Encouraged. 

Daniel 7:13-14 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. [14] And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
This morning, I’m encouraged. It’s a crazy world, and there are troubling times in our country economically, politically, and morally. But passages like this remind me that no matter what happens, in the end, Jesus Christ will reign victorious, and all nations s and people will serve before Him and His kingdom. And as His people, we get to be a part of it! 

…The wise useth knowledge aright.


maxresdefaultProverbs 15:2
The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

Proverbs 15:7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.

Proverbs 15:26 …The words of the pure are pleasant words.

Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer…

These verses and more, this morning, remind me of the importance of using our tongue and our words correctly. We understand that we ought not to allow perverse things out of our mouths. But these verses go a step further. Verse two already assumes some reading have knowledge of what’s right to say. Yet, it’s not enough simply to use that knowledge in our speech – we must use that knowledge aright. We ought to use that knowledge with the right spirit, and at the right time, to the right people. Verse fifteen says that the heart of the righteous studieth to answer – he is not hasty in his words, and doesn’t “pour out” things without first evaluating them. Proverbs is filled with verses about the tongue, words, and our mouths.

Many times I find myself, like Peter, hasty with my words. I have the foot in mouth disease sometimes. I speak, even at times “good things”, but realize my mouth got ahead of my mind and, probably, the Spirit. This morning, I was challenged to use my words carefully, realizing that the Lord is concerned even about my “idle words”. And though I may have some knowledge, my prayer is that I’d use it aright.

God gave them…skill

wisdomDaniel 1:17 “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom…”

Nebuchadnezzar’s desire was to teach these young men science, language, military skills, and much more. However, we are reminded in verse seventeen that no matter who we go to for learning or how hard we try, it is God that ultimately gives us learning and wisdom.

My desire this morning is to seek Him FIRST for wisdom for my family, and walk with Him, and for ability in serving (leading) the people He’s called me to serve. Books may help. Seminars may instruct. But it is the Lord I must seek, because ultimately it’s His learning and wisdom we desire.

“There is that maketh himself poor”

rags-to-riches-580x386Proverbs 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, and yet hath nothing. There is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches. 

In ministry, we have the privilege of knowing people of many backgrounds, ethnicites, and social statuses. How many times have we seen people that have cars, houses, and money enough for years of comfortable living, and yet when you talk to them behind closed doors, they have “nothing” that one really wants. At the same time, there are many who have given up houses, money, possessions, and yet have joy, purpose, and fulfillment in life. They truly have great riches.

This passage reminds me of Christ, and many heroes before us who proved this Proverb. Might we live for Christ, seeking first His kingdom with our time, talents, and treasures. For it is when we find our identity in Him, and His will, that we find what true riches really are.

Is God enough?

1455061_10151968801494280_1986483280_nEzekiel 44:28 “And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel. I am their possession.?”

I enjoy reading about the sons of Zadok, the priest. Talk about a faithful family! In the midst of corruption and compromise, this family stood and ministered unto the Lord, despite what society, religious leaders, or political leaders did. In this passage the Lord is recognizes them. He then goes on to give them some guidelines – some do’s and dont’s. One of the things that the Lord reminds them is that the Levites weren’t to take possession in the land. Others could have houses, and land, and make a name for themselves in that manner. But the Lord wanted the priests and their sons to have another type of inheritance. And in this passage, the Lord reminds them that their greatest inheritance in life was the Lord Himself. He said “I am their inheritance” “I’m enough in their lives”.

After reading this passage, the question comes to my mind, “Is God enough for me?” What if serving in ministry meant not owning a house? What if giving how the Lord wants me to give means foregoing some of life’s pleasures and leisures? Would the privilege of serving Him full time, and His Word being more real, and His presence more intimate, be enough for me? Thank the Lord for His Word, and for examples and chapters that teach us that He is enough, and He is worth giving up this world’s “inheritance”, that we might find One far better.

The Watchman’s Hand

watchmanEzekiel 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.

Once again, and for emphasis, the Lord gives the illustration of the watchman. This morning, I am reminded that I, too, am to be a watchman. Comparing chapters 3 and 33, we see two groups to whom we’re to be watchmen, and whom we are to watch and give warning.

The first group is God’s people. As teachers and preachers, we cannot but warn and preach with fervor and passion. We cannot but speak the warnings and admonishments found in the word of God. we must be watchmen. We must be willing to speak up at times. The second group is to the lost (ie, “the wicked”). This is self-explanatory. There are people lost and on their way to hell. There are people that I come into contact with. And if I don’t warn them, someone else may not. I’d hate to stand before God and have someone’s blood on my hands because I didn’t warn them. Might these reminders stick with me today, as well as through my life and ministry.

“Thine heart was lifted up because of thine beauty”

Ezekiel 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
We are told about the “king of Tyrus” in this passage. He was wise – wiser than Daniel the scripture says. He was beautiful, without blemish. He was well to do, with jewels and more than one could ask for. And the list went on. But God’s condemnation was that it was the very things that God had given to Him that caused his heart to be lifted up. 

I’m reminded of two things this morning. First, it’s that every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above. If I recognize and give glory to the Lord for what I have and who I am, if anything, I’ll have a heart time allowing those things to lift my heart in pride. Secondly, I ought to be grateful. If My mind, resources, and anything that I have is from the Lord, I must be grateful. Romans 1 shows us the progression when one is ungrateful. 

This morning, Might we glory in the fact that all we are and have is from HIM, and might we not just recognize it, but thank Him for it all the days of our lives. 

Take up a lamentation for…

lincolnEzekiel 27:1-2 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, [2] Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus;
Ezekiel 25:1-2 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, [2] Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them;
Someone once said “because God cannot judge countries in the next world, He must judge them in this one”. Jeremiah and Ezekiel are filled with lamentations and prophecies against cities and countries for their wickedness, and God’s judgments upon them as the result. I then think of the city and country in which I live. God’s judgment cannot but come (though, I think it already has begun).
Through these books, there are two ways people were kept safe in the midst of judgment. First, were those who obeyed God’s commands. Whether it was to surrender, or to keep the keep God’s laws, or whatever it was, those who kept the commands were taken care of. The second way people were “marked” for sparing was if they sighed and cried for the abominations that were done in the midst. In the midst of a land ripe for judgment, my prayer is that I, and we as God’s people, would be people that follow His Word. But not only that – I pray that we’d be people who sigh and cry, and who have broken hearts over the things that break God’s heart. For that’s the heart He desires. That’s the type of person who He protected in these books.

Dross

Refining GoldEzekiel 22:18 Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver.

God’s desire is that we are pure in heart, mind, and actions. Dross in the Bible is a sign of impurity that takes away the value of that which contaminates by its presence. In the passage we read today, the children of Israel were likened unto a mixture, different kinds of dross. They had allowed many different things to creep into their lives, and now had little to no value to the Lord.

Might we, this morning, examine our lives and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the “dross” that is in our lives. Might we be willing to ask the Refiner to cleanse and purify us, that we might be meat for the Master’s use.

Know that I am the Lord

Ezekiel 20:26 And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord.

6 times in this chapter God says “that ye may know that I am the Lord”. In fact, He says this phrase 96 times in Scripture, not counting the many variants Of the phrase. This morning’s reading reminded me of God’s strong desire for us to know Him. I’m reminded that His desire is for us to glory in nothing more than that we know Him. Might that be our passion, our desire, and our longing – not just to know of Him, but to know Him.