One Way Street to Destruction

Ezekiel 6:3-7 (KJV)

“3And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God; Thus saith the Lord God to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places 4And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols 5And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars 6In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished 7And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”

When I was in the fifth grade I remember having a discussion with one of my friends about the reality of God. He was just as your common day atheist, with no substance to support his reasoning for there being no God. As our conversation began to escalate he ended the conversation by running to recess yelling “if God is real let Him strike me with a lightning bolt!”

I remember feeling sorry for a kid who was, at that time, my best friend. I had known him since kindergarten and I remember thinking that he was going to have a rude awakening one day. I didn’t think he would get hit by a lightning bolt but I knew God would get his attention someday. How exactly does this happen?

The passage above gives a description of one of the ways the Lord will grab our attention. He will take everything that holds your “so-called” happiness and cast it down. In those days it was altars, idols and images. In our day it’s bars, celebrities, homes, and finances. The world will run to a bar for a “quick pick me up”, reality television to feel better about their own lives, homes for stability and finances to buy whatever they believe will make them happy. These high places will never be able to hold the weight of the true joy that we long for.

Ever notice that when people begin to lose their homes and/or jobs they run to church. While they are definitely running to the right place, it doesn’t have to take situations like the Children of Israel were faced with to submit our lives to the Lord. As Matt. 6:20 reads, “lay up your treasures in Heaven”, because when your treasures are in heaven, so is your heart.

The Lord gets upset when your heart is stored in anything else but Him. So be forewarned, if your trust, happiness and/or stability is relying on anything other than God you are going down a one way path that leads to destruction. Rather than getting to a braking point, take the necessary steps to put God first in everything. God bless!

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Follow The Leader

1 Peter 5:5-11

“5Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

As humans we have the tendency to attempt to keep situations in control. If there is a problem we desperately seek for a solution assuming that it is within our own power to turn around certain situations. There are a variety of self help and do-it-yourself books that are accessible with the click of a button. As humans we are reluctant to look inward and find the root of the problem. We would rather cover the holes or wounds inside with a patch, rather than being transparent and having open heart surgery. The fact is that many of our actions stem from experiences we’ve faced throughout our lifetime and rather than presenting these situations and feelings to the Lord, we “bottle” them up deep inside of us. Then the harsh emotions that dwell inside of us begin to control all of our relationships and daily habits.

The scripture says to HUMBLE yourself before the Lord and cast your ANXIETIES (worries, stresses, etc.) before HIM, so that in the right time (due season, the time he has appointed for you) HE can life you up! When we become transparent and allow ourselves to be vulnerable before the Lord, we remove our hand from interfering with the work that GOD IS TRYING TO DO IN US.

Our Father in heaven sees our pain, worries and all other anxieties. He is also more than willing, capable and faithful to provide, we must first be willing to say “Father I can’t do it by myself.”.

There will be moments in our life when we are given a leadership role, whether it be in ministry, work, at home or whatever other setting you might be able to think of. This role does not mean that you are capable of doing the task all by yourself, but God is giving you some responsibility because He is confident YOU will rely on HIM! There are too many times in life when we attempt to be perfect and accept anything less as failure. Lean unto God and lay the anxieties before Him, so that He may exalt you in His perfect timing. God bless!

I Have A…. Vision?

Ezekiel 1:1-3 (ESV)

“1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. 2 On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, 3 the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was upon him there.”

There are times when people feel led to do certain things, some have good reasons, some have selfish reasons, others say they have no reason and then there are those who do things and make decisions for Godly reasons. Well what is a Godly reason? A Godly reason is when God speaks yo you, through visions (as we see in the passage above), through His Word (Bible), and prayer (meditation). When He does speak He will confirm and continue to tug at your spirit.

Then the devil creeps in and attempts to keep you from following the vision God has given you. We begin to doubt and second guess our decisions. We ask God for another sign or vision. Then He follows through a second time and we continue to doubt. However, as we see here with Ezekiel, he was receiving visions from God and then the Lord speaks to us, through the scripture to sure up our doubt. The scriptures say, that the HAND OF THE LORD WAS UPON HIM. It does not get any clearer than that. Ezekiel was receiving vision, direction, instruction, whichever allows you to understand best and the hand of the Lord was upon Him.

Whenever the Lord sends you into a certain direction or gives you a specific vision, there is no need to doubt or second guess, because when the Lord speaks to you, HIS HAND IS WITH YOU. Therefore, there is no need to fear, because when HIS hand is with you HE will provide the resources and equip us with everything we need and more! Walk with your God given confidence today, trusting that God will provide the rest! God bless.

The Righteousness of Dogs

Psalm 42:1-2 (ESV)

“1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?”

Pant – to breathe in a labored manner; to long eagerly.

Have you ever witnessed a dog running on a hot afternoon? I have two dogs and many friends with dogs, so I have came across this situation many times. The dog runs around in blistering heat and then when it stops to cool itself down, the first thing the dog will do is look for water. However, if the dog cannot find water it will begin to PANT. This panting is an attempt to cool itself down, while also letting everyone around know that it is thirsty. If not given water fairly quickly this panting can become rather extensive. The heart begins to beat inside of its chest at an abnormal rate, common to the symptoms of a humans anxiety attack. The fact is that this dog is over heating and recognizes the fact that it desperately needs some water to cool down.

By now you are probably wondering where exactly I am going with this. Well in this Psalm, David is crying out to the Lord and uses a rather abnormal term to describe his spiritual state. This word really stood out to me as I was reading the scriptures. The first thing that came to mind was my dog, who pants regularly, then the thought of humans panting came to mind. First was how many humans actually pant and then how many humans should be panting. Some of you may be saying, well that’s because I’m not overweight so why would I pant? However, the question is how many of us should be panting?

When we get thirsty we merely get up and walk to the fridge and grab a cold beverage. On the other hand, what are we doing when we are beginning to over-heat spiritually? Do we recognize this type of over-heating? Do we believe it is a state we can control on our own, by changing our environment, or do we seek the LIVING WATER?

The Word of God tells us in Psalms chapter one that if we stay planted near the stream of water we shall be sustained, not in want and in due season shall bear fruit. To stay planted near that stream, we must take time to give thanks (worship), pray (honor), and water (read HIS word).

There are going to be times when the enemy will attack you, some days more than others. None the less, the devil is always on the prowl, we must continuously pant for more of the Lord in our life. It through Him and through Him only that we will be sustained, that we will be prosperous and through Him that we will spend eternity in Heaven. Strive to see His face a little clearer today! God Bless.

Who Are You Serving?

Romans 1:1

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,”

Servant – One that serves others.

I love the way Paul opens his letters, stating to the people that he is a SERVANT of Jesus Christ. What I love even more is that in it’s original greek text it is written as, BONDSERVANT. When we think of a servant we think of someone who is forced to carry out tasks, duties and/or labor. Either because they have been taken captive or because they need financial support, therefore they subject themselves to this servanthood. Our modern day term would be an employee, because most of us get jobs to support ourselves and our families. So we become employees which are subject to instruction by managers and/or supervisors.

Employees do not work for free, they either get paid or they quit. Sometimes employees will even threaten their leaders with quoting in order to receive more money for their work. Now do not get me wrong, I am not saying that getting paid for out work is wrong in anyway, I’m merely setting the scene for what a BONDSERVANT is. You see because a BONDSERVANT is someone who freely chooses to serve, without pay. One who when they are faced with the option of living according to their own ways or staying to serve in subjection to their master. Which in the Christians case is Jesus Christ.

This is why I admire Paul, because he had no need change his ways. He was living life the way he wished, he was in good favor with the people and was working for the high priests, so he had no desire for financial support. However, when the Lord came to him, he freely set aside all those things to become a servant for the Lord.

Most of us come to the Lord out of desperation, whether it be for financial support, a broken heart or the need of physical healing. Which by no means are bad reasons to follow Christ, but Paul had everything going for him and was on his next mission when the Lord spoke to him and turned his life upside down. My question is this, Are we living our lives as employees, expecting something in return from God? Or are we living as bondservants, thankful for all the things HE has already done in our lives and how HE has molded our hearts?

I urge you today to evaluate yourself, are you doing this Christ thing because you believe it offers more benefits than the world? Or Are you truly allowing God to set you apart because of the Love that has encompassed you and turned your heart from the selfish and bitter person you used to be? If you truly wish for the Holy Spirit to take hold of your life start by examining your heart, forget about the blessings you desire and focus on what God has called you to do, spread the Gospel to all the nations. (Matt. 28:19) Open yourself up and live as a BONDSERVANT. God bless.

Do You Feel Imprisoned?

(Acts 26:31-32 ESV)

“31And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment. 32And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

You see Paul could have been set free, but he would not have fulfilled the entirety of the Lord’s will for his life. You see, Jesus, told Paul that he would testify for Jesus in Rome, therefore he had to appeal to Caesar. Paul was innocent, he knew it and everyone else knew it. Do you think if the Father pleased He could have just let Paul off the hook right then and there? Of course He could have, but God has a bigger and more powerful plan than our little minds can bear. The Lord wanted to affect more people than just those surrounding Paul. He knew there were people waiting for Paul, so that they can be healed and saved as well.

A lot of times we are not going to understand the plans the Lord has for us, but what we can understand is that HE is in control and even if we feel a little uncomfortable, HE is still going to take good care of us. Paul was in prison for a long time, but never once does the bible say that Paul was suffering while imprisoned.

Do not fear your current circumstances, allow the Lord to have His way and He will continue to sustain you. Even while Paul was imprisoned the Lord stood by his side and let him know that everything was going to be ok and that the Lord still had plans for him. Know that the Lord is not finished with you, He has a plan for you to reach people for HIS glory, take heart and stay in good cheer! For this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it! God Bless.

Setting The Bar High

Acts 15:7-11

“7And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

        As Christians we sometimes tend to forget what the Lord has given us grace on and saved us from.  We begin to think that this walk is easy and hold others to extremely high standards.  For some of us we forget that this walk we now have with Christ, like any any relationship, took time to build.  There are times of feeling disconnected, lazy and doubtful.  Yet, we expect others to be able to achieve this relationship with Christ at the snap of OUR fingers.  The fact is that God doesn’t move at the sound of our voice or when we feel it is necessary.  We move at the sound of His voice, at the time He deems appropriate.

        Many tend to turn into a person who becomes resentful at the things others do because they can no longer do them.  A bitterness sets in and the grace and mercy God shed on us, we cannot shed on others, which in return takes that covering of grace and mercy off of our own lives.  There were two commandments that Jesus gave during His time on earth: 1. Love the the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength 2. Love your neighbor as yourself.  Have you ever heard someone say ” Well I love God, I just think that some of the people around me are idiots.”  I can’t help but laugh when I hear comments like this, or with somewhat of the same meaning, because if you love God those who act foolish should be receiving more of your love than those closest to you.  Jesus said that He came for the lost, yet we feel that the lost having nothing to live for and should just be wiped off the face of the earth.

        In the passage above the people were exclaiming to the Apostles and Elders that the gentiles were not baptized therefore they should cannot be saved.  I love the response of Peter when he says why should we place a yoke on the disciples that not even our fathers were able to bear.  In other words, why are we requiring others to be holy before coming to the Father, when even when we were circumcised we acted worse then them.  Why are we setting standards for others, that we were never able to attain?  Why do we not show the grace and mercy that the Father showed to us?

        Don’t hold others to standards that we were once not able to reach ourselves.  Shower others with love and encouragement and allow God to be in charge of the increase.  I urge you to shower people with love and encouragement today, let the love of God flow out of you.  I’m going to end today’s post with a prayer, be open to the spirit and receive it. God Bless!

“Heavenly Father we come before you Lord with longing hearts,desperately seeking grace, mercy and favor in your eyes. We ask Lord that you would forgive us of the standards we hold others to, when we ourselves cannot attain these standards. We ask Lord that your hand would be among us today, that as we pour out love and encouragement on others today, they would receive it and fell YOUR touch. Their hearts would turn to YOU and YOU would begin to lead them in righteousness. I ask that YOU watch over us and continue to guide our footsteps and make clear the path YOU have set before us.  In the name of YOUR SON JESUS, AMEN!”