Wish I could put a photo on here... or some sort of artistic piece ... to make this stand out, but, at any rate, without the creative bits, it's been on my heart for a few days and I want to point something out.
The Lord had me read Jeremiah, and now I'm in Ezekiel and, of course, next is Daniel. I use a Chronological Bible to see how the events fit together and it reminded me so much of what we, as church members, worldwide, are experiencing. So much difference in our cultures and our circumstances.
You see, Jeremiah, most of the time in Jerusalem, was a well-known prophet for years and years, loved and appreciated for some time, respected, and then hated for others. Heartbroken by knowing what was coming, and so desiring to turn their lives back to the Lord.
When the first ones were taken into captivity, while Jeremiah was doing his God-job, Daniel was abducted. Within a short time, Daniel was moved into a royal position, gained strength in Nebuchadnezzar's government.
In the third group that was captured, Ezekiel was included. A couple years after he had been in the Babylonian area, when he was about 30 years old, the Lord began to say, "Tell them this..." or "show them this". And for years, that's what he did. His life was simple... not necessarily poverty-oriented, but very simple. Some people turned to the Lord; some turned further and further away.
Then, right in the midst of this, Shadrak, Meshach, and Abednego had their "fireworks" event.
So, within approximately 600 miles and, maybe, 20 years, these 3 prophets lived in entirely different regions, entirely different lifestyles, and much different responses from the people around them. Ezekiel was visionary on a regular basis. Jeremiah was heart-drawn, wanting the best, seeing the worst. Daniel, well, we know all of the Daniel stories.
Now... this is the question. Where does this put us? How do we envision each other with our various ministries, denominations, personalities, interpretations of scripture? How do we deal with the facts in our lives... when we are certain that we know the potentiality of what is coming down our national/international tracks... how we can prepare for our own future and how we can help others? Whether we are rich [Daniel] or middle class [Jeremiah] or very simple [Ezekiel], focusing on the heart of God, how can we be certain to say and do what He is calling us to do, no matter what the consequences can be when we face our cultural negative attitudes? Will we have the courage?
This isn't nearly as creative as I try to be -- and the writing and wording aren't perfect... AT ALL. But this has been buried in my heart and mind for several weeks and I thought I'd toss it off on other plates. Yours.