Witness or Rebel?

Choice

“Thus says the Lord God: ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the midst of the nations and the countries all around her.  She has rebelled against My judgments by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against My statutes more than the countries that are all around her; for they have refused My judgments, and they have not walked in My statutes.’  Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have multiplied disobedience more than the nations that are all around you, have not walked in My statutes nor kept My judgments, nor even done according to the judgments of the nations that are all around you’— therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Indeed I, even I, am against you and will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. And I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations. Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments among you, and all of you who remain I will scatter to all the winds.

11 ‘Therefore, as I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will also diminish you; My eye will not spare, nor will I have any pity. 12 One-third of you shall die of the pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; and one-third shall fall by the sword all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

Ezekiel 5:5-12.

Men, in these selected verses, we get some further understanding on the particular sins that Israel has committed, bringing this calamity upon themselves. Israel has failed at being a testimony of God (v5), has rebelled against God’s statutes (v6-7), and defiled the temple with idols (v11). Once listed out, we can see a clear path to angering the Lord God, and bringing chastisement upon ourselves.

Israel had lived blessed with provisions and protections from the Lord God. Their job was to exalt God among the nations so that outsiders would see the loving kindness of God and be drawn to Him. They didn’t. Instead, they incrementally rebelled against the very God who had provided and protected them. Once they had turned from God, they then became seduced by other means of worship until they had finally erected idols in the very sanctuary of God.

In our time, we are called to be witnesses, to testify of the gospel message of Jesus. Are we committed to this basic expectation? Most agree, we live now in the “end times”. Of the end times, it’s said that many would turn away from sound doctrine toward what our itching ears wish to hear.

Are we rebelling against God? How much of the world have we brought into our Sunday morning experience? I’ve personally sat through services in years past where game day scores were discussed in further detail from the pulpit than the truths of our Lord God. Are we inviting chastisement? Will we too wonder how the Lord God became so angry with us?

Move forward, men, evaluating where we are individually in this devolving slope and repent. Turn back to the Lord while He may yet be found. Evaluate also the condition of your local fellowship. Be the one brave enough to sound an alarm. What are we truly worshipping in our lives today? God, or something else? We spare our own nation by turning back to the Lord individually and locally. What would your city look like in Ezekiel’s model?

Vance Durrance

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Resistance is Futile

Resistance is Futile

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sean Zuniga is known to a few of you. He’s battling cancer and going through treatment and he send these updates (this is somewhere around number 14) that always encourage me. With permission, I’m sharing this one and I hope it blesses you, too. As Sean said, “As long as God gets the glory!” – Steve]

Those that have ever seen Star Trek (especially The Next Generation series), surely know this famous “phrase” from a complex breed of organic lifeforms and technological enhancements. This group, known as the Borg, will always state, when a lifeform is about to be assimilated, that they will add them to their collective and therefore enhance the entire collective of the Borg. Their eventual end goal and what they desire is perfection. And to them, resistance to this is…. futile!

WHAT?!??!

What is the world is Sean talking about and perhaps more importantly…why?

On Friday (January 8), I had a Vascular Implant put into my upper left chest. This will be used this Wednesday to pull blood from my body and then put the blood back.

Most English translations of the Bible state in Psalm 139 that we “praise God for we are fearfully and wonderfully made”. Some translations say, “remarkably and wonderfully made”. We are that, but I like what the ISV says.

I praise you, because you are fearful and wondrous! Your work is wonderful, and I am fully aware of it.– Psalm 139:14 ISV

Gives me chills actually!

I will praise God because He is fearful and wondrous! His work (us) is wonderful and I for sure, am aware of it!

Back to the implant…

As blood is pulled through this device, it is run through a centrifuge and God knows (as do the doctors) there is probably some other piece of technology to separate my stem cells from my blood. They then keep the stem cells and give me back everything else in one continuous flow. How could you not fall on your knees in worship just at that technological discovery and enhancement to improve the medical quality of life like people like me!

I feel like I have joined the Borg. I already had (still have) a port in my upper right chest that is accessed and used give me my chemotherapy. I now have this second access (which by the way is really sore right now, so prayers that this will calm down are appreciated). So as these technological enhancements are adhered to my body, all I can “hear” echoing in my mind is “Resistance is futile”!

Is resistance futile or do we have a choice and can actually resist?

Walking with the Lord is a true partnership. Once I became His by accepting His free gift of salvation, there is an expectation on His part that I walk with Him and follow and be obedient to Him. You know what is great about the Lord (besides everything), is that He will not force His free gift of eternal life on anyone, and He will not force a relationship with Him once we are in His family. He will influence and cajole and draw us to Him, but never force.

I can choose to not walk with Him and therefore be disobedient to Him, but as a believer, as Hs child, why would I do that?! He gave His all for me. The grand reality of the Lord accepting us into His family is that even when He has done it all, He still allows us to choose Him on a day by day, moment by moment basis. When we do, life is so much sweeter. Not necessarily easier, just sweeter and more joyful. When we do not, He continues to “work” on our behalf, continuously drawing us to that relationship that He desires we have with Him

Unlike the Borg desiring perfection, the Lord is perfection! The Lord desires perfection on our part as well.

Therefore be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect. — Matthew 5:48

The Lord’s end goal is for us to be One as He and His Father are One. As Jesus is praying to His Father, He says this about His disciples (including disciples of today)

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You. May they also be one in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory which You gave Me, that they may be one even as We are one: I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfect in unity, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. — John 17:20-23

Resistance is not really futile. In fact, resistance is way too commonplace which is very sad, especially amongst believers. Rejecting what He offers us is the ultimate in futility!

On Wednesday 20 Jan 2021, I will be back in Augusta University Medical Center having those stem cells removed from my body. There is a need to collect 5 million cells. (Who is counting these?) My BI colleagues know there are technologies that do exactly that, so when they get to 5 million, they are done. If they collect more than 5 million they only give me back 5 million. If after ~ 6 hours of in/out blood withdraw, they do not get 5 million, the next day is reserved to get to that magic number. As of right now, the removal of the vascular implant is scheduled for Friday the 22nd.  At that juncture, I am free to go home.

Then the waiting and more intense praying happen! Then February happens and the road that is set before me. Pray for February!

“We are the Borg….resistance is futile.”

At the fullness of time, resistance will indeed be futile.

Therefore God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord ,to the glory of God the Father.  — Philippians 2:9-11

Given the choice of being forced to bow and confess Him later, and gladly bowing now, I opt for now.

Pray for Isaac! The Lord knows and the Lord will be found faithful!

Peace and grace!
Sean
maranatha

For it was fitting for Him, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through suffering.  For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all of One. For this reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers, — Hebrews 2:10

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