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LET THE LORD TALK

 

 

Ezekiel 37:10 “So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.”

OBEDIENCE

Chapter 37 of Ezekiel is the famous passage about the Valley of Dry Bones. I have probably heard dozens of sermons from this passage in my lifetime, all of them good. But as I read this passage today what struck me was not the picture of the bones coming back to life. What struck me was Ezekiel’s obedience to prophesy only what the Lord told him to prophesy. He didn’t make up his own words.

How many times do we think we can do it better than God? After all, we are the ones living our lives, not Him. We pray, of course, but we pray even though we know what we are going to do before asking. We just want God to anoint our decisions. That’s not how it works. We have to go to God with an open mind and heart and allow Him to show us what we need to do.

TEACHING MOMENT

Our children often will come to us asking permission to do something. Have they ever come to you asking although they have ALREADY done it? Little Elrod asks, “Hey Mom, Dad! Can I go over to Bubba’s house to spend the night?” Now they have already told Bubba they could go and probably have already packed a bag. So when you inform them that the family has plans for the night, they pitch a fit.   They scream, “But I have already told him I could!”

You see, our God has a plan for us, one in which He knows best. But just like our children, we already have our plan made. And when God intervenes to direct us another way, we pitch a fit like a five year old. “But God, you don’t understand! I really need to do this!”

Tantrums! We still have them. Only now we do it “spiritually.”

Will you be like Ezekiel today and only say the words God gives you? Will you follow the Lord’s directions completely? Will you allow Him to use you the way He wants to use you?

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WORTHY ARE YOU!

 

Revelation 4:11 “’Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.’”

HEAVENLY WORDS

Won’t you join with me and the 24 elders in heaven by saying these words in worship? Just look at what they are saying, even now, before the throne of God.

He is Worthy! No one else is! Only God is worthy of our praise. He should receive “honor and glory and power.” After all, He is the only One who is truly glorified, honorable and powerful.

He is the Creator! Nothing exists that did not first come through His thoughts, plans and work. Every creature in heaven and on earth are the works of His hands. He spoke and created, with the exception of man whom He touched and created with His hands.

TEACHING MOMENT

So how do we explain to our children what “worthy” means? How can we possibly help them understand this divine principle? There really is no simple way. But we can give them a visual. Get a small scale and demonstrate to them how it works. On one side you put an object you want to weigh. On the other side, you use the weights to measure just how much the object weighs. You can physically weigh anything that way. That’s what “worthy” means. It means to find the matching value.

God is equal to glory, honor and power! He is Glory! He is Honor! He is Power! Won’t you join me today in bowing before the throne of God? He Is Worthy!!

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THE WATCHMAN’S DUTY

 

Ezekiel 33:6 “’But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’”

ARE YOU LOOKING?

Just as in Ezekiel’s day, we have an obligation to warn all of God’s coming judgment. We know it’s coming. We have the Word of God that tells us. So why aren’t we doing all we can to warn those who aren’t walking in the light? Why aren’t we searching the horizon watching for His return? For many of us, we are just too preoccupied with our own lives to give two seconds to someone else.

Now, let’s be clear. It is NOT our responsibility to make someone believe. That is clearly up to them. Even those who have been raised in the church and turn their back on it have to make up their own minds about returning. I was talking to a parent recently about her daughter who has turned her back on everything she believes. There is just something about turning eighteen in America that seems to give young people a reason to go off the reservation. I just don’t get it.

TEACHING MOMENT

Your child will face that moment of faith when they will have to choose to believe all you have poured into them. Your faith has been their faith for the longest time. But now, they have to formulate their own belief. Their relationship with Christ has to become their own. They must choose to walk in faith or walk in darkness. But it is their choice.

Our job as parents is to prepare them and then warn them of the costs for their choices. We must not stand idly by as they “find themselves.” Excuse me, but that is just hogwash. No one needs to find themselves. We only need to “find” Jesus Who will show us who we are in Him. Without Him we are nothing, nothing at all. But in Him, we are joint heirs of the kingdom and His precious child.

So watch and warn! That is our duty! Be a watchman!

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ENDURANCE

 

Revelation 3:10 “’Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.’”

RUNNING

I have several friends who run marathons. Why? I don’t know! I guess they just love to run. And they run long distances. I gave up running years ago after I had a knee injury and a bad hip. At least that’s my excuse.

In order to run a marathon you can’t just decide one day to run 26.2 miles. You have to train. You have to build up to it. You start out small and add more and more distance until you reach your goal. It’s kind of like eating an elephant – one bite at a time.

The verse today talks about perseverance. That word means to bear up under, to endure, to persevere. The Lord is telling the Church of Philadelphia that He will keep and guard them because they have kept the word of His perseverance. They have believed God. They have trusted Him. They have endured the testing and trials sent their way.

TEACHING MOMENT

Your children are going to have tests and trials. They are going to be tempted to quit. Don’t let them. Show them this verse. Show them that as we persevere, God is there to guard and protect us. As we endure hardships, God is there to keep us from further judgment. We just have to keep trusting and keep following Him, no matter what.

What trial has your child faced lately? Was it a life or death struggle? Most are not! Most of the trials our children face are really miniscule in the eyes of eternity. But to them they are gigantic. They don’t think they will survive. It always helps to put our trials in perspective. But don’t expect your kids to quite understand that yet. Help them to trust right where they are.

Remember, you run a marathon by first running the short distances.

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GOD CAN USE ANYONE

 

Ezekiel 26:7 “For thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will bring upon Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, chariots, cavalry and a great army.’”

EVEN A PAGAN

God can use anyone! Yep! I said that! How else do you explain God using Nebuchadnezzar to overthrow Israel and Judah and carry them into exile? Nebuchadnezzar is best seen in the Book of Daniel. He was a prideful, arrogant soul. But God chose to use him to judge His people who had strayed so far from what was holy.

So, will God use unbelievers in your life to get your attention? You had better believe it. He will use whatever and whomever He chooses to get us back on the right path. Let me ask you, “What unbeliever has God used in your life?”

TEACHING MOMENT

Your children need to understand something right now. God will place people in authority over us to teach us and prepare us. Hopefully, most of them will be fellow believers. But He will even put unbelievers in our life to draw out of us all those things He wishes to reveal to us. His whole purpose is to make us more like Him.

Your child may have a teacher who does not believe in Christ. How are you going to teach your child to deal with them- with contempt or with respect? You may have an unbelieving boss right now. How do your children hear you talk about him? We are constantly teaching our children as we are being taught ourselves. So what lessons are we learning and passing on to them?

I don’t know about you, but one thing I have learned from some of my unbelieving bosses is how to be a better boss. As God has allowed me to be in authority over others, I have striven to be a godly and responsible boss. I want to draw my employees toward Him, not away. Won’t you be Jesus to those around you?

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A FEW WORTHY SOULS

 

Revelation 3:4 “’But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.’”

WHO WERE THEY?

When I read this verse today my first thought was, “Who were these people? What made them worthy?” Obviously, the Lord knew them. He tells John to tell the angel of Sardis (the Pastor of the church) this. I am sure the Pastor knew immediately who these people were.

Don’t you know the people in your church who are living for Christ? Can’t you point out the ones who, from all outward appearances, are walking with Him? Well, at least we think we do. We can only judge from what we see on the outside. The Lord sees the heart. He knows exactly “who have not soiled their garments.” He knows their motives and desires and still He says “they will walk with Me in white.”

TEACHING MOMENT

Our children need to understand that the Lord knows their hearts. He knows exactly what they are thinking. He doesn’t have to wait to see their actions, like their parents. They can’t lie to Him. Be honest, some kids are just good at lying. They can fool the sharpest parent, or at least they can for a while. But not God. He knows what we are thinking even before we think it.

Wouldn’t it be nice then if the Lord would just think for us? Wouldn’t it be nice if He would just tell us the right thing to do before we do it? Well, He will, but we have to give up our rights and die to our own selfish desires. Then He can direct the Holy Spirit to live through us, guiding and shaping our very thoughts. And once we let Him have control, we discover that life is much sweeter. Decisions are easier because it is He who is guiding us. We know that He will ALWAYS direct us to what is good for us.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be known by the Lord as “worthy.” How about you?

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COURT IS IN SESSION

 

Ezekiel 24:14 “’I, the Lord, have spoken; it is coming and I will act. I will not relent, and I will not pity and I will not be sorry; according to your ways and according to your deeds I will judge you,’ declares the Lord God.”

TOUGH WORDS

These are harsh words. These are words that we do not want to hear. These are words that no one ever wants to experience first-hand. But they are the Lord’s words to a rebellious people. He had sent prophet after prophet to proclaim to the nation their need for repentance. He had given them chance after chance to turn away from their filthy idols and come back to pure worship of Him, Jehovah God. But the people continued to rebel.

Now, before you judge too quickly, remember that we are just like them. We thumb our nose at God too may times. We think we have it all together and don’t need guidance from Him. We believe we have the knowledge and experience to face life’s challenges without leaning on a “spiritual crutch.” We may not bow before a false idol or pray to a pagan god, but we are just as guilty of rebellion.

TEACHING MOMENT

So, how can this truth of God’s judgment be taught to our children? Don’t shy away from being brutally honest with your children about God’s holiness and His demands on our lives. Your children need to know that a Holy God has the right to judge us for our unbelief. Even while He holds us accountable He will not force us to comply. Our children have to understand that it is their choice.

We parents cannot force our children to comply to our rules. We can enforce consequences for their disobedience, but we cannot make them do what we ask. They have to choose. The next time you have to deal with an issue with your child, talk about how we all have to be “dealt” with one day by a Righteous Judge.

Oh, but the beauty of it all is that, when we bow and surrender to Him, all the guilt and punishment is removed from us. Christ has taken all this on Himself on our behalf. When we give our lives to Him, He takes a stand in our place. All I have to do is believe and surrender my will to His. Now, that’s a deal. I do not get what I deserve because He took what He did not deserve. Hallelujah what a Savior.

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