Monthly Archives: January 2021

Who is on Your Throne

Ezekiel 1-3: Who is on the Throne?

            As I write this blog, there is a runoff election in Georgia and the United States senate is preparing to vote on the Electoral College for the President. I find this significant in the fact the most powerful position [in my estimation] will be decided and the aftermath will reflect either a positive or negative reaction.

            During the past six months, Americans have been embroiled in the political debate for support of a candidate, the media has played its part, often moving from reporting to persuasion of people. Currently in the world, we are fighting a Pandemic, wars and rumors of wars, famine and cultural differences. So, how are we to deal with all this? In our reading, Ezekiel the priest is privileged to have a vision, a nightmare if you ask me. God through the Holy Spirit allows Ezekiel a very strange vision.

Before we go there, let us take a snapshot look at the setting. In the opening verses of Ezekiel one we have a very specific time and place description. Ezekiel writes during the Babylonian captivity of Judah and Benjamin. [Southern Kingdom] Daniel is in Babylon and Jeremiah has already pronounced doom of Judah.

So here is Ezekiel, a Hebrew priest, some forty years into captivity receiving a vision from God. Ezekiel sees four faces, and figures in a chariot. This reflects the Babylonian deities/gods. Each beast/deity stands for a season and a direction. If we look at this vision, the one on the throne is Nebuchadnezzar, not God. While the Jews were allowed to continue their religious rituals, they were still in captivity because of their stubbornness and rebellion. It would be very easy for the Jews to lament that God had left them. But nothing could be further from the truth. While we will leave God, God will never leave or forsake us.

When we look at the 2020, we could say “What in the world is going on?” Where is God in all this? Why is He allowing all this turmoil to happen? A quick answer would be that God has not left us, but He has let us wallow in our own rebellion and carnality. The problem is that believers think that culture and society is the problem. The truth is “As the Church goes, so does the nation.” If believers were the salt and light they were called to be – we [America] would not be in this condition/situation.

Believers this last year have faced great trials, but the trials and tribulations were not from “persecution for their testimony of Jesus.” Their trials and even anxiety are from being engulfed in the world scheme of things instead of focusing on the mission and task we are called to – You shall be My witnesses – preaching, teaching and baptizing the converted lost souls.  Instead, we have played politics and engaged in societal arguments.

Why was Judah where they were? Because of their rebellion and hard-hardheartedness towards God. Many have asked me “is this the Last Days?” The answer is yes, but is it the cataclysmic last days? I do not know.

Ezekiel was allowed to see who was really on the throne – God, not man, not some deity of a lost nation – but God! This begs the question, who is on the throne of your heart? Have you and I embraced the gods of politics, government, and cultural arguments?

Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is my King, my Lord! We are passing through this world – our allegiance must be to the Eternal Father in Heaven and His Kingdom, not this earthly kingdom that will fade away.

So, does it matter who wins the Presidency – yes. But greater still is who is on your throne?

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Turn the Page

January 1st, thinking about all the optimist about the New Year. As I began to think of all that has happened in 2020 and finally the year ended last night, what really changed? I will be accused of being a pessimist from the content of this blog I am sure. But really, what changed?

We turned the page on a calendar, yes we will have to remember to write 2021 on all our correspondence. There is the HOPE that by beginning a new year that things will be different. I think we can HOPE that 2021 will bring some closure to the hardships and difficulties of a pandemic, an election and a record storm season. BUT, there is that word that seems to stop a train of thought and causes our mind to go “Oh No, now what?”

Well, in Jeremiah 8:20 it says, with Jeremiah speaking – Harvest is past, summer has ended, and we are not saved.” Remember Jeremiah was trying to get Judah to realistically look at their spiritual condition and the pending judgement and captivity by Babylonian armies. The the HOPE of the people relied on their King and religious priests to deliver them from the inescapable judgement. Jeremiah was seen as a rebel and a naysayer. Conditions in Judah had deteriorated so bad that God told Jeremiah twice do not pray for these people I will not hear you cry and prayers. [Jeremiah 7:16 and 11:14] I find this remembrance of mine very interesting since it was just last January that I taught a bible study to my churches on Jeremiah.

Where have we come? How far have we as a nation, person, church and denomination fallen? While we may put our hopes in a new president, a vaccine and even a stimulus check – these are false hopes. Simply changing the calendar or turning a page does not bring change. It may bring optimism, but not change.

What we left in 2020 is for the most part still here when we woke up on January 1st. We still have a global crisis, a vaccine that seemingly cannot get properly dispersed, political upheaval, arguments and name calling between political parties, tension in our cities about social injustice, rioting in major cities over Black Lives Matter and de-funding police, Critical Race Theory and intersectionality are all still here with us. All the problems that we thought were left in 2020, are still needing to be dealt with in 2021.

So, how are we to enter into 2021, are we to drag all the problems, failures and sin from 2020 into 2021? Well, if all we did was turn the page on a calendar, then we should expect that everything that existed before we went to sleep is still with us when we wake up!

As I reflect on what could happen in 2021, I am HOPEFUL, hopeful in the strong arm of God, His faithfulness even when I am not faithful. I must be resolved that “in the world you will have tribulations, BUT TAKE HEART I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD” – John 16:33. There is an old hymn that use to be sang in churches, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust in Jesus Name, On Christ the Solid Rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand!”

Some trust in chariots, but I trust in the Lord our God! Turning the page on a calendar does not magically make all the bad or undesirable circumstances disappear. If we have not resolved the battle in our soul, then the war still rages. Jeremiah’s words – summer has ended, the harvest is done and we still are not saved rings clear about how that seasons and events of a year do not end the greater issues of life. Judah had departed from GOD, they trusted in alliances with foreign kings, yet neglected the King of Kings. If we are hoping and trusting in a new administration to solve our problems, then we are really naive.

There is one way to make a “Turning of the Page” action make a difference – Turn to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. I know many people will make promises and resolutions, but turning over a new leaf is not what is needed. How I entered the New Year is more important than the New Year/New Day. Last year when the pandemic hit, I made the statement -“This pandemic is a wake-up call to the church and a warning to the world.”

I saw the sun come up this morning, it was really beautiful. My thoughts went immediately to some things never change. The greatest non-changing occurs in Jesus Christ – He still loves me. Jesus still wants to save the LOST. The change needed for 2021 is not a Turning the page of a calendar, but the Turning to the Cross!

Romans 5:1-5 says Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we also have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we celebrate in hope of the glory of God.  And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Hope is a good thing – Hope does not disappoint – Pray that your HOPE is in the powerful name of Jesus! Nothing else will make the needed changes – 2 Corinthians 5:17

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