… gone… evaporated. It’s not a matter of “perhaps” anymore.

But God has Ezekiel over that valley looking at the impossible and asking a very crazy question, “What do you think? Can these bones live?”

Give credit to Ezekiel. I would have said, “You have GOT to be crazy!”

Ezekiel said, “Lord, you alone know.”

He was ready for anything, which is great, because the Lord then had him PROPHESY over the dead bones.

What a sight. Ezekiel standing over a valley of parched bones prophesying LIFE into an impossible situation.

We need those levels of obedience in our lives. We need those levels of boldness in our lives. It is time to speak boldly what the Lord has declared in your heart for your life, your church, your city, your family…

It is time to hear the word of the Lord, and speak it. 

I am in a place now where things are moving forward with our church, but every day I am waking up with words the Lord has me declare with freedom and boldness. He is asking me to pray this victory all the way home. It is time for a boldness that looks past the physical situation to what the Lord can truly DO in our lives, in our church, in our city.

There is an abundance that is there for my church. There is a harvest. There is an abundant blessing. The enemy won’t rise up and take this away.

Those are the kinds of things the Lord has me declaring every morning this week. It is time to speak LIFE and see what God alone can do.

Eat this scroll — the importance of spiritual feasting

Ezekiel was commanded to eat the scroll full of judgments and doom. Just eating something like a scroll doesn’t seem too pleasant, but to eat words of doom and gloom… I would think there would be an expectation of bitterness.

But Ezekiel found the scroll sweet as honey.

We need to feast on the words of God. All of them. Even the tough ones. Even the “doom and gloom” stuff.

His word to us, no matter how tough, is life giving if we pay attention!

No matter how tough the word of the Lord may be in our lives, his goal for us is far more life giving than the junk this world tries to feed us.

Feast on life.

Speaking Truth Has Little to do with Response

That said, it is still up to us as believers to take up the admonition to speak the truth in love. That still may not go well, but it does not release us into the depths of this world’s system of “taking it to the man” (or whatever phrase they are using these days).

But when we communicate truth, the reality is that the truth does not always evoke a “positive” response. What we need to remember is that it is not our call. Our call is obedience.

10 He said to me: Human one, listen closely, and take to heart every word I say to you. 11 Then go to the exiles, to your people’s children. Whether they listen or not, speak to them and say: TheLord God proclaims! (Ez. 3;10-11, CEB)

Being Hard Headed

It’s okay to be hard-headed! Hallelujah!

Stubborn.

Immovable.

It’s biblical!

I’ve now hardened your face so that you can meet them head-on. I’ve made your forehead like a diamond, harder than stone. Don’t be afraid of them or shrink away from them, because they are a household of rebels. (Ez. 3:8-9, CEB)

AND, being hard-headed puts you in “diamond” status!

It’s all good news! 😉

The real scoop is really, “Are you hard-headed for the gospel?”

When there is a message of truth that needs to be proclaimed, and the word of the Lord is strong, are you ready to proclaim what God has given you even if the audience doesn’t listen.

This is when I do NOT want to be “hard headed.” This is when I want to run away and wish God had never talked to me!

We all wish for “positive” responses.

What God needs, however, is straight up obedience. And he’ll even gift us with the hard head!

 

Gog and Magog and the End of the World

The past couple of weeks I have been reading through Jeremiah, Lamentations and Ezekiel. Just some light summer reading before heading back into teaching…

As I cruise through Ezekiel 37-39 I am thrown back to my high school days. Those were the days when I had everything figured out. The Rapture, Israel, the Church, all of it. I could predict when Russia was going to invade Israel…

Life was so much easier when it was so doggone predictable! Then, Russia blew up, the Rapture didn’t happen, and the world got more complicated.

But somewhere along the line I actually read past Ezekiel 39. Who knew there were more chapters? Who knew there was such a thing as context?

And as I am reading again about the glory of the Lord returning to the Temple… a temple built by God… and what had left the building at the beginning of Ezekiel was now returning

Okay, I still don’t know what in the world this is all talking about… and I am done predicting. (Although, with that earthquake on the East Coast yesterday… 😉 )

But as I read through the description of the glory of the Lord returning, and thinking about the context of an entire book where the glory has been gone so God could deal with this mess in Israel, I have felt that longing for the return of the glory. As I read this return of the glory in Chapter 43 there is a rejoicing in my heart! What God had pulled back is now returning! I am thrilled for Israel in this story!

And there is a hunger in my heart.

9/11’s tenth anniversary approaches. When it first happened, I knew this wasn’t just about America. It was something about the American church. And now as this anniversary approaches, there is still a strong stirring in my heart that there is still something to hear from the Lord about the American church. Not America. It’s not the people of God.

But the church needs to have their ears open. The Spirit wants to speak. There is a sense of anticipation.

And 9/11 falls on a Sunday this year. What better opportunity to actually STOP… and listen?

I may not have the end of the world figured out, but I do have a greater sense of hunger for the Spirit to do something new.