Friday, August 15, 2008

Cover to Cover Monday Morning August 18th

I am posting early for MONDAY as we are in the process of moving and I won’t have internet access for about a week. Pray for us as we journey---I’ve had ear infections this week and power failure and business issues and then last night all three of our cars were broken into. Lost a little bit of stuff.

Thanks for stopping by for those of you who are reading the chronological readings together. We read Ezekiel 5-30 this week. Choose a question from the seven below and leave a comment as to what lingered with you as you read His Word. We read to connect with our Most High God not to solve our problems. He is so committed to you!

Ezekiel had Stunning Visions like hardly any man describes----Ezekiel saw the Glory of the LORD. He is called ‘son of man’ some 90 times in this book emphasizing his humanity in the midst of ethereal visions. His calling to be a watchman in 3:17 is a call to go and speak whether they listen or not. The price that these prophets paid to follow their message and mission is unbelievable. It does cost us our whole lives to follow God---not a social club. Ezekiel’s mission in chapter 3 was to eat a scroll on which God’s words to rebellious Israel are written, symbolizing Ezekiel’s full acceptance of the message and mission.

AM I COMMITTED to PROGRAMS, to BIBLE STUDY BOOKS, to ATTENDANCE, or AM I COMMITTED to A PERSON---AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH MY GOD? I Myself will withdraw my favor - Ezek 5:11.They will put on sackcloth and be clothed with terror. Makes me think of those who honor Him through attendance and commitments, yet their hearts are far away. They think their plan, their program to live right and put on sackcloth is right. Their silver and gold will not be able to save them in the day of the LORD’s wrath. Ezek 7:19.

DO YOU NEED TO BE LIFTED UP OUT OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES? Beth Moore shared with me the following verse when we lost our job of 27 years on the same church staff: Ezek 8:3, that God has stretched out His Hand to me, grabbed me by the hair on my head and lifted me up. It would prove to be so very true that God lifted me up. I was so low all I could do was reach for the hem of His Garment. He so lifted me up. Beth said to me: “Your desperation is a gift.” It really was! It really is!

WHAT DO I NEED TO “LET GO” OF IN ORDER TO RECEIVE AN UNDIVIDED HEART? Ezekiel 11: 12. You have conformed to the standards of the nations around you but I’ll bring you back. You know, God knows we are all born into sin “as the sparks fly upward.” He’s looking for hearts to return and remove the idols 11:18. We will never get rid of sin in this life. Old natures are part of his design, not a surprise to Him. But oh we love the good word of Ezek 11:19 “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Repent and your sin will not be your downfall – Ezek 18:30. Get rid of the images in your mind; get rid of your idols – Ezek 20:8. Wonder what that would be for each of us? Let God purge us---we don’t have to dig deep. Let God surface in our conversations, in our minds, in our actions what we need to “let go” of.

WHO AM I STANDING IN THE GAP FOR IN THIS LIFE? Groan with a broken heart and bitter grief for your friends - Ezek 21:6. God is looking for a man who will build up the wall and stand in the gap – Ezek 22:30. Oh, that we would be found faithful. Not perfect with our acts together---no such thing. Found faithful to stand in the gap on behalf of our families, our friends, our world especially those who will never darken the door of a church cause of all the “spiritual talk.” Stand in the gap on behalf of your world!

WHAT LIES HAVE I BELIEVED ABOUT BEAUTY? Jeremiah, will you inquire of God for us, asked the people. It was too late. They lusted after their lovers – Ezek 23:5. They longed for the lewdness of their youth – Ezek 23:21. They believed a lie and trusted in their beauty and fame – Ezek 16:15. You lavished favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became His. You didn’t remember the days of your youth – Ezekiel 16:22. You poured out your wealth. – Ezek 16:36. Arrogant. Overfed. Unconcerned. 16:49. God says: You forgot Me. You thrust Me behind your back – Ezek 23:35. I’ll put an end to your lewdness – Ezek 23:48. This is the serious business of God as C.S. Lewis once said.

WHAT HOLDS MY AFFECTION TODAY? The story of Ezekiel losing his wife is so moving. Ezekiel had even more words come to him and in 24:21 God says I will desecrate your strongholds, your pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection. Wonder what holds my affection this day as we make our final packing plans to move to Austin today? God took Ezekiel’s wife from him as a “sign” of taking away the delight of our eyes. What a price Ezekiel paid to follow God—-no price too great to follow His God. What will we do with this God we know and what He does? He’s a good God no matter what!!!! Let Him speak tenderly where we have “set up idols in our hearts” – Ezek 14:3

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE ARE THROWN INTO A PIT? The story of Jeremiah being thrown into a cistern is terrifying. No way to escape. Sunk deep in mud. No food. No light. Yet, no panic heard either. The cost to follow God as a prophet is unbelievable. We don’t have a different calling though, just a different plan that still costs us everything. Wonder what Jeremiah really thought in that cistern? Wicked King Zedekiah saves Jeremiah in 38:10. What is Jeremiah’s first words? “Oh King, if I give you counsel, you won’t listen to Me. SURRENDER!” What courage rose up in Jeremiah to speak God’s words. However, the King is afraid and can’t or won’t follow God’s plans and so the king’s feet are stuck in mud now---holy mud – Jer 38:22. God was so committed to Jeremiah in that cistern. He is committed to our joy. Committed to me and to you! The God of all pits. He was right there with Jeremiah in the most frightening situation. He’s right there where you are in the panic of your heart this day. Well, I needed to hear that!

10 comments:

Nise' 8/17/2008  

Our message today was on your first point. Are we in "it" to rack up points or are we doing what we do because of a relationship. It took me many years to learn that NO ONE will ever have it all together and that it was an idea I had to get rid of!!

Shonda 8/18/2008  

Bev,
Everyone of your points ministered personally to me over the past week. You articulated it so well that I cant add anything.

I put up a post this morning on my blog called "Who Among Us? This post focuses on the point you have for standing in the gap. Of course we should stand in the gap on behalf of so many the Lord has put in our lives, but I placed the focus on our land.

I pray you have had a safe journey to Austin. I thought of you the other night when it was raining. I prayed all your things were safe out of the elements.

I look forward to meeting you on Friday in San Antonio!

May you be blessed and highly favored by God and man!

Lots of love and blessings!

annie's eyes 8/18/2008  

I didn't make it through the readings this week, but through Tuesday. I will have to catch up. I did post what Cover to Cover means to me--the personal revelations He has for each of us continually amaze and bless me. Your point on what keeps us from an undivided heart for Him causes me to sit up and take note. There are distractions and idle (idol)focuses that keep me from wholehearted devotion to Him. I've had to take an inventory lately as we read this and know better His will for our lives. Oh that He would search for one who stands up for Him and I would be found singing His praise, and trustingly say as the prophets like Ezekiel and Jeremiah, "no matter what, use me!"

Michelle V 8/18/2008  

Bev,

I posted my Cover to Cover for this week, and all of your points definitely spoke to me today! What do I need to "let go" of in order to receive an undivided heart is something I have worked on with the NOG study and I'm still working through those things!

I'm praying for you all as you've headed to Austin!

Blessings
Michelle

Mary Lou 8/18/2008  

Bev, praying for you as you search for a house to make a home. All of your points were so beautiful. Two stood out to me....I need to search my heart and see what idols are there that I am not aware of, but that really need to come out. I also am trying to stand in the gap for others and I feel we must stand in the gap for our country. We must not let out guard down and be aware of what is happening and be praying for those in leadership and those that will be coming into leadership. God is really moving the pieces on the chess board and we need to be aware and we need to be standing in the gap. May we all be found faithful.
Have a great time in San Antonio and fill us in on what is going on with you, for those who can not be there. Blessings on you and yours. Love, Mary Lou

Bev Brandon 8/18/2008  

Nise' - How true! How true! How true!

Bev Brandon 8/18/2008  

Shonda, your words sink deep in my weary heart tonight. Can't wait to meet you!

Bev Brandon 8/18/2008  

Annette, "no matter what" He is good and He is sovereign! See you in a couple of days---can't wait!

Bev Brandon 8/18/2008  

Michelle, same here...and there are some things that may never be fully resolved here...God knows! He knows my frame! Can't wait to see you!

Bev Brandon 8/18/2008  

Mary Lou, It's the kindness of our God that leads us to repentance! And when He reveals what we are doing that is not of Him, it's right and good and full of Love. May He purge all our hearts!

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

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