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Finding Strength Through Intimacy

Have you ever needed to talk to someone to get something off your chest and your spouse or bff just weren’t going to satisfy that need?  Ever felt like no one really knows you?  At least not all of you?

We crave it.

We were built for it.

We need it.

Intimacy.

  1. 1:  a state marked by emotional closeness

  2. 2:  a quality suggesting closeness or warmth

  3. 3:  something that is very personal or private

God created us.  He created that need for intimacy within us.  He longs to fill it for us.

He created a God sized hole in our spirit that only He can fill.  That’s why when we try to fill that emptiness with other things or other people, they don’t stick.  They can’t satisfy long-term.  HE wants that spot!

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

1 Corinthians 3:16 kjv

I liken that intimacy, that closeness, to having a tiny infant in my arms.

When my babies were newborns, I swaddled them up in one of those cloth carriers that would allow me to be hands free while they rested against my chest.  I had a living, breathing human-being strapped right against me.  What a responsibility!

I stayed away from cigarette smoke, cursing and harsh noises and odors.  I spoke softly, giving thought to what I would say since my lips were only inches away from those small ears.  I kept my hands clean and sanitized for fear of leaving traces of germs or illness on that baby.  I talked to them throughout my day, whispering “I love you so much”.  Introducing them to smells and informative sentences like “now this is what red velvet cake smells like and It’s your daddy’s favorite” or “I hope this song I’m wooing you with is something you sing to your own children”.

I took the presence of that baby very seriously.  I didn’t want to grieve it.  To make it uncomfortable.  To cause it pain or disappointment in me.  I took the intimacy of having my babies so close, where they felt my heart beat, as a privilege that not all were afforded.  I tried not to take that for granted.

God doesn’t need us to be His life-giver and protector and to introduce Him to new things like a child, but, we need to remember that just as those babies are held against us, His Holy Spirit is even closer.  It’s not outside of us, but inside.

Intimacy with God

Super natural strength…

This privilege that we have…this gift…this responsibility…this is where our strength abides as believers.  We were created in His image and were gifted His Holy Spirit to help guide and move us.  He is more powerful, more discerning, and stronger than we could ever be and He desires to be intimately involved in our lives, filling us up to over-flowing with Himself.

Ever done something on His behalf that you thought you would never be able to do?

Ever had a conversation with someone and wondered later where those words came from?

Ever done that thing that seemed out of character for you but was the right call?

That was His spirit, working through you, pushing, strengthening, filling you with boldness and courage.

This privilege comes with responsibility.

Who likes to be told that we could grieve God?  No one.

Who needs to be reminded that it’s possible?  All of us.

 

“Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.”

Ephesians 4:30 The Message

 

 

Goodness, we don’t like to talk about this do we?  We like comfortable.  We like encouragement.  We like pats on the back  and “sometimes you just have to’s” and “I couldn’t help myselves” and “everybody else is doing it”

I love how The Message puts this verse “…His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life…”  Sometimes I think that we forget this.  That as believers in Christ, His Holy Spirit is dwelling IN us.  Another way to think about it is that He sees what we see and hears what we hear.

I’m completely awestruck by His design!

Are you?

Let’s take a deep breath today and acknowledge His handy work.  The craftsmanship that went into building us as only He could do.  The fact that this need we have for intimacy isn’t just an impossible desire that we have to go through life with, but that He offers the solution in Himself.

Let this be a reminder…

**He longs to be closer than any other

**He wants to share with us His strength and help us do hard things

**He is holy

**What an honor it is to be called His

This.

Ponder this and see if your heart rate doesn’t go up a little bit.

Reflect & Respond

**As believers are we keenly aware that the Holy Spirit dwells in us 24 hours a day?

**What can we do to honor His presence in our lives?  How can we flesh that knowledge out into our day-to-day living?

Praying that we draw our strength from Him and represent Him well,

Kellie

Featured

Come Away With Me-A Sacred Invitation

“…Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Luke 5:16

 

Years ago I was involved in a study that focused on spiritual disciplines.  My kids were small and life was busy but once a week Tim and I met with a few other couples to do this.  The end of the study culminated in taking a half day away just to pray.

Four hours.

We spent four hours at a beautiful local park. I sat near the lake.  Spent time near a covered bridge.  Cozied up to a tree with a view of a water wheel.  Notebook.  Bible.  Water.  Pen.  That’s all I needed.

It.  Was.  Marvelous!

Nature is a powerful thing.

There’s something about being out in nature that soothes the soul.  Would you agree?  Wind, birds, squirrels, butterflies.  You notice the little trail of ants carrying their food from place to place.  How the trees can take on a different look as the sun shines from a different angle throughout the day.  How the clouds change shape as they skim across the blue sky effortlessly.  The wind relaxes and the muscles let go of their tightened state.

Something happens when we get outside, to a lonely place, and just look about.  His power becomes more evident.  His creativity shines everywhere you look.  His attention to detail.  All of it is a reminder of what a great big God we serve.  All of it!

Jesus prayed often.

Even to say that seems like an understatement.  But, there were times that He had to break away from the noise and get to a quiet place.  Doesn’t that sound marvelous?

Be alone to talk.

Be alone to listen.

Just.  Be.

 

I see three important truths in this verse that we can take in and flesh out.

**Jesus withdrew

He drew away from the pressures of His life, detached Himself, became removed

**He did it often

He did it frequently, repeatedly and consistently.  He made it a habit.  A lifestyle.

**He chose lonely places

He struck out unaccompanied.  He went solo.  He isolated Himself.

If this was a part of Jesus’ lifestyle, I’d say that we should incorporate this practice into our own lives.  Especially in the world that we are living in that is so inundated with noise and movement and visual stimulation everywhere you look.  Every.  Where.

I need this.  You need this.

  • High school or middle school student who attends church each week but doesn’t really know how to pray.
  • College student who studies your Bible in your dorm room each day while listening to nearby students crank their music and holler down the hallway
  • Young mama who can’t even use the bathroom without interruption
  • Mom of teens whose door revolves around your kids and their friends
  • Empty nesters who aren’t quite used to the sound of an empty house
  • Retired older woman who putzes around all day trying to keep yourself busy

Ladies, some of us seem to need permission to get away by ourselves, for even just a couple of hours.  This is it.  This is your permission…your encouragement…your convincing argument that you MUST…WE must, make this a practice.

It was important to Jesus.

It should be important for us.

And I believe that it will not only benefit our relationship with God, but it will ultimately benefit our family, our work, our church, and all of the other parts of our lives.

matthew_11_28-30-display-800x800

 

Let’s get out our calendars and mark a date or two to get started.  Pick a nearby place-away from home-grab your Bible and a coffee and keep that appointment.  There is nothing as important as keeping that line of communication with God open and active.

This could be the thing to take your walk with Him deeper than it’s ever been.

This could be the thing you need to hit re-start on your relationship with Him.

This could be the habit that is the catalyst to hearing from God more clearly.

This could be the first step to self-care that you’ve taken in a long time.

I promise if you miss a T-ball game or an hour or two of sleep or don’t get your man’s dinner cooked for one night, it will be OK 🙂

I’m not suggesting you start with a four-hour retreat, but I am suggesting that you start.

The goal is to be alone during this time but there is nothing wrong with carpooling with friends to a wide open space and splitting up once there.  In fact, it could be a great way to connect with other women on a more personal and spiritual level.

Imagine driving out to somewhere spacious with a few friends, splitting up to spend time with God, and then coming together to flesh out a little bit of your time.  Maybe you come away feeling challenged and you need your gal pals to hold you accountable.  Maybe you leave with a few less things to worry about on your plate because God convinced you that He’s got it taken care of.  Maybe your appetite for His word just grew and you’d like to bounce some reading ideas off of your friends.  Maybe you just need them to keep you in mind during their own prayer times.

However you choose, I challenge you, and I’m challenging myself, to take one hour within the next 10 days to drive away from home, to a secluded place.  To plan this ahead of time and let your people know that your cell phone will be in your car and that YOU WILL NOT.

We can do this ladies!  Who’s with me?

Reflect & Respond:

**Have you ever considered that this should be a part of the life of a believer?

**Mark your calendar within the next 10 days.  Text your bff’s right now to plan to go with you if you’d like.  Otherwise, just get it done!

I’d love to hear from you.  Do you already do this?  Frequently?  Are you planning to now?

If you’re nervous about doing this alone, reach out to me!  We’ll grab some girls and make it happen!

Praying for us to not just skim over this example from Jesus, but to plant it deep and flesh it out,

Kellie

If you need some help getting started with your prayers, here’s a simple way to think about it.

P.R.A.Y.

Praise!  Beginning your conversation with your Heavenly Father by praising Him. It takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it on Him.  It begins a vertical conversation.  It recognizes that He is in a position of honor and respect.

Repent!  I John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  After we’ve lifted praises to Him, take some time to ask Him to bring any sin to mind that you need to ask forgiveness for.  He will be faithful to forgive.

Ask!  Once you’ve taken the time to praise Him and start with a clean slate, ask Him for the things that you need.  He tells us in Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Ask for yourself as well as any other needs that are on your heart.

Yield!  No matter what you’ve talked to the Lord about, ultimately, you need to yield your own will to His.  He knows more.  He knows best.  He knows it all!  As Jesus prayed right before His crucifixion, He Himself said in Matthew 26:39 “…“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  He is a good, good father and He knows what is best for us.  Trust that.

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The Choice is Yours

 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. “
I Corinthians 10:23

 

When my children were really small, they had to do whatever in the world I told them too.  Get in the car.  Get in the bath.  Stay out of the refrigerator.  Bring me your book bag.

 

There came a time when one of my sweet children (who shall remain nameless) began asking me after my directions “what will you do to me if I don’t do that?”

What??

This child was weighing out the consequences.  They were deciding whether it would be worth the adventure to just flat out do it their own way and take the punishment rather than obey and keep peace in our little family.

The reality is, that child could literally choose not to get in the car, get in the bath, stay out of the fridge or bring me said book bag.

It was their choice.  They had the freedom to choose in those moments.

 

I wasn’t delving out instructions because they needed to know who was boss.  I didn’t take pleasure in pointing my finger with “go here” and “sit there” and “do it now”.

 

Everything I told my kids to do was in their best interest.  Whether short term or long term, it was to their advantage to just obey.

 

Loading up in the car was the pathway to school or Mimi’s house, a bath kept them clean, unnecessary trips to the fridge would spoil their dinner and there were things in the book bag I was expected to sign and initial or else my children would suffer consequences the next day from their teacher.

 

You see, it wasn’t always about right and wrong and being bossed around, it was about knowing what was best for them and keeping them on the right track.  A track that would ultimately be for their good.

 

Today we have laws and rules and convictions we are told to follow, but like our children, we are tempted to do things our own way.

We like to question.

But, there is an authority who knows what’s in our best interest and we’d be wise to listen to Him.

Very wise.

 

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

I Corinthians 10:13

Whenever we are tempted to take action that contradicts with His word, He helps us to flee from that temptation.  That is great news!  Temptation is going to be a part of life.  He calls us to lean into Him during those times and ask Him how to escape that thing.  Whatever it is.

Here’s what I know, the directions He gives to us are for our benefit.  It’s not to restrain us from becoming  the “real us”, it’s to keep us away from the things that will keep us from becoming who we were made to be.  We are His creation.  He knows what’s best for us.  He knows what’s coming around the corner of our lives.  He knows how we need to be prepared best.

But alas…

I’m free to stand on railroad tracks.

I’m free to drive at high speeds.

I’m free to walk across a busy highway without looking both ways.

I’m free to view pornography.

I’m free to charge up my credit cards.

I’m free to gossip.

I’m free to yell at my husband and children when I’m angry.

 I’m free to ignore the Holy Spirit when it nudges me to do something.

I’m free to stay away from church.

I’m free to cheat on my spouse.

I’m free to lie to my boss.

What is it in God’s word that you struggle with the most?

freedom

 

What if we stopped looking at God’s book as a rule book and instead looked at it as a play book?

 

Like a coach teaching and training their team, when the players execute the plays as they’ve been taught, more ground is gained and the coach is pleased.  The team is heading in the right direction.

Doing things God’s  way won’t come without obstacles and challenges, but it will produce more wins than losses.

 

He gives us the freedom to make our choices, just like my children had freedom.  But, the consequences are never worth the rebellion.  Never.  Trust me.

I’ve heard the Bible referred to as a “book of instructions” or an “owner’s manual for life”and those labels have some significance to them.  But, the difference in using the book as just a manual or instruction book and reading it for it’s overall purpose is very different.

The One who wrote the book…He is the book.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1

When we read and study the Bible, the best part of our learning isn’t in the rules or commands, it isn’t in the answers we’re looking for or the list of do’s and don’ts we may find.

It’s in those pages that we see who God really is.  How He loves us.  His character.  His heart.  The motivation behind Him giving us those commands.

Mama’s have their children’s best interest in mind when they teach them.

Coaches have their team’s best interest in mind when they instruct them.

God has our best interest in mind when He gives us wisdom through His word to help us make wise choices.

We make our own choices but then our choices make us.

Let’s be careful.  Let’s be teachable.

Let’s be grateful for the freedom to choose and the knowledge that the One who helps us to make our choices does so out of love.

 

 Reflect and Respond:

Have you always seen the Bible as just a book of rules?  Do you imagine God pointing His finger with a never-ending list of to-do’s? I challenge you to turn your thinking around and see it as a play book.  A book with direction and wisdom meant for your benefit.

Are you curious when you see Christians study the Bible?  Are you wondering where the freedom is in that?  Ask someone you know to help you understand why.

Praying for us all to to rest in the security of His Word,

Kellie

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Keep Your Sword Sharp, Ready For Battle

 

Screenshot_2016-07-07-07-21-37~2

Have you ever had a dream that was so real that there was actual truth to it?  A dream where you knew even in the dream that God was in it.  In the story, in the lesson learned and in the thoughts that lingered once you woke up?

 

That’s the kind of dream I had recently.

 

 

This dream was an attempt by the evil one to convince me that God leaves us in times of fear.

 

Ya’ll, he didn’t say a word, all he had to do was to look at me.  He used fear and intimidation to chase me away from my security, and he had me running scared for a minute.  Just for a minute.

 

 

This is what I woke up with…these principles…they are truth, they are timeless, and they are transforming if we allow them to be.

 

  1.  There are two powers that are at work in the unseen.  Two.  They both have abilities that we cannot even fathom.  Abilities that would blow our minds!  We have to know who to grab hold of.  Who has our best interest in mind.  Who can hold us safely from the other.

 

“…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:12

 

2.  Satan has 2 tools that he loves to use on us.  Fear and intimidation.  Let’s be aware when we feel these creeping into our thoughts. They are not from God.

 

It might look something like this:

 

“If you leave this boyfriend/girlfriend, you’re risking being alone for the rest of your life.”

“If you take that job offer, you may fail and wind up with no income”

“If you leave your abusive husband, he’ll come find you.  May as well stay put”

“If you stay in your young marriage, you’ll never experience being wild and free”

“If you post that blog, no one will read it”

“If you start that ministry, people will talk about you.  You wanna live in a fish bowl?”

“Adoption?  Fostering?  Too expensive!  You could never afford that!”

“Get that t.v. on credit.  You’re expecting a crowd over for the game, right?  You’ll look dumb if you don’t have top-notch equipment”

“Gotta watch your back everywhere you go now, people just can’t be trusted anymore”

“Better not let people know you’re a believer, they’ll think you’re all ‘odd for God’ and back away”

“Don’t speak to those people at church, they stink and have no teeth.  They’ll think you’re taking pity on them and everyone else will be staring at you”

“Homeschooling?  Ha!  He’ll never be smart enough for college.”

“Public school?  Ha!  He’ll lose his sweet innocence and be indoctrinated by the government all on the same day.”

“Private school?  Ha!  You’ll never be able to afford it AND your family will think that you think you’re better than they are!”

 

Do you see how this plays out?

Fear.  Intimidation.

 

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:17

 

3.  When we are in the company of those that do NOT have our best interest in mind, we will eventually begin to look more like them and less like ourselves if we stay there.  Our outer appearance can change.  We can become unrecognizable in a matter or sheer moments.  We have to know who we are, whose we are and surround ourselves with those that will encourage us to stay close to the Lord.  We have to pay attention and recognize when we are being taken down a path God never planned for us to take.

 

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

I Corinthians 15:33

 

 

4.  The Word is a literal sword when it comes to the devil.  It scares him off.  Stay in it.  Memorize it.  Eat the words.  Keep it sharp.  Swing it.

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:17

 

5.  We who are born again believers of Jesus Christ, we are never alone.  Never.

This is where satan would like to have us thinking that we should be afraid.  He wants to create an atmosphere that has us convincing ourselves that God has left us to be tested.  Like He’s standing over to the side rubbing His chin, shaking His head thinking “let’s see how she’ll do now…bahahahahaha!”

No.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

When you feel fearful or intimidated, there are some things you can do immediately.

  1.  Pray.  Call on the Lord.  Talk it out with Him.  Tell Him what’s going on, how you’re feeling and what your fears are.
  2. Trust.  It’s a decision.  It’s intentional.  It’s a verb.
  3. Move.  He will lead you away from those fears.  Follow quickly.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Psalm 56:3

What are you afraid of?

What is satan using to intimidate you and keep you paralyzed with fear?

Who is he using to intimidate you and keep you paralyzed with fear?

The evil one is  not afraid of you.

But he IS afraid of your heavenly Father and THAT is the good news!

Let’s quickly recognize when we are being bullied and remind the master bully-er who we belong to…and then let’s act like we believe what we say and keep moving even if we are trembling when we do!  Let’s lean hard into God’s word-which is unchangeable, immovable and trustworthy.  And let’s let others see, especially in the wake of recent events, that even through our own concerns, and yes, sometimes, fear…that we have an anchor that holds us in a place where peace and comfort are found.

For those of us who intimately know the only true source of security and peace, we must swing our sword for those who just can’t.

Prayer.

It’s an obligation and a privilege to do so.  Jesus did it.  Let’s follow His example.

Praying with and for you,

Kellie

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I Have A Confession To Make

It’s a common misconception that because someone is a “Christian”, a “born again believer”, a “________”, whatever you want to call those of us who have a relationship with Jesus Christ, that we are perfect.  That we are trying to be perfect.  That we are holding others to a standard of perfect.

Perfect.
I loathe that word when it is used to describe a person.

perfect

adjective per·fect \ˈpər-fikt\

Simple Definition of perfect
  • : having no mistakes or flaws

  • : completely correct or accurate

  • : having all the qualities you want in that kind of person, situation, etc.

 

 

I’m not perfect.  I will  never be perfect while I’ve got breath in my lungs.  I will never know anyone else who can hang this description on their hat.  Ever.

 

In fact…sometimes…I cuss.

 

We (Christians) are here to point others towards Christ.  To share what He offers.  To tell the news that their creator wants a one on one relationship with them.

 

This should come naturally in our every day living.  We do this through our actions and our attitudes.  We do this through our reactions.

 

In our work places.  At our family gatherings.  At our dentist appointments.  When we buy a car.  In the grocery store line.  When we rock our babies.  As we discipline our children.  While we love our spouses.  When we greet the UPS guy at the door.  As we sit in traffic.

 

 

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Luke 6:45
This is where the rubber meets the road.
“…what the heart is full of.”
You and I have most of the control over what we fill ourselves with.  Most, because we cannot avoid the billboards with scantily clad women and the bosses who manage with control and anger.  Most, because we cannot predict what language will come out of our new friend’s mouth or the pessimistic attitude of someone that we may even live with.
So, how do you and I store up good things in our hearts?
We are proactive.  We are intentional.  We set goals.  We make good choices.
We read books with a good take away message.  We listen to music that reminds us how blessed we are.  We surround ourselves, the best we can, with people who are encouraging and uplifting.  We hang out with truth talkers-people who will not just agree with everything we want to do or say, but will speak up and correct us if we are heading in the wrong direction.
We spend time outdoors, soaking up God’s creation.
We listen to pastors who speak God’s word along with practical application for living.
We talk to God (prayer) and read His word.
 Screenshot_2016-05-18-07-19-38~2
I’ve learned over time that the “do’s” and “don’ts” in the Bible are there for our good!
His directives…they’re not there to make us perfect.  They’re not there to make us feel like children.  They’re not there to make us feel like we can’t measure up and never will.
They are there to teach us about His grace.  They are there to move us into the plans He has for us.  They are there to keep us inside of boundaries where there is safety, freedom and purpose.
Yes, even inside of boundaries, there is freedom!
 
 So even though the Bible tells me not to, why do I sometimes cuss?
Because I’m human!  I’m a normal person just like anyone else!
It’s not often that something slips, but, I don’t mind admitting that sometimes it just happens.
It’s important that you know that there is no one perfect.  If striving for perfectionism is our main goal here on earth, we are going to be sorely disppointed in ourselves.  Over and over and over.
What we should be striving for is simply more of God.
More time with Him.  More of His presence.  More understanding of His word.
If we have a one on one relationship with Him, and we are doing our part to get to know Him more, the rest will work itself out.
We don’t become sinless.  We don’t become perfect.
But, our hearts will fill to overflowing with more good than bad.
More love, less hate.
More optimism, less pessimism.
More inclusion, less exclusion.
More mercy, less mercilessness.
More patience, less rage
More joy, less sadness.
More purpose, less indirection.
More calmness, less cussing
Let’s try it.
1.  Admit we are not perfect (aren’t we all ready to see more authenticity and less acting in ourselves and others?  Can I get an amen!)
2.  Acknowledge that God’s plan for us has boundaries, and they’re for our good.
3.  Choose to at least try things His way.
4.  Celebrate our successes-because when we do things His way-success always follows!
Let’s take our focus off of the thing we want out of our life, and put that time and energy into what’s good.  Holy.  Right.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Phillipians 4:8
Let’s see if filling ourselves with what is good won’t push out that thing which is bad.
Yeah, sometimes I cuss, but I’m working on it.
What will you fill yourself with today?  How will you proactively strive to fill up with good instead of that which is bad?
Praying for you all,
Kellie
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Dry Bones

What once was alive, is now dead.

 

Ponder that for a moment.

 

Maybe it describes you.

 

rebirth, regeneration, rejuvenation, renewal, reutilization, resurrection…revival.

Do you long for these things?

 

“…I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Ezekiel 37:6b

 

A little background on this story…In the Old Testament, there was a man named Ezekiel who was a prophet.  God spoke into Ezekiel many things that were going to be happening in the future.  All through the power of God alone.

 

In Ezekiel 37, God has taken Ezekiel to a grave full of dry bones.  They represent the Israelites, God’s people.

In this moment, God instructs Ezekiel to speak to these dry bones…and so he does.

Ezekiel tells the bones that they will come to life-that breath will fill them again-and in that very moment, he heard the clanging of bone on bone…he saw tendons and flesh begin to wrap around those bones!  God told Ezekiel to continue speaking into the bones and as he did, the 4 winds rushed in and gave breath of life back into the bones!  They came to life and stood up on their feet!

This story is found in Ezekiel 37:1-14.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+37%3A1-14&version=NIV

 

You can’t get much more dead than being a pile of dried up bones in a grave.  No flesh.  No tendons.  No muscle.  Dead.  Door nail dead.

 

Since “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16, let’s look at what God had in mind for His people and bring it to our own lives today.

 

*God showed Ezekiel the bones. He made him walk by them several times and take in the valley which was now being used as a grave yard.

God will show you what is dead.

*God asked him if those dry bones could live again.  Ezekiel answered with humility and awe with “Sovereign Lord, you alone know”.

God will point you to Himself as our only hope.

*The dry bones themselves were suffering.  They cried from the grave that they were dried up, they had no hope, and they were cut off.

The thing which is dead will cry out for restoration.

*God told Ezekiel what to say to the dry bones.  He was going to open their graves, lift them out, put His spirit back into the bones, and cause life again.  He proclaimed exactly what He intended to do.

God’s words have power and He is a man of His word.

*He goes on to say that once life has reentered these bones, He will place them into the land He wants them in, and He will settle there with them.

God doesn’t just revive what’s dead, He gives it direction and sticks around and settles there with it.

*”…Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’” (14b)    This is our testimony, when God takes something that was once alive, was then cut off, without hope and dried up, and He has breathed new life into it.

He wants all of the credit.  All of it.

 

Hopeless, dried up, cut off…He wants to breath His spirit into you and bring you back to life.  His breath reaches to every part of who you are.  Your relationships, your work, your purpose, your dreams.  He longs to bring you up, set you back on your feet, breath His spirit back into you, direct you where you should go next and settle with you there.

I believe He wants us to see just how powerful He is and that without His power living in us, we are spiritually dead.

 

Dry bones…call out to God and tell Him how you’re feeling!  His ear is bent towards your prayers and He alone has the power to bring life-giving change!  Reach up, He will reach back.

 

Let’s let go of our own ideas of how to bring back to life that which is dead.

 

His way is better.

His way is permanent.

His way is eternal.

His way points people to Him, and that is the point!

 

This song quotes a lot of Ezekiel 37…click on it…and thank Him for the life-giving power that His words hold and the invitation that we have to invite that power into our lives.

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Where There’s a Problem, There’s A Solution

“Don’t complain unless you have a solution!”

Have you ever heard this before?

 

I have. I heard it growing up at home.  I heard it in the work place.  I’ve spoken it to my own children.

 

Don’t you hate it when someone has used up their energy griping and complaining about someone or something, and once they vent it, they have no solution. No possible resolution in mind?  There are only negative words just lingering in the air.  Stale.

 

What should be done about it? What can we do?

 

Unfortunately, we can’t control what someone else will do or say. As much as that would satisfy our human nature to grab hold of someone’s tongue…we just can’t go there.

 

What we can do is look in the mirror, and start with ourselves.

 

Fortunately, our God didn’t just tell us what not to do in His word, He instructed us in what to do.

 

For instance…

 

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Phil. 4: 6-7 NIV

 

Do not…but instead…and as a result…

 

 

No need to break it down, read it again, it’s self explanatory!

 

However, personally, that whole “do not be anxious about anything” part is much easier said than done. Much.  That’s why we can’t stop there.  We have to keep reading.

Philippians-4-8

 Do you see it? How cool is God that when He tells us not to do something, he wraps it up with telling us what to do instead?

 

When I catch myself worrying, like habitually worrying,…honestly, I might put on a little Michael Jackson and distract myself with a little dance party.  I can get in my car, roll down the windows, crank up the tunes…music is good for the soul.

In between songs, I can direct my thoughts with something like this:

 

Truth…God loves me unconditionally, He wants what’s best for me

Noble…My husband is well respected, and I’m blessed to call him “mine”

Right…God is just, I can trust Him, it’s not what He does, it’s who He is

Pure…falling snow, newborn babies 🙂

Lovely…It’s springtime, the flowers are blooming with magnificent color

Admirable…Who do I admire right now? What are they inspiring me to do?

I’ve been guilty of telling others “stop worrying”, “stop stressing”, “you can’t think that way”…and I’ve been there myself (and I’m sure will be there again). Sometimes bad things just happen and it can be overwhelming.

 

But God…

 

He gives us a way out. A child can do this.  It is attainable.  But, it does require some discipline on our part.  It’s that whole “take captive every thought” thing.

 

Since we can’t control those around us, let’s ask ourselves, do we enjoy sleepless nights? Headaches?  Body aches?  Ulcers?  Do we enjoy having people ask us how we are?  Are we alright? What’s wrong?

 

These are hard questions, but I think we have to go there.

 

Then go to His word.

 

Then put it into practice.

 

Then put on a little MJ (or whatever gets you moving).

 

Then go and be a blessing to someone else!

 

It would be one thing if we were racked with worry and anxiety and there was no way to move past it.  It’s another when we are given such clear instructions on how to deal with it.

 

Now that is what I would call excellent and praiseworthy, wouldn’t you?

 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll come to you with a few more examples in the Word where we are instructed to not do this but instead do that.  A problem partnered with a solution.

 

Where do you feel stuck?  I’d love some feedback (either here or privately) and I’ll see what I can find.   I’m not the expert, He is.

 

What scripture do you go to when you need help moving past a situation?  Comment below and you just might be a blessing to someone else reading.

 

Blessings to you all,

Kellie