He is not preaching to the choir

“As I live,” says the Lord God, “you will not use this proverb any more in Israel, for all souls are mine to judge – fathers and sons alike – and my rule is this : It is for a man’s own sins that he will die.”  Ezekiel 18:2-4

We will not appear on Judgment Day collectively.

There won’t be talk of; “We attend the same church and/or go to the same Bible study.”

We are on our own.

No one will give references for us and try and put in a good word for us.

I stand before Him alone.  There will be no “choir” of us.  Just me.

Good news?  I won’t carry the baggage of my associates with me.

Bad news?  There will be no coattails to cling to.

God sees me perfectly.  There is nothing hidden.  My thoughts, plans, and actions are common knowledge to Him.

It behooves me to approach Him as an individual.  To know that I alone am accountable.

There will be a time when my life will be seen by me as it really is.  I will know that I am unworthy of an after life with a perfect God BUT it is then that I will truly realize the mercy/grace of God.

I will not be given a place in heaven because of my earthly associations.  That placement happens because of my association with God.

I accept His provision for me when He sent Jesus to die for my sins.  Jesus died for that which should separate me from an after life with God.

What a Savior!

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Getting God mad

“But,” God says, “I was very angry with them, for their hearts were always looking somewhere else instead of up to me, and they never found the paths I wanted them to follow.”  Hebrews 3:10.

God gets angry.

That is a scary thought.  When I get angry, I might say something I shouldn’t or leave the room and sulk.  God?  Think what He has at His disposal!  How restrained He must be with me.

Today’s verse is referencing the Israelites during their forty years of wandering but it might as well apply to us.

God is saying that He has a way for them to go but they won’t seek His Will.  Instead, they wander for years on a trip that could have taken days and end up missing the Promised Land.  How sad.

What does God want me to do?

Do I really want to know?

How do I find out what He wants?

God used prophets in the Old Testament.  I am just starting to read Ezekiel.  Right off the bat, Ezekiel has been given a message from God to tell the Israelites.  They are going to hear what God wants and is planning.

I listened to an inner voice recently and heeded what I heard.

Will I listen to “outer” voices that God has placed in my midst?

 

 

 

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U-Turn

“Turn us around and bring us back to you again!  That is our only hope! Give us back the joys we used to have.”  Lamentations 5:21 (Living Bible)

My computer has not been working very well lately.

A nearby repair shop found nothing wrong except that the machine is 4+ years old.

What to do?

Therein became the problem as my approach was; “What can I do?”, and “What can others do?”

I got so uncertain about what to do……that I turned to prayer!

A Godly Sherlock Holmes could easily note my problem: looking for solutions in the wrong order.

Why do I constantly plan and proceed without His counsel?

What small part of my thinking does He actually control ?

I set out this morning to visit a computer place that I had used 4+ years ago to install the software needed to get my current computer up-and-running at that time.  As I drove to the place, I heard an Inner Voice: “You haven’t had your devotions yet.  Turn around, go home, and have them before you do anything.”

I wanted to ignore that Voice because I was on the way, but I knew that I couldn’t.  I turned around, went home, and had my daily reading and meditating.

Lamentations 5:21 caught my eye.  For me that verse said, “Stop planning and proceeding without me and turn, instead, to me without ceasing.”

I do not know where my search for computer solutions will take me, but I feel a whole lot better about that search now that I’ve turned to Him before seeking anymore solutions.

 

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Doing His Will

“God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public.  Salvation’s available for everyone!  We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life.  This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.”  Titus 2:11-12 (Message)

The days of bringing an offering to the temple to gain forgiveness for my misdeeds are over!

Jesus died for my sins; past, present, and future.  Before a holy and righteous God, I am completely in the clear.  PTL.

So now what?  Now I must learn how to live as His follower in the present.

How will I know what to do?

God’s Word is His manual for Godly living.  Plenty of teaching.  Plenty of role models (good & bad) to learn from.

How eager am I to get into that “manual?”  I admit that I’m the type who buys, tries, and THEN reads the manual.

How’s that “tries without reading His manual” working for you?  Me neither!

I must read the Bible with more urgency.  We’re not talking about learning how to work a leaf blower.  We talking about living a life pleasing to our Savior!  I need that information.

This afternoon’s verses also connect to our happy ending: We have an eternity with Him.  This should enable us to function confidently despite our circumstances.

In good times; “Thank You for blessing me.”

In bad times; “I know that You are with me.”

How blessed we are to have Him in our present and our future.

 

 

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False claims

“They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.  They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”  Titus 1:16

It is easy to focus on the “they” in this verse.

How many folks come to mind who are believers, but have done things that would suggest otherwise?

That road is an easy one.  What if I look at myself?

I “act” throughout the day.  I do things.  I say things.

Am I betraying Him in any of those instances?  Not if I keep those “rose-colored” glasses firmly in place!

Paul’s words come across as harsh: detestable, disobedient, and unfit!

I’m looking for a, “that’s okay,” but Paul roughly updates me on how my actions really are seen by God.

I know that God loves me but that certainly doesn’t mean that He overlooks my sins.

My worry in this is that I like to downsize my transgressions and upsize those of others.

How easy is it to criticize the current President and his opponents?  And many of us do it with ease.  Yet, how about us?  Am I doing the same things at my level, or in my circumstances, that offend me about them?  The answer is, “Yes.”

God did not create the earth and then vacate interest.  He is well aware of what is going on everywhere.  I am not outside of His interest.  I will be accountable.

I need, desperately, to see my behavior as He sees it.  I cannot give myself a pass because of all the “good” things I do.  I can’t.  I am accountable.

My day should include an ongoing evaluation of my behavior.

I MUST be quick to recognize MY sinful behavior.

I must be quick to rectify that behavior……..“I’m sorry,” is a great place to start.

 

 

 

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Can we accept “No” from God?

Can we accept “No” from God?

“You lie!  The Lord our God hasn’t told you to tell us not to go to Egypt!” Jeremiah 43:2

Johanan and his buddies had no intention of obeying God.

Should they leave Judah and escape the Babylonians by fleeing to Egypt?  Made sense.  Egypt would protect them from the Babylonians.  To stay put and cooperate with them was way too risky.

But they asked Jeremiah to check in with God and vowed (“May the curse of God be on us if we refuse to obey whatever He says we should do.”) to do God’s will.

Who were they kidding?  They only wanted confirmation of plans they already had in place.

They weren’t planning to stay.  They were going to get their “safety” from Egypt.

How like us.  We have The God yet how often we put our trust in lesser gods.

God knows our hearts and is never deceived by what we say.

Johanan ignored what God wanted him to do and got the disaster he deserved.

God puts people into our lives to be like Jeremiah.  They have His Words and those words may not be, at times, what we want to hear.  But we should.

We need to ask God directly for His Will and we need to be willing to accept that Will

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Eternal life insurance

“Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.” Psalm 90:12

I learned this morning that some grandparents in my church had lost their grandson to a car accident recently.

That’s not the way it’s “supposed” to be!  He was only twenty-three.  All those years we assume will come, sometimes don’t.

When I was in my late twenties, we had someone come to our home to talk about life insurance.  I will admit that it wasn’t my idea.  I dug in as the salesman tried to convince us of the necessity of a life insurance policy. I refused to wrap my brain around the need for life insurance, despite his (accurate) information to the contrary.

Realizing that I have no certainty of tomorrow is a necessity if I am going to approach each today in a Godly way.

How will I navigate today?  I quickly gravitate to the Martha/Mary story.  Will I see the Big Picture, or will I settle my attention on lesser things?

In a way, I am now that young salesman I referred to earlier.  I have a view of the future that some choose not to have. How will I persuade the “uninsured” of their need?

We will have to make a next-life decision before we get to that next life.  We will either have eternal life insurance or we won’t.  There will be no “policies” sold on Judgment Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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