Do you know?

Do you know that He is the Lord?

Is that more than a “say the right answer ” religious test question to you?

So you know that He is the most high God,  the living God, almighty God, righteous, holy and just in His judgement against and His punishment of evil, wickedness, and sin?

Hear what the Word of God proved true about those who thought they were true Israel but who were deceived and confused and lost — and hear what the Word of God says about those who thought they were the church but were no more a part of the body of Christ than Satan and His demons themselves. 

See that hope is found in an abiding and intimate relationship with Christ, walking with Him in Truth, as more than a conqueror, as that new creation with a new name — not in empty religious association, traditions and powerless words and false reputations painted on the outside of empty vessels of sin and death. 

Come to Him and live, you who have ears to hear what the Good Shepherd says, and who will repent from your wicked ways and walk in His way!

therefore thus says the Lord God : Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers. And I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to all the winds. Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God , surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw. My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. A third part of you shall die of pestilence and be consumed with famine in your midst; a third part shall fall by the sword all around you; and a third part I will scatter to all the winds and will unsheathe the sword after them. “Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. And they shall know that I am the Lord —that I have spoken in my jealousy—when I spend my fury upon them. Moreover, I will make you a desolation and an object of reproach among the nations all around you and in the sight of all who pass by. You shall be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations all around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious rebukes—I am the Lord ; I have spoken— when I send against you the deadly arrows of famine, arrows for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, and when I bring more and more famine upon you and break your supply of bread. I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword upon you. I am the Lord ; I have spoken.” – Ezekiel 5:8‭-‬17 ESV

“Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, and say, You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God ! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain before your idols. And I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars. Wherever you dwell, the cities shall be waste and the high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined, your idols broken and destroyed, your incense altars cut down, and your works wiped out. And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the Lord . “Yet I will leave some of you alive. When you have among the nations some who escape the sword, and when you are scattered through the countries, then those of you who escape will remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols. And they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations. And they shall know that I am the Lord . I have not said in vain that I would do this evil to them.” Thus says the Lord God : “Clap your hands and stamp your foot and say, Alas, because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, for they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. He who is far off shall die of pestilence, and he who is near shall fall by the sword, and he who is left and is preserved shall die of famine. Thus I will spend my fury upon them. And you shall know that I am the Lord , when their slain lie among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountaintops, under every green tree, and under every leafy oak, wherever they offered pleasing aroma to all their idols. And I will stretch out my hand against them and make the land desolate and waste, in all their dwelling places, from the wilderness to Riblah. Then they will know that I am the Lord .” – Ezekiel 6:2‭-‬14 ESV

“And you, O son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel: An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. Now the end is upon you, and I will send my anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you for all your abominations. And my eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity, but I will punish you for your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “Thus says the Lord God : Disaster after disaster! Behold, it comes. An end has come; the end has come; it has awakened against you. Behold, it comes. Your doom has come to you, O inhabitant of the land. The time has come; the day is near, a day of tumult, and not of joyful shouting on the mountains. Now I will soon pour out my wrath upon you, and spend my anger against you, and judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you for all your abominations. And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord , who strikes. “Behold, the day! Behold, it comes! Your doom has come; the rod has blossomed; pride has budded. Violence has grown up into a rod of wickedness. None of them shall remain, nor their abundance, nor their wealth; neither shall there be preeminence among them. The time has come; the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn, for wrath is upon all their multitude. For the seller shall not return to what he has sold, while they live. For the vision concerns all their multitude; it shall not turn back; and because of his iniquity, none can maintain his life. “They have blown the trumpet and made everything ready, but none goes to battle, for my wrath is upon all their multitude. The sword is without; pestilence and famine are within. He who is in the field dies by the sword, and him who is in the city famine and pestilence devour. And if any survivors escape, they will be on the mountains, like doves of the valleys, all of them moaning, each one over his iniquity. All hands are feeble, and all knees turn to water. They put on sackcloth, and horror covers them. Shame is on all faces, and baldness on all their heads. They cast their silver into the streets, and their gold is like an unclean thing. Their silver and gold are not able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord . They cannot satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it. For it was the stumbling block of their iniquity. His beautiful ornament they used for pride, and they made their abominable images and their detestable things of it. Therefore I make it an unclean thing to them. And I will give it into the hands of foreigners for prey, and to the wicked of the earth for spoil, and they shall profane it. I will turn my face from them, and they shall profane my treasured place. Robbers shall enter and profane it. “Forge a chain! For the land is full of bloody crimes and the city is full of violence. I will bring the worst of the nations to take possession of their houses. I will put an end to the pride of the strong, and their holy places shall be profaned. When anguish comes, they will seek peace, but there shall be none. Disaster comes upon disaster; rumor follows rumor. They seek a vision from the prophet, while the law perishes from the priest and counsel from the elders. The king mourns, the prince is wrapped in despair, and the hands of the people of the land are paralyzed by terror. According to their way I will do to them, and according to their judgments I will judge them, and they shall know that I am the Lord .” – Ezekiel 7:2‭-‬27 ESV

The Day of Pentecost

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
Ezekiel 36:26‭-‬27 NKJV

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is  it  that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.” But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord . And it shall come to pass That  whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’
Acts 2:1‭-‬21 NKJV

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/rom.15.13.NKJV

Judgement is WAY above our pay grade, but IT IS COMING

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I have to tell you that I hate the shirts, etc that have “Only God can judge me” – because the mentality of 99% who sport it have no genuine belief that they are going to face judgement. Many have bought into the lies of a twisted perversion of the truth telling them “say this prayer and do X and you’re saved from hell forever no matter what”. But that is NOT the gospel. You will NOT find that in the truth of the Bible. I don’t care what lies some false teacher told on TV or behind a podium to get your money. I don’t care what lies your friend told you to make you comfortable justifying things that you know in your heart are wrong. I care about you hearing and believing the truth.

Someone who believes, someone who loves God, someone seeking to walk that narrow path that leads to salvation and avoid that broad way that goes to destruction – Someone who is A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST should be examining and equipping and preparing themselves for their final destination, right? So wouldn’t someone headed to a holy, perfect, righteous place overcome in victory want encoragement to turn away from the flesh and walk in the Spirit?

But no, most use this saying “Only God can judge me” to really say –

“I’m my own God and I set my own rules. You can’t teach me because I don’t want to learn or grow or change. I have no fear of God at all.”

That sounds more similar to the Satanic mantra of “The whole of the law is, do as you wish” than anything Christ would have said. I encourage you to know which master you are serving, which voice you are listening to.

That perspective of self as master is a scary, dark, confused place to live. I know, because I’ve walked that valley in the shadow of death myself. And by the grace of God, I stand delivered from that self serving mentality into a life loving, serving, growing, and learning.

Correction is not comfortable, but at least I can begin to appreciate it for its value in molding me and changing me. And I don’t resist it like I used to. People think that being “strong”, “hard”, and “real” is being immovable, unchangeable, like a rock. But you are not the rock, friend. Jesus Christ is the rock upon which a strong foundation can be built.  You might know about the rock. You might even know the rock. You might even love the rock. But we should make sure that He is sitting in that throne as the Lord of our lives instead of ourselves. Otherwise, you are right, I can’t judge you, but I can warn you, that if you don’t change and get yourself off of that throne and humble yourself before God, you will know His judgement.

If you say that you know and love Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, walk in light – or at least quit deceiving yourself if you are walking in darkness. Know today by the fruit of your life who it is you have been serving and who it is you will choose to serve from today forward. But never forget that you have chosen your master – not with your words or your religion, but with the testimony of your life.

I beg and plead for sinners to come to repentance, because the kingdom of God is not far away, death is right here at the door, and your time draws near – to either meet the Lord in salvation or in judgement.

I share this in love because so many have deceived themselves or been deceived by self serving false teachers. Those wolves have grown efficient at fleecing the flock and feeding off of them, getting fat and rich, when they were supposed to be the ones feeding and sacrificing and laying down their lives for the flock instead. Be careful, little child, this is a dark time, but the light can be found when you seek it, set your eyes firmly on it,  and see this race through to the end. Judgement -or- salvation.

Do we have ears to hear what is being aid in the questions from 1 Peter 4:

“If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

Judgement is real. If you still doubt, I’ve provided for your reading pleasure:

John 8:12, 15-16, 21, 23-24, 31-32, 34-36, 42-47 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.  Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.  So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.”  He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.  I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.  Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.  Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?  Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Romans 14:10-12 ESV
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”  So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Revelation 20:11-15 ESV
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Psalm 9:7-20 ESV
But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice,  and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.  The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord , have not forsaken those who seek you.  Sing praises to the Lord , who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!  For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.  Be gracious to me, O Lord ! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death,  that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation.  The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.  The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah  The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.  For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.  Arise, O Lord ! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you!  Put them in fear, O Lord ! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah

Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

John 3:16-21 ESV
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

1 Peter 4:17-19 ESV
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”  Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Matthew 12:33-37 ESV
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad,  for the tree is known by its fruit.  You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Jude 1:3-25 ESV
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.  Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.  It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.  But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.  Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Romans 1:18-32 ESV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.  For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 2:1-16 ESV
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.  He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.  For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

John 3:16-18 ESV
“For  God so loved  the world,  that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not  perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Romans 4:3-8 ESV
For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:  “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;  blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Ezekiel 36:22-38 ESV
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God : It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord , declares the Lord God , when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God ; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.  “Thus says the Lord God : On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord ; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord ; I have spoken, and I will do it.  “Thus says the Lord God : This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock. Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord .”

Little Children

Do you ever ponder over the things of God? Do you wonder about His ways? What about the little children? What is their fate? What is ours?

children-are-innocent-childrens-world-16382924-670-405

INNOCENCE

See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes. – Ecclesiastes 7:29 ESV

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14 ESV

And said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:3 ESV

But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” – 2 Samuel 12:23 ESV

Autosomal-recessive-inheritance

INHERITANCE

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. – Ezekiel 18:20 ESV

For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. – 1 Corinthians 7:14 ESV

And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. – Deuteronomy 1:39 ESV

Knowledge

KNOWLEDGE

For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. – Isaiah 7:16 ESV

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. – James 4:17 ESV

Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright. – Proverbs 20:11 ESV

The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies. – Psalm 58:3 ESV

I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. – Romans 7:9-11 ESV

Everyone who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the Lord’s offering. – Exodus 30:14 ESV

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. – Psalm 14:2-3 ESV

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. – John 3:6 ESV

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. – Romans 7:14 ESV

quote-David-Herbert-Lawrence-this-is-the-very-worst-wickedness-that-90120

SIN

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. – Genesis 6:5 ESV

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. – Ephesians 2:12 ESV

salvation

SALVATION

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, – Romans 4:1-25 ESV

And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. – Genesis 8:21 ESV

Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. – 1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV

Zech4_6

POWER

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being – Ephesians 3:16 ESV

For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. – 1 Corinthians 4:20 ESV

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, – Colossians 1:11 ESV

That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:5 ESV

He gives power to the faint, and to him 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 40:29-31 ESV

repentance

REPENTANCE / RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT

Ezekiel 18:1-32
The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.

“If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.

“Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.

“Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.

“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

The call is going out, the trumpet is sounding

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there  were very many in the open valley; and indeed they  were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God , You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord ! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord .” ’ ” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there  was no breath in them. Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God : “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God : “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord , when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord , have spoken it and performed it, ” says the Lord .’ ”
Ezekiel 37:1-14 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/ezk.37.1-14.NKJV

You are called to wake up, sleeping Christian. You are called to rise and walk upright in the strength of His Holy Spirit, of Christ who lives in you. Prepare yourself,  for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to  the  poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to  the  captives And recovery of sight to  the  blind, To  set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord .”
Luke 4:18-19 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/luk.4.18-19.NKJV

You have been called, not to sit stationary and unchanged, not hidden amongst the shadows of this world – but to bring the light of Hope, Faith, and Love into a lost, diseased,  sinful, dying world.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/mat.28.18-20.NKJV

You are called both to be a disciple and to make disciples. You are called to be a student of the Word of God,  seeking His face,  His way,  His truth,  His life come alive in you,  today and forevermore.

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
Revelation 12:10-12 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/rev.12.10-12.NKJV

it is the Blood of the Lamb that frees you, the power of His Holy Spirit that empowers you, so that your living testimony can shine the light of His grace and glory into this dark world,  and so that your picking up your cross and bearing the burdens of others will be an undeniable manifestation of Christ alive and at work,  still today feeding His Sheep and leading them through the trials of this world into the peace of eternal life in Christ.

Let our lives be a living testament that Christ lives and moves and serves His faithful today, the same as it ever was.

Lean and weak or fat and strong?

I read this and it continues to remind me that I’m just a fellow sheep and not the shepherd,  not the teacher, I’m a student – at best I’m a messenger and servant. I hope we can remain lean and weak (dependent upon God), not fat and strong (pridefully confident in ourselves), friends.

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God : Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.  “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord : As I live, declares the Lord God , surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord : Thus says the Lord God , Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them. 

“For thus says the Lord God : Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God . I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. 

“As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God : Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet? 

“Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord , will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord ; I have spoken.
Ezekiel 34:2-24 ESV
http://bible.com/59/ezk.34.2-24.ESV

My ears really perk up and my pulse quickens a bit at hearing this and having to check myself: “I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.”

Two sets of eyes and ears?

We are reading Billy Graham’s “Hope for Each Day” as our daily devotional,  and today’s verse was quoted as:

“They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people. –
Ezekiel 12:2 NIV”

And this opened a wonderful discussion between my wife and I about spiritual seeing and hearing versus physical and the hand of God on our lives,  etc.

It reminded us also of:

“But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. – 2 Corinthians 3:14”

and

“even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. – John 14:17”

It reminded me of that time in my life when I could not hear His voice – or truth be told,  I want interested in listening to His voice,  so I did not hear it.  It reminded me of that time in my life when I could not discern the spiritual influences affecting my life and the lives of those around me. And I sharpen my sight and hearing so that I can be a good Berean and examine myself and test all spirits against the truth of the Word of God. And as a result of this sharpening, the difference between darkness and light becomes so much more evident. The underlying desires that drive myself and that drive others becomes more evident in the words and actions that either testify for our against us.

And after we wrapped up our family devotional, and after I wrapped up my prayer devotional from Reinder’s “Seeking His Face” prayer devotional, I thought,  this is such a good verse, let me see where it is rooted,  let me examine deeper. I wanted to gain more understanding of the context and background of such a wonderful piece of scripture that made us excited about praising Him and trusting Him and expecting continued growth and commitment to Him in our lives because of the evidence of His healing touch on our lives as He reveals more of Himself to us.

And I opened up Ezekiel in ESV and found:

“Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.”
Ezekiel 12:2 ESV
http://bible.com/59/ezk.12.2.ESV

And at that moment, I read it and asked myself – “Is this even the same verse that we read?” Because it spoke in such a different type of revelation,  not just about me, not just about my family’s growth and our being drawn closer to the Lord – but it spoke of the darkness surrounding us. And I became even more hungry to understand what this part of the book of Ezekiel was sharing,  so I read on:

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house. As for you, son of man, prepare for yourself an exile’s baggage, and go into exile by day in their sight. You shall go like an exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house. You shall bring out your baggage by day in their sight, as baggage for exile, and you shall go out yourself at evening in their sight, as those do who must go into exile. In their sight dig through the wall, and bring your baggage out through it. In their sight you shall lift the baggage upon your shoulder and carry it out at dusk. You shall cover your face that you may not see the land, for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel.”  And I did as I was commanded. I brought out my baggage by day, as baggage for exile, and in the evening I dug through the wall with my own hands. I brought out my baggage at dusk, carrying it on my shoulder in their sight.
Ezekiel 12:1-7 ESV
http://bible.com/59/ezk.12.1-7.ESV

And I began to understand the importance of accepting that we are dwelling amongst darkness,  amongst many who are blind and deaf to the Word of God, who do not have the spiritual eyes or ears to hear His voice because they do not love Him. They do not seek His desires,  but I trapped by things of this world and the honor of men. They do not truly want to be freed,  they are not ready to be awakened to a life of costly discipleship because it sounds burdensome and they do not believe that the prize is worth a cost – especially if they can get it for free.

And don’t misunderstand me, I do not begrudge anyone who is satisfied with the free gift of grace. I do not begrudge anyone that would hope to barely make it into the gates of heaven,  because that is exactly my attitude and perspective. I would love to sit at His feet praising Him eternally and never leaving His presence, but I’ll have more than I deserve as long as I at least get to be there. I’ll long for the seat at His feet, kissing His feet and washing them with my tears – but just give me a seat at the table, Oh Lord. That seat that is wholly undeserved by the evidence of my life that comes so short of bringing you honor and glory,  Lord – please just save a seat at the table for your servant. I trust in your grace and mercy. I trust that you know my heart and that I am not deceived by the tricks of my own flesh and that enemy of your love.

And it encouraged me that this man of God obeyed as God commanded. It encouraged me that He obeyed openly and transparently, not hiding from the call, and obeying God explicitly, even to the point of covering His face and focusing on his faithfulness, not what God was going to do to this land and people. God had not called him in this instance to be an overseer or a watchman for these rebellious people headed for destruction, he called him to be an example.

So I still wanted to understand more,  so I read on. 

In the morning the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’ Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God : This oracle concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are in it.’ Say, ‘I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them. They shall go into exile, into captivity.’ And the prince who is among them shall lift his baggage upon his shoulder at dusk, and shall go out. They shall dig through the wall to bring him out through it. He shall cover his face, that he may not see the land with his eyes. And I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare. And I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, yet he shall not see it, and he shall die there. And I will scatter toward every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. And they shall know that I am the Lord , when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them among the countries. But I will let a few of them escape from the sword, from famine and pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the Lord .”
Ezekiel 12:8-16 ESV
http://bible.com/59/ezk.12.8-16.ESV

And this warning of the coming destruction,  of the coming wrath,  of the coming judgement upon these rebellious people who would rather hide their sin like the prince covering his face in shame as he hoped to escape the net of the consequences for his rebellion.

And I understand the shift of perspective. Those in rebellion want to hide their sins from the light because that is what their heart truly desires and they may even be shamed by their rebellion,  but they are not interested in turning to God and obeying him both in the light of day when me can see AND  when others cannot see unless they really examine closely. I know this because I am familiar with those broad paths that I used to walk.

When we are blind to the truth, we want to enjoy the appearance and reputation and benefits of our titles and positions more than we are interested in fulfilling the responsibilities given us. How many times have I, myself, sought a better job or position or title,  focused on the perception of authority, when it was really a commitment to greater responsibilities.

And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink water with trembling and with anxiety. And say to the people of the land, Thus says the Lord God concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink water in dismay. In this way her land will be stripped of all it contains, on account of the violence of all those who dwell in it. And the inhabited cities shall be laid waste, and the land shall become a desolation; and you shall know that I am the Lord .”
Ezekiel 12:17-20 ESV
http://bible.com/59/ezk.12.17-20.ESV

And yes, this is a fearful judgement upon the rebellious. Especially when we know that we were once a party to the ways of darkness and that it is only by the grace of God that we were called out into the light. It is only by the power of His Holy Spirit that we now have eyes to see and ears to hear the judgement and destruction of those we once considered friends,  neighbors,  and family. And this isn’t something that we take joy in,  just like the Lord does not delight in the destruction of the wicked. He would rather they believe, lay down their sin,  repent, and come to Him so that He can breath life into their dead bones.

And our natural question then becomes,  when will this come?  Am I safe enough to play in the mud with the pigs for a while longer before I decide to turn back and return to my Father’s house? Is it far away?  Or is it near?

“Son of man, what is this proverb that you have about the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing’? Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord God : I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.’ But say to them, The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision. For there shall be no more any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the Lord ; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it, declares the Lord God .”  “Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, ‘The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’ Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord God : None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that I speak will be performed, declares the Lord God .”
Ezekiel 12:22-25, 27-28 ESV
http://bible.com/59/ezk.12.22-28.ESV

So I believe that it is important that we ask ourselves –

Am I the one called to come out of the darkness of the rebellious ways of the world around me,  to see and hear and obey?

Am I unashamedly and whether visible or unseen by the eyes of men obeying the will of God with the example that my life before the eyes of an all seeing,  all knowing God?

Or will I be found cowering in shame,  hoping to escape the net of his just and righteous judgement when the day comes?

It reminds me of the warnings of Jeremiah before the disaster of Lamentations:

“How Babylon is taken, the praise of the whole earth seized! How Babylon has become a horror among the nations!  The sea has come up on Babylon; she is covered with its tumultuous waves.  Her cities have become a horror, a land of drought and a desert, a land in which no one dwells, and through which no son of man passes.  And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and take out of his mouth what he has swallowed. The nations shall no longer flow to him; the wall of Babylon has fallen.  “Go out of the midst of her, my people! Let every one save his life from the fierce anger of the Lord !  Let not your heart faint, and be not fearful at the report heard in the land, when a report comes in one year and afterward a report in another year, and violence is in the land, and ruler is against ruler.  “Therefore, behold, the days are coming when I will punish the images of Babylon; her whole land shall be put to shame, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.  Then the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, shall sing for joy over Babylon, for the destroyers shall come against them out of the north, declares the Lord .  Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel, just as for Babylon have fallen the slain of all the earth.  “You who have escaped from the sword, go, do not stand still! Remember the Lord from far away, and let Jerusalem come into your mind:  ‘We are put to shame, for we have heard reproach; dishonor has covered our face, for foreigners have come into the holy places of the Lord ’s house.’  “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord , when I will execute judgment upon her images, and through all her land the wounded shall groan.  Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify her strong height, yet destroyers would come from me against her, declares the Lord .  “A voice! A cry from Babylon! The noise of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans!  For the Lord is laying Babylon waste and stilling her mighty voice. Their waves roar like many waters; the noise of their voice is raised,  for a destroyer has come upon her, upon Babylon; her warriors are taken; their bows are broken in pieces, for the Lord is a God of recompense; he will surely repay.  I will make drunk her officials and her wise men, her governors, her commanders, and her warriors; they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake, declares the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.  “Thus says the Lord of hosts: The broad wall of Babylon shall be leveled to the ground, and her high gates shall be burned with fire. The peoples labor for nothing, and the nations weary themselves only for fire.”
Jeremiah 51:41-58 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jer.51.41-58.ESV

And that is about history,  about an example,  about a shadow of what is yet to come. Revelation males it clear what lies ahead.

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;  for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.  Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.  As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’  For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”  And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.”  And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.  “The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you, never to be found again!”  The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,  “Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls!  For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?”  And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, “Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste.  Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!”
Revelation 18:4-20 ESV
http://bible.com/59/rev.18.4-20.ESV

Love, Love, Love

It’s very easy for us to become critical of each other, noticing and pointing out flaws, maybe even talking about others behind their backs. But this is not love, nor is it letting Christ shine forth through our lives.

For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Galatians 5:14-15 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gal.5.14-15.NLT

Even if we see someone who is trapped in sin that the Word of God promises that they will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God and that will lead them to hell – do you realize that we are given warnings about not falling into the trap of spiritual pride when dealing with these situations? That we are meant to be acting in love towards one another with hopes not just to catch and expose imperfections,  but to help others overcome and be freed from the sin that binds them.

When we stop look for good in people and start examining them for faults,  we are bound to find them. And when we recognize sin in the lives of others, it is usually because we are familiar with that evil spirit ourselves. Whether we are looking in love, forgiveness,  and mercy, hoping to serve our neighbor – or whether we are looking with condemnation, accusation, and judgement,  hoping to catch our neighbor – it’s an important difference.

There is one that waits for the opportunity to devour people because of their sin – and his wolves are very good at biting and tearing at one another, weakening the prey and preparing them for death, slaughter, and destruction.  But there is another who heals,  who offers forgiveness, who reconciles us to be more like Himself – and His followers are very good at loving one another, and building each other up, and sharing one another’s burdens. And the difference between the two comes down to perspective. One’s followers look down on the others in pride,  while the followers of Christ look at others equally and in unity. These followers of Christ see neighbors and friends in need of the very same unmerited and undeserved grace that their own walk of faith is materializing and bearing witness to in their life of serving and loving others.

So we have to ask ourselves,  are we motivated by love towards others or do we enjoy the pride of being critical toward others? Are we aiming our examining eye inward at ourselves,  using the Word of God a surgical instrument or are we using it as a sword to slay our brothers and sisters? Do we know how to target the real enemy who is not flesh and blood, or have we comforted our thirst with the blood of the innocent instead of tasting of the living waters that fill our lives to overflowing?

It is easy for me to point out warnings and scriptures that identify those lost and trapped in sin and headed to destruction – and if all that I offer is a warning, is a statement of the impending danger, and I don’t offer the Good News of Jesus Christ that leads to Hope,  Faith,  and Love – can I say that I’ve shared Truth or just that I’ve lifted my stone in the air?

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NLT
http://bible.com/116/1co.6.9-10.NLT

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gal.5.19-21.NLT

Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.
Revelation 22:15 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rev.22.15.NLT

You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.
Ephesians 5:5-19 NLT
http://bible.com/116/eph.5.5-19.NLT

For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.
1 Timothy 1:9-11 NLT
http://bible.com/116/1ti.1.9-11.NLT

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14 NLT
http://bible.com/116/heb.12.14.NLT

A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.
John 8:35 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.8.35.NLT

And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,  ‘where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.’
Mark 9:47-48 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mrk.9.47-48.NLT

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He replied, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.  When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’  Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’  And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
Luke 13:23-27 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.13.23-27.NLT

For again I say, when righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and turn to evil, they will die.
Ezekiel 33:18 NLT
http://bible.com/116/ezk.33.18.NLT

No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”
Luke 13:5 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.13.5.NLT

Yes,  and these warnings are true because the Word of God does not lie.

I cry out warnings in love each day. I’m sowing the seed of this Good News that Jesus Christ can come into your life, and change you. But many are too wrapped up in the ways of this world and don’t really want their eyes to be opened yet. I know,  because that used to be me.

So I just keep sharing truth and hope and faith and love – trusting that those that are His will hear His voice before it is too late.

And some are lost and need hope (a turn to God – change of attitude).

And some are babes and need faith (a focus and dedication and ongoing growth in His will).

And some are among leaven and need love (a remembrance of His undeserved, unmerited mercy and grace as opposed to spiritual pride).

And many are headed for destruction and need truth (it is truly a narrow path with ditches on both sides – in misunderstood grace as a license to sin – and in misunderstood works as a stairway to heaven).

When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
Luke 3:7-9 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.3.7-9.NLT

But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live.
Ezekiel 33:19 NLT
http://bible.com/116/ezk.33.19.NLT

2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV
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.

1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 ESV
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,

Ezekiel 18:21-23 ESV
But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?

Acts 17:30 ESV
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

Proverbs 28:13 ESV
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

James 4:8-10 ESV
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Acts 2:38 ESV
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Our choices matter, and have eternal consequences

SIN
Isaiah 59:2 ESV
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that He does not hear.

MERCY EXTENDED
Ezekiel 33:11 ESV
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

FORGIVENESS AVAILABLE
1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

NARROW PATH VS LEGALISM OR CONTINUING IN SIN
Proverbs 14:12 ESV
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

GIFT OF GRACE
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,  for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.
John 10:28-29 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.10.28-29.NLT

RELIGION VS RELATIONSHIP
2 Peter 2:20-22 ESV
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

FALSE CONVERT VS BORN AGAIN, SPIRIT FILLED
Hebrews 6:4-6 ESV
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

EXAMINING & IDENTIFYING OURSELVES
Hebrews 10:26 ESV
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

THE PAYMENT HAS BEEN MADE
Isaiah 53:6 ESV
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

UNDERSTAND HIS LOVE
Romans 5:8 ESV
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

CONFESS AND BELIEVE
Romans 10:9-10 ESV
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

THE CALL OF GOD – THE CHOICE OF MAN
Revelation 3:20 ESV
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

THE DECISION – TURNING AWAY
John 6:64-69 ESV
But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,

THE DECISION – LIVE IN CHRIST & CHRIST IN YOU
John 15:5 ESV
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

THE RESULT
And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Revelation 21:6-8 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rev.21.6-8.NLT

How much time do we have?

this message came to me from the Lord :
“Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin. Why should I listen to their requests? Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin, and then they go to a prophet asking for a message. So I, the Lord , will give them the kind of answer their great idolatry deserves. I will do this to capture the minds and hearts of all my people who have turned from me to worship their detestable idols.’
“Therefore, tell the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all your detestable sins. I, the Lord , will answer all those, both Israelites and foreigners, who reject me and set up idols in their hearts and so fall into sin, and who then come to a prophet asking for my advice. I will turn against such people and make a terrible example of them, eliminating them from among my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord .
Ezekiel 14:2-8 NLT
http://bible.com/116/ezk.14.2-8.NLT

Continue reading “How much time do we have?”