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Showing posts from September, 2010

Oh Daniel, Did You Know, Did You Know?

Pity the poor prophets who had wonderful visions but probably never knew what those visions meant. If they did know, how disappointed they must have been not to see the fulfillment of those dreams.

Daniel is lying down on his bed and God sends him a dream. Among the many fascinating things he sees, the most glorious must have been this:

"As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated and the books were opened. Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but w…

The Power of One

I can't count the number of times I've given my seminar on being one in a two-digit world—the wholeness of being single. As I read Ezekiel 22 this afternoon I was reminded again of the value that one person can have.

Let me set the stage. The Lord has again spoken to Ezekiel and delivers a long litany of sins that God's people have committed against their Lord. You name it and it's there somewhere in the first 29 verses of Ezekiel 22.

Then comes a statement that is sad in its implications. The Lord says: "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord" —Ezekiel 22:30, 31, NIV.

Just one valiant, righteous man would have held back the wrath of God. Just one.

We look at our own land and breathe…

Whew, A Ray of Hope!

My friend, Joanne, calls him "Freaky Zieky" and he certainly is! As I was reading more of Ezekiel's story this morning, I really felt for the man. He's packing bags to go nowhere, digging holes in walls and then crawling through them. He's trembling and shuddering without the aid of zero degree temperatures. I wonder how many laughed at him right to his face?

You have to give the man credit for humble and persistent obedience. It's not everyone who can make a fool of himself on purpose.

In the midst of all the dire predictions of murder, mayhem and mass destruction, all ably illustrated by Ezekiel, the Lord sends an absolute ray of sunshine. Seemingly out of nowhere Almighty God chooses to encourage the people upon whom his judgment has fallen. He took pity on his prophet. Ezekiel was overcome with grief, and God reached down to minister to him (Ezekiel 11:13).

The Lord says: "I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries wher…

Forget the Wheels—Part Two

Considering some of the weird and wonderful things Ezekiel was commanded by the Lord to do, he probably couldn't be blamed if he had been a little peeved at his assignment. After all, Ezekiel was a priest, a dignified member of his community and it just didn't seem right to ask him to lie around on his right side in a public view for 390 days and then on his left side for another 40. Not to mention how offensive it was for the poor man to have to cook his meals, in public, over a campfire fueled by human excrement. Happily the Lord allowed him a reprieve on this last one and let him cook his bread over cow manure. But, still…! Then he had to shave his head and his beard—a definite nasty for a Jew.

What was all this about? Why such "in-your-face" illustrations?

Israel has been taken into captivity to Babylon. Judah is about to suffer the same fate at the hand of the Assyrians. God's people have behaved so badly for so long that God has come to the end of the divin…

Forget the Wheels—Part One

I started in on the book of Ezekiel in my devotional reading this morning. Probably you've heard a good many sermons on. or references to, Ezekiel's "wheelie" visions. Everyone seems fascinated by the wheels and what they mean.

If you think I'm going to tell you the meaning of the wheels well, you can just toss that thought right out of your mind. Tumbling around and around in circles trying to figure out the wheels is a great way to miss the real focus of the passage. After Ezekiel finishes describing the undefinable he describes the indescribable. He sees the Lord.

"Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light…

FRIDAY FICTION: A Stab In The Dark

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Today is FRIDAY FICTION, hosted by our very own Joanne at An Open Book. Check her site out for more good reads. My entry today (from a past Faithwriters Challenge) takes us back into ancient Egypt and reminds me that even in the darkest moments there is always a glimmer of divine light.
A STAB IN THE DARK “Yup, deader than my uncle’s great aunt.” A skinny bare foot shot out to poke the body sprawled on the sun-baked earth.
“You ain’t got an uncle, Arnon.”
“That’s the point. Anyway, this guy won’t be botherin’ none of us no more.”
The other man looked around furtively. The noonday heat had driven every living thing in search of cooler places. The two men were alone—if you didn’t count the dead man.
“Yah, well, there are lots to replace him. Slave drivers work and slaves work, but only one of us gets paid.”
The man without an uncle bent over to finger the cloth of the dead man’s tunic.
“How much you think that’s worth, Ghassan?”
“Forget it. You can’t sell it, wear it, or give it away unless you’…

Presumptuous Sin

"His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful" —2 Chronicles 26:15, NIV.

What is it about success that plants the seeds of failure?

"But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense" —2 Chronicles 26:16, NIV.

Ahhhhh, pride.

Uzziah's punishment was a touch of leprosy. That's just as deadly as a touch of cancer. Physical death might take a while, but it's becoming a pariah in the community that really hurts. No one to touch and no one to be touched by. Total isolation except for those who have also been embraced by the disease.

Uzziah's son, Jotham learned the lesson. "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Uzziah had done, but unlike him he did not enter the temple of the Lord" —2 Chronicles 27:2, NIV.

Interestingly it wasn't the pride that was …

So You Think You Can Sing?

Today's journey through Scripture took me to one of my favourite passages in 2 Chronicles 20. Let me summarize for you. Jehoshaphat (one of the good guys) is faced with a big problem. An army is headed toward Jerusalem with unfriendly intentions. The king calls for people to fast and seek the Lord. Excellent move. Jehoshaphat personally leads the inquiries and in a beautiful prayer acknowledges the supremacy of God over everything, including Israel's enemies. He then throws himself, and his people, on the mercy of the God to whom they have committed themselves no matter what happens, as he says: "If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us…For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you" (20:9, 12, NIV).

In the history of…

These Bad Knees Don't Like It Much, But I'll Do It …

Both yesterday and today, I encountered a couple of passages in my reading that ignited the flames of desire in me. Yesterday I read 2 Chronicles 4-6 and today I continued with chapters 7-9. All of these describe the celebrations and ceremonies that went on as King Solomon dedicated the temple he had built for the Lord.

In yesterday's reading I came upon 2 Chronicles 5:13, 14. The musicians have launched themselves full-tilt into worship. As the singers raise their voices toward heaven, the writer records: "Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God." Then a little further on, after Solomon offers a wonderful prayer to God, the Scriptures record: "When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple…