Seeing actor, Will Smith, walk up on comedian, Chris Rock, and slap him in the Oscar clips seen globally was greatly disturbing though, nothing I had not ever seen before. Indeed, the imagery brought back my shame for letting my own anger best me in similar uncontrolled moments during the course of my life. Will was wrong as I was and anyone else guilty of such violence which is sin in the sight of God Almighty! For those past acts of violence and all of the other ways I still come short of the glory of God missing the mark of His perfect righteousness, I am glad Messiah Jesus came into the world to save sinners through His once for sin sacrifice as I wrote about in my last post.1
On April 10, 1977 which that year was Resurrection Sunday, I sincerely prayed with one time fellow Seaside, CA resident and lifelong family friend, momma Altamese Lee (who departed to the Lord in 2021) in her Jacksonville, FL home to receive Messiah Jesus as my Savior and Lord after attending church service. Though I came away from that prayer with all of my sin issues and shackles intact along with some doubts about what I had just done and the reality of hearing a voice in my heart I had never heard before say to me, “As your faith grows, so shall you,” I had hope maybe my life could be better than it had been when I lived without concern for being a sinner to that point.2
Now, on this Palm Sunday forty-five years later, the words of the voice I came to know as that of Messiah Jesus are continuing to be fulfilled to overflow in my life! And while I will not officially mark the day of my salvation and new birth until this upcoming Resurrection Sunday, I have already been celebrating; rejoicing with the God of my salvation in over the top gladness for the once for sin sacrifice His Son, Messiah Jesus, accomplished as the express mission and work of His first coming for me and all mankind as sinners (Matthew 18:10-14; Luke 15, 19:1-10, 28-40)!3 What an awesome thing to ponder that God loves us so much He sent Messiah to save us from our sins (Romans 5.6-8).
For this cause, as the head of a Ministry by God’s appointment charged with a first priority to restore men through the Gospel as a starting point,4 I encourage Will Smith and every man including Chris Rock He makes painfully aware of our wretched condition as sinners to press hard into Messiah Jesus not only for forgiveness, but the progressive spiritual growth He leads us into over a lifetime. I am a witness that Messiah’s victory on the cross wherein He broke the power of sin can be made real by Him one sin issue and shackle at a time in our lives (Romans 6:1-14, 7:14-8:13). Not that we arrive at anything like perfection. But we “press” hard into Messiah until the day when this life ends or He returns as is our hope in Him and His perfection becomes ours (Philippians 1:3-6, 3:1-16, NKJV)!
(I will be taking Resurrection Sunday off continuing to celebrate my 45th spiritual birthday as our regular readers already know. Thank you for taking the time to read and reflect on what the Lord gives me each week. He willing we see it, my next post will be on April 24th. May your celebration of what Messiah Jesus accomplished for us be fresh and refreshing with all joy in Him!)
1 See the April 3, 2022 post, Messiah Comes Twice: Once For Sin, under the category, The Faith.
2 Read the April 9, 2017 post, Forty Years A Christian, and on February 17, 2019 the post, Surrendering All To Jesus, both under the category, Glory To God!
3 This holiday season I urge you with someone you know that is unsaved to view one or both of our 30 minute videos on this Ministry’s Strong Man Of God Online Rally
YouTube Channel where you can be certain the biblical Gospel is presented. Stirring images of the Easter season especially punctuate the video, Hallelujah, Free!
4 Learn about Strong Man Ministries on the Ministry Web Site.
The Lord led me to specifically mention the prophet Ezekiel as a contemporary of and fellow captive with Daniel in Babylon during the seven weeks I spent working through Daniel chapter nine beginning January 9th this year.1 Ezekiel was taken to Babylon in 597 B.C. eight years after Daniel during the second of three waves in which the Babylonians came and took Jews along with their king, Jehoiachin, from the kingdom of Judah captive (2 Kings 24:8-16; 2 Chronicles 36:9-10). Ezekiel was a priest preparing to serve when his life plans were dramatically altered by the captivity. He, like Daniel, became a slave of God for His cause and glory as has been my own experience.
By Ezekiel’s own dating statements in the text, in 593 B.C. during the fifth year after the king’s captivity and most likely his thirtieth year of life, while “among the captives by the River Chebar” the spiritual realm was suddenly opened up to him and he saw “visions of God,” (Ezekiel 1:1-3, NKJV).2 Until that moment, Ezekiel had his non-distinct place among all the other captives of Babylon that were living at the pleasure of its king. As I wrote in last week’s post examining Daniel and his three friends with a cushier existence in the “big house” of the king, Ezekiel too, with all others not so well off would have experienced the trauma and demoralization of their plight (Psalm 137).3
Evidently, gathering near waterways was a permitted and popular thing to do since both Ezekiel in the opening of his book and Daniel in his are among those that gather at them. Both men also have awesome encounters with God and angels as visions in their river settings (Ezekiel 1:4-28; Daniel 10:4-12). Whatever despair Ezekiel had from being a captive in Babylon was quickly eclipsed by the sudden and overpowering opening up of the unseen spiritual realm to him. It presented an abundance of unfamiliar sights and sounds, creatures as well as images of Heaven and God so vivid, he describes them in detail as best as any mortal human language can convey.
This all happened to a man awestruck beyond words who had previously only hoped to be a priest of the Lord at His Temple! However, he did not need to speak because the “One” who had given Ezekiel this great vision garnering his rapt attention now, spoke to him of His calling to serve Him as His slave in Babylon. Ezekiel would be the Lord’s prophet to his fellow captives He describes as ‘“a rebellious house’” to speak His words to them which they would not give heed (Ezekiel 2-3:15, NKJV). Moreover, the Lord returned seven days later and added ‘“watchman’” to Ezekiel’s calling in which he was to hear ‘“a word from’” God’s ‘“mouth’” and warn the people (Ezekiel 3:16-21, NKJV).
After this, the Lord sent his watchman/prophet ‘“into the plain’” to speak with him further about his ministry that would prove to be as challenging for him in the physical as processing everything he had seen in the spiritual realm. For God through the Spirit in him would command Ezekiel to do many strange and dramatic things as well as make him ‘“mute’” at times. This was all to cause his fellow captives to question his conduct and when God directed him, give them His answers (Ezekiel 3:22-27, NKJV). Much of the content of his dramatic portrayals, prophesying and warnings consisted of God’s reasons for the captivity as judgment and calls to repentance (Ezekiel 4-24, 33-34:10).
Interspersed with reasons for His judgment and calls to repentance, God also foretells His plans to restore Israel in the future (Ezekiel 11:14-25, 20:33-44, 34:11-31, 36-48). As well, He announced judgment on the surrounding Gentile nations who gloated over them and the evil spiritual mastermind behind those nations that was once His chief cherub, but fell (Ezekiel 25-32, 35). This was the incredible prophetic ministry of Ezekiel he records in his book after any hope of serving at the Temple in Jerusalem was fully dashed when it with the city was destroyed by his captors as later confirmed by a surviving escapee and foretold by God (Ezekiel 7:20-27, 21:1-7, 24:1-2, 15-27, 33:21-29).
Exemplary of Ezekiel as a slave of God was his obedience; only once objecting to a command from God on how to cook his food in the first of his dramatic portrayals. He objected honoring God’s already written Word he had obeyed from his youth (Ezekiel 4:9-17). He also remained obedient in the most difficult of human experiences, the death of a spouse which God told him of in advance; commanding that he not grieve for her and incorporate this into yet another dramatic portrayal to his fellow captives (Ezekiel 24:15-18). His obedience was like unto Christ as God’s slave (Philippians 2:5-8)!4 Like Him and Daniel too, Ezekiel was humble and content in his own service; showing no sign of jealousy when God exalted Daniel with other righteous men (Ezekiel 14:12-20).5
God repeated His calling of Ezekiel to be His watchman/prophet in Ezekiel 33:1-9. This passage has also served as the scriptural basis for my similar ministry from Him among rebellious professed Christians and their churches beginning formally in the spring of 1986.6 While the Lord has not had me act out any messages, through Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. He has used me to write, creatively produce and declare those He has given using many media tools such as printed materials, publications, radio, television, billboards, a play and the internet to blow His trumpet of warning. With His leadership, grace and strength I have endured in His causes to this hour seeking His glory; defining success by the example of Ezekiel’s faithful obedience as a slave of God!
1 See the two-part post that starts January16, 2022, Arriving At These Times, under the categories Bible Prophecy and Call To Repent.
2 The expression, “the heavens were opened” with a key emphasis on “opened,” powerfully communicates the ability of mortal men granted by God to see into and experience
things in the otherwise cloaked, closed like a curtain or door unseen spiritual realm that surrounds and fully suffuses our physical universe. So, throughout the Bible mortal
men are made to “see” as did for examples, the servant of Elisha after he prayed for the Lord to “open his eyes,” John the Baptist who “saw the Spirit descending from hea-
ven” upon the Lord Jesus and the apostle John who was summoned up through “a door standing open in heaven,” (2 Kings 6:15-17; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34; Revela-
tion 4:1, NKJV). As with Ezekiel, their experiences were all amazingly real though, of the invisible spiritual realm!
3 Read the February 27, 2022 post, Daniel: Slave Of God, under the categories Biblical Worldview and Black History Month.
4 The obedience of Ezekiel (how fitting his name means “God strengthens”) perfectly seen in Jesus Christ is also to characterize the aspiring strong man of God in His image
I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, available in the Strong Man Store, at your favorite internet bookseller or brick and mortar bookstore.
5 Unlike the biblically forbidden divisions, envy, petty jealousies and competition among many Christian leaders today (1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 3-4, 12-13), Ezekiel surely es-
teemed Daniel who had already become well known throughout Babylon for his righteousness and wisdom God had given to him before his arrival. These two godly men in
the same circumstances of captivity were used similarly and mightily in the prophetic ministry by God, but among different audiences (Galatians 2:1-10). Though Ezekiel
cried out and saw judgment from God upon his people, he still cared for them (Ezekiel 9:3-8). And though Daniel served kings, he did not forget where he had come from;
the stock and people from which he had been cut and identified with until the end (Daniel 9:16-19). As with Daniel’s book, Ezekiel’s will also remain relevant through the re-
turn of Christ to the very end of His millennium reign and this present age (Ezekiel 38; Revelation 20:7-10)!
6 Read the October 2, 2016, Gifted With A Prophet’s Heart, under the category, Call To Repent. Also, beginning November 13, 2016, the three-part post, Without Honor In
The Churches, under the category, Glory To God! Finally, under the same category, read the April 30, 2017 post, God, His Prophets And Word.
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