Monday, March 20, 2023

God's Ringtone


Do you have special ringtones for family and friends?  As soon as you hear the first note, you know exactly who it is that’s calling you.  How can you know when it’s God calling you to do something?  Many people have said something like, “I just wish He’d call me on the phone, then I’d know for sure!” For the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, God worked in his life in four distinct and dramatic ways that were unmistakably His ringtone.  These notes may sound familiar to you: Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength.


Ezekiel 3:10 - And He said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you.”


Things to think about:

·       When God calls you to do something, He equips you in everyway that you will need.  In Ezekiel’s case, he had been called by God to preach judgement to the Israelites.  Several times He says to Ezekiel, “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.”

o   We aren’t responsible for the outcome, that’s God’s business.  Our role is to obey.


·       Ezekiel was going to need an extra dose of courage

o   Ez. 2:6-7 - And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 

o   We see every day, the open hostility the world has to God and His Word.  But this should not deter us.



·       Ez. 2:1-2 - He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.”  As He spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet…

o   We won’t get into all of it here, but if you read Chapter 1 and get a picture in your mind of what Ezekiel saw, you’ll quickly realize why he needed help getting up!

o   Are you too tired, too old, too afraid to go where God has called you?  If He has called you, He will give you the strength to go.


·       We already know that God wants to renew our minds (Romans 12:2).  We also know that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God.

o   For Ezekiel, it was even more dramatic than that – “And He said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He gave me the scroll to eat. (Ez. 3:1-2)

o   He literally put the words Ezekiel was to say in his mouth!

§  And we need to constantly feed on God’s word too

o   Matthew 10:19-20 – “…do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,  for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”


·       God endowed Ezekiel with a new character, one designed to combat the stubbornness He knew Ezekiel was going to encounter

o   Ez. 3:8-9 - But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint.

o   I’m not sure what Ezekiel’s personality was like before but God changed him into the man he needed him to be at that time.

What is God calling you to do?  

·       Do you feel inadequate to the task?  That’s probably because you are!

·       But like Ezekiel, God will give you everything you need to accomplish His purpose for your life.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Your Prescription is Ready


Jesus is known by many names including The Great Physician.  He has given us a diagnosis called sin that, if left untreated, leads to eternal death.  However, even when we have been healed from that dire outcome, we still have remnants of the disease in our system.  How we deal with our chronic condition makes all the difference. Let’s look at it from two sides – when we self-medicate and when we follow the Doctor’s orders.


Proverbs 23:20-21: Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,
 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
    and drowsiness clothes them in rags.



Things to think about:

·       When we are lonely, tired, depressed, angry, hungry, etc., we can be tempted to take matters into our own hands.  This self-medication frequently takes three forms:

o   Food

o   Alcohol/Drugs

o   Sex

·       Each of these can makes us feel better in the moment but can come at a very high cost, both physically and emotionally

o   Food and Alcohol

§  Proverbs 23:20-21 - Do not join those who drink too much wine
    or gorge themselves on meat,
 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
    and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

o   Alcohol

§  Proverbs 20:1 - Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
    whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

o   Sex

§  Proverbs 23:27-28 - for an adulterous woman is a deep pit, and a wayward wife is a narrow well.
Like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men.

·       It’s not hard to see that “there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death”

·       God’s Prescription

o   His Word

§  Matthew 4:4 - Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

o   His Spirit

§  Ephesians 5:18 -  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit

o   His People

§  Genesis 2:18 - The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

§  Proverbs 17:17 - A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

·       God’s Way is Better

o   1 Corinthians 9:27 - No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

§  V.25 - We do it to get a crown that will last forever