Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dry Bones

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me"Son of man, can these bones live?"

I said, "O Sovereign Lord, you alone know."

Ezekiel 37:1-3

I don't know about you but my first reaction is..."Uh, no God, bones cannot live again." But do you see the response given..."O Sovereign Lord, you alone know." That's faith and that amazes me! You see, it's not just about dry bones but about the death of my own hopes and dreams. There are things throughout my life that I've watched die and I wondered if they would ever see life again. And here's my answer..."O Sovereign Lord, you alone know." But wait there's more to this....

Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.'"

Ezekiel 37:4-6

He will. God will bring dreams and hopes to life again. Will they look exactly as before...maybe, maybe not. Did these dry bones look exactly as before...I don't know. I would like to think that maybe they looked different because His breath of life was in them and they were a new creation.

So I prophesied as I was commanded [hello faith!]. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Ezekiel 37:7-8

I don't know about you but I've been in this place where I could see the dreams coming to life, but they were just an exoskeleton...there wasn't any life, any breath in them. And that's a hard place to be. Seeing what could be, but not having the life and breath of God in them. And that's when they need to die. Die to my selfishness so that God can rebuild according to His plan and His life for me.

Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'" So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet - a vast army.

Then he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.'

Therefore prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord. '"

Ezekiel 37:11-14

The hopes and dreams that I've had throughout my life may have seemed dead, but God will breathe new life into them. They may look the same as what I saw, or they may be different. But it will all be for His glory. Their death will be for His glory...not just so that I may see His works, but that all around me may see Him. The new life that He will breathe into me will be a testimony of His love, grace, glory and resurrection. And in the end it will be worth all the pain because I will be able to say...

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Friday, July 15, 2011

Seasonal Change

It was not by coincidence that my blog was titled "Through the Seasons". My life seems to eminate seasonal changes. There have been times that I have experienced the overwhelming joy of a mountain top and times when I've experienced valleys as empty and bitter as a fierce winter, questioning whether it would ever end. And there's also been the mundane, all too comfortable routines of a dry, hot summer. Each experience and season has hopefully brought me closer to my God, but I will admit that there were times when I questioned God and His love for me. Times when I doubted His blessings would ever come.

For some reason, these last couple of days I've been reminded of all the different seasons I've walked through. As I've pondered it all, I see God's hand in every single detail. From the times I lashed out at Him in anger to the times of sweet fellowship in His Presence. And I've been reminded that there is a season for everything...

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end...

...I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere Him.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, 14

This past fall was a time of weeping. Weeping that would overwhelm me in an instant. Weeping that stemmed from my grandmother's losing battle with cancer, two tragic deaths at one of our schools, and the closure of a disturbing case for one of my kiddos. For a while there, it seemed like no matter what I did, how hard I tried, or how much I pressed into God...He was silent. And the weeping would not end. But even though I could not see all that God was doing, He was moving. He was not silent. He was faithful and the weeping finally ending. And with it came such a sweet communion with my Savior. He had held me close to His side all throughout the fall and winter and was showing me how to love. How to care deeply. How to love others as He loves.

And as the springtime approached so did the laughter. It was an interesting thing to go from weeping to laughter...but what joy I experienced with it! It was as though God was's time to build you back up, time to refresh you and allow you to bloom where I have planted you (cliche, I know!). There were times that laughter eminated from deep inside my belly and I couldn't contain it...nor did I want to.

Now I am in the middle of my physical summertime and it seems like a spiritual one as well. It's been a time where He is tearing down strongholds in my heart and mending them to suit His needs. He is lovingly teaching me what it means to be open and vulnerable, yet to hide behind His protective covering. He has also begun to show me even more His heart for people and has challenged me to actually act out that love rather than just go through the motions. This means the continual laying down of my own life for His sake. My eyes have to be upon Him. It is not easy...and it hurts. But there is such joy and peace as I do what He asks and as I bask in His Presence.

With each season is a lesson, and with each lesson a desire for more of Him (yes...even when I was angry at Him). I don't know what lies ahead...nor do I really desire to. My heart's desire is to obey Him, right now, in this moment, with the day He's given me. Seasons will come and go, but I can stand strong knowing that my God never changes. The seasons are for my benefit as they are meant to draw me closer to Him, to set eternity in my heart. May it be His glory that shines from my heart and my life all of my days.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Hello Mustard Seed!

"At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind...'The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor...'"

Luke 7:21-23

I find it amazing that these things were happening...and I also struggle with it like a Pharisee. Could all of this really have happened? I admit doubt has crept in, but if I doubt that, then I may as well be saying the whole Bible is a fictional story...and I know deep down that is not so.

And because of that deep conviction that the Bible is Truth, I step out in faith and believe that everything it says is true. That includes raising someone from the dead, as well as the sea parting and David defeating Goliath. I must, in faith, take it all as Truth. But if I do so, then shouldn't I also, in faith, believe that miracles still happen?

If "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8), then I must have the faith to beleive that people can still be healed, sight can be restored and the dead can be brought back to life. God hasn't changed, nor will He. It is my mindset and lack of faith that has.

Our world is still full of Pharisees, we are still corrupt, and we still doubt. But God is asking His people to take a stand of faith, in His begin to believe that the impossible is possible. That we, if we have the Holy Spirit living within us, have the power to give sight to the blind, "the lame walk, those who have leprosy (or any disease) are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor." (Luke 7:21-23).

We have the power to heal - body and soul. So why do we hide this power...afraid of what the world may say? We must keep our perspective in place. This is our temporary home, our real home is awaiting us in eternity. What we do here on earth, can impact someone else's eternity.

I know my faith may be weak and I struggle with this, but God says...

"Because you have so little faith, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Matthew 17:20-21

My faith is small, but I am ready to move mountains for Jesus' sake. Are you?