Monday, September 1, 2014

September 2 "Set Your Face to Grace" Ezekiel 20, 21

“And I said to their children in the wilderness, Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor keep their rules, nor defile yourselves with their idols. I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God. Ezek 20:18-20.

God is speaking to our children.  We don't have to have the perfect words, say it the right way.  This is about God saying it to them.

And once again, Ezekiel is commanded to prophesy to the people.  "Son of Man, set your face toward Jerusalem and preach."  All we have is this day, this moment.  Never will be repeated.  What will I do with today?  

One day all hearts will melt and all knees will be as weak as water. Ezek 21:7. One day. We are all on our way Home.  So how did we live today that looks like we are?  Live like it's this day where we give account of calling God as holy to our lives. And letting Him make us holy to Him.

I've been way too bothered by past mistakes, present regrets.  Love this thought by Capon:  "Grace is to live not in fear of mistakes but in the knowledge that no mistake can hold a candle to the love that draws us home."  Yes, God is speaking to our children and to their parents.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, May we listen to your small Voice this day saying this is the way, walk in it, when we turn to the right or to the left.  It's a new year, some say.  September 1 has set.  Help us start with your brand new fresh Compassion on us.  New mercies this morning.  Draw us in and up as we move forward and home.

PHOTO:  Drawn in Des Moines by the hovering cloud cover all weekend.  Draw us up to You, O God.

September 1 "All is His" Ezekiel 18, 19

When we stand before the Lord, we will give account for our sins.  Our souls will die if we keep on sinning and do not repent.  ;"Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine." Ezekiel 18:4

"The Lord overrules every event for the eternal good of believers. All souls are in the hand of the great Creator: he will deal with them in justice or mercy; nor will any perish for the sins of another, who is not in some sense worthy of death for his own."  Matthew Henry

Our times are in His Hands.  All our days; All our ways.  Consider what you are doing----not to do penance for His Finished Work is complete.  

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
May we see through the filter of Truth what it means to walk in Truth.  Strengthen us in the inner man that we walk by faith not by what we see.  

PHOTO:  Whether we live in Ezekiel's day or the generation in this photo, God remains the same.  His finished work covers all our sins.  So what will I do with this besetting sin?  Will I wrestle well and lean hard on the One Who holds our souls.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 31 "Like Mother, Like Daughter" Ezek 16, 17

Again, the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel. Ezek 16:1. And I weep as I read this story of a faithful prophet sent to a people who do not want to hear these words.  I wonder what Ezekiel wrestled with as he shared God's Words with obstinant followers. Those with walls built high. Walls that were not crumbling. For they trusted in their strengths.

“But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beauty became his. Ezek 16:15. Vaulted Chambers. Only letting in what we want to. What are the things this day that we trust in? The beauty of success; the beauty of accomplishment; the beauty of independence.

And the smallest most beautiful word: yet.

Yet, I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant...That you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord God.” Ezek 16: 59, 63.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Father, establish the work of your hands for our children.  May they remember You this day.  May we all remember what You have saved us from.  May we remember the depths from where we have come.  Break down these walls we've built.  No more vaulted chambers.  Thank you for melting our hearts like wax.

PHOTO:  A beautiful sunrise in Oklahoma.  Thinking about this man of God who went back again and again to give them the Words of God.  Not dismayed by their responses.  Not confounded by their faces.  Not deterred by their lack of change.  Not swayed by the popular vote.

Friday, August 29, 2014

August 30 "Walls Crumble" Ezekiel 13, 14, 15

God says that His Hand will not be on the prophets, the people who mislead, saying "Peace," when there is no peace for those who disobey.  Those who build walls and live behind them.  But walls crumble.  Ezekiel 13: 9-11.

"There was no prosperity designed for them," none whatsoever.  These people were in war with the Chaldeans.  Yet, the prophets promised what they could not.  The prophets gave a false hope that the war would end in their peace and all will be well.  "They seduced God's people; they put a cheat upon them, led them into mistakes, and drew them aside out of that way of repentance and reformation which the other prophets were endeavoring to bring them into." Matthew Henry

Repentance and Reformation.  The message holds true for today.  I hear people in ministry saying that we have to go soft on people.  Don't scare them away from God.  What is the gospel truth?  I think the prophet in our day who speaks the gospel truth is not the one who will get the bookings.  The prophets who tickle the ears and tell their people:  Here.  Here are the steps to follow and life will all work out for you.  Where are the people calling us to repentance and reformation?

COME BOLDLY: Timeless Prayers
Dear Father, All I can deal with is my own sin.  Deceivers and deceived are both alike, both judged.  And I do both.  Lord, have mercy.

PHOTO:  It's a 100-year-old stagecoach stop that harbored both deceivers and deceived, truth tellers alike.  Do we speak the truth to those whom we provide a safe harbor?

August 29 "Speak the Vision" Ezekiel 9, 10, 11, 12

“Son of man, what is this proverb that you have about the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing’? Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.’ But say to them, The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision. No more false or flattering. For I am the Lord; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it, declares the Lord God.” Ezekiel 12:22-25

COME BOLDLY: Timeless Prayers
Lord have mercy on our country and on each one of us. 

PHOTO: It's a beautiful retreat place in  Rocksprings and it's a beautiful quote as the sun rises above the dark horizon. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 28 "No Pity on these Provoking People" Ezekiel 5, 6, 7, 8

Is it too light a thing to commit evil?  Ezekiel 7:17
God says, I'll have no pity.
And the words of C.S. Lewis come to mind:
"We are far too easily pleased."
We think all is well with our hands and voices where they should not be.
All is well if we repent and amend our ways.

Disaster after Disaster.
God shows Ezekiel that he means what does to these people for their ultimate good---that they change. They have ventured far from God.  And look at Ezekiel's calling.  It sticks with me that they wouldn't change for God---why do I think they will change for Ezekiel, for me?  They may become compliant.  But is that real change?

God asks Ezekiel:  Should I have pity on provoking people?
All I can deal with is myself.  Lord have mercy!

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Dear God, You have never given up on us or left us to ourselves, unless we want to be.  Move in our lives this day to make us like You, to deliver us from ourselves.

Looking at the sky---is it too small a thing to have my way?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 27 "Stand On Your Feet" Ezekiel 1, 2, 3

And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” Ezekiel 2:1.
This verse God spoke to me when I was at the absolute lowest point of my life.  Not exactly the spot I would go to.  Precisely what God did.  I stood and His Power entered into me and set me on my feet.  Ezek 2:2.  I stood cause I purposed in my heart to go with God in the midst of harrowing circumstances.  It is never about how strong we are.  It is always about how strong HE IS in each of us.  

So, don't be afraid.  Tell that to yourself.  Mean it.  "Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are rebellious..."  Ezek 2:7.  Speak my words to them anyway.  They will not be willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to God.  Ezek 2:7.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Oh Father, may Your Hand be strong upon each of us.  Ezekiel 2:14. 
Make us watchman for our family and our ministry and our community.  Ezek 2:17.
When we hear a Word from You, may we give it to our spouse, our children, our families, our world.

PHOTO:  I stood here.  Rocksprings.  Asked God to stand me back up again in my current crisis.  He will.