I have been absent
from this place for a short while. It has not been for lack of loving the Lord's Word. Rather it has been because of it.
In fact, this past week, all the reading has been pretty intense. A great deal of prophecy, jumping back and forth between Jeremiah and Ezekiel, all telling of the disaster about to befall Israel and Judah because of their hardened and rebellious hearts. And this is a posture I do not wish to adopt.
So how do we get there?
Well, one certain way is in the course of religion. I'm not talking about believing in the Gospel and following the Christian life. I'm specifically calling out the practice of religion... the strict devotion to one specific way of doing things, based on a belief, that does not deviate and becomes repetitious.
And some of us can live our Christian life this way filled with the proper feeling. But often times, the repetition becomes the religion... becomes our god... becomes our center of worship... rather than God, Himself.
And that's where I was.
I would get up each day and still enjoy my daily reading from God's Word, but I began to feel so pressured to post something by a specific time because I had other tasks on my to-do list, that it frustrated me... and resentment set in. It became part of a 'have to,' rather than a worshipful 'want to.'
I wonder if that's what happened to the elders and priests of Ezekiel's day? Because I doubt we are so far removed from these people that we cannot relate. I mean, do you think they simply got lost in the day to day routine of it all. Maybe it caused boredom and they lost the wonder and awe of who God really is. So they allowed their heart's peripheral vision to wander a bit.
It's not like they...
dragged idols into the temple on day one. Most likely it was little by little. First they decided to get out of the temple to pray... go for a walk, clear their head. And they saw the shrines and temples of other gods in the hills with flowers and plants on the altar, so they brought back the same to God.
And little by little, their worship became like those around them... until their worship was no longer centered around God. And like the Lord spoke to Ezekiel, they never considered that God could see what they were doing in the dark.
So let us stop periodically.
Let us not lose our awe and wonder of the greatness of our God. Let us not get trapped in the rituals and religions that cause us to keep repeating the motions, forgetting who it is the worship is about. And if it feels less than authentic, chances are it is. God won't be mad if you just stop doing it. He'd rather that, than a half-hearted attempt.
God is looking for whole hearted worship, lacking ritual, lacking routine. Rather He wants an honest connection where we bring everything to Him. Otherwise, He will withdraw from the worship all together... as He did from the temple of Israel. And what a devastating day that must have been.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for He is our God
and we are the people of His pasture,
the flock under His care.
What amazing visions Ezekiel saw!
This was the Spirit of the Lord, ablaze in fire from the waist down; gleaming like amber from the waist up.
He is majesty.
He is power.
He is uncontainable.
Yet, He has made Himself always available to us. For this is the same Spirit whom Jesus gave... the same promise made that we could all receive, if we would only believe.
Just as Jesus told His disciples...
When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring Me glory by telling you whatever He receives from Me.
Let us not quench the Spirit of Fire, as we allow Him to work in and through our lives. And let us be thankful for this gift we have received through Jesus. This miraculous gift of grace, through faith.
Have you ever stood near a babbling brook?
Heard the sound of a raging river?
Listened to the roar of a waterfall?
The prophet Ezekiel tells us this is much like the sound of the voice of God. For the Lord spoke to Him often in visions and dreams.
And here we have the description of the four living creatures in such a vision, which appeared in a whirlwind. Can you imagine the sound of these mighty wings? Each of the angelic creatures having four wings, two spread upward and two to cover their bodies. But as they flapped them they made this roar, like the commotion of a an army approaching.
Always at the ready for the Lord's command.
Waiting for the sound of the Almighty's voice.
For it may come soft like a babbling brook.
Or it may rage as the river rounding the bend.
Or roar as a waterfall pounding the rocks.
So let us listen for His voice
as it calls to our soul.
Remember that He is
our Living Water...
refreshing and restoring.
His feet were like fine bronze
as it is fired in a furnace, and
His voice like
the sound of cascading waters.
Isn't it crazy,
how you can read a verse one day
that means something special to you.
Then you read the same verse,
during a different stage of life
and it has a brand new application
or depth of meaning to you.
That is the beauty
of the living and active
WORD of God.
In fact, that is not unlike
in a vision from the Lord
revealed to Ezekiel...
Then he brought me back
to the door of the temple;
and there was water,
flowing from under the threshold
of the temple toward the east,
for the front of the temple faced east;
the water was flowing
from under the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
Ezekiel 47:1 NKJV
So there Ezekiel stood,
looking at this water running out...
flowing under the door
where he had never seen it before.
You see, Ezekiel was on a tour...
this was the Temple
that was to be re-built.
For the old one was destroyed,
torn down, with the walls
when the Babylonians came in
and took the city captive.
But God had plans
for renewal and restoration.
And Ezekiel was seeing a vision,
getting a tour of all the details
to be told to the people.
And this man of bronze, his tour guide
had surely taken him
all around this Temple by now...
in and out, up and down, back and forth,
measuring this and that.
Until they stood outside the door
and this water flowed like a river
but Ezekiel had moved right past it
never seeing it before.
But once it was obvious to him,
the man brought Ezekiel into the waters
as he measured it...
first up to his ankles,
then further, up to his knees,
then even further, and up to his waist.
it was a river that I could not cross;
for the water was too deep,
water in which one must swim,
a river that could not be crossed.
He said to me,
“Son of man, have you seen this?”
Then he brought me and returned me
to the bank of the river.
And the man explained to Ezekiel
that those waters would flow to the sea.
He called them healing waters,
and said they were filled with life;
that they would draw fishermen
to stand nearby spreading their nets,
gathering exceedingly many fish
of all variety.
What an amazing discovery.
What an amazing vision.
But the man did not reveal it
to Ezekiel all at once.
In fact, he didn't point it out
to Ezekiel at all...
but let him notice it on his own.
Because discovery makes for
And revelation makes for
a changed mind, and
a changed heart.
You see, if someone
were still spoon feeding us
every bite of food we needed,
we would never have grown up.
We had to learn how to feed ourselves,
how to cope and manage
in the world on our own;
often by making discoveries
about life the hard way,
before we could really survive
But we didn't learn it all
in one huge step...
in one class, or one one tour.
We had to gain it,
one little lesson at a time.
Like Ezekiel seeing the Temple
one part at a time.
And even getting into the river,
first ankle deep,
then knee deep,
then waist deep...
until he was in over his head.
The same is true
of our spiritual life.
God will not simply reveal
all there is to know about Himself
in one huge bite.
Nor will He will spoon feeding us
for all of our days,
because that will not cause us
to grow up spiritually.
But He will take us on a tour of life,
letting us discover challenges
which reveal opportunities to seek Him.
And He will always be available to us...
if we will simply to look for Him.
Just as Ezekiel saw the river
coming under the threshold
of the door to the Temple,
we too have been called
the temple of the Spirit of Jesus.
And He brings to us healing
as living water...
He who believes in Me,
as the Scripture has said,
out of his heart will flow
rivers of living water.
Once the healing has begun,
we should go deeper, like Ezekiel.
Not just ankle deep with God,
but up to our knees, up to our waist.
And actually, we need to be in...
over our heads and willing for Him
to carry us afloat with grace.
Even to the woman at the well,
but whoever drinks of the water
that I shall give him will never thirst.
But the water that I shall give him
will become in him
a fountain of water springing up
into everlasting life.
We cannot expect to read one verse
and have our spiritual life
all packaged up neatly.
Just like we can't go to church
every other Sunday
and hope it's enough to just
squeeze in the back door of heaven
because we know John 3:16.
God wants much more than that
He wants a relationship with us.
He desires that we come to the realization
that eternity starts NOW!
God wants us to see the river flowing
under the door, to notice as the water
gets deeper, it actually could be
refreshing, rather than overwhelming.
Keep in mind, that
the river was flowing under
the door of that Temple.
And remember Jesus said...
Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears My voice
and opens the door,
I will come in to him and dine with him,
and he with Me.
If only we will embrace,
rather than fear the river...
If only we will dive into the revelation
that the waters are for us...
refreshment of healing and new life.
Word of God
train me, today...
To dive in over my head with You, Lord.
To never fear the deepest waters,
as Your grace will always keep me afloat
when I trust my life to You.
Have you ever had to do
a double take?
You know, when you look at something,
and then you have to look again
because you just weren't certain
that you saw it quite right.
Happens to me
mostly when I get in the zone.
You know, rushing through life,
busy trying to get so many things done
that I fail to notice the details.
I can even fail to notice a person
that may be trying to get my attention.
That really makes me feel bad.
So lately, I've been trying
to slow down.
To take in the details a bit more.
To be a noticer.
And I think God is really found there...
in the details.
In His creation, His plans, His word;
in His people.
And It's funny,
because as I was reading Ezekiel,
I noticed that
even as he was getting a tour
of the new Temple God wanted built,
Ezekiel got so busy trying to
keep track of it all the information
he failed to notice
that all the gates were open...
except this one.
Then He brought me back
to the outer gate of the sanctuary
which faces toward the east,
but it was shut.
And the Lord said to me,
“This gate shall be shut;
it shall not be opened,
and no man shall enter by it,
because the Lord God of Israel
has entered by it;
therefore it shall be shut.
Ezekiel 44:1-2 NKJV
And it got me thinking
on that detail...
how important it was
that God pointed it out.
God had a specific gate that He wanted
all to Himself.
Kind of like a backstage entrance
to the Temple
that only He would have the key to open.
And honestly, I think
it's pretty reasonable...
considering He's God and all.
And it would be a HOLY gate,
a HOLY entrance.
Now wouldn't that be a great reminder
that God was real.
that He really showed up
right there in the House of God?
If there was just one gate special enough,
holy enough, that it was reserved
just for Him...
it meant that the Temple was built
intentionally and purposely
for His worship.
It would be a constant reminder
to all those who served there,
to all those who brought sacrifices,
to all those who neglected to come.
And even to all those who didn't believe...
that God really came to the place
where we worship Him.
It's somewhat like that day
when Moses came upon
that burning bush.
It got his attention and
He had turned aside because
the bush was not being consumed
by the fire.
The Lord called out to Moses,
and after Moses answered...
Then He said,
“Do not draw near this place.
Take your sandals off your feet,
for the place
where you stand is holy ground.”
How awesome it is,
how very special,
that God can enter a gate,
or take occupancy in a bush,
and make something so ordinary,
so plain, into a HOLY meeting place.
But I wonder if sometimes I miss Him
with all my rushing through life,
busy trying to get so many things done
that I fail to notice the details.
I told you, I can even fail to notice a person
that may be trying to get my attention.
And that really makes me feel bad.
And if the one I've missed is God...
WOW, have I really goofed up!
For that means I walked right past
probably tromped all over it
with my dirty tennis shoes and all.
Because He's not going to show up
with a flock of angels,
or in that pillar of cloud
or pillar of fire anymore.
He already did that in Exodus.
God is all about new things.
But He is always around,
and He is wanting me to be more
of a noticer...
looking and longing
for opportunities to be His hands and feet
to others in need.
That's where I will find Him.
In the places where I can serve Him.
He may not holler at me,
Hey, Lisa, take off your shoes,
from a burning bush,
But He may be a friend who needs a ride.
Or, He may be someone I know who
has been ill and needs dinner for her family.
And when I say yes to those needs
that tug at my heart...
and when I am obedient to follow
the leading of the Lord,
THEN I'm standing on HOLY ground.
And being a noticer is one of the best
assignments I've ever taken from God.
But if you're wondering whether
you'll notice the right thing,
or how to even hear from God,
let me challenge you
to simply pray this verse...
Let me hear of Your
unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting You.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to You.
Psalm 143:8 NLT
God will show you the way
to His HOLY ground!
Word of God
train me today....
To be a noticer of the details You create.
To stand on Your HOLY ground
as I seek to serve You today.
from my heart...
I write as an overflow... an expression of my true love for God and with a deep desire to encourage others in their day to day lives. For we can only find peace, joy, and satisfaction when we yield to the One who yielded His life for us.