Sunday, April 20, 2014

Life These Days

If I seem to have fallen silent lately, it‘s because I‘m sorting through a lot in my head.

Some changes are going on in my family of origin. Plenty of hurt being flung in all directions.

I feel scared some, lately.

My happiest moments are spent with Lena, and there are not nearly enough of those moments.

Work is sometimes stressful. I do have interview number 3 soon for a great new position with amazing pay. Feeling pretty good about my chances there, but still nervous.

I kind of want to hide out for awhile, thoughI realize that is neither practical nor possible.

I need to dig into what I know is a safe, secure hiding place... the arms of my Savior and the truth of God's word,

So glad it's Sunday for a good many more hours, and I can relax and rest my mind.

I'm grateful for Easter and for Jesus. I just feel like I'm standing on an unsteady place with wind whipping around me... and I'd really like something strong to hold onto.

Maybe part of the lesson here is for me to sense and trust that Something Strong is holding on to me.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Walking Dead

Got your attention? Thought so... but this is not a blog about zombies. This blog actually tells a story of what God can do when a person is dead... and I'm going to take this angle on it: dead with no hope. Dead and seeing no light at the end of the tunnel. Dead and believing you are not even worthy to bear the title of "living."

Have you made mistakes, made bad choices, done things that were wrong? Then this blog is for you. Have you ever had a sinful thought or a bad attitude? This blog is for you.

Which, in reality, means this: this blog is for ALL of us. Romans 3:23 declares, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." The Greek word here that is translated "sin" literally means, "to miss the mark; to err, be mistaken; to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honor, to do or go wrong."

And doesn't that about cover it? We have all sinned. You, me, everybody.

In his book Choose Your Addiction (found here), J. Charles Roberts cites Newton's Law: "...for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, or consequence." So all of us have sinned, and sin has a consequence. Romans 6:23 says that the wages, or consquence, of sin... is death.

So we've all sinned, and are all facing the consequence of death. Some believe that death means an eternity in a fiery hell. I would like to submit to you a view of that statement from a different angle.

While physically living and breathing, I have felt dead before. I have felt helpless, hopeless, filthy, miserable, ashamed and utterly dead. I have been in circumstances from which I saw no way out; no light at the end of the tunnel; not even a tiny exit to try to squeeze through. I have felt deplorable and felt no reason to go on living. I felt... dead.

Have you ever felt that way?

It's a miserable place to be, with no light and no hope.

I read a story today that led me to name this blog "The Walking Dead." The story is found in Ezekiel chapter 37. The prophet Ezekiel was given a vision. Here are verses 1 - 3:

"The LORD took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the LORD to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, 'Son of man, can these bones become living people again?' 'O Sovereign LORD,” I replied, 'You alone know the answer to that.'"

Is there any hope at all for you when you feel like nothing more than a pile of dead, dry bones? Dead bones have no energy; no initiative; no... life.

But God is the creator of life. God can do things that, to our limited human minds, are completely impossible!

Let's keep reading in Ezekiel: [Then he said to me, "Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, 'Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD! ...Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'" So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then... muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies.... Then he said to me, "...Speak a prophetic message and say, '...Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.'" So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet--a great army."]

How amazing is that?!? Not a weak pile of reassembled bones, pasted together with a glue stick, but a great army!

The bones in this story represented people "...saying, 'We have become old, dry bones--all hope is gone.'"

YET God restored them to life, completely, in every way!

Friends, that is HOW GOD ROLLS. He can - and will - do these things for you:

*He will bring together your scattered, dry bones and reassemble them into the body they once made up. In other words, He will gather the fragments of your broken dreams, your shattered security, your torn hope and the life you used to have. And He will attach them all together as they should be.

*He will cover those bones with muscles, flesh and skin; He will not just put together the skeleton of your life and walk away. He will give you strength, protection, and endurance.

*He will put BREATH into your body and cause you to STAND! He will give you life, vitality and renewal. He will renew your hope and give you a fresh passion for life!

Let me finish a verse I quoted the beginning of earlier. Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death, BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE!"

Maybe you feel dead today. The good news is, you don't have to STAY dead. There are NO conditions to fulfill in order to receive God's gift of life and renewal; you need only to ask, and believe.

I pray renewed hope, healed wounds, and restored life for YOU today. In Jesus' name.