Excuses

Excuses

“I answered, ‘Oh, Sovereign Lord, Really I do not know how to speak well enough for that, for I am too young.’ The Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am too young.” But go to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, for I will be with you to protect you,’ says the Lord.” –Jeremiah 1:6-8

What does the LORD say to Moses when he tries to back out of God’s calling with the same excuse of being “slow of speech”? “Who gave a mouth to man, or who makes a person mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? So now go, and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what you must say,” (Exo 4:11-12).

The LORD is our Creator. He knows us intimately better than we know ourselves (Mat 10:30). So why would we ever use our weaknesses as if that were a factor in limiting God in His works? If we do so, we are admitting our weak faith and demonstrating a prideful confidence in our own strength and not a humble confidence in His.

And as for the excuse of age before men, “Let no one look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faithfulness, and purity,” (1Ti 4:12). It matters not our status before men, but simply our faithful obedient walk before our Heavenly Father. So do not fear men, but God alone (Mat 10:28); and live not to please men, but seek to be a slave to Christ (Gal 1:10; Eph 6:6), living only to do the will of The Father (Luke 22:42; John 5:19).

Go as He has directed, and begin to see His gracious hand granting you immense favor and faith (Psa 84:11; 1Pe 1:3-6) as He fills your heart with the joy of His calling and presence (1Ch 16:27; Psa 16:11).

Billy Neal

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Living Among Scorpions

Scorpion“And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” —Ezekiel 2:6-8.

Men, Ezekiel is meeting with the Lord within a deep vision. The Lord has called Israel impudent and stubborn. As the Lord continues, He tells him “Son of man, do not be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you, and you live among scorpions.” Putting in plainly, Ezekiel is set among sharp, hostile people. He lives among back biting people with unwelcoming disposition. These are people with hardness around their hearts. The Lord says not to be afraid of their words as He tells Ezekiel these people are scorpions, because their words will sting.

Like a scorpion, the rebellious captives may gnash out as with pincers or claws. Again, the Lord says, “You shall speak my words to them whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious.” Who in our age would want this job? Doesn’t this commission sound fun? In our age, believers are more likely to whine to our pastors about the people we find ourselves surrounded by. “Pray for me pastor, it’s just so hard, I’m the only Christian.” We search out employment among other believers so it’s not so hard to live out our faith.

What level of faith does it take to demonstrate our belief in a risen Lord among ourselves? Ezekiel is called to a people who are more likely to reject him. After refusing anything hard, we then look up at Heaven and ask why we aren’t being used of God for His Kingdom work. We’ve barely begun in Ezekiel and God has already said, “This is going to be hard, don’t be afraid”. How would you respond?

Move forward men, with the Word the Lord has given us. Whether they hear or refuse, we too have a commission set in Mathew 28, to “Go into all lands making disciples”. Most of those lands will be hostile. Even the “lands” just down the street are likely to refuse. Jesus didn’t promise plush and effortless evangelism. He promised to go with us. The Lord tells Ezekiel, “Do not be afraid or dismayed by their words or looks, but speak My Words, whether they hear or refuse”.

Vance Durrance

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Have You “Seen” Jesus Lately?

Have You Seen Jesus Lately?Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.

As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.

Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them. When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the spirit went; and the wheels were lifted together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads. And under the firmament their wings spread out straight, one toward another. Each one had two which covered one side, and each one had two which covered the other side of the body. When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings. A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings.

And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it.  Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.— Ezekiel 1:4-29

Men, it takes the rest of the chapter for Ezekiel to express what he saw as the Lord approached him at the Chebar River while a captive in Babylonia. Repeatedly he uses the words “likeness of” as he struggles to express the wonder of what he saw.

A whirlwind of raging fire approached Ezekiel, and in it where 4 winged creatures, each over a wheel inside a wheel, and each wheel had eyes all around it. Each winged creature had 4 faces, 4 wings and their appearance was like burning fire. Above them was a crystal like form of platform. On the platform was a throne like sapphire stone and something like a man sat upon it. As the Spirit inclined, the wheels and winged creatures moved and it made a noise like rushing waters, or of the Almighty, or of a marching army. The man upon the Throne shone with the color of amber from His waist up, and from the waist down He appeared to be of fire and a great radiance like that of rainbows was all around Him.

Ezekiel fumbles for words to express an inexpressible wonder of power, glory, radiance, and awe as the Lord of Heaven came to earth to meet with him in His vision. A.W. Tozer wrote in “Knowledge of the Holy”, “What comes to mind when we think about God, is the most important thing about us.”

Ezekiel had been taught about God in preparation to serve as priest his whole life until the captivity. But nothing could prepare him for what He saw and experienced. Every preconception, ever traditional interpretation, every teaching about His likeness fell flat. Whatever pursuit he had for God, through His Word and in service fell flat. At once, Ezekiel was reduced to awe struck, paralyzing, sensory overload.

Jesus said, “to see Me is to see the Father”. So we have to ask, have we really “seen” Jesus? We see Him in pieces, but if we ever saw Him in the form of His glory as Ezekiel has, what would we then think of God?

Move forward men, questioning the insufficiency and error of our thoughts about the Most High.

Vance Durrance

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Amazing Love

Amazing Love
“…I will soon fence her in with thorns; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. Then she will pursue her lovers, but she will not catch them; she will seek them, but she will not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband, because I was better off then than I am now.’
“…In the future I will allure her; I will lead her back into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. From there I will give back her vineyards to her and turn the ‘Valley of Trouble’ into an ‘Opportunity for Hope.’ There she will sing as she did when she was young, when she came up from the land of Egypt. –Hosea 2:6-7, 14-15

What amazing love our Savior has for His bride. To wall her in with thorns and keep her away from what destroys (Hos 2:6-7). He exposes her shame so she can see her need (2:10), and drives her into the wilderness of suffering to reveal her dependency (2:14). For it is there that the LORD demonstrates His lavish love and purchases back His bride (2:2). It is there He reverses trouble into hope (2:15), and brings about a repentance that leads to life (2Co 7:10; Hos 14:2). Because it is there that we seek the good God (3:5) who has blessed and delivered us all along (2:8; 11:1-4).

Thank You, LORD, for not leaving us in our comfort, but hedging us in with pain to keep us from death. Thank You for leading us into the wilderness to build our faith and teach us how to hunger and thirst for You. Help us to truly trust Your good and sovereign hand, as we experience Your loyal love that is better than life.

Billy Neal

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