Previous month:
August 2005
Next month:
October 2005

Flight of the Monarch

I know this is a deviation from my typical posts, but as I was on the golf course yesterday afternoon I kept noticing the Monarch butterflies.  I guess this is the time of year that they migrate way, way south somewhere.  Can you tell how much of a non-expert I am?

Anyway, my deep thought is this:

I wonder how quick those butterflies would get where they were going if they would just fly in a straight line?

Ciao for now!


Intentional Worship

Reading through the latter chapters of Ezekiel this morning where the new vision of worship, offerings and temple are shown, I was reminded of how much time it must have took the people of Israel to worship God. As I look at all of the sacrifices that needed to be done just to be in God's presence, it makes me think of two things:

  1. How fortunate I am that I can come to God's throne just by praying.
  2. How lazy I really am in my worship of God.

I'm being lazy today.   I squeezed in my quiet time with God before I rushed off to work.  Last week, I squeezed it in between ministry duties.  Hmmmm....While there is something to be said about doing it at all, there is little to be said compared to what our forefathers had to do to be with God.

My question for today:  How much deeper a relationship could I have with God if I didn't have the seasons of rushing around with life?


God's Inner Circle - Part 2

In Ezekiel 44, there are more regulations given as to who can or cannot enter the temple of God.  As I mentioned in my post a few days ago, nothing that is impure can enter into God's presence.  Here, in vs 11-14, God explains to Ezekiel why the Levites (with the exception of the sons of Zadok) would be limited to certain types of temple ministry.  They were not allowed to serve in the inner court or temple because of their past behavior.

Fortunately, God does offer us forgiveness, if we confess our sins, so that we can get back into His "inner courts".  (Note: If you are not a child of God, then you have some other issues.  Click here).  Who do you let into your "inner circle"?  I thought about this - who I call my friends - and thought about who God would call His friend.  God didn't just call anyone His friend, but only those who did what he commanded them to do.  As Jesus says in John 15:14-15 (NJKV):

You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father have I made known to you.

I am thankful that I can be a friend of the Creator of the universe.  That is too humbling.  However, I wonder how many times I'm not considered His friend by my behavior. Am I always doing what He commands?  Always?


Nothing is Too Hard for God

Today, unless I post tonight on my daily reading, is another break from my daily reading posts.  Over the years, God has really placed on my heart a burden for those who feel hopeless and powerless to change their situations.   Recently, my passion has been renewed.  My heart and prayers go out to those who think that their situations are beyond repair. 

All of us think  from time to time, in whatever season or situation of life we find ourselves in, that things will never change.  Whether we really believe the "never" part, is something that only we know in our own hearts.  Personally, I might at first say that my situation will never change, but then I come back to the reality I know - that God is bigger than me, bigger than my circumstances and wants to be there for me.  I eventually turn my eyes fully upon Jesus.

Some of us take longer than others to get out of our sadness.  My prayer is to anyone who reads this blog, that they will find hope in the power of God's Word and His love for us.  Believing that God is good, just, loving, and powerful while realizing that He wants what is best for each of us is so essential in our walk.  When it comes down to it, it is only through God that we can find peace and rest for our souls.

I'm going to finish with this passage as I believe that not only must we know that God is there and all powerful, but in order to have faith in future change, we must also reflect on the past victories God has given us. 

Jeremiah 32:17 (a part of Jeremiah's prayer)

17Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:   18Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,   19Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:

   20Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men; and hast made thee a name, as at this day;   21And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror;   22And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey;

=====================================================================================

Okay, I'm not really finished.   We also need to remember how merciful God is to us and to those who really want to return to Him.  God can give us new hearts and new minds if only we put our trust in Him and Him alone.  Remember, even God says that nothing is too hard for Him!

Jeremiah 32:

  26Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,   27Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

And here is His mercy and promise....

Jeremiah 32:

    37Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:   38And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:

   39And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:   40And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

   41Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.   42For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.

God WILL bring us through our storms.  God bless.


God's Inner Circle-Part 1

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. - Psalm 66:18

The Bible says that God will not listen to us if we have unconfessed sin, or iniquity in our hearts.  As I read Ezekiel 43 this morning, our friend Ezekiel was taken up into yet another vision.  This time he was brought into the inner court of the temple that was being shown to Him and the glory of the Lord filled the "house". (v 5).  Notice that the spirit took Him there - Ezekiel didn't get there by himself.

How do we get into God's "inner circle"?  We have to let God take us there, but in order to take us there, we must have hearts that are pure.  In his vision (v 10-11), Ezekiel was told to show the house (the plans for the temple) to Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities, and that if they were ashamed, he could show them the details of the plans.  Read the passage thoroughly to get the complete meaning, but I believe the essence is that God wants us to be clean in our hearts, minds and actions, BEFORE he shows us His plans for our lives.  Thankfully, He is merciful as we have seen over and over and over.  I know I have personally seen His mercy.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Until next time....


RETREAT DAY!

It is finally here - Our ladies' retreat.   I can't wait to see what God has in store!  I'll be back on Sunday! :)


Restoration

I am enjoying this time through the major prophets, even though as I've said before that the theme is repetitive.  Combining my daily reading with my blogging has given me more of challenge than just writing down my thoughts in my paper journal.  While I don't think I have that many readers, just the thought of having someone else look at my thoughts makes me think a little harder!  :)

That said, I'm seeing a lot more of the way old testaments stories symbolize new testament truths and how I can apply them to my life.  Yes, even things from Isaiah, Jeremiah & Ezekiel.  In Ezekiel 39, we have another picture about the restoration of the nation of Israel, but it since the Nation of Israel is also symbolic of the Christian people (you and I) I thought it was pretty interesting.  Consider the following passage of Ezekiel 39:26-29:

26After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.  27When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;   28Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.    29Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

Once again, when we finally have "served our time", so to speak, in getting through the pain of the consequences of our sin, we will be restored so God may be glorified.  God will pour out His spirit upon us once again.  Thank You, Lord, for your forgiveness!  :)


The Quilt

My postings have been a little light of late as I finish the final preparations for our ladies' retreat.  In my preparations, I found the following story that is a wonderful example of how the scars in our lives, combined with God's love and care, can produce a wonderful work in us.

God bless.

THE QUILT

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along
with all the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives like the
squares of a quilt in many piles.

An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a
tapestry that is our life. But as my angel took each piece of cloth off
the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They
were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my
life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced
with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the
largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny
hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color
and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was
disheartened. My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together,
threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the
light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose, each in turn, holding up
their tapestries. So filled their lives had been.

My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to
the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love
in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and
death, and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it.

I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to
quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I
spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in
my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured
painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would
not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who
unfairly judged me. And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what
it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.

I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light.
An awe-filled gasp filled the air.

I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes. Then, I
looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes,
creating an image, the face of Christ.

Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He
said, "Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My
hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when
you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me
than there was of you.

My prayer is that all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ
to shine through.

-- Author Unknown


God's Handiwork

In a book by Max Lucado entitled "Come Thirsty", I came across the following I'd like to share related to the power of God's love in our lives.  In his book, he tells a story of fishermen eating at a seaside inn sharing stories of great catches.  During the story telling, one of the men's arms caught in the serving maid's tea tray and sent the teapot flying, scattering brown tea stain all over the white wall of the inn.  A stranger who happened to be a famous painter of wildlife offered to work with the stain, and ended up painting a picture of a stag with a great rack of antlers on the wall.  The stain blended beautifully with the design.

The point here, is shown best by a quote from Max Lucado's book:

God's hands do the same, over and over.  He draws together the disjointed blotches in our life and renders them an expression of His love.  We become pictures: "examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us" (Eph 2:7).


O, Lord God, thou knowest.

One of my favorite passages in Ezekiel is the one I read this morning where God shows Ezekiel how He can make a valley of dry bones turn into an army of men.  Wow!  That is a lot of work, but apparently not for God.    I'm picturing a valley in Colorado where I traveled recently and can't even imagine standing in the middle of it being filled with bones, not to mention watching them rise up around me!  Yikes! 

What stood out to me is the faith Ezekiel had in that he didn't limit God.  In verse 3, God asked Ezekiel if he thought the bones could live.  Ezekiel answered God by saying "O, Lord God, thou knowest."  I wondered what I would have said?  What would you have said?  Ezekiel figured that if God wanted those bones to live, then He could make it happen. 

In our lives, God can do the same things for us.  He can take our tired, dried up "bones" and put new breath in them.  What a wonderful promise to us that God will help us with anything we need Him to

Philippians 1: 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.