Flocks and Shepherds

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 12:11 PM [General]

    Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.  13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. (KJV)

    The Lord does not take delight that the wicked die, because the Lord does not wish for them to spend eternity in the tortures of being separated from His love and exposed to the torments of those who have been banished from His realm.  For the wicked to leave their wickedness does not mean that anyone suddenly becomes ‘perfect’ or completely righteous.  It means that they recognize that they are far from what God desires and seeks to live as He would have them to live.  How would God have us to live?  He wishes us to live according to His law of love.  All of His law is built on love.  None of us love perfectly.  But we are to strive to live and have the Holy Spirit plant His law of love within us.  A plant has to be seeded and nourished.  Once that love is within, we must cultivate it and nurture it for it to grow into what God would have us to be.  Verse 13 above tells us that even those who are striving to be righteous are not to trust in their own righteousness.  Our own “righteousness” would never be enough, because we are so far from perfect.  It is His righteousness that He plants within us who believe in Him that we are to nourish and trust in His righteousness within us, rather than our own.

    Ezekiel 34:2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?  3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.  4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.  5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. (KJV)

    People are considered (Biblically speaking) as a flock.  The flock of this world contains sheep (those who turn to the Lord) and goats (those who never come to know the Lord).  One day the sheep will be separated from the goats.  The shepherds are those who are to tend to the flock, to care for them and see to the well-being of the flock.  They are to minister to the goats and sheep alike.  There are many kinds of shepherds.  They are kings, prime ministers, presidents, law makers, judges, etc.  They are also the shepherds of the sheep (God’s people)- the pastors, preachers, evangelists, deacons, prophets, Bible teachers, etc.  There are many shepherds both in government and in the church (or sometimes the ‘so-called church’) who are not shepherding as they should.  Rather than tending the flock, they are feeding themselves from the flock without doing as they should for the flock.  The Lord will deal with them all in His Own time and in His Own way.  Pray for your shepherds, both governmental and religious.  The Lord does not delight in the death of the wicked shepherds, but they are bringing an even greater condemnation on themselves because of their position.

    Ezekiel 34:10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.  11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.  12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. (KJV)

    There will be a day when the sheep who are being fed upon by the wicked shepherds will be delivered.  Stand fast in prayer and faith.

    Ezekiel 34:16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. (KJV)

    The Lord said through Ezekiel that He would see those who have become lost (even the sheep may be wayward and stray).  Jesus said that He came to seek and to save the lost sheep.  Those who have been broken and sick will be cared for when He delivers us into His eternal kingdom.  Those who have broken and made sick the sheep, those who have become fat and strong, yet neglecting to reach out and tend to those who were in distress, will be fed with judgment at His appointed day.

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    Some Reflections from Some Prophets

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 9:58 PM [General]

    Jeremiah 5:26 For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.  27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.  28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.

    29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?  30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (KJV)

    Have you known of injustices where those in power seem to give favor to the rich and powerful and the cause of the needy is swept aside to push the needy out of the way to make more room for the others?  Does it sometimes seem that the ones in control seem to trap those in need so as to block them together and leave them without hope?  But those who put their hope in the Lord will be vindicated, and those in power will be brought down.  It may not seem so in this world, but those who hope in the Lord look to an eternal rest.

    Jeremiah 16:10 12 And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me: (KJV)

    We are all prone to walk in the way of our own hearts.  There is not one of us who is purely right in his thinking.  We love to glory in our own interpretations of this world, these religions, and even in Biblical teachings we do err.  Yet those who recognize this can listen for the Lord to hearken unto Him.  We may not be perfect in our understanding, but we can strive to find and do what is truly right and put our trust in Him to make everything right in His Own time.

    Ezekiel 16:48 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.  49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. (KJV)

    People may speak of “the abundant life” yet there are different kinds of abundance.  There is the abundance of the material things of this world, but then there is the abundance of knowing God’s grace and loving-kindness.  Abundance in this world’s sense of abundance leads to vanity, pride, self seeking, and idleness that spawns a lack of concern for others.  “I have what I need, so if others don’t have what they need, it must be their own fault.”  This was what destroyed Sodom, as is stated in the Ezekiel passage above.  A world full of people with “abundant lives” may be headed for destruction because they fail to understand the double-edged sword of abundance with regards to this world’s material rewards, and the abundance of rewards for those whose hope is in the Lord.

    Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (KJV)

    Those who come to the Lord in trust and put their hope in Him may not be perfect, but (perhaps slowly) surely the Lord is infusing His will into their hearts.  It is not that we can seek to make ourselves perfect by adopting some law code, but that in our hearing what He has for us to hear and seeing what He shows us and allowing our hearts to be open to His will, He will put it in us.  We do not put it into ourselves, but we allow Him through His Spirit to mold us into what He would have us to be.  We cannot do it ourselves; we must allow Him to do it through us.  We may feel anger, and then in reflection recognize that what we become angry about is only a transient worldly matter.  We may be tempted and even fall to sin, but afterwards that sense within will bring us to recognize our need for His mercy and forgiveness.

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    An Easter Message

    Sunday, April 20, 2014, 4:21 PM [General]

    Jesus came as our Creator in an earthly body.  His earthly body suffered and died.  Was that the end?  No, because His resurrection, attested to by so many in history, showed a glorious victory over death.

    For many, the term death sounds like the end of things.  It is the end of this earthly life.  Each has to consider whether they have any concepts beyond this earthly life.  Even for those who believe in reincarnation would have to see that this earthly life has not been getting better, because it is filled with so much more wars, diseases, hunger, and strife.  But of Jesus, attested to in the Gospels and elsewhere in the New Testament, as our Creator, why would He come to us, suffer, and die?  We are all such miserable sinners.  We could say that He died for us.  Why was that deemed necessary?  Because of our sinfulness, the price had to be paid.  We could not afford to pay it.  Our only expectation could have been that the price would have to be our own punishment which would mean eternal separation from our Heavenly Father and His eternal LOVE.  There is nothing but torments in existence without our Creator’s LOVE.

    Does that mean that we are WORTH that much?  It absolutely does not mean that we are in our own selves as sinners of that much value.  It means that in His LOVE for us, we are worth that much to Him.  We were worth that much to Jesus because of His LOVE for us.  How much are others worth to us because of our love for them.  Jesus loved and died for us in spite of our wicked condition.  Can we love others in a wicked condition?  Can we remember that we were loved by Him in our own wicked condition?  Can we remember that even after knowing Him and His LOVE, that it doesn’t mean that we are now pure and perfect?  He may accept us as pure because of His forgiveness, but we are still in this earthly, fleshly body that is pulled so much by this world.  If He has so much LOVE for us, how much love can we find for one another?

    Try making a list of people that you love that you would be willing to be spit on, beaten, and hung on a cross for them.  Now make a list of all your enemies that you would be willing to be spit on, beaten, and hung on a cross for them.  Our sins made us as enemies to our Heavenly Father, because He is opposed to sin, and our sins are as a rebellion against Him.  Even so, He loves us so much.  Now, consider the people you believe you love and people you see as your enemies.  How much can you measure your love for others, friends or enemies.

    We don't have to understand it- only believe and in believing accept and strive to grow in that LOVE.

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    Blind Leading Blind

    Sunday, April 20, 2014, 12:50 PM [General]

    This began as a comment on a dear friends post on facebook, but I got carried away and it became lengthy.  Still, I hope the thoughts may be eye opening to someone.  (Eye-opening as in the blind having their eyes opened to see- you’ll see the pun intended by this parenthetical comment if you read the post).

    A lot in the Bible talks about signs of the times.  Many speak of 'signs of the times' as some religious omens.  That may be true, but there are many who don't comprehend that it also means in everyday secular life.  People can read about the cycles of governments, power, and corruption and not really see how these cycles from ancient times to the present play out between the oppressor and the oppressed and rise of nations to the downfall and utter destruction of nations.

    Many who are oppressors don't even recognize that they are, because for a lifetime they grew up being taught what they were taught, and simply see as they see without understanding (as in the Bible, those with eyes who don’t see).  Many who are oppressed don’t understand so much that they are being oppressed because they simply grew up thinking that things are just the way they are.  Many accept suffering without understanding that it was never intended by our Creator to be that way.  So they don’t understand that there is life beyond this one where, as Jesus taught, the wicked oppressors the oppressed would find their rewards.  Those who really chase after the material things of this world and accept them as rewards from their “GOD” without realizing that this world is so temporal may (as the Bible teaches) have ears to hear, but never hear (understand) the real message of those (as the rich man and Lazarus) who find beyond that those who have their rewards in this life have traded that for eternally being separated from a loving Creator; and others who had no substantial material rewards in this life would find eternal love with their Creator.

    Even if 'signs of times' were never mentioned Biblically or in a religious sense, the truisms would still be there.  Nations rise and fall, and the subtle characteristics of people in power and the development of the greed leading to oppression would inevitably (even if there were no one who believed in any religion) lead to chaos and destruction and more suffering.  As the Bible teaches, there are many who think they see so clearly, but are blind and don’t see the truth.  This is why the Bible can teach that in the last days there would be many teachers (/preachers) who could get rich by teaching what people with ‘itchy ears’ want to hear.  So many people want to hear about progress without seeing that it is a false progress that will soon be corrupted by the greed so the blind leading the blind fall into the ditch together.  So many people want to hear beautiful words about love, but in their own desire to be ‘loved’ they don’t see how that love should reach out to those with real needs, so teachers/preachers can get rich teaching people to love themselves which diminishes the true meaning of genuine love for others, as it promotes ‘self’ as opposed to being promoted by others, as people from love should seek to promote one another’s well being.

    HaSatan/Lucifer as the ruler of this world system has destroyed so many people with half-truths that sound so good to the ear.  Many may see the catch phrase “Do No Harm” as a good thought, yet it is strategically lacing in content.  Doing no harm does not necessarily mean doing good.  One may go around thinking, “I’m doing no harm,” and think themselves as good.  Yet if you don’t “DO GOOD”, then “doing no harm” has no real value, and benefits no one, except maybe self, and that goes back to “being lovers of selves”.  The ruler of this world is a master of deceit, and many are fooled by thinking they can see, but are blind.  In this, many think they can “SEE THE TRUE LIGHT”, but are really “BLINDED BY A FALSE LIGHT”.  So many governments, religions, and even churches calling themselves Christian, but are blinded from true Christianity by their own philosophies are soon to fall into utter destruction.  People are individually responsible for searching for the TRUTH- that TRUE LOVE and that TRUE LIGHT that can only come from our Creator.  If they are led away by false teachers/preachers getting rich on a smearing on of half-truths and twisted truths that are really not true, but appear to be because of blindness, then they are responsible, because rather than seeking what is real, they accept ‘pretty’ words from those who teach what their itchy ears want to hear.  By accepting what they want to hear, that shows they are selfish and greedy, as any selfish person grabs and holds on to what they want, whether in philosophies or in materialism.

    Many like to say they are successful because they give their 10% to “GOD”.  This is like a half-truth or twisted-truth.  Jesus asks us to give our total selves (100%), and 10% is not really very much (actually a meager pittance) in comparison.  Many people see that 10% as coming from material gain (income).  Jesus taught that the materialism is of this world (many illustrations, Biblically but one coming to mind is “Give to Caesar what is his and to God what is His”).  Blind people want to give 10% of materialism and credit God for material success.  That is Satan’s filthy lie, because that concerns this material world, and Jesus said to give your total being towards your eternal life, because those who are concerned with giving material gains for this material world would lose their eternal lives.  This world is blinded by Satan, yet they think they see, so the blind leading the blind are going to fall into the ditch.  This is because people are lovers of their own selves and they want to hear what their itchy ears want to hear.  So people think that wicked teachers are good when they teach people how to love themselves and people think that powers, rulers, governments, etc. are right when they are truly going to destruction because of false teachings and blindness.

    As I mentioned, even in secularism (even if there were no religion), an honest study of historical cycles in rise and fall of greed, powers, oppressors, governments, etc. would indicate the pure futility of the materialism of this world.  The blind who think they see will not understand how what so many see as good it truly filthy and wicked.  People don’t want to see the true filth and wickedness in this world because they would know this world is headed for destruction.  So they think they can ‘fix’ and ‘build up’ this world, and forget to wait in the patient expectation of that TRUE eternal world that our Creator wants us to search for.  In can only be found in the ABSOLUTE WAY, TRUTH, and LIFE that our Creator shared with us in appearing to us as our suffering Savior Jesus.  By giving His life for us and showing us to give ourselves we can learn to see the TRUTH and understand that in giving ourselves, we may suffer much in this world as our Savior did, and lose materialism of this world in realizing its transient and vain nature which has no real, true, or lasting value.

    Jesus said to expect this world to treat you as it treated Him.  How did this world treat Him; and how do you expect to be treated?  Jesus said don’t seek the material gain of this world, but seek that which has eternal value.  So who are these rich teachers/preachers that say, “Give your 10% and “GOD” will make you successful in this world.  Who are these blind people who think they see because they listen to what their itchy ears want to hear.  This world with all of its governments, religions, and people who call themselves Christian churches but aren’t true Christians because they are blind to the TRUTH will soon fall into torments.

    Sorry, Sweetheart.  Didn’t intend for this comment to get carried away and become so lengthy.  I wish to share your post and this comment as a post.  Love ya’, Dear One.  I believe in you because I believe you are a seeker for TRUTH.  As imperfect humans, we may disagree in many ways about the TRUTH, yet we can recognize what it means to truly seek the truth as opposed to those who don’t truly seek, but think they have it because they are blind.  Truly love ya’, Dear

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    Early Morning Thoughts (up way to late)

    Sunday, April 20, 2014, 2:43 AM [General]

    Many people think that being a man means standing up for yourself, but not defending yourself would make you a wimp.  There are various situations that could make many implications.  If one man hit a man, and the man that was hit retaliated with a fist of his own, that is not the same as "standing up for yourself".  Anger and rage can make a person appear to be standing up for himself, but it is a long way from the same thing.  Sometimes the strong person is not the one who r...etailiates, but the one who is willing to submit to something he doesn't necessarily wish for.

    Jesus taught turning the other cheek.  That does not necessarily mean in absolute submission to everything.  It does not mean to refuse to stand up for what is right and true when absoultely necessary.  I have known many that people thought were 'wimps' or 'sissys' that were actually very strong.  Sometimes strength means being able to take ridicule, abuse, various forms of mistreatment and continue without venting in anger, rage, and/or retaliation.  Retaliation may be seen as being strong to many, but as a reaction from an emotion, it is really a weakness to your own emotions whether anger or whatever.  If someone hurts you and you do not retalitate, others may see that as a weakness, but in reality, it requires much more strength to hold on to that sense of retalition (revenge/ anger/ etc.) and have power over your own emotions than to give in to them.

    Just some very early morning thoughts from an old man that is really tired and fixing to go to sleep.  Do your own thinking about it.

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