This week's memory verse:
"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." Galatians 5:16
Yesterday was Youth Sunday at my church. The teens, the youth Praise Band and the youth pastor put together a ROCKING amazing service, based on the story of Ezekiel. I have heard the story of the "dry bones" for many years...you know that old song..."dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones..."
The song goes on to sing about how each bone is connected to another...until the whole body is put together again, covered with muscle and skin and lives again. They were just dead, dry bones before, with no hope for life...but through God's power, they became flesh again and lived! Pastor Lonnie talked yesterday about how we are the dry bones...and the world around us...our communities are just dry bones. We get so used to the bad news, wars, financial difficulties, budget cuts, violence in the streets, bullying, drugs and sex in our schools...no wonder we give up and live in pieces in this dry valley!! It's too hard to live with hope...
Well...Lonnie threw the steak in the ground and said he was DONE living a hopeless dry-bones life and I am DONE too! I don't want to continue living a life with no hope...I want to refresh these old dry bones and do what I can to be like Ezekiel and let God work through me to pick up the old dry bones around me in my community and my world and see them put together, bone by bone until they are complete, whole, revived, refreshed, and reborn!
How do I do this? First of all, I make sure my bones are following the right path. I believe that God gave us the Bible...he spoke through the many authors of this book to give us his words of guidance. The laws, decrees and precepts were given to us to help us know how to live.
Read Psalm 119:1-16
In verse 9 the author asks "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word."
I believe the Bible is like a road map with road signs clearly posted along the way. Some of us are better map readers than others, but if you look closely enough at a map, you can usually find your way. But...if you don't follow the map or even ask for directions...you could very easily get lost. It's up to us to read the map...it's up to us to follow it's marked paths. Too many of us in this world have thrown the map out the window and are blazing our own trails...only to find unfinished roads and detours and danger. Usually it's those unmarked paths that lead to the valley of the dry bones! WHAT A HOPELESS WAY TO LIVE!
In verses 14-16 the Psalmist says that he will rejoice in God's statutes, precepts and decrees like riches...meditate on them...delight in them and not neglect them. Can we, people living in 2011, look to the Bible and the way Jesus taught us to live with joy? Can we value God's advice and teachings more than our valuables? More than our phones...cars...houses...more than even our families? Can we in this modern age learn to rely on God to mark out our paths for us instead of blazing our own trails?
Perhaps you think that God is dead is this modern world...maybe you look at tragedies such as what is going on Japan now and wonder how a good God could let that happen...maybe you are in the valley along with all the other dry bones, thinking that the world is a hopeless mess...ya live, ya suffer and then ya die! Well...I say YOU ARE WRONG!
I know the joy I feel when I meditate on God's words and let his peace fall over me like rain...I don't know how it works or how I can let go of depression that overcomes me sometimes...I just know that it goes away and it's replaced with peace. I see how God works THROUGH a tragedy...and brings good from it. I don't understand it, but I sure do grab ahold of it and keep that thought in my heart!
Are you feeling dry? Do you see the dry bones around you? Stop looking at them and reach out to God! Live by the Holy Spirit...ask him to come into your heart...ask him to quench the dryness and watch those dry bones come together and come to life! If you do that then you will hear what it sounds like to sing heaven's song...you will know what it feels like when heaven comes down...you will know what it looks like when God is all around...Let it come!