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

Posts tagged ‘message’

Ezekiel’s Burden

Ezekiel_Tapestry2x

Ezekiel prophet’s wall photo by Peter2010 on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Think of the least popular political figure you can imagine. Now imagine that you are picked up by alien-like creatures and brought to this leader who proceeds to tell you that you now have a new job working for him and here are the details of the job:

• You will be the spokesperson for this unpopular ruler
• You have to literally eat his words in the form of a honey-flavored scroll
• The people will not listen to you
• The people will tie you up and you will be so thirsty that your tongue will stick to the roof of your mouth, but when He tells you to speak, you will speak.
• Despite the mistreatment of the people, you must not be afraid of them
• If you don’t speak up to the people when your boss tells you, you will be responsible for their very lives. If they die, you will be personally responsible for their lost souls.
• You will make a model of a city under siege and then lay on your left side next to it for 390 days
• During that time, you will not be able to move off your side
• You will bake you bread over a fire fueled by human waste
• After the 390 days have passed, you will lay on your right side for another 40 days
• Then you will shave your head and burn part of the hair for all to see, throw part of it into the air and slice it up with a sword and tie some of the hair onto your clothes. For all to see.

Mind-blowing; those are the words that come to mind when I read the opening chapters of the book of Ezekiel. If this had been me, I would already have been looking for someone to take my place, or perhaps a place to hide (although he probably knew what happened when Jonah tried that).

God will never tell us to do anything for which He has not equipped us, but will require us to faithfully obey; not knowing everything there is to know about our assignment. Ezekiel was a devout Jewish priest who was taken out of Israel during the Babylonian captivity. His only objection to the terms of his service was about using human waste to bake his bread. On this, God allowed him to use cattle dung instead. Now, that’s commitment!

Do we feel any kind of personal responsibility for the lost souls with whom we come into contact each day? God told Ezekiel to share God’s message even if the people would not listen and the same is true today. Our job is to tell people about Jesus; it is the work of His Holy Spirit that does the saving. Understanding our part of the work should give us the freedom to share the Gospel much more freely.

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. 

I Have Plans for You!

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Chicago Downtown Loop photo by Vincent Desjardins on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

This beautiful message of hope resonates loudly in these uncertain times; maybe as loudly as when the words were spoken through the prophet Jeremiah almost three thousand years ago. Did you ever stop to wonder why this message was delivered to the people of ancient Israel? What were the uncertain times that required these words of encouragement?

All you need to do is read the whole chapter of Jeremiah 29 and you will find your answer. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God was preparing His people for seventy years of exile in Babylon. Seventy years! That is an entire lifetime for anybody who was old enough to understand the words. Many people had already been taken to Babylon, located in what is now Iraq, and the message was to settle in, plant gardens, have families because they were going to be there for a long time. This exile was part of God’s judgment on His people for their disobedience and apostasy.

A modern day comparison could be the Soviet Union, an oppressive Communist dictatorship that smothered Russians for 69 years. Before the Bolshevik Revolution, there were as many as 1,000 churches in Moscow, but after the persecution of all religions other than atheism and state-sanctioned churches, fewer than 300 remained by the fall of the USSR. There were so many Russians who were born and died during those years, never knowing that there was any God other than the state.

God’s love and mercy will last forever (Praise Him!) but His patience apparently does wear out. He explained in Jeremiah 30:11 that He was punishing the people for their unfaithfulness, but unlike the nations who were allowed to oppress Israel for a time, God would not make a complete end to His people.

God has plans for His people who have been led astray by any of the shiny distractions this world has to offer. The question for us all is this: Are we going to continue following the shiny false gods of this world so that we, our children and grandchildren will have to suffer under God’s judgment or will we repent of our unfaithfulness and follow God with all our heart? In Jeremiah 29:13, He promises that those who will seek Him with all their hearts will find Him.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), 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 also 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. 

What Happens in Vegas…

vegas-sign-welcome

Photo by mandj98 on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

…stays in Vegas. This was a tag line from the Las Vegas Department of Tourism a few years ago. What those ads tried to imply was that there was a glitzy place where one could go to do things that would never be found out by one’s family or friends, should that be of concern. The saying caught on somewhat until the CDC came up with a list of diseases that could easily follow one home.

Jeremiah 23 gives a glimpse of God’s exasperation with the false prophets and presumed holy men of Israel who ignored Jeremiah’s prophecies for happier, feel-good projections of what the impending war with Babylon would bring. It wasn’t that these quasi spiritual leaders lacked the correct information; but rather, they refused to listen to the Word of God, who at that time still spoke directly to His prophets like Jeremiah.

“Am I only a God nearby,”
declares the Lord,
    “and not a God far away?
Who can hide in secret places
    so that I cannot see them?”
declares the Lord.
    “Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:23-24, NIV)

It was as if the false teachers thought that God was not aware of what they were telling the people; offering happy thoughts at a time of impending destruction. They seemed completely oblivious to the fact that they were contradicting God’s prophecies through Jeremiah and even tried on several occasions to end Jeremiah’s life.

There are many false prophets out in the world today who soft pedal around eternal life and death issues, fearing that they may offend somebody. Here is what God had to say about their counterparts from the seventh century BC:

 “Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’  Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:31-32, NIV)

Not all of us are called to stand on the street corner shouting that the end is near, but if we call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to tell others about the sacrifice that He made to save us from our sins. How we convey that message is as individual as we and those to whom we share the message are. We just need to know what the message is by reading and studying the Bible every day and then being ready and willing to speak when God’s Spirit prompts us. And yes, this message is just as urgent as Jeremiah’s call to repentance as the Babylonian army closed in around Israel.

The world as we know it may not end tomorrow, but according to the World Health Organization, about 150,000 people died each day in 2011. For them, that was the end of the world. We do not know when the end will come for anybody, so we do have an urgent message for our friends, family, and those with whom we come in contact each day. Let’s go get the Word out before it is too late!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), 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 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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