Monthly Archives: August 2016

August 28 – Hidden

Ezekiel 5-8

The Bible often warns us about living double lives. Ezekiel saw in his vision, the priests who served God in public, yet worshiped idols in their homes. Jesus called the pharisees out more than once about their outward piety and their sinful hearts.

The priests, in Ezekiel’s vision, believed “The Lord does not see us…” (8:12) They must have been thinking about those wooden statues on their dressers.

Dear one, God does see. He not only sees what we do in church, He sees what we do in the privacy of our own homes. He sees what we do in daylight and in the cover of darkness. He hears what we say to our friends, and how we talk to our spouses behind closed doors.

And  beyond that, He hears what we think, watches our daydreams, knows our hearts. There is nothing God doesn’t know about you. Nothing He hasn’t seen.

There is nothing – NOTHING – hidden from God.

August 27 – Comfort Zones

Ezekiel 1-4

I almost never sleep through the night. I toss and turn, covers on, covers off, until it’s time to get up… and I fall into a deep sleep. Ugh!

If I lie too long in one position my body begins to ache. So reading what God told Ezekiel to do makes me very glad He wasn’t talking to me! The prophet was to build a ramp, pitch a camp, put battering rams against it, and face the city of Jerusalem. Then Ezekiel was to lie down on his left side, (I assume on the ground in sight of the people) and take the sin of Israel on himself. Then he was to lie there on his left side for thirteen months without turning from side to side.

And if that’s not hard enough, after the 390 days, God told Ezekiel he was to turn over on his right side, take the sin of Judah on himself, and lie like that for forty more days. No turning allowed. In fact, God was going to tie him up so he couldn’t switch sides even if he wanted to.

I am reminded that God is more interested in getting His message out there than He is in my comfort. He is serious about sin, and He wants people to know that. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one goes to God except through Jesus, and God wants people to know that. People who die without Christ go to hell. God wants people to know that, too.

And everyone who humbles themselves and repents of sin can be saved. That’s the message God is passionate about. That’s what He wants everyone to know. And if you have to take a stand for the Truth, or lose your house, your health, your career, or just get up out of your recliner, that’s secondary to getting the message out there.

Dear God, Forgive me if I am more concerned about the size of my paycheck, the air-conditioning in my home, what kind of car I drive, or if I have a sinus headache, than I am about lost souls. I want your passion for sinners to be my passion. Please give me the courage and the strength to get out of my comfort zone and get your message across. I want to say, “no matter what the cost,” and mean it. Show me how I can serve You today. And may I do what you ask without thought of my comfort. 

August 26 – God’s Weapon Of War

Jeremiah 51-52

Listen to what God says to His people concerning His battle plan:

You are my war-club, my weapon of war; and with you I shatter nations, and with you I destroy kingdoms. With you… and with you… and with you… (51:20 ff)

God has chosen to fight this war against our enemy, Satan, along side of us. He is not up there pushing buttons on a game system controller. He wants you and me to go into battle with Him.

Are you a sharpened sword? A sturdy shield? An obedient soldier? This is war. God has a battle plan that includes you and me. We are His weapons of war as we share the Gospel, as we live lives set apart, as we study and pray and go and stand for the Truth of Scripture.

Don’t minimize your role in this. God is depending on each of us to be faithful.

“And with you I shatter…” He says.

Could God defeat Satan without us? Sure. But He has devised a battle plan that depends on our faithfulness.

May faithfulness describe all of us who consider ourselves His people. May we be God’s effective weapons of war.

August 25 – Tarry, Lord

Jeremiah 49-50

Sometimes I read the news and think, “Christians are losing this war.” People who love the Lord are being persecuted, targeted, discriminated against, churches are compromising, God is being mocked, and I find myself tempted to pray, “Just come back, Jesus.”

But I read things in the Bible like these chapters in Jeremiah and am reminded Who has the power, and Who has already won the war.

My prayer changes.

God, I’m not ready to give up. I believe you still hear and answer the prayers of your people who humble themselves and repent. I believe you are not willing that anyone die without knowing You. I believe you still have the power to save. So, Lord, I’m asking you to raise up a people who are committed to You and the Gospel. May you find warriors instead of spectators, workers instead of watchers, givers instead of takers. God, may Your people determine that we will not give up without a fight. Then lead us into battle against Satan, our real enemy. Tarry, Lord. Don’t come back today. There are souls that need saving.

August 24 – Cow Tipping

Jeremiah 46-48

Jeremiah has recorded the prophecy God gave him concerning His judgment on the nations. As I read them I am impressed with the reality that these nations think they have things figured out. Some are proud of their land, some their possessions, some their military strength.

God calls them arrogant. They are self-assured and self-reliant, not to mention worshipers of imaginary gods.

I chuckled at what God said about Moab (48:12) The days are coming when God “will send to him those who tip vessels, and they will tip him over, and they will empty his vessels and shatter his jars.”

Ever been cow tipping?

The thing is, folks, God is going to have the last word. Whatever it is you think you’ve figured out on your own, accomplished on your own, believe in apart from the Bible, can’t stand when you get pushed.

I know cow tipping is an urban legend. But whether we’re talking about cow tippers or vessel tippers, the point is God is greater than any theology, religion, accomplishment, or anything you think is keeping you secure. He can topple it all in an instant.

Myself, I am secure in my relationship with God. I don’t fear His judgment because I’ve accepted what His Son did on my behalf on the cross. My life, my future, my hopes and dreams are in His hands.

So give me a shove, Satan.  You can’t topple me when God is standing with me. And you’ll never have the last word.

August 23 – Sure you will

Jeremiah 41-45

The Jews asked Jeremiah to pray for them. They wanted God to tell them what to do. They even proclaimed complete obedience: Whatever God says, we’ll do.

Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the Lord our God. (42:6)

Anything you want us to do, Lord, we’ll do!

Sure you will.

When Jeremiah told them God didn’t want them going into Egypt, all the arrogant men said, “You are telling a lie!” They promptly headed for Egypt.

Have you ever promised God you’d go anywhere, do anything He asked of you? You might have even meant it at the time. But when he impressed on your heart to befriend that weirdo down the street, did you do a Jonah and take your pastor’s wife to lunch instead?

Did you ever promise God that you would NEVER repeat a sin you’ve confessed, only to do it again anyway?

Sometimes I think God hears our lofty goals, our heart-felt promises, and thinks, “Sure you will.” He sees our hearts, but He also knows our weaknesses.

The prayer that begins with “I” – I won’t repeat that sin, I will obey You at any cost, I’ll go where You want me to go – is doomed to failure. Let’s face it, we just don’t have what it takes to do anything on our own.

But the sincere prayer of “God help me, God show me, God be my strength,” is the prayer that can never fail. God is able. God is eager. And God answers prayer.

You know what? When I pray I don’t want God to say, “Sure you will.” Instead I want Him to be able to say, “We sure will!”

August 22 – Yet

Habakkuk

These days it’s easy to be fearful of what lies ahead for planet Earth. The persecution of Christians is seen in parts of the world and, the signs are such to believe it will happen here. We read about a child who is strapped with a bomb, going to a wedding and blowing himself and 51 people up as an act of terrorism. We see sin celebrated like we’ve never seen before, and Jesus reduced to just another religious leader.

How long is God going to tolerate our depravity before He punishes us? How long before we realize God’s wrath?

Habakkuk was fearful about his future, too. In 3:16 he said he had butterflies in his stomach, his lip quivered, he felt sick because he found himself waiting for “the day of distress” when God would send people to invade them. The signs were there. God’s wrath was inevitable. And Habakkuk was scared to death.

But Habakkuk ends his book with a determination I want for myself. He says no matter what happens, if the vines quit producing fruit, if there is no food, if the livestock is cut off and no cattle are in the stalls:

Yet I will exult the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength… (3:18-19a) (emphasis mine)

I don’t know what is around the corner for us here in 2016. I could make myself crazy worrying about it. But Habakkuk has a better idea.

I’m going to praise God every day. I will rejoice in the fact that my sins are forgiven and I walk with God. I will allow Him to be my strength and to direct my path. I will be faithful to Him no matter what, and will share the Gospel until I have no breath left.

That might not be easy, depending on what lies ahead. But, with Habakkuk I want to say no matter how bad it gets…

YET I will exult the Lord.