Thursday, May 20, 2021

Sign Acts


Therefore, son of man, prepare your belongings for captivity, and go into captivity by day in their sight. You shall go from your place into captivity to another place in their sight. It may be that they will consider, though they are a rebellious house. By day you shall bring out your belongings in their sight, as though going into captivity; and at evening you shall go in their sight, like those who go into captivity.  Dig through the wall in their sight and carry your belongings out through it.  In their sight you shall ear them on your shoulders and carry them out at twilight; you shall cover your face, so that you cannot see the ground, for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel.” – Ezekiel 12:3-6


While Jeremiah prophesied about Israel going into captivity, Ezekiel was a living sign of what was coming.  In Ezekiel 4 he was told to lie on his left side for 390 days and only on his right side for another 40 days.  During the 390 days he was to only eat 10 ounces of bread a day, and had to cook it over cow dung.  In the passage above, God tells him to enact going into captivity so that everyone can see what it will look like when they are taken into captivity.   

God used Ezekiel’s life as a sign of the punishment to come for an idolatrous nation who had turned their back on Him.  In Ezekiel 12:2 God said “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.  In using Ezekiel’s life He was showing them a visual of what would come. 

Prophets who were given these assignments are now classified as those who performed “Sign Acts”.  There are many of these in the Bible.  Jeremiah was to walk with a yoke and bonds around his neck. Isaiah was told to walk naked and barefoot for three years (Isaiah 20:2).  In my mind, Isaiah had the toughest of assignments!

But reading of Ezekiel’s sign acts, I wondered how many times in our lives God may be doing the same?  Perhaps the homeless family entering a shelter is to cause us to be more grateful for our home.  Or perhaps the handicapped are to demonstrate to us that our health is a gift not everyone is given, and we should respect it.  When officials in high-ranking offices fall into the traps of seduction or addition, perhaps God is showing us that no one is immune to the temptations of sin.  Perhaps those that suffer among us are demonstrating through their lives to us that these are the traps we could fall into, or the things God has spared us from.

In Jeremiah 33:3 God speaks to Jeremiah and says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  Some of those things may be living around us.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Our Reality is not the Only Reality


I’ve been reading Ezekiel 1 this morning, and he tells the story of his first vision from God.  Honestly, I’ve never had a dream like this!  If it were a movie, it would be classified as science fiction, filled with crazy kinds of beings with amazing skills!  Here’s the passage regarding the creatures he saw:

“As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.

Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them.” – Ezekiel 1:10-18

I had to look up images that have been created to get a picture in my mind of what this would look like.  Then I went to my favorite Bible scholar’s writings and read what Adam Clarke said about it.  Then God spoke to me a verse I often remember when reading His word, Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Adam Clarke expressed that the eyes on the wheels may have been where the spokes connected.  But that’s not what the Word says.  It says they were eyes! 

It is in our own reality that we try to envision the things we’ve not seen.  Because we’ve never seen a being that resembles a wheel with eyes, we picture a wheel as we know it, with something that looks like eyes.  Yet, God says his thoughts are higher. 

When we try to fit God’s word into our reality, I believe we diminish it to only what we have seen and know.  Friends, the universe is vast, and there’s so much we ‘ve not seen!  Even the ocean floor has creatures that are being discovered daily.  There are creatures that can change their color, their size, and blend into a rock as if they were the rock.  There are creatures that glow, and species that carry various colors and shapes.  Google a few like the Leafy Sea Dragon, or the Christmas Tree Worm.  Even though we see these as wonderous creatures, God sees them as just another one of His many creations.

And then there’s the Spirit world that we have not yet seen.  Angels, Demons, the Holy Spirit, and God himself!  We simply cannot box our minds into believing that what we read is like something we know and have seen.  But one day, we will see and know.  Until then, believe God when He says if you seek Him, you will find Him.  He will reveal to you what you need to know, and some things are on a need-to-know basis.  


Saturday, May 8, 2021

How To Fight Your Battles

 So, David went on and became great, and the Lord of hosts was with him.” – 1 Chronicles 11:9


The story of David’s life has always been a sweet spot in my Bible reading.  He was a simple young boy, a shepherd tending sheep in the countryside.  When the day came that Samuel was called to anoint him as King even his own father wasn’t thinking of David.  He presented all his brothers, and David was an afterthought.

Reading about David’s relationship with God you can hear his humility.  You can hear in his conversations with God how dependent he knew he was on God.  When he was going up against Goliath he said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37) When he knew by Jonathan’s arrow that he had to escape Saul he bowed down three times, which is an act of humility and worship. Yet throughout David’s life, troubles and struggles were continual!   

David, or perhaps Samuel who wrote so much about David, had a favorite name for our God.  We all know He has many names, such as Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Nissin, Jehovah Rapha, Adonai, El Shaddai, Yahweh, and so on.  But time and time again, David refers to Him as the ”Lord of Hosts”. 

When David spoke to Goliath he said, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (I Samuel 17:45).  1 Samuel 5:10 says that David, as King of Israel, “became great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him.” In 1 Samuel 6:2 when David first went to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant from Baale Judah, it is referred to as “the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name, the Lord of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim”.  After finally retrieving the Ark 2 Samuel 16:8 says that after they had sacrificed offerings, danced, and praised God, David “blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts.

The Lord of Hosts mean that God commands an army of Angels, the Moon, the Sun, and the Stars.  David understood something that I think a lot of us have never recognized.  Angels do walk among us (Hebrews 13:2).  And they’re not little naked butt babies with wings or women with long flowing hair and gowns!  They are warriors! 

Some believe there are unisex – neither man nor woman.  But in the Bible those that are named are men (Michael, Gabriel, & Lucifer, the fallen angel.)  Michael was the Archangel who warred against the “king of Persia” in Daniel 10:13, and the angel who fought the dragon in Revelation 12:7.  Gabriel was the messenger angel that appeared to Zechariah and Elizabeth when she was pregnant with John the Baptist, and to Mary when she was pregnant with Jesus. He also appeared twice to Daniel with messages.  And lastly, Lucifer, Satan himself, once was an angel.  But he warred against the army of Heaven and was cast out, along with a third of all angels (Ezekiel 28:12-19).  And friends, if you don’t know his occupation, God bless you!

The Army of Heaven is made of angels, mighty warriors.  The Lord of Hosts commands them.  And friends, if He commanded them to watch over David and protect him from Goliath, from many wars, from Saul, and if He sends them to give messages to Zachariah, Daniel and Mary,  – He most certainly is commanding them over His children today and sending messages by them as well. 

The Lord of Hosts is how you should fight your battles. 

First, you want an army that can defeat your foe.  Ephesians 6:12 says we don’t wrestle against flesh (humans), but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Now if you had an enemy causing you grief in Kentucky, would you send someone from Nebraska to fight your battle?  Of course not.  Likewise, if our enemy if in the “heavenly places” we should ask God to send angels to defeat our enemy. 

Secondly, you don’t want a defender who is a first timer for the fighting ring.  The armies of the Lord has already defeated Satan and his evil troop when they were cast out of heaven.  The Lord of Host commands and army that has not been defeated.

And lastly, look back to David.  He pleaded with the Lord of Hosts to fight His battles, and he became great because the Lord of Hosts was with him.  Your success is rooted in your relationship with God, our Lord of Hosts.  He is almighty.  He reigns over all creation.  He is the only one who has the power to build up and cast down.

Friends, are you tired of trying to fight your own battles? It’s time to recognize defeat and fight them in prayer to the Lord of Hosts.  He is our great defender.



Friday, May 7, 2021

We Have Nothing to Fear but…


“Do not fear, O Jacob My servant,” says the Lord, “For I am with you;
For I will make a complete end of all the nations to which I have driven you,
But I will not make a complete end of you. I will rightly correct you,
For I will not leave you wholly unpunished.” – Jeremiah 46:28

 In 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke in his second inaugural address and said the famous words “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”.  It was in a time of great depression in our country.  The Nazi movement had already started, but it would be 6 years till war broke out. 

Was there really “nothing to fear”?  No.  No matter how low we get, how bad our economy, our government, or our morals, there is always something to fear: God.  I’m not saying God is an evil God who lurks about seeking to do bad things to us!  It’s exactly the opposite.  God is a loving God who watches over us, helping us, and guiding us.  But Friends, He is also a God who seeks your love and respect in return.  And like the days of Jeremiah when all the Israelites were taken captive as punishment, God does correct in love. 

God spoke the above verse telling all of Israel from the branch of Jacob “Do not fear” when they were already in captivity in Babylon.  I believe this verse expresses who God is toward His children better than any other I’ve read.  He says, “for I am with you”, like a Father walking in the dark with their child.  Even in His wrath toward them, He comforts them.  He won’t “make a complete end of you”, but He will correct you.  He will “not leave you wholly unpunished”. 

God’s wrath is like a slow burning fire.  It seems to take a lot of our sins to kindle it.  But when it starts - it burns hot.  Many of us have been giving him kindling with our daily sins, our daily devotion to things other than Him.  Just know that He will not leave you “wholly unpunished”, and you don’t get to pick the punishment.  You can, however, stop giving Him kindling.

Loving God is not only an emotion, but a verb.  It changes who you are and who you want to please.  It causes your own will to become second to His will.  Let your love for God increase.  Read about Him and understand His character.  Read about His love for us and grow closer to the One who loves you with an eternal love.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Roots of Disobedience


As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you! But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.” – Jeremiah 44:16-18


Disobedience is not just a rebel act.  Disobedience to God comes from a lack of belief in God.  If we all believed in His love and Almighty Power, and as well believed in his chastisement, we would fear and respect Him.  Instead, we become more evil as time goes by.  We’ve stopped believing God and stopped believing His word.

The same thing took down the cities of Judah and Jerusalem in the day of Jeremiah the Prophet.  After 39 years of speaking God’s words to the people, begging them to turn back to God and away from Idols, they would not relent.  So, God gave the punishment He had foretold. The inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah were taken captive.  Most were in the land of Babylon, yet some were in Egypt. 

Jeremiah was sent to Egypt to tell the people one more time of His anger at them for worshipping false gods.  Yet, they kept worshipping, burning incense, and sacrificing to their gods. But when they answered Jeremiah, they denied all of God’s past blessings upon them and proclaimed the “queen of heaven” was responsible for the good in their lives before captivity. 

They no longer believed in God. And because they no longer believed, they no longer obeyed.  The root of disobedience is unbelief in the punishment and the punisher. 

We all have evil in our hearts. Without punishment, our lives would be filled with evil and turmoil.  But God corrects those He loves (Hebrews 12:6).  Why? Because He does love us, and evil is not good for us!  It’s a simple as that.  But to accept His correction, we must believe it was from Him. We must acknowledge that it is God correcting us, and it was because of our own evil. 

Friends, we continually hear of idols, but have grown deaf to the fact that they are indeed idols, beings created from fictitious thoughts.  Karma, Mother Nature, Luck, Father Time, and the list goes on.  A storm occurs and brings disaster, and we hear that Mother Nature was angry.  Someone gets hurt after hurting another, and we say it was Karma.  And pronouncing your “luck” is no more than robbing God of the reward of your praise for what He has done for you. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Advice for the Stubborn


For you were hypocrites in your hearts when you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the Lord our God, and according to all that the Lord your God says, so declare to us and we will do it.’ “ – Jeremiah 42:20


Have you ever prayed to God for His direction, and then been disobedient to what He said?  I think we all have done it at least once.  We want what we want, and we want God to just slap a seal of approval on our already made decision.  But friends, God doesn’t work that way.  He looks out for our best and doesn’t abide by our wishes.

The remnant of Jerusalem after Babylon overtook her and took most away captive came to Jeremiah asking him to pray for them and where they should go.  They specifically said in verse 6, “ Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”  Yet, in their hearts, they wanted God to agree with them that they should go to Egypt.  Yet, God’s word back to Jeremiah was that they were not to go anywhere.  They were to stay in Jerusalem.  And God gave them encouraging words to trust, to help them see the future He planned for them.  He said in verse 10, “If you will still remain in this land, then I will build you and not pull you down, and I will plant you and not pluck you up. For I relent concerning the disaster that I have brought upon you. “.  God wanted a new future for them, one which He had prepared.  To enforce their staying, He also gave a vivid view of what their future would be if they went to Egypt in verse 17.  They would die by the sword, by famine, and pestilence.  None of them would escape what He would bring upon them.

So, on the right hand, you have being build up, planted, and living under God’s favor.  On the left hand, they would die by sword, starvation, or pestilence.  It would seem like a simple decision to make.  Pros and Cons are very clear on this one my friends!  Yet, when we have our minds made up was to what we are going to do – we’re as stubborn as a mule!  The first thing they said in return to Jeremiah’s message was to accuse him of lying! 

When we pray, we don’t always want the truth.  Sometimes we want to twist God’s arm and have Him just agree with our premade decisions. 

I’ve walked that path myself.  Years ago, I was given a job opportunity making far more money! It was exciting – enticing even!  So, I prayed and prayed.  I convinced myself God would want me to go.  After all – it was a brighter future with more money, right?  Along the way I would find things like mallard ducks walking the street of Chicago on my first trip to visit the new company.  I would say to myself, “See, God really does want me to do that – that’s something He knows I like.”  Yet only a couple of months later I was miserable, crying at my desk, and begging God to set me free from my terrible decision.  And yes, He gracefully answered that cry and put me back in the company I had left.

Oh, my dear friends!  Search yourself when you’re praying for God’s direction and be willing to take His answer.  He knows the future as history and is the only one who can safely lead you through this world with the best for your life.  If He says no, it is for your own good.  Trust Him and pray for Him to show you why it was a no.