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

Posts tagged ‘prophet’

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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Here Am I, Send Me!

Isaiah_Michelangelo

Isaiah-Michelangelo image from Wikimedia Commons.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

The book of Isaiah is so rich and full of emotion, prophecy and imagery. The vision of Isaiah’s purification and dedication in Isaiah 6 gives a glimpse of Heaven and Isaiah’s realization of his inadequacy in the moment. I think we all come to that point at some point of our lives, especially if we have been called into some sort of Christian ministry.

There are some fallacies in the thinking of many church people which keeps them on the sideline. The first involves the concept of “feeling called” to serve. If you have committed your life to Jesus Christ, then you signed up to serve Him. The real question is, “What are you doing for Christ?” Are you simply occupying a seat in your local church for an hour a week? That isn’t service; that is being what I call a “pew potato.”

Clearly there is a crisis of service in the Church when even mega-churches have trouble keeping basic ministries such as caring for and teaching the children adequately staffed with volunteers. The “80/20” rule should be turned on upside down in the church, but sadly it seems like less than 10% of the members do more than 90% of the work on a weekly basis. If you belong to a church, or even attend regularly, then you need to volunteer your skills at that church.

Another fallacy is the idea that missionaries are special people who devote their lives to telling others about Jesus and usually travel to foreign countries to do so. If you take a look at The Great Commission of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20, He said to “go and make disciples of all nations…” Jesus didn’t say to pay someone else to go, He told us all to go.

What we sometimes fail to understand is that if your next door neighbors or co-workers have not heard about the Gospel of Jesus, you are not doing your job! I am not advocating being obnoxious about our faith, but rather living in such a way and being a person from whom the Holy Spirit just bubbles out and splashes all over everybody you meet! That means daily praying what Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me!” knowing that God will equip you and then schedule divine appointments for you as you go about your day.

Spend time every day with God; ask Him what He would have you do for Him today. If your life lacks adventure, I can think of no better way to break out of the rut in which you live than to start asking God to send you out to do His will! Oh, and don’t worry about feeling inadequate, the Holy Spirit in you will cover whatever you might be missing!

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.

Let’s Hear it For the Bald Guy!

Bald Head

Image courtesy of Suat Eman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

The Old Testament book of II Kings opens with the prophet Elijah being taken to heaven in a chariot of fire while his apprentice, Elisha looks on in amazement. Elijah had asked Elisha what he wanted and he asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. That was the first indicator of Elisha’s humility and the amazing miracles that Elisha would perform during his ministry as recorded in the next few chapters.

Besides his bald headedness, which should appeal to many men out there, what stands out about Elisha’s story is his humility as he predicts future events, performs miracles and brings the dead back to life. How many of us, if gifted with such great spiritual abilities would refuse to profit from the miracles, even when sent by assertive military commanders? We live in a time that these activities would surely be exploited by the media, even if one tried to avoid the exposure. Consider some of the things Elisha did:

• Made bad water good in Jericho by throwing salt into the spring (II Kings 2:19-22)
• Filled a barren valley with water for Israel’s army (II Kings 3:9-20)
• Provided an abundance of oil for a widow and her children to pay off her debts and survive (II Kings 4:1-7)
• Raised a boy from the dead (II Kings 4:18-37)
• Made poison stew edible (II Kings 4:38-41)
• Fed over 100 people with 20 loaves of bread (II Kings 4:42-44)
• Healed a Syrian commander from leprosy (II Kings 5:1-14)
• Made an iron axe head float on the water (II Kings 6:1-7)
• Blinded and took the Syrian army captive (II Kings 6:18-23)

I often marvel at the miracles I read about in the Bible and know that we serve the same God and have the same Spirit that these men and women had, and yet we don’t hear about miracles of this magnitude. I believe that miracles do still happen but not like this. Why is that? For one thing, now that God has delivered His Word to humanity, we have the information we need to have a saving relationship with Him.

Another reason for the absence of great miracles is the lack of focus on God by the spiritual leaders of our day. It seems that even humble pastors become obsessed with the number of people that come to their churches. I once heard another pastor’s wife refer to this as “chenis envy.” As their churches grow, they seem to become more focused on selling their books and DVDs. Over time, something happens and the ministry to lost sheep becomes an opportunity for gain as the seduction of fame and fortune overcomes so many of the well-meaning church leaders.

Whatever the reason, the thing we need to remember that we do serve the same loving and awesome God who sanctioned the prophets of old. If His Holy Spirit lives in you, the possibilities are endless! Keep your focus on God and have the faith to know that His Spirit will be with you to empower you in every situation life hands you.

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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