Ezekiel 37: 1- 14 1 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. 4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.
Often we miss opportunities to capture the reality of the beauty that surrounds us because we are too caught up in our busyness. It takes a conscious effort to take notice of the little miracles and unlimited beauty that unfolds all around us.
Whether you live in a city, suburb or in the country, we are part of a collection of beauty. Embrace the kaleidoscope of color that is found in a field of flowers or the silent whistle of leaves on a tree. Take notice of the backdrop under the night lite sky or a chiseled, sculpture of an architectural work of art in the heart of the city. Observe the colorful personalities that make up the tapestry of a community or region. Listen to the city rhythms of sirens, horns, or loud conversations. Gaze upon the choreography of weaving traffic.
When we embrace our natural environments and even our own circumstances, we release tension, resistance and stress. We can transform how we see our world. In the midst of chaos, it can be a place of acceptance and harmony.
It’s realizing that although we can’t change every area of annoyance and distraction in our lives, we can learn to perceive the discomfort through a different lens. We might be contained within our boundaries but understanding that things will eventually change because life is constantly evolving and shifting.
There is also healing that takes place when we don’t build up a resistance to it. Whether in solitude or a bustling crowd of people, we can find our center which surrounds us in peace and tranquility. Just by taking a moment to pause, we can capture our lives in motion instead of a selfie.
There is beauty in living in the moment. If you blink, you’ll miss it.
But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Psalm 131:2
The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Prov 19:21
I saw a man who had no family, no son or brother. He always worked hard but was never satisfied with what he had. He never asked himself, “For whom am I working so hard? Why don’t I let myself enjoy life?” This also is very sad and useless. Eccl 4:8 (NCV)
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
At one time or another, all of us have experienced some form of betrayal. Betrayal comes in so many forms: Gossip, cheating, lying, and treason to name a few. Whether it was a spouse, friend, co-worker, or family member, the pain can run so deep that it may seem you will never heal again.
The ultimate betrayal was found in the life of Jesus Christ. There are several accounts of betrayal he experienced from the people closest to him; to the absolute stranger who despised him. He was persecuted, betrayed, mocked, and murdered all for the sake of His ultimate purpose and sacrifice to die for our sins and to save the lost.
What should our reaction be when faced with betrayal? We should look to Jesus as the model of forgiveness. One example was in Luke 22:34. “And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny thou that knows me.
You may have experienced this situation at one time or another. You spot someone in a room or familiar place that you know. You could be at the grocery store, shopping mall, or social event and someone you know sees you across the room but instead of a smile or wave, they just turn their head like they don’t even know you.
This is just a minor example of how you may feel when someone doesn’t acknowledge your presence for whatever reason. Either way, it doesn’t feel good. Can you imagine how Jesus felt? The one closest to him denied him three times! There is nothing worse than a two-faced person. You may also question your relationship with that person even if they are only a co-worker, neighbor, or acquaintance. It’s a breach of faith in hopes of building a friendship or business relationship.
Another prime example was in Luke 22:48. “But, Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrays thou the Son of Man with a kiss?” Flattery is often buried under deceit. Sometimes the sweetest person is disguised as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You shouldn’t be suspicious of every kind and loving gesture but action speaks louder than words. As the saying goes, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”
The ultimate betrayal was in Mark 10:33-34. “Behold, we go to Jerusalem and the Son of Man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes; and they should condemn him to death and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him and the third day he shall rise again.
Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins out of his love and forgiveness. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3: 16-21
There is only one account in the Bible that I’m aware of that God does not forgive. In Mark 3:29 it states, “But he who blasphemes or mocks against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.”
Forgiveness is not easy. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself. It is also a life-long process. The act of forgiveness releases us from the negative emotions that hold us in bondage to the person who hurt us. However, if you happen to be on the other side of forgiveness, a sincere apology is the least you can give to the person you hurt. Empathy, patience, and understanding will have to be worked through in each issue of any relationship.
Forgiveness is not something that can be taught. It is the most difficult thing to overcome in the flesh. Memories play over and over in your mind which makes it hard to let go. However, the quicker you can let go of the pain, the faster you can move on. You may never forget, but you can forgive.
The best thing you can do is to acknowledge your pain, accept what you’ve experienced, and walk in patience because it takes time depending on the level of deception attached to the pain. It’s much like the grieving process of a lost loved one.
Forgiveness also doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to the same trifling people, situations, or circumstances. It means you can release the animosity, anger, pain, or guilt and open your heart to receive peace, grace, healing, and freedom from every emotion that’s imprisoned you.
The act of forgiveness is the ministry of Jesus. It is the foundation, and cornerstone of the Gospel. It is also found in your heart despite the difficulties, challenges, and disappointments you face in life. You are set free. Don’t let another hour, day, week, month, or year go by. Make the decision to forgive today.
“And whenever you stand to pray, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
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