Friday, August 29, 2014

August 30 "Walls Crumble" Ezekiel 13, 14, 15

God says that His Hand will not be on the prophets, the people who mislead, saying "Peace," when there is no peace for those who disobey.  Those who build walls and live behind them.  But walls crumble.  Ezekiel 13: 9-11.

"There was no prosperity designed for them," none whatsoever.  These people were in war with the Chaldeans.  Yet, the prophets promised what they could not.  The prophets gave a false hope that the war would end in their peace and all will be well.  "They seduced God's people; they put a cheat upon them, led them into mistakes, and drew them aside out of that way of repentance and reformation which the other prophets were endeavoring to bring them into." Matthew Henry

Repentance and Reformation.  The message holds true for today.  I hear people in ministry saying that we have to go soft on people.  Don't scare them away from God.  What is the gospel truth?  I think the prophet in our day who speaks the gospel truth is not the one who will get the bookings.  The prophets who tickle the ears and tell their people:  Here.  Here are the steps to follow and life will all work out for you.  Where are the people calling us to repentance and reformation?

COME BOLDLY: Timeless Prayers
Dear Father, All I can deal with is my own sin.  Deceivers and deceived are both alike, both judged.  And I do both.  Lord, have mercy.

PHOTO:  It's a 100-year-old stagecoach stop that harbored both deceivers and deceived, truth tellers alike.  Do we speak the truth to those whom we provide a safe harbor?

August 29 "Speak the Vision" Ezekiel 9, 10, 11, 12

“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. No more false or flattering. 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.” Ezekiel 12:22-25

COME BOLDLY: Timeless Prayers
Lord have mercy on our country and on each one of us. 

PHOTO: It's a beautiful retreat place in  Rocksprings and it's a beautiful quote as the sun rises above the dark horizon. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 28 "No Pity on these Provoking People" Ezekiel 5, 6, 7, 8

Is it too light a thing to commit evil?  Ezekiel 7:17
God says, I'll have no pity.
And the words of C.S. Lewis come to mind:
"We are far too easily pleased."
We think all is well with our hands and voices where they should not be.
All is well if we repent and amend our ways.

Disaster after Disaster.
God shows Ezekiel that he means what does to these people for their ultimate good---that they change. They have ventured far from God.  And look at Ezekiel's calling.  It sticks with me that they wouldn't change for God---why do I think they will change for Ezekiel, for me?  They may become compliant.  But is that real change?

God asks Ezekiel:  Should I have pity on provoking people?
All I can deal with is myself.  Lord have mercy!

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Dear God, You have never given up on us or left us to ourselves, unless we want to be.  Move in our lives this day to make us like You, to deliver us from ourselves.

Looking at the sky---is it too small a thing to have my way?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 27 "Stand On Your Feet" Ezekiel 1, 2, 3

And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” Ezekiel 2:1.
This verse God spoke to me when I was at the absolute lowest point of my life.  Not exactly the spot I would go to.  Precisely what God did.  I stood and His Power entered into me and set me on my feet.  Ezek 2:2.  I stood cause I purposed in my heart to go with God in the midst of harrowing circumstances.  It is never about how strong we are.  It is always about how strong HE IS in each of us.  

So, don't be afraid.  Tell that to yourself.  Mean it.  "Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are rebellious..."  Ezek 2:7.  Speak my words to them anyway.  They will not be willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to God.  Ezek 2:7.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Oh Father, may Your Hand be strong upon each of us.  Ezekiel 2:14. 
Make us watchman for our family and our ministry and our community.  Ezek 2:17.
When we hear a Word from You, may we give it to our spouse, our children, our families, our world.

PHOTO:  I stood here.  Rocksprings.  Asked God to stand me back up again in my current crisis.  He will.  

August 26 "Restore Us To Yourself" Lamentations 3, 4, 5

Restore us to Yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored.  Lam 5:21. 
I sit in a funk, despondent in my present circumstances.  And since I am the only one talking to myself tonight, it's hard to know if I have fully repented or keep taking it back?  You see, this is about how others are responding to me---and it shouldn't be.  May we all find a deeper trust, an abandoned surrender.

 "Is any afflicted? Let him pray; and let him in prayer pour out his complaint to God. The people of God do so here; they complain not of evils feared, but of evils felt." Matthew Henry.  And that touches something in me.  May I look at what is happening and then gaze at God's Pardoning Mercy, God's Sanctifying Grace, and God's Kind Hand of Providence.  We owe everything in our lives today to His Mercy.  Under the Mercy.  And we are attached to the Giver of Grace.  Under the Grace.  Identified with the Giver of All.   Restore us this day, O God.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Dear Father, the Giver of Grace.  We need Your touch this day.  May we come to You with our woes and not to any man.  Restore unto me the joy of my salvation in this despondent day.  

PHOTO:  Rock Springs.  The no-filter view from my balcony as I stand in a rough patch and cry out to the Giver of Grace.

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25 "Our Hearts Must Go With Our Prayers" Lamentations 1, 2, 3

Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem. Such a sad verse. The lonely city sitting in her sin. Jerusalem now a captive not because of her greatness of glory but her greatness of sin. Our God has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His Son. We do not need to live in sin and darkness. This very sad condition holds hope. And Jerusalem acknowledges her sins and looks to God to look upon her case. So often, we blame others for what is happening to us. Our complaints must go to God. "Remember my affliction, my weaknesses.... Our hearts must go with our prayers."

Oh, my soul, remember from where I have come.

Am I bowed down on the inside?

"But this I call to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in him.”

Can I say that this morning? The Lord is my portion.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,

to the soul who seeks him.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers 
Oh, Father, You say in these verses that You are good to those who wait for You, to the soul who seeks You.  Please help us this day live for no other way.  May our current afflictions make us humble and serious about You.  Oh, that we may send our thoughts and requests to You and seek You.  And that our children seek You.  


Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24 "Remember Your God" Jeremiah 51, 52

Babylon is like the pinnacle of success.  Such wealth.  Such treasures.  Such exports.  But what makes a city, a community, a family safe and secure?  Is it productivity?  Is it usefulness?  There is no security here for Babylon.  She will fall.  And, once again, Jeremiah does not mince his words.  This prophet lives in a pressure cooker world.  In Jeremiah 51:60, he writes all the disaster that should come upon Babyon.  And he tells Seraiah to see to it that he reads all these words.  Babylon forgot their God.  May we learn from these pages to remember the LORD our God whether we are in the midst of disaster or delight, distance or demise.  And especially in the good times, may we render to God the things of God and remember all the things He has done for us.

COME BOLDLY:  Timeless Prayers
Dear Father, How can we ever forget what You have done for us.  You are the Lover of our soul.  Wherever we sit this day---in suffering, in silence, in solace, may we remember You for Nothing Else is worth living for.

PHOTO:  Sitting right here. Thinking about what it means for my life to "remember God."