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

Posts tagged ‘obey’

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. 

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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. 

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. 

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