Archive for June, 2010

The Millennium

June 30, 2010

We’ve come to the conclusion of the Book of Ezekiel – the Millennial portion.  A millennium is defined as a span of one thousand years. For Christians, it refers to a thousand-year period of holiness where Christ reigns on earth as outlined in Revelation 20.  The final two chapters discuss the land in general, and its distribution among the tribes during the Millennium.  In these two chapters (47 & 48), we are provided clues about the new temple foretold by Ezekiel such as its location in the land as it relates to the allocation of land to the tribes. Again, we are in the midst of text that biblical scholars have wrangled urbanely for years. I am confident that I will not be able to shed any new light on the various theories about these passages, but I hope to focus us on the rule and reign of Christ in our lives now.

There are multiple thoughts on what will happen in the new millennium.  Will Christ actually be on earth during the 1000 years?  Will He be sovereign during this time like He is now – absent physically? Will the church be raptured or called to heaven before the reign or after the reign?  Regardless of what will happen during that time, focus is that God through Christ is in control just as He is now.  There is no temple in Jerusalem today, so we know that if one is to be there it has to be built but as we have already discussed.  I am not sure if there will be a new temple as in a building.  We also discussed that our (those who have surrendered to Christ) bodies are temples. That being the case, Christ, in his return, may be the temple. In this passage, the notion of the great tribulation surfaces.  Again, there are a variety of views about this; however, the constant remains true – God is in control.  Those of who trust in Him will be securely taken care of for eternity.

While we could delve into a comparison of the two holy cities or an examination of the land among the tribes, the point Ezekiel is making is consistent.  God will do all of this so that they will know that I am the LORD God – Jehovah “the Existing One”.  Throughout this book, this has been the central theme.  God wanting people to know who He is.  This is what the Millennial Reign is all about – people knowing that Christ is supreme and sovereign.  I am not advocating ignorance of this matter is okay if you are already in Christ; however, I am focusing in the only thing that the Word makes a distinction in regarding the Millennium: those who know Christ.  God has consistently shown in this passage that He keeps His Word.  I could further state that this passage is about God fulfilling promises or prophecy.  I will.  This is what it’s about.  Still, if you know Christ, it is further assurance.  For those who don’t, it’s another opportunity provided to surrender.  Let’s not experience eternity regretting an opportunity lost.  While the millennium is about a 1000 years, eternity is forever.  Without Christ as Lord and Savior of your life, you will spend eternity without him – the absence of good.  As Bartleby the Scrivner would say,”I prefer not to.”  Again Bartleby said, “Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!”  Christ is warning humanity about the end of their story.  He is offering a resolution to the regret, sadness and guilt of not yielding to Him right now.  Take hold of it.  CARPE DIEM!!!

Whoever wants to become great among you…

June 29, 2010

I am deviating from Ezekiel this morning but not really.  The last entry was about us worshiping God in the temple  as He outlined.  As I conveyed, the Word calls our body the temple of God if we know Christ.  As such, I am talking about giving my life to people today.  Okay, I must admit that I am probably asking for something that I don’t know about.  I don’t want to be great in the eyes of the world. I don’t even want to be great in the eyes of God; however, I want a life of significance.  Who determines whether your life was significant or not?  God does.  He will judge each one of us after it is over as indicated in Hebrews 9:27 .  I want to make difference not for difference sake but for Christ’s sake.  Only what we do for Christ will have any eternal significance.

This brings me to the matter at hand.  Listen to what one of my former students wrote me on June 16, 2010.

i’ve been trying to get my life back on track, been doing some thing that a man with my mind a potential shouldn’t be doing got lost in the sauce and im just now coming up for air need to surround my self with some positive people. U saved my life by getting me to get on that bus and go up to tri high and get on the football team helped me then maybe u can help me again.

I spoke with that young man shortly after that.  It is so humbling to have some one tell you that you saved his life.  It is more gratifying to think of doing this daily.  As one of my prayer partners and I prayed this morning, he raised the issue of young men, particularly Black young men.  He talked about how lost they are; how they make such poor decisions; how influenced they are seemingly with the wrong perspectives most of the time. I commented by telling him it’s because we have abdicated our responsibility of community with our young men, especially those who are from the African-American communities.  I conveyed was that all people want to be loved.  They want a chance.  Now in all across America, any charter school that shows the achievement of most of their black boys is lauded for their great efforts.  While I understand that they should be applauded, but what about those kids who have not realized that they want something different; better yet, what about the black boys who know they want some thing different but are so paralyzed by their circumstances that they can’t respond in the time frame that conveys that they want to change before someone gives up on them.  The young man whom I referenced above is thirty years old.  He needs help.  Heck, I am forty-two and need help.  The reality is that we all need help.  It’s just that some of us are in better position to get and receive help.

I am on a quest.  I want to help young men.  I love girls.  Most of my affective domain surfaces when I work with female students.  If I love them so much, I must, other than Christ, give them that which will impact their lives the most – a chance at relating to a respectful and responsible male.  As I think about one of my former students, she was in the initial stages of dating this young man.  He and I sat down to discuss his interest in her.  I just shared with him my concern and interest in her as well as my expectations for him.  She shared with me how much that meant to her.  I see it every day.  I see the ravishes of ‘boys gone wild’.  I see how the irresponsibility of young men, especially black men, affects how young ladies see themselves.  This affects how they relate to young men or men. It’s a terrible cycle when gone awry.  I want to do something about it.  Pray with me, help me, encourage me, and champion for me.

I will approach it like Jesus said.

Mark 10:42-45
42Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:25-28
25Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I have been and will continue to be willing to give my life as a ransom for many.  I am just willing to give more of myself.

We can turn things around.  God can redeem the day, the child, the generation, the race and the nation.  I will believe.

Rules for worship in the Sanctuary

June 28, 2010

In today’s passage, Ezekiel 44, God outlines a variety of expected behaviors of who could serve him and how they could serve him in the temple.  God reestablished the standard that had been ignored. You see, we tend to think that we can offer God service on our own terms.  We can’t do that as seen in the passage.  In fact, there are some in the passage whom God says must bear the consequences of their sin.  What was their sin? Pursuing and serving idol gods.  An idol god is any thing man worships or gives homage to as a subservient follower.  The priest were identified as the only ones who could serve in the sanctuary of the temple.  The sanctuary was the portion of the temple where the presence of God resided.

Now the temple for followers of Christ is their body.  Our spirit/hearts become the sanctuary.  Listen to what Today in Word says about the temple and priest,  “..just as the “temple” is no longer a building, but all believers so also are “priests” no longer a select few, but all believers. All who have trusted Christ for salvation are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Each of us has a responsibility to cultivate righteousness and purity in every dimension of our lives.”

16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16
19
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19
16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16
9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. Romans 8:9
21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. Ephesians 2:21

Hear what the Lord Jesus said about the body being the temple
John 2:18-21

18Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”  19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”20The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body.

God expects us to worship Him as He outlines in His Word.  It would take too long and I am sure I would miss some things if I tried to summarize it here for you today.  Despite that, God is calling us to devotion to Him above everyone and everything.  Israel went astray and wandered from me after their idols.  If we do not heed that call from going astray and wandering, we, like those mentioned in Ezekiel 44, will have to “bear the consequences of [our] sin.  As such, our lives must be lived as an act of worship to God.  God dictates how we worship; how we live.  Psalms 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  We must walk in the light as He is in the light.

Walk it out.

Visions: what of and what for

June 26, 2010

Okay, when we first started our journey in Ezekiel, I confessed that I was not the preeminent bible scholar.  It is apparent today.  There are many debates around chapters 40+ as Ezekiel begins to describe a temple shown to him by God.  As I read and read this morning, for a long time, I kept asking God to show me what was the essence of all the measurements and what the vision really meant.  Here is what I came away with.

First, the measurements are of the dimension of a temple which most do not believe has been built or may never be built.  Despite those opinions, here is what God said to me.  I am precise in what I do. There is a reason for every specific measurement of every space/room.  What you need to get out of this is that Ezekiel recorded what I told him which is what prophets are supposed to do.  They are to convey what I tell them, exactly.  Darron, can you convey exactly what I have told you?  No, He answered for me.  Why?  Because you have not fully committed to learning my Word.  (He answered again).  As Christians and ambassadors, we need to be able to report exactly what God has said about Himself.  This is one of the main points, if not the main point, from this book.  God wants us to know Him for who He is.  Remember the statement, then they will know that I am the LORD.  If we botch what God is saying about Himself, then we botch what picture God is seen by man.  This is idolatry again albeit of unintended consequence; yet, it still distorts who God is which He has shown over and over that He will fight for His name or how He is seen.  I need to get better at understanding His Word and the conveyance of His Word.

Second, the temple was a very important place for the Israelites.  It represented God’s presence and the relevance of their relationship with them.  We all want the assurance of God being with us.  This was especially true for them as they had their city and temple destroyed.  They had been captured and exiled in Babylonian. Seemingly, their favored status as God’s people had elapsed.  This vision was important as it renewed all that had been lost.

Lastly, God gave this vision as a statement of renewal and reinstatement.  Do you need to be renewed or reinstated with God.  As I said, the Word of God is our vision of Him.  The Word of God will renew or reinstate you.  Seek the Word for the presence of God in your life.  The Word is of God, for God to draw us to himself just as He used his prophet’s vision.  Hear what God says about speaking through prophets in Hebrews 1:1-3, “1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

Let’s commit to the Word.

Valley of Dry Bones

June 24, 2010

As a little boy, I did not attend church, so my knowledge of the bible was zero.  Although that is true, I regularly heard people referring to the “dry bone” sermon preached at some church.  For them, most of them were like me; they had no idea what the pastor was talking about, but to them, it sounded good.  Today’s passage, Ezekiel 37, is the passage in the bible where the oft referred phrase originates.  Well, for the Israelites, it represented that God would reunite them and bring life into their exiled people and divided kingdom.  God would reunite the people and God would reunite them to Himself.  Once again, God would be their God (for they had abandoned him) and they would be His people.  The bones developing tendons, muscle, skin and breath were symbolic of people coming alive to God again as well as one another.

Where are you experiencing dry bones, no life, in your life?  Where have you become dead to God because of your unwillingness to yield unto Him?  What hurts have you held onto not allowing God to heal you of them?  Where have you waited and waited on God to help you where He has seemingly ignored you?  Today, God offers us the same renewal.  We simply just need to ask God to breathe the same life back into us as He did to the Israelites at that time.  God is truly ready to raise up our spirits that we might be apart of his army that offers His life to those around us who are truly dead to Him. If we know Christ, we are privileged to have had God breathe life into our lifeless existence.  We owe God and the world the same opportunity.  Let’s join God in breathing life into the dry bones around us.

For Whose Sake?

June 23, 2010

God gave me an epiphany this morning.  Many times I have taken an elevated or should I dare say a prideful view of myself.  Many times, I think God is doing something for me because it is me.  I am Darron, His elect, His son.  I have thought too highly of myself.  In my reading of Ezekiel 36 this morning, God helped me to realize that I am no different from those whom He had disciplined but not discarded.  I wrote about that several days ago; however, I thought I was not discarded because I belonged to God.  Well, that is true but not for the reason I assumed or asserted.  You see in Ezekiel 35, God had Ezekiel prophesy against Edom for what they had done to the Israelites.  It was not that they did something to God’s chosen people that God exacted retribution, but it was that these people were attached to the name of God, so to  think that you could dominate and rule them is to assert that God can be dominated and ruled by His creation.  Not!  As with prayers, the discarding did not happen with me for the same reason it did not happen with Israel.  Read the text below from what God told Ezekiel in Ezekiel 36:

22″Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. 23 I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.  24 ” ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. 30 I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. 32 I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel!”

It is for the sake of God’s holy name, the holiness of His great name.  Wow!!!  It truly is not about me.  For that matter, it is not about you either.  It is for the sake of God’s great and holy name, Jehovah, the “Existing One”.  God does all these things because of His name.  His name is important because it describes His character – who He is.  God does not want anyone to ever get confused over who He is.  Remember, I have stated and highlighted multiple times in Ezekiel this statement “…know that I am the LORD”.  That is Jehovah, the Existing One.  God does everything, so that man will know that He is God; there is no other.

I gotta go on this one, but I must think about this today.  It’s not for me, but so all will know that He is the LORD.  It’s for the LORD’s sake.   This gives new meaning to praying in the name of Jesus.  What do you think about that.

The sheep and their Shepherd

June 22, 2010

As I live life, I see the impact of the fatherlessness especially on my job.  For a time of my life, I felt the impact of not having a father in my home.  While my mother did an admirable job, there was a place in my home/life designated by God for the earthly father.  Hear this from Patrick Moynihan, 1966, America Magazine, “… there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows large numbers of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future–that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, disorder. . .are not only to be expected, they are very near to inevitable. And they are richly deserved.”  Below are some statics about the impacts of fatherlessness.

Facts compiled by the National Fatherhood Initiative

  • Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school then their classmates who live with two parents
  • Seventy-two percent of all teenage murderers grew up without fathers
  • Fatherless children are eleven times more likely then are children from intact families to exhibit violent behavior.
  • Eighty percent of adolescents in psychiatric hospitals come from fatherless homes.
  • Seventy percent of the kids now incarcerated in juvenile corrections facilities grew up in a single-parent environment
  • Three out of four teen suicides occur in single-parent families
  • Compared to girls raised in homes where both parents are present, the daughters of single parents are 164-percent more likely to become pregnant before    marriage compared to girls raised in homes where both parents are present,
  • 53 percent are more likely to marry as teenagers
  • Compared to girls raised in homes where both parents are present, 92 percent more likely to dissolve their own marriages
  • The absence of a biological father increases by 900 percent a daughter’s vulnerability to rape and sexual abuse (often these assaults are committed by stepfathers or the boyfriends of custodial mothers).
  • Children whose fathers are absent consistently score lower than the norm in reading and math tests.
  • Children who live apart from their fathers experience more accidents and a higher rate of chronic asthma, headaches, and speech defects.

Facts compiled by the Department of Justice

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway youths are from fatherless homes.
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes.
  • 71% of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.
  • 70% of youths in State institutions are from fatherless homes.
  • 75% of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers are from fatherless homes.
  • 85% of rapists motivated by displaced anger are from fatherless homes.

Undeniably, the impacts of fatherlessness are huge.  When we abdicate our responsibilities as men, the children are left totally unprotected.  In today’s passage in Ezekiel 34, God draws the comparison between the men who were supposed to be leading the people but had chosen to look out for themselves.  He states that the shepherds were not doing their jobs.  They had left the sheep, the people, to be ravished by all the environmental forces even wild animals.   God compares those shepherds to Himself.  Listen to what He says in verses 11-16:

11 ” ‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”

All the things that God said he would do were the things that the leaders had failed to do resulting in the people being scattered and the community failing to be community.  God wishes for us to be His agents in this world to reconcile or bring back the sheep to Him.  As a proclaimed follower of Christ, this is our mission as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.).  The wicked one and the world are out ravishing themselves on the helpless sheep.  Our responsibility is to surrender to God, so He can use us to bring people to Him where there is protection and safety.

There is too much to say today about the ills of  life created by the ills of the family.  God is the way, the truth and the life.   We will either be a part of God’s solution or a part of satan’s problem.  Which will you choose?

Today in the Word

Renege on, Repent from, Rejoice in

June 21, 2010

In reading Ezekiel 33 this morning, there were several things that stood out.  As indicated in the title, I saw how the people (us included) had reneged on allowing God to be their God and for them to follow Him with fidelity.  I also saw God’s grace and mercy in that He told them to repent from their sins.  In verse 11, God says, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’ Lastly, I saw that God continues to tell the people to rejoice in knowing that He is the LORD, Jehovah = “the existing One”.

Ezekiel 33 begins the last division of the book.  God has been consistent in judging the apostasy of the people.  He has consistently shown the people how they had reneged on their promise to serve Him as God.  They had, if you will, played a card that is not of the suit led when one can follow suit; they broke the rule of play.  As in spades, all they had valued was taken from them for their idolatry.  Rather than trusting in the LORD, they had trusted in their “chosen people” status, the promised land, the holy city, the temple, and the kingly line of David.  God took away all that they trusted in.  Just like me, all that I had trusted in, financial surpluses, status at a school (TCHS), and uncompromised adoration of a wife, had been destroyed.  God should be the only object of our affection – the only apple of our eye.  When we consistently place some one or some thing in that position, God will demolish it from His place of prominence.

When all we have trusted in other than the LORD has been shown to be unworthy of our trust, God offers one message to us. REPENT!  I saw this clearly in verse 10 and 11.  Here God says, “10 “Son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?” ‘ 11Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’ God is gracious and merciful to offer the Israelites and us the opportunity to turn away from our sin of trusting in something else to turn to trusting in Him.  God does not have to offer us this opportunity.  That was clear from this book as many died in their idolatry, but if you are reading this, you, along with anyone else whom you proclaim the LORD to, have the opportunity to turn away from sin and pursue the maker and creator of all life.  God wants His rightful place in our lives.  He offers us the opportunity to give it to Him.  Let’s do it.

In that, His message of hope is the same for the people – then you will know that I am the LORD, Jehovah = “the existing One”.  Ultimately, the primary goal of God is for people to know Him – to rejoice in Him.  In the context of His chastisement and deliverance, God provides man with a contrasted view of reality.  We tend to hope or trust in the wrong things.  He takes an aggressive stance to refocus our view of reality.  He alone is God; He alone is worthy of our devotion and praise.   When we see God for who He really is, we rejoice in Him and what He offers us.

As with Ezekiel, God has charged us as watchmen with the message of warning people about their lack of devotion to him.  We must be about God’s business of calling people not to renege on their obligation to God by repenting from their idolatry which will lead to their rejoicing in the grace, mercy and person of the LORD, Jehovah = “the existing One”.

Be obedient and be blessed.

What is God doing?

June 18, 2010

Ezekiel 28:24-26

24 ” ‘No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.

25 ” ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. 26 They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God.’ ”

In Ezekiel 28, God denounces the pride of the king of Tyre who assumed the position of a god.  God says that those who exalt themselves shall be humbled.  He truly was humbled.  You should read chapter 28 to see what God said about him.  If you want to go further, you should read about the prophecy God made about Tyre and its king and see what happened.  As usual, God did what He said He would do.

Now about the verses above, I sense God saying to me keep this short and to the point.  What’s the point?  God does all things so that those who know Him will know that “I am the Sovereign LORD” and that “I am the LORD their God.”  Whatever we are going through or facing, God wants us to know that He is sovereign and that He is our God.  If sovereign (rhetorical, no doubt,God is), He is in complete control.  If our God (here is the doubt), He will glorify Himself in our lives.  Now whether that is continually painful depends in part to our obedience.  We have read and understood the disobedience of Israel brought about severe discipline that we have read about in Ezekiel; yet, the goal is the same – for us to know that He is the LORD.

We can acknowledge this on our own or we can be led by bit and bridle like the horse, but we have been encouraged not to live that way.

Whatcha gonna do?  Walk in the right way or be drug there.

Be blessed.

Disciplined but not Discarded

June 16, 2010

Sorry that I have missed you the past two days.  I keep telling myself that I must do this at night, but I have not disciplined myself to do that quite yet.  As a consequence, I run out of time some mornings.  This prevents me from writing.  Despite that those time challenges, I have discarded or abandoned the opportunity to share.  Similarly, when I was growing up (you know I like reflecting over those times), my brother could beat me up, but no one else had put their hands on me.  It took me back to my 8th grade year when the older Mighty Owls of West Fulton High would jump on the sub-freshman.  It was hazing, but we didn’t know that.  It was a right of passage that we all expected.  The difference here was that none of the juniors or seniors bother me because of my brother.  In a strange twist of fate, He caught me with his boys one day and executed the sub-freshman beat down on me.  I dropped all my folders.  Papers scurried across the floor as if I was some highly infectious pestilence.  I was mocked by all the horse who came out of the gate at the ringing of the bell to end class.  On the way home that day, I asked him why he assailed me in such a manner.  He told me that while all that was going on he knew he would never hurt me like some of the other boys had hurt others.  He said that he was my brother and protecting me and defied others to bother me.

Likewise, God, thus far in Ezekiel, had proclaimed through prophecy His discipline of the Israelites for their apostasy, idolatry and disaffection.  Now, God turns to the other people He used to execute His discipline on the Israelites.  While in their superior position, they gloated and acted as if they had placed themselves in that superior position.  Moreover, the assumed that they had not only conquered the Israelites but their God too.  To use the vernacular, God ‘flipped the script.’  In Ezekiel 25 God told Ezekiel to prophesy (prof-uh-sahy) against the Ammonites (v. 1-7), the Moabites (v. 8–11), the Edomites (v. 11–14), and the Philistines (v. 15–17).  God charged them with them with acting barbarously and insolently towards God’s Israel, for which God threatens to put the same cup of trembling into their hand. In this proclamation of His resentment of their behavior, God is showing the Israelites that though harshly disciplined they are not discarded.  He is still their God and would defend them just as He had promised.

Where are you right now?  Have you been assailed by someone who assumes that they have dominated and conquered you?  Has God executed discipline over you by using others who act as if they own you?  Well, if you have given your life to Christ, you need not feel abandoned.  God disciplines, but God never discards those who belong to Him.  God will never through those who belong to Him away.  We may go through the most extreme discipline, but we will not be discarded/abandoned.Whatever you may have done, rejoice in the fact that God has pronounced that you will be preserved.

For those who have not chosen to surrendered your lives to Christ, you don’t have that assurance.  If you want the assurance of being preserved, you should surrender to Christ.  If you don’t know how to do that, let me know.  I am here to help with that as God’s ambassador.  Regardless of your state, be blessed today.