Don’t Provoke the Bear!

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He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood. Ezekiel 8:3

Don’t poke the bear” a common saying used to warn those being careless, fearless, ignorant or foolish,about the dangers of making a bear angry. While the bear slumbers or is in hibernation or a state of peace and happiness, can project an image that mask reality. Though they might be cute, and seem harmless, even the youngest bear has enough powers to alter ones course of existence.

Time and time again, people took for granted the bears power, even thinking that it could beaten by those of us who were strong or either studied and knowledgable about his habits and behavior that they overlooked two important factors:

  • 1. Not knowing his mind
  • 2. Not understanding the his complete nature.

In this passage we encounter Gods’ prophet hosting the elders in His home. Without a word, God shows Ezekiel the conditions of those in his midst without a confession. He allows Ezekiel in these visions to see through His eyes. He peers down and immediately encounters an idol.

Fake Gods where in the house of God!!!

The idol was in the inner court, where the priest were to reside and offer up sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. They had taken some of the gods from other cultures, and had included them in worship along with the true and living God.

God had a roommate!!!!

After all God had done for Israel and Judah, He was given a roommate, and forced to share a space with one who hadn’t any power, or the capability to love, protect and provide. They worshiped and attributed to these idols things that were given by Him. They sought them for life, protection and provision and in doing so, they provoked the bear!

I wondered to myself, “

How many temples, homes and hearts are God forced to be a roommate in?”

How often do we move God into a living condition, where he is treated like a renter, and given a lease on that which He owns? How often is God asked to entertain new tenants, leasing out space to those who don’t belong?

He shares His temple with paintings and statues, when His temple was designed to paint His image upon the people and to teach them his statutes. Sadly, I believe He sees more of the same today. While our God has upheld His covenant and remained consistent, our behavior all along has caused us to experience earthly judgement and or punishment, which to many was unbearable. Sadly, this did not lead to a correction of their actions and has not lead to the correction of ours either.

They continued down the path, in some cases unaware that the bear had been provoked. They continued in the error of their ways, and the prophets, priest and elders had not corrected it, partly because they were living in error too.

We find out via the visions of God, that the elders who sat in Ezekiel’s home has lives they lived in the dark. They committed atrocities against God in the dark in hopelessness, not believing that correcting the error of their ways would lead to God changing their circumstances.

Each Elder, God revealed to Ezekiel, had their own personal shrine in their room (Yes, the room that God provided.). After service, they went to their rooms and worshipped a god that didn’t provide. Sadly, we do the same. They served in the temple, advised the people and then gave their most intimate self to inanimate object.

Much like then, God watched the sin through eyes of love through shades of jealousy. Though He loved His people, He was and is still jealous of where we place our love and adoration.

So what is your practice?

I imagine that God knows the difficulty many of us face watching second to second updates of those we loved and lost or are envious of living out life with an insufficient replacement. How sad it must be for Him to see us chasing temporary fulfillment, while complete provision is just a prayer away.

What’s in your gateway?

Is there something preventing God from seeing and receiving your sacrifice?

What in your life is provoking Gods wrath?

#PastorJDO3

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I Keep My Word!

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And they will know that I am the Lord;
I did not threaten in vain
to bring calamity on them.
Ezekiel 6:10

As of late, we have listened to prognosticators justify their position to remain defiant to the Lord.  Many have, in their own foolishness, rationalized that our God, the creator, who is filled with love, willing to forgive, willing to apply grace, and eager to administer justice1mercy, will not punish those who have not accepted His sacrificial offering.  Before, we listened to those who would argue that there is no God, and while there are still those who ignore the obvious, we are seeing more and more who acknowledge His existence, but are not willing to accept His provision.  We find ourselves reaching out to a spiritual generation, who have found peace with a variety of practices, all of which bare teachings that they omit from study and application.

Our Congregations are being Contaminated by Confused Congregants

Worse, these teachings are creeping into the pews, creating those who worship you with a portion of their hearts, making Sunday for many simply idol worship.  As your prophets speak forth truth, the devil works through the congregation, removing that which has not and will not take root, because something has already been planted and is in need of being uprooted.

The Promised Land came with Deed Restrictions

God freed the Israelite; and planted them in a place of wealth.  Broke the walls down via a uniformed shout, and placed into the hands of those who experienced a wealth deed-restrictions-273x300transfer before it was thought to be possible.  God enabled them to own and possess, that which was formerly inhabited by others, and issued a Divine Deed, which came with Divine Deed Restrictions.  Yes, this concept of Deed Restrictions can be traced back to our Lord :).  He allowed each to take residence, and to build and have dominion, but required them to remain pure, and no matter what, to have No other God! Worship no other God!  Don’t take on the practices of those God has placed under your feet!

Despite the Deed Restriction…

And yep, you guessed it; before their bags were good an unpacked, they began to accept and adopt the practices of the former inhabitants, building idols, and placing them in the house of the Lord to be worshiped.  The admired and acted about their cultural practices, merging them with their culture and making them into a defiled nation in the land which God provided for them!  And yep, after many chances to change, God found himself at this point.  Much like He stood before bringing the Flood, and again with Sodom, He watched His creation sin before Him as though He wouldn’t take action.

How many Restricted Deeds have you performed?

confused personAnd for those keeping track, He once again decides to punish the ones He loves.  His punishment would not just keep them from prosperity, but would allow them to suffer physically, mentally and spiritually.  This is important because this age has convinced not just non-believers, but believers that God will withhold punishment just because He loves us!  This is a lie!  Even under the new covenant, the God that never changes stands firmly with the Word He has spoken, and upholds His promise by allowing the children of Israel to reap the fruits of their covenant with false gods!

God’s Word is Sustained by Him

You think I’m playing, God is probably thinking!  He speaks through Ezekiel and says, in addition to my Word not return void, but It’s also not spoken “in vain.”   See, with God, there is no “idle threat”.  God’s Word is life people, thus much like speaking the heavens, the earth, every plant, and life form into existence, God’s covenant is a product of His Word, which means it is alive, and His promise of punishment and calamity are factual not possible or even probably!

We read God’s word as though is has not been through final edits.  The reality is that God’s Word has already been proofed, and its verbalization is publication.  His Word to us seems possible and probably, but its actual.  God’s Word give new meaning to the coined phrase “taking a life of its own.”  Because God can not lie, His Words are life and truth, and can be counted as dependable.  And not just dependable when it benefits your situation, but when it works against your own circumstances.  propheticroar

When you need God, He is there, standing by His Word, honoring His covenant, protecting truth, upholding the standard of righteousness, carrying out justice, while balanced with love, mercy and grace.  It is amazing to me to me that as earthly parents, we chastise and punish our children, and administer judgement with those we are in relationship with, with a measure of mercy and grace, but somehow can not fathom that God can carry out the same.  God is more balanced than we are.  He is truly fair and just, and carries out judgement not as a respecter of persons, but as one who hold the standard across the ages.    Moses looked but didn’t enter, David collected but didn’t build, Saul met the end of a sword, Solomon had the Kingdoms ripped from his hands…..Etc. 

What more do you need to hear?  God honors His Word.  He stands bye His covenant.  He sends Angles and Prophets in addition to providing us His Word to show us how to warn us, and remind us how to honor and live within the covenant with us, and yes, when we fail to live up to His standard, punishment is given to those loves.

throneHe will Keep His Word!  He promised them that calamity is coming.  It is coming to those who refuse to Keep His Word and or accepts His covenant.  The great news is that God gives us a choice.  You can choose Him, or you can reject Him.  It’s your choice.  And though you are not forced to accept Him as Savior and Lord, you can not reject Him as judge!  One day He will divide the sheep from the goats, and He will Keep His Word!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

 

Dialogue with a Seventh Day Adventist.

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I just finished a great conversation with a Seventh Day Adventist brother about the history or the Sabbath.

According to him, Constantine aligned the Sabbath with His Calendar which made Sunday the day of rest for all workers and professionals. I think he thought I would enter into a discourse about the Sabbath, but I redirected his attention to how the example of Constantine caused a long term shift in the faith.

While the leadership at the time might have thought
it an easy answer to stop persecution
and to make the faith popular,
it led to a change in the practice of the faith.

I then took the time to talk to our brother about the dangerous game our evangelical leaders are playing with our president and his companions. While they are working their way into power by renting out their pulpits, they are allowing a man who considers capitalism righteousness, and considers the Bible leverage to manipulate people to serve as an example to all as a standard of righteousness.

While this seems innocent and harmless, like Constantine, this can  lead the practice and understanding of the the faith and Christ long beyond an up and coming election.

 

#pastorJDO3

Ears Open; Eyes Closed!

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I am always amazed at the selective hearing and response of human beings.   Each day people are given stories and encounters, real life situations and circumstances, by which we casually surf, swipe, invest digest or cast aside as unimportant. 

selectivehearing

It is amazing how we can hear of the pain of others, and choose not to feel, disconnecting from their agony with rationalizations and generalizations, and justify our lack of concern with political rhetoric and worse, religions (I can’t use the word I would like to use here 😦 ) foolishness.

I am amazed at how our political and economic affiliations and backgrounds serve as a guide to who deserves mercy and grace, whom should be forgiven, who is guilty, who deserved their punishment and suffering, who is worth bailing out, who is a leach, who is profitable, who is necessary, and who lack value and the ability to contribute to society.  Our affiliations also dictate to us who is a victim?  And how we should hear a victim?sexydressedwoman

 

An argument on Facebook emerged once as to:
“Whether women that wore “sexy” outfits
made themselves targets for Offenders
and thus deserved what happened to them.” 

Tempers were high!   Ultimately, it was decided socially that the dress of the woman did not deem certain treatment or response, because it was her right to dress how she decided.  It was determined that a woman offended even while dressed like this, even if flirting with the offender was a victim if she said “no” even if undressed down to her undergarments by her own choice.  We all agreed!  This woman is a victim.

This same general group of people argued about:
“Whether a black male dressed in a hoody
walking through a neighborhood deserved
to be shot even if un-armed.”

blackhoodyPeople were obsessed with the fact that it was late at night.  This, even though it was agreed that a woman didn’t deserve said treatment under any circumstances.  They determined that his clothing intimidated the armed man that was following him, and thus the armed man following the unarmed man had the right to shoot the unarmed man because he had on certain clothing.  In this, they determined that the young man in the hoody was not a victim. 

Thank you God for not taking counsel from man!!!!!  I believe God would consider them both victims and that His compassion for both would be the same.  I’m convinced that Jesus, whom chose not to restore the earthly throne of David, and get caught up in the political foolishness of His days on earth, would again look at us as disciples and opt of of the ignorance that we watch on a daily basis.

He would not be influenced by parties or by His own selfish needs and ambition, but would want what was best for those who were less fortunate than He.  Jesus would be speaking out like John the Baptist, who’s head was on a platter because He chose to stand for righteousness.  He looked, too, in the face of government officials, and sent a message to every follower by loosing his life for what was right. judascoins

Paul put his life on the line for righteousness.  He chose to remain in chains than to compromise truth, using his citizenship to present the Gospel to those who were lost, not to escape punishment to live in comfort.  Paul chose to walk away from his status, leave his career, confess his wrong, and make amends with those whom he persecuted.  He stood toe to toe with Peter, when it came not to his rights which he had as an Apostle, but to those whom were being forced to depend on measures other than grace to be saved.  Though already circumcised, he chose to side with truth, as opposed to demanding that everyone make a sacrifice that would be of no benefit to them because of the new covenant.

We have focused in the past on the saying, “What Would Jesus Do?”
And while this helped some,
it only provide an avenue to be ignorant for others.
Thus, I’m asking you, “What Did Jesus Do?” 

Jesus, like John the Baptist, looked in the face of government officials, who were staining the silk sheets of the temple, exchanging favor and collecting monies.  The government was working hand in hand with the Pharisees to control “their constituents,” and saw chosen church official choosing to speak out against truth because it challenged their authority and pointed out their unrighteousness.

We saw Jesus making His way to the side of families whom He physically, and to those whom He prior had no physical relationship with.   He spoke the same words of life to them all, choosing to break the bread and distribute it to all that had need, not only to the ones whom He knew followed Him with the right motives and intent.  The reality is that he fed those whom he knew listened and followed to eat and receive miracles.  justice1He fed people who would eventually cry out for Barabbas.  He dined at the table as the one who would betray him, walked with those who would scatter in the garden, and shared intimate moment with one who would deny him three times.

To Jesus, a victim was a victim!  Victim is relative to right and wrong, not parties, prosperity and economics.  He looked upon people with eyes of compassion, and invested time with the woman at the well like he invested time with the 12.   He looked upon people and was attentive to their cry.  He kept His Ears Open and His Eyes Open, and we have chosen to keep ours Eyes Shut, and like snakes, are charmed by the melodies of politicians.  But not Jesus!!!  He sat at the table with tax collectors and stood to read the scroll among the brothers in the priesthood.  He took time to spit in the ground and lay hands to bring sight and spent time in worship and being transfigured.  He taught the masses from a boat, and then retreated a quiet place to pray.  He called a dead man from a tomb, restoring to him life, and then allowed himself to be crucified and placed in a tomb.

A man puts a ring on his wife during a mJesus did only what the Father allowed, and chose to line up every action with God, and gave God the glory in all things, not to draw attention and build a following for Himself, but had the goal of pointing back to the Father.  He had a covenant!  He took an oath!  He exchanged vows not with the Government, but with the Creator!  His loyalty was not one of convenience, but one of commitment to communicate to those lost the love of God despite any current and future condition that one would find themselves in.  I believe God grieves for the shooter and well as the one murdered or maimed.  He cried for the children that were aborted and then shed tears for the one who committed murder bombing the clinic.  He is saddened by the man or woman that lives a lifestyle of homosexuality and cringes for the man and woman who sign on to websites and sully their temple and disrupt their relationship with Him! 

In the end, I have concluded like God, that we are all victims and in need of the blood provision of Christ.  We are all prone to sin, and struggle with our flesh, thus are deserving of death and are only righteous because we are justified by faith in Him!

 

#PastorJDO3

The Believers Bite Galatians 5:15

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15 But if you bite and devour one another,
watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit,
and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:15-16

Tonight we enjoyed a fruitful discussion in God’s Word.  Drawing our thoughts for the lesson from the 5th Chapter of Galatians, we allowed the 15th and 16th verse to run the first leg of tonight’s’ teaching.  In our discussion about becoming better evangelist and witnesses for Christ, we find ourselves working on self that we might be more effective in efforts for Christ.

But first a pit-stop.  Paul addresses in this chapter an important part of Kingdom, its citizens.  He writes to handle issues that have arisen in the church, and with a stroke of the pen, corrects bad teaching and bad behavior. full burger

For today’s discussion, I presented to the group the illustration of a freshly prepared hamburger.  It exist whole, without a bite.  The burger, fully in tact consist of many layer, and holds in it a varying level of content.  In this, it is placed into our hands to handle as we choose.  Now of course, our flesh and stomach need and are designed to consume, but today we took our discussion to the Spiritual.

The first question asked was:  “How is a burger consumed?”

The answer of course is “One bite at a time!”  These bites can vary in size, ranging from small to large, they can come from any angle, can be taken in a short amount of time, or a long amount of time, but with each bite, that which was whole begin to disappear.  Paul wrote a warning to the Body of Christ, “if you bite” he warns, soon you will “consume…one another.”

The next question asked was: “Who have you taken a bite of?”

This is an important question.  As we hit the neighborhoods to bare witness bout Christ, we have found that many people have met Christ, but remain at home because they are suffering from the wounds of a bite!  They accepted the Gospel, but couldn’t get past the offenses committed by His church!  I know, they are immature! That’s what you are thinking!  They have a fake faith built on man, and your faith is built on God.  They don’t have enough Word in them?  Right?  Get over yourself I say!  Mature or Immature, healing from wounds takes time, and some bites are just fatal!  Infection set in, and death follows.  And yes, you would probably say that its their fault, right?  It’s their fault they are offended, right?  They should simply forgive and move on, right?

Paul warns us, bites take away from us and lead to consumption.  Someone are simply being eaten alive by those who are in the fold and not walking according to the flesh.  People have perished in our ministries, and some who survived, are holding on to life by a thread.  This brought out a sad reality; many of the people entering our churches are half eaten. halfeatenburger

That’s right.  Those entering your church from previous church homes are sometimes lead to new fields, and other times are escaping hurt and looking for healing and peace.

Why is it you ask that a person can leave after one offense?  Ahh, you said they were immature, but the reality is that many of them were suffering from prior bites, and are just trying to keep from being completely consumed.  And then we foolishly judge them for protecting themselves, and label them to protect our own ignorance.  Our bites are often made worse by those who are not remorseful.  Yep, its that important that we treat each other right, because each person is in a different state, and have different experiences, and your encounter with them can be the difference between them growing in Christ, and dwelling at home alone.

In this day of social media and technology, our encounters with people are weighed even heavier in that many people have grown accustomed to experiencing the world via a video and even a blog.  The human factor is being removed and replaced by imogies and virtual reality, thus limiting the room for error in our encounters with one another.

Paul says while some suffer from “bites” others are “devoured”.

Have you devoured anyone? 

emptyplateThis word frightened me!  The thought that there could be one within our ranks who doesn’t fall from time to time and bite someone, but that in one or two encounters, shows a complete lack of restraint and concern for another and eats them alive in one or two sittings!  How is it that we can destroy those God has sent, stitching the bond of peace afforded to all of us through the blood of Christ and the unity of the Spirit!  Our lack of restraint towards one another can cause those in our midst not to question God’s existence, but if God exist in the place they have become a part of.  Let it not be said of you that you chased away someone that the Spirit draw-ed neigh because of your unwillingness to pursue righteousness and kill the flesh.

How many people have you devoured?  Who’s at home licking their wounds?  Who’s exploring different horizons?  Who’s falling away from the faith because of you?  Sadly, only God knows.  The reality is that most multiple offenders are just being themselves and don’t realize or acknowledge that they are “biters” dare say I “consumers.”  Shame to say, this “consumer” mentality exists in the house, as we jockey for position and protect our territory, and fight for a light that is the glory of humans, which is the glory that fades.  We shine our light not to lead, but to blind people with judgement, and are eager to condemn others, while pardoning our wickedness and justifying our actions.

Paul says, don’t “gratify your flesh”!  Yep, there is nothing good within us, and every once in a while, the desire to bite happens.  The old man fights his way back in the picture and begins warring for control of your limbs.  He plants thoughts in your mind as to how you should respond, and how you should act, what you should say, and how it should be said, but Paul says resist!  “Walk by the Spirit” he says.  Control that which remains dormant in you by continually submitting to the God that is in you!   Just because you have the thought, doesn’t mean you have to follow its suggestion.  It’s just that, a suggestion.  Unwise counsel given from an unwise source, whom desires to wound as many as he can from fire within the camp.  The devil hinders the growth of the Kingdom through those of us who continue fulfilling the desires of the flesh, allowing the old man to once again lift his hands in victory.   Yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit and allow His guidance to keep you from biting and devouring your fellow brother and sister.  Kingdom depends on it!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

Choose Peace on Earth

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“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among people
with whom he is pleased.”
Luke 2:14

The 14th verse of Luke says in the 2nd chapter, “…peace among people with whom he is pleased.”  Peace from the Messiah is a progressive peace received by those who choose to follow Him.  Seeking righteousness and choosing love over hate is the fertile soil that allows us to breath and breed peace in our lives.Peace of Mind wooden sign with a beach on background

This is made possible by our commitment to make peace with the world.  We must choose not to live in conflict with one another and must show respect also to all of Gods’ creation.  Think it not odd that God was even concerned with how man treated the animals which he was to consume and the plants which gave him life.  He taught man to respect life by making him a farmer and also a creator himself through womb birth.

Jesus brings us life to the full not just through eternal life, but through the gift of His Word and Walk, which instruct an model for believers how to live among creation and not collapse.  We are now able to encounter people through the lens of Christ, which we inherit through His Holy Spirit anointing our eyes and ears with the balm of compassion.  It is our outlook on life, which now shaped by our faith in God, that should allow us to paz_mundialencounter each set of circumstances with the measure of faith given to us that we might obtain peace through believing which then shapes our choices.

This is best summed up by our Lord who stated that the Love of God as the greatest commandment, followed closely by Love Your NeighborHow is your relationship with both God and man?  Are we applying God’s Word to our lives in respect to interaction with His creation or are we extracting the portions that allow us to gain wealth and prominence?   If you are not in a right relationship with God and man, chances are, He is not pleased with you, and neither are you experiencing peace on earth.

 

#PastorJDO3

It’s Not Pronounced (Just-Us)

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In a recent conversation, I was captured by the pronunciation of the word “Justice”.  The word, pronounced Jus-tis, spoken swiftly reveals the definition of the word by many human beings; (Just-us).  Reaching across racial and economic lines, the preservation and advancement of self has taken the reins of most lives such so that those who place others above themselves are rewarded and celebrated.

As the voice continued, I continued to hear Just Us.  As I matched this with the argument given, I realized that the actions being judged were being seen through the eyes of one who was unaffected by the circumstances at hand.  It became clear that as long as one’s civil rights, safety and well being weren’t threatened, one is likely to feel comfortable in the system that is administrating Justice, leading them to believe that Justice was being served.  And there is truth to this!  Justice is served everyday.justice

I Posed this Question: “Is Justice distributed and served equally?”

The answer, a resounding no!  Honestly, Justice is distributed amidst us on a credit scale.  Ones value to society is run through a rubric of sort, and the value of a life is determined by a formula that is distributed from a society that holds Capitalism as Justification.  Yes believers, in Christ, we are Justified by His Sacrifice, and in America, we are Justified by Capitalism.  Ones ability to earn, is placed above basic humanity, and ones right to prosper, trumps the civil rights or liberties of those economically beneath them.  Our Capitalistic mindset serves as the hot toddy that gives us sweet rest at night.

It has become more apparent that Justice is a’ la carte!  And yes, if you have to ask how much it cost, you can’t afford it!  Things that should accompany the meal, are now offered on the side.  It is distributed in small serving sizes, listed in fine print with fancy language on a contract that was written to benefit authors and investors, not readers and partakers.

It gives the illusion of full coverage, providing confidence, while defining limitations that shortchange satisfaction. 

It encourages all to invest, changing the rules as rights are distributed to insure that ones obtaining rights can’t fully benefit the same way as those that have profited from its promises.  What keeps all protecting her secrets is the illusion that what has been obtained by others, will be redistributed to those that follow.

When in reality, we are all dogs on a track, chasing a fake rabbit around in hopes that we will be declared winner, when in truth, the real winners are in the sky box taking bets on which one of us will chase the dream the hardest.

justice1What was promoted for all, was only promised to some.  And from those to whom the promise was extended, most have not received and have only pretended to have taken hold of.  As I talk and read chats and blogs, I wonder if most realize that the dream is still a dream?  That this promised distribution is not intended, just impending!

All this to say, we are in a matrix (no I’m not going there!).  There are things that we are privy to, and all other things are just rumors of war.  We are revealed the hand as it is played, and we are unsure who is dealing the cards, and are only sure of one thing; the deck is stacked, and the slight of hand ensures that only a select few the power.

Having said all this, one of the greatest illusions is that Justice is for all.  If this were true, our freedoms and liberty would not depend on the amount of legal representation one can afford.  Having the right amount of resources gives one confidence in a system offers Justice to those who can afford it.  Those who lack resources, lack access to what was promised to all.