Tag Archives: our mission

Hard Hearted and Hard Headed

Ezekiel 1-2

I read something in Ezekiel’s vision I want for myself and for the Church in 2022. First of all, the prophet felt the hand of the Lord take hold of him (1:3). Makes me wonder if we’ve placed ourselves in a position to feel the same.

Oh, I read the Bible every day. I teach Sunday School and Good News Clubs. The church emphasizes a worship experience and fun programs. But does God take hold of us as a result of our own efforts? Ezekiel was in exile by a river when God got hold of him.

Maybe I, maybe we ought to be still, and quiet our hearts in order for God to take hold of us. Maybe our busy-ness is preventing us from knowing what it’s like to feel the hand of God on our lives.

The second thing I read that I pray for myself and the Church is found in 2:8-9. God made Ezekiel hard hearted and obstinate. He gave him a hard head so that the prophet would not be afraid to speak the truth.

Should we be praying God will harden our hearts, too? Yes. When it comes to sin – yes! When it comes to compromising the truth or fearing what might happen if we actually stood firm – yes!

God told Ezekiel to eat the scroll, to let God’s words sink deep into his heart, to listen to God’s words carefully for himself – then get out there and tell the people: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says!”

Say it without apology or fear. And keep saying it, whether they listen or not.

So today, I’m praying for hard hearts, uncompromising spirits in you and me. I’m praying for hard headed Christians with a mission to speak the truth no matter what.

Let’s do this!

What Are We Waiting For? (Acts 24-28)

You don’t have to wait until your life is in order before God can use you. Paul was imprisoned for years, not guilty of any crime. He was in chains because he preached the truth and people didn’t want to hear it. He went through storms, adrift at sea, and shipwrecked. His life was anything but orderly.

Yet Paul never missed a chance to share Jesus, no matter who his audience. Kings? Sailors? Jailors? Sick people? Heathen? Church leaders? Yes! No matter who they were, Paul was preaching the Gospel to them.

Paul was an overflowing vessel at God’s disposal, even though his life was a mess.

What are we waiting for? Until our kids are grown? Until we feel worthy? Until we are older and wiser? Until we get that promotion at work, or that college degree, or our health is better?

We can learn from Paul who, no matter his own circumstances, shared Jesus. He didn’t wait until he was free, or healthy, or safe. He had a mission every day: tell people the Good News of the Gospel.

Tell me again – what are we waiting for?

Isaiah 54-59; The Truth Hurts

Before we get into these chapters in Isaiah, I want to share a few other verses with you.

Hebrews 4:12 –  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thought and attitude of the heart.

2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

James 1:17 and I John 1:5 are only two of many verses in the Bible that tell us that God never changes. Yesterday, today, and forever He is the same.

With that being said, I believe there is something vital for us in 2018 in the living words this unchanging God inspired men to put to paper thousands of years ago. So, dear Christian, have a seat. God’s got something to say to us today through his servant Isaiah. And it might hurt.

Read chapter 57 and see if you don’t think life in the USA in 2018 sounds very much like Israel in Isaiah’s day. I hear God say, “How dare you! Who do you think you are to do what you want, think what you want, believe what you want, then expect Me to be your servant. Ain’t gonna happen.”

Isaiah 58:4b says:

You cannot fast as you do today, and expect your voice to be heard on high.

Dear one, He’s talking to His children. He’s talking to you and me.

I often hear Christians lamenting over the state of the world, but I hear God say we need to clean up our own individual acts, and let the state of the world up to Him. Sometimes, when people observe how bad things are they seem to sit back and say, “Oh well. God told us this was going to happen.”

He did tell us what will happen, but He didn’t say it had to happen in 2018!

58:9 is one of many verses in the Bible with messages like this:

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer, you will cry for help, and he will say; Here am I.

He goes on to tell us to get right with Him, then get out there and do what He’s told us to do, go and make disciples. He’ll guide us. He’ll give us what we need to get the job done. We’ll produce fruit which is what He planned for us to do all along.

Do not… I repeat: DO NOT throw your hands up in defeat because you think the world is too far gone. This same unchanging God is still not willing that any should perish. That includes your neighbor. YOUR neighbor. MY neighbor.

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save. (59:1)

Do you believe that? Then get off the couch and get out there. Greater is He in you than that liar who is in the world. Let’s examine ourselves, confess sin, stand for the truth of Scripture, and be the Church God needs us to be to keep this thing going. We can’t honor God if we give up.

Father, I am convicted. I can get pretty discouraged reading the paper, and hearing how the insanity of the world is becoming truth for way too many people. But I am reminded that my mission field is here on this island where I live. It’s the people on this street, in the grocery, or as I walk on the beach. You’ve asked me to be faithful, but sometimes I think what little impact I actually have. Forgive me if I convince myself it’s not worth it, or not important. You promise that when your people call on You, and ask for Your help to accomplish Your will, You are right there. God, I’m asking.

 

 

 

 

 

Stand

Numbers 16:48 hit me today. A plague was destroying the Israelites. Aaron ran out and stood among them to purify them so they would be saved. “He stood between the dead and the living.”

That strikes me as a role we Christians should be playing in 2014. Rather, it’s a role we are playing. It’s a position God has placed us in by virtue of our relationship with him. What are we doing about it? And do we understand the implications?

I am standing between the dead and the living. I have the responsibility to reach out and bring those who are headed for that horrible eternal death into the life offered by God through his Son. I picture a hoard of people running toward a cliff that only I can see. Am I going to just stand there? Or am I going to shout a warning? Point to solid ground? Stand in the way to stop them from falling? If I don’t, they will go to hell.

There is a rampant plague in our world today. And we Christians stand between the dead and the living. God has placed us there because he is not willing that any should perish.

I pray that we will stand our ground, that we will reach out to the lost, that we will be effective as we lead people to the cross. God wants us to defeat this plague and, in Him, we can do it! Let’s join hands with other Christians and form a barrier between the dead and the living in order to save those who are dying without Christ. Let’s pray, and go, and encourage one another to stand for the Truth of Scripture and against Satan’s lies.

If we don’t, we’ll have failed our mission. We’ll have failed our Savior.