Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘Ezekiel’

Hope for the Future

Glimpse of Heaven

Glimpse of Heaven by sabrina’s stash on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

As we finish reading the book of Ezekiel, the story takes a sharp turn starting with chapter 40. God takes Ezekiel on a vision ride to the future Israel and shows him in detail how the devastated city of Jerusalem and the Temple will one day be rebuilt.

Ezekiel suffered greatly during his years of service, even having to go through the death of his wife without being allowed to grieve for the sake of being God’s messenger to his country. Because of his faithfulness to God, he was given a detailed tour of the new and improved Jerusalem and Israel, right down to the exact measurements of the Temple and the carved cherubim and palm trees that decorated the interior.

Then God gives Ezekiel the plans for the division of the nation of Israel by tribes with the tour ending with a walled city with twelve gates, each named after one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The book ends with the name of this city: Jehovah-shammah, or THE LORD IS THERE.

God allows us to go through difficult times in our lives, but He promises us that we will never go through those times alone, He is always with us. Ezekiel knew this and lived out his life in obedience to God. What a blessing it is to have such beautiful examples of faithfulness!

Reading the description of the new Kingdom reminded me of another glimpse of our future in Heaven as depicted in Revelation 21-22:5. I love reading this because it gives us all a picture of the beautiful glory that awaits all of Jesus’ faithful followers. It brings hope and encouragement to those who are suffering and comfort to those who are on their death beds. God never leaves us without hope; better things are to come!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

God, That Is So Unfair!

baby_pouting-crying

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

The focus of God’s message so far through Ezekiel was to the Jewish people of Israel and Judah. As we read towards the end of the book, the focus spreads out to include the world and the Jews’ neighbors in the Middle East and Africa. Prophecies of destruction were laid out to Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia (Ezekiel 25); Tyre (Ez. 26-28), Sidon (Ez. 28); Egypt (Ez. 29-32), Ethiopia, Libya, Lidia (Ez. 30); and Mt. Seir (Ez. 35). The destruction of Babylon was prophesied in Jeremiah 50-51. Don’t recognize some of the countries listed? That is because the prophecies came true; some were utterly destroyed while others like Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya never returned to their ancient splendor.

Why were these countries targeted for the wrath of God? Each played a part in the oppression and conquest of Israel and Judah. God kept His word that was spoken to His people way back in Genesis 12:3:

“I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (NKJV)

In Ezekiel 33:11, God makes His wishes clear, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” He then continues in the next nine verses to elaborate on how He will judge people according to the state of their hearts when they die.

• Righteous people who fall into sin will not be saved on the merits of their former virtue (verses 12, 18)
• Wicked people who turn from their evil ways will be saved because of their new found righteousness (verses 12, 14-16, 19)
• Righteous people who trust in their good works will not be saved (v.13)

God knew the hearts of humanity, because He also addressed the objections that He knew would follow, “The way of the Lord is not fair,” to which God’s response is swift and sure, “But it is their way that is not fair.” (v. 17, NKJV)

We now have the perspective of hindsight to understand that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for all was the most unfair event in the history of humanity. He did not see it as unfair, but essential to restore us to the relationship with God as originally intended. Even though we now live under the law of Grace rather than the Mosaic Law, God expects us to be holy (Leviticus 11:44), and repeats this expectation in I Peter 1:16. What this means is that we should be the same people the other 6 days and 23 hours as we are while attending church.

Many people feel this is unfair and too difficult to even try, given our sinful nature, but if we want God to be fair about that, there is nothing we could do to earn an eternity in Heaven with Him. Despite this fact, God is gracious and provided the Way. THAT is so not fair!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

You Will Know that I Am the LORD (Civilization’s Way)

Babylon-Pergamon_Museum_Berlin

Image file: Pergamon Museum Berlin on Wikimedia Commons.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Last time, we looked at how God revealed Himself through the majesty of creation. In the book of Ezekiel, God revealed Himself in a far less idyllic manner – through the withering siege and brutal conquest by King Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army. Despite generations of warnings by God through the prophets, a vast majority of the people of Israel and Judah “exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…” not unusual behavior for fallen mankind, but unacceptable to God as illustrated in Romans 1:25 (NIV).

The accounts of the Babylonian captivity in 2 Chronicles 36 and as prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel are heart wrenching, even knowing that these people should have seen it coming and had every opportunity to stop the judgment. Some leaders like Hezekiah and Josiah tried to turn the hearts of the people back to God. What few revivals that occurred were short-lived and in retrospect, not very successful. The next king who came along led his people right back to the pig trough of disobedience and often added more depravity to the mix.

By the time that Ezekiel came along, the captivity had already begun. God proclaimed repeatedly that the purpose of the judgment upon Israel and Judah by Babylon was “that they may know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 20:7, 12, 19, 20, 24, 38, 42, 44, et al, NKJV) Just as God’s fingerprint in all creation serves as overwhelming evidence of God’s love in the nicest of ways, his judgment of people and nations who choose to turn their backs on Him can result in the bitterness of a devastating conquest by hostile armies whom God has chosen to deliver his discipline. Both methods are intended to draw us to Him in humility and repentance – that we may know that He is LORD.

Any loving parents would prefer to shower blessings upon obedient children, but are all too often forced to deliver correction when the children choose to rebel. God would also much rather bless His faithful followers than to smack down a wayward nation. The choice is up to us.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

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