Transmitting Holiness

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As Ezekiel was shown vivid visions of the future temple, the Lord said something to him that stopped me once again.

Before they go out to the outer court, to the people, they must take off the clothes they have been ministering in, leave them in the holy chambers, and dress in other clothes so that they do not transmit holiness to the people through their clothes. Ezekiel 44:19

The Lord was explaining that the priests must remove all the clothing they had worn inside the holy chambers so that when they went out to the people in the courts they wouldn’t “transmit holiness” to them. I found this such an interesting concept.

What a great reminder of the privilege it is to serve the Lord in the holy chambers and of how powerful our God truly is. His power and holiness is so great that even the priest’s clothes were effected and able to transmit holiness to others who were near it.

Although we may not be labeled “priests”, we are the hands and feet of Christ while He has us on this Earth. We must never forget the sacrifice He made and the privilege it is to serve Him. Unlike the priests of the old covenant, we don’t walk in the inner chambers, but we do walk our homes, communities, churches and neighborhoods. Under the new covenant Jesus left us with the Holy Spirit. So when we are filled and clothed with His Spirit, He wants us to walk among the people and share His holiness, love and grace with others.

Someone recently said, “You have the warmest smile and the nicest hora around you.” I had to reply, “Thank you, but it’s not me. It’s the Holy Spirit.” I know without a doubt I’m not capable of a compliment like that unless I’m filled with the Holy Spirit. On my own, I’m not the person I should be or the person who can “transmit” His love to others. How about you? Shall we fill up on the Holy Spirit today and go out and try to transmit a little love into this world? More and more, I’ve been feeling like this world could use a bit more Jesus!

 

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The Watchman

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 I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one. 31 So I have poured out My indignation on them and consumed them with the fire of My fury. I have brought their actions down on their own heads.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. Ezekiel 22:30-31

“I searched for a man that would stand in the gap before Me.” These words kept pouring over and over in my mind as I read Ezekiel. I could not shake them and had to sit for a moment to allow them to soak into my heart. It reminds me of how Moses prayed on behalf of his people for God to be merciful to them even their complaining or how God promised Abraham he would spare Sodom and Gomorrah if just ten righteous people could be found after his prayers.

Moses and Abraham both stood in the gap for God’s broken and wayward people. By doing so, God relented and answered their prayers. As I look back on my life, I’m so thankful for the people who have stood in the gap for me during times in my youth when my heart was not with the Lord or when my mind was so heavy and foggy with grief or pain that I wasn’t even able to think clearly.

I’ve also had the privilege to stand in the gap friends who were in distress, the hearts of the unsaved in the hope they would come to the Lord and for those I may not have met, but have heard their stories. It is heartbreaking to think that (in the above verses) the Lord was searching among all men to stand in the gap for Israel but not one was found.

It reminds me of how important it is for each of us to not only pray for our friends and family, but for our country and this world that is so broken. We are quickly falling farther and farther away from the principles and truths of our Lord and Savior. The foundation our country was founded on has been fractured and eroding away beneath us. I wonder if God is searching for someone, anyone, out there who will repair the wall and stand in the gap before Him on our behalf. Maybe today is the day we should all ask, “Is it I, Lord?”

Just Throw IT!

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All the doom and gloom continues in Ezekiel, but there are so many amazing treasures to stop and savor in this text.
Throw off all the transgressions you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, house of Israel? Ezekiel 18:31
Yes, this the a declaration of the Lord for Israel, but think of how often we let our own transgressions sink us into the depths of the pit. The Lord says to THROW OFF our transgressions. Don’t just place them down, hope they will go away or cover them up, but THROW them off. When I picture throwing off all my transgressions of the day in my head it’s powerful. Sit for just a moment and try it for yourself. I pray it lightens your load as it did mine. Not only that, he continues and says, “get ourselves a new heart and spirit”. Now, we don’t have to look far to figure out who can provide us the best new heart and spirit. Throw off the old yucky stuff and reach for the new that never gets old and is provided by your Father in Heaven.
I spoke to the people in the morning, and my wife died in the evening. The next morning I did just as I was commanded. Ezekiel 24:18
Another amazing diamond in the rough is how amazingly dedicated Ezekiel was to the Lord. He spent his life sharing the messages God gave him for His people, even on the day his wife died. Not only that, he took no time for mourning because he got out the next morning just as the Lord commanded him. Wow! Ezekiel knew his mission, loved his God, was faithful to follow and serve Him in every way. I pray that each day I live, my walk and desire to follow the Lord will look a little more like Ezekiel’s with each day. Understanding how far I am away from this goal, it gives me peace to know it will not be by my own might, but God’s it will happen.
He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Lord GOD says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. 6 I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am Yahweh.” Ezekiel 37:4-6
Yes, God takes Ezekiel on a little field trip to the middle of the valley where there is a heap of dry bones and tells him to put them together. What?! Ladies and gentlemen, this is the God we serve. One that will sweep in, sit a prophet down in the middle of a valley and give him the spirit to prophesy over dried up bones so they will stand, walk and have breath once again. Can you imagine Ezekiel’s face? Maybe he was use to seeing all of these amazing visions and having the inside scoop from the Lord, but I have to think even Ezekiel was a bit amazed by all of this. Our God is able! Our God is capable and our God is more than we can imagine. These are just a couple of the gems I found tucked away in beginning of Ezekiel. There are more I will share, but so many more I hope you will discover on your own as you read through scripture.
Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Look how they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them: This is what the Lord GOD says: I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them, My people, and lead you into the land of Israel. 13 You will know that I am Yahweh, My people, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I am Yahweh. I have spoken, and I will do it.” This is the declaration of the LORD. Ezekiel 37:11-14

A personal letter from me to you . . .

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Dear Friend,

There is something that has been on my mind. I can’t wait to tell you any longer. I need to tell you because I adore you. I would never want to have any regrets in our friendship or relationship when my time on this Earth comes to an end. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you before. At first, I just didn’t know any better. I spent all my life listening to what other people told me and never investigated for myself and then I just simply didn’t have the courage because I worried to much about what you would think of me.

But then I realized there was so much at stake. To much! Let’s be honest, if I had found a great new place to buy designer shoes at a discount I would tell you about it. If I found a new wrinkle cream that made me look 5 years younger, I would tell you about that too. Gosh, I would even tell you about a new app I had found to download social media pictures to share. So why wouldn’t I share the greatest free gift ever given that it yours if you just believe and say the word? Fear! Only fear.

So I’m putting all that fear aside today. It’s Valentine’s week and I can’t think of a better gift I could share with you. It’s the gift of eternal life. Yes, a forever life in a place that has no pain, sadness, disease or hate. It’s Heaven and when I arrive there one day I desperately want you to be with me forever because I love you. And what if we arrive at judgement one day and you look at me and ask, “Allison, all those times we were together why didn’t you ever say anything?” I couldn’t live with myself.

There is just one thing you have to do to receive this free gift. Just one thing.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11

The God of Heaven and Earth sent his Son, Jesus, to die on a wooden cross for all our sins and failures so that if we believe in Him, we can have eternal life in Heaven

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Someone told me that they were called arrogant and condescending when they told a friend that believing in Jesus was the only way to Heaven, but how can it be arrogant if it’s the truth. This isn’t my rule or my pastor’s rule but the Word of God. There are more scriptures below from the Bible that say reiterate that truth. Please know that I’m telling you this out of a lot of love and some selfishness. I adore you and I selfishly want you to hang with me in eternity because I think you are awesome!

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16

For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. John 6:55-59

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:2-3

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Your Sister in Christ, Allison

AND Then . . . There was Hope

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As the book of Jeremiah ends, Lamentations began. Lamentations are defined as the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping. After all the doom and gloom that Isaiah and Jeremiah bestowed on us over the past several weeks moving on to the book of Lamentations might seem unbearable. With destruction comes grief, sorrow and certainly weeping. However, there is more to this book than just the reminders of misery. As you read through the words, feel the heavy loss and sadness but pay close attention as you also find hope.

Remember my affliction and my homelessness,
the wormwood and the poison.
20 I continually remember them
and have become depressed.
21 Yet I call this to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

Jeremiah speaks of homelessness, poison, depression and wormwood (bitter and detestable). I wonder, how could one sit and remember all the bitterness of his life and still “call to mind hope”. Jeremiah knew God’s heart, he had witnessed His mighty love, seen His hand in the Master plan and called upon the love He knew God possessed for His people to change his frame of mind.

22 Because of the LORD’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
23 They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!
24 I say: The LORD is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in Him.

Jeremiah stops in the middle of his mourning to recall the Lord’s love, faithfulness and mercies. He remembers that his inheritance is in the Lord. Is it easy or difficult for you to stop in the midst of deep sorrow or trial and remember the truth about our Savior? Personally, I can struggle with keeping this front and center in my heart and thoughts when in the midst of trial, but to grasp and hold onto the fact that our Father’s mercies NEVER end and are fresh and new every morning fills my heart with so much hope. Let’s keep going.

25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
to the person who seeks Him.
26 It is good to wait quietly
for deliverance from the LORD.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is still young.

Here, Jeremiah points out that God is good to those who seek and wait for Him. As we endure suffering   it teaches, molds and strengthens our spirit.

For the Lord
will not reject us forever.
32 Even if He causes suffering,
He will show compassion
according to His abundant, faithful love.
33 For He does not enjoy bringing affliction
or suffering on mankind.
Lamentations 3:19-27, 31-33

Finally, we see the main reasons for hope are that Lord will not reject us forever. God may silence Himself from us for a while and present trying situations for us to learn from, but it will not last forever. Our God has an abundance of love that will override any sorrow or sadness because He does not enjoy bringing affliction on us.

These words from Lamentations describe one of the darkest times for God’s people, but we can still glean the lessons of hope it teaches when in the midst of suffering. God never changes and has more than enough love, mercy, compassion and faithfulness to overcome any affliction, suffering and hardship we may face. The secret to being able to tap into His mighty love and strength in the midst of it all is being able to stop and recognize all God has done and continues to do for us. His compassion never ends and His love endures forever. If we can shift our mindset as Jeremiah shifted his in verses 22-24, then we can find hope in the lamentations.

Today I pray for each person reading this who is experiencing unimaginable suffering, hardship or loss. May God penetrate your heart and show you His everlasting and mighty hope in ways you never imagined could come from your current situation.

Press Pause

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Jeremiah holds so many nuggets of truth. It has reminded and taught me of many things. This week, reading Jeremiah’s response to the commanders of the armies reminded me of a very important practice we often forget when seeking wisdom and direction from the Lord. Let’s take a look.
Back then, you hadn’t been around long if you hadn’t heard of Jeremiah the prophet. So, it wasn’t surprising to find the commanders of the armies approaching him to “Please hear our petition and pray to the LORD your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” (Jeremiah 42:2-3)
Like a good prophet, Jeremiah hears their requests and promises to pray for a response and tell them everything the Lord says in response to their request. The commanders even tell Jeremiah that they want to hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth even if it is unpleasant and not what they want to hear (v. 6) How many times do we pray like that?!
It’s verse seven that caught my attention. Now at the end of 10 days, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah (v. 7)

First, I’m pretty sure these commanders, in the thick of battle, were hoping for a quick answer. They needed to make some decisions and were relying on hearing from the Lord sooner rather than later. Second, Jeremiah could have just given them his opinion, but he knew better than that. Jeremiah prayed and waited! There is no evidence that shows he knew when the Lord would respond or how many times they may have checked back in with Jeremiah to see if he had heard anything yet, but I would venture to guess the commanders checked in a few times anxiously awaiting a response and some direction.
Jeremiah waited until he heard from the Lord! It was ten days later he received an answer. Now, in my book that’s a pretty quick turn around, but again they were strategizing and working on battle plans. Both Jeremiah and the commanders waited for the Lord’s reply. Jeremiah didn’t give his own answer because the Lord didn’t answer right away and the commanders didn’t make a move until they heard the word of the Lord from Jeremiah (although in the long run they didn’t listen anyway, but that’s another blog).
This reminded me of how quick I can be to give or take advice before seeking the Lord first. It also reminded me of the times I asked God for direction, got tired of waiting and acted on my own accord (never ending up very well). I know my life and all of our lives would look very different if we could seek the Lord for any and all direction we need, pause until we hear from Him and live out this example to our children and others.
It’s a tall order in this world of instant communication, instant grits, popcorn, gratification, communication. . . . You name it, and we can access it any minute of the day. Will you join me in trying to press the pause button when it comes to our prayer lives and our patience in waiting on the Lord’s direction? I’ll pray for your strength and courage to attain this goal and please pray for mine!