Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sent to the Children

As God sent Ezekiel to the house of Israel to say, “Thus saith the Lord GOD,” so He sends me to the children of God, the Bride of Jesus Christ. The reaction will be the same from both: “And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.” (Ezekiel 2:5-8)

Likewise, He sends me to a people who are not of a strange speech and of an hard language (3:5), but to the Bride of Christ, His elect. But they will not hear me nor God, for like Israel, they are impudent and hard-hearted. God prepares me with a strong face, an adamant forehead, without fear. He speaks His Word to me that I place in my heart and hear with my ears. Thus shall I go to the Bride in captivity, unto those of the Body, and speak unto them, and tell them, “Thus saith the Lord GOD.”

Then I understood what happened to me next. I had not reached the end. I was at a midpoint, familiar yet unfamiliar. I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit, but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me. (3:14)

That was it exactly. I was bitter. I spoke and nothing seemed to happen. Even though God said it would be so, I was angry. Yet every day God’s lovingkindness and mercy that endures forever strongly persuaded me to do the one and only thing that I could do of any noticeable consequence. I worshipped God.

Upon the first set of calamities to strike Job, he “arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

It is almost easy to pray, confess sin, go to church, and any other manner of Christian activity. But to humble myself, get on my knees or prostrate myself before God and worship Him is all but impossible but for the grace of God constantly calling out His heart, “Worship me!” That is His great desire. It is the one thing He wants above all else from His people. It is the one thing most lacking today. It is given to others, willingly, and with terrible consequence to come.

“And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish .” (Deuteronomy 8:19)

God, I pray again to show me your Bride, the elect, and the remnant of Israel, who are asleep, that I may speak to them, and by thy Word, by the power of thy Holy Spirit, you will awaken them unto righteousness that they sin not. Cause them in their stirring to ready themselves for your coming, that they may be found “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that (they) should be holy and without blemish.” Set them apart to worship you in spirit and in truth and in the beauty of holiness that you have bestowed. For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things to the glory of God, Amen.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

God's Permanent Things

As my oldest son nears college age, people ask him, "What do you want to major in?" He has no idea. Like him, a friend's daughter went down the technical path in high school taking all honors classes, acing each one with little difficulty or study. Then she surprised her parents by desiring to be a music major in college. My wry son replied, "I want to be a circus clown."

We talk sometimes about what God's will is for his life. I think when a Christian hears that question they believe that God's will is a one-time, lifetime thing. I used to think so. But the Bible does not teach that. A few things started to bring that truth to me.

First, Romans 11:36 - 12:2 (a passage I teach often) was written in the present tense. God says, " that you may know what is that...will of God." Second, God is the God of the present. His very name, "I AM" proclaims this reality throughout Scripture. And thirdly, by experience, I know that what God wills for me today may not be what He wills tomorrow. God's will is so much more than what He wants me to do. It is how He wants me to do it that is so unique and personal and real and dynamic.

I am still a prophet, still called to be a prophet, still crying out to the Church through the written word. But that can all change. Someday God may want to gift me in a different way. One of the things my wife are considering right now is opening up our home to host small group fellowships. To make that successful we need to ensure that we do it in accordance with God's will.

Prophets are not the most welcoming people. Folks tend not to be comfortable around us. We do and say strange things. At least that's the way it seems to folks who are far from God and His truth. When the world seems normal to Christians instead of the things of God, then God and His Word seem strange. I'm just the messenger. So to open my home to folks who may be near or far requires someone with a more delicate touch initially. That would be my wife. She is gifted to do these things.

Our church is praying for God to raise up a senior pastor. I told our youth pastor the other day that we need to pray for God to raise up the other gifted members of the body as well. That is how God makes a whole body. A single pastor does not complete the body of Christ.

Likewise, we need that body in the home small group.

There are only a few permanent things about God in this context. Salvation is one of them. We never lose it. And in this life we never lose the presence of sin. We must always overcome it. Everything else is pretty much dynamic. That is why we must remain rooted and grounded in the permanent things of God in the midst of the dynamics of daily life.

I find myself counting on His lovingkindness, His mercy that endures forever, and his longsuffering. I count on Him calling out to me, listening to me, and welcoming me into His throneroom by the blood of Jesus. I love to spend time with Him as David did.

Psalm 27:4, "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple."

I love to worship in the beauty of holiness. His holiness. As I think on the things of Philippians 4:8, they all lead me back to Jesus. Nothing of this world fits them. Only Jesus. These are the permanent things of God.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I received some interesting feedback to this on Facebook.
What do you think?
I get nothing when I go to church but I give everything when I am the church.