Moving On – Ezekiel 24:15-27

Moving-On“The Lord ’s word came to me: Human one, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you in a single stroke. Don’t mourn or weep. Don’t even let your tears well up. Sigh inwardly; be deathly still. Don’t perform mourning rites, but bind on your turban and put your shoes on your feet. And don’t cover your upper lip or eat in human company” (Ezekiel 24:15-17, CEB).

Like several of the Old Testament prophets, Ezekiel’s prophecies were often intertwined with his personal life. On one occasion God told Ezekiel that his beloved city of Jerusalem was about to be destroyed. Then, God told Ezekiel his wife was about to die!

And if that wasn’t enough bad news, God told Ezekiel not to mourn over his wife’s death and not even to participate in the rituals of grief and mourning that were a part of that ancient culture. Ezekiel was to keep his grief to himself.

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Go Back To Go Forward – 1 Kings 19:15

undo-iconThen the Lord told him, Go back the same way you came…” (1 Kings 19:15, NLT)

Sometimes we can lose focus on how God is working even though He has done many extraordinary things in our lives.

The prophet Elijah seemed to lose his focus when Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him. Elijah was in such fear for his life that he fled to the wilderness even though he had just called fire down from heaven and called on God for rain that ended a three-year drought in Israel (vs. 18:39, 43-44).

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The Reluctant Warrior – Judges 6:11-12

GIdeonCalling“The Angel of the Lord came, and He sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in the wine vat in order to hide it from the Midianites. Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said: ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior'” (Judges 6:11-12, HCSB).

God sent His personal representative, the Angel of the Lord, to Gideon at Ophrah. Because He was the Angel of the Lord, He spoke with God’s full authority.

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Seize the Day – Deuteronomy 1:8

carpe-diem-logo“Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants” (Deuteronomy 1:8, NLT).

To prepare the Israelites for the conquest of Canaan, Moses reminded them of life in Egypt, of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness, and of their past fearfulness that resulted in disobedience to God and rebellion against His promises.

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They Will Want What You Have – Acts 13:4,9-12

“So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit…Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye…Then he said….the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind…When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.” (Acts 13:4,9-12, NLT)

Barnabas and Paul’s first missionary journey was undertaken by the leading and in the power the Holy Spirit.

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Escaping Your Comfort Zone – Acts 8:4-8

“So those who were scattered went on their way preaching the message of good news. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds paid attention with one mind to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the signs he was performing. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed, and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city”  (Acts 8:4-8, HCSB).

Because of the persecution of the church in Jerusalem, the believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

Among those who were scattered was Philip, who went to a city in Samaria. Philip proclaimed to the people in that city that Jesus was the Messiah and performed many miracles among them and many people believed his message and were baptized.

The church in Jerusalem had become a megachurch and was adding new members faster than they could count. It seemed that just when things were going great and church growth was exploding, a great wave of persecution targeting these Jewish Christians caused them to scatter throughout the region.

What seemed to be a great success story had now become a tome of tragedy!

But, had this extensive persecution never been perpetrated against the Jerusalem Christians, who knows when they would have got around to fulfilling Jesus’s great commission to “be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (vs. 1:8).

God sends each of us on a mission for Him. But sometimes where God is sending us and what He wants us to do when we get there is, perhaps, beyond the boundaries of our respective comfort zones.

God’s plans and will for us may be located outside the box…of our own plans and wills.

Sometimes it becomes necessary for God to nudge, push, or even shove us out of our comfort zones through bad circumstances. Then, our discomfort helps us escape from our own zone of comfort!

In driving us from our comfort zone, it may be that God is sending us to do something quite different than what we planned to do, or even thought we were capable of doing.

That was certainly the case with Philip. Philip was appointed to help administer the daily food distribution in the church in Jerusalem. But in Samaria Philip was conducting a full-blown preaching-healing-deliverance ministry!

God advanced Philip from a behind-the-scenes administrative role to front-line ministry!

So, what is God sending you to do?

Accept His call, even if it requires you to escape from the comfort zone of your everyday existence.

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent me, I also send you'” (John 20:21, HCSB).

Divine Commission by Individual Submission – John 5:16-22

Because of the misunderstanding of the Jews, Jesus provided a detailed description in this passage of His relationship and commissioning by the Heavenly Father. His relationship to God the Father was one of submission and in turn established the conditions under which He commissions believers:
1. “My Father is working until now, and I am working” (John 5:17). Jesus conducted His ministry when and where He saw God’s activity and providence even if it was on the Sabbath. Because the nature of the Father is continuous activity, Jesus, therefore, occupied Himself with constantly performing the work and activity of the Father
2. “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19). Jesus did as God the Father did. Jesus was completely submitted to the will of God the Father in accomplishing His mission. Therefore, Jesus did not act or speak of His own accord but only spoke or did what the Father told Him.
3. “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel” (John 5:20). The succession of authority flows from God the Father to the Son to Jesus’ disciples. Because the Father has commissioned the Son, the Son has the authority to commission His disciples.
As Jesus’ disciples, we should serve God following the same model Jesus used in His ministry, which is to be completely submitted to God so that you can see where God is working and then say or do what God directs you to do. Notice this approach is just the opposite from how most of us serve God , which is to think what good things we can do for God, go do them,  and  then ask God to bless our efforts.