The Word is Good

The Old Testament writers were inspired to write what would become the Holy Bible, inspired, inerrant, and infallible. Many people call the Bible, the “Good Book”. There is one writer who recorded that the Word is indeed good. Good to the taste!

Ezekiel, an Old Testament prophet from a priestly family, spent his early years in Jerusalem. He was taken along with other hostages by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon in 597 B.C. He prophesied for at least 22 years. Ezekiel’s ministry was directed to the Jews, who were exiled in Babylon. He was instructed to remind the exiles of the sins that brought God’s judgment on them in the first place, and to assure them of God’s future blessings in keeping with His covenant.

The early chapters were written before the fall of Jerusalem to remind the Jews in captivity that God’s judgment on the city and Temple were surely coming. Before the Babylonian empire assimilated Judah, the prophet Ezekiel was given some peculiar marching orders. In Ezekiel 3, God tells Ezekiel to eat a scroll containing Holy Writ, and then go speak to His people and tell them what the Lord says. The words on the scroll were words of lament, mourning, and woe. Although the scroll tasted sweet, the prophet’s task was somewhat bitter. Like Isaiah and Jeremiah, Ezekiel’s ministry to a rebellious people would have discouraging results, but Ezekiel found it sweet to do God’s will.

“How sweet are your words to my taste.”  Psalm 119:103

Crunch Time

Those familiar with college know that there are usually two tests a semester.   At the middle of the semester, the teacher usually gives a mid-term exam, which usually accounts for 40-50% of your final grade.  The second test is given at the end of the semester, known as the “final”.  This test makes up the remainder of your grade.   It’s important to attend class regularly and make notes from the teacher’s lectures and any examples covered from the textbook.  Most college students display a disturbing habit.   They wait until a few days before each test and try and cram into a short time what they could have been preparing for all along.   It’s known on campus as “Crunch Time”.

Crunch Time; because it’s difficult to familiarize yourself with two months, or four months of material in the span of a few days and be prepared to prove it by taking an examination showing that you are familiar with the material and can show a certain level of mastery of its content.  Throughout the entire semester, the student is given every opportunity to ask questions and clarify any uncertainty regarding the material covered.   It’s dangerous and risky to wait until the last moment to show you know the material.

Would you be surprised to learn that when you die, God may prepare an exam for you to take?    It may cover the material you’ve been exposed to all your life.

What if the exam asked you to?

(1.)    Tell something about every book of the Bible

(2.)    Compare and contrast Law and Grace

(3.)    Pick 25 influential people from the Bible and tell about their lives

(4.)     What happened between the Old Testament and the New Testament

These questions would be 1% of your grade.        A final question would be 99%.   What if God asks—Why should I let you into heaven: what have you done with my only begotten Son; Jesus Christ?  Wouldn’t it be better to avoid “Crunch Time” and be prepared in advance?

“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season;

correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

Timothy 4:2

We are to remain ready and prepared to serve God in any situation, whether convenient or not.  The imminent return of Christ should motivate us to live for him.

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled;

 set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

1 Peter 1:13

 Are you ready to meet Christ? Are you prepared? Could you pass the exam?

On A Tightrope

On A TightropePlease hold up your hand if you’ve ever been in a tough spot and desperate.  It’s not that you held your hand up that matters, everyone should’ve held their hand up, it’s how high you held it up.  Everyone that’s more than half human should recognize we don’t need help getting into trouble; most of us can get in over our head without any professional help.  Getting into trouble is no problem, getting out is where the mental acuity goes into overdrive causing multifaceted compound double-jointed stress.

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In the New Testament people were constantly getting into trouble.  Not the kind of trouble normally associated with breaking the law or offending the Romans who happened to be the occupying army de jour.  The kind of trouble people were getting into was an esoteric belief in a traveling evangelist; thereby creating a maelstrom of anger by one man, one very religious man commonly known as Saul of Tarsus.  Saul was persecuting the people who chose to follow this upstart evangelist named Jesus.  Saul was a first rate Pharisee, a first rate Bible scholar, and a first rate hunter of newly minted Christians.  Saul was intense and sincere.  Saul genuinely believed that this new Christian movement was dangerous to Judaism.  Saul took it upon himself to tip the scales and persecuted Christians without mercy.

Saul received permission from the authorities to travel to Damascus to capture Christians and bring them back to Jerusalem for questioning and trial.  God intervened!  Saul met Jesus Christ on the Damascus road and his life changed forever.  Saul was walking a tightrope persecuting Christians.  He could have very easily been assassinated by someone had God not stopped him in his tracks on the Damascus road.  When he met Jesus, no other person had to change so much so fast.  God had great plans for Saul.  Saul worked tirelessly to convince the Jews that Gentiles were loved by God.  He spent just as much time convincing Gentiles that they were loved by God.  This person walking a tightrope was to become the ultimate example of change and obedience and transformation.

No person, apart from Jesus himself, shaped the history of Christianity like the apostle Paul.  Paul’s personal encounter with Jesus changed his entire life.  God did not waste any part of Paul—his background, his training, his citizenship, his mind, or his fierce intensity to preach the gospel.  Are you willing to let God do the same for you?  You will never know all he can do with you until you allow him to have all that you are! 1 John 3:16 says it this way, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”  In Philippians 1:21-24 Paul says confidently that dying would be better than living because in death he would be removed from worldly troubles, and he would see Christ face-to-face.

Bottom line

If you’re not ready to die, then perhaps you’re not ready to live.