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Ezekiel: Valley of Dry Bones

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord. (Ezekiel 37:1-14, NRSV)

Mortal can these bones live?

I think I would have responded, “Uhm sure if you say so.”

Right because obviously God can do anything, and they do. The bones shake and come together and the sinews on them and muscle and flesh. Then the ruach came and they lived.

The Spirit of God entered the dried up bones and they were revived!

You see with God all things are possible, the dead are made alive and they will fill the world with His love!

Let His breath fill you so that you too might live!

 

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Jeremiah’s Letter to Exiles

These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. This was after King Jeconiah, and the queen mother, the court officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the artisans, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem. The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah sent to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It said: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord. For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (Jeremiah 29:1-14, NRSV)

Live your life as you would in the land I gave you in the land where you find yourself.

Build houses, plant gardens, eat what you produce, take wives, find wives for your sons and give your daughters away in marriage. Do not let yourselves go to waste in this new land while in exile, but multiply and increase your numbers.

Seek after the welfare of the place you are and do not seek to destroy it.

Live there in peace as you would here.

I will bring you back, live as my chosen people and know that I will never forsake you!

 

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A Warning of Destruction of Jerusalem

The oracle concerning the valley of vision. What do you mean that you have gone up, all of you, to the housetops, you that are full of shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town? Your slain are not slain by the sword, nor are they dead in battle. Your rulers have all fled together; they were captured without the use of a bow. All of you who were found were captured, though they had fled far away. Therefore I said: Look away from me, let me weep bitter tears; do not try to comfort me for the destruction of my beloved people. For the Lord God of hosts has a day of tumult and trampling and confusion in the valley of vision, a battering down of walls and a cry for help to the mountains. Elam bore the quiver with chariots and cavalry, and Kir uncovered the shield. Your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the cavalry took their stand at the gates. He has taken away the covering of Judah. On that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that there were many breaches in the city of David, and you collected the waters of the lower pool. You counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or have regard for him who planned it long ago. In that day the Lord God of hosts called to weeping and mourning, to baldness and putting on sackcloth; but instead there was joy and festivity, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating meat and drinking wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: Surely this iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die, says the Lord God of hosts. (Isaiah 22:1-14, NRSV)

We didn’t do anything wrong.

It is someone else’s fault.

Why did the Lord let this happen?

We are good at throwing off blame, the only problem with that is, well one of the problems with that is, that if you always blame someone else, there is no room fro you to change anything about the situation. If you have nothing to do with it then anything you do will not change the situation.

God will not allow His people to blame others, or to live in lives that seem to be perfect.

I have a book on my shelf in my office called No Perfect People Allowed. It is a great book about a messed up church and that is us.

We need to allow God to work in and through our lives. Not to make us perfect, but to allow His perfect love to shine through us.

Don’t go down for the fall and destruction, but allow God to love you and shine through you.

 

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Complacent Self Indulgent Punished

If ten people remain in one house, they shall die. And if a relative, one who burns the dead, shall take up the body to bring it out of the house, and shall say to someone in the innermost parts of the house, “Is anyone else with you?” the answer will come, “No.” Then the relative shall say, “Hush! We must not mention the name of the Lord.” See, the Lord commands, and the great house shall be shattered to bits, and the little house to pieces. Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow the sea with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood— you who rejoice in Lo-debar, who say, “Have we not by our own strength taken Karnaim for ourselves?” Indeed, I am raising up against you a nation, O house of Israel, says the Lord, the God of hosts, and they shall oppress you from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi Arabah. (Amos 6:9-14, NRSV)

All who do not follow after the lord will die.

Because by not following after God and loving neighbor as yourself we have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood.

All God asks is we look on the world as He looked on us. Accepting us where we were. Love them where they are.

Allow God to be in their lives and give them the love He gave to you and that love will overflow in their lives and yours.

 

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Amos: Justice Rolls Down

The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of King Uzziah of Judah and in the days of King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake.And he said: The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds wither, and the top of Carmel dries up. Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said. Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream. (Amos 1:1-2; 5:14-15, 21-24, NRSV)

Seek good and not evil not just for your self but for everyone.

Hate evil and love good not just for yourself but for everyone.

It’s not about what we do to look good to God, it is truly about how we love our neighbors as ourself and live that in daily life.

When we love others as God loves us, justice will roll down like living waters and righteousness will be an everflowing stream.

Let us love the Lord and live His love!

 

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G.R.O.W.

It is September and school is almost here. That means that learning will be starting…

But learning is not just for public and private education or to be done by just kids.

Learning is something we all need to do through out all of our lives.

We have confirmation which helps us learn the faith and helps parents teach the faith to their kids which is a promise they make to their child in baptism. And this year we are switching things up a bit in confirmation!

We have an online curriculum for our confirmation students to work through, and this year it is available to all members of the congregation! We are having our confirmation gathering called GROW – Gather & Reflect On Wednesday. This is confirmation time, for parents and confirmation students to gather. However, this time is also a time for all congregation members to Gather & Reflect On Wednesday. We are all still learning about our faith, I am constantly seeing different things with Bible texts and confirmation texts, hearing new ways of looking at passages from youth and adults. I am constantly learning and growing in our faith which is what being a disciple is all about. Learning from Jesus about our life in Him. Listening to Him and others to GROW in our faith!

So join us starting September 13 at 7:00 PM for our first GROW session this year.

We will be working our way through the catechism this year in confirmation and our first lesson will be Intro to the Small Catechism and it can be found at http://toolboxforfaith.org/catechism/intro-to-the-small-catechism/

All of the lessons can be found on http://toolboxforfaith.org/

I hope you will join us as we learn more and GROW in our faith!

 

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