Open our ears…

 

Reblogged from:

http://tamhodge.com/dear-16-year-old-me-in-the-abortion-clinic/

 

Dear 16 year old me in the abortion clinic…

June 18, 2015 | Posted in: Abortions, Forgiveness

Dear 16 year old me. It’s 28 years, almost to the day, from where you are sitting right now. I see you there. I see you in your white paper gown that you’ve struggled with all afternoon, trying to prevent it from opening and exposing your bare self. I see you sitting there, even in the gown, still bare.

A part of me feels like you can hear me. Or, at least, you sense me. I can see it in your eyes. You’re looking around the room, searching for something, but you can’t find it. It’s me. You’re searching for your voice. I know you want to get up and run. I know you are afraid. I know you feel alone. I know you know what to do but you’re too afraid to do it.

I know deep down you don’t want to do this. I understand.

You are going to wake up soon and you will be in a tremendous amount of pain. You will physically hurt. You will hurt a lot. Oh, how I wish you could hear my voice right now. Because the physical pain pales in comparison to the heart and emotional pain you will carry with you.

I see you waking up. I see you crying. I see you holding your tummy. Yes. Yes, you did it. No. No, it isn’t there anymore. It’s gone.

I want so badly to hold you. I know no one is holding you. I know no one is going to hold you. I’m sorry you’re alone. I’m sorry you feel alone. But you’re not. I’m there. God’s there. You don’t know it… but we are.

You need to know that you’re going to have a very tough journey. You’re going to be very mad at yourself. The amount of shame will feel heavier than anything you’ve ever felt before. You will hurt in ways that you will never understand.

You will think about this day forever. You will find yourself rubbing your tummy, crying, wondering…

You will have triggers. You will have reminders. It will never go away.

Can you hear me? Why can’t you hear me? I want so badly for you to hear me.

You can’t see it now, you don’t want to… I know, but your life is going to get better. Though the memory of that day will never, ever, go away. You’re going to relive the day you spent in that white gown. You’re going to relive it often. It will always be a part of who you are.

But one day you will learn about grace and forgiveness. One day you will learn about true love. Hold onto that. Tuck that away in your heart, because there will be days when the hope of that moment will be all you have.

Tam, you need to know that I forgive you. And I will forgive you when you’re back in that gown next year, too. I understand why you’re doing this. You really believe you have no other option. Why can’t you hear me…

I will be here waiting for you, and you will soon see that forgiveness and redemption will hold your heart and you won’t be alone any longer. You will find that one day, the choice that you are making now, will somehow help another young girl not make the same decision. And though that doesn’t make what you’re about to do right, it will at least give those little ones a beautiful legacy.

But still, I wish you could hear me…

 

Fruit of pride…effects of silence

Ezekiel 7:23-27

‘​Make a chain,

​​For the land is filled with crimes of blood,

​​And the city is full of violence.

Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles,

​​And they will possess their houses;

​​I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease,

​​And their holy places shall be defiled.

​​Destruction comes;

​​They will seek peace, but there shall be none.

​​Disaster will come upon disaster,

​​And rumor will be upon rumor.

​​Then they will seek a vision from a prophet;

​​But the law will perish from the priest,

​​And counsel from the elders.

​‘​The king will mourn,

​​The prince will be clothed with desolation,

​​And the hands of the common people will tremble.

​​I will do to them according to their way,

​​And according to what they deserve I will judge them;

​​Then they shall know that I am the LORD!’ ”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=7&v=1&t=NKJVP>

“..the land is filled with crimes of blood,..”

Reading Ezekiel couldn’t be more timely.  What parallels we see between this time in Israel’s history and ours!

 “…the city is full of violence…” 

And to what is this attributed?  Pride.  It’s what goes before a fall we are told.  What is the foundation for their pride and ours?  The works of their hands.  They gave no credit to the source of their abilities.  They forgot who gave them the ability to do that work, who gave them the skill and intelligence to create.  This fall hurt all in that place and today we see so clearly how our fall can hurt those around us.  Innocent and guilty alike are in the line of fire.  Who is responsible?  Is it God?  Isn’t that just like the child who has done wrong, been disobedient and blames the punishment for the crime on the parent or teacher or principal or as an adult the boss?  Eyes but can’t see, ears but can’t hear.  Truth evades them in their self-absorption. Society buys into this manner of thinking and it teaches the same to its children.  The children take it one step further.

“… they shall know that I am the LORD!’ ”…” 

Knowing he is Lord is not synonymous with saying he is Lord and following him.  For some it was too late.  What have we learned about him here?  He doesn’t like pride in something other than Him.  He will put an end to it by destroying its base, its cause.  We live in a day just like this.  Evil abounds, men do what is right in their own eyes with no regard or respect for others.  Responsibility is a foreign word.  Jesus said:

  “Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.”

Found in  Matthew 10:15 KJV.  He was speaking directly to those who had rejected the message of the kingdom of God.  Not any different from what Ezekiel saw and what we see today in our cities, towns, country, nation.  Do we think we will escape judgment?  Do we think we are?  Do we not see the hand of a just God?  Why is there a fall?  A law was spoken into being and its consequences will come about.  What is sown is what will be reaped.  Thankfully we are in the world but not of the world.  If we see any similarity in our own way of thinking and that of those who do not believe, we need to  ask ourselves why?  We need to seek the face of God, ask forgiveness, and get right with him.  It rains upon the just and the unjust we are told.  The difference is we have an umbrella of hope and help in the power of the blood of Jesus.  We are covered by His blood.  We can rest in Him, no matter what occurs to us, around us, beside us.  We can be beacons of light in the darkness. We must continue to share what we know.

 We know He is Lord!!

Violence has risen…

Ezekiel 7:10-22

​Behold, the day!

​​Behold, it has come!

​​Doom has gone out;

​​The rod has blossomed,

​​Pride has budded.

​​Violence has risen up into a rod of wickedness;

​​None of them shall remain,

​​None of their multitude,

​​None of them;

​​Nor shall there be wailing for them.

The time has come,

​​The day draws near.

​‘​Let not the buyer rejoice,

​​Nor the seller mourn,

​​For wrath is on their whole multitude.

​​For the seller shall not return to what has been sold,

​​Though he may still be alive;

​​For the vision concerns the whole multitude,

​​And it shall not turn back;

​​No one will strengthen himself

​​Who lives in iniquity.

 ​‘​They have blown the trumpet and made everyone ready,

​​But no one goes to battle;

​​For My wrath is on all their multitude.

The sword is outside,

​​And the pestilence and famine within.

​​Whoever is in the field

​​Will die by the sword;

​​And whoever is in the city,

​​Famine and pestilence will devour him.

‘​Those who survive will escape and be on the mountains

​​Like doves of the valleys,

​​All of them mourning,

​​Each for his iniquity.

Every hand will be feeble,

​​And every knee will be as weak as water.

​​They will also be girded with sackcloth;

​​Horror will cover them;

​​Shame will be on every face,

​​Baldness on all their heads.

​‘​They will throw their silver into the streets,

​​And their gold will be like refuse;

​​Their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them

​​In the day of the wrath of the LORD;

​​They will not satisfy their souls,

​​Nor fill their stomachs,

​​Because it became their stumbling block of iniquity.

‘​As for the beauty of his ornaments,

​​He set it in majesty;

​​But they made from it

​​The images of their abominations—

​​Their detestable things;

​​Therefore I have made it

​​Like refuse to them.

​​I will give it as plunder

​​Into the hands of strangers,

​​And to the wicked of the earth as spoil;

​​And they shall defile it.

​​I will turn My face from them,

​​And they will defile My secret place;

​​For robbers shall enter it and defile it.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=7&v=1&t=NKJVP>

​​“Violence has risen up into a rod of wickedness;” 

The morning’s headlines read of so many dead and so many injured, some call it a massacre and this is not half a world away, this is right here in the US of A.

“…Pride has budded.” 

Do we see evidence of the pride of mankind in what they have achieved? Who do they credit with their achievements?  There is an outcry today against one who made a statement that presumes our business owners had help and did not do it alone.  What is at the root of the outcry?

For Israel at this time in Ezekiel there was no escape.  For us a way of escape has been provided from the judgment that comes as a result of arrogance and pride.

​​”The rod has blossomed,”

Christ is seen as the rod of Aaron, budding and bringing forth fruit. That way of escape is given through Jesus Christ and his cross.  Violence will be with us, pride and arrogance will be with us, the evil that is in the world will be with us, but we are not of the world and are separated from it.  Christ came to the world because of the judgment sin brings:  In John 9:39 he says,

“For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”

He states in John 12:47 NKJV –

“And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

As we see clearly in Ezekiel, evil in the world is judged already by God Almighty.  Jesus came to provide a way out of that judgment. There is no room for violence, pride and arrogance in the life of the believer.  The Lord’s protection and mercy rest upon the believer.  Life lived for the Lord is the opposite of what is pictured here.  We have much to be thankful for. Peace is ours, violence belongs to the wicked.

When he speaks…

Ezekiel 5

“And you, son of man, take a sharp sword, take it as a barber’s razor, and pass it over your head and your beard; then take scales to weigh and divide the hair.  You shall burn with fire one-third in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are finished; then you shall take one-third and strike around it with the sword, and one-third you shall scatter in the wind: I will draw out a sword after them. You shall also take a small number of them and bind them in the edge of your garment.  Then take some of them again and throw them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire. From there a fire will go out into all the house of Israel.

“Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the midst of the nations and the countries all around her. She has rebelled against My judgments by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against My statutes more than the countries that are all around her; for they have refused My judgments, and they have not walked in My statutes.’ Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because you have multiplied disobedience more than the nations that are all around you, have not walked in My statutes nor kept My judgments, nor even done according to the judgments of the nations that are all around you’— therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Indeed I, even I, am against you and will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. And I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations. Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments among you, and all of you who remain I will scatter to all the winds.

‘Therefore, as I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will also diminish you; My eye will not spare, nor will I have any pity.  One-third of you shall die of the pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; and one-third shall fall by the sword all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

‘Thus shall My anger be spent, and I will cause My fury to rest upon them, and I will be avenged; and they shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it in My zeal, when I have spent My fury upon them. Moreover I will make you a waste and a reproach among the nations that are all around you, in the sight of all who pass by.

 ‘So it  shall be a reproach, a taunt, a lesson, and an astonishment to the nations that are all around you, when I execute judgments among you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I, the LORD, have spoken.  When I send against them the terrible arrows of famine which shall be for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, I will increase the famine upon you and cut off your supply of bread.  So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I, the LORD, have spoken.’ ”

“I, the Lord, have spoken.”  When He speaks, it is so.  It is a fearful thing when disobedience is the cause for the Word.

  “…She has rebelled against My judgments by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against My statutes more than the countries that are all around her; for they have refused My judgments, and they have not walked in My statutes.’…”

Consequences follow actions.  Laws are spoken into existence and cannot be reversed.  God’s Word is a sure thing and worthy to take notice of what is said.  Is there a parallel with the Israel described and our land today?

“… ‘Because you have multiplied disobedience more than the nations that are all around you, have not walked in My statutes nor kept My judgments, nor even done according to the judgments of the nations that are all around you’— therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Indeed I, even I, am against you and will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations….”

Are we taking notice of the consequences Israel suffered as a result of their actions?  It didn’t come swiftly, it was a slow process, creeping.  And God’s longsuffering can be mistaken for a God who doesn’t care or walked away as so many are saying today.  But that is not the case.

In the beginning God created with the spoken word and it was so and He spoke that it was good.  Then disobedience entered and the spoken consequences were in place.  Death entered.  But it doesn’t end on this note. Looking at laws and how the spoken word put them in place, we can use gravity as the familiar example.  What goes up will come down.  With creation, the law of gravity was spoken into existence.  It cannot be reversed except by altering the conditions.  Death is a law of life that was spoken into existence with the act of disobedience.  It cannot be reversed except by altering the conditions.  God spoke damnation and God spoke redemption.

This chapter in Ezekiel is a graphic description of life and its consequences.  Four hundred plus years and evil crept in unchecked.

“…‘Therefore, as I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will also diminish you; My eye will not spare, nor will I have any pity. …”

Do we see another parallel in our churches today? Has evil crept into our places of worship?  Messages of warning are delivered ( this one lasted more than a year!) and nothing changed.

How does this apply to us today? Today the message of the cross is delivered and along with the message of redemption and deliverance is its opposite, the consequences of sin.  For some, nothing changes. But for those who listen, hear and receive every thing is  changed because the conditions are altered. Today we have the blood of Christ covering our sin.  Redemption from the ultimate consequence of sin is offered.  Jesus paid that price for us. The cross is another sword. This sword defeats death and sin.  Death no longer is final.  Eternal life begins with accepting the message of the cross.  The conditions have been altered and the end has been changed.

This journey through Ezekiel provides a glimpse of the God who judges.  He speaks and it is so.

 “… ‘So it  shall be a reproach, a taunt, a lesson, and an astonishment to the nations that are all around you, when I execute judgments among you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I, the LORD, have spoken.…”

Yet in all of this he gives warning – he is merciful.  He does not remove the consequences, He provides an opportunity to return to Him and receive mercy.  He provides an opportunity to experience change and return to following his commands.

“I, the Lord, have spoken.” 

Finality.  Are we listening?

A time to speak; a time to be silent

Ezekiel 3:16-27

Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

“Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.”

Then the hand of the LORD was upon me there, and He said to me, “Arise, go out into the plain, and there I shall talk with you.”

So I arose and went out into the plain, and behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, like the glory which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. Then the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and spoke with me and said to me: “Go, shut yourself inside your house. And you, O son of man, surely they will put ropes on you and bind you with them, so that you cannot go out among them.  I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be one to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house.  But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.

When we receive a message from the Lord we are to share it.  He holds us responsible for our actions. We have a glimpse of the nature of God and His expectations.  When he says go he expects us to go.  When he says speak he expects us to speak.  He straightforwardly informs us that some will receive the message, and some won’t.  But in our obedience we stand righteous before him.  This quest is to seek out a sense of God, who he is and what he does.  He inspires, strikes fear, loves and demands obedience.  The rebellious nature of the people does not deter his giving them a message of warning and this is an attempt to draw them back to a place of intimacy with him.  God does not just walk away when faced with the stubborn nature.  But he does require justice according to his word.

When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,…and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity;” 

In the middle of this statement is a charge to the messenger, (at this point in time it is Ezekiel),

 “you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, …his blood I will require at your hand.” 

However he also states;

“if you warn the wicked, … you have delivered your soul.”

There is another aspect to this business of delivering messages.  They are to be only what the Lord speaks.  The emphasis of this is clearly seen when Ezekiel is unable to speak unless he is delivering the words of the Lord.  Not words of his own understanding, but the words given by the Lord.

  “…you shall be mute …when I speak with you, I will open your mouth,…”

Take away:  Knowing this of God we would do well to be sure to share what he gives us to share and to be careful that it is only the Word of God and not our own interpretation, our own words of understanding.

‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He who hears, let him hear; “

How often we hear this same statement from Jesus…and we also receive a charge from him to go, spread the message of the gospel, teaching them to observe what Jesus commanded and making disciples (followers) of them.   What we share is His message, His teachings, His commandments.  And we do this by example as well as the telling; making disciples requires living the truth.

He calls…

Romans 10:14-21

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,

Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?”  So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:

“Their sound has gone out to all the earth,

And their words to the ends of the world.”

 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says:

“I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation,

I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”

 But Isaiah is very bold and says:

“I was found by those who did not seek Me;

I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”

But to Israel he says:

“All day long I have stretched out My hands

To a disobedient and contrary people.”

He calls and we can be a part of it.  The importance of sharing is revealed.  When we share the Word of God, we share His voice.  It is calling to those who cross our paths.  Their response or non-response is not our affair.  Our sharing is our affair, to be found faithful to give glory to God, to tell of His greatness, to offer His love and concern to others.  Be the one whose feet are called beautiful because they take us to those who need to hear.  Hearing begins the process of reunion with the Creator.

Do all who hear our sharing receive?  No.  Time and again, God seeks out and calls to his creation:

All day long I have stretched out My hands

To a disobedient and contrary people.”

He is so longsuffering, so patient.  Can we do any less?

It was stated recently that of all the religions  and all the gods worshipped by mankind, Christianily and Judiasm are the only ones whose God seeks them.  All others are sought by mankind. Our God cares, loves and calls to us.

“I was found by those who did not seek Me;

I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”

And again:

“All day long I have stretched out My hands

To a disobedient and contrary people.”

And we can respond with the poet, David:

    Psalm 63

A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.

Oh God, You are my God

And I will ever praise You

I will seek You in the morning

And I will learn to walk in Your ways

And Step by step You’ll lead me

And I will follow You all of my days – lyrics from Step by Step

 He calls, what is our response?

In…we trust

Luke 11:14-28

 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled.  But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of demons,”  while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven.  But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.  But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.  When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’  And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order.  Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

 …his armor in which he trusted…In what do we trust?  

A house divided falls – we say it is dysfunctional and produces troubled fruit.  If we aren’t gathering we are scattering…ouch!… If we come to the Lord; get cleaned up, but leave our central being empty of His Word, we end up in worse shape than we were to start.  Fill the mind, soul, and being with the Word of God.  Live in unity, not judging, not dividing.  It is a full-time job to know the Word and obey it.  We are not to leave that job to meddle in something not ours.  Blessed are we who hear the Word of God and obey it.  Where is our trust? Evidence follows truth.  God knows…