Fire in His Mouth

Leaders who are like wolves, tearing whom they may in order to get dishonest gain.

Religious leaders who profane the laws of God, not teaching right from wrong.

Prophets who say they speak for God but give lying messages instead, and often for money.

People who practice extortion, commit robbery, oppress the poor and needy, extort from immigrants without justice.

Dishonesty, disrespect for parents, cheating or oppressing aliens (immigrants), mistreatment of widows and orphans, profaning sacred things, lying, bribery, rape, incest, extramarital affairs, charging excessive interest, extortion, creating one’s own idols, shedding blood.

Ignoring God.

This is how God described Israel. Not the whole world, although they were guilty of the same behaviors, but He was talking about His people. The ones that called themselves by His name.

God sent many warnings about the need to stop; to turn around and get back to God’s ways. The Israelites didn’t accept the warnings. They didn’t change their ways. And they were destroyed.

The scary thing is… God could be saying the same things about us. Not all of America, even though there’s guilt there too, but those of us in America who call ourselves by His name. Those of us who claim to be Christians.

God has been sending us warnings for years; to turn around and get back to His ways.

Will we respond any better – or will we end up with the same fate as the Israelites?

How much longer will He give us to change? Or has He already started blowing on us with the fire of His wrath?  Could the increase in violence and turmoil in our country this year be part of it?

It’s easy for me to ignore this in my day to day life, doing my part in the corona virus war by staying home as much as possible. But complacency is never good. I was recently startled by a cloud that looked an awfully lot like the Lion of Judah with the glow of fire in his mouth. Not just startled like, “Hey, look at that.” But STARTLED like, “Oh no, He’s here!”

Ezekiel 22:21 I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it. 

I believe God is telling me it’s time for me to get serious with my writing. And if God is really speaking to me about what He’s about to do, then it’s my responsibility to share that with as many people as I can. Just like I would if I knew a hurricane was coming.

My goal is to write a series of blogs challenging us as Christians to compare how we’re living, how we think, what we do – to His word. I’m including me in the we. Are we courageous enough to examine ourselves and admit where we fall short? Are we serious enough about God to change our ways that don’t line up with His?

He certainly is serious about us.

Tell me what you think in the comments below. And let me know which specific areas you’d like to see me to cover.

Ezekiel 22:1-31 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2“And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then declare to her all her abominations. 3You shall say, Thus says the Lord GOD: A city that sheds blood in her midst, so that her time may come, and that makes idols to defile herself! 4You have become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made, and you have brought your days near, the appointed time ofa your years has come. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all the countries. 5Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you; your name is defiled; you are full of tumult.

6“Behold, the princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. 7Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you. 8You have despised my holy things and profaned my Sabbaths. 9There are men in you who slander to shed blood, and people in you who eat on the mountains; they commit lewdness in your midst. 10In you men uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are unclean in their menstrual impurity. 11One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; another in you violates his sister, his father’s daughter. 12In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profitb and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but me you have forgotten, declares the Lord GOD.

13“Behold, I strike my hand at the dishonest gain that you have made, and at the blood that has been in your midst. 14Can your courage endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you? I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it. 15I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you through the countries, and I will consume your uncleanness out of you. 16And you shall be profaned by your own doing in the sight of the nations, and you shall know that I am the LORD.”

17And the word of the LORD came to me: 18“Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are dross of silver. 19Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20As one gathers silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into a furnace, to blow the fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you in my anger and in my wrath, and I will put you in and melt you. 21I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it. 22As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the LORD; I have poured out my wrath upon you.”

23And the word of the LORD came to me: 24“Son of man, say to her, You are a land that is not cleansed or rained upon in the day of indignation. 25The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. 28And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken. 29The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. 30And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. 31Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord GOD.”

2 Chronicles 7:14  if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Number Game

Me: “Where’s the 3?”

My granddaughter: (points to the 3)

“That’s right! Where’s the 5?”

(points to the 5)

“Right again! And where’s the 2?”

(points to a 4)

“No, that’s a 4. Here’s the 2.”

(smiles)

“What’s this number?” I point to a 4.

“4”

“Right! What about this one?” I point to a 1.

(no answer)

“It’s a 1. Can you say 1?”

(smiles and looks down)

“Okay, what’s this number?” I point to a 5.

“5”

“Right! And what’s this number?” I point to a 2.

“3”

“No, it’s a 2. What is it?”

(smiles and looks down)

“Okay, what’s this number?” I point to a 3.

“3”

“Right. And what’s this number?” I point to a 5.

“5”

“Right. And what’s this number?” I point to a 4.

“4”

“Right. You’re so smart! What’s this number?” I point to a 1.

(no answer)

“It’s a 1. What about this one?” I point to a 2.

“8”

“No, it’s a two.”

(smiles and looks away)

“What’s this number?” I point to the 2 again.

(knocks it off the fridge)

“Time to play another game?”

“Yes.”

And off we go.

Later I got to thinking about this number game. Why was my two year old granddaughter able to identify the numerals 3-5 so well, but just couldn’t seem to get 1 or 2?

Then I figured it out!

From birth she has always striven to be older than she was. Now that she’s passed her first and second birthdays, those two numbers don’t matter anymore. She’s older than them (or so she thinks) so they aren’t worth her time. Her interest in the higher numbers, the ones she will be one day, reveals that she’s focused on where she’s going, not where she’s been. In other words… forget the past; the future is what’s important.

It reminds me of what Paul said to the Philippians: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:13-14)

If that number game is any indication, my granddaughter has this mastered.

I’m a Pom Pom (Romans 12)

(for those who don’t know… these are pom poms. The solid orange one is what it looks like before it’s trimmed. The others have been trimmed.)

Prologue:

Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us that while we still sinners, Christ died for us.

When I first met Jesus, I was like that solid orange pom pom. My heart and my life were a mess and falling apart. But just like the pom pom maker tied a string around the center of each pom pom to keep the strands of yarn together, Jesus tied Himself around the center of my heart, keeping me together.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

A pom pom is made to serve a purpose.

So was I.

And now Romans…

Verse 1:  I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

A pom pom is completely subject to its maker. It has no will of its own.

However, God created me with free will. Therefore He waits for me to present myself to Him as a living sacrifice. That means I give up my rights, my wants, my opinions, my stuff – and place myself completely in His hand.

Verse 2: Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

That messed up orange pom pom looks more like the skein of yarn it came from than a finished pom pom. In order to get it to a more pleasing and usable shape, much yarn has to be trimmed of.

I was no different. I looked, thought, and acted just like the world in which I came out of.  Those worldly ways needed to be trimmed in order to make me into a more pleasing and usable person for God.

Verse 3: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Once trimmed, the pom pom looks so incredibly better that it might be tempted to believe it has become the most beautiful of all pom poms. But that might just cause the others to raise their eyebrows at it. If you look closely in the picture, the pom poms each have some defects. Strands sticking out here or there, or misshapen in some places, none of them are perfect.

I, too, am soooo much better than I used to be, and if I’m not careful, I could start thinking I’m better than I really am, especially when I compare myself to people who haven’t been trimmed as much. I know I still have parts that need to be trimmed and rounded. Thinking soberly, or rationally, about myself, I know I am no better or worse than any other person.

Verse 4: For as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function,

Some pom poms are made to be sewn on clothes, bags, or key chains. Others are made to be tossed around by a two-year old…

Likewise, I, being part of a body of many members, have a different function than the others. It might be similar to someone else’s but most like will not be identical.

Verse 5: so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Although there are many different pom poms, they are all part of the group their maker made.

I, along with all the other Christians, form one body, and as a member, I have a responsibility to the other members.

Verse 6: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;

None of the pom poms were given exactly the same strands. Some have the same colors, but in different arrangements; some were given more unique colors; and one was given only one color. But all are as they were designed to be.

My spiritual gifts differ from gifts given to others in the body. And how I use those gifts also differ. One such gift given to me, a prophetic gift, is much different than what is generally thought of when thinking about a prophet. I don’t prophecy over others, nor do I predict the future. But I can see what God is doing, and hear what He is saying, when He reveals it to me. Instead of fretting that I don’t do what the other prophets are doing, I am learning to use my gift according to God’s grace and my faith. I am learning to accept and enjoy my uniqueness and the way I was designed.

Verse 7: if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;

I am also a teacher – over thirty years in the public school system, as well as many small group spiritual teachings over the years. But I found that my teaching style also often differed from my peers. Which was a good thing, because not every student learned the same way. (My dream/goal is to combine my gifts of prophecy and teaching and create prophetic teachings that God can use to impact His people.)

Verse 8: the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

I LOVE exhorters! However, I am not one. My husband is and sometimes it’s hard not to envy his gift. I know people with gifts of generosity, leadership, and mercy – none of which I have – and all for which I’m grateful for. They are all extremely important in the Kingdom.

Verse 9: Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

Just as the pom poms are trimmed of parts that interfere with their purpose, so I am trimmed of what interferes with my relationship with God and His purpose for me. But sometimes I have to do the trimming myself. God teaches me what is good and what is evil. It’s my responsibility to trim away all evil as He reveals it, and keep the good.

Verse 10: Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Imagine the pom poms chatting. Which set – A or B – do you think they would be saying to each other?

  1.  Aw, you are so pretty! I love your colors! You look so soft! Here, let me make room for you. You’re so awesome! You are looking better every day! I love how the yellow mixes with your white.
  • Hey, you look stupid with that little piece sticking out. Let me get fix it for you. Hmmm… feeling a little out of shape this morning? That’s too bad. Come back when you have better control over yourself. Pssst… did you see the white one today? Can’t believe it thinks it looks as good as us colorful ones.

God has recently revealed to me that I need to be more like those pom poms in set A. Instead of focusing on someone’s imperfections or differences, I need to see what He sees – a perfect pom pom in the making. This is way harder than it sounds, but also so much more important than I realize sometimes.

Verse 11: Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Pom poms are all they are made to be. A bunch of yarn tied together and shaped into a ball. Pom poms just sit, until a force acts on them.

I am so much more than a bunch of cells shaped into a human, waiting for something to move me. With God’s Spirit indwelling me, my spirit is alive and in love with my Maker, and as long as I stay focused on Him, He motivates and enables me to remain fervent in serving Him.

Verse 12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

A pom pom can’t rejoice, be patient, or pray. But I can. I can rejoice in the hope of continual improvements. I can patiently endure the trimming process, like a pom pom submitting to the hands of its maker. And I can pray throughout every day – for myself as well as for others as they go through their own trimming experiences.

Verse 13: Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

I want to do this. I think about doing this. But I end up not doing anything sometimes. I’m glad so many people are so much better at this than I am, but that’s no excuse for me not to. I have my place in the body, and need to help support the rest of the body whenever and however I can.

Epilogue:

Philippians 1:6  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

One day, I will be a perfect pom pom – softly round and perfectly trimmed. But most likely not before I get to heaven. In the meantime, I’m content to be in the hand of my Maker, trimming away the parts I can, and allowing Him to trim the rest.

How about you?

Love Signs

Love Signs

Suddenly,

When I least expect it

I see something,

A sign,

That reminds me that

I am loved

By God,

The Creator of all things.

It amazes me

that

The God of the Universe

Loves me.

And

He loves you too.

2 Cor 13:14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Peek-A-Boo

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Just when you think there’s no end to the swirling dark clouds in your life,

God gives you a peek…

Past your view and into His.

For just a few moments, you can see the brightness of His glorious presence,

And know all is well.

And if you’re really observant,

You might even see His heart.

 


 

Psalm 115:3  Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
Psalm 94:19  When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.

 

You’re Being Watched

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Do you feel like you’re being watched sometimes?

That’s because you are.

There are people who watch to see how you handle things.

There are animals who watch to see if you drop a bit of food.

There is God, who is always watching.

And there are other things, not so pleasant, also watching you, looking for ways to mess up your day.

They look for ways to destroy you.

They invite you to come outside and play with them; to come outside of God’s light, and enter their dark games.

You need to be aware, watchful, so you can resist their temptations, and not fall for their deceptions.

But you don’t need to worry. Let them watch. Our God is greater than ALL things.

And that includes scary looking things that can’t actually harm you.

Like this mayfly.

 

 

 

1 Peter 5:8  Be sober minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

James 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Psalm 37:32  The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death.

Proverbs 15:3  The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

1 Cor 16:13-14  Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

Exhausted?

Exhausted?

download

 

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God,

The Creator of the end of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,

And to he who has no might, he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,

And young men shall fall exhausted;

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles;

They shall run and not be weary;

They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31