Ezekiel 12:1-2 Where You Live

The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.” Ezekiel 12:1-2

Ezekiel was living in the time right before God was going to destroy the nation of Israel. God was describing how sinful the people were and all the destruction that would occur because of the sin. Now He tells Ezekiel that the people he is living among are rebellious.

When people talk about a rebellious person, they usually are thinking of someone who is very openly defiant and fighting against some system or government. Teenagers are thought of as being rebellious, because they do not want to follow the rules and think that they know best. While this is true about these type of people, there are many others who are rebellious also, but do not show it as openly.

All rebellion is, is jut refusing to do what is right. People everywhere can see evidence of God in creation and life, yet, many do not want to believe it. They openly choose to refuse to believe in God, despite what they see. They do not want to see the evidence of God.

This even occurs inside the church. Believers hear sermons or read the Bible and see that God provides for them, loves them, and is in control. Yet, when a situation occurs, they refuse to believe God and get scared and run. They hear the words of God being said, but refuse to apply them to their own lives. They see what it means to follow God, but refuse to live their lives sold out to God.

Rebellion can be out-right defiant, violent rebellion, but most often it is a quiet rebellion. It is a refusal to live the way God has said to live.

You may not be the violent rebellious person that is read about in the news or described by others. But are you being rebellious in your walk with God?

Is God asking you to do something or give up something, and you are refusing to do so? This would be a sign of rebellion.

Allow God to open your eyes and ears to see and hear what He has to say, and then live that way. Do not be rebellious.

I pray today that you will hear God’s word in your life; that you will see God at work in your life; that you will live according to God’s plan for your life; and that you will not be rebellious against God.

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Isaiah 58:2-3 Doing Your Own Thing

For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.” Isaiah 58:2-3

Israel had claimed to be the nation that God loved and was over. They claimed God as their God. When they were going through tough situations, they would cry out to God, yet God was silent with them. God allowed trouble to come into their lives. The reason was because, even though they cried out to God, they were not trying to live for God. They were doing their own thing, rather than what God wanted.

People in churches all over the world are seeking to know God and His ways every Sunday morning. Throughout the days of their week, many cry out to God for help in situations in their life. Yet, just like the Israelites, many are not attempting to live for God.

Believers cry out to God for help, while at the same time refusing to forgive, or holding onto anger, or lying, or stealing, or gossiping. As one does this, they wonder why God is not showing up in their lives. God cannot be around sin and will not honor those who do not serve Him.

You have to take an honest look at your own life to see where you are at. If you are like many people, you are probably crying out to God for some help in an area of your life. You may be feeling as though God is no where near and does not hear you.

Ask yourself if you are really living for God. Are you serving God with your life? Or are you doing your own thing?

Are you trying to get help from God so that you can look good, or get better things?

Or are you asking for help so that you may build His kingdom more?

As you go before God, do what He wants, not as you please. God will hear you then.

I pray today that you will know God’s desire for your life; that you will obey the commands of God; that you will not put God on the side of your life; and that you will truly know God.

Jesus Freaks

Last week I was blessed to be able to go on a cruise with one of my boys. This cruise was the Jesus Freak 2017 cruise. The Christian band, DC Talk, had reunited after a 16 year hiatus for a one week cruise tour. They set up the cruise with several other bands, Newsboys, Hollyn, Capital Kings, Ryan Stevenson, and Finding Favor.

For anyone not familiar with the band, DC Talk, they had started out in 1987 and performed until 2000. During that time they became one of the most popular Christian bands of all time. Their music was one of a mix of rap and rock in each song. The band was known for being bold in talking about Jesus and pointing people to Jesus. They wanted their message to be one about the gospel message.

One of the songs that they came out with was, “Jesus Freak.” It was their most popular song and portrayed their hearts.

One of the lines in that song is: “What if people think when they hear that I’m a Jesus freak? What will people do when they find that its true?

The term “freak”, to be used to describe a person is not a popular term to be used in today’s society. It would probably be listed as a politically incorrect term.

Freak has the meaning of a very unusual and unexpected event or situation. It can also mean a person, plant or animal with an unusual physical abnormality.

Adding the term freak with Jesus, makes an interesting combination. What exactly is a “Jesus Freak”?

It is the idea that one is very unusual in following Jesus. They are abnormal from all the other people. It is a very unusual and unexpected situation in life.

Take a look at the life of Jesus. He was a different type of person when He walked on this earth. Another line in this song is: “People say I’m a strange, does that make me a stranger? My best friend was born in a manger.

Think about this: Jesus came to this world to save the world and  be king of this world. Yet, the method of coming in this world was not normal. He was not born in the palace, or even in the hospital as most people were. He was royalty and yet, was born in a manger, a place for animals, not kings.

Jesus talked about loving your enemies, instead of fighting them. He tells you to bless those who curse you. These statements go against the thoughts and ways of most of the world. The world says that you have a right to fight against your enemies and that it is acceptable to curse those who do you wrong.

Along with some of the strange teachings that Jesus taught, He also died on a cross. Why would a person die who wanted to save everyone else? How can He save everyone by dying? By the world’s methods of doing things, Jesus was a freak, which is part of the reason why they chose to crucify Him.

Jesus was one who followed God with all of His heart, soul, mind and strength. He was sold-out to God. This made Him a freak, an unusual and strange person in this world.

Those who follow Him are also strange. Why would someone want to follow someone who died nearly 2,000 years ago? Why would someone want to follow someone who was strange and said to love and bless his enemies?

The whole reason Jesus was a freak was because of love. The reason a person is willing to follow Jesus is because of love. God’s love is the best thing that there is in all of this great universe. God has the best in mind for every person.

Now going back to the song about the line saying that he is a Jesus freak. What makes a person a Jesus freak?

Take a look around you and you will probably see a lot of people who claim to be Christian. Some churches have a lot of people in them. Yet, at the same time, take a look around you and watch how many of these same people act in this world. How do they treat each other? How do they treat their enemies?

The sad part is that most do not treat others with the same love that Jesus shows them. Christians are often known for acting and looking just like everyone else in this world. They do not stand out as different.

The few people who do stand out as extremists for Jesus are rare. They are seen as radicals and crazies–Jesus Freaks.

When a person comes out in this way in this world, the world will rise up against them, just as the world rose up against Jesus when He walked on this earth. Today the term used is usually politically incorrect, or extremists. This will even occur within the church. Very few people live as an extremist for Jesus. It is highly unusual to see someone live wholeheartedly for God, abandoning their own life and ways to follow God–thus a Jesus Freak.

Take a look at your own life and see how you are living. Are you living for yourself? Or are you living for God?

Are you concerned with what people think or what they will do if you live sold-out to God?

Allow yourself to be sold-out to God. See what God can do in and through you when you live in the same way that Jesus did. As a believer in Jesus, you are to live, talk and act just as He did. Everything that Jesus said and did was what God wanted Him to say and do.

Just as Jesus was a stranger in this world, so are you. This world is not your final home, you are just a stranger passing through.

Are you a Jesus Freak?

May the final words of that song be yours: “I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus freak, there ain’t no disguising the truth.”

As for the cruise, it was an awesome cruise! It was amazing to see 4,000 people all being excited about serving and loving God. They were not ashamed of the gospel message. It was awesome to hear the various Christian bands proclaiming God loud and clear for five days.

I was able to talk with many people from all over the world and hear many great testimonies of what God is doing or has done in their life. It was encouraging to hear. God is alive and being served in this world by many, though not the majority.

Psalm 129:4 Cut Free

But the LORD is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked. Psalm 129:4

No one likes to be bound up in chains or handcuffs. They want to have their freedom to live life as they desire. Most people feel that they are free in this world to live their own lives. There are some countries where that freedom is not really felt as much, but most still feel that way.

The reality is that most people are bound up in the chains of this world. The world holds many people back from really living life to the fullest and best possible.

These chains are the chains of fear, ridicule, persecution, and shame. The world tries to tell a person that if he believes in God, he is ridiculous and crazy. Following God is being narrow-minded and often seen as bigoted and unloving.

When a person starts to believe these things, he begins to fear the world and chooses to stay far from God. In doing so, he has allowed the world to put chains on him. His hands, feet, and heart are bound up in chains that he, alone, cannot break.

Living like this keeps a person from living the life God has for him. He begins to live life as the world tells him to live, a life apart from God. This life is a life of death. It is on the path to destruction for all eternity.

Many believers fall into this trap. They are caught up in legalistic obedience to God. They do not have the loving relationship with God that God desires. They are bound up in chains that other “believers” have put on them.

God saw your inability to break those chains and did something about it. God had broken all these chains when Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.

Jesus chose to set you free so that you may live your life for Him. In living for God, you will be living a full and abundant life. There will be joy and satisfaction that cannot be found in the ways of this world.

Are you allowing Jesus to break those chains in your life?

Or are you allowing the world to keep you chained up?

I pray today that you will allow God to set you free; that you will live for Jesus; that you will not seek the ways of this world; that you will not be deceived by this world; and that you will live an abundant life for God.

Psalm 53:3 No One Is Good

Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Psalm 53:3

People in churches often have a few point of “us” and “them.” Those in the church and those not in the church. Those who are not in the church are often seen as vile, corrupt sinful people on the wrong path in life. Many look down on them as very bad.

There is truth in what is believed by many. Without the forgiveness of Jesus, every person is corrupt and not doing good.

As people look at others in this way, they often forget who they are or who they were. Paul had said that everyone has sinned and fall short of God’s glory. This is not just about those who are in the world, it is about every person in this world, both Christian and non-Christian.

Every time a believer chooses to disobey God, he becomes corrupt and falls short of God’s glory. Disobedience comes in the form of direct sin–against one of the rules of God. Or it can come in the form of not doing something God called the person to do.

Most believers in the church have no problem believing that doing something God has ruled as sin is sinful. However, many forget that not doing something God has asked them to do is also sin.

If God stirs the heart of a person to tell someone about Jesus, and that person does not do it, he has sinned against God. All disobedience to God is sin. All sin is disobedience against God.

Without God no one can do any good at all. Many in the church try to believe they are good, but are refusing to be the witness God has called them to be.

For each person it may be different. God calls each person to a different path and job to do.

What is God calling you to do today, not yesterday or tomorrow, but today?

Now, the real question is, are you doing it?

If you are not doing what God has called you to do, you have turned away and have become corrupt…again. Turn to God and follow Him. Do the good works He has planned for you to do. Do not be like the world.

I pray today that you will know God’s plans for you; that you will do what God has for you to do; that you will not turn from God; and that God will keep you from being corrupt in your life.

Psalm 14:3 No One Does Good

All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Psalm 14:3

Again, David is crying out to God about the corruption of the people. As he looks around, He does not see anyone serving God or doing any good. The world had become corrupt and full of sin.

Times have not changed since David was on alive several thousand years ago. Everywhere a person looks, it appears as though a sinful lifestyle is the way to live. Sin is promoted in every way imaginable.

The challenge for believers is to also realize that sin is at work in their own personal lives. No one is really any different from any other person. There are some in the church who look at certain sinful lifestyles and call those sins ‘greater’ sins than others. Or they will condemn those living in those ways, while, they, themselves are living in a sin.

It is easy for people to forget that taking a pen at work that is not theirs, or gossiping, or breaking a promise are all sins. Those sins are no different from the sin of a person who just murdered someone, or practices witchcraft, or lives in an alternate lifestyle.

The reality of it all is as David said and Paul repeated, several thousand years later: everyone has sinned and do not do any good. Everyone continues to sin against God.

The real difference between the world and a believer, is that the believer has been forgiven and is striving to live for God. You must be trying to live for God, despite all of your faults and failures.

As a believer, you must always be becoming a little more like Jesus in your life. You must work to do the right and good thing all the time. If you stay the same, you never change. If you never change, you are just like the world.

Do not be like the world. And do not just sit and condemn the world as though you are better than them. Be the one who will be a witness of who Jesus is and what He has done in your life. Show His great love to those in this world.

Today I pray that you will know the forgiveness Jesus offers you; that you will see all sin as sin against God; that you will turn from every sin in your life; and that you will tell others of what Jesus  has done for them.

Job 31:4 God Sees All

Does he not see my ways and count my every step? Job 31:4

Job is defending himself against the accusations that he did something wrong to bring on the wrath and punishment of God. He begins his defense by asking the question of whether or not God does actually see everything he does. In the following verses, Job asks them detailed questions on whether he is guilty or not of many different specific sins or wrong-doings. He also adds in that list that if he is guilty, then God may punish him according to the sins done.

The majority of people in the world do not believe that God even exists. Since there is no God, there can be no sin. Since there is no sin, there can be nothing done wrong. It is doing what is right in their own eyes.

With the world, living in this way is understandable and acceptable, however, no believer should be living like that.

In the church, there are many believers who do live like there is no God or that He is not really watching them. They are willing to gossip, cheat, lie, lust, look at porn, steal, and many other sinful acts. As they do it, they feel that God is not watching or does not care. Others do it with them mind-set that afterwards they can repent of the sin.

God is watching. And no one is guaranteed the next moment. With no guarantee of the next moment, the person may not have time to repent. Living in that way is purposefully living in sin and the heart is turning cold and against God, refusing the work of Jesus in their lives to transform them into a new creation.

Take a look at your own life. Would you be willing to ask anyone and everyone if they have ever seen you do anything wrong? If you did ask what would their report about your life be?

Then, even more importantly, would you be willing to ask that same question of God?

What would God’s report about you say?

Keep it always at the front of your mind that God is watching you. Do not live in fear of God, but out of love for Jesus do what is right at all times. God is watching and is seeing everything you think, say or do.

I pray today that you will live your life for Jesus; that you will live the holy life God has called you to; that you will know God sees everything; and that you will be a true witness of who Jesus is.