Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 48:1-35 & Ezra 1:1-2:70
I have had a whirlwind of a summer thus far! We have traveled farther and done more than I think we’ve ever done in one month before. And honestly, there are no signs of it stopping any time soon. Through all the chaos of our regular schedule getting disrupted I have (obviously) had a difficult time keeping up with my commitment to write daily. This has affected me greatly! I have quickly discovered that writing is a deep well of living water. My writing is where I date Jesus; it’s my own little garden of relationship with Him. It’s the place where I take the seeds that He has given me through His word and I plant and water and watch them grow by talking through what I have learned, what I believe and why. It’s the best and most effective way that I have found to communicate with my Beloved Jesus. In other words, while it may seem like I’m writing to you and for you, I’m not. I’m writing to God and for me. I’m discovering just how much writing fulfils my longing to spend time with my Savior. And I’ll be honest, the unexciting Word seeds don’t always “do it” for me. But that’s just it, seeds need time to grow and become something exciting. And the pages of my journal is the soil in which those seeds get planted.
In today’s reading, the very last paragraph of Ezekiel talks about gates and how there is a gate for each tribe of Israel “And the name of the city from that time on shall be: The LORD Is There.” (v. 35) The LORD is there, within the walls of the city, the confines of those precious gates dwells a King above all kings, a Lord above all lords. And then again in Ezra 2: 42 the sons of the gatekeepers are mentioned, do you realize the significance of a gatekeeper; especially Biblical gatekeepers? Their jobs were critical to the safety and wellbeing of everyone within the walls of the city! If someone with evil intent slipped past a distracted gatekeeper the entire city could be destroyed!
In Genesis 3:24 we meet the very first gatekeeper in the Garden of Eden as God is being forced to drive Adam and Eve out of the garden for their own good (believe it or not). “at the east of the garden of Eden He placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the Tree of Life.” Now, I’m no gate-keeping expert, but I’m thinking that anything that requires multiple angelic guards AND an enchanted sword of fire to guard the gate to it must be something pretty special. Something worth more than perhaps even life itself. And right here in this verse we’re told precisely what that precious thing is, the way to the Tree of Life.
You know what I’ve never picked up on before, “the way”. The angels and the sword weren’t just there to guard the Tree itself, but rather the way to the tree. It is these supernatural gatekeepers’ job to allow none to pass save those with the secret password; the word that brings them through that gate into the Garden of Intimate Relationship with the Creator of Life Himself. There, they are allowed to feast on the fruit from the Tree of Life. But how do we get through that gate? How do we know the way to get there? I’m not the first person to ask this question and I’m sure that I won’t be the last either. Thomas asked Jesus this very same question at the last supper in John 14:5-7 “Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
So what’s the secret password that gets you past the flaming sword and guardian angels? “Jesus.” Jesus is the Word, He is the Way and He is the Tree all wrapped up in One beautiful triune God package. When I walk through those secret garden gates and feast my eyes on all the beauty that surrounds me there, plucking that sweet fruit from the vine with my pen and allow its syrupy juice to flow down my throat through writing; that always does it for me. And really, from what I can glean from those around me who also write to/for God whether publicly or not, they feel the same way about it. For whatever reason that I don’t currently understand, God manages to speak to us through what we write. I often call my writing, praying with a pen. Writing gives you a way to SEE your prayers, to actually visualize how you’re feeling and thinking about something. It turns completely abstract ideas and thoughts into concrete physical objects that you can see and feel, touch and manipulate in order to understand them better. The written word is a very powerful tool indeed! I strongly encourage you to begin a prayer journal immediately if you do not already have one. When you open your journal you are opening the gate to the enclosed garden of intimate relationship where only you and God have a key. It’s an incredible thing to possess, the key (a mere pen) to your own personal Garden of Eden. By the simple turn of it within your hand it unlocks an entire supernatural world of untold treasures and hidden puzzles that challenge you to climb higher in this world of endless mountains and valleys.
In Revelation 12:10-11 it describes the fall of Satan and says “for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” Did you catch who conquered Satan? “They” did, the same they that he accuses day and night; they are the ones who conquered him… They are us. We are “they”! And how is it again that we are to conquer Satan? By the blood of the Lamb! Precious blood spilled out on our behalf, for our benefit and our USE! The blood of the Lamb of God, giver of life Himself, who shed His blood in order to dismiss His life-giving Spirit to come and abide within us, like a child in a womb. Blood we are to use, to spread over our doorframes in order to show death whose we are so that he will pass by in his mission to destroy. He roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour, but when he sees the blood spread over us like a banner of love he must keep on walkin’!
On this day I have spent a great deal of time working through a puzzle that God has presented me. Many times I have felt like I was simply going in circles, but perhaps that may be because I was circling the puzzle in order to get the best view of it so that I could paint the best word picture for you that I could. It’s been one of those days when I’ve felt like I’ve been right on the cusp of something truly amazing and yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the pinnacle of the amazing thing was. And honestly I still feel that way, as if I’m simply staring at the tip of the iceberg knowing full well that there is so much more under the surface but as hard as I strain my eyes to try and see it under the surface I just can’t… at least not yet anyway. So for the time being know that God is telling you and I both to start writing and keep writing down the words of our testimony!!! Get a journal and start using it daily! If you feel the Spirit leading you the way I did, get a free blog from WordPress (there is a link at the very bottom of my website for you to do this) and start slaying the Enemy with the words of your own personal testimony. Use the flaming double-edged sword of God’s Word in your life to conquer doubt and fear in your life by commemorating through the written word every single tiny little blessed miracle that God has performed for you; every gift from heaven above sent to help you trust Him more with each passing moment of life. Long long long ago someone picked up a pen and wrote down the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, Ezekiel, Ezra, Jesus, Matthew, Mary and Martha and their stories have changed millions and millions of lives over the years since they were written down. Perhaps God has a similar plan for your life, for your story, who knows that He didn’t put you here in this place in this current circumstance of life for such an epic time as this? Even if you never share what you write with everyone on the internet, it is still critical that you write down your own story, if nothing else than to open up the gate to the secret Garden of Relationship with The Tree of Life. “And the name of the city from that time on shall be: The LORD Is There.” The LORD is there, within the covers of that notebook, the confines of those precious pages, dwells a King above all kings, a Lord above all lords. Won’t you open them up and discover more of Him today?
I have started a online journaling class at www.walkofages.com I would LOVE for you to join! Simply click on the link, and then submit your email to receive a weekly writing prompt to help you start writing to God. It’s that simple! Today’s post is this week’s assignment – GET A JOURNAL AND START USING IT!
Tyra, Tamar, Tamar: You wrote so powerfully today, you wrote with inspiration! A gatekeeper is a recurring them in the Bible thank you for bringing this up… I also say in your writing the subject of the recurring theme of salvation by Jesus Christ as it is written about in Genesis, also in Exodus (Blood on the door posts) Passover and trust and belief in God by the children of Israel that lasted for generation after generation leading up to the birth of Christ Jesus. This idea is so wonderful as is your idea of starting a prayer journal. Thank you for sharing your ideas through your wonderful writing! Tim Johnson