Friday 11 July
David Parker is the Lead Pastor of Desert Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Southern California. From Monday 7 July to Friday 11 July he will lead the morning Bible teaching sessions at the New Wine Ireland Sligo Summer Conference. Here we bring you summaries of each message!
Reading together Ezekiel 3: 1-9. God has hard things to say to the people of Israel about the place they are in. There are beautiful promises but there is a challenge for them to change their ways.
Ezekiel is given a hard head for a hard task that was ahead and the hard hearted people he sought to serve. That is what going as sheep among wolves is all about.
We face difficult tasks and hard challenges as we follow Christ. Like Ezekiel, we need to have a forehead like “flint”. We are called to do God’s business both in the world and within us.
It has to start internally. Ezekiel needed to eat the scroll. We need to face down our own faults and to look at the cracks in our lives.
Some people have a struggle to overcome their difficulties and weaknesses. We want things to be easy. We want quick fixes. The reality is process and perseverance. Every day is a victory.
I wish we could “arrive” and find that we have everything sorted. I’m grateful that God deals with us as we really are. God doesn’t deal with me according to the façade.
- We need the mental toughness to deal with yourself, to deal with your “stuff”, to deal with your circumstances.
- We need the mental toughness to deal with what He has called us to do.
“We are hard pressed by not crushed, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted by not abandoned…” - 2 Corinthians 4.
It is okay to be perplexed. If you are facing hard things in your life that you don’t understand, it is okay! Paul was perplexed but not despairing.
When we are facing painful and difficult situations, do not conclude that God has done this to you unless He has told you that! The reality is that God has entered into our lives, into this world… the kingdom to come has no suffering, no regret, no pain, it is the completion of all things but the kingdom now is only a taste… it is not the fulfilment.
I wondered at one point why God didn’t stop the pain. I received a vision of a tapestry and it had strings. If you pulled certain strings the whole tapestry unwound. When God looks at the suffering and brokenness in this world, He withholds intervention because when He intervenes, then whole tapestry will unravel. There are things that are wound into the fabric of reality that once they are pulled, the end will come. There are other things that can be pulled out. They are the healings and the evidence of the final conclusion.
If God has given you vision, then don’t let that go. Allow Him to increase the thickness of your skull, the battering ram of your brain, to do the hard things He has called you to do. He wants to lead you into fruitfulness.
We need the Lord to equip us with a hard head so that we don’t give in!
Sometimes survival is victory. Some things have to be let. Ezekiel was not the most successful of God’s prophets.
We need a tough head to win the battles we face.
The big battle for you and I is to know that God is with me. Shalom is that sense of peace from knowing that it is all going to come right in the end.
Public speaking is the worse fear for many people. Many would rather be in the casket than speaking at the funeral. Even in the face of your worse fears, God is with you. He won’t abandon you or crush you. It won’t be easy.