A Ladder, a Sword and a Challenge

If I gave you a real sword, would you store it ‘safely’ away, or would you be curious enough to actually learn how to use it?

My Dream

Scene One – A Ladder

I was trying to get back to someplace but wasn’t certain which way to go. I became more and more concerned as time went on. I had to ask several people along the way. Seems as if sometimes I was driving and other times walking. At one point I had to climb a ladder to get to another level in a building.

Scene Two – A Sword

In scene two there was a little boy, African American, kinda chubby, maybe 10 years old. He had a class or some type of camp with other little boys to join. For some reason I was responsible for him, although I don’t believe he was my child. I took him to one of the class sessions, to which we arrived late. Consequently, the class had already started. I discovered that this particular class was a lesson on how to use swords. The kicker was that they were real! As we waited to enter the class, the instructor came out of the classroom and closed the door. Only the three of us were in the waiting room, and he gave the little boy his sword. It was still sheathed, thankfully, I thought. The boy began to walk around the room with it, saying random things, just sort of bouncing around and playing by himself, as kids do. He eventually settled in a particular corner on the opposite side of the room and stayed there, haphazardly handling the sword. I just watched him, still shocked that such young kids were given real swords to practice with. He didn’t realize that what he held was a potentially dangerous thing. I was quite concerned he may hurt himself or others and began to voice my concerns to the instructor.

Scene Three – A Challenge

Some other people and I were detectives or investigators — but with unusually high intellectual levels — and were tasked to find solutions to extremely difficult problems. We were presented with problem after problem, all seemingly impossible but somehow we would figure out the solution. It seems as if this part of the dream occurred over and over, quite a few times.

An Interpretation

To discover new levels of knowledge and understanding, we must first seek — research, learn, pray, ask, study. God’s word is no different. When reading it, we need to go deeper. If we come across a difficult passage, we should keep reading, investigate cross referenced scriptures and ask questions, with spiritual antennas at attention. We must search for the right ‘ladders’ upon which to climb. In this manner, we discern what God has to say to us, how we are to live and what we are to do.

Just like the little boy in my dream who didn’t realize the power in his hands, sometimes, we see God’s word — a sword to be used by His people — as something to place on a shelf, perhaps to ‘play’ with occasionally, but only briefly, not with passionate interest or pursuit.

Do you desire to be stagnant in your work life? In your personal life goals? I’m confident that most would answer, “No.” Your spiritual life should be no different. ” … By this time you ought to be teachers …” (Hebrews 5:12). In other words, if you have been a believer for a while, your spiritual knowledge and maturity should have grown such that you are able to teach. Just as a baby grows with time and no longer needs only milk but also solid food, your spiritual life should continually improve and be effective as you overcome challenges.

A Word

If I gave you a real sword, would you store it ‘safely’ away, or would you be curious enough to actually learn how to use it?

Once we get into a rhythm of spiritual growth, of ‘climbing’ upward and forward, we learn how to deal with certain circumstances and how to use the authority God gives us in His word. How are we to use this authority? By speaking the words He’s given us, declaring them over our lives. How did God create the world we live in? By speaking. Words really do matter.

In fact, when you speak God’s word, you are actually wielding a sword.

“God’s word is alive and working and is sharper than a double-edged sword. It cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined, to the center of our joints and bones. And it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts.”

Hebrews 4:12 (NCV)

We should master the art of the sword, the ongoing study of God’s word, so that we are fully equipped to know how and when to use it. With our sword in hand, we can thwart the enemy’s traps and free ourselves from the miry clay (Psalm 40:2). In short, we can receive healing for our souls and consequently affect major life change for ourselves, our families, and strangers, alike.

Like the investigators in Scene Three of my dream, we can find solutions to life’s most difficult challenges, for with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37 CJB). And if we are with Him, we have the supremely beneficial gift of His word, a sharp sword, glistening with power, ready for battle and poised for victory against all enemies. We just need to pick it up — and use it. Selah.

#Watchman333

What Can We Learn From Ezekiel?

“When the creatures stopped, they lowered their wings …”

CHAPTER 1 – SYMBOLS

During the 30th year of the Babylonian captivity of Israel, God gave the prophet Ezekiel a vision, which he describes in Ezekiel, Chapter 1. You are personally invited to dive deep with me into the powerful meaning behind some of his words, filled with intriguing symbols, revelation and ancient wisdom.

Symbol: Stormy Wind

In the midst of a stormy wind, Ezekiel saw a cloud with flashes of fire and seemingly glowing metal, surrounded by bright light.

Lessons

Sometimes, our circumstances seem like a storm with no end in sight and that all is lost, as if burned up by fire. What we don’t see is that the storm is surrounded by God’s light, for He sees all. If we look intently within, we’ll catch a glimpse of His throne in the middle of the storm.

Symbol: Four Creatures

Ezekiel saw four living creatures. Each creature had four wings, two of which were used to cover the creature, and the remaining two touched one of the other creatures.

Lessons

The fact that two of the creatures’ wings covered themselves is symbolic of us covering ourselves spiritually: by believing in God, receiving his son Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and having an intentional relationship with Him.

The other set of wings touching another creature signifies us touching other people, not only physically but spiritually. We are to have relationships with others and to encourage one another. God has something very specific to say on the subject: “When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Symbol: Sparkling Wheels

In Ezekiel’s vision there were wheels beside each creature. In each wheel he saw a second wheel crossways inside the first. All wheels sparkled, appearing as beryl gems, and the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures moved, the wheels moved; when they stopped, the wheels stopped; and when they were lifted up, the wheels were lifted up!

Lessons

I believe these creatures were following in whatever direction their spirit heard, and wherever they went, their spirit went. Likewise, we also should follow wherever God leads us. We are body, soul and spirit, and God’s Holy Spirit speaks to us through our spirit. When He says “jump,” we need to say, “How high?!” The benefits are plenty when we tune our spirit to God’s Spirit — and then follow where He leads.

You will notice in Ezekiel’s vision that the wheels were beside, not attached, to the creatures. They were high, frightening and sparkled like beryl, a gem that forms many of the precious gemstones we know. In other words, the wheels commanded attention. These characteristics remind me of someone I know: He has promised to never leave nor forsake us; He is definitely ‘high’ in every way; reverently speaking, He is ‘frightening’; and He “sees everything you do,” and “watches where you go” (Proverbs 5:21).

Symbol: Roaring Seas

The wings of the creatures had a sound as a roaring sea and was compared to an army, as well as the voice of God. I believe this represents the collective praise of the people of God. He is a God worthy of worship and praise 24 hours a day, not only with our lips, but in everything we do. Imagine if every child of God around this world praised Him at the same time … can you hear a sound, both pleasant and powerful, like the roaring waves of the sea?

Lessons

When the creatures stopped, they lowered their wings. Why? I believe they needed to quiet their sound in order to hear clearly from the One who sits on the throne. While praise to God should always be on our lips (Psalm 34:1) — audibly or in spirit — there are also times when we should stop, become quiet … and listen.

Symbol: The Throne

Ezekiel ends this first chapter by describing a throne that looked like sapphire, the stone associated with wisdom, royalty, prophecy and divine favor. Upon the throne sat a figure that appeared human, glowing like metal on top and fire on the bottom. Furthermore, a bright light surrounded the throne and reminded him of a rainbow on a rainy day.

Lessons

Details often reveal keys that open the doors we need to walk through. Ezekiel obviously paid attention to the details. This simple practice ensures we understand the messages we are given that set us on the right path, less we miss them altogether, travel down the wrong path and waste precious time in our lives.

The splendor of the throne compelled Ezekiel to bow face down on the ground, since, for him, it represented the glory of God. And then he heard God’s voice speaking. We can see the glory of God every day of our lives if we are humble enough to look. He created everything, and He is everywhere. If we search for Him, He is easily found. Selah.

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Question for You

Do any of these symbols in Ezekiel’s vision stand out to you? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments. Grace & peace.